The Most (Aladd) Insane Moments At The Bowie Birthday Bash
San Francisco solemnly swears to celebrate David Bowie’s birthday/deathday until ashes turn to ashes. All the young dudes, China girls, and young Americans don their David Bowie cosplay and show their modern love at the David Bowie Birthday Bash, this year at The Chapel for its eighth annual performance. We spoke to the event’s founder, Reverent Father Lysol Tony-Romeo of the First Church of the Sacred Silversexual, to see what sounds and visions to expect from this Friday and Saturday’s performances.
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“We’re a church, but we worship Bowie so we sing Bowie songs instead of Christian songs,” Rev. Lysol says. “Other than that, it is very similar to a Christian service, with rites like communion and confession. We believe it is the gathering itself that is holy, not the reason for the gathering. Whether its Bowie, Jesus or a DJ, all of us feeling that communal spirit, sweating in the same room to he same beloved music, is what is truly holy.”
There are several ch-ch-changes to each year’s performance, which originated in 2012 ar Oakland’s Vitus (which is now condos), moved to the Rickshaw Stop in 2013, the Oakland Metro Operahouse in 2014, and has been at San Francisco’s The Chapel since 2015. Every annual show explores different Bowie works, like the 2013 Labyrinth show seen below.
“The plot of this show was ‘Bowie goes to live with the Goblin King to prep for Labyrinth like Johnny Depp did with Hunter S. Thompson for Fear and Loathing,’” Rev. Lysol explains. “This was the point in the show where Toby’s head was broken open, and both Bowie and the Goblin King feasted on his brains.”
Friday night’s show will be a live, track-by-track performance of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, Saturday’s show will cover the 1971 album Hunky Dory. Both evenings will feature magic dances by drag and burlesque stars like Raya Light, Trixxie Carr, Sister Tilda NexTime of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and many other performers bringing the glam (bam, thank you ma’am).
“David Bowie is the patron saint of the misfits, and San Francisco is the Island of Misfit Toys,” sats Rev. Lysol. “So in a sense, Bowie is the patron saint of San Francisco. We endeavor to recognize him as such, to raise the Freak Flag and throw our arms around the shoulder of any outcast who wants to worship with us.”
The 8th Annual Bowie Birthday Bash is Friday, Jan. 4 and Saturday, Jan. 5, 9 p.m., at The Chapel, 777 Valencia Street. Friday tickets here, Saturday tickets here, with two-night combo tickets also available.