We have a new monthly live synthpop event starting tomorrow called Star Crash. it promises to be a good time, and the opening lineup is great! Here's what they have to say for themselves:
S T A R C R A S H
Live sets by Bay Area artists Sophia Prise, Vice Reine, Host Bodies & Containher. Live visuals by Fetz.
Announcing STARCRASH: a new monthly party, every Third Thursday in 2020 at DNA Lounge, starting January 16. It will feature live performances by established & emerging musicians from the Bay Area & beyond in an array of electronic genres including synthpop, indie dance, indie pop, synthwave, electroclash, chillwave, and more.
Influenced by cult/sci-fi cinema, Starcrash will be a ritzy, glitzy affair bringing campy, over-the-top futuristic glamour to one of SF's most beloved night clubs, DNA Lounge. Starcrash seeks to bring together & build on the existing synth music community, elevate local artists, and give real-world context to music that exists increasingly adrift in a digital world of streaming & social algorithms.
Starcrash is led by booker/promoter Remi X. DeVice (frontwoman of SF-based synthpop trio Vice Reine) along with April Gee (Containher, Synthesthesia, the Labyrinth Ball) & Leanne Kelly (New Spell). Remi X. says of the inspiration for Starcrash: "We want to unite local synth musicians and music lovers in a beautiful club every month as we create our own "cinematic universe". Starcrash is about pushing forward to create the world we want to see... to a future that isn't terrible... or at least having a hell of a party as it all goes down."
And also this Saturday afternoon, we're hosting the West Coast Classic Beard & Mustache Championship. It's like a hair show, but from the nose down! This should be quite a thing to see.
Finally, always close with a poop joke.
I must share this video of, as Boing Boing put it, "Magnificent steel toilet flushes forty golf balls with ease." Turn the sound up, you won't be disappointed. This looks to be the same model as our toilets; if not, it's the same design.
HOWEVER, I can tell you for sure that these feats of plumbing excellence have little to do with the toilet: it's all about the drains. Toilets, like the Internet, are a Series of Tubes.
People give our toilets a lot of shit, but let me remind you that they are all twenty years old and they all still work! That's really quite impressive. These days you're not likely to find any appliance with that kind of stamina. Or even one that won't gleefully sell you out to a Moldovan botnet.
Some time ago I walked by one of those "Free Flu Shots" signs, and I thought, we should be doing that at the club!
People come here to sweat on each other, become sleep-deprived and swap saliva. Basically we're where you come to get the flu, so why shouldn't we try to do our part to get ahead of that problem? Let people get their flu shot on the way into the club or on the way home. After all, it's not uncommon for organizations like DanceSafe or H.E.A.R. to set up their table at clubs, either inside or outside, to help people take care of themselves. This should be a no-brainer!
Well, it was very hard to get answers, but after investigating this off-and-on for over a year, I think we've learned that it's impossible.
One of our bartenders is a registered nurse, so our first thought was, does her accreditation allow her to just set up a table and stick people? She looked into it and the answer, unsurprisingly, is "Hahahahaha no."
It appears that the only people who adminster those "free" flu shots are Walgreens and CVS. And while they advertise that they'll come to your office and do your employees, it was hard to tell whether they'll come on site to do that for the general public, let alone at night. But after some phone calls, the answer seems to be yes?
But here's the problem: those free flu shots aren't free. They're covered by most insurance, but if you don't have insurance, or proof of insurance, they're $40 each.
First off, that pretty much makes this plan a non-starter, because most people don't think to bring proof of insurance with them when they're going out clubbing, and no way are they gonna pay forty bucks for it. I'm sure some people just carry that with them everywhere, but the chances of that go down the skimpier the outfit gets.
Bur second, WHY ISN'T THIS FREE? What kind of Libertarian hellscape is this that thinks that herd immunity works if you only immunize people who have insurance?? Spoiler alert, it doesn't, watch this video:
The best way for you not to get the flu is for everyone else to get a flu shot. Even if you don't care about anyone but yourself, you still want that herd immunity to be out there to protect you. That's why the Randian philosophy of "I got mine, fuck you" doesn't work when applied to disease prevention. (Or anything else.)
So we outsourced this to for-profit supermarkets instead of letting SFDPH administer it as a matter of... public health. Cool, cool.
I'll bet this also means that it's just about impossible for the homeless to get flu shots.
