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.
State Senator Scott Wiener is introducing legislation that would allow bars and restaurants to serve alcohol until 4AM:
Wiener's bill would give local jurisdictions control over whether their bars and restaurants can extend their last call.
"This bill is long overdue," Wiener said. "Right now in California, we have a one-size-fits-all statewide mandate, regardless if you are a small-town suburb of San Francisco or in downtown L.A." [...]
Those who support Wiener's bill say it will stimulate the state's economy and make cities like San Francisco more attractive tourist destinations. It will also help communities decide what is best for them, because what works in the Mission or Union Square -- areas with a high concentration of bars and restaurants -- may not work for more residential areas like the Sunset or Richmond districts, said Juliana Bunim, spokeswoman for the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. [...]
Jamie Zawinski, owner of DNA Lounge, a club that has experienced major financial hardship over the past few months, said being able to extend its hours would significantly help the business. [...]
Michael Scippa, director of public affairs for Alcohol Justice, a San Rafael nonprofit advocacy, research and policy organization, said it is a "foolish plan" that prioritizes alcohol revenue over public safety.
Scippa said that Alcohol Justice takes a lot of credit for killing Leno's bill in 2013 and that the organization will come out with "guns blazing" for Wiener's bill.
Wiener's 2012 economic impact study on nightlife in San Francisco showed that it is a $4.2 billion dollar industry. Anything we can do to make the nightlife industry more successful will inevitably put more tax dollars in the city's coffers.
This would be great for tourism, the convention industry, hotels, and all aspects of nightlife.
Sadly, though, I'm not hopeful that this will succeed. Extending last call has been tried before, and the prohibitionists have managed to defeat it every single time.
This prohibitionists in question tend to be The Marin Institute and Mothers Against Drunk Driving. These are extremely well-funded and well-connected organizations whose sold purpose is to criminalize use of alcohol by any means at their disposal. I wrote about them back in 2009 when they were pushing for an increased alcohol tax.
These "temperance organizations" have such enormous influence not only because they are so well funded by prohibitionists and fundamentalists, but because it's very hard for politicians to oppose them without looking like monsters who eat children. Politicians are all about saving face, and all these people have to do is trot out their propaganda photos of dead children and say, "but if we can save just one child, wouldn't it all have been worth it?"
Senator Leno introduced legislation in 2013, SB 635, attempting to allow some CA cities to have a 4AM last call. That was defeated by not getting the 6 votes it needed in the Senate.
In 2004, the SF Board of Supervisors (via Aaron Peskin) passed a resolution "urging" the CA Legislature to allow San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles (and those cities alone) to decide what their own hours of alcohol service should be, without changing the law anywhere else in the state.
Even that modest proposal was shot down by the State Assembly, who didn't even allow it to make it out of committee. At the time, John Wood of SFLNC said:
While San Francisco officials were heavily in support of the bill, statewide anti-alcohol groups lined up against AB 2433, claiming that it would lead inevitably to later last call in other parts of the State. [...]
In addition, testimony from a mother of a person killed by a drunk driver clearly made the legislators uncomfortable in voting for the legislation. [...] Many democratic legislators left the room after the Mother Against Drunk Drivers testimony and did not vote, so there were not enough votes to move the bill out of committee.
But, we keep trying!
Speaking of our fundamentalist, dystopian cyberpunk future, Cyberdelia photos are up now. HACK THE PLANET!
During our screening of HACKERS, the intermission began with this unscheduled interruption from notorious video terrorists RAZOR AND BLADE, where they discussed our Patreon!
Also, if you arrived late and missed the trailers before the movie, these are what I put together this time. A couple people asked me, "Are all of those movies real?" Yes. Yes they are.
So then this happened:
Go ahead and get those "Hacking the Gibson" jokes out of your system now. I found this even more unsettling than the fact that these days I get most of my morning updates on Trump's march toward the looming cyberpunk dystopia from this gentleman's RTs.
Photos will be forthcoming, but in the meantime, here's what our head-to-head Wipeout XL rig looked like with the elusive PS1 link cable:
We had a really good time filming this:
That's Cyberdelia, Tuesday Feb 14!
- A screening of Hackers at 8pm;
- 90s electronica dance party to follow;
- Hackers costume contest at midnight;
- Head-to-head Wipeout XL competition throughout the night;
- Interactive VR Demos;
- Skate ramps! Rollerblades welcome!
If you're in town for the RSA conference, do stop by B Sides, the legit hacker con we are hosting at DNA Lounge this week. Look around for the B Sides Cyberdelia discount code!
And if you're thinking "but but Valentine's Day", here are some clips to remind you that it's totally a date movie:
Please help us spread the word about this one. Our events almost never get covered in the local press and blogs. This time, I even paid someone to write a press release about Cyberdelia, and the collective media response was "Meh."
