You may be curious about the status on our ongoing project of trying to make it possible for us to do under-21 shows here.

I haven't been writing about this much because I'm surrounded by people whose approach to the world is, "Gosh, the more you talk about stuff, the more people might be aware of it, and one of them might make trouble." But, you know, fuck it.

The last time I wrote about this, back in April, our latest hurdle was strong opposition from SFPD. Well, we went round and round, and round and round, and finally got past that. After getting more support from the Entertainment Commission and from our neighbors, we got SFPD to rescind their recommendation of denial, and, in fact, got a letter from the Captain of Southern Station to ABC recommending the approval of our permits "without restrictions".

So, if these were San Francisco permits we were trying to get, we'd have them already. But they're not, they're California permits.

First, we got a draft "approval" from ABC that listed the conditions they intended to place on our permits, which included such gems as: no alcohol sales after midnight; no "bar or lounge area"; sales of alcohol only by waiters at tables; no live entertainment of any kind; no cover charges; and a list of other similar comedy. You couldn't legally operate a Chevy's under those conditions. So, around and around some more, and Barry and I ended up driving up to Sacramento for a meeting with ABC. In this meeting were the Director of ABC, an assistant director, ABC's lawyer; and backing up our side, members of the SFLNC, and one of State Assemblyman Leno's people.

We talked for at least two and a half hours, and got nowhere.

We didn't even have to listen anything from them about how our kitchen is "too small" this time. They made it clear that even if our kitchen was enormous, it wouldn't matter to them. What matters is that we're clearly a concert venue, not a restaurant. "Yes," we said, "we've never claimed we intend to be anything else." We want to be in the same business as numerous other businesses in San Francisco, and so we want to operate as they do, with the same permits that they have.

ABC's position -- and I'm fairly certain that I'm not misrepresenting this in the slightest -- is that there is no permit that allows an under-21 concert hall to exist in the state of California.

What about the fact that I can name twenty such venues in San Francisco alone? Most of which have been in operation for more than twenty years? What was their response to that?

"Well, that's very interesting," the Director of ABC said. "If someone is in violation, we'll have to get around to looking into that eventually."

How about that.

A month later, they finally got around to officially rejecting our application.

You are hereby notified that the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control denied your application for the above-described license(s) because the granting of such license(s) would be contrary to public welfare and morals within the meaning and intent of Article XX, Section 22, of the Constitution of the State of California.

The twelve page document goes on to enumerate our failings of morality and public welfare:

  1. We are in a high crime neighborhood.
  2. Our neighborhood gets police calls.
  3. Slim's and Loft 11 are on our block, and they get police calls. (Interestingly, they didn't accuse DNA Lounge of being a police problem. I guess our recommendation from the Police Captain would have tended to fly in the face of that).
  4. Our neighborhood gets police calls (they mention that again).
  5. We have neighbors within 100 feet (and they attached the list of said neighbors that we provided to them).
  6. We have neighbors within 500 feet (with, again, the list that we provided).
  7. Neighbors sleep. Did you know?
  8. There is insufficient off street parking (conveniently ignoring the Costco lot across the street, which I'm sure has never filled up ever).
  9. Oh, and our kitchen is too small.

What's interesting here is how little this rejection letter has to do with what we discussed in the face-to-face meeting. None of these "crime" issues came up at all in that meeting. So this is obviously another shopping list of every single thing they could possibly think of to object to, just for good measure.

Next, we schedule an appeal hearing. Unlike the hearings we've had in the past, where we'd go downtown and actually speak to the people making the decisions, this hearing will be in front of a judge in Sacramento, and we have to hire a lawyer to plead our case for us. My understanding is that this hearing is with a judge who hears only ABC cases and is unlikely to go against whatever ABC says, and so we'll probably lose that as a matter of course.

After that, many more months go by, and we get another hearing in front of a different judge. I guess that can happen a few more times until we make it to the California Supreme Court, which could take more than two years.

Good times.

This is pretty amazing -- Fabchannel webcasts live shows from The Paradiso in Amsterdam.

Rather than the fully-automated webcasts that we do, They have a multi-operator video crew shooting the show, and then do offline editing of the footage before posting it (which is a huge amount of work). They appear to be getting label permission for each shoot, which means they can often leave it up forever. And they're giving it all away for free, on their web site and the iTunes store.

The question that their FAQ doesn't answer is, "how the hell are you paying for this?" There aren't even ads on the site, just a logo for their ISP.

But this interview with Justin Kniest, the CEO has the answer: the Dutch department of Education, Culture and Science and the city of Amsterdam are footing the bill. Wikipedia says that Paradiso is a "publicly-subsidized youth entertainment center", and that the city of Amsterdam owns 25% of Fabchannel (at a cost of 1.25 million Euros).

Free government money! This is in somewhat stark contrast to my governmental experiences of late. Meanwhile, I'm scrounging eBay looking for some cheap replacement camcorders, just to keep our webcasts at the shitty 1998 level of technology you've come to expect.

Good times.

It's the end of an era: not only have all of our motion-sensor faucets been replaced with old-school faucets with handles, but now so have all the toilet sensors. (The urinals aren't done yet, but are in progress.)

They're so retro.

Those motion sensors, you may recall, sucked.

This was a disturbingly expensive change to make, since it involved a good deal of busting open of walls, but there was really no other option other than continuing to have smelly bathrooms, since those sensors worked poorly under the best of conditions, plus, the sensors were extortionately expensive to replace. They were like $500 a pop. If these handles break, they're closer to $40.

Also, photos are up of the Antifeminism / Hagakure show, which was very entertaining. "A geisha, a samurai, and a sushi chef walk into a bar..."

The turnout was pretty light, which I assume is because almost all of the fans of this kind of music are under 21. File this under (again) it really sucks trying to do live music in a 21+ venue.

Also, jwz mixtape 009.

Upcoming events of note, for your holiday pleasure:


Photos are up of the weekend: Lusty Lady Live Nude XXXmas, Hubba Hubba Revue, and Mighty Six Ninety at Pop Roxx. Only a few more days until it's time to pack away the slutty santa costumes until next year.

Also!

R. Black has a book coming out: Futura: The Art of R. Black. It looks great (look inside). Rich has been doing flyers for most of the DNA Lounge live shows for several years, so I'm sure you're familiar with his work...

But back to Christmas --

The DNA Lounge staff received an unexpected present from some guy in West Virginia: he mailed us a Chick Tract. The comic in question is "Set Free" which seems to be mostly about how Going to Hell Would Be Unpleasant. This seems pretty poorly chosen, frankly. If you're going to send us a Chick Tract, wouldn't it have been more appropriate to pick one about the evils of alcohol, homos, and/or loose women?

I honestly have no idea if this was a joke, or an attempt to save us. I guess the effort is appreciated, either way.

On the off chance that you don't know who Jack Chick is, he's a hate-spewing fundamentalist Christian cartoonist: sort of the Fred Phelps of the comic-strip world.

If you ever have the chance to watch Chick's movie, The Light of the World, I recommend it. I'm sure you don't want to give this guy any money, so please BitTorrent it. I also recommend watching it while in the company alcohol, homos, and/or loose women.

Also, please enjoy jwz mixtape 010.