What's most surprising about this story is that the DOJ is actually pursuing antitrust action. That's very off-brand for this administration. Hasn't the DOJ been dismantled by now? Maybe this means that Live Nation forgot to renew their Mafia-a-Lago membership.
DOJ preparing legal action against Live Nation
The U.S. Justice Department is preparing to take legal action against Live Nation Entertainment on allegations the concert promoter has sought to strong-arm concert venues into using its dominant Ticketmaster subsidiary. The department believes the concert promoter's conduct has violated the merger settlement Live Nation and Ticketmaster reached with the government in 2010 and plans to file a decree enforcement action, the source said. [...]
The Justice Department allowed the companies to merge on condition they abide by a range of conditions to keep ticket prices in check, including agreeing here to be barred from retaliating against venue owners who use a competing ticket service.
As ticket prices rise and the settlement is set to expire next year, the government now plans to extend the restrictions by several years and prohibit coercive conduct by Live Nation.
"Extending the restrictions" means "Stop! Or I'll say 'stop' again." But hey, baby steps.
Live Nation Consent Decree Review Requested by House Reps to DOJ
The effectiveness of the consent decree's antip-retaliation provision has been the subject of debate in recent years as its July 2020 expiration nears. Besides forcing Ticketmaster to divest several assets and temporarily license its technology to AEG, the company was barred from retaliating against venues and promoters that didn't use its technology.
"The decree gets a lot of misconception," Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino said. "It says we can't threaten venues. We can't say to a Ticketmaster venue that says they want to use a different ticketing platform, 'If you do that, we won't put shows in your building.' It also says we can do what's right for our business, so we have to put the show where we make the most economics and maybe that venue [that wants to use a different ticketing platform] won't be the best economic place anymore because we don't hold the revenue."
"Nice venue you've got there. Be a shame if something.... happened to it."
That distinction -- between retaliating against companies that go with competitors (not allowed) and rewarding clients that do go with Ticketmaster (allowed) -- critics argue has essentially given Ticketmaster the de facto monopoly position in music and the ticketing supply chain that many feared 10 years ago.
I'm old enough to remember that time in 2018 when Live Nation got caught scalping their own tickets and then literally nothing happened. But, at least some imaginary money went back to imaginary-money-heaven: "Live Nation shares fell 7.3% on Friday [...] The drop shaved about $1 billion off Live Nation's market cap, which sits around $13.8 billion."
You may recall from my earlier round-up on the corporate consolidation of live music that TicketMaster sells 80% of all tickets in the US, and their parent company, Live Nation, own 117 venues and exclusively books 33 others, including The Fillmore, The Masonic, Cobb's, Punch Line and August Hall.
Update, a week later:
- "You have to follow these rules for ten years."
"Hey, you didn't follow those rules at all!"
"Ok, now you have to follow them for another ten years. Please?"
"Live Nation's stock immediately rebounded after the story broke, up nearly 10%." So all that imaginary money came back from imaginary-money-heaven, with interest.
This Friday is the Hubba Hubba Revue Holiday Spectacular, and that reminds me of a story I don't think I've told here before.
You may be aware that most people in theatre say "break a leg" rather than "good luck". Well, here at DNA Lounge we say something else.
It is some time in the mid-oughts. One of the Hubba Hubba Revue performers is doing a bait-and-tackle show: she's doing an aerial routine where she is suspended by large meat-hooks stuck under the skin of her back. She does her routine, and as a finale, she pulls a knife out of her boot, reaches up and cuts the rope. She drops ten feet to the stage, and lays there. BOOM! Very dramatic!
Meanwhile, squatting down on the stairs to the right of the stage is the guy who was belaying her, holding the other end of the rope. Well... she never told him that this was how the act ended. So he thinks he did something wrong and now there's a dead girl on stage with her back ripped off. He's white as a sheet.
Someone goes over to him and asks if he's ok.
"I just shit my pants."
"I just shit my pants. I have to go."
Then he gets up, waddles out the front door, and gets in a taxi.
And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is why we at DNA Lounge don't say "break a leg". We say "shit your pants".
In this season of giving, won't you support DNA Lounge by increasing your donation to our Patreon? You're not going to get local live entertainment like this with your Disney Plus subscription, I'll tell you that much for sure.