Last week we had a Harry Potter Party, which was absolutely packed! The promoters' original ambition for this party was fairly modest: they were going to hand out masks and give out a costume prize and that's about it, but when we saw how well tickets were selling, we figured it deserved a bit more than that, and the gang spent two or three days decorating the hell out of the place and constructing props like "Quidditch Beer Pong". It was a lot of fun! Almost everybody who came made at least some effort at costuming, which is always great to see. We will certainly be doing the Potter Party again. A sold out party on a Thursday? Yes please.
We've also been brainstorming about what other similar pop culture parade we could get in front of. I think the sweet spot might be "I was into it when I was 12, and it's still popular today, so the 'sexy costume' version of it makes me feel all funny inside."
Someone left a pretty entertaining message on the payphone that night. Listen! Nobody ever leaves messages on the payphone. You should drunkenly babble at the payphone. Yes, you. It is your confessor. It already knows. But it wants to hear you say it.
Important news! We're doing CYBERDELIA again!
- A screening of Hackers at 8pm;
- Hackers costume contest at midnight;
- Head-to-head Wipeout XL competition throughout the night;
- Skate ramps! Rollerblades welcome!
We're doing it on a Tuesday, which is a little odd, but that puts it right in the middle of the RSA conference, a massive computer security and cryptography convention at Moscone, and immediately after the B Sides conference happening at DNA on the 12th and 13th. B Sides is a community-run and more technical and political reaction to RSA, and we've happily hosted it since 2013. Anyway, doing a Hackers party during a hacker con seems like a solid plan. (If you're going to B Sides, keep a lookout for the Cyberdelia discount code.)
That Tuesday also happens to be Valentine's Day. You might be thinking, "Wait, Hackers isn't a date movie", but if you're thinking that you're probably dating the wrong people, my friend. Also the plot of the movie itself is totally romantic comedy material. Kate is so mean to that sad-sack Dade. I put together a few short promo videos proving this that I'll be posting on the InstaTwitBooks over the next few days. Here's the first one:
Anyway, that's only two weeks from now! Get your tickets now, because the reserved seating for the movie will go fast.
(Also, Hack the Planet.)
Speaking of the InstaTwitBooks, we have a set of Tumblrs for our various accounts now. Someone who seems to know things told me that Tumblr is getting more popular again as people look for alternatives to Facebook. Since I just created them a few days ago, they all have zero followers right now, so how if you use Tumblr, how about giving us a like or a share or two? Our new Tumblrs are: DNA Lounge, DNA Pizza, Codeword SF and ROT13. The full matrix is now:
All of our social media accounts except Facebook have pretty low follower accounts, and I don't particularly know what to do about that. "Be more interesting!"
Our Patreon is still doing nicely, but it pretty much stopped growing a week or two ago. I'm not entirely sure what to do about that, either. What should we do to promote it? Beats me.
I'm also curious about what the public reaction is to the Donate buttons I spammed all across the site, like atop the calendar. We are definitely getting some donations, but is it too intrusive? People tolerate Wikipedia's far more intrusive begging, though, so I'm guessing the answer is no. I always wonder if different words would make people open their wallets faster.
Anyway, give us your money so we can stay open. Thanks.
If you'd like to help in non-financial ways, we're having what Arlo has called a "primping party" on Wed, Feb 8, from noon until well into the evening. As he put it:
Like any other high traffic space, DNA requires a lot of upkeep and maintenance. It takes a fair amount of time with there's ony one or two of us tackling it, but with more hands, the work becomes much lighter!
Please join us for a day of minor hammering, some possible drilling and a fair amount of scrubbing and painting. Rumor has it there'll also be periodic pizza and beer.
To be informed of other exciting hand-dirtying opportunities like this, you can join the DNA Lounge Street Team Facebook group.
The Bay Bridged wrote a great Hubba Hubba Revue review, including some very nice words about our current predicament: Hubba Hubba gets pulses racing with Soviet! (Also I really like saying "Revue review".) It was a great show as always. One of the props that they put up were a bunch of old Soviet flags. We left them up. My plan is to leave them up until Trump is impeached.
Keiko, the singer of Crashfaster, has volunteered to do a cool project on our behalf: she wants to put together a free monthly compilation album as a gift to our Patreon contributors. She says: "I'm calling on all artists who have benefitted from this space - whether you've played a show, enjoyed an event, made new friends, or ate too much pizza - to contribute a song or two for what I'm hoping is going to be a monthly ongoing compilation."
I think that's awesome! If you're interested, you can sign up here.
Have you joined the DNA Lounge Street Team group on Facebook? We've got about a hundred people who have joined so far, and to better understand what they/you are willing and able to help out with, we posted a little poll there the other day. It will help if we know what your special skills are. Also, you can add new entries to the poll if you think of something we've left out.
Sunday was the first night of a new event at Codeword: Noise Complaint is an all ages showcase of local punk bands. Every Sunday, just $5. You may have noticed that like half of the DNA Pizza staff are in punk bands. So yeah, we just turned over the place to them. The first one went really well and had a great turnout!
That was also our first live show at Codeword, but of course, the CW space has a long and storied history of punk rock.
Hey look, photos: