May I particularly direct your attention to 04:26, where the manager of the brand new apartment building across the street says that we are "not a desirable member of their community", and to 07:42, where additional public comment is delivered in the form of song.
Today we were approved for our entertainment permit at CW, with utterly tolerable conditions! And there was much rejoicing. The next hurdles are the construction permit and liquor license, not necessarily in that order.
So I had this crazy idea.
Our new building has these enormous blank walls on it. I want to put murals on them.
Now, pretty soon there are going to be housing developments that completely obscure those walls, but you know how construction projects go: that's probably going to take years. The gas station side hasn't even broken ground yet. So if we did this, it would give us N years of Big Art instead of Beige Wall, where N > 0. That sounds worthwhile to me.
I haven't done any research into this sort of thing, or even discussed it with our new landlord, who is the actual owner of those walls, but.... what is involved in that kind of thing, anyway? Do you need a permit? If it was a sign or a billboard, I think the answer is yes, but for art? Also, assuming the artist doesn't work for free, how do I get someone else to pay for it? This seems like the sort of thing for which grants would exist. I know nothing about such things. And finally, what local artists do you like who work at this scale?
Ok, enough about architecture and morality, how about I tell you about some upcoming shows that you should attend?
The bad news is that you have some hard choices to make.
- Odd Salon, our bi-montly weird-history drunken lecture series, is in the big room instead of upstairs! It's really fun, you should come check it out. Because we put this one in the main room, that means that Tuesday night's installment of Sequence will be upstairs. Sequence, by the way, is our new-ish weekly 18+ Tuesday house-and-dubstep party. It's a bit lightly attended so far, but growing. We have high hopes for it. Odd Salon ends early, so I expect to see you at both!
- If you're an elderly goth, you're probably already planning on attending the Peter Murphy show, but if you aren't, I strongly recommend that you come check out Jesika von Rabbit (of Gram Rabbit) in Above DNA that same night. She's absolutely amazing and hilarious. Her openers, Night Club, Pretty, Handsome, and Vicereine are very good too!
- Hubba Hubba. Last weekend was the annual Burlesque Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, and as is traditional, Hubba Hubba Revue is bringing basically the whole damned convention back with them for the big Friday show. If you don't go to Hubba often, this the one to see, because it's packed with out-of-town acts you won't get to see very often.
Also this Friday:
- A pseudo-reunion of one of my favorite bands, Halou! You may also know them as Stripmall Architecture. Halou is their earlier project, and they don't play live in that configuration very often. Ryan hates it when you refer to Halou as "triphop", but let's face it, it's triphop.
So obviously I'll be seeing Halou, then the last half of Hubba. Sorry, Kingfish.
- A rare Friday, big-room installment of Turbo Drive, our periodic retrofuturism synth party, this time with Gosteffects. The 19A0s were my favorite imaginary decade.
One month from now, Sunday July 12:
- The Second Annual Cocktail Robotics Grand Challenge! This was so much fun last year. If you haven't watched the video, you gotta.
But, I'm in a complete panic about the number of contestants. It will probably be fine, but... panicking anyway. To be honest, last year I almost pulled the plug on the party because it was only a couple weeks out and we didn't have enough entries, but it turns out, absolutely everybody signed up their robots just a couple days before.
Please, people -- don't do this to me again. If you're planning on entering a robot, give me some peace of mind and do it soon!
Also, if you know anyone who builds janky Rube Goldberg contraptions and doesn't mind getting their hands wet (or getting drunk) please do encourage them to enter. Because who doesn't love weapons of mass intoxication? We need more. Mad science, onward and upward.
Apparently I don't travel in the right circles to harangue people who build robots. We tried canvassing at Maker Faire, but that was a complete bust. I know it's getting close to showtime, but if you know of people, groups, events or blogs we should be reaching out to for this, let me know! Surely some of your friends have a bar bot sitting in their storage unit that could stand to have its pipes cleaned.
Help us spread the word!
Here's a render of what is to be our new neighbor to the West. That itty-bitty building cowering and shivering in the lower left corner is CW.
