Well, our second Cyberdelia was a really fun party! With a pretty low turnout. In fact, even the two photographers we booked didn't show up, so we have the merest smattering of pictures from the event. Do you have any? Of course you don't, you didn't come. Well, you missed out, it was a great time. And I'm judging you. So hard. Because you ruined Christmas again.
Well, I pulled together a few photos from the webcast, and there are a couple of short videos I took. One of our costume contest prizes was a copy of the original Tank Girl soundtrack on cassette. Oh yeah.
But I wanted the first prize to be something else. See, the internet is full of horrible and terrifying things, and those things include the dildos of the animal kingdom. Since Tank Girl is a story about a girl who dates a kangaroo, I really wanted to give away a kangaroo dong -- they're about 2 feet long, S-shaped, and run about eighty bucks. But literally every shop that had them for sale -- and there are several -- was out of stock!
How about that.
Here are the ancillary videos I put together for the show: the pre-roll that ran while people were coming in and finding their seats; a video of notional coming attractions; and the video that ran during intermission.
My search history right now is s special gift to our friends at NSA.
Oh, also you'll see in the screen shots in the gallery that I added a karaoke sing-along crawl to the musical number in the movie. Never in my life did I expect that I would be downloading karaoke-making software, let alone in any kind of professional capacity.
(Did you know that the singing madam in Tank Girl is Ann Magnuson, the singer of Bongwater and also the first person that David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve murder in The Hunger? I just thought you should know that.)
I'm not sure if we'll be able to do this party again, though. Turnout was about 1/3rd of what it was last time, and that's not enough to justify giving it a Friday.
Hey, remember when we had that Cyberdelia: 20 Years of Hackers party back in October, and it was epic? Well, we're doing it again this Friday! Like last time, we're dressing up the club as the club from Hackers, including skate ramps, big-screen head-to-head Wipeout XL battles, a costume contest -- but this time instead of starting the evening by watching Hackers, we're watching Tank Girl instead!
Both "90s Cyber" and "Tank Girl" are considered valid in the costume contest, by the way.
Please spam your friends with the Facebook invite, ok? It being January, the time of year when everyone is afraid of fun, ticket sales have been low. (We are almost out of the reserved-seating tickets for the movie, though, so if you want to sit, get on that!)
In other news...
Sunday night, some human shitstain tagged the front of the DNA building with their initials in six foot high letters. I'm not going to show you a picture because that's probably what they want. We had the poor penmanship of this piece of garbage wrapped in skin painted over by the morning, but fuck, like this is what I want to be spending time and money on?
Codeword is still an unmitigated disaster, for all the reasons I whined about last time. It's kind of amazing how much debt you can rack up in just a few months of running a bar that doesn't have any events and that nobody wants to go to. At this point we're deep in triage and damage control mode, trying to prevent the Codeword boat-anchor from capsizing the good ship DNA. We're giving up on the Codeword location of DNA Pizza being 24 hours, at least until the spring. That will complicate things and possibly confuse customers, but -- on the plus side -- there aren't many of those customers. Oh wait that's not actually the plus side. But we just can't afford to subsidize it while waiting for people to discover that we're there.
It's been a constant effort to keep my cool when well-meaning friends can't help but "why don't you just" me, with suggestions that boil down to "throw some parties that people actually want to go to" or "spend a bunch of money on advertising and pray".
Now, if you have any friends who actually want to throw a party that people might actually want to go to, please send them our way. Terms are reasonable. It's a god damned fire sale over here.
An incident report we received this afternoon:
Hey guys, we had a super awesome tweaker come in this afternoon. He screamed at us wishing us a happy new year, said he loved us, grabbed his genitals and walked outside. He lingered outside for a few minutes and then left. I walked outside a few minutes ago and saw the vomit he left us on the ATM.
Welcome to Fragrant SOMA. I'll spare you the photo of the puke-soaked ATM. Here are some prettier photos instead:
It's been a while since my last update, but that's only because everything has been a disaster and I haven't felt like talking about it.
It's the worst time of the year for the nightlife industry -- basically, you can count on Halloween being great, and New Year's Eve being great, and absolutely everything in between the two being terrible, especially in December. Everybody is broke or traveling or anticipating same. You also can't do any promotion for things happening in January or February, because New Year's Eve is like the goddamned Singularity -- nobody can even imagine what's on the other side of it so they won't even think about that until it has happened.
So into this dead zone comes the new restaurant and bar, at the tail end of a very expensive construction project. We have run out our budget, even after having deeply triaged the project, saving lots of things to be done "later".
Business at the new restaurant has been terrible. Business at the new club has been beyond terrible. Like, the attendance on many nights has been so low that we lost money by being open at all.
We're not even getting much daytime business at the new restaurant, which I still feel should be a pretty good location for weekday lunch business. Some of this may be attributable to the fact that the place isn't very visible. The complete mess that the condo construction project next door has made of our sidewalk isn't helping (and that mess probably isn't going away for two or three years); and the fact that our outside signage is terrible and hard to see is definitely not helping -- but, there's currently no budget for better signs either.
This is the part where everyone starts gushing platitudes: "Oh, it's early days! It will pick up! It's December!" Yeah, I know, that is probably true. But opening a second 24 hour restaurant means that I've got like 20 or 25 additional employees now, and oddly enough, they'd all like me to pay them. Telling me, "I'm sure it'll be better in February" doesn't help with that whole "payroll" problem.
