I hope you love it so much that you share it with all of your friends so many times over the next few weeks that they get so sick of seeing it that they go fiiiiiine I'll donate already, geeeez!"
Even though we're now a Legacy Business, we still need your financial help. Hopefully you've been enjoying those awesome sound upgrades that we just made, but they did not come cheap. As I mentioned on the occasion of our thirty-second anniversary (!!!) in addition to this traditionally being a very slow time of the year for our business, we also recently had some really expensive equipment failures and plumbing disasters to contend with. So we very much could use your help.
But of course one of the best things you can do is to just show up! And bring your friends. We've got a lot of cool stuff going on this month, check it out:
Anyway, blurbs. Santa wants you to write blurbs.
We do a number of DJ events, and it's always difficult getting blurbs written for them. Most of them just have a repeating blurb describing the party in general terms, without describing the artists at any particular event.
For some parties, that makes plenty of sense. Some parties are the sort of event where people show up on the reputation of the party itself, and the majority of them don't have a particular interest in who is DJing that night: they just know that the music they will hear is their kind of thing.
But there are other parties where the headliners are touring DJs, and people care deeply about them in particular. When I look at the comments on these parties' Facebook events and on Twitter I see a lot of people being extremely concerned about set times, because they're here for that one particular DJ that they really don't want to miss. It seems to me that parties like Control, Acid Rain, and So Stoked are very much the kind of events where the specific DJs tend to have enthusiastic fans of them personally.
But we rarely end up having blurbs for the headliners. If the promoters do write a blurb for the specific event instead of re-using the generic one, it's typically just, "Come party party party mind blown party" without any, you know, adjectives. (Hey, blurbs are hard to write. And the artists themselves rarely bother writing their own bios.)
Even though our traditional division of labor with outside promoters is that we run the venue and they, you know, promote, it's a group effort, and we try to help out in any way we can. So we do things like sending email to past ticket buyers saying, "Hey, you bought tickets for Control last time, with DJ So-and-So, the next one is coming up with DJ Other-Guy." But these emails go out and.... they don't tell you anything about DJ Other-Guy, because nobody wrote that blurb.
I gotta believe that if someone is obsessive about DJ So-and-So but have never heard of DJ Other-Guy, that there are words we could say to them that would improve the odds of them coming to the show.
Are you a musical obsessive who enjoys many of the modern forms of EDM that we've been hosting here of late?
Would you like to write short blurbs for us? Mail me!
Compensation will be proportionate with how good at it you are!
Omar has been writing them for our rock shows and doing a great job of it, but we could really use some help on the dance music side.
What's a Legacy Business, you ask? It's a San Francisco program to help historic small businesses stay open, in the face of the changes the city is going through. The Office of Small Business says:
Legacy Businesses Anchor San Francisco Neighborhoods
San Francisco is a world-class city known for its many distinctive neighborhoods. Contributing to the uniqueness of the city are the people, architecture, streetscape, geography, weather, transportation, history, culture -- and businesses. San Francisco wouldn't be San Francisco without its many independent, locally-owned businesses.
In her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs remarked on the importance of neighborhood businesses: "The trust of a city street is formed over time from many, many little public sidewalk contacts. It grows out of people stopping by at the bar for a beer, getting advice from the grocer and giving advice to the newsstand man, comparing opinions with other customers at the bakery and nodding hello to the two boys drinking pop on the stoop."
Our neighborhood businesses -- including retailers, service providers, manufacturers, nonprofit organizations, and more -- are the places that give the city its character. They're the bedrock of our communities and a draw for tourists from around the world.
Preserving our legacy businesses is critical to maintaining what it is that makes San Francisco a special place.
This is a great program, and I'm glad San Francisco does things like this! It's a breath of fresh air, given how difficult it is to run a business in this town for so many reasons.
Businesses that qualify and are approved become eligible for certain grants, including some that behave a bit like rent control. (You may not realize that rent control doesn't exist for commercial leases: it's a residential thing only. Commercial leases have no restrictions, by state law.)
