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.
What The Seeds were like was a huge influence on the next several generations of punk, pop, and superfuzz bigmuff grunge rock enthusiasts. While The Seeds were mostly a California phenomenon in their time, their sound germinated its way into the works of everyone from the Beach Boys to the Smashing Pumpkins. "Eddie Van Halen said that 'Pushin' Too Hard' was the first guitar solo he ever learned," Boomer told SFist.
According to Wikipedia, the Seeds are also credited with coining the term "Flower Power". Boomer clarifies this is not technically true.
"There was this group of girls that always came to our shows, and they always brought flowers and sat on the stage," he recalled. "Some of the DJs in Los Angeles started hearing about that, and they were the ones that really pushed it on us, But we were forever known as the band with 'Flower Power'. Once it started, it never stopped."
You may have noticed that we finally have bike racks again! Four months after the parklet was re-installed, and sixteen months after they made us take the bike racks out. How did this wondrous thing happen? I couldn't possibly comment. It must have been fairies. Or vigilante transit activists. Or vigilante transit activist fairies.
Meanwhile, I've been spending a bunch of time screwing around with Google Analytics and SEO crap. It is annoying, confusing, demoralizing and gross. I wish someone would just do it for me.
Do any of you actually read the weekly calendar mailing we send out? The surveillance tracker in it tells me that a ridiculously tiny percentage of people actually opened it and loaded images in the last one we sent out, so maybe the answer is no. Maybe it's too long. I tried to make it verbose so that people would actually be aware of what the events are, but most other venues' mailing are just a super-terse list of "Date - Performer Name - Buy Link - Head shot" that tells you nothing if you don't already know the artist. I dunno.
Here's what you've missed recently, in the photo gallery:
It's time for The Guardian's Best of the Bay so go vote for us, ok? We live for validation. Applicable categories include:
- Best Late-Night Restaurant: DNA Pizza
- Best Pizza: DNA Pizza
- Best Overall Bar: DNA Lounge
- Best Performance Space: DNA Lounge
- Best Live Music Venue: DNA Lounge
- Best Overall Nightlife Venue: DNA Lounge
- Best Overall Dance Party: Bootie SF
- Best Rock Club: DNA Lounge
- Best Burlesque: Hubba Hubba Revue
Let me draw your attention to a few upcoming events:
Next Friday, Kristeen Young, City of Women & The Bedrooms. Kristeen played here a couple of months ago, and it was a fantastic show -- though rather under-attended. So don't make that mistake again! This is going to be great. Also, check out that amazing poster. You can't really tell from the picture, but the text at the bottom is hand-drawn with puffy-paint. CSS doesn't have a "puffy" attribute yet.
The following Friday, Tom Gun Live! It's the new show from the Point Break Live folks, and it will have even more audience participation this time: they're picking six audience members instead of just one. Now, you might be thinking, "But I don't give a shit about Top Gun or Tom Cruise", but seriously, that doesn't matter. This show is going to be hilarious. These guys have a track record on that. Two shows, early and late!
Hey, how's DNA Pizza delivery going? I'm glad you asked It's still a clusterfuck! All of these ordering and delivery companies have some of the most egregious customer service of anyone we've ever dealt with. I mean, we're talking "Comcast" bad. With every one of them, our interactions go like:
- "We wish to subscribe to your service please."
- "We're sending you yet another dedicated iPad, it should arrive in two weeks. Good luck finding somewhere to stick it!"
- "The iPad is here and configured, why aren't we listed on your site?"
- "Ok, it's all set up!"
- "No it isn't, we're still not listed on your site."
- "Ok, that should be fixed within 48 hours!"
- "I see our listing now, but it won't let me click 'Order'."
- "Ok, That should be fixed within 48 hours!"
- "I clicked order, but you never sent us the order."
- "That should be fixed within 48 hours!"
- "You sent us the order but your driver never arrived."
- -- Crickets --
Currently we are engaged in this dance with Doordash, since they appear to be the only delivery company who will deliver food after 11pm (and historically, at least half of our orders happened between midnight and 4am). But we have done this same dance with literally every delivery company we've ever dealt with. They are all this bad! I can't fathom how any of them have customers. Oh wait, it's because they're all equally bad so you don't have any choice.
So currently, if you're trying to have pizza delivered, I think that's working before 11pm, via Grubhub. Maybe.
Also both of our espresso machines are broken again, the one on 11th Street, and the spare that we haven't sold yet from CW. The repair company we've been using has made multiple extremely expensive passes at both of them without solving the problem. So that's awesome. So we're giving up on the actual espresso machine repair company and taking them to the Vespa Guy instead, who is more likely to be able to fix them, but takes a really, really long time.
