I knew I had to join the aptly named Detour Dance on their new dance odyssey around the Mission when the company proposed a dress code: "your most fabulous, glittery, flowery self (with comfortable shoes, of course)."
Yes, there is a lot of walking involved in the experience, titled Fugue. And when the tour guide (or self-styled “path-finder”) arrives clad in red shorts, sequined tailcoat, a fascinator worthy of Ascot, and glittery eye makeup, it’s impossible for one to be overdressed. The crisp, weed-scented night air on Dec. 1 made it a perfect opening night for a madcap dash around the Calle 24 corridor.
Fugue is more than a madcap dash, though — it weaves historical narratives about queer people of color in the Mission into poetry and site-specific performance art. Detour founders Kat Cole and Eric Garcia inject elements of fantasy into this profoundly ambitious enterprise with an overriding social-justice theme.
On Friday, night, after streaming out of the jewel-box-like Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church, the audience broke up into small groups, each instructed to take a different route to meet their guide. On our way, we ran into a pair of angels in wigs and fairy lights. They cavorted along the sidewalk, pausing to press an ear to garage doors along Fair Oaks Street, as if listening for mysterious messages from on high, piped through the HVAC of the elegant row houses. Quiet blocks lined with immaculately restored painted ladies, spruced up for Christmas, quickly gave way to assorted commercial establishments and more modest houses whose main window ornaments were stickers proclaiming solidarity with Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ rights.
We hooked up with our guide, who introduced herself as Frank (short for H.R.H. Francesca) — but whom some of us recognized as the formidable Erin Mei-Ling Stuart – outside the storied Revolution Café. Frank promised to lead us to a fabled “new city,” evoking Peter Pan as she darted through the busy streets. A light canister dangled from her backpack in place of Tinkerbell on her shoulder.