Thanks to three generous donors who prefer to remain anonymous, we have a new dance floor! And it looks fantastic.
The existing floor was a festive pancake of concrete, then a quarter inch of neoprene for springiness, then two layers of plywood. After two decades of dancing, the old plywood was extremly torn up, meaning the surface was rough and splotchy and paint would no longer stick to it well. It was a finished surface but a soft wood, probably pine or Douglas fir.
After repairing some soft spots in the old floor, we laid down a new layer of 3/4" birch. That is the same hardwood that we used on the go-go boxes and the Dazzle dance floor, which have held up exceptionally well. It turns out that we didn't need to tear up the old floor first. The new layer is glued and screwed on top of the old floor, which means that you are all now 3/4" taller.
During and after:
We hope to have you dancing on this new floor very soon.
Birch is normally one of the more expensive woods, but as it turns out there's some kind of supply-chain fuckery going on affecting most of the softer woods, so this is currently the least expensive plywood available, because the price of the lower quality stuff has gone through the ceiling!
We're going to paint that gray, like the old floor. We considered staining and varnishing it instead, since we can always paint it later if we need to, but the downside of that is the varnish would make the paint adhere less well. So we're just going to go with paint from the start.
I must say, I am surprised and gratified that my Hail Mary "Wanna buy us a dance floor?" post succeeded. Without these donations, we would have just kept lumbering along with our fairly-scruffy old floor. Thank you again, dear anonymous donors, you are the best!
We do have a few other renovations that we'd love to do if there are any other generous folks out there willing to help...
We have two gigantic fans on the roof, and about a decade ago the controllers that let us operate them at variable speed broke. Those controllers were many thousands of dollars each, so we just tore them out and replaced them with a pair of on-off switches, meaning the fans were either on at 100%, or off. This kind of sucked (see what I did there).
Well it turns out, the price of the controllers has dropped a lot since then, so we finally got new ones, and now we can run our fans more sensibly. We now have choices lying on the continuum between "sweatbox" and "arctic hurricane".
Why so expensive? Why aren't these controllers just a potentiometer knob? Because that trick only works for DC motors. DC motor speed is controlled by the voltage, so a resistor slows them down. AC motor speed is based on the input frequency, which is typically 60 Hz, so to run them at a different speed you need to vary the frequency, which is complicated. Also, big AC motors like the ones on our roof usually run off three phase power, meaning a separate feed to each of the motor's three coils, with both the input signal and the physical coils being 120° out of phase, because science.
So that's why it takes more electronics than a pot. The controllers also do other stuff like having an attack/decay ramp to avoid stressing out the motors, and for some reason there's a 5kHz "carrier frequency" which I don't understand. Some kind of in-band signaling for fancier motors than ours?
One thing that occurred to us, now that we have these new controllers, is that one technique for clearing away the years of confetti that are gumming up the outtake vent above the stage would be to just run that fan backwards and blast it all out into the room again. Then we can pack it all up in a box and mail it to Adriana.
"Son, what's your dirt doing in Boss's hole?"
Sometimes we get soft spots in the floor, typically where liquids pool and can't evaporate. The floor underneath the photo booth got particularly destroyed, after only a couple of years of the booth sitting there. And the floor under the ATM was also pretty bad. When that happens, sometimes we can just use this stuff called "Rot Stop" which is a two part epoxy that is runny enough to penetrate pretty deeply into the wood and makes mushy, soft wood as hard as a rock. It's pretty magical.
But when the area is too large, it's time to just cut it out and pour concrete. Mostly these aren't in "dancing" areas, so that's fine, but it does move the wood/concrete interface farther out into the room, which is not great as that's where things tend to go wrong in the future.
Check out these sweet fractals we found under the floor! I think the first one is a mycelial network (though we can't activate our spore drive for some reason) and the second is from termites.
It's been a little while since the room didn't look like a construction site:
Oh, and some City money finally showed up! Given all of my bitching about how none of the various recovery programs had paid out anything, I thought I should mention that one finally did. There's a program called "Jobs Now" that will subsidize a few months of payroll for laid-off SF residents whom we re-hire. It finally kicked in, so we were able to bring a few people back to help us get to work on some of the stuff we need to do to get this place open again.
The leak was somewhere in that maze of pipes and valves bolted onto the top of the tank, rather than the tank itself, so you'd think that they could just un-bolt that octopus and bolt on a new one. But apparently their policy is, "Fuck that, buy a whole new tank." I'm like 90% sure we're being ripped off, but on the other hand, they probably have more experience with tanks full of 500 pounds of liquid CO2 exploding, so what are you gonna do.
