Hey, folks! There's a boss party happening on Saturday in SOMA at Heron Alley. What is Heron Alley, you ask? How dare you. Allow Mission Mission's Allan Hough to help us answer you. He interviewed DJ JustStella recently to ask her about said alley, tomorrow night's party, other parties, and more. Much more. Take it away, Allan...
I'm helping throw a party this Saturday night at this new venue 19 Heron, near 8th and Harrison, on Saturday night (8pm-2am). The venue is cool, and the little alley it's on is definitely cool, but I didn't know it's history until I got to chatting with our DJ, DJ JustStella, late last night at El Rio. Stella is a lifelong San Franciscan, and it turns out Heron is full of fascinating party history. Here's a little Q&A:
Allan: What do you love about Heron Alley?
Stella: Heron Alley in so many ways is where I became an adult. My friend Claire lived there in 2005 and it was one of the first places in the city that I hung out in my post-teen years.
She lived in a warehouse on the dead end of the alley with a bunch of weird "old people" who in retrospect were probably just in their late 20s.
There were always people coming in and out to party at that house. Whether it was some hot Kerouackian train hoppers in town for the week and partying super hard, or of course the best party I have to this day ever participated in.
A: BEST EVER???
S: I'm pretty sure nothing could top it. My friend Jacob (of Honey Soundsystem) has always thrown amazing parties. The second best being the Dress Your Ethnicity party of 2005, but the boom box party at Heron Alley takes the cake.
It was a double birthday for him and Zana (Zana Baybe leather). Full disclosure: I don't think very many of us were of legal drinking age. And the idea was BYOB, bring your own boombox.
We ended up have tons of different mix tapes bumping boomboxes lining the whole alley. And since it was SOMA no one cared. You could go from mini party to mini party with LCD Soundsystem and Gravy Train!!! on one boombox and Replacements and Dead Kennedys on another.
At one point I got up on the roof of one of the buildings and you could hear every boombox at the same time it was so rad.
A: How many partiers?
S: There must have been at least 100, maybe more. Everyone I knew was there. So many faces that made the mid 2000s in the city. It was a gay party, a straight party, a graffiti party, a disco party. It was the fucking party.
My younger brother was there, and he was like maybe 16 at the time. Everyone was there. And like it was that magic moment where you realize the cops aren't going to show up. And everyone is dancing and drinking and making out and yelling.
The only reason the party stopped was because the street cleaner came down the street and sprayed everyone with water. It must have been September and nice out because I don't remember anyone caring.
Also the rad thing that happened that night was that my brother's boombox got stolen, the whole city searches for it, and he got it back! Party Kids of the city unite!
A: Okay, what else happened on Heron back in the day?
S: A few years later when I was at City College I hung out with a bunch of kids that hung out on the grass in front of the arts building and met this guy Sammy Love. He ended up living on Heron and totally fell in love with the street.
Anyway he was a pretty good organizer and got a bunch of folks together to paint inside the archways that run down the block. We made a daytime block party out of it. I just remember it smelled like whiskey and spray paint. And for some reason people were in costume...
Maybe it was Halloween, or maybe that memory has something to do with the whiskey and spray paint....
I can't wait to party on Heron again.
A: Yeah, it's a new era though. Think SoMa can still handle it?
S: With all the warehouses and industrial things in SOMA, I think it can still handle a pretty rocking party.
A: What's on deck for Saturday, in terms of your set?
S: Oh man, I'm so stoked. I've smuggled some crazy psychedelic tracks off some forgotten records, but I also wanna throw in some stuff from the new Mikal Cronin record I just heard streaming off NPR. So psyched for summer jams!
This weather has been fantastic inspiration. I hope to keep the vibe hot even if the fog rolls in.
A: Can't wait!
DJ JustStella spins at American Tripps' summer kickoff party at 19 Heron this Saturday, with special guest party photographer The Tens.