As expected, this latest batch of condos are another hideous, soulless cubic monstrosity, a Lego set from Hell. It looks like a mall. It looks like Cold War Brutalism with a splash of pastel. Why do they keep making these condos so ugly? I suppose the answer must be, "That's what you get when spending the absolute minimum on construction materials is your top and only priority."
There will be 114 condos, but hey, a whopping fourteen of them will be "below market rate", which you qualify for if you make less than $81,000/year.
Their render shows ground-floor commercial, and they have optimistically sketched a cafe in there. Which I have seen actually happen in these kinds of developments approximately never. The ground floor "commercial" space in buildings like this seems to pretty much sit 100% empty for a few years, then it's an art gallery for 6 months until someone's trust fund runs out and/or the money is sufficiently laundered, then it sits empty again. E.g., the very similar looking condo development on 4th and Bryant: I think the whole ground floor of that block has been vacant for more than a decade. The whole of King Street is barely any better: all the condos conceded to "ground floor commercial" instead of putting in the parking lots they actually thought they could sell, but those turned into dozens of empty storefronts, where the only ones that are actually occupied are national fast-food chains.
Here's what "Qi Ultra Lounge" looked like, and here's what it looks like now! Don't you love what we've done to the place?
The building is kind-of H-shaped, due to the light wells for the hotel upstairs. It turns out that the light wells have covered-up windows in them. We're looking into the possibility of putting a ceiling on top of one of the light wells, turning one of those windows into a door, and using that as our walk-in fridge. It would be right behind the bar, which is convenient. I'd like to just remove the light well entirely, and reclaim that spot as interior floor space, but that would require much more expensive structural engineering.
There are so many layers on these walls! Concrete; then lath-and-plaster; then another wood frame; then drywall on top of that. We tore it all away because reclaiming even 4 to 6 inches of space behind the bar matters.
Check it out, we have a basement! Well, a crawlspace. The floor is on a wood frame that is 2 or 3 feet above the sand dunes, with an inch of concrete poured on top of that. This is great news, because it means our plumbing work just got a lot cheaper, since now we don't have to jackhammer up a slab to move drains around.
Also, the apartment building directly to the South of us vanished overnight! We temporarily have a back porch, until they start in on the new building.
This last photo is where the restaurant kitchen is going to go. We plotted out all of the equipment we're planning on putting back there onto a long sheet of paper so that we could roll it out on the floor of the new space and actually stand in it to see if it all makes sense.
We're still probably a month out from being able to start building the kitchen, due to open questions about the walk-in, plus the vagaries of getting the various city departments to affix their stamps to our piles of paper. This is a frustratingly long time when you're paying rent on an empty building, but not terribly surprising.
There may be some other work we can get started on before that, but not much. Probably we can do the front windows, since technically we're just repairing glass in existing, covered-up windows, which doesn't require a permit. Also we're going to buy a new pizza oven, install the new one on 11th Street, and move the old one over to CW. That'll be an adventure.
We should have gotten our Place of Entertainment permit on Tuesday, but on the day of the hearing we got a panicked call from SFPD saying, "You never informed us of your POE application or hearing! We don't know if we want to object!" When we said, "What about this email from the Entertainment Commission to you, CC'ing everyone in your department, on May 1?" They replied, "Oh..." and asked for a two week delay anyway. We could have pushed it, but gave them the delay anyway to avoid antagonizing them, and because other paperwork is going to take longer anyway. That was annoying, though.
In DNA Lounge news, we have new cameras in Above DNA now, instead of just the one. You can see them in action on Saturday and Monday nights, or on any night when there's a show in Above DNA but not in the main room.
Have you seen what happened at Paradise Lounge last week? The building is gone, except for the façade! SFist has a couple of great photos:
When I heard their plan to wedge a third floor on top of the building I thought: "There's no way that's going to happen! That building, like every other building on this block, is constructed primarily of cardboard and wishful thinking. They'd have to tear it down and start over." Well what do you know: they tore it down and started over.
