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San Francisco’s Largest, Most Collaborative Queer Party Returns for a Second Year

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San Francisco’s Largest, Most Collaborative Queer Party Returns for a Second Year


Velvet, which showcases nearly a dozen queer-centric organizations that proliferate SF’s nightlife scene, will take over The Midway this upcoming Saturday.

A point we can’t harp on enough is that San Francisco remains the queer mecca of the world. For a litany of reasons, San Francisco stays a bastion for LGBTQIA+ legislation, queer escapism (both before and after the sun goes down), burgeoning creativity, etc.; as the saying goes, “as California goes, so goes the nation”; one could line-edit that to read “as [San Francisco] goes, so goes California… [and then the nation.]”

And among those goings, if you will, is the queer renaissance San Francisco is presently in the midst of — representing a nexus of the larger trend of large metros across the nation seeing a surge of new LBGTQIA+ residents and, by proxy, an increase in hosted queer events.

Electroluxx‘s hosted Velvet party is, ostensibly, the zenith of that nexus, bringing together eleven Bay Area-based queer nightlife organizations this year inorder to throw one hell of a party. Some might sing it’s revolutionary, even; they wouldn’t be wrong in that tune.

“This is revolutionary,” says Comfort and Joy organizer Josh Smith in an email to Underscore, highlighting the intrinsic comradery between the event’s collaborators in crafting Velvet. “Velvet is not just bringing together a couple of promoters, this is 11 organizations coming together in an industry that is often known for being very competitive. Seeing these groups unite and set aside the individual for the collective is quite powerful. It also speaks to the ability of electronic dance music to bring people together.”

The first-of-its-kind partnership, which is now in its second iteration, will feature the following esteemed groups and nightlight entertainers, each helping fill the five-stage venue: Comfort & Joy, Electroluxx, Polyglamorous, Recess, GlamCocks!, BAAAHS, Bad Asstronauts, Mystopia, Something Queer, Gender Blender, Camp Beaverton, Provocateur, and iconic San Francisco Drag Queen Juanita MORE! 

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Electroluxx co-founder Brett Mendenhall notes that Velvet is a “core expression of the queer community in San Francisco,” adding that it’s an opportunity for folks from a variety of groups to come together and celebrate under one roof — “it’s a place where we can dance together, create together, and connect together.”

Much like last year, attendees can expect to be bathed in breathtaking laser and light shows. Though organizers of the event have been clear about saying that said beams of light won’t be directed at crowds. “I always tell event organizers and lighting crew that they should never point beams down toward a crowd, because that’s how you cause eyesight damage and temporary partial blindness, it’s so dangerous,” co-creator of Velvet Elliott C. Nathan tells us in conversation.

Other onsight niceties include a silent disco, cuddle puddle, face painting, bracelet making, a 360-action photo booth, and some other unique surprises; Madam Zola’s Fortune Cafe will be open throughout the party’s duration, serving up tacos, pizza, and other hand-food-friendly fares. 

Velvet organizers say that the artist Chickpea, in tandem with the Comfort & Joy team, is crafting a “visual art spectacle that is guaranteed to amaze.” Multi-discipline artist Scott Levkoff of Mondo events will install “surreal and trippy decorations throughout the main hallway,” all of which will be lit by 3D Mapped Projections by famed projection artist Stefan who became known for his craft doing projections for The Fun Gallery in the 1980s where he projected at events featuring the work of Keith Haring and Basquiat as well as projection installations for famed Studio 54.

In the main room, High Beam Lasers is set to debut their newest light show technologies and types of equipment, helping create a euphoric dance experience (that, again, includes safe crowd scanning lasers). 

“I can’t wait to walk through the venue that night and see the huge amalgamation of art, music, and experience,” tells Mark O’brien of Polyglamorous — the esteemed Burning Man camp and among Velvet’s collaborators for 2024 — about the party’s expected grandeur. “It’s a huge stew of hard work and talent that each of the groups contributes, to make this over-the-top, multifaceted kaleidoscope of a party.”