This is the exciting nightclub content that you are here for.
Governor Newsom says that on June 15th California will be doing The Full Florida. Obviously a lot can happen in 54 days, and for all we know the whole state might shut down again instead, but since there's a chance that we're going to be allowed to operate at a normal capacity by mid-June, we have to start making plans... and by plans I mean "spending money".
As such, we're looking for a Bar Manager! Is that you? Here's our job posting.
The historic DNA Lounge is currently seeking an experienced bar manager. We are a high volume nightclub and live music venue in need of an energetic and effective leader to oversee our bar program and staff. Candidates should be motivated and passionate about the hospitality industry.
- 3+ years of management experience in the industry.
- A track record of proven success developing relationships with liquor reps and creating promotional opportunities.
- Demonstrable understanding of inventory cost management and profit/loss analysis.
- A willingness to independently seek out, identify, and keep up with changing beverage trends.
- A positive attitude and communication skills with staff, management, and patrons.
- Developing a regular schedule of promotions and deals with our sales reps.
- Oversight of bar staff, ensuring adherence to best practices, and creating a positive work culture.
- Independently identifying and executing on bar maintenance and cleaning needs.
- Accurate inventory control and supply ordering.
- Leading staff by example in providing exceptional customer service.
Commensurate with experience.
Please email your resume to email@example.com
We are also going to be hiring restaurant staff for DNA Pizza, as it appears that half of our restaurant crew have moved away over the last 13 months... If you're interested, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, please go get yourself vaccinated so you can come party with us! Two thirds of San Franciscans have received at least their first shot (which is great!) But according to this survey, only 29% of San Franciscans said they are ready to return right away.
So that doesn't really bode well for our ability to function as a business. As you may recall, we were deeply in the red during the Before Times of 2019, so taking that and then slashing it by two thirds does not result in a business that can survive.
There has been so much talk about Government programs that might keep us alive: Payroll Protection Program 2, Shuttered Venue Operations Grant, Restaurant Revitalization Fund, SF Music and Entertainment Recovery Fund, SF Storefront Business Grant, and half a dozen smaller grants with tiny payouts... but none -- none -- of these programs have dispersed even a penny. Half of them, you can't even apply for yet. But every few days we get another cheerleading email from them telling us "help is on the way", "hurry up and wait", "we just discovered that running a web site is hard, did you know that?", "line up at the starting line for the first-come first-served Death Race to financial support, which we swear, will open Real Soon Now."
DECEMBER. And here we are, with not a penny.
And stop by this weekend for our in-person parklet DJ sets. This weekend: Splash, Turbo Drive, The Church of Drum and Bass, and Apothecary Raree. And probably something on Sunday afternoon, but I'm not sure what.
I arrived at the club on Wednesday afternoon and one of our bike racks was missing -- torn out of the concrete at the root -- and two others were bent and wobbly. Also, our parklet was dented and had been moved a few inches. Some neighbors tell us that around 2AM, a bus took out a traffic light, a bolted-down city trash can, the bike racks, and then crashed into our parklet. I haven't heard any more details about that yet.
Then this afternoon, Devon rolled up the garage door to discover a bunch of paramedics out front. It looks like someone used their belt to hang themselves in the parklet, and so our entrance was blocked off as a crime scene for a few hours.
Today was the first day when businesses can apply for the "Save Our Stages" grants, AKA the "SBA Shuttered Venue Operators Grant". You thought getting your vaccine appointment was hard? This is a national program and there's not enough money in it for everybody so they set it up as some kind of first-come first-served Death Race where every bar and nightclub in the US was hitting reload on the page at 9AM and trying to fill out forms and upload PDFs at the same time. This went about as well as you'd expect:
Good to know that the Federal Government has decided to let Burning Man run their ticketing operation.
Meanwhile, the SF Mayor's Office announced a few days ago that "indoor live events" can resume next week. So when I said that based on past experience, they'd probably give us six days notice, I was being overly pessimistic. They gave us more like ten days notice!
Anyway, this "re-opening" plan they've announced is not real, it's just a PR stunt that doesn't actually help our industry. It caps attendance at the smaller of 15% capacity or 200 people (35% capacity if you demand an easily-forged vaccine receipt!) Nobody can operate a nightclub under those restrictions. We can't even afford to renew our insurance for that level of capacity. The response to this from everyone on the email thread of our local venue operators has been one giant eye-roll.
