3-Apr-2001 (Tue)

This week, the Billboard Liberation Front took action against another irritating, smarmy, self-congratulatory, greed-is-good screw-the-other-guy advertisement down the street from DNA. It's been up for a few days now, in its corrected form. Way to go, guys!

The bathroom stalls are in! Well, mostly: a few of the doors aren't on yet, because some hinges and latches are still being ordered or something. But they look great! The various wall fixtures have also been installed: trash cans, and paper towel, toilet paper, and ass-gasket dispensers. (``Ass gasket'' is the technical term for those round paper discs that you can put on the toilet seat so that you don't actually have to come in contact with it.)

The plumbers introduced a really funny bug: our toilets are flushing with hot water. Well, that's one way to solve the problem of cold toilet seats, but no, I don't think we'll be leaving it that way...

The front stairs, which are being fabricated now but have not yet been installed, are really the last major piece of construction remaining. After that, it's details and finishes, and then we can go on to our final building inspections.

Barry and I walked around and stared at just about every square foot of the club, and made a list of every single thing we saw that isn't' finished. Most of it is not hard (``Secure that piece of conduit. Cap that sprinkler head. Make it so that this sink doesn't come off the wall if fat people try to have sex on it.'') but it's a long list.

I took a few pictures of the front wall of the club (facing out from the stage) and stitched them together into the vertical panorama on the right. (The things one resorts to when one doesn't have a fish-eye lens...) With all the various fences and railings, it looks like a cut-away view of a five story building. That was a nice surprise: when we designed it, I didn't expect that view to be as visually complex as it is.

The big news (huge, colossal) from last week: we passed our police noise abatement inspection!

Friday night, the usual suspects gathered here at the club, including the guys from JK who designed tuned our sound system, our acoustical engineer who designed our soundproofing plan, and two police officers to administer the test.

The police had a sound meter similar to Bob's, and when they took their measurements, he did too. They first stood outside the club for fifteen minutes, getting an average reading of the ambient sound level of 11th Street. Then when that was done, they came back inside and turned up the sound system to ear-bleed levels (I think it was something like 106dBA at the center of the dance floor: it was pretty uncomfortably loud, if you ask me.) Then they went outside and measured again, to see what difference that made.

After that, they went up on to the roof of the live-work loft building two doors down, at the corner of 11th and Harrison. We were pretty nervous about this, but it couldn't have gone better: there was no detectable sound from up there: they couldn't hear or measure the difference between the sound system being on or off!

So basically, we passed with flying colors. They congratulated us, and told us that they really hadn't expected us to pass, but that the concrete fortress we've built here is impressive.

But.

They're not actually going to sign off on our permits until construction is done and the building department has signed off: they want to come back (during the day, without taking any measurements) and just walk around to see if everything is in the same configuration as before. They say that they're worried that after they're gone, we're going to knock down a wall or something.

I don't really understand this; I mean, we had the inspection, and we passed. This is as if a plumbing inspector were to come do his inspection and then tell you, ``well you passed: for now. But I'm going to come back later and make sure you didn't go back in and screw up those pipes after I leave.'' That's just not how it works with any other city inspector: they way it works with everyone else is, they inspect what they saw, and if they later discover that you've done unlicensed work, they cite you!

But the bottom line is, we passed, which is hugely great news.

You will recall that the fact that we failed our noise abatement test in February of 2000 was the reason we went down this remodeling rathole in the first place. Our original plan was: level the dance floor; move the downstairs bar; remodel the bathrooms; open for business. We thought, ``how long could that possibly take? Two months? Let's go crazy, let's call it three.''

But then we didn't pass our noise abatement inspection (keeping in mind that until that very week, the club had been operating for the last twenty-three years) but since I was a new owner, they made me get new permits, which required a new noise abatement inspection.

So we had to soundproof. Which meant building a new concrete wall. Which meant bringing in a structural engineer. Which meant being closed for a long time. Which meant, ``well, since we're going to be doing a lot of work, we might as well do this and this and this and that...'' And here we are, over a year later, fistful after fistful of cash shoveled into the gaping maw of the construction project, and we're finally almost back to where we started: a nightclub instead of a construction site.