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Velvet, too, is much more than merely a creative showcase where warm bodies can mingle underneath the piercing glow of lasers — it’s as much a place to build and foster community. And

“I love it when the creators of VELVET reach out to me about DJing their party,” says iconoclastic and infamous finger-wagging San Francisco drag queen Juanita MORE!, adding tangentially that receiving nudes is a “great way to get my attention and start a good conversation” before waxing about her upcoming Pride party. “This event will allow me to see many friends I probably won’t see again until my annual party on Pride Sunday ––which is celebrating its 20th year, by the way! I hope to see you shaking your groove thing on the dancefloor.”

Similarly, this “amazing night” is vying to become a staple in San Francisco’s queer community, made more symbolic and important by the collective of bipeds responsible for putting it on.

“I love getting to build together with so many energetic, creative, and fun people. This is our second round of this collaboration and I hope it becomes a famous tradition and celebration in the city. ” artist and Electroluxx co-founder Elliott C Nathan tells in an email. “It’s going to be an amazing night and I hope it sparks the beginning of even grander collaborations.”


// For more information on Velvet, including its organizers and performers, visit the Instagram page dedicated to the party; tickets, which are selling fast, can be purchased here; those who find themselves struggling to meet the admission ticket price are encouraged to reach out to collaborators via an Instagram direct message; a portion of the proceeds collected from Velvet will go towards two local LGBTQIA+ focused charities and will be announced on our social media channels following the event.

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San Francisco, CA

Sister Roma to Lead San Francisco Queer History Bus Tour for Pride Month

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Sister Roma to Lead San Francisco Queer History Bus Tour for Pride Month


Though Drag Me Downtown is free to attend, those wishing to get their hands on some Pride 2024 goodies can pre-register for $10, the proceeds of which will be donated to San Francisco’s Transgender District. Since 2017, the cultural district has been taking steps to ensure tenant protections for Tenderloin residents, working with the city to preserve sites of LGBTQ historical significance and providing workforce development programs and other community-minded activities.

“As a San Francisco native and the city’s first drag laureate,” Drollinger shared in a statement, “my goal is and will always be to celebrate and elevate the art of drag. I am thrilled that I was asked to participate in bringing some sparkle to this fabulous series.”





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2024 Rams opponent breakdown: San Francisco 49ers, Week 3

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2024 Rams opponent breakdown: San Francisco 49ers, Week 3


2023

A five-game win streak to open the season got the 49ers off to a strong start. Although they experienced a three-game losing streak after that stretch to go into their Week 9 bye 5-3 overall, whatever corrections made over the break were effective, as they ripped six consecutive wins upon returning from it.

San Francisco’s 27-10 victory over the Washington Commanders allowed it to clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoff picture in Week 17, and consequently rest the majority of its starts in the following week’s regular season finale against the Rams.

As is the case with any team, staying healthy played a big part in the 49ers’ success. The loss of third-year safety Talanoa Hufanga – who was coming off a breakout First-Team All-Pro and Pro Bowl season in 2022 – was big for their defense, but otherwise their major contributors were consistently available throughout the course of the season.

The 49ers dispatched the Packers in the Divisional Round and Lions in the NFC Championship to reach Super Bowl LVIII, where they fell to the Chiefs 25-22 in overtime on Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ game-winning, 3-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mecole Hardman.

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Key Changes

The biggest ones came on the defensive side of the ball.

San Francisco parted ways with defensive coordinator Steve Wilks after just one season and went internal for his replacement, promoting defensive pass game specialist & nickels coach Nick Sorensen to the role.

The 49ers also hired former Chargers head coach Brandon Staley as assistant head coach/defense.

In free agency, the 49ers signed former Bills and Rams outside linebacker Leonard Floyd to a 2-year deal.

In the draft, they used their first-round pick (31st overall) on Florida wide receiver Ricky Pearsall, and grabbed Louisville running back Isaac Guerendo – whose 4.33-second 40-yard dash ranked fastest among all participants at that position – in the fourth round.

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Head coach

Kyle Shanahan enters his eighth season as head coach of the 49ers, compiling a 64-51 regular season record and 8-4 playoff record through his first seven years.

What to watch for

What the 49ers defense will look like in 2024

That’s not to suggest San Francisco will do a complete schematic overhaul for that unit – especially after promoting from within for its new defensive coordinator – but Sorenson will likely have a different vision for the defense than Wilks did.

