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HOUSE KING: S.F. mix-master Garth headlines the Dec. 31 Decadance.

(Really) Good Riddance!

There's so much to celebrate as we say goodbye to this bad damn year

By Gretchen Giles

Informed that the dummy he's speaking with still thinks a rockin' New Year's Eve party involves sitting around intensely listening to the soprano lyrics of Joni Mitchell's Blue, DJ Zack Darling explains a few things with measured patience. "When electronic dance music was first coming into the world through the rave scene, it did a migration across the planet, starting in the U.K. and then jumping to New York and D.C. and nightclub rave parties before jumping to Chicago and Detroit. When it popped out on the West Coast, there were only a few DJs who were on it. One of them was Garth."

Darling pauses, waiting for an affirming uh-huh that means the dummy's still with him. "In terms of the S.F. house music scene, which is now this huge thing, Garth was the godfather. He's the guy who sparked it in the city and pioneered a style called 'San Francisco house,' and those who know their history know Garth as this icon." Got it!

Darling goes to such explanatory lengths in order to stress that the singular Garth will headline the Decadance groove he's co-producing with Burning Man artist Damian Peters. Also on the slate is the Unimog, a huge silver sound vehicle familiar to Burners and those who attended this fall's Handcar Regatta, Rrruss from the Space Cowboys, Chango B who is part of the weekly Juke Joint at the Hopmonk Tavern and others. If the weather and authorities allow, fire dancing will prevail.

Booked at Latitude, which is shaking off its nightclub rep in favor of being known as a fine dining and events venue, the night is subtitled a "Funky Formal," and it's a chance for Playa folk and others to plain old dress up. "It's a formal party with a flair, whether that's a Zoot suit or a different kind of formal outfit from the '80s," Darling says. "We don't really get a chance to dress up very often, to put on a suit and tie or buy your sweetheart that ball gown that she's always wanted." Decadance at Latitude, 5000 Roberts Lake Road, Rohnert Park. 9pm–2am. $25.

We've worked our little fingers and brains and bookmarks and MySpace to the figurative bone trying to compile the most complete list of New Year's Eve events possible; the venue-by-venue list begins in our Music Calendar on p36. Rather than merely reprising that, here are a few of our favorite things.

Sonoma County

Albino This is what we know: there are 10 of them, four on horns. They all sport different face paint and costume as they dance in unison. They play jazz in an Afrobeat manner. Among their numerous claims to fame (gigs at Yoshi's, the Montreal Jazz Festival, etc.) are their heroics in playing last year for the Critical Tits After Party, where they evidently "earned the Pathfinder Medal of Honor for performing through a torrential desert sand and rain storm for a mud-splattered crowd of thousands of naked female cyclists." Hella fun. LoCura open. Dec. 31 at 8:30pm. Hopmonk Tavern, 230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol. $25–$30. 707.829.7300.

Tommy Castro The hardest workin' man in Bay Area blues comes back to the Mystic for another blowout year of saying goodbye to the old and huzzah to the new, all sweaty-like. Tommy gives a "free" signed guitar to the partier who purchases the most tickets to the show, so get those $60 bills out now. Hillside Fire open. Dec. 31 at 9pm. Mystic Theater, 23 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma. $50–$60. 707.765.2121.

Dance & Sing Sebastopol Sufis host their annual Dances of Universal Peace in honor of the New Year at the Youth Annex, 425 Morris St., Sebastopol. Dec. 31, 8pm to 1am. $20. 707.829.6803.

French Garden Dinner & Dance Party Grab your partner and swing high as Sebastopol's hilltop destination restaurant hosts the Rhythm Cats and Out of the Blue along with bubbly and a prix fixe dinner. Dec. 31 at 5pm. $25–$75. French Garden Restaurant, 8050 Bodega Ave., Sebastopol. 707.824.2030.

The Glitter Ball The Union Hotel gives itself over wholly to NYE festivities with two rooms of dancing, both live performance and Top 40 mashups. This is one of the only events going on until 3am, and the theme is dress-to-impress in all white. And, obviously: live go-go dancers. Dec. 31 at 9:30pm. 280 Mission Blvd., Santa Rosa. $25–$30. 707.538.6000.