I have no idea what's wrong with either of them. I mean, I've heard people say words, but as far as I can tell everyone who diagnoses an espresso machine goes directly from "Is it plugged in?" to "It must be the pressure vessel", and later the actual problem turns out to have been something else entirely.
So I hope you don't expect our so-called cafe to have espresso drinks. Sigh.
We're still trying to sell the Codeword liquor license, and for some reason nobody wants to buy it. These things are supposed to be a permanently hot property due to the fact that, like matter and energy, new ones cannot be created, they just move around forever. But we're getting no bites. All the people who know about such things explain it thusly: "Wow, that's really strange." So if you know someone who wants to buy a liquor license, point them our way, ok? We could really use the money.
It's been a while since I've posted a photo gallery update.
The Magnettes were really fun -- and literally 6 people showed up. They were troopers, though: they just gave up on the stage and used the whole Above DNA dance floor for their show instead. I think "intimate" is the euphemism for that. So I tried to tell myself, "Ok, their first album just came out, maybe they're not that well known yet", but a week later, they are posting pictures on their Instagram of them on stage at festivals in front of tens of thousands of people. So I guess we just suck.
We've also had a couple of irritating booking agent interactions lately. The first one went like this:
- "Hello agent, we would like to book your artist ___"
- "No tour plans at this time, we'll let you know."
- Months later: "I see ___ has an album coming out soon, we'd still like to book them."
- "No tour plans at this time, we'll let you know."
- Literally two weeks later: they announce their tour, and they're playing at a different local club, having not even given us a chance to bid.
That kind of shit happens constantly, but the next one was particularly awful:
- "Hey agent, I see your artist ___ is touring again. We hosted them last time, and we overpaid you and took a bath on that show, but we think they're great so we're willing to try again."
- We work out the details, agent says: "Great! We're confirmed! You can announce tomorrow!"
- "Hey, I was just about to announce the show, so why do I see that other-local-venue just announced this show on the same date?"
Yeah, we literally got an "oops" from the agent. Not a "sorry". Not, "I can't believe I fucked up like that, I'll totally make it up to you." But "oops".
The FM-84 + The Midnight show was both very good, and sold out, though, so there's that! I'm glad synthwave is catching on.
Here's what else you missed:
Most notably, this means that DNA Pizza gets an upgraded oven. The newer oven from Codeword was both smaller and yet higher capacity than our old oven. It also seems to hold its heat more consistently, and I think the pizza crusts are coming out with a better crispiness. Let us know what you think!
We also swapped a bunch of other gear: coolers, refrigerators, amps, speakers. But one refrigerator in particular... oh, man.
The fridge on the back wall of the pizza bar, underneath the alcohol shelves, has been flaky for years. It was here when we moved in, and we've had to repair the compressor repeatedly. So it was time to swap it out for a new one. We thought we could sell the old one, since the countertop appeared to just be sitting on top of it, so the plan was: tear off countertop, slide old fridge out, slide new fridge in.
Apparently when some previous tenant originally built this bar, what they did was, they bolted a steel frame to the floor and then welded the refrigerator to that. That is some unprecedented confidence in the lifetime of a refrigerator. So we had to tear the thing apart to get it out.
But also: you may have noticed that the back bar was at a jaunty angle. For some insane reason, they decided to angle the fridge, making the counter way deeper than it would ever need to be, and also leaving a 2'×4' triangular void between the fridge and the wall. It was completely hidden and inaccessible under the counter... but apparently not water-tight.
Also there's a floor drain back there. Equally hidden and unreachable, and completely blocked. This is apparently where the beer taps were draining.
I will spare you the photos of what we found there, but someone said, "I think that's the same stuff that was in the microwave at the end of Time Bandits."
Devon accidentally stepped into the drain. He had to throw that shoe away. I'm surprised he didn't burn it. And his foot. And maybe the whole leg, just to be safe.
So that could have maybe, just maybe, been a part of our fruit fly problem, do you think?
Wheels! All kitchen and bar equipment on wheels! Always!
That's it, Codeword is closed. RIP CW Nov 2015 Jul 2017.
Thanks to all of the promoters who made a go of it, to the customers who actually showed up, and to all of our staff who put up with this disaster.
(I'm trying not to be overly negative or cynical here, but hey, they say write what you know.)