I also loved this quote from the article:
The space was the home of a leather bar called Febe's from 1966 to 1986, and at least one neighborhood leather man came to a Planning Commission meeting last September to voice his objections to the massive alterations that are getting made to the space, which is not technically considered historic.
In other words: "Though I have literally not set foot in this business for twenty-nine years, I insist that nobody change anything about it at all, ever."
But that's not the former gay bar that is most of interest to me... We get the keys to CW next week! The interminable slog through the paperwork process has been going reasonably well:
- Entertainment permit: applied for, 30 day clock ticking;
- Liquor license transfer: applied for; neighbor notifications mailed; 30 day clock ticking;
- Demolition permit: approved!
- Walk-in refrigerator construction permit: approved!
- Kitchen construction permit: not quite yet.
- New pizza oven: we've decided which model we want, I think?
So it sounds like we're swinging hammers on Monday!
In honor of that, please enjoy this FLASHBACK TO THE YEAR TWO THOUSAND.
Also, I have to share with you one of the finer incident reports I've gotten recently. It begins with a long but not particulary notable story about a customer behaving extremely badly and being escorted out, and then:
REDACTED then attacked STAFF and they restrained him. We then decided that it was time to call.
After talking to REDACTED, SFPD decided that they would drive him home because he lives a couple of blocks away, but only after he apologized to everyone. The male officer informed him he was never to come here again, or he would personally take him to jail. REDACTED then stood up and began making a pass at the female officer. That is when we noticed he had shat his pants.
The officers decided at this time they would walk him home instead of putting him in their car.
I must say, that is some extremely tolerant police work. Bravo.
This batch of photos turned out to be all Hubba! That's because I recently back-filled a few galleries of some Monday Night Hubbas from earlier this year:
Also, I am utterly disappointed that nobody has sent me any photos of the 8+ Stormtroopers who were dancing on the stage at Death Guild on May the Fourth (Be With You). You have all failed us, and you should feel bad.
David J was awesome! He played a lot more Love and Rockets songs than usual. Kundalini Express with a sitar!
We just signed a lease on 917 Folsom, formerly known as Covered Wagon Saloon (1989?-2002), Cherry Bar (2002-2005), Annie's Social Club (2006-2010), and most recently Qi Ultra Lounge (2012).
We're going to sort-of divide the space into two businesses: one of them will be a second location for DNA Pizza, and the the other will be a new nightclub that we're calling Codeword. (It's initials are CW, see what I did there?)
I say we're "sort of" dividing them because they will have separate storefronts but still be connected internally, just like we do at DNA Lounge and DNA Pizza on 11th Street.
That means we're converting it from a 21+ bar to an all-ages restaurant! This is getting to be a habit.
So, step one, build a kitchen. There's not one in there right now. We get the keys on June 1. I would not be so foolish as to predict an opening date, because there is just so much bureaucracy between now and then. It depends on how many people write nasty letters and how many times we hear sentences like, "Well, why don't we just push this back to next month's hearing".
See, we're directly across the street from a brand new, massive condo development. And there's a massive condo development about to go in right next door. Not to mention the three stories of the SRO directly upstairs, the CW Hotel.
Anyway, a second location for DNA Pizza means that when one location is busy, we can stage deliveries out of the other. Right now on busy nights we have to choose between serving slices in-house and making pies for delivery, and it slows down both. Also, the new location is a much better spot for lunch business than 11th Street is, and it's two blocks from Moscone Center.
The tentative plan is for the nightclub side of the business to be primarily a dance club, somewhere around 200 capacity. We may end up doing live music there too, but it's roughly the same size as Above DNA, so at least initially, we're going to focus on live music here, and dance parties over there. It'll act as an incubator for smaller dance parties that can eventually graduate to the big room at DNA.
We need someone to design us a logo for for Codeword. Is that you?
In my last update, I busted on Facebook for their relentless -- yet halfassed and inconsistent -- morality policing. They had blocked a bunch of ads that Hubba Hubba Revue had purchased, claiming that the ads didn't follow the rules, when in fact they did. Eventually they relented -- who knows why. But some of the most telling responses I got were from several people who said, "I sent this to my friend who works at Facebook, and they said that that definitely should not have happened, and they probably could have fixed it, but they weren't going to because they didn't like your tone."
