DNA Lounge opened on November 22, 1985!
Our hope had been to tag each of this year's events as being part of a year-long anniversary celebration, and then to do something huge on the actual anniversary. But then the world had other plans.
Just about one year ago, on our 34th anniversary, I wrote a blog post about what I feel makes DNA Lounge unique, and worth saving. Go give it a read, it stands up!
Go ahead, I'll wait.
If after reading that you're feeling all nostalgic for what the world used to be like, and what DNA Lounge used to bring you, now would be a great time for you to contribute to our Patreon or make a one-time donation so that we can hibernate through the pandemic and still be there for you when you're allowed to see shows again.
Please join us on Sunday afternoon at 2PM for the Cocktail Robotics webcast! We had originally planned to do this seventh annual event in back in July, but obviously that couldn't happen. So instead, we recorded brand new in-depth interviews and demos of some of the finest cocktail-making robots from previous years! You're gonna love it. Join us in the live chat.
Even if you don't feel like watching a video about cocktail robots -- you monster -- I recommend you tune in at least for the first five minutes for a brief presentation from yours truly on the occasion of the DNA Lounge anniversary.
Here's what else we've got this weekend:
We have upgraded our parklet for these plague times -- the new walls not only keep you away from the dread spittle of your friends and enemies, but the wind-breaking aspect also makes it significantly warmer out there, which is important since you can't go inside...
And tomorrow, Sunday, we're doing another Cyberdelia! Kidhack, Tripp and Netik bring the Hackers beats, and we're setting up head-to-head Wipeout games out in the parklet, projected on the front wall.
No skate ramps this time, and unfortunately the olympic-sized swimming pool on the roof is closed for repairs. But we have pizza!
Also, I'm happy to report that our masks are back in stock! We have cleared up our shipping backlog, so if you order now... you'll get them pretty soon. They're pretty sweet masks. You should get some.
Please wear your masks. And cancel Thanksgiving. It's not getting better out there.
San Rafael restaurant Shiro Kuma Sushi is -- was -- doing to-go cocktails, as so many of us are. ABC ran a sting on them, and because an employee of Grubhub, not of the restaurant, didn't check ID when delivering, ABC is threatening the restaurant with a liquor license suspension.
Grubhub faces no consequences at all.
Oh, did I say "Grubhub employee"? I meant "independent non-employee contractor."
And Uber, Lyft, Instacart and Doordash spent $200 million to buy their own legislation to keep it that way. For comparison, Bernie Sanders spent $160 million on his 2020 national campaign for President. Uber spent $200 million on Prop 22 just in California, and they're coming for other states next.
Restaurant, GrubHub driver in trouble after undercover operation:
"I guess there was an order picked up by Grubhub that contained alcohol that was actually meant for an ABC sting," said Shigeyoshi.
The California ABC confirms the order was placed by an undercover decoy and that the Grubhub delivery driver delivered the alcohol from Shiro Kuma Sushi to a minor without carding that minor. [...]
"We received a complaint that delivery services were not checking identifications and as a result alcohol deliveries were going to places where there were minors," said California ABC Spokesperson John Carr.
"We received a complaint" is ABC's usual dodge, because their supposed policy is that "they only respond to complaints", so they just manufacture those as desired. Note that they don't even pretend here that the complaint was against this restaurant: just against "delivery services" in general.
The restaurant was given the option of a one year probation or hearing to determine the validity of the claim. Shigeyoshi says he agreed to the one year probation. "If something happens within one year we face a 15-day suspension and potentially fines," said Shigeyoshi.
"For ABC to conduct a sting like that not just targeting myself but targeting other restaurants especially during the pandemic is wrong," he continued. [...]
Subsequently, he says, "We took all the alcohol off any third party delivery service." "I can't trust that every single delivery driver will ID the customer," Shigeyoshi continued. [...]
While both the delivery driver and restaurant face consequences in a California ABC delivery decoy operation, the delivery app does not.
"We don't license the delivery services if we did they would be the ones held responsible but they don't have an alcoholic beverage license to sell," said Carr.
The California ABC says it prefers education over enforcement and posted industry advisories to its website in April and June. Also that it had conference calls with delivery companies.
"Prefers education." What a fucking lie. What a bunch of fucking vampires.
ABOLISH THE ABC.
I have nothing but sympathy for this restaurant, or anyone having ABC target them for abuse for no reason. We've gone through our own share of that over the years, and I can assure you, my vitriol toward that agency is white-hot and without bound. They are monsters. They are an abusive gang of thugs, propped up by prohibitionist, fundamentalist nutjobs like The Marin Institute and MADD, and are actively hostile to everyone in the industry that they supposedly regulate.