So this is great news, and we're in the process of looking in to that whole grant situation.
In the meantime, I thought I'd share with you our application to the program. I had to write a long essay explaining the first thirty-two years of our history. You've probably read some of this before -- there was some cutting and pasting, and it's a little repetitive because of their submission format -- but it's a more concise version of our long history than what has appeared in other places:
DNA Lounge: Legacy Business
h. How would the community be diminished if the business were to be sold, relocated, shut down, etc.?
Because we take chances on such a wide variety of events, losing DNA Lounge would mean that those events would have a difficult time finding new homes. Some of them would probably end up in underground, unlicensed and unsafe spaces. Some might not happen at all.
Many different subcultures have made their home here over the years, and would find it tragic to have to scatter to multiple less-welcoming places.
Due to the concentration of entertainment businesses on Eleventh Street, all of the businesses benefit from each others' presence. For example, DNA Lounge's restaurant always gets more business when Slim's has a show, and Butter gets a lot of business from folks who begin their evening there before heading across the street to DNA Lounge. If DNA Lounge were not here, it would significantly reduce the number of people patronizing our part of SOMA. The fact that our block is bright and loud and active is part of what makes it safe.
a. Describe the business and the essential features that define its character.
DNA Lounge is an all-ages nightclub, concert venue, and 24 hour restaurant and cafe. We have four different performance spaces, including two stages.
The thing that most defines the character of DNA Lounge is the diversity of entertainment we host here. Whereas most venues specialize on either live concerts or dance parties, we have always regularly done a mixture of both, as well as other kinds of stage performances, lecture series, circuses, robotic exhibitions, dance performances, hair shows. We always strive to provide a home for a whole lot of truly amazing art.
We've had many years of the most diverse, weird, interesting calendar of any venue anywhere.
Hooray! Go us!
Here's what Devon has to say about the work he did over the last few weeks:
The Main room has a new Midas M32 live mixing console, and a new BSS Soundweb London BLU-100 main system processor. The Midas board, with it's legendary pre-amps, brings a big upgrade in live sound quality for live shows. Plus it's compatible with the X32, a board that a lot of bands are touring with these days, so they can just load their show file from a USB stick instead of having to haul in their entire board.
We reconfigured and re-tuned the entire system from scratch over the course of several days. The highs and mids have an astonishing clarity and presence unlike anything we've had in that room. Subtle textures and details in the music pop out like we've never had before in this room. Everything is really clean, and not harsh at all at high volumes. The subwoofers got a 20% increase in power by switching from one 4,000 watt amp to two 2,400 watt amps left over from Codeword. This also changed the impedance from 2 ohms to 4 ohms, which should make for tighter bass, too.
We were able to put some really narrow cuts at the frequencies that made the ventilation ducts rattle, which makes the room sound a little cleaner. The bass is much deeper and punchier, able to hit you in the chest pretty hard. Even at low volumes, the room feels a lot bigger and more present. You can still feel the bass even when the levels are low enough for quiet conversation on the dancefloor.
We replaced the Lounge's subwoofer amp, giving it a noticeable bump in power. The room was also re-tuned a little bit, making it sound better and more even overall.
We replaced the two older EAW subs under the Above DNA stage with three of the JBL subs salvaged from Codeword. It's a change from two horn-loaded 12" subs to three front-loaded 15" subs. The room was re-tuned from scratch and is a lot cleaner, with way more bass than before. The low end used to taper off a bit about halfway to the bar, but now it carries all the way to the back of the room. Overall, the room sounds a lot bigger.
The Dazzle Room got the fourth subwoofer from Codeword, which helps fill in some much-needed low end. We did a bit of re-EQing on the mains for better clarity.
So, you should come by and check it out...
Happy DNA Lounge Day! This club opened on November 22, 1985.
In honor of this joyous occasion, I'll tell you some sad stories about finances.
