Things were better in the early '80s -- really, they were. General Public's Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger just wanted a little more "Tenderness," and A Flock of Seagulls sang of falling in love in outer space. That's why perhaps the smartest choice this New Year's Eve for the over-30 set is the popular "Bubble Party" at the Bambuddha Lounge, where you can catch both these groups performing live, funky hairdos and all. Who needs some punk-ass DJ spinning Ludacris when you can witness the spectacle of sexy, rich white people bathed in bubbles getting down to aging rock gods from the John Hughes era? DJs B.B. Hayes and Steve Masters kick this party off at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 31, at the Bambuddha Lounge in the Phoenix Hotel, 601 Eddy (at Larkin), S.F. Tickets are $75-130; call 885-5088 or go to www.sfnewyearseve.com.
-- Charlie Amter
Don't drop a Benjamin for the put-on bourgeois of one of the many see-and-be-seen New Year's proms. All you'll get is a couple of watery well drinks, picked-over Asian-fusion pizza rolls, and Clinton-era house music. For half the price of most champagne-toast happenings, Suite one8one's "Black Ball" is a low-key alternative for hip hop and soul heads. Featuring the deep crates of L.A.'s Johnny Knight and S.F.'s own Chris Orr, "The Vinyl Whore," the evening promises an abundance of rare grooves to get you in the mood. And one8one's comfy corners are ideal for sneaking a little New Year's nookie. The "Black Ball" commences Wednesday, Dec. 31, at 8 p.m. and goes till 4 a.m. at Suite one8one, 181 Eddy (at Taylor), S.F. Tickets are $50; for more info, call 345-9900 or go to www.suite181.com.
-- Nate Cavalieri