Check all attitudes and inhibitions at the door and let the dance floor channel your desires as A Club Called Rhonda makes her way up to San Francisco this weekend. As one of the West Coast’s most popular and inclusive parties, A Club Called Rhonda is known as the “undisputed mecca for house, disco, and polysexual hard partying.”
We got a chance to chat with founders Gregory Alexander (L) and Loren Granich (R) about their first party, Rhonda’s rapid rise to fame, and why they love bringing the party up to SF.
SF Weekly: What was the first ever Club Called Rhonda party like, and do you remember some of your feelings going into it?
Gregory: We had already started throwing some parties before we officially started Rhonda, but Rhonda was our first time at a legal venue I think. From the first party it felt like a family affair, a very naughty family, but a family nonetheless. It felt special, weird, and a little seedy. We knew we had something good that we should continue. We had worked our asses off going out for weeks, flirting and distributing business cards that just said “call me” with a phone number that lead to a voicemail that had info on the party. That first night we just had to wait and hope that people actually showed up, which they did and loved it. Word of mouth slowly spread from there.
Loren: The first night of A Club Called Rhonda took place at a Guatemalan discotheque called Guatelinda. It had checkered floors and fake Greek statues and had a very Miami drug kingpin aesthetic. Our main goal was to have a party that would people from the gay and straight communities under one roof dancing. We didn’t know if anyone would show up in that night. It ended up being a capacity crowd of fabulous looks, bad decisions, and sexy people that immediately set the tone for what a Rhonda INTL event would look and feel like.
SFW: Describe to us the resident DJ styles in a few sentences. How do their DJ monikers reflect that?
L: Rhonda INTL’s residents are myself (Goddollars) and my brother Ryan who DJs as Paradise. We are a pair of second generation DJs who were raised on the ideal of a holistic dancefloor that incorporates all realms of dance music with a common thread leading to places like Zanzibar, Paradise Garage, and Studio 54. Our DJ names reflect that idealism refracted through an intense self-study of the philosophical discourse surrounding hedonism and to a lesser extent epicureanism.
SFW: Has the being or aura of Rhonda evolved since you started the party?
G: Yes. We’ve always had a lot of fun changing or adding to her story. We’ve had to adapt and change in order to have such a long life as a club night. We sort or re-write her story a little each time we come up with a new, different type of event within the Rhonda real; such as Rhondavous, Rhonda Queen of the Desert, Rhondapolis, Rhondesia, etc. They all have a slighty different vibe to fit the setting, and she becomes a different version of herself for each of them. She’s always evolving.
L: Rhonda’s persona has always been something of an immortal wild woman of the sensual world, sort of like a clubland Carmen San Diego. Her personality immediately crystalized after we started conceptualizing the character so she’s always been the same panther wearing leopard sitting in the backseat of a jaguar kind of bad bitch.
SFW: What’s the story behind the famous leg logo?
L: I grew up in my uncle’s punk record store in Orange County and amongst my father’s 10000+ club records so the punk and disco upbringing came out swinging when I designed the legs logo. It was a combination of the Burn logo from the punk band The Germs and a set of legs I saw on an old Danceteria flyer.
G: We needed something iconic, that you would see and recognize what it was if you were in the know. Especially because we also started wheat pasting the logo through the city. We didn’t put any info on it besides the logo, so then when you saw the logo online or on a flyer somewhere you’d find out what that was about. We were looking through a lot of materials from some of the past nightlife entities and musicians that inspired us, pulled a few elements together and voila.
SFW: How much time goes into prepping each party?
L: This party is my life’s work so pretty much all my time. Show loadings/setups usually start at 7AM day of show and take a good 12 hours with a crew of four to get our decor and look up.
G: Depends on the party, but anywhere from a week to a month I’d say. It used to often err on the longer side but I think at this point we’ve established some systems.
SFW: With so many parties trying to be creative and original yet not all succeeding, how do you manage to keep Rhonda unique?
G: I think I kind of answered this above with the evolution of her character. And constantly trying to add more to the experience, without losing her essence. It’s tough, but also fun, and we’ve always tried to push each other to think more creatively.
L: We keep Rhonda unique because our goal is to create memorable and moving club experiences so we are always work-shopping and researching new ways to wow people because we are passionate as hell about that.
SFW: What are some thoughts going into curating talent for the parties?
G: We’ve always tried to combine something newer with something from a little farther past. Icons with young bloods. People that inspire and push dance music authentically.
L: When I’m booking our events I want to bring the best dancefloor talent from around the world that showcases the ideals of tasteful dance music. I’m constantly traveling and seeing amazing new talent doing crazy new things in that space but I always want to balance that out with the house and disco legends that made this culture so beautiful.
SFW: You guys have also thrown the party at some pretty rad places. Is there any dream location that hasn’t been done yet?
G: A deserted island? I’d also really like to do a party on/in a moving vessel of some sort.
L: I would love to do something in Mexico City because I see a lot of beautiful parallels between DF and LA.
SFW: Club Rhonda is always so well received when she comes to SF. What do you like most about bringing the party up here?
L: SF is a city with deep underground dance music roots going back generations so y’all have one of the most club culturally literate people in the nation who really understand the references we make with our party. It’s dope to work with people who just get it.
G: I like the openness of the people in SF. People are willing to get into any kind of situation with any type of person.
SFW: Where do you guys like to hang out when you come up to San Francisco?
G: I always love to just hang out in Dolores Park with friends. I also try to check out as many museums as I can.
L: Besides partying all over town I like to get up to Tiburon and Hog Island for a quick getaway from the City bustle.
SFW: Lastly, for those that have never been, what should they check in the door before walking in?
G: Anything that would prevent you from having a great time. Attitude, inhibitions, drama, leave all that outside and just dance.