Mighty Real: A Queer Dance Music History
KQED Arts Associate Editor Nastia Voynovskaya hosts a discussion and dance party that leads us through the rambling history of queer dance music in the Bay with Steve Fabus, Nicky (Tita Aida) Calma, DJ Black and David Harness.
Tita Aida: A familiar name/personality with the Bay Area LGBTQI+ community. Tita Aida came in the late-night scene in SF during the late 80’s and early 90’s as everyone’s “auntie” who educated many about HIV when it was at its peak of infecting thousands. Tita Aida hosted and performed at numerous clubs and events and incorporated safe sex messages in her performances. Tita Aida used the opportunity to infiltrate the San Francisco nightlife scene and became a staple of clubs, circuit parties due to her love for disco and house music. She was the “First Lady” of the ‘N Touch Club (closed in 2008) from 1994- 2008. A popular club for A&PI MSM and their admirers at the Polk area. She hosted her regular Male Strip Night on Thursday nights. In 2000, Tita has also joined the world famous 3-star restaurant, Asia SF. Tita is one of the Ladies of Asia SF. Performing for over a million folks who has experienced the dazzling offerings of the venue. Tita Aida continues to stay relevant and keeping in touch with the community by producing LGBT events, as a motivational speaker for young trans folks and as a Managing Director for San Francisco Community Health Center (formerly API Wellness).
Steve Fabus: Steve Fabus, one of the few club DJs whose career spans almost the entire history of the profession and art form itself. He has played at legendary clubs Trocadero Transfer, I-Beam and EndUp in San Francisco, Tracks and River Club in NYC and Does Your Mama Know and Probe in LA. Currently in SF he is co-founder with Sergio Fedasz and resident of Go BANG going into its 13th year and has a new monthly residency at Hothouse at Club F8. He plays all over the San Francisco Bay Area and has done guest spots across the country in NYC, Chicago, LA, Seattle, Philadelphia, Miami and other cities. Across the pond he's played at Horse Meat Disco and Dalston Superstore in London, Cocktail d'Amore in Berlin and Sub Club in Glasgow. Last summer he played a banner closing set at the Honcho Campout queer music gathering on the East Coast and will be playing the Glastonbury Music Festival and Horse Meat Disco for London Pride in the UK in the coming weeks.
DJ Black: Black learned her craft 30+ years ago and played alongside Masters At Work, Fuse, Digit, J Boogie, Rusty Lazer, and Trackademicks. She has DJ’ed for Erykah Badu, The Roots, Patty Duke, Tony Toni Tone, Yo Yo, Bahamadia, Medusa, Meshell Ndegeocello, Ledisi, Alanis Morissette, Big Freedia, Hot Tub, Alvin Ailey Dance Company, The Lovemakers, Brandy, Goapele, Nneka, and many others. Black produced some of the Bay Area’s biggest parties – Lift, Tight, Dream EZ, Hella Gay, Ships in the Night, and played for many benefits. She formed part of A.B.L.U.N.T. and Herstory Crews and has mentored numerous DJs.
David Harness: David Harness is one of the most popular DJ/producers in the San Francisco Bay Area club scene. He has been described as ‘a man who lives, breathes and emanates everything that is beautiful about deep house music and classic garage.’ David is considered a ‘rising star’ within the dance community.’ With influences varying from Barry White and the Love Unlimited Orchestra, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Quincy Jones, the Jackson Five, Stevie Wonder, Parliament Funkadelic, the Isley Brothers and First Choice, among others it's easy to see why funk and soul have always been strong elements in his sound. In 1990, David began DJ’ing at the After Dark in his hometown of Monterey, California. As his popularity grew past the boundaries of Monterey, he was invited to establish a residency at Tilt and the Sound Factory in San Francisco. 1994, David opened and DJ’ed at the popular club Lift at Club Dv8 (today known as Temple) in San Francisco. His success as a club DJ led to a DJ spot on commercial radio. David joined the popular radio show Your Mama’s House on the San Francisco Bay Area’s number one radio station 106KMEL FM. To date, David has worked on projects featuring artists such as Mary J. Blige, Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, Simply Red, Alicia Keys, Floetry, Donnie McClurkin, India Arie, and many more.
- Nicky (Tita Aida) Calma, Activist, Advocate for A&PI LGBT and Trans communities, Managing Director at San Francisco Community Health Center, entertainer at Asia SF.
- Steve Fabus, Resident DJ at Go BANG! and Hothouse SF and guest DJ across the U.S. and beyond. Past residencies at legendary clubs Trocadero Transfer, Endup SF, and Tracks NYC.
- DJ Black, Community Grand Marshall for SF Pride 2022
- David Harness, DJ/Producer
**Photo Credit: DJ Black plays music from a bus during the People's March and Rally on Polk Street heading toward City Hall in San Francisco on June 27, 2021. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)**