We did a little photo shoot a few weeks back, and now we have some actual photos of our merch on humans, instead of just graphical schematics. Maybe we will sell more t-shirts if those t-shirts are modelled by pretty people. You want to buy a t-shirt now, right? I think that's how commerce works, right?
Speaking of commerce...
Our online store supports discount codes. We don't use them all the time, but sometimes promoters or bands want to give cheaper admission to their pals. But since there's that shiny, candy-like text field on the checkout page that says "Discount", you know what that means, right? Yup, people just try to guess them, all the time. It's a treasure hunt! One you cannot win.
Some of them read like those lists of the world's worst passwords:
Remember, if ever have children, the name of their first pet should contain at least eight characters, a capital letter, and a digit. You should also change the pet's name frequently.
Some of them are clearly based on rumor, or are from other sites' past discounts:
Would we be this obvious? Really?
HUBBA HUBBA REVUE
Would we mis-spell the name of our own club? Really?
If you say so, I guess I'll take your word for it:
Nice try, but still no:
Aw, thank you! But still no:
NOT MY PRESIDENT
We paid for it the first time with a Kickstarter, so it occurred to me that we could do a second one to have it re-installed, but even that seems foolish. If there are people out there who have $4,000 burning a hole in their pocket, and they might be inclined to aim that filthy, filthy cash in a DNA-like direction, I'd sure rather spend that money on payroll and keeping the lights on, because I think that improves the neighborhood way more than a parklet does.
So we are currently investigating ways to half-ass it, and bolt the dumb thing back together ourselves in some highly-less-than-ideal way. Stay tuned.
Oh, but if you are good at welding and willing to donate your time, we may have something for you to help out with!
Speaking of welding, apparently both of our espresso machines are broken. Some café, right, that can't even steam your coffee? We don't know yet how much that is going to cost, but probably a lot, since it seems like every time we have to even talk to the guy at the Vespa shop it costs like fifteen hundred bucks. I guess people who know how to weld pressure vessels get to charge bank. And the machines still go for $6k to $10k used / as-is (and "as-is" didn't really work out so great for us the last time we tried that). Oh, and apparently the espresso machine over at Codeword has been broken for months and I only just found out, because my staff decided that that was A) not that big a deal because who wants coffee, and B) not even worth telling me about, so that was awesome.
Maybe we should replace them with a couple of those "Oxygen Bars" they used to bring in to the raves back at the turn of the century. I'll bet maintenance on those is a lot cheaper.
I always forget to mention when I've made a new mixtape. I've made a new mixtape.
Our Patreon has kinda stopped growing.
We have about 330 patrons who are donating a total of about $4k per month, which is amazing! I cannot thank you folks enough. But, you know, more would... help more. Lots of people signed up in January, but since the beginning of March, the number of patrons has stayed basically the same.
So, I need to promote it! Apparently the intrusive "donation" box that exists at the top of basically every page on the site isn't doing the job. (How annoying is that thing, anyway? A little, or super?)
So anyway, we need a poster, a slogan, and we need to run some ads.
But I'm completely at a loss for a slogan, or for a design for the poster. Maybe that's because the most boring possible slogan, "Support DNA Lounge", really is the ideal one, and I'm hoping in vain to come up with something more clever. But I still don't know what graphic to put on that other than our logo.
The ideal slogan would be something clever and pithy that says in three to five words, "Give us your money so that we can stay open and keep doing the kinds of things that you like".
Someone suggested the slogan, "Remember why you moved here?" and I loved that at first, until it was pointed out that it's easy for someone to self-consciously interpret that as an accusation along the lines of, "you don't go out any more so this is your fault". (Probably because they feel guilty about that very thing, but still.)
Got any ideas?
I suppose the Patreon page itself isn't terribly engaging, which might be a reason people aren't signing up? I rarely post there, because when I have something to say... I just post it here, on this blog. When I have something Patreon-specific to say, like this, it doesn't generally make sense to me to go out of my way to make it so that fewer people see it.
So I guess I could post blog entries there first, adding artificial scarcity, but that really rubs me the wrong way. I could cross-post to both, I suppose, but I would assume wouldn't people who are interested already read this blog by other means. I asked over on the Patreon what people thought about crossposting, and of the few who responded, most were against.
Also Patreon posts can't have arbitrary HTML and embedded images and so on (just one image at the top) so that's annoying.
We have this "Street Team" Facebook group with a bit over a hundred members who have expressed their interest in helping out. We've taken almost no advantage of that. Every now and then at our staff meetings, I ask my managers, "Are any of these tasks something we could point some volunteers at?" and they always tell me no. I don't know how to get over that hurdle and say "yes" to these people who are offering to help.
I have this habit, you may have noticed, of writing really long posts here hitting like five different topics at once. I sit down to write one thing and then the floodgates open. Which is fine, I guess, except it makes these posts really long and probably hits the tl;dr limit of some people; and also it means that in the future when I link back to an old post, the part I want to link to is usually sandwiched between some irrelevant other stuff.
So I'm gonna try to stop doing that, cut this short, and save all the other stuff that I wrote for later.