Vodka, Rum and Gin for now; Whiskey will be arriving next month. The labels are by our pal R. Black. Each of them is a custom blend, and we had a few of our bartenders do a taste test to pick the mix they liked best. Our drink specials for the next few months will be our staff experimenting with cocktails that compliment the new product, so check those out!
Here are some recent photos. I haven't posted a photo round-up in a while because I was waiting for the last batch of Halloween photos to come in (the ones actually on Halloween) but I think it's time to admit that I'm never going to get those. Photographers are a fickle lot, and sometimes it's just too much 'puter for them. So here are the Halloween Week photos that have surfaced:
They didn't actually announce who was performing until the event was half over, but people seemed to get what they expected I guess? Kučka was awesome! They put a ton of production into it, and brought a huge, blinding light show. And here was something that I haven't seen before: they sent us a pre-visualization of the light show based on my 3d Sketchup model of the club!
Contrary to the above renderings, the performers were wearing pants.
I guess this means that our 35th Anniversary Celebration starts tomorrow and lasts 364 days. That's how this works, right?
On this anniversary, let me toot our own horn a little bit.
As San Francisco's local music scene is being systematically taken over and dismantled by the multi-billion dollar international media conglomerates AEG and Live Nation / TicketMaster, DNA Lounge holds the line as one of the city's very few remaining independently owned and operated venues. And we also have one of the most diverse lineups of any club you're going to find anywhere. It's one of the things that we are most proud of.
Of course we have our regular concerts and dance parties: we have all the metal (e.g. Goatwhore) and all the dubstep (e.g. Sequence and Wasted). And with So Stoked, we are one of the very few clubs willing to take the chance on all ages raves, giving the under-18 crowd a safe place to party. And there's Bootie, the world's greatest mashup party, which is still going strong after 16 years (and happily, attendance has been climbing lately!) And Death Guild, at 26 years old, is the nation's longest-running goth club and is still brooding and spooking it up here every Monday.
But we do so much stuff that's a lot harder to categorize, and is definitely not normal nightclub fare. Just to list a few upcoming and recent examples, in no particular order:
- At Dorkbot last week, we had lectures on how to make your own video microscope on the cheap, as well as a kookoopants explanation about how cats are space aliens.
- Each month we do at least five burlesque shows bringing you hilarious comedy and dance, which, really, is quite a lot.
- Entering its eighth year here, the monthly comedy stylings of Mortified, where people read from their real teenage diaries, is still hilarious.
- We have Dr. Sketchy's an extremely-nonstandard live figure-drawing class.
- In a couple of weeks we have Astronomy on Tap, where real-life astronomers get drunk and tell you what they've been working on.
- Twice a year we host Debut, a runway show by the graduating students of the Paul Mitchell school down the street: their hair designs are way more sculptural than you might expect.
- Every year we host the Western Hemisphere's only Cocktail Robotics event.
- You may have heard that Q Bar was recently the victim of a fire, so until they can rebuild we're hosting Bump, their weekly Wednesday gay hiphop party.
- And though it's been a little while since we've repeated this one, who else is going to build skate ramps on their dance floor for a party celebrating the movie Hackers?
- A couple times a year we host Mercury Soul, a very cool event that mixes a classical orchestra with DJs and electronic artists. They also host a daytime version of the show for local high school students, where the kids stage their own dance routines to it. It's amazing.
- Then of course there's this blog. How many nightclubs do you know of that have a blog, that isn't just their calendar? For 21 years now I've been documenting in great detail the process of building and running the business, and all its ups and downs, with level of transparency that terrifies most business owners. Over the years, many industry people, both old-timers and those just starting out, have praised us for being so open and informative about how things work, and helping them avoid pitfalls and run their own business better. I've often suspected that my true mission in life is to serve as a warning to others.
- Webcasts, we got webcasts. We have webcast every event, in both audio and video, free to watch to anyone anywhere in the world. That is nearly 6,000 events, comprising over 30,000 hours of local live entertainment.
- One of the things I really love doing here is what I call "crossing the streams". We often have completely unrelated events in the Main Room and in Above DNA, but as often as we can, we try to mingle them together. Sometimes we just open the connecting doors and see what happens, but most often, we allow the earlier event to exit into the later event. When we have a punk show and you leave the building by walking through a candy rave first, most of those punks probably aren't going to enjoy it per se, but they might be entertained by it enough to stick around for a little longer, and they're certainly going to remember it.
