It is now four weeks since we were forced to destroy our parklet, and two weeks since construction was supposed to have begun, and guess what? Our sidewalk is still completely intact and unaltered.
The last reply we got from them was this hilarity, a week ago:
There have been two unexpected events that have come up at 11th and Harrison. One is a the identification of additional underground utilities when PG&E came out and the other is a permitting issue. Public Works engineering is quickly redesigning around the utility and we are working on the permitting issue.
So this means they scheduled their PG&E inspection for the day construction was to begin, or later, because if they had done that inspection earlier, they would have pushed the start date back and our parklet wouldn't be gone yet.
It also means that DPW doesn't have accurate maps of the gas lines, which is kind of amazing and also kind of scary.
Also, "permitting issue"? Are you kidding me? You are the ones who issue the permits!! Circular firing squad in full effect.
But one thing has happened: the bus shelter down at the corner has been removed. But wait, you say, I thought the bus shelter was going to stay where it is? Yeah, me too. So now I'm worried that they've changed their minds are are going to want to dump it in front of our door, like in their initial design. We can't get an answer to that question either. Any time we reply to the dozen-recipient thread about this project, we get nothing but vacation auto-replies from half of them.
The Cocktail Robotics Grand Challenge was a lot of fun, and the robots were awesome, but it was pretty under-attended. I hope those of you who came enjoyed it, because we lost over $3,000 putting that show on. Hooray.
Some photos, and this month's mixtape:
So, we have this giant CO2 tank in the back that drives our bars, and there's a hose going from that tank to the street, so they can charge it up from the truck directly instead of needing to come into the building and swap tanks. Fun fact, in the 15 years we've been here, I've never seen them charge it up, until today:
It made a ridiculously loud noise and expelled a gigantic 20-second-long plume every time he hooked or unhooked something. Seriously, it looked like one of those vaping douchebags who seem to think that the point of smoking is to be as performative about it as possible. It made me ask myself, "Is it supposed to do that?" I'm going to go with, "It is absolutely not supposed to do that. But that's the way this guy has always done it." (You know espresso machines don't have to make that loud screeching noise either, right? If they're doing that, they're doing it wrong.)
Oh, by the way, that fourth picture is a picture of all of the sidewalk construction that was scheduled to begin this week. Look at all that construction that is not happening where our parklet is not.
Do you have your tickets yet for the Cocktail Robotics Grand Challenge this Sunday? I'm guessing you do not. You should fix that. It is one of my favorite events of the year, so don't miss it.
I filled up the blank white wall behind the Above DNA bar with a bunch of photos of bands who have played in that room! It turns out that upstairs has been open long enough now that there were quite a few to choose from. See how many of them you recognize...
Frames are annoyingly expensive. Please don't break them.
Also here are some photos of other recent events. Casket Girls were awesome!
So look, I'm guessing that the kind of person who thinks that pickpocketing is a good career option isn't likely to read this blog, but on the off chance that you are: can you please post here and explain it to me? How does this line of work make any economic sense? Even if you manage to steal twenty phones a night, you have to split that between five guys, you had to pay to get in to multiple clubs, and in the end you're only making like $8 an hour for running the very real risk that someone's going to beat the shit out of you. So what gives?
Please enjoy jwz mixtape 168:
So if you're going to enter your robot, the time is very much nigh.
We have eight entries so far:
- TARB 2.0: Totally Analog Robotic Bartender!
- The Assembly Line: Cocktails of the Industrial Revolution!
- N. E. BREE-8: Three Laws Compliant!
- Chassis: Shiny and mobile!
- The Manhattan Project: Turn the crank!
- Beerbot: It follows...
- The Tea Engine: Dial in your tea service!
- The Volcano God: Prepare your sacrifice!
Not all of them have glossy glamour shots, but we do have a few. This is a pretty attractive crew of robots, if you ask me.
Bring a friend and share a miracle.
(To the tune of The Ramones.)
As mentioned last month, the "9 San Bruno Rapid Project" means that the sidewalk between DNA Pizza and Harrison Street is being widened. The whole year-long project is slated to begin in the first week of July, and they swear up and down that they are starting with our block of Eleventh Street, so yes, really, our parklet had to be gone this week. Also all of our bike racks. So this happened today:
That big stack of metal those guys are sliding into the back of the van is our parklet. It's going to go live in our bread supplier's warehouse (really) for a while. "A while".
Since the project is absolutely definitely starting in the first week of July and it's totally for sure absolutely starting on our block of Eleventh Street, that means there's no chance that we're going to be sitting here looking at the empty spot where our parklet used to be while they do nothing on our block for the next twelve months. Nope.
No chance of that at all.
I can't believe we have to go through this already. We only installed the thing less than three years ago.
When we re-install it, it will look different. There are so many constraints about where it can go. There are all of these vaults buried in our sidewalk that we can't cover up, and MTA wants it to be 18" from the curb instead of right up against it (which doesn't make any sense to me, but you can never get a "why" out of these people more sophisticated than "that's policy".) So instead of being L-shaped and sitting at the curb, it's going to be a straight bar with seating on both sides going down the middle of the sidewalk. And it will be smaller by about 9'. We will have to cut off the short leg of the L, plus about 3' on one end.