Jazz on Broadway The Lodge at the Carneros Inn hosts an elegant evening of jazz with the Dana Land Quartet, including party favors and a midnight toast. Dec. 31 from 9:30pm. 1325 Broadway, Sonoma. $25; free with dinner reservation. 707.931.2042.

High Noon The Charles M. Schulz Museum knows a thing or two about helping its fans get enough sleep, opting for a daytime New Year's Eve celebration that marks the New Year at noon, thus allowing for afternoon naps and other helpful nursery rituals. Dec. 31, 11am to 5pm; balloon drop and toast at noon. 2301 Hardies Lane, Santa Rosa. $5–$8. 707.579.4452.

Mashups & Breakbeats Celebrate new beginnings with a killer lineup of DJs including Tony Tone, 100% OUSA, DJ Seven and a live mash up performance by Nasty Nate Rossi. Dec. 31 at 9pm. $15–$250 (yes, it's possible to spend $250 just to reserve a table). Last Day Saloon, 120 Fifth St., Santa Rosa. 707.545.2343.

Party Like It's 1933 Rocker Oysterfeller's hosts a 75th anniversary celebration of Prohibition's repeal with an after-dinner speakeasy soiree at the adjacent Dairyman's Bank with live music by Arrann Harris and the Bluebellies, snacks and classic cocktails. Dress up for the night! Dec. 31 from 9pm. 14435 Hwy. 1, Valley Ford. $20, includes Champagne toast. 707.876.1983.

Party with 'Patsy' Cinnabar Theater offers an encore of the hit two-person production Always, Patsy Cline, starring Mary Gannon-Graham and Liz Jaren, and featuring 25 songs performed with a live band. This NYE presentation includes party favors, dessert and a Champagne toast. 3333 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma. Dec. 31 at 9pm. $55–$60. 707.763.8920.

Peace Revival & Love Celebration Help Sebastopol declare itself "Peacetown, USA" in a night of song, drumming, dance, meditation, massage and other fine West County entertainment staples. Mr. Music starts things off at 8pm with the Love Choir and a sing-along. Kate Van Horn and her band take over at 9pm, Kim Atkinson and his Drummunity do their sacred drumming things at 10pm, Solid Air leads an Americana dance party at 11pm and 2009 breaks softly with a peace meditation and "sacred sound scape." Free eats, desserts and Champagne toast. Dec. 31 at the Sebastopol Community Center, 390 Morris St. $10–$30; table of 10, $250. 707.823.1511.

Phatty & Free The old school funk of the seven-piece Phatty rocks in the New Year with no cover charge and that makes us smile. Dec. 31 at 9pm. Russian River Brewing Co., 725 Fourth St., Santa Rosa. 707.545.BEER.

Rock the Casbar DJ Dray Lopez holds sway in one room while DJ Harmonyze does another for a night of free tiaras and hats, prize give-aways, free appetizers and the inimitable more. Dec. 31 at Casbar. Inside the Days Inn, 3345 Santa Rosa Ave., Santa Rosa. $15-$20. 707.568.1011.

Romp with the Beasts The wild animal enclave Safari West not only boasts some of the best guest houses this side of Out of Africa, but their kitchen's great, too. Ring in the new to the whoops of simians and the stares of giraffes at their annual dinner dance. Dec. 31 at 6:30pm. 3115 Porter Creek Road, Santa Rosa. $110; reservation only. 707.579.2551.

Sapphire LoungeTwo huge ballrooms are filled with fat beats at this LGBTQ-positive night of fun. DJ Trinity spins disco, Motown and Latin grooves in Boogie Lounge, while the Bass Beat Room bumps hip-hop and Top 40. Dec. 31 at 8:30pm. Doubletree Hotel, 1 Double Tree Drive, Rohnert Park. $25–$60. 707.584.5466.

Spindles & One Horse Town These post-Americana sweethearts join forces with reunited outlaw country greats One Horse Town to celebrate Barack, the New Year and, most importantly, beer. Dec. 31 at 8:30pm. $10. Black Rose Irish Pub, 2074 Armory Drive, Santa Rosa. 707.546.7673.

