S.F. Purimpallooza brings out Chassidim, Tinkerbell and Wavy Gravy, but celebrity DJ is a no-show

When the last shred of hope had disappeared, the Chassidic rabbi with the tie-dyed payes finally turned off his cell phone and Raggedy Anne was way past gone, lying prostrate on the hardwood floor with mascara running down her cheeks.

By then, Tinkerbell had locked hips and lips with the rhinestone cowboy, their faces frozen with blissed-out emotion, and two Orthodox youths with green Afros had embraced each other, shouting "Happy Purim" while red wine trickled down their beards.

As a young mother in body-clinging leather changed her infant's diapers within gyrating distance of three grandmothers with sweat glistening on their foreheads, the grim message was finally delivered, by a woman who would only give her name as Madeleine.

"He's not coming," she whispered, her breath smelling faintly of lilacs. "I hear he's getting a tan in the Bahamas." But she was laughing, and tossing her hair back, and her hips spoke louder than any words could.

But it didn't matter, because it was all about community, all about the music and costumes, and all about the hamantaschen.

With or without rock star Perry Farrell (formerly Perry Bernstein), the absentee guest DJ of Monday night's Purimpallooza, the show would go on at San Francisco's Great American Music Hall.

And go on it did, until the wee hours of the morning, with 350 in attendance.

The event, sponsored by Chabad of S.F., was kicked off by Rabbi Meyer Berkowitz, who read the Megillah in a sing-song cadence that lasted for almost an hour. He was joined by two other rabbis, one in flowing red robes and another in a suit, whose herky-jerky davening practically propelled him off the stage.

Berkowitz called out for people to stamp their feet to drown out the name of Haman, who plotted to annihilate the Jewish people.

And make noise they did.

They stomped their feet and twirled their groggers. Three women dressed as Queen Esther linked arms, shrieked with joy and pointed toward the rafters, where a teenager — presumably dressed as the evil Haman — pretended to gag himself.

After exhorting the crowd to remember to donate gifts of food to friends and the needy, the rabbi urged the crowd to consider one more mitzvah.

"It's a mitzvah to drink until you don't know the difference beween saying 'Blessed is Mordechai, and cursed is Haman,'" the rabbi thundered.

"So drink!"

And drink, they didn't exactly.

But if God's chosen grapes weren't flowing in abundance, the earth's bounty was not unspoken for. Its pungent aroma wafted above the crowd, forming an olfactory cocktail, mingling with patchouli and perfume.

The crowd was just warming up when young rapper Eitan G. strutted on stage.

Announcing that he "came to represent," G. appeared to be channeling the collective influences of James Brown, Eminem and Vanilla Ice.

Alternately shouting out odes to the ladies and performing a post-millennium breakdance, G.'s chorus reminded the crowd to say a Motzi. His incantation left several teenage girls in silver spandex giggling uncontrollably.

G. set the stage for one of the evening's biggest draws, Queen Ester and Her Royal Subjects. Ester and Miriam dropped some serious truths, combining traditional Purim story-raps with some free-form feminist funk.

"Well, it's 357 in the Persian times,

"And now it's time to lay down some serious rhymes…"

Ester shouted out to the audience, and the crowd roared back its approval. She interspersed her act with a 10-minute rap that recited the history of Purim and then gave it a visual capper, featuring an extremely lithe Haman, who entered the stage by doing cartwheels.

What followed was a lengthy exchange of bowling pins, which were juggled back and forth three at a time between the comely queen and the evil Haman like a poisonous chain love-letter.

The crowd hissed at the evil Haman as he was led away by the command of King Ahasuerus, played by the aging counter-culture icon Wavy Gravy, who appeared to take the call to imbibe seriously.

Bobbing near the stage, Dale Walker and Lisa Silver, dressed respectively as a bumblebee and a flower, were celebrating for an entirely different reason.

"We're getting engaged," Silver said, flashing a huge grin. "But we keep changing the date."

Walker the bumblebee shrugged and stroked his fiancée's hair. "He makes environmentally sustainable furniture," she said, shaking his antenna.

"It's true," he said. "I used to be in the dot-com world, but I wanted something more challenging."

"So now," Silver the flower said, giving her fiancé a peck on the cheek, "he runs his own company and only uses stuff with non-chemical finishes."

"That's also true," he said, finishing his wine.

It was nearing midnight when the klezmer and trance-inspired band MoZaik hit the stage. Combining hypnotic guitar riffs with a deep bass backdrop, and with a saxophonist who looked like Flash Gordon and blew like Sonny Rollins, the crowd had reached the apex of it emotions.

Two hora circles formed, each gaining in energy and electricity until they enveloped almost the entire dance floor. A stray dancer, who looked like Zorro on a bad hair day, did some impromptu yoga exercises, while appearing to bob for a hamantasch buried in the depths of an oversized bowler hat.

Peering over the balcony was Jeffrey Kellner, who declined to say what his costume was, other than to say it was "natural." When asked to comment on the evening, Kellner shrugged and gazed over the twisting collection of appendages.

"There is a translucent element not readily apparent to any other culture that is evident here tonight," he said.