Part of the reason that they tell us we need to shorten it is to make space for the bus loading zone directly in front of the DNA Lounge main door.
Yup, that's going to work out so well for everybody involved. At least the bus shelter itself is staying where it is, down at the end of the block. But their current plan is that this bus stop will be busy enough that often there will be two busses docked here at once, and one of them is going to load and unload basically directly into DNA Lounge.
I can't wait.
So maybe it's going to look like this?
Well, though it rarely seems like it, this is supposed to be a blog about running a nightclub, not about interminable construction projects. So let's talk about music, shall well? We have an awesome show coming up this Friday with Casket Girls, Stardeath and White Dwarfs, and Night School. I've seen Casket Girls a few times and they're really fun and put on a great show.
....aaaaaaaand, we've sold 15 tickets, so it's probably going to tank. Here, watch some videos:
So, yeah. Come to this show, ok? Don't be That Guy. That guy sucks.
So many people go over to it to pose with it for photos, and when they pick up the handset they go "OMG it's ringing!!" and immediately hang up and run away.
Drilling a hole through a payphone is not easy. They built these things to take some abuse.
We only had three people ask for refunds because of the bomb threat. Two of them said, "The street was closed, so we just went home." Ok, fair enough. But one of them said something like, "You can't expect me to RISK MY LIFE!!" Seriously? I mean, even discounting the fact that being in a car is just about the most dangerous thing you could possibly do, do you know when the last time a bomb actually exploded in San Francisco was? I didn't, so I looked it up: I think it was the SFPD Park Station bombing in 1970 -- which is before the majority of our customers' parents were born. The last one before that might have been 1916. So think about that next time you notice all those expensive-looking trucks and robots and automatic weapons the bomb squad has, I guess. Who profits from your fear?
This is also dumb: I thought I'd share this status report from one of my managers from a few weeks ago:
REDACTED quit yesterday because of her torn ligament (also known as a hangover) rather than coming in, and then posted pics from the How Weird street fair.
REDACTED didn't come in because he was "sick" after getting off early Saturday night and spending all night at Bootie, drunk.
New guy yesterday got a call from another job offer and took it before clock-in for his first shift.
REDACTED decided that after his third shift, he should take acid, got booted, and then texted me hours later some crazy shit and that he woke up in the custody of a pair of paramedics.
REDACTED's third shift, she decided that flour on her clothes and bag was too much, threw fits all day, and will be joining the "graduated" employees this week.
And this was just a 24 hour period.
This is also dumb: Like all right-thinking people, I hate Yelp with the heat of a thousand suns, but I do still read our reviews there, mostly for shits and giggles. It does occasionally give me a barometer onto when it's time to remind the staff, "You have to say no more politely", but that's about it. Anyway, lately just about every Yelp review we have says, "SOMEONE STOLE MY PHONE! ONE STAR!!"
Like, how the fuck is that my fault?
These girls come to Bootie with their purses flapping in the wind, some Oliver Twist wannabe lifts their phone, and they go to Coat Check to freak out. "Oh, that's awful. We'll let you know if someone turns it in." But that's not enough, I guess? We should do more rending of garments and gnashing of teeth? We should be so sympathetic for their loss that we just hand them $600 cash and say, "You poor dear, go buy a new one"?
We actually caught a guy who had stolen a phone a few months ago: the girl saw him take it and pointed him out. But by the time security got to him, he had ditched it, so SFPD didn't arrest him.
Last year some time, SFPD had this great idea for preventing cell phone theft: they gave us a stack of flyers shaped like phones that said (I'm paraphrasing here), "Hey dumbass, do the obvious things to protect your phone." I thought handing out these flyers was the stupidest thing in the world. But you know what? Until we ran out of those flyers, the one-star reviews stopped. Maybe that flyer provided the proper level of introspection. "Oh, hey, my phone was stolen. Didn't someone had me a flyer about that not three hours ago? I guess maybe I should have been more careful."
I'm actually a little confused about why phone theft, or at least modern iPhone theft, is still a thing. Since iOS 7 in 2013, you can remotely brick your phone and there's no way to make that phone not be a paperweight without cracking the passcode, which is notoriously difficult to do. So I guess they must be stealing them just to part them out? I guess an un-cracked screen is worth about $40? That seems like a pretty low profit margin for your life of crime.
Bobby made several absurdly gross, inappropriate comments to all of the women on the tour, but the worst thing was that a fan told us that she left the Pentagram show and was super disgusted because he was making rape jokes onstage. [...]
We were also told that Bobby said the only reason he green-lighted the tour with us and King Woman was so that he could have "a lot of options with women." And the way we were treated, and the things that Bobby was saying to us, reinforced that. And made it pretty easy to believe that was true, because that was the way he treated us. I personally never felt unsafe or violated. I just felt grossed out and disrespected. My other bandmates, however, were often basically hiding from Pentagram. They wouldn't go in the green room, they would hide in the van -- they didn't want to be around at all because they were that uncomfortable. [...]