But one last thing! We have two events coming up this week that I'm excited about: Astronomy on Tap on Tuesday: the first one was really fun! You like exoplanets. It's free, and it's an early show.
Look at me promote. I'm promoting.
The Bay Bridged published a really nice article about the latest Hubba Hubba Revue, plus an interview with Kingfish: Crime and Punishment rewards burlesque audience at DNA:
Last Friday, Hubba brought to the stage the latest in its series of grand monthly themed shows: Crime and Punishment, a kink-centered cabaret. Eternally avuncular Jim Sweeney and Alexa Von Kickinface, co-MCs for the evening, took to the stage with Arcadia Kane, the "tour guide" for the evening. All were dressed in striped prison uniforms that looked more Looney Tunes than Alcatraz, Kane's sporting prison number 80085 across her chest. [...]
Von Kickinface beamed as her brainchild was recognized -- while adjusting her faux prison garb, never pausing from her interaction with the audience, despite the persistence of a stuck zipper that kept her from disrobing for the moment -- a real professional.
Thus, a nearly four-hour show began. That's right, four hours.
Normally, anything that is four hours long feels like a prison sentence to me. My poor little ADHD heart can't handle concentrating on anything for that long. However, Hubba has such a lively pace and variety that the moments flew by. I wasn't bored for a moment.
Star Wars Party tomorrow! You're coming, right?
<< Waves hands >> This is the party you're looking for. Move along. Move along.
Hey, photos! So many photos.
That was annoying. A lot of us really like that feature. So I had to take matters into my own hands: please enjoy dnalounge.com/musicvideos/. That page will let you request videos, so long as you are viewing it via the wifi at either DNA Pizza location. There are some limits, of course, to prevent you from being a jerk. So don't be a jerk. Let me know if you find any problems...
Speaking of which, please enjoy jwz mixtape 180.
The SF Weekly Best of SF poll is up again, so vote for us, won't you?
Relevant categories include: Best Dance Party, Best Dance Club, Best Live Theatre (Hubba Hubba Revue or Mortified), Best Live Music Venue, Best Late Nite Bite and Best Pizza.
Also we won some stuff on City Voter, which I wasn't even aware was a thing. In the "Dance Club" category, Bootie came in #1 and DNA Lounge came in at #9, because those totally don't happen at the same place and are totally in competition with each other. (But it says DNA Lounge is "probably better than some of the nightclubs in Southern California", which makes me feel we should decline this trophy.)
After all these years, how do the people who make these quizzes still not understand the difference between parties and venues? They must just never go out. They must be the person on the sidewalk yelling into their phone, "I'm at Bootie, where DNA Lounge used to be." They must be like, "I did not enjoy the film No Country For Old X-Men, so I'm giving the Westfield Mall one star."
Hey, the bill to extend Last Call to 4am has made some progress! It "passed the California Senate's Public Safety Committee -- the furthest a bill of this kind has made it in the Legislature since Prohibition". Hooray! Also the article included a picture of DNA Lounge, hooray!
Two highly notable parties this week! Tonight is the manic cartoon punk of Peelander-Z, and if you don't come see this show... you fucked up. They really are great fun. And tomorrow is Hotline, our new four room indie pop party. Thirteen DJs! Lots of telephones.
I love that these two flyers have the exact same color scheme but it's still immediately apparent that they are... uh... coming from different places entirely.
SF Weekly published a nice profile of "SF's most iconic music venues" -- thus establishing that DNA Lounge is not "iconic", so that's good to know. They wrote articles on Bottom of the Hill, Fillmore, Regency, Warfield, and Great American Music Hall.
Snark aside, I find these historical details really interesting. That's why, years ago, I wrote up the ancient history of DNA Lounge and environs.
Do The Bay did a nice piece on Hotline, our four room indie party happening next Friday the 31st. Blondie K and subOctave have been putting a huge amount of effort into into this, so I expect it to be great! Also apparently they bought, like, a zillion telephones.
Ask me what I think of
Broke-Ass Stuart wrote a very nice article about us in the Examiner today!
Hubba Hubba was started in 2006 by ringleader Jim Sweeney and has a rotating cast of performers, including Alexa Von Kickinface, Lee Presson and Maggie Motorboat. It's funny, strange, sexy and halfway insane. It's also a weekly throwback to when San Francisco was a wilder and weirder city, which is perfect considering that running concurrently downstairs in the bigger DNA venue is Death Guild, the oldest continually operating gothic-industrial dance club in the United States. Between the two, shit gets really weird at the DNA Lounge on Monday nights. It's magical. [...]
I'm only kind of serious about my newfound clown fetish, but what honestly made Monday night special was that it was proof that San Francisco's famous weirdness isn't dead. The fact that a clown burlesque show was happening in the same building as a goth-industrial party reminded me that there's still plenty of odd underground things happening -- and that we must fight to protect them.
I especially enjoyed the last bit:
As the night ended and the clown burlesque show was at a close, the all-clown New Orleans-style marching band, was going throw open the doors and march through the goth party downstairs. The rest of the clowns, as well as those of us in the crowd, would all trail behind, second-line style. Unfortunately, at the very last minute, the move was vetoed. I don't know the reasoning, but it's possible we finally found the one thing too weird even for the DNA Lounge.