A great example of this was our sold out show with The Ocean Blue in Above DNA last week. As the band ended, we exited people into Mercury Soul. You've just seen your favorite jangly 80s dreampop band, and now you're looking over the balcony at a live string quartet performing their arrangement of Madonna's Die Another Day, what?
All the animals come to the watering hole eventually.
And so, that's what we do and that's why we do it. None of this stuff makes us any money, but we do what we must because we can. Thank you for showing up and making it possible.
Please join our Patreon to ensure that we can keep doing it.
For the financial situation remains apocalyptically dire, and we are still rushing headlong toward the cliff.
Oh yeah, today is also the 32nd anniversary of the Max Headroom broadcast signal intrusion event, so there's that!
The pizza oven had been being a pain in the ass for a while because (it seemed) that the "light the pilot light" button was gummed up, and this cause the oven to occasionally revert back to the low-gas-flow mode used for lighting the pilot, meaning it would suddenly stop being hot enough. Since it holds heat for a long time, this exhibited itself as someone noticing halfway through the night, "Hey, why aren't the pies cooking like they used to?" We had a repair guy come look at it and several times he jiggled the button and said, "There, I fixed it." When we said "that's not a fix" he rolled his eyes and said, "Whatever loser, I'll be back in a few weeks maybe."
And then some time later, it seemed like the thermostat broke, causing it to be on full blast unless we turned it off entirely. So that was fun. So we got a different tech out here, and saw this:
Apparently one of the burners had cracked and was venting more flame than it should have been, which melted a hole through the bottom deck of the oven.
This injury cannot be new, but none of the repair techs we've had through here over the last few years noticed it. Apparently you can't even see these parts of the oven unless you've disassembled half of the thing first. It's a huge amount of work. It's all sealed up and enclosed, you can't just pop off the front panel and peek in.
You're probably thinking, "Wow, you should have been maintaining and inspecting this thing better," and you're right. But I assure you, when we bought this oven brand new in 2015 we asked the manufacturer, "What's the maintenance schedule on this thing?" and they unambiguously said, "Oh, change the stones every couple of years, that's it."
So that's awesome. Maybe their official maintenance program is "wait for it to turn into a geyser of molten steel and fiberglass then buy a new one."
It's mostly fixed now. Some parts have been replaced, and a few more are on order.
We've also been having a slow-motion plumbing nightmare in the DNA Pizza toilet drains because apparently our customers are in the habit of taking great heaping fistfuls of paper towels and flushing them down the toilets. This does not end well. I can't even fathom what they're doing in there. The paper towel dispensers aren't even near the toilets. Why would you grab a hundred paper towels and take them into the stall with you, and whatever it is you're doing, wouldn't toilet paper chafe less? Nevermind, I don't want to know.
So we got some new paper towel dispensers that are the kind where you pull down the handle to get one sheet, instea of the tri-fold "grab a ream or two" variety. Maybe this will help? At least it will slow them down.
Also, "Someone took another of our soap dispenser tops as a trophy" is a thing I have to say on the regular. Whyyyy. Do you put it on the shelf with your empty Budweiser bottles? Punch it in bro.
You say rejected ad, I say emergent new flyer design.
Since then we have hosted 4,209 events in that room, 910 of which were live shows, for a total of 1,838 different bands. That's 19 shows per month!
Let's take a look back...
When we first opened, the room was extremely white. That looked pretty cool, but then we let customers in and they got their filthy footprints all over the walls, so we went with the red curtains.
And here's what the Dazzle Room looked like before we dazzled it in 2013:
Before we moved in, that back room had been an illegal grow-house for several years, so it looked like a Dexter kill room in there, except creepier and less tidy.
Something you might not remember is that DNA Pizza was open for about a year and a half prior to Above DNA, and during that time there was no connecting door between DNA Pizza and DNA Lounge. We didn't get the permits to cut those holes in the wall until July 2012. Here's a video of the hole being cut:
You can still see what pre-hole DNA Pizza looks like on Google Street View. Google came through one day in 2012 and took pictures of the interior. They used to do that for free, but now they charge businesses for it, so probably those old views will be there forever.
Hopefully we will be seeing you at an Above DNA show soon. Hey, how about tonight? It's the 3rd and final night of Kristeen Young's residency. Is good show, you come.