kallistixf: (notes)
Take pity on us, San Francisco! We aspire to your heights of ... "culture"!

Why is everybody laughing?

-- David Thrussell of Snog, at the DNA Lounge

After ten days in South Carolina, it was great to be back home in San Francisco!  Saturday was beautiful, and we went to the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park for the first time since an epic party we threw there in the early 90s (back when you could still have the party in the main greenhouse instead of their functional-but-generic event space).  And then Sunday was  a double-feature, starting with electronic dance music at the Howweird Street Fair and then on to curmudgeonly-but-very-danceable industrial with Snog at the DNA Lounge.  Good times!

View from behind Pulse SF Stage; photo by Piak BoonlertIt was all sunshine and happiness at the fair.  The weather was perfect, seventy degrees and sunny, and the music was great -- including two psytrance stages, one by Pulse SF and one by Party Babas.  As usual we ran into folks we've known for years, checked out the vendors and bought a few things, and danced for hours.  It really was an "only in SF" kind of thing; a friend who's moving to New York lamented that he wouldn't be able to have the same experience there.

The vibe was quite different at Snog -- and somewhat surprisingly, the crowd was a lot sparser too.  The cab driver's monologue, about how Uber and AirBnB and their pals were wrecking the city and after 50 years he couldn't afford to live here any more, set the stage perfectly.  After an excellent (albeit too short) opening set by The Labrynth, the band took the stage, with Thrussell resplendent in a white suit and wearing a mask from They Live, for a set of hits old and new. 

Snog on stage; photo by Jon PincusThe mask came off after the first song, and there were plenty of toe-tappers that were more than appropriate for the 2016 version of San Francisco.  Cheerful Hypocrisy, Everything Is Under Control, Born to Be Mild, Corporate Slave .... the hits just kept on coming!  And the DNA Lounge, with ATMs programmed to say "Surprise Surprise the Government Lies" is a perfect setting.

It strikes me that our entire economy is a massive pyramid scheme.

- David Thrussell of Snog, interviewed by Chris Downton in Cyclic Defrost

Yeah really.  And SF is the epicenter of one of the pyramids, the rich-get-richer economy of angel investors and VCs pumping up the valuation of startups like the aforementioned Uber, now worth over $60 billion, and their exploitation sharing economy cronies.  (Now that I think of it, the sharing economy would be perfect for Snog  :) )  Since we shifted our base back here from Seattle, I've really noticed the changes - and like the majority of SF residents, I think the city's heading in the wrong direction.

The cab driver is ready to give up and move -- "it's reality," he said.  Well, it's certainly the reality the Ubers of the world want to create.  But we have a say in it too.  Battles over gentrification, real estate speculation, and tax breaks for the wealthy aren't new to San Francisco -- I was watching a video of Jello Biafra's mayoral campaign from the late 70s, and all the issues he talks about are there today (just with some different names).  Progressives are fighting back, just as they have in the past.  And new technologies can be used for organizing as well as exploitation.

And despite all of San Francisco's problems, it's still an amazing city.  So I didn't let the negativity cloud my enjoyment ... if anything, I had an even better time at Snog than at the fair.  I heart psytrance; and I heart darkwave.  A good combo!

Image Credit: Pulse SF at Howard Street Fair picture by Piak Boonlert

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