It's as if the Egg Council had a nakedly anti-egg agenda.
All that being said, please order our cocktails!
Pictured above: the Sazerac, Black Manhattan and Betelgeuse! They are delicious, and available for pick-up and delivery from DNA Pizza, every day from 4pm to 10pm.
No ABC agents, please.
On this, the 238th day of March 2020, you the people have once again declared DNA Lounge to be Best Nightclub in the 2020 Best of the Bay. Also making the list: your Best Dance Party is Death Guild! And of course, Best Burlesque: Hubba Hubba Revue!
Thank you all for your continued support!
Tonight we kick off Halloween week with some chiptunes: 8bitSF presents The Splatterhouse: "Paying tribute to the sights and sounds of classic horror games and films to get you into the proper October spirit. Our selection of retro-electro horror-themed music spans genres from chiptune/video game music, synthwave/darksynth, industrial/EBM, and more."
Tune in online, or come down in person to chill outside at our parklet: we will have tunes and video playing on the sidewalk, and DNA Pizza will be serving food and liquor until 10pm. We had a pretty good turnout for the parklet edition of Turbo Drive last night, so hopefully this will continue to be a thing, in this weird new world of ours...
Also of note, we're trying something new for this week's Turbo Drive: since the event starts at 7pm, we're going to be playing music out on the sidewalk, and wheeling out a big TV. So if you are looking for an excuse to get out of the house and socialize distantly, come on down and have a slice and a cocktail and hang out in the parklet... The restaurant serves until 10pm!
Hopefully as the city edges closer toward reopening, we will be doing this kind of thing more often. If it's popular, maybe it will make sense to extend DNA Pizza's hours later. We're also going to build some kind of structure with walls around the parklet and on the sidewalk, both to encourage distancing and for a wind break. That should appear some time within the next few weeks.
We also got some single-serving to-go cocktail jars to complement our bigger jars that are 3-4 servings each. Those are only available in person, though, not online.
Here's what our Halloween festivities look like:
- Tonight, Thursday Oct 22nd, 8pm:
Sound Alert: Classic Rave 1990-1994:
Focusing on the early years of the rave scene, the classics ofthe early 90s!
- Tomorrow, Friday Oct 23rd, 7pm:
The biggest, and longest running synthwave party in the world. Fire up your lasers and fog machine and dance along.
- Saturday, October 24th, 8pm:
8bitSF presents The Splatterhouse
Paying tribute to the sights and sounds of classic horror games and films to get you into the proper October spirit. Our selection of retro-electro horror-themed music spans genres from chiptune/video game music, synthwave/darksynth, industrial/EBM, and more.
- Monday, October 26th, 9:30pm:
Spooky-dance along from the safety of your own home!
- Tuesday, October 27th, 8pm:
Ambient Mafia presents BOO!
With DJs Sinukus, Redstickman, Speakeasy Ray & Cryptid. Join The Ambient Mafia, a Bay Area DJ collective operating for more than 20 years, for a spooky night of chill, trip-hop, and downtempo.
- Wednesday, October 28th, 8pm:
Alternative Decade: 1979-1989
Obscure 80s alternative rock, 80s modern rock, 80s synthpop and 80s new wave, live from the DNA Lounge Main Room!
- Thursday, October 29th: 8pm:
Star Crash: Halloween From Afar
A Streaming Synth Spooktacular featuring exclusive paranormal performances, spine-tingling special guests, creepy clips & vile videos by a macabre multitude of ghastly glamour ghouls. Free show, suggested donation of $10-20 to help us evade the grave...
- Friday, October 30th, 8pm:
Frank Oliver's Twisted Cabaret
This one's a little different: it's streaming live from the DNA Lounge main room, but it's a paid-only Zoom show. See the calendar for details.
- Saturday, October 31st, 7pm:
All Hallow's Eve!
It's our twentieth year throwing this party! Join us for some of our favorite DJs streaming live from the main stage, plus two sets of bewitching burlesque and skillful circus syrens!
- Friday, November 6th, 7:30pm:
Jain Dowe presents Apothecary Raree
A neovintage & Electroswing cabaret and dance party, this time with a Gothic Americana twist!
- Saturday, November 7th, 8pm:
The return of POP ROXX!
Back in the heyday of Indie Dance, there was a monthly, color-coordinated explosion called Pop Roxx! Join Pop Roxx alumni DJs Omar, Netik and Starr Noir for a virtual Pop Roxx Reunion! Dance The Explosion! The color is green.
