Club FUCK! at Basgo's Disco

Club FUCK! was a weekly party that ran from 1989 to 1993 and took place within Basgo's Disco at 3909 Sunset Blvd in Silver Lake. In direct opposition to the AIDS crisis, Club FUCK! and its patrons celebrated the modified, tattooed, and pierced body, challenging the ever-present fear of contagion while simultaneously reveling in the temporary nature of the human body.

On Sunday nights from 1989 to 1993, Basgo's Disco, formerly known as The Black Cat, was the venue of choice for Club FUCK!, a weekly event that welcomed fetish cultures, performance artists, and clubgoers alike. Though a variety of non-conformist subcultures gathered at FUCK!, participants of varying sexualities were particularly driven to seek out the "gritty liminal space" FUCK! provided to vent the unacknowledged frustration brought about by the devastation of the AIDS crisis. Alternative subcultures often overlapped with the LGBT community, and Bhaskar Sarkar for the Media Fields Journal describes the activities of Club FUCK! as such: "A weekly pageant of non-normative sexualities in the heart of Silverlake’s disease-ravaged neighborhoods, Club FUCK!'s resolute agenda seemed to be: exploring how to have desire in the thick of an epidemic."

The human body was the primary muse of choice at Club FUCK!. In addition to its nightclub activities, the weekly event provided a platform for performance artists to display anything from fetish acts to ritualistic demonstrations that emulated religions of various backgrounds. Included among the notable perfomers at Club FUCK! is transgender singer and activist Vaginal Davis. This diversity of body exploration and emphasis on contact was reflected in the way that the club advertised, with many of its flyers featuring go-go dancers styled like pin-up girls of the 1950s as well as same-sex, latex-clad S&M practicioners. A physical gallery that blurred lines between activism, entertainment, and exhibitionism, Club FUCK! championed an aesthetic built on body modifications that offered something distinctly different from the men-only leather bars of Silver Lake and the polished gay bars of West Hollywood. 

In the spring of 1993, the meetings of Club FUCK! came to a halt when it was raided by the Los Angeles Police Department's Vice Division. Showing up with about thirty police officers, two fire trucks, ten police cars, and one helicopter, the department ended Club FUCK! on grounds of obscenity and lewd conduct. It is speculated that the club's 1993 move to a more spacious Hollywood venue, The Dragonfly, attracted a more mainstream crowd to the niche event, and that one of these uninitiated patrons phoned the police and put an end to Club FUCK!.

In 2016, a tribute exhibition to Club FUCK! entitled FUCK! Loss, desire, pleasure was curated by Lucia Fabio and Toro Castaño at the USC ONE Archives. The exhibition displayed artifacts and documentation from the club's active days alongside the work of contemporary artists, as well as a makeshift shrine to the three founders credited with FUCK!'s inception, Migeul Beristain, Cliff Diller, and James Stone — two of whom passed away from AIDS-related illnesses. The efforts of FUCK! Loss, desire, pleasure honored the legacy of the transgressive and revolutionary site while exemplifying the self-fulfilling prophecy of Club FUCK!'s main philosophy: that the body is temporary, and has a right to be temporary and ever-changing in public.


Sarkar, Bhaskar. “Media Fields Journal - Industrial Strength Queer - Industrial Strength Queer: Club Fuck! And the Reorientation of Desire.” Industrial Strength Queer: Club Fuck! And the Reorientation of Desire, Media Fields Journal, 5 Dec. 2013

Gurba, Myriam. “L.A.’s Legendary Queer Night Club.” KCET, 29 Feb. 2016

“FUCK! Loss, Desire, Pleasure | ONE Archives." 2016