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Friday, March 5, 2010

In Store w/ Medium Rare Music: Charo's Home Away From Home

Posted By on Fri, Mar 5, 2010 at 11:07 AM

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In Store spotlights San Francisco's quirkiest, most beloved, weirdest, and/or otherwise-most-interesting record stores. Our city's unmistakable friskiness and cultural capital emanate from those dusty, creaky, hard-to-find, money-losing, insanely huge, hilariously small, and often-crowded (at least with stuff) outposts of recorded music. We're always hunting for choice music outlets, but if you're curious about a specific one, please send useful information to

Name: Medium Rare Music

Location: 2310 Market St.

Owner: Michael Williams and business partner

Tagline: "Where great music is well-done"

Nickname: "The diva store"

Famous customers: Ru Paul, Fred Schneider, Bevan Dufty.

Claim to fame: Carried the Hong Kong-via-New-Zealand-via-You-Tube singing sensation Wing way before South Park made her a star. Williams had her in for a record signing and even set her up with a show at Cafe Du Nord. "She got her break here at this store!" he says.

Specialities: Dance music from classic disco to current house, lounge, and chill-out, classic soul, Broadway singers and female vocalists like Peggy Lee and Ella Fitzgerald. Also, recent pop like Michael Bublé, Lady Gaga and, even though Williams doesn't like it, Rihanna. Most everything is on CD, with some DVDs and exactly two vinyl LPs.

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Feel: Cozy space with low ceilings on Market Street between Noe and Castro. Friends wave to Williams through the front window as they walk by. Speakers pump the party to the sidewalk outside. Bright halogen lights inside. Cleaner and less cluttered than the average  record store.

Packs them in: Charo. The Spanish singer came to Medium Rare for a record signing and incited a line around the block and up the hill on 16th St., Williams says. "She signed for over three-and-a-half hours. She was incredible."

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Ian S. Port


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