From a personnel standpoint, the 49ers will still carry over many of the familiar contributors like Nick Bosa, Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw and Javon Hargrave, among others.

They will also have continuity offensively as well with Brock Purdy, Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle still around. All of them were focal points of the NFL’s No. 2 total offense and No. 3 scoring offense last season, which will provide a good early test for a young Rams defense embarking on the first season of the post-Aaron Donald era.

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Beyond that, it’s always exciting to have a rivalry game this early in the season. Week 3 should be a great matchup.



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The Best Happy Hours in San Francisco Right Now

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The Best Happy Hours in San Francisco Right Now


The primary purpose of a great happy hour is to do exactly what it promises it’s going to do: make you happy. We’ve all had those days, when work was too damn frustrating or we just couldn’t shake that thing from our mind that’s been eating at us — and there’s nothing like gathering with friends over drinks and bites, or even saddling up to a bar solo, to put a smile on your face before the evening comes around. San Francisco has tons of happy hours sprinkled throughout the city, but there are some can’t-miss ones you should seek out. Whether you’re after fresh oysters and drinks on the cheap, a rooftop with a view before sunset, or even a late-night cocktail and a bite, these S.F. happy hours will fill those needs and more.

Monday-Thursday, 3-5 p.m.

This cozy, bright space with ample sidewalk seating in the Marina packs a legit happy-hour punch for an introduction to chef/co-owner Melissa Perfit’s seafood dishes. Start with the $5 cured trout deviled eggs, with the oils from the fish melding divinely with a dash of fine olive oil sinking into the canals around the filling inside of the egg white — definitely as delicious as it sounds. The grab a pair of BBQ oysters for $8, or venture into the main menu for the Velma grilled oysters with nori, yuzu and trout roe surrounded by compound butter. Cava, a French white and Portuguese rosé are all just $7, and if you come on Tuesdays, wildly fresh Miyagi oysters are $2 all day. There’s hardly a more lovely corner of the city for a glass of wine and a dozen oysters.

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2095 Chestnut St

Daily, 2:30-5 p.m.

Sitting outside on the patio at Waterbar, looking out at the Bay Bridge, might just be the most scenic happy hour in the city. If you opt to stay inside, you’ll feel the same grandeur sitting at their gorgeous wraparound bar. It’s a beautiful Embarcadero destination with a $1.55 daily featured oyster special served with a hibiscus apple mignonette. The happy hour beer selection is $5, wine is $8 and cocktails are $10. Once happy hour is over, expand beyond these and try one of Beverage Director Valentina Moyà’s memorable drinks, like the Queen Bee with Barr Hill Gin, St. Germain, Lillet, chamomile, prosecco, honey and lemon.

399 The Embarcadero

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Monday-Friday, 4-6 p.m.

On the far edge of Golden Gate Park, across the street from the crashing waves of Ocean Beach, Park Chalet has the most thorough happy hour menu in town. While sister restaurant Beach Chalet offers an iconic dining experience upstairs, it’s the open-air dining room and grassy patio at Park Chalet that totally rules for soaking in the sun over house-brewed beers and diverse bites. All draft beers are $4. Head brewer Marco Tapiz’s Presidio IPA and the more tropical Sea Serpent IPA are killer; meanwhile, the VFW is one of S.F.’s best long-standing locally-made light beers. Start with a half dozen oysters for $14, then move into crispy buttermilk fried calamari for $8. There’s also taco, slider and wing specials to be had in this sweeping backyard patio.

1000 Great Highway

Monday-Friday, 5-8 p.m.

Time melts away when you’re sitting down at this Castro haunt on Upper Market. Blackbird’s happy hour has been so steady for so long — plus, I just love how expansive the space is; on a random weekday, it’s spacious enough to feel like you have your own small domain within it all, no matter where you’re sitting. Proper cocktails and beers are $1 off, including a house Old Fashioned, Aperol Spritz and rotating selection of local brews on draft from Temescal, Standard Deviant, etc. Oh, and you’re more than likely gonna hear solid gold ’90s R&B on the speakers. This is simply a wonderful spot for a catch-up with a friend.  

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2124 Market St

Monday-Friday, 4-6 p.m.

