What Nightlife Means to Me | Phil Hammack, Fog City Pack

Phil Hammack/Alpha Pup Turbo talks about what nightlife means to him.

Hey everybody! It’s Phil Hammack, also known as Alpha Pup Turbo, here to share my story of what nightlife has meant to me. I can honestly say I think that nightlife saved my life, at least twice. The first was when I was first coming out. I was a miserable 17-year-old gay boy, very unsure of myself, not clear on how I fit into this world. I went to my first night club and immediately felt a sense of welcoming, a sense of safety, and a sense of confidence I had never had in my life before. The club where I went to when I came out was incredibly diverse—a huge cross-section of the queer community. For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel alone.

The second time nightlife saved my life—many, many years later—was when I came out as kinky in mid-thirties, in this amazing city that I call home, San Francisco, and to feel again that sense of being welcomed, that sense that there’s a world out there that I belong to. As I got involved in the production side of throwing events, I came to see nightlife not just as an opportunity for my own personal growth and my own personal sense of security but also as a context in which we as a community can grow, can innovate.

And nowhere does it like San Francisco. We are not content to be like every other queer community out there. We’re constantly pushing ourselves, and I’ve seen how the nightlife in this city has sparked the personal and professional development of so many people.

I wanted to be involved in starting this nightlife emergency relief fund in order to make sure that those who create this world for us, those who have committed themselves as a primary source of their lives and their well-being to creating, to curating this world for us—the DJs, the graphic designers, the lighting designers, the production crew, those who work the coat check for us to make sure that our personal belongings get back to us and are taken care of. These are the people whose lives are really at stake right now. And so, if nightlife has had any kind of personal meaning for you, as it has for me, please consider giving to this fund, so that we can make sure that our cultural institutions survive this pandemic.


Phil Hammack/Alpha Pup Turbo is Founder and Producer of Fog City Pack, which hosts several events annually for San Francisco’s queer fetish community. He is also professor of social psychology at UC Santa Cruz.

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