San Diego’s experimental/dance/punk scene has an ebb and flow, says Bobby Bray, co-curator of the Makeout Weird monthly event at Whistle Stop.
“Right now, there are a lot of freaks moving in, and the ones that have been here are getting freakier,” says Bray, a Reader contributor and ambassador of San Diego weird via exploratory outfits such as the Locust, Holy Molar, and Innerds.
“We’re at a weird peak and, unintentionally, Makeout Weird was birthed at the right time.”
Bray’s partner Heather Brosché, aka Monsterpussy, felt the first contractions of Makeout Weird two years ago, when her Club Purple accomplice Diana “Miss Lady D” Reyes took a maternity leave from curating the TJ/SD dance party.
At that time, Brosché called the night “6.4 = Makeout” (an homage to San Diego via New York proto–New Waver Gary Wilson) and held it at Kadan, where she also tended bar.
A few months later, the event moved to Whistle Stop and Bray, one of the monthly’s first featured musicians, took on the alias Freak Sauce to co-curate the rechristened Makeout Weird.
“Monsterpussy invited me to DJ the first 6.4 = Makeout, so she also gave birth to Freak Sauce,” says Bray. “When it comes to Makeout Weird, I consider myself Mr. Monsterpussy.”
Mr. and Mrs. Monsterpussy have since been “keeping the krunk in punk” by showcasing the fringes of experimental and electronic music with trans-border (tijuanense DJ Ego War is a staple) and -gender acts including Nicey Nice World, DJ femmeDisturbance, Pal&Drome, Tron, Batwings, Christwaves, Therapist, Hot Nerds, Author and Punisher, Bumbklaatt, and Monochromacy.
“Makeout Weird is a great place to bring a first date,” says Brosché, a Chula Vista native.
“The awkward, insane moments are perfect for filling in those times when you don’t know what to say. On one of the first nights, there was an elderly couple making out in the corner for over an hour.”
But impromptu old people passion is only one layer of weird, Bray explains: “There are several layers of weird. First, Makeout Weird is an outlet for the subculture within the subculture — the tech-savvy shut-ins and avant-garde DJs within the subculture. The next layer of weird is trying to combine the efforts of the experimental DJ and band world with the academic layer of UCSD — there are a lot of weird things going on there.”
Having recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in the Interdisciplinary Computing and the Arts program, Bray became aware of what he calls “a secret bubble” of technology, visual arts, and music at the university.
“These new media artists are changing the world of art and music,” says Bray, “but it’s on the high ivory tower of UCSD. It’s in a bubble. So Makeout Weird is trying to help bridge the gap between their road and the others, which are all equally distant from the mainstream.”
In accord with the event’s provocative title, another layer to Makeout Weird is “human sexuality and affection,” Brosché says. “We encourage it here...when it’s reciprocated, that is.”
Free to those 21+ every third Thursday, each installation includes a featured visual artist and unique video loops made by Monsterpussy and Freak Sauce.
“The visual aspect behind the performer is so important,” says Brosché. “I’d like to see it become a regular thing everywhere.”
“I’ve been making a series of TV sitcom dance scenes,” says Bray. “There are these archetypal elements in all of them. There’s always an overly sexual dance move and, more times than not, a dance circle. The idea is to bridge a super experimental music scene where there’s chaos — things are breaking, someone’s covering themselves in blood wearing a pig mask — with a scene that people can dance in. We especially encourage really freaky dancing.”
Spotlighting Makeout Weird’s emphasis on visual arts (Brosché asserts that in 2012 “a digital projector is just as important as a PA”), the event’s two-year anniversary party in April saw the Whistle Stop transformed with 3D real-time projections on four screens and genre-defying music pumped live through quadrophonic sound.
Performance art band Penis Hickey, future beat maker Mike Gao, and VJ/DJ CutMod (Will Michaelson) all have ties to UCSD, while the surround set-up was largely the work of USCD student Vertighost (Cameron Bailey).
“The performers embody a bridge between evolving new media in academia [UCSD] and down-and-dirty experimental performance in the real world,” says Bray.
The night also saw the debut of the bar’s newest specialty cocktail, the Weird Güero — a White Russian with a Mexican twist.
“Makeout Weird has gained a lot of interest, which we didn’t expect to happen,” Bray says. “It’s a sign of where San Diego subculture is...and is going. San Diego is ready for something weirder.”
Get weirder on July 19 with the Bitwise Operators (UCSD grad students’ computer music band), DJ sets by Esé & Zain (featuring Bonk of All Leather), and art by Amber Treadway and the Periscope Project. ■