Codeword closed at the end of July, which means that August was the first month in which we didn't have to pay rent over there or otherwise subsidize that operation. Our bookkeepers finalized the August books last week, and guess what, we managed to lose $60,000 that month anyway!
How are we still so fucked? I have no idea.
Well, the answer is "not enough people are showing up", but I don't know what to do about it.
And now that Halloween weekend is over, we enter the Dark Times. Our business always drops precipitously between Halloween and New Year's Eve. Basically we can only count on those two "good" weekends from November through January. People just don't go out.
Some venues manage to make up the end-of-year slump by getting a bunch of corporate holiday parties. We've never managed to do that effectively. We typically only book a couple of them. Hey, want do you your company party here? That would be awesome...
Remember last month when we had that $6,000 plumbing incident with the jackhammers? Well last week, our Soundweb died again. Soundweb is the digital audio processing system that runs the whole sound system back-end. The product has been out of production for years, so we've been living off of eBay'ed spare parts for quite some time. That trick isn't really working any more, so now we have to upgrade to the new thing in a hurry. That cost about $3,000. And then mere days later, our live sound board died. The replacement for that is about $4,000.
And look at that, suddenly that's $13,000 of "emergency" repairs in a single four week period.
We should spin this as "look at all these great sound system upgrades that we've done!" but really it's, "look at all this crap that broke that we absoutely cannot afford to replace right now, except that if we don't, we can't open the doors!"
Also we're still trying to sell our two broken espresso machines, in the hope of using that money to buy one working one -- meaning our cafe still has no espresso drinks. Nobody is biting on the sale so far, though. Here's the eBay listing; pass it on if you know someone in the market for one. Fun fact: espresso machines cost more than mixing consoles.
We did manage to find a buyer for the Codeword liquor license, hooray! But that's contingent on ABC paperwork, so it will probably be more than six months before we see that money.
"How are pizza deliveries going?" I will now pretend that you asked. Not great. Even though we've had online ordering and late-night delivery up and running again for a few months now, our delivery business is down 75% compared to this time last year. Now, our delivery business has always been a relatively small part of the restaurant's overall revenue, but we're still talking about thousands of dollars per month. It's hard to guess why that business hasn't returned.
Possibly it's because Eat24 has the lion's share of the market, and since we can't use them for ordering any more, none of their customers manage to find us? The sites we are using are GrubHub (they are the more popular service, but they only deliver until 11pm); Postmates (they deliver 24 hours!) and DoorDash. (they deliver until 5am).
As far as we can tell, the only other sites that actually do deliveries (rather than taking orders only) are caviar.com and waiter.com but both of them seem to be ignoring us.
Oh, I understand that the Codeword space is now going to be... a sports bar.
We have some fancy new furniture in the restaurant! They are "Taybles". I ordered them from a Kickstarter almost a year go, back when Codeword was still open, thinking they'd go well there. But they finally shipped this weekend, because that's how Kickstarters go...
They have some features that are nice for a coffee table in your home, but less nice when turning our customers loose on them. The cupholders are removable, so I glued those in and drilled drain holes in the bottom. And the "tape" side of it flips open and has a little storage area inside. At home, you might store your remote control there. In a restaurant, that's where drunks will chuck their leftover pizza to rot. So I had to seal all of those openings. Also I put taller, stronger legs on them.
The tape label is a dry-erase surface, but I'm sure it will be unrepairably tagged in no time, because people are terrible. So, I don't expect these to survive for very long here, but oh well, I already paid for them. Enjoy them while they last!
And if the tape comes out, please use a giant pencil to wind it back in.