I said, "You don't know anything about what's going on in the contracts about how you're supposed to be distributing buyouts to us." [The tour manager] said, "I don't know anything about that." And I was like, "So, you don't think in any way that package payouts include our band?" And he said, "Oh, you think you're owed something, I guess." I was like, "Man, this is bullshit. We've been treated like shit this whole tour and all I'm trying to do is be treated with a basic amount of respect and do my job." And he was like, "How have you been treated like shit?" And I listed all of the ways, and that included all of the stuff Bobby and other people in their camp were doing. And he just laughed in my face and smirked and said, "Well maybe you're not cut out for this." I was like, "Ohh. Fuck. You."
Funny story. The night of the Pentagram show at DNA, Wax Idols and King Woman put on a last-minute show over at Brick and Mortar, which sold out. I think that place holds about 200 or 250? Well, the Pentagram show only got 295 people, so it seems like those openers were a pretty big draw to have shat upon.
We didn't have anything going on in Above DNA that night, so I really wish they had contacted us so we could have put their show on right next door to Pentagram, because that would have been hilarious. But I imagine they didn't want to be on the same block as those dicks.
Some recent photos:
We had three shows last night: the two final, sold out, editions of Point Break Live in the main room, and The Dollyrots in Above DNA. And then SFPD showed up at around 3:30 and interrupted our preparations with news that someone had made a bomb threat and we had to evacuate.
Apparently some genius called 911 and claimed to have barricaded themselves inside DNA "armed with a gun and a bomb". This was news to us. But they closed down the whole block of 11th Street. Apparently our guests for the day included: "the SFPD Hostage Crisis Negotiation Team, Tactical Unit, Bomb Squad, Specialist Team, and Explosive Detection K9s, along with Tenderloin and Southern Police Station personnel and SFFD paramedics."
That took hours. They finally cleared out at around 6:30, and our crew busted their butts to get the shows mostly back on schedule. I think we ended up only slipping by 45 and 15 minutes. Go team!
We all watched it on the webcast, of course. I'll bet it got a lot more traffic yesterday than usual. So, Point Break was directed by Kathryn Bigelow, who won Best Picture for The Hurt Locker, a movie about... a bomb squad. Point Break is by far the better movie, if you ask me, but The Hurt Locker at least had some pacing, unlike the version we watched on the webcast. Ours was more like Ingmar Bergman's "The Hurt Locker"... which I now present for you in its entirety:
You can see the roomba-like bomb robot (boomba?) start rolling around the dance floor at around 0:12:00 and 0:15:00. Things really get exciting when the dog comes it at around 0:23:00. That dog looked so happy! Clearly it was the only one enjoying this.
I hope it was a legit service animal, though. I think it's cruel when people bring their pets into a nightclub.
But hey, look, we're on TV!
"So Kate, tell us what happened there."
"NOTHING. NOTHING HAPPENED," she did not say, because that's not how television news works. "Some jackass made a prank call," she did not breathlessly add. "Your tax dollars were used to pay twenty police officers who look like soldiers to wander around a closed nightclub with automatic weapons for three hours", she did not conclude.
Anyway, if you have any information on who was responsible for this, SFPD would very much like to know:
The Southern Station investigation team is hoping that someone can help them with any information about this person who made the threat, and you can do so by calling the SFPD's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or by texting a tip to TIP411 and begin the text message with SFPD.
Oh, all three shows were really great, by the way. I'm going to miss Point Break Live a lot.
The final Point Break Live shows ever are almost sold out: the late show only has a few seats left, and the early show is down to standing room only! Don't miss it! Here's the epic skydiving scene from last month:
We still can't get any straight answers from MTA about the parklet. One person told us that construction on our block probably won't be starting for 7 months, and when it does, that part will only take five days -- but they're still telling us we need to remove our parklet and all of our bicycle racks within the next few weeks. Because that's not crazy at all.
Some recent photos:
It looks so slick when it's new, before that furnace of an oven beneath it has warped it and given it a yellow tint... but more importantly, new items!
The appetizers have been re-vamped to be more of a mix-and-match situation, and we've added a few things. Might I particularly recommend the lemon pepper chicken nuggets. Sandwich and salads have also been updated with new puns. The Jayne Cobb Salad and Deep House Salad are out, due to unpopularity (even though I found the names hilarious) but in are: the Leaf Ericson, the Tom Tom Club, the Anton La Vegan and the Mötley Crüton.
The California Chicken, which is actually the sandwich I get most often, is still called that because I haven't been able to come up with a good chicken pun.
The California Über Olive is still probably my favorite of all of these names. You know, Jello Biafra has been here a bunch of times, so I wonder if he's ever noticed it up there. And I wonder if he's ever ordered it. And I wonder if whichever punk rock kid was working the register even recognized him. Because whichever way that scenario played out, it would have been hilarious.