Governor Newsom's talk of re-opening in mid-June sounds like it might mean at 100% capacity, so that's more substantive, but a lot can change between now and then so I'm not holding my breath (so to speak).
I know you're all as anxious as we are to know when we can re-open (well, you're not, but it's nice that you think you are) but we're not announcing any re-opening plans yet. You'll be the first to know!
Meanwhile, stop by this weekend for our sidewalk parties at DNA Pizza: Friday at 7pm: Turbo Drive. Saturday at 4pm: Matinee Sessions with Sneakerz and Stefan, immediately followed by Bootie, live in the parklet at 7pm. Then Saturday from 4pm to 10pm, house and techno with Warehouse Connection.
If you didn't know that these events were happening, might I recommend that you join our mailing list?
We've started doing DJ events in the DNA Pizza parklet. It's been going pretty well so far!
We also got the webcast configured to do two live video streams at once, for the still-hypothetical future when we have live events in both the Main Room and Above DNA. In the Before Times, before the network upgrades necessitated by the plague, we had to pick one room or the other, but now we have bandwidth for both.
You can watch yesterday's parklet party here.
We've got another one coming up this afternoon at 4pm. Stop by and check it out!
Yesterday the Mayor's Office announced that the Entertainment Relief Fund will be getting a $3M endowment, which sounds great until you do the math. If they were to divide that among all of SF's nightclubs, I think that would keep all of us alive for like, 3 or 4 weeks.
Their plan of record for getting money into this fund is still "maybe a friendly billionaire will step up", so don't hold your breath on that. And the Federal "Save Our Stages" fund has still distributed $0.
So with no money to speak of, and still no plan for distributing it, San Francisco's financial support for nightlife is still very much in the "thoughts and prayers" category.
However! Vaccines have actually been happening!
Last week we had a meeting talking through some re-opening scenarios. Like, once we get word from the Government that we're allowed to re-open, how much notice do we think they'll give us? Based on past experience, we're guessing six days. So what's our plan on re-staffing on such short notice? And what if they tell us we can only run at 10% capacity or something? Do we just ignore that and stay closed? Or try to do... something... that won't pay the bills but might be juuuust slightly better than being dark?
Anyway, it's all pretty bleak, but at the same time kind of exciting to be acknowledging the idea that this might actually be over some day, and we might actually have a business again, even if we have no real guess as to when that might be.
Since it's possible that we might be open again in... let's say, months rather than years? Let me just throw this long-shot idea out there one last time...
Tearing up and replacing the dance floor is a multi-week process. In the Before Times there never would have been a time when it would have been practical for us to be closed for that long. That means that there is literally no better time to do it than right now, except for the fact that we don't have any money. It would be a shame to let this downtime go to waste, but that's what we're gonna do, unless a noble benefactor appears.
When we installed this floor over 20 years ago, it was a festive pancake of neoprene and plywood over a concrete base, but all that dancin' in the intervening decades has left it no longer springy, not to mention the hundreds of layers of paint atop the now-splintering and divotted plywood... And the need for re-painting only becomes more frequent as the plywood further frays. Really, it's time.
So, wanna buy us a dance floor? It'll probably only cost fifteen or twenty grand. Think of the bragging rights! The nobility of being the one who saved the orphanage. Hell, we'll give you a plaque if you want.
Order now for pick-up or delivery. We are open from 4pm - 10pm every day.
And don't forget to check out our webcasts: we have six free webcast shows over the next five days:
- Have you noticed the gigantic 3D grid of lights that has been taking up most of our stage during many of our recent webcasts? It's called The Qube and tonight at 7pm, its creators will be putting it through its paces.
- Following that at 8pm, another installment of Apothecary Raree, our electroswing-themed burlesque and variety show.
- Tomorrow night: Turbo Drive, live DJ sets from the main stage for all your synthwave needs.
- Saturday: Bootie DJs in a rare main room live appearance.
- Sunday, 4pm: The Warehouse Connection, live house and techno DJs on the main stage.
- And of course Death Guild every Monday.
So please make a donation, contribute to our Patreon, and order our delicious pizza, appetizers, pre-mixed cocktails, and DNA Lounge brand liquor.
And also, we have now been in lockdown for one year. Our last in-person events were Death Guild and Monday Night Hubba on March 9th, 2020.
Well, one of those anniversaries is worth celebrating.
In honor of ten years of DNA Pizza, today all of our appetizers are half price!
Might I recommend the loaded tots? They're so good.
Order now for pick-up or delivery. We are open from 4pm - 10pm every day.