Upcoming shows of note:
And then Saturday we have Koi Division, the world's greatest fish-pun-themed Joy Division tribute band! It's going to be kind of like that time Ian Curtis rode a roller coaster:
Here's something that hasn't happened in a while: Hubba Hubba Revue got a cease-and-desist nastygram from a lawyer for calling their recent animal-themed burlesque show "Wild Kingdom". (Did you know that show is still on the air? Neither did I!) Oh, trademark lawyers. They are so lovely, and not in any way parasitic blights:
Trademarks: the good, the bad and the ugly:
Genericide is rare, though. Microsoft doesn't advertise "google it on Bing!" and Miele doesn't sell a line of "hoovers." Genericide is mostly a spectre, and like all spectres, it serves a purpose.
That purpose? Full employment for trademark lawyers.
Trademark lawyers have convinced their clients that they must pay to send a threatening notice to everyone who uses a trademark without permission, even where there is no chance of confusion. They send letters by the lorryload to journalists, website operators, signmakers, schools, dictionary publishers -- anyone who might use their marks in a way that weakens the association in the public mind. But weakening an association is not illegal, despite the expansion of doctrines such as "dilution" and "naked licensing."
When called out on policing our language, trademark holders and their lawyers usually shrug their shoulders and say, "Nothing to do with us. The law requires us to threaten you, or we lose our association, and thus our mark." This is a very perverse way of understanding trademark.
So we have retconned that show to be called "Hubba Hubba Revue: Cease & Desist: Formerly The One With Animals".
Of which there are photos. But first, the last of the Halloween photos have come in:
Here at DNA Lounge, we take Halloween very seriously. Very seriously indeed. If you are spending any evening this weekend anywhere but here, I sincerely believe you are making a mistake. Allow me to direct you to our fantastic lineup:
- Friday: So Stoked: Graveyard
When someone says Halloween you think candy, and when someone says candy, you think candy rave. Right? There will be so much candy. Sooooo much candy. Ten international headliners. thirty-two acts. thirteen genres!
- Saturday: Booootie
For the 8th consecutive year, it's our massive four room Halloween Booootie! Cash prizes and trick-or-treat goody bags for Best Overall Costume, Best Group Costume and Best Mashup Costume, plus nine DJs and, of course, a certain spooky mashup rock band!
- Sunday: Turbo Drive
SF's ground zero for synthwave brings some neon cyberpunk dystopia to your Halloween weekend, which means one thing: Radical Retro Costumes! Dress up as one of your favorite synthwave and retro icons... DJs in Above and Dazzle, plus live performances by Protector 101, The Encounter and Street Cleaner!
- Monday: Death Guild
Look, it's Halloween weekend. If you say to yourself, "I think this is the weekend to skip the oldest goth party in the nation", I don't think I can help you! It's the Monster DJs of Goth in three rooms spinning all the classics. Also featuring terrifying and hilarious gothic burlesque from Hubba Hubba Revue.
- Tuesday: ALL HALLOW'S EVE
This is it! This is the big one! Now entering our sixteenth year, DNA Lounge brings you the greatest Halloween party in the whole damned world. DJs from the extended DNA family in all four rooms, a massive costume contest, ambient ghostly aerialists and circus syrens throughout the night, gho-gho-ghost dancers, and a spooky early burlesque show upstairs!
Buy your tickets now and skip the line!
Remember, people. It's a marathon, not a sprint. It's going to be a real... death-march... for your liver, your feet and your costumes, but you can make it all the way until Tuesday! We know you can! We believe in you!
In related news, the 2017 SF Bay Guardian Best of the Bay is out, and we won again! Thank you all!
- Best Overall Nightlife Venue: DNA Lounge
Best Overall Dance Party: Bootie SF
Best Burlesque: Hubba Hubba Revue
If you are thinking that this looks really expensive...
...then you are a very perceptive individual!
This latest disaster is going to cost at least six grand.
Apparently the drain pipes under the main bar have turned to dust. The reason the floor sinks weren't draining properly is that they were draining directly into the sand and burnt timber upon which our building rests.
These aren't even ancient pipes: they date back only to 2001, when we installed the main bar against the front wall. But the plumber we had back then was a complete crook, so I'm sure he screwed us by cheaping out on it in some way or another.
