Do you want some pie, boy? - Pigdog Journal


Bad House, Good Tea
2002-04-02 11:31:47

Cackles of the Mad Reverend
You can begin with good smart people and an unbound optimism and in no time at all, everything can disintegrate. Threats and blows can fly; men once tame and meek can bloody the faces of friend and stranger. It's pretty fucking cool.
-- Mr. Bad


The City! Its lights, its sounds, its voices. This article has nothing to do with those things, but the Rev does lay it down on a new venue for you to do those things you do.

As San Francisco tries to find its latest identity in the wake of the dot-bomb blast and waning days if it's lamest mayoral duck, a number of underground warehouses are vying for the right to be the vanguard of hip. So it was with a hopeful curiosity that I checked out the Xenodrome, a cavernous space at 25th and Potrero-right in the heart of Latino gang gunfight country.

After having $13 siphoned from their wallets, patrons were treated to an atmosphere reminiscent of that in German U-boat during its fifth week at sea. Thick with cigarette smoke, carbon dioxide, kerosene exhaust and the tropical humidity of smelly sweat, the "air" was practically non-existent. Apparently, whoever runs the joint has a complete lack of understanding when it comes to simple air circulation. Two fans in the front rooms did little more than pump the stale, stifling gasses right back at gasping, dizzy partygoers. It was around 1:30 before someone had the good sense to open a rear door, thus allowing in the only outside air of the evening. Suffocated dancers quickly filled the Trance room adjacent to the open door more for the fresh breeze than for the DJ's tunes.

While this kind of environment may be hard for EnhAnced people to take, it seems to be a natural breeding ground for drunks. Bars are a necessary evil at all-night dance parties since booze provides promoters with additional revenue that normally doesn't flow from drug sales (unless, of course, the promoter is also the dealer). And drunks there were-falling all over other guests during performances, groping any girl that happened to be within convenient reach, and generally shuffling listlessly around the room in pursuit of someone just as fucked up as they were. But hey, when you're clothes are catalogue-plain and you've the attitude of a wannabe, it's not like you're getting the point anyhow. Wouldn't they be better off at, say, 1015 Folsom?

Drunkenness and frottage seem to go hand-in-butt, especially when the passages are as claustrophobic as some of the ones in Xenodrome. The access between the bar area and the main performance room featured a dangerously uneven floor and a space wide enough for only two people to pass through at a time. A steel ladder on one end of the passage guaranteed dental surgery if you missed your step and fell forward. Pushy drunks had no problem bulldozing their way through this gauntlet and copping as many feels as they could along the way. But feels weren't the only things being grabbed. At least one guest complained about having his wallet lifted by a pickpocket.

But the most disturbing aspect of the party was the welcome presence of senseless, drunken violence. According a Xenodrome resident, it's perfectly okay to respond to a shove with a head butt. He went on to add that if you're assaulted, you should "take care of business" on your own. Go ahead-smash teeth, break bones, crash a bottle on someone's head-it's not a party until something gets broken! Especially if you spent the night drinking at a bar and failed to find any sex prospects before last call, then showed up to this party on a trim hunt. NOTE: be sure to acquaint yourself with a member of the house before engaging in a brawl, as this will insulate you from an repercussions after the dust settles.

However, even the tragedy of the environs could not stifle the positively mesmerizing performances of Apsara and The Extra Action Marching Band. While the latter needs no introduction to you scenesters, the former group is comprised of ex-members from the hyper-kinetic dance-n-percussion ensemble, AWD. Having lost none of their explosive acrobatic brilliance, Apsara captivated the audience with their astounding choreography, theatrical presentation, and aural thunder. The mystical posturing and fire spinning have become a little trite among the desert-experienced set, but even that did not detract from the obvious passion that this troupe packs into their shows.

Also notable were the DJs lined up for this gig. Having heard so much of the same tripe for the last several years, it's getting harder and harder to impress me-even when I'm high. As my good friend Josho so aptly put it: "Sometimes you get these people who craft rich and vibrant layers of sound. But most times, what you get is 'DJ Mikey and his two turntables'." Hats off, Brother J, because the sounds grooving at Xenodrome during the Swerve party were definitely that deep, grab-you-by-the-bass-and-make-you-shake-that-booty kind of experience. If DJ Mikey was there, he was only playing a limited set in the Trance lounge.

This is hardly the first time I've seen a great show at a crummy venue. Xenodrome will undoubtedly host more events at their space, and the space itself has a lot of potential. Whether or not the Xenos deserve your patronage remains to be seen. In the meantime, keep an eye out for other contenders to the throne. With all this space on the market, it's going to be a great year for those who've just been waiting for the right time to put it up, put it out, and get it on.

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.

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