So let's get this straight: Facebook has a widely known, years-long reputation for capricious, fickle enforcement of their policies; a corresponding reputation for giving the victims of their inconsistencies no recourse; and despite this, when these fine employees of theirs hear of a problem, their response is, "Well, because that guy pointed out a bug without also blowing sunshine up my ass, I'm going to just leave our product buggy." They seem to love their company so much that they're willing to let their own product suffer, so that they don't have to open their eyes to the problem. It's the other kind of "tech bubble".
Say you're driving at night, and someone yells, "Hey jerk, your headlights are out!" Do you say, "That guy was mean, so I'll show him, I'm going to keep driving in the dark!"
I ended that post with:
Fuck Facebook. They really are just the worst.
If you work there, I implore you to quit. I'm sure you can find a job working for a company that you don't have to apologize for all the time. You can do it. I believe in you.
But, you know, maybe they have attracted exactly the employees that they deserve: the kind who care more about their feels than about shipping products that work.
Facebook remains the 800 pound gorilla in the room, and you've just got to hope it doesn't poop too much. And this brings me to a change I made to our web site recently that makes me feel really, really dirty. But I went and did it just the same.
You're probably aware that Facebook knows just about every single web page you've ever looked at. If you're logged in to Facebook, and you visit some other page that has a Like button on it, Facebook knows what page you visited, even if you didn't click the button. In fact, they probably know who you are and what page you visited even if you aren't logged in to Facebook at the time. There are ways, and they've been sued over that sort of thing before.
You've probably noticed this if you ever browsed something on Amazon that you've never looked at before, and suddenly Facebook has ads for it. That's how it happens. Facebook knows all about your dildos and hemorrhoids. (And the NSA has all your dick pics.)
(Google has just as much information as Facebook, not because of Like or Plus buttons, but because everyone in the world uses Google Analytics, which invisibly tracks you just as well as those buttons do.)
We buy ads on Facebook, because they work. When you buy ads, you try to narrow the scope to one that makes sense: geographically, and by using keywords like the band that is playing, or other bands that they sound like, and based on that, Facebook shows those ads to some random set of people that they think are most likely to click it. But buying ads is always kind of a gamble, because it's really hard to tell whether that ad turned into a sale.
We don't have to give them any identifying information about who spent the money, like name or email address -- because they already know, by virtue of the fact that you left yourself logged in to Facebook in another window.
So what this means is, the ad report now says things like: "This ad was shown to 500 people, 50 of them clicked on it, and shortly after those clicks, 20 of those same people spent a total of $300 with you."
So that's some pretty positive evidence of whether the ad was worth buying! Maybe those 30 people would have found out some other way and bought tickets anyway, but drawing a direct line between an ad purchase and a sale is not something you can often do.
It's so gross, though.
The first gross part is that it just highlights how heavily surveilled you are by Facebook, all across the web. Even before we put this checkout tracker on, we already had Like buttons, because everyone does it and those drive traffic. This new thing feels like snitching on our customers, but those Like buttons were already "game over".
The second gross thing is that we've given just one more piece of information about our customers to Facebook, but not in a way that is directly useful to us. Even though we're doing the leg work to build up this dossier on our customers, we don't actually get to look into the file. Only Facebook does. When Facebook eventually goes away, the information is gone. When Facebook becomes more extortionate, the information is gone.
The future of this looks a lot like all of those bands who spent years building up subscriptions to their Facebook fan pages, only to have Facebook turn around and tell them, "We've changed our mind, if you want to actually reach those fans, suddenly you have to pay."
I'm sure now someone in the peanut gallery is going to pop up and call me a hypocrite for despising Facebook's business practices, and yet still taking advantage of their services. Well, I don't like it, but I am pretending to run a business here, and that leaves you with something less than absolute moral clarity.
So I guess what I'm saying here is:
Run an ad blocker.