In addition to the increased number of staff, we still have a ridiculously high turnover in restaurant employees -- either because we keep firing people for being just plain really bad at their jobs, or because they quit for whatever reason. Every time you hire a new person, that person costs you like twice as much salary for a couple of weeks while they're being trained, so having a high turnover is really expensive. If we could find just like... ten really competent people who would actually stick around, that would be great.
In attendance-related news, we finally killed our weekly Tuesday party, Sequence. The attendance when Sequence was at DNA was terrible, so we moved it over to the more appropriately-sized room at Codeword, and the attendance there was even worse, so we finally just threw in the towel. We kept slogging away at it for so long because we just had to believe that there is demand out there for an 18+ weeknight dance party, since there are almost none of those in this town. If you're 20 and you want to go out on a weeknight in San Francisco, you're pretty much shit out of luck. But, no. The people have spoken and they're not interested. Bummer.
This last Saturday we did a one-off Death Guild over at Codeword. It was a fun party, and pretty well attended. And all of our staff, and most of our staff's friends, would love it if we just did that all the time, which means that this is a conversation I had repeatedly that night:
- "This is my first time here, and this is great! You should do this party always!"
"We can't. If we did, then you people, who spend your entire lives at Cat Club, would go there first and then come here, or vice versa. Which means everybody makes half as much money, and it's terrible all around."
"Oh, yeah, huh, I totally would do that."
That night I was talking to a friend and used the phrase "mainstream dance party", and my friend said, "you mean like, eighties?" Because that's what mainstream means to you when you're a 40something goth. My response may have been overly heated.
Well, here are some photos from a few events over the last couple of months.
Hey, did you know that last month was DNA Lounge's Thirtieth anniversary of its original opening, back in 1985? Yeah, neither did anyone else. About fourteen months ago we started brainstorming about what we could do to mark the occasion. Our hope was to have a full week of live shows of bands that merited a $30 ticket and that had some kind of connection to DNA history, or the 80s or 90s or both. I came up with a list of 30 or 40 ideas, and our booker came up with others, and after pushing at this for a year, you know what we ended up with? Fucking Everclear. And that was a coincidence anyway. So we just ignored the whole thing. [Insert party noisemaker sound here.]
By the way, how is Second Life still a thing?
Here's something for you to chew through on Thanksgiving: I posted a collection of old flyers from Covered Wagon Saloon, Annie's Social Club and Cherry Bar. It's very incomplete -- I only have about 150 so far -- but it's a start.
It was quite the process to gather these. I dredged through Google Images, eBay, some poster merchants and a Facebook group or two. Attaching the proper date to the images was the hard part, since flyers rarely have the year on them, and, for example, January 28 fell on a Saturday in 1989, 1995, 2006 and 2012.
Sometimes you can tell 1989 from 1995 by the fonts, but not always, so I ended up googling birth and death dates of bands to narrow it down. But even that doesn't help much for a lot of these, because apparently punk bands are immortal and Wikipedia lists every one of them as "1982-present".
Anyway, a lot of these images are horribly low quality. If you have originals of these (or others) sitting around in a box in your basement, please aim your phone at them and send me a high resolution version, ok?
There's a similar archive for old DNA Lounge flyers, but you already knew that.
There's also a small gallery of the Codeword opening night. It is such a relief to finally have that place open, but we still have so much left to do. We were deeply into triage by the time we opened: my mantra was, "If X wasn't done, would we delay opening just for that? Then let's do X later." Still, I think it's coming together pretty nicely.
In the last couple of weeks, we've hired 20 people... and 13 of those still work here. So, you know, if you're looking for restaurant shifts...
This morning's game of Bureaucrat Signature Whack-a-Mole did not go exceptionally well. We passed our final-final-final health inspection, after a few adjustments, and our contractor did actually manage to fill up all the signature slots on the bingo card, but after that, you need Planning to sign the card certifying that it has been signed ("This is your receipt for your husband... and this is my receipt for your receipt.") But they want to do that on site instead of letting us come to their office, so we needed to make an appointment for that... and it was already 4pm so everyone had already gone home.
Oh, and Wednesday is fucking Veterans' Day, so the entire government is shut down.
So lack of one signature cost us two days of business.
Oh, and ABC is still jerking us around too. That paperwork they got on Friday? Absolutely zero progress on that on Monday, or Tuesday, and now Wednesday. Who knows what Thursday will bring.
Anyhow, hope springs eternal, and we have rescheduled our Tuesday Sequence opening party for Thursday instead.
I don't regret setting this somewhat ambitious opening date, though, because I am very confident that if I had set the opening date at two weeks from now, our bureaucrats would still have found a way to make everything take several days longer than that.
We did make a beta pizza in the new oven tonight, though. It was good. Our kitchen works. Yay.
Today much running around was done, many forms were filled, many permit-fee checks were written... We had our final fire inspection, and we learned that while last week we had what we were told was our final-final health inspection, we have to have our final-final-final health inspection tomorrow. And to do that, the 27 B Stroke Six has to be stamped, and the receipt initialed, before 9:30 AM. But we can only pick up the 27 B Stroke 6 after 8 AM, and the people who have to do the signing and stamping are not available after 8:30 AM. And are four floors away. So that's going to be fun.
We are told that the ABC paperwork made its way from San Francisco to Sacramento on Friday, so something "should" have happened today, but we don't get to learn whether that is the case until some time tomorrow.
And, the distributors aren't allowed to deliver to us without the ABC permit, so we may be hooking up all the kegs mere minutes before pouring them.
So maybe we'll be open Tuesday evening like we've been telling everyone? Or maybe we won't be open for days. Who can tell.