Saturday Night: Mayer Hawthorne, White Mike, Riche Panic, and Others Soundtrack A Santa-Filled Night in the Mission

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The Saturday night crowd at SOM Bar
Meyer Hawthorne, Richie Panic, White Mike and others
December 4, 2010
@ Public Works, SOM Bar, and Beauty Bar

Better than: Being forced to sit in Santa's lap at your mandatory company holiday party.

Jingle bells, confusion, and offensive party smells! Such was the theme of the night this past Saturday in the Mission. Inebriated Santas ran rampant through all parts of town, tiaras adorned many drunken females, and sweat poured out of every club between Valencia and South Van Ness. With a white leather-bound journal our only weapon against the madness, we managed to survive and capture some of this first December weekend.

First stop, Public Works. Had we arrived for Hard French, Smalltown DJs, or just a half-naked Santa party? With a line wrapping around the corner, we wondered which of these attractions was the draw. Many tried to saunter up to the bouncer with inquiries about the guestlist, but it was obvious from the hostess' 10 sheets of hastily scribbled names that someone needed a lesson in the art of computer use.

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Hard French at Public Works Saturday
Downstairs on the main dance floor, some version of "Yolanda B Cool" on steroids was blaring out from the speakers, courtesy of Motion Potion. The crowd was speckled with Santas, all whom seemed to have lost their shirts at some point during the day. After hitting our three-minute limit on electro bangers, we decided to take a look upstairs. There, a new world was found in the form of Hard French, a weekly party usually held at El Rio, as sounds of soul and house filled the crowded room. Flashing lights. Classy outfits. Sparkling glitter. We had landed on Planet Party, and everyone was invited.

The next merry destination was SOM Bar, where Mayer Hawthorne was to perform a DJ set. A mixture of Asian hipsters and Sweater Funk devotees intermingled in the line, which reached around South Van Ness. We held our breath as we walked into this hip-hop sauna, with the bouncer warning, "It's damn hot in there. If you are claustrophobic, you shall not enter!"

DJ Shortkut was on the decks, playing hip-hop gems from Q-tip to Wu-Tang. Shoving our way to the front, it became apparent that almost every girl was attempting to salvage her sweaty face in anticipation of Mayer Hawthorne. Looking like a soulful, sexy, religious figure, he finaly took the stage in a bright red sweater. Hawthorne began by playing a medley of Stevie Wonder songs, and continued making love to the crowd with Parliament hits like "Give Up the Funk." Occasionally taking the mic and professing his adoration for San Francisco, everyone from the bartender to the hopeful groupie seemed rapt by his presence. 

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Mayer Hawthorne at SOM Bar
Beginning to miss the presence of drunken Santas, we soon found our way to Beauty Bar. Setting the tone for our visit, the first scene we encountered was the bouncer sternly instructing a tiara-toting girl to put her shoes before entering. Inside, we found ourselves in the midst of sweaty club No. 3, except by this time the sweat was coupled with extreme drunkenness. While at our previous destinations people had realized a somewhat balanced relationship between alcohol intake and dancing, Beauty Bar enabled us to realize our secret dreams of the forgotten frat party. As DJ White Mike dropped Deadmau5 and Usher, the Stanford popped-collar crew slammed tequila shots, and potential hook-ups danced sloppily on stage.

After last call, we decided to give Public Works another chance, and made our way back in the hopes of catching Smalltown DJs around 2:30am. Unfortunately, we missed them by mere minutes. By this point, the Hard French crew had also dispersed. Instead, San Francisco favorite DJ/Model/Actor Richie Panic was behind the turntables, playing an energetic mix of electro bangers. Fortunately, Panic had the skills to make up for our strenuous treks, and the full-circle of electro -- hip-hop -- electro was complete.

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Richie Panic at Public Works
The themes of the night were sweat, waiting in line, and Santa costumes. Given the festive moods, and ubiquitous caps and fake beards, perhaps those concerned about the death of Christmas sentiment should try a weekend in the Mission.

Overheard: "My friend's cousin's wife's sister is friends with Mayer Hawthorne. Tell him she said hi."

"Fuck the police, why they hatin' on Christmas so bad? Be jolly, motherfuckers!" (As the guy ripped off his Santa pants.)

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