By the numbers:
Total DJs: 522
Total bands: 94
Total guests: about 25,000
That comes out to an average of about 275 guests a week, which is less than half of what we would have needed for the business to break even.
I just put the website into permanent cryosleep. I've never had to do that with a web site before.
It's strange to think that if there's any lasting legacy at all to the work we put in there over the last two years, it might be only the few weeks of research that I spent building the calendar and flyer archive of the Covered Wagon Saloon days.
We are packing up and moving out on Monday and Tuesday. This means that DNA Pizza on Eleventh Street will be closed on Tuesday, since we're moving the (newer, better) pizza oven from Codeword over to the Eleventh Street location, and that's a pretty time consuming process, including needing to give the old oven six hours to cool down first.
In all this time, only one person that I know of discovered the hidden meaning of the Codeword logo, and I gave him a big hint first. I guess I'll just leave it like that. No spoilers.
Anyway, once more into the breach. Long Live DNA Lounge.
Fourth Annual Cocktail Robotics Grand Challenge is coming up this Sunday, July 16! Come for the Mad Science, stay for the cocktails! Or maybe the other way around! I don't even know! This is one of my favorite events that we do all year. You must come.
On the agenda so far:
- Beerbot: It follows...
- Chassis: Shiny and mobile!
- Schrödinger's Martini: A superposition of wet and dry!
- N. E. BREE-8: Three Laws Compliant!
- Steve the Bartending Robot
- TikiTron: Prepare your sacrifice!
- Tipsy Train: LEGO of your inhibitions!
- Whiskeyball: The excitement of Skee-Ball and cocktails!
Not all of them have sexy glamour shots, but here are a few:
Also! if you are planning to come to the FM-84 & The Midnight show this Friday, you should buy tickets now, because it is definitely going to sell out. Hooray!
So it's a big, bright deal when representatives of 10 of our biggest indie dance parties -- Popscene, Club Leisure, Fringe, The Queen is Dead, Harder Better Faster Stronger, Last Nite, Club Gossip, Boy Division, Turbo Drive, and Indie Cent DJ -- come together for a huge quarterly blowout called Hotline.
The first installment, back in March, more than fulfilled the dreams of anyone wishing to wig out to Grimes and Morrissey back-to-back. But the ongoing impetus of the party is a deep, community-minded mission to help save a classic part of SF nightlife.
"The idea for Hotline has been years in the making, but was really kicked into action when news that one of San Francisco's most beloved alternative dance clubs, DNA Lounge, might be in jeopardy of closing," DJ Blondie K, aka Kristin Graff, of the lovely Fringe party at Madrone Art Bar told me.
"There is a cult-like following for the small, neighborhood indie dance parties, and as fans of the music, DJs in this space are often supporting each other's events. I think we were all curious if we could join forces, combine our individual communities, and give them a large-scale night club experience celebrating the music we all love," Blondie K continued. "At the same time, we wanted to bring some attention and financial support to DNA Lounge.
Hopefully deliveries will be up and running again late next week. Initially we will be using Grubhub for deliveries (it turns out that they now do deliveries as well as ordering, which we didn't realize.) We are looking in to ways to supplement that with other delivery mechanisms as well, though, because they stop delivering at 11pm. As one of the tiny minority of 24 hour restaurants in San Francisco, we did a big chunk of our delivery business between midnight and 3am, and we'd sure like to continue doing that.
Here's a sad moment. We go through a huge number of paper tickets in this business, so we order them in large quantities, and well in advance. Well, last week it was finally time to crack open the new box of drink tickets...
And they are the new design, which includes the Codeword logo.
So we're going to be staring at that and being sad for the next year or so.
As for Codeword, we're still going through the depressing process of working out how to shut things down in an orderly manner, working out what equipment we want to bring over to DNA, what is sellable, etc. One of the things we definitely want to do is bring the (newer, better) pizza oven from CW to DNA. This is very involved, because pizza stones are notoriously fragile; the oven won't fit around the bar so it either has to go over it, or through the front window; and I don't yet have a straight answer on who's going to be responsible for disconnecting and reconnecting the gas without blowing up the building. So, it's a work in progress.
The most valuable thing over there is the liquor license, which we are allegedly in the process of selling, though there hasn't been any visible motion on that yet. The damned things are worth in the neighborhood of a quarter million dollars, and demand is high, but it takes months to complete the sale. And we've sure got some stuff we could spend that money on right now, let me tell you.
Some photos from recent shows... You may notice that this is not many galleries for the past month. That's because we're again having trouble getting reliable photographers. If that's you, drop us a note.