Despite the dangers of entering an oversaturated jazz club market, Max Young, owner of the Desert Moon and Blue's, and his brother Sam have shown much savvy with the opening of Max & Sam's Hi-Ball Lounge. “The room is unique because of its history,” Max says, explaining that the swanky Broadway address was, at one time, the sight of the historic Jazz Workshop where luminaries like Chet Baker, John Coltrane, and Miles Davis came to play in the late '50s and early '60s. The newly remodeled room still sports the long, narrow floor plan of a speak-easy, but has been accented by an abundance of red velvet and, er, tasteful tiger skin. “It has a vibe all its own, far beyond what Sam or I could have created — it's the ghosts,” Max laughs. Ghosts or no, the Hi-Ball entered the San Francisco nightclub fold with ease last weekend as Hueman Flavor and Scheherezade mixed it up on Friday, jazz chanteuse Kim Nalley sang her heart out on Saturday, and L.A.'s bad boys of swing, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, kicked up a sweat on Sunday. The swinger seal of approval came Sunday night when members of Work That Skirt turned out to christen the dance floor and New Morty Show trumpeter Morty Orkin added his brass to a couple of BBVD numbers. What more could you ask for? The Hi-Ball is open Wednesday through Saturday; call 39-SWING.
Christmas got you down? The punk rock-cabaret multimedia musical jesters of the Billy Nayer Show have a remedy for those holiday ills: a limited edition 7-inch featuring the ever-sought-after, Holy Grail-like, never-before-released hit single “Must Be Santa” (Weasle Disc). Previously available only on the Man in the Moon soundtrack, the song is a cheerful little sing-along about a jolly St. Nick afflicted with gingivitis and a penchant for reindeer butt. Sure to put that candy-apple glow back in your Christmas-loathing cheeks, the single can be picked up at local record stores.
Here and Queer
The 1991 International Pop Underground convention in Olympia served as a milestone in indie rock, a weeklong festival that marked the music's age of innocence right before alternarock broke to become another corporate niche. Today, a committee of local groups are organizing a similar happening for another small but vibrant movement — queercore. Envisioned as a weeklong event with live shows, panels, and fun related activities at Epicenter Zone and other S.F. venues, it's yet unnamed but scheduled for this June. More details on participation as they come.
By Silke Tudor, Sia Michel