30-Apr-2003 (Wed)
Wherein we feel the Great White love.

Some photos of the Fetish Ball are up now. I didn't take any pictures that night, and this is the only set I could find; I saw a lot of cameras, however, so if you have any, please send them to me! This goes for all of our events, actually.

And now, the news.

A few months ago, we got a letter telling us that our insurance company was no longer going to be selling insurance in California, and we'd need to find a new provider when our current term was up. We called our agent, who said he'd get right on that. Well, he dragged his feet. Months went by.

And then those Great White pigfuckers went and blew themselves up.

That left us two weeks from our insurance expiring, and almost nobody willing to insure us at all. The first company we found who was even willing to give us a quote wanted 5x as much as we were paying, and something like a 30% downpayment.

So now nobody wants to insure nightclubs any more. Barry, Casey, and Caroline spent many hours on the phone in the last couple weeks just trying to get quotes (sometimes calling back on the hour, like clockwork, just to make sure.) Each person they talk to took days, because that person kept calling back and saying, "oh, now we just need this one other piece of info..." They sell insurance, do they not? You'd think they'd know up front what info they need, but apparently it's always a learning process for whoever's on the other end of the phone, too.

One of the companies had agreed to insure us, and then they had a look at our web site and stumbled across a picture of some bait-and-tackle performance at one of our events where some guy hung from the ceiling by meathooks in his back, and apparently that freaked them out enough that they said "no thanks..." Whee! Oh, but here's the best part: it wasn't the fact that he was hanging from meathooks that bothered them: it was the fact that the picture made it look like the guy was dangling over the audience without a net, and they were afraid he might fall on someone! (I'm not sure which picture they saw, but if it's the one I linked to, he's actually on the stage, not above people, but whatever.)

So anyway, we did manage to get insurance again mere days before our last policy expired, and it's like 150% what it used to be. Dammit.

The insurance companies weren't even interested in the fact that we have an extensive sprinkler system. Apparently all they cared about was our annual income: not "how safe are you", but "how much can we take you for?"

To make matters worse (for anyone trying to get insurance) the families of the victims of the Great White fire are filing suit against everyone in sight: that's the American Way, after all. So not only are they sueing the band, whose show started the fire, and the club, who used flammable materials on their stage, but also the company who made the soundproofing foam that caught on fire (which, I gather, wasn't billed as being fireproof!) and also the Fire Department and the State of Rhode Island.

That latter one hurts, because there's a chance that it'll put the nation's fire departments into ass-covering mode, and make them hassle nightclubs even more...

11 Responses:

  1. atakra says:

    Of course you know that the smaller clubs were/are the first to go. Burnt Ramen was forcibly closed down within 2 weeks of the Great White incident and nearly all of the smaller local nightclubs (Il Pirata, Kimo's, Mission Records, The Hush Hush, etc...) have been reporting being hassled by the local law since the GWF (Great White Fire). It's the same around the country, I've been getting mail from clubs all over who are hurting right now.
    Rumor has it that even Berkely celebs "Gilman Street" have opted to actually KNOCK ANOTHER FIRE EXIT into their back wall by the local fire marshals. In Eureka I've heard that Club West had to adapt really quickly and that some of the more indie/random hall events (ie. punk shows) had to be cancelled. In Portland the news is the same, lots of hassling, but no closures and in LA there's been increased fire marshal activity prompting the shutdown of a few live gallery events.

  2. fo0bar says:

    It's worth repeating...

    <fo0bar> So... the town is liable because they okay'd material for use in a
    building where pyrotechnics were illegal anyways
    <fo0bar> by that logic, a sniper could shoot into the window of a restaurant
    and kill somebody, and town/city would be liable because they didn't
    mention that the restaurant didn't have ballistic glass installed

  3. hrmmmm. i saw MANY flashbulbs going off too, and a great deal of them when i was dancing on the little box.
    so obviously i, too, would like to know where these ended up.

    actually, i discovered one website from this guy who'd snapped a picture of me & crystal (he gave me his card, which of course prompted the, "what the fuck is this shit in my coat pocket?" phenomenon the next morning). not a lot of them are GREAT (i personally think the lighting this guy uses makes everyone look about 5 years older and about 3 lines into their night), but they're here.

    http://www.actioncamfilms.com/
    if it asks you for some lame-ass gallery code, use my spam-mail account-created one: disneyland

    • jwz says:

      Yeah, those kinda have a crime-scene-photo look about them, don't they...

      • pretty well. there's a few that are ok, but...well, i'm waiting to see where others turn up.

        and can i ask, who did the VIDEO cameras--the big-ass TV/movie-type ones--belong to? i remember those being waved at both me and patricia as well.
        the england crew's?

  4. revsphynx says:

    I feel your pain with the insurance. Nearly every company in the country has dropped coverage for fire performers. I finally found one to insure me at 1/2 my previous coverage WITH a deductible (my previous one had none), but the premium was over 6X what it was last year. It also MAY have an "outside work only" clause in it, but I'm seeing if I can either buy a rider to get rid of that, or have it written out altogether.

    Anyways, hi, I'm Travis, and I've been a reader of jwz.org from way back.

  5. holywar says:

    Oh my God. This is completely fucking awesome. Were they a couple?

    Re: "You'd think they'd know up front what info they need, but apparently it's always a learning process for whoever's on the other end of the phone, too." I just bought a house and it was the exact same thing. Both the closing attorney and my mortgage lender acted like it was the first time they've ever done this. I didn't have the final numbers until about 9:30 on the morning of closing, when it was supposed to start at 9. I was still talking to my lender's assistant at 5 PM the day before to verify my bank accounts. It was stupefying.

  6. Do you think the only way to make money off of running a nightclub/show venue is to run things very shadily / illegally with regard to public ordinances and such?

    I'm not sure how it is in San Francisco, but I know a lot of the clubs in new york look pretty damn shady. Maybe they all look shady because if they went under major renovation they would have to comply with all sorts of crazy laws? Or maybe because of the constant neverending destruction caused by people?

    • jwz says:

      Well, we run legally, and we're never going to make a dime, so it's not entirely out of the question that Crime Might, In Fact, Pay.