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Native girl sets it straight

[whitespace] Before the Fillmore became the Lower-Haight

By C. Silo

The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire. We don't need no water, let the motherfucker burn. Burn, motherfucker! Burn! It's 3:30 on a Tuesday afternoon, two DJs are working four turntables at once and everyone is getting sweaty. My nylon parachute pants are sticking to my ass as I freak a guy half my size--his Geri-curls smack the side of my shoulder, leaving a warm ooze of activator on my arm. But the music is so heavy and loud that nothing seems to matter. Not even the tiny boner I feel against my knee.

After all, it was 1986--the year the San Francisco Unified School District launched the underground club scene in public-school cafeterias across town. Over at Galileo High School, native son Toph One was busy tagging up bathrooms and mixing records, while at Aptos Middle School, I was learning how to work my thing to earthshaking beats and smoke weed through a busted-out Coke can. EFX, Mind Motion, T.C., The Enhancer, Rappin' Forte, Big Ed, Disk, Eddie Def, Gadget, Mark Herlihy--these are just a few of the real SFUSD talents that benefited from breaking and Cabbage Patching at school dances in the '80s--and from using words like "moted," "maney" and "hella." Sorry, childrens, Frisco was bad before you bought your one-way tickets from Ohio.

That's why I leave it up to Toph to re-create that jamming public-school vibe. Unlike the Albino Mission Dude bar scene, Toph's parties are home to people of all flavors--all united by a common love for thick, juicy bass lines and booty-shaking beats. His recent involvement with M3's Green Gorilla Lounge was a perfect example: Toph, Jeno, Markie Mark, Mauricio, Felix the Dog, Marc Anthony and Markie Quark worked the turntables while a drunken, happy crowd burned hoof prints and cigarettes holes into the wall-to-wall carpet at Storyville. After four vodka gimlets, I thought I was back in the seventh grade, so I ran to the bathroom to sneak menthols and stuff my bra with toilet seat covers--I could tell I wouldn't make it past second base with a particular 415-tattooed homie, anyway (it was the 3/4 length 'Niners jacket that eventually threw me off).

The following week I found myself again at one of Toph's SFUSD-inspired parties--Abstract Science at Ei-ming Jung's 111 Minna Street Gallery. Celebrating the release of local legends Tommy Guerrero and Gadget's 12-incher Weed on the Tree, Forty on the Floor, the lovely 111 Minna was filled with hottie skaters and their shit-talkin' chicks. The manly Lance Dawes, editor of Slap Skateboard Magazine and former flautist/tambourinist from Equestrian Myth, seemed particularly happy to grind his delicate, sexy hips on the dance floor. It got a little hectic when German lesbian sex-club proprietor "Uncle" Sneek Jones offered me cash to watch a deep-sea fishing escapade with his burly sister, Helgeritz, but I kindly offered him 10 bucks to fuck off. Club life can be so cute!

Luckily, Toph's DJ skills allowed me to ignore Helgeritz's terrifying vaginal imagery. As I closed my eyes and let the groove rise from within, I again lapsed into the Aptos Middle School mind-set. The only differences were my ass seemed a little larger, I had no urge to suck up nitrous hits in the bathroom and I knew I could get felt up by someone taller than me. Thank God for raging hormones.


Small things often come in small packages: c_silo@hotmail.com

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From the May 24, 1999 issue of the Metropolitan.

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