Ok, this is not actually a weekly feature. Thankfully. But this one is a good one. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you, our customers:
At 9:30 on Friday night, a customer by the name of Joshua Hdecided that during changeover he would pour a drink from a bottle of Jameson on the centermost front VIP table.
After seeing him do this, drink it, spill it, and mess up the table, we escorted him outside. I told him we escorted him out because he stole booze from a table, those bottles cost $350 and now we can't sell it. I gave him the option of paying up, or calling the police. He opted for us to call the police.
I called the police at 9:39. They said it would be a few minutes. He then decided to pay the money and went to the ATM. He pulled out $40 but left his card and money in the ATM. And he didn't notice.
At that point, after arguing drunkenly with us for 10 minutes, his buddies told him to just run. Which they did. He ran two blocks up Eleventh Street. We watched him run into traffic and almost die. About 5 minutes later, he came stumbling back down Eleventh. The police had shown up and were about to leave when I led them to the guy. They convinced him to pay us instead of going to jail. We gave him his forgotten ATM card and $40. He pulled out the remaining money and the cops left after watching him stumble down to Harrison.
Badge Numbers, ; Car .
The video webcast is still down, as there has been no progress on the latest Youtube fuckery, nor have they responded in any way to my question about what the hell they think the problem is.
But, here are some recent photos.
Their belligerent robots have this to say:
Proceed with the appeal of the Community Guidelines warning strike for the following videos
DNA Lounge Live StreamThe YouTube team will review our decision and reinstate your video if appropriate. It is possible that the strike may be removed but your video will remain down.
Elsewhere it says, "Live stream restrictions last for 90 days or until the associated issue(s) are resolved." But since they won't actually come out and tell you what the "issues" are, good luck with that.
Why did it happen? Who knows. All they will tell you is, "It was probably one of the hundreds of possible vague reasons in this FAQ entry". Could it be that some band's backing video triggered a pattern match against a video? Maybe? Could it be that some disgruntled customer "reported" us for something, and all it takes is one griefer to take your stream offline for three months? Maybe? Who can tell! Only the robot know and they aren't talking.
Anyway, it's fair to assume that we can't use Youtube any more.
Youtube was always a flaky, halfassed solution anyway: for the last three years, we've been webcasting silent video through Youtube while simulcasting the audio from our own server, and having your web browser press play on both streams at the same time. Which is awful because it means audio and video can never, ever be in sync. But if we ever allow Youtube to hear our audio, their robots completely freak out and shut us down because they have no mechanism to understand that, as a nightclub, we are, in fact, fully licensed to play Other People's Music.
So. Do you watch our webcast? Would you like to continue doing so? Then help me figure out how to solve this problem without spending any money.
Here are some possibilities, unlikely though they are:
- Befriend someone inside Youtube who can make this go away. (Right.)
- Find me some service who will rebroadcast my video stream for free, 24/7. They need to support video ingestion via RTMP, not a custom app, or I probably can't make it work.
- Show me instructions for installing free software on a CentOS 6.9 system that will let me run my own RTMP-based video rebroadcaster. Bonus points if you have actually done this successfully yourself. Going this route will probably require massively throttling the number of simultaneous viewers.
- You pay for it! Set up an EC2 or DO server running the aforementioned RTMP server, let me broadcast through, and and let's just put the bandwidth bill on your credit card instead of mine, ok?
Long shots, I know. But absent something like that, I guess the plug on the video has finally been pulled.
Meanwhile, please enjoy this month's mixtape 188.
The fabulous R. Black has outdone himself again with this year's Halloween poster, featuring what is certain to be the most overexposed costume of 2017! If you don't have enough scary clown in your life, or specifically on your walls, you can also purchase this fine poster for just ten of your American dollars.
Also, please to be joining us this Friday for Hotline, our massive four room indie dance party. The last two installments of this party were really fun! If you'd like us to continue doing this sort of thing, maybe even more often than quarterly, showing up is the thing that you should do.