I don't know the reasoning either, but, oh man, the Death Guild promoters are gonna catch a cold, sitting in all that shade.
Exciting news on the Codeword construction front: for a minute, we had an actual unobstructed sidewalk! And you could see our sign from more than five feet away! The condo construction next door took down their scaffolding months ago, but for some inexplicable reason, took forever to re-pour the sidewalk out front. They finally did, and it was a glorious thing:
But like I said, that only lasted a minute. They didn't actually bother to put the façade on the building before they took the scaffolding down, because... reasons? So they went and put it back up again. But this time there's a tunnel underneath it, so at least our side of the street is now somewhat navigable again. Somewhat.
It's an improvement, at least. The number of times we hear, "Oh, I didn't know this place even existed" has gone up. That's never really something you want to hear, but it's better than silence?
In financial news, there's not really any news. People are forever saying to me, "So, are things looking up? I came to this one show and it seemed crowded!" Everybody wants to make happy smalltalk and hear that your cancer is in remission, or at least the chemo doesn't make you vomit too much. So it is better? I don't know. Maybe a little? But not really, and not enough. My accountant and bookkeeper won't be able to tell me for sure how much we lost in February until the end of March, but I do know that even though January did a fair amount more business than December did, we still managed to lose about the same amount of money. It's so great seeing your income go up -- and then seeing your expenses go up by the same amount.
The Patreon is up to a bit over $4,000 per month in contributions, which is absolutely amazing and it's incredibly gratifying to know that so many people believe in what we're doing here, but it's still not enough. If we got like 8× that we'd be doing ok.
The Chin-Stroking Society of the Internet frequently enjoy holding court to present wisdom like, "Well you ought to just ditch Codword then! There, I've solved it for you. You're welcome." But our realtor has now shown it to basically every qualified operator in the city and they've all said no. I keep having to point out to people that you can't sell something unless you have someone willing to buy it. Meanwhile, I'm still on the hook for the lease, even if I just close the doors. The fact that nobody will bite does give us a bit more credibility when we say to our landlord, "Look, the rent is too high." Negotiations, obviously, are ongoing.
Well, I hope that didn't bum you out. Unless you being bummed out results in you becoming a Patreon sponsor. In which case I'm not sorry!
We've had some press about some recent events! SF Sonic reviewed John 5 and The Creatures; The Bay Bridged reviewed Rachel Lark (which was an awesome show!) SF Classical Voice reviewed Mercury Soul; and Spinning Platters, Rock Subculture, and 48 Hills all reviewed the Book of Love show.
It has been a while since my last blog post, so there are quite a few new photo galleries:
I love this article. It's a great snapshot of the club and some of the many people who make it what it is, and why we're still doing this!
Stefanie Doucette: Is San Francisco Losing Its DNA?
What hits you first is the wall of color -- flamingo pink, neon green and electric blue. When your eyes adjust, you can see the solid black poster frames, corralling decades of concert memorabilia packed tightly together like the people on the dance floor in the next room over. There's no hierarchy to the posters -- Prince is up there, but so are ones for The Coup, Imperative Reaction, Go Betty Go and The Dollyrots. Obscure artists get equal real estate on the wall. This wall is a shrine to the 32-year history of DNA Lounge, an institution among San Francisco clubs. [...]
With seven bars and a labyrinth-like layout of performance space, there's room for everyone here. Ariel, the floor manager, describes the cultural diversity among her hardworking staff -- queer, straight, black and white, ranging from Mohawked punk-rock kids to super-fashionista girls. Formerly a graphic designer and an avid patron of DNA Lounge's "Death Guild", Ariel eventually made the switch from regular to employee. "They say if you come here often enough, eventually you'll be offered a job," said an anonymous patron who chimed in during our conversation. It's an environment where it's easy to get to know each other, where the regulars are family.
I felt I'd achieved a level of acceptance on par with the regulars last Tuesday at their Valentine's Day "Cyberdelia" event: a Hackers screening and '90s dance party complete with a skate ramp. A girl in a yellow fishnet shirt came up to me while dancing and asked, "Can I join you? You girls are dancing hard. I came here with boys, and all they want to do is talk about tech."
I would be remiss were I not to take this opportunity to remind you all that you can help us keep the lights on by contributing to our Patreon.
Do any of you have a Mac Mini that you don't need, vintage 2010 or newer?
So it's probably time to just stop wasting my time goofing around with these toy computers and just put a real computer behind it. That sounds like overkill, but I guess it's not overkill if it's the only thing that will actually work.
Now that construction of the wider sidewalk is finally done, nine months after they told us it would be, it's time to figure out how to re-install our parklet.
Because of the new constraints, instead of being L-shaped and sitting at the curb, it now needs 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, but it will allow seating and standing on both sides instead of just one, so something like this:
Maybe we should do a second Kickstarter for it?
- Some Guy: "I was going to buy a ticket, but it's raaaaaining."
Don't be that guy.