On Thursday, a group of queer San Francisco nightlife superstars announced the formation of a new organization dedicated to raising money for a different cause each week. The Disco Coalition launches with 13 happy hours, each of which will honor a particular LGBTQ hero, 100 percent of the proceeds from which will be allocated to a specific cause. It starts off on Friday, March 29, from 5-8 p.m., at Lookout, Chris Hastings’ second-story Castro bar that maintains a running total of the $1 million-plus it’s raised in its existence.
“Think of the Disco Coalition as a bat signal for queerkind,” co-founder Aaron Wessels said in a statement. “Instead of five promoters throwing parties across town, for the same cause, the Disco Coalition will shoot up a flare to combine forces and drive people to one event, or a series of events, as is the case with our first project launching in March.”
The precipitous decline of queer-run or queer-owned spaces in San Francisco has slowed down over the past year, which may be a function of a community in action (or simply the hard math of having fewer and fewer places left to shutter). Given the importance of bars and clubs in the history of LGBTQ organizing, that essentially translates into fewer opportunities to do good, setting in motion a downward spiral.
To combat this, the coalition has brought together some of the most prominent sinners and saints from S.F. LGBTQ nightlife, under the aegis of “queeros” like most-fabulous-weirdo-of-all-time Leigh Bowery, drag performer and power-stylist GlamaMORE!, or the late cannabis advocate Dennis Peron. This 13-week happy hour series is simply phase one, the organizers emphasize, adding that the coalition is open group that’s actively soliciting new members and ideas, not just another clique.
The March 29 event at Lookout — for which sponsor Tito’s Vodka will match any funds raised up to $1,000 — benefits the GLBT Historical Society on 18th Street. Juanita MORE! will function as both “queero” and host, with beats by Go BANG! For the second, on Friday, April 5, Mercedes Munro and House of Munro will host and spearhead the fundraising on behalf of the Disco Preservation Society, with none other than Sylvester as the queero, and musical curation by Jim Hopkins.
As anyone who’s ever gone to queer parties in S.F. knows, the “community” can occasionally be a sniping parliament of various factions. So this is quite a remarkable step, bringing together old-school groups like the venerable Imperial Court to the Faerie-Burner crowd at Comfort & Joy. Consequently, the beneficiaries are equally wide-ranging in scope, from the SF AIDS Foundation to the Queer Land Trust to Immigration Equality. And some of the parties extend beyond happy hour, such as the May 24 event (which happens to be the kickoff to Memorial Day weekend). After Comfort & Joy co-hosts Jesse Oliver Sanford and Chickpea preside over the evening component, the party goes until two a.m.
Disco Coaltion Happy Hour to Benefit the GLBT Museum, Friday, March 29, 5-8 p.m., at Lookout, 3600 16th St., discocoalition.org