Marin County

For Whom the Bridge Tolls Humorists Stan Sinberg and Rita Abrams' Marin-skewering satirical send-up returns for one night only, guaranteeing local laughs on everything from hikers to bikers to pikers. Onstage for a full decade run before retiring, Bridge Tolls plays twice on New Year's Eve, at 6pm with a three-course dinner and at 9:45pm with a buffet and party favor performance. Seafood Peddler's, Palm Ballroom, 100 Yacht Club Drive, San Rafael. 6pm, $95; 9:45pm, $85. 415.460.6669.

King's Point Playland Shindig Ring in the New Year at King's Point Playland, a 1930s-era costumed carnival for adults hosted by El Radio Fantastique. Live musical performances, burlesque dancers, carnival games and card games, oddities, nudities, piano lounge, costume contest, raffle, food, beverages, midnight surprises! Dec. 31 at 8pm. Toby's Feed Barn and Gallery, 11250 State Route 1, Point Reyes Station. $50. 415.669.9757.

Rock the Books Rock to benefit the library as the More Library Hours Fund hosts the Gypsy-funk fusion of Dgiin at an all-ages dance party at the Stinson Beach Community Center, 32 Belvedere Ave., Stinson Beach. Dec. 31 at 9pm. $20; under 12, free. 415.300.6437.

Belrose Boogie-Woogie Vocalist Wendy DeWitt joins pianist Sid Morris for a dinner-dance extraordinaire, featuring a chicken dinner, Champagne, dancing and more. Belrose Theatre, 1415 Fifth Ave., San Rafael. Dec. 31 at 8:30pm. $65. 415.454.6422.

Best of San Francisco Comedy Competition Various comedic styles promise a full load of guffaws. Dec. 31 at 9pm. Marin Civic Center, 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael. $30. 415.499.6400.

New Years Hometown Party Comic Will Durst joins musicians Austin deLone, Maria Muldaur, Dan Hicks, Lisa Kindren, Lorin Rowan and the Swizzle Sisters in blowout bash with appetizers and bubbly at the 142 Throckmorton Theatre. 142 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley. Dec. 31 at 8pm. $75. 415.383.9600.

Zydeco Flames Start off your New Year sizzling hot with foot-stomping Cajun favorites, along with party favors and a Champagne toast. Come early for dinner. Dec. 31 at 9pm. Rancho Nicasio, Town Square, Nicasio, $35–$45. 415.662.2219.


Lush Life Chanteuse Welsa Whitfield and her husband-accompanist Mike Greensill are joined by bassist John Witala for an elegant New Year's Eve gig. Used to bidding goodbye to Old Man Time at such swank digs as New York's Algonquin Hotel and San Francisco's Plush Room, Whitfield and Greensill now have their own pad in Napa and use it to great advantage. Two seatings, 8pm and 10:30pm. Silo's Jazz Club, 530 Main St., Napa. 8pm, $50; 10:30pm, $100. 707.251.5833.

Wine Train! Hop aboard and let the click-clack Cadillac you back to times of luxury and good will, sorta like last April, in this all-inclusive night of sparkling wine and oysters and a five-course dinner, ending with a dance party at the station. Dec. 31 at 5:30pm, sharp. Napa Valley Wine Train, 1275 McKinstry St., Napa. $225. 800.427.4124.

Not Quite There Yet

Will Durst flips 2008 the bird at his annual 'Big, Fat, Year-End Kiss-Off' with friends Michael Bossier, Steven Kravitz, Debi Durst, Johnny Steele, Jim Short and Arthur Gaus. Dec. 29 at 8pm. Hopmonk Tavern, 230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol. $15. 707.829.7300.

Fairfax's >Groove Garden hosts its eighth annual Blacklight and White Ball as a New Year's Eve Eve show, encouraging everyone to come attired entirely in their whitest whites, the better to dig such ultraviolet magic as Mr. Edison could never have imagined. DJ Dragonfly holds down the decks and Suzanne Sterling leads the Midnight Spiral Dance on Tuesday, Dec. 30, at 8pm. Groove Garden, 2398 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Fairfax. $15. 415.596.2081.


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