Quickly establishing itself as one of the most versatile spaces in the city, Cavaña — which was named one of Tales of the Cocktails’s top new cocktail bars in the U.S. — recently launched their La Hora Dorada happy hour, and it crushes. The multiculturally Latin-focused bar has drink specials led by a Margarita that’s downright transportive and a game-changing Michelada Verde with tomatillo, cilantro, cucumber, pineapple, lime and Tajín. Chef Edwin Bayone III’s chicharron de pollo (fried chicken thighs with coriander crema, salsa macha and herbed cucumber) is an absolute show-stealer, while the guacamole is an easy call to start. The latest full cocktail menu feels like a trip around the world, highlighted by drinks like the Feijoa, with Cañada rum from Oaxaca, Bolivian singani, New Zealand feijoa, honeydew lime leaf apéritif, lime and egg white (yes, please). Cavaña is a great spot for an upscale happy hour before a Giants game across the street, and the late afternoon rooftop views (of the city and the ballpark!) are truly golden. 

100 Channel St, 17th Floor

Monday-Friday, 4-6 p.m.

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While San Francisco’s SOMA and Financial District after-work scene hasn’t completely recovered since the pandemic, there’s something incredibly commendable about how the bright and sunny, women-owned Wine Down has kept chugging along through these valleys. Owned by Sarah Garand and Jaime Hiraishi, Wine Down is committed to featuring mostly small-production California wines from women, LGBTQ+ and BIPOC winemakers. Happy hour has $5 off carafes of wine and $9 pours of intriguing selections like Terah’s Orange Falanghina. Meanwhile, $7 drafts from local breweries like Harmonic, Laughing Monk and Fieldwork pair nicely with mushroom empanadas or charcuterie plates featuring local cheeses. This is a top-notch wine bar (and more) that even has a monthly wine club showcasing favorite bottles. 

685 Folsom St

Tuesday-Friday, 3-5 p.m.

Noe Valley’s Billingsgate is probably the only full-service fish market in town that sports a happy hour. On a charming stretch of 24th Street, you can get half off cava and fresh oysters — like briny shigoku and St. Simon — from one of the best seafood counters in town. If Billingsgate’s oysters might hit a little different, it’s because the fishmonger is part of local seafood purveyor Four Star Seafood, which provides fish to restaurants and markets all over the Bay Area. There’s a half dozen two-top tables inside by the fish counter and two coveted sidewalk tables outside. The menu also features poke with your choice of fish, along with cioppino, seafood salads and other delights. When you’re done with happy hour, definitely look to take home fresh fish for dinner, like Mt. Lassen trout, king salmon and local rockfish, along with something from the fresh produce and herbs selection to help you prepare it.

3859 24th St

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Tuesday-Saturday, 9 p.m. onwards

For all of the afternoon happy hours in the city, there aren’t nearly enough late-night ones. Enter the Madrigal, which offers a badass happy hour that’s especially friendly for the post-concert crowd at nearby venues off of Van Ness like Davies Symphony Hall and Rickshaw Stop. Get started with $7 beers, plus $10 wine and cocktails (the Tough Honey with Scotch, ginger and honey is aces), before digging into a house burger with truffle aioli, or the real lifesaver, a “Breakfast on a Bun” with house-made sausage, fried egg, cheddar and hash browns on a potato bun for only $9. There’s ample seating in the crescent-shaped booth area along the window, but if it’s not busy, saddle up at the bar for the best vibes. This is a rare late-night find that does things right.

100 Van Ness Ave

Monday-Friday, 4-6:30 p.m.

Inside of the Hotel Zeppelin, PLS on Post is a classic rock-and-roll and smashburger joint right off of Union Square that has some seriously boozy shakes. Happy hour features a rotating $5 cocktail like a Smoky Margarita, $6 draft beers and sangria, plus discounts on all food and shakes. So yeah…about those? Flavors like Cookies and Cream and the peanut-buttery Choco Nut are served in pretty decadent fashion, especially when you add a shot of peanut butter whiskey. It all pairs well with the Classic American smashburger heaped with caramelized onions, or the Korean Smash with gochujang cucumbers and Korean slaw. It’s a fun room, spruced up with Jerry Garcia ephemera and the Zeppelin’s groovy ’60s decor and psychedelic motifs. 

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545 Post St





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