We had our Seventh Annual Cocktail Robotics Grand Challenge scheduled for July 2020, but obviously that didn't happen due to the ongoing global shitshow. But, we're going to take a crack at an online version of it! We're going to record some demos and interviews with cocktail robot makers, and edit that into a mostly-pre-recorded webcast.
It will be show-and-tell only this year, since a contest doesn't really lend itself well to this format. The online-only format does, however, mean that we can open it up to more people, since you don't have to schlep your robot to San Francisco! So no matter what city you're in, if you have a cocktail-making robot that you'd like us to feature, send me an email!
We're aiming to do our first round of filming next Saturday afternoon, Oct 24. The process will be that we'll get Dr. Kingfish onto a video chat with you, and he'll interview you while you demo your robot. Pretty straightforward! Once we have those clips, plus some B-roll video that you provide, we'll have what we need to put the show together.
We've got a number of bots signed up so far, but we could always use more, so please spread the word!
Hopefully you can dust off your robot and get it up and running by Oct 24. If we have a lot of interest, we may add a second day of filming, but we'd really like to shoot all the clips at once.
We haven't nailed down the actual air date of the show itself, since I want to see how the shooting goes first. But hopefully it will be some time in November.
If you wanna bask in the glory of our past events, we've got videos! Oh, do we got videos...
First up, the happy news: for October, we have a bunch of new cocktails available for pick-up or delivery:
- Essence of Newt: Herradera blanco, Cointreau, Tamarin simple syrup, and lime.
- Beetlejuice: Bulleit rye, pears, a splash of cognac, simple syrup, Absinthe, and Peychauds bitters.
- Dark Ectoplasm: Pumpkin horchata and Kraken dark rum.
- Light Ectoplasm: Pumpkin horchata, sweet, sweet DNA Lounge Brand Vodka, and a splash of Kahlua.
Delivered in a mason jar, 3 or 4 servings each, depending on how you drink. Order now from dnapizza.com!
Next up: Press! The future! Doooooom!
Here's a recent article about a number of San Francisco venues and our Independent Venue Alliance: The price of survival: What's the future of San Francisco's indie performance spaces? I have a few zingers in here:
When I broach the topic of opening his location to an in-person audience, DNA Lounge owner Jamie Zawinski rejects the "completely, utterly impractical" idea.
"For us to have a small enough audience, plus enough staff to ensure that they are behaving safely, would mean the ticket price would have to be so ridiculously high that nobody would pay it," Zawinski said. DNA Lounge -- which has always livestreamed shows from its two stages for free on its official website -- has averaged three-five weekly shows since the pandemic began, including Vice Reine's monthly Star Crash electronic dance party.
"We are in the business of putting on sweaty concerts that cost $8-$20," he says. "Asking us to 'pivot' to seated dinner theater at $1,000-a-head is just not realistic.
As Zawinski bluntly puts it, "We all need material support, by which I mean money -- from city, state and federal sources. That's it. It's obvious, and it's not complicated. Without that, there are no more independent venues by the end of the pandemic."
BTW, the fact that Cheeto Mussolini and Kentucky Palpatine petulantly decided to cancel the second Federal stimulus package means that the Save our Stages provisions that were on track to be included in it are not happening, so all of your favorite venues are fucked, and independent music is dead.
Next up: FUCK UBER.
I hope you've all received your mail-in ballot by now, but if you haven't turned it in yet, please make sure you vote NO ON PROP 22. Look, this is all you need to know: If Uber wants it, it is evil, and you definitely want the opposite. Uber and Lyft just spent $180 million dollars on a PR blitz to convince you that they can't afford to pay their employees a living wage:
Uber, Lyft, Instacart and Doordash wrote Proposition 22 to create a special exemption for themselves from California law that requires app-based companies to provide basic protections to their workers. Now they're spending more than $180 million on Prop 22, the most expensive ballot measure in US history, to boost their profits by denying their drivers' right to a minimum wage, paid sick leave and safety protections.
Also, Instacart is requiring their employees (sorry, "non-employee independent contractors") to distribute pro-Prop 22 propaganda:
It's like fast food workers telling you vote against minimum wage before ordering, or attendants required to announce support for anti union politicians before flight. If this isn't illegal, it should be.
For the other propositions and candidates, Broke-Ass Stuart has a good guide.
And I shouldn't need to say this, but if you don't vote for Biden, you're voting for Fascism and very likely for the United States never having free elections again, so fucking vote Biden. Hold your nose if you have to, but do it. The endgame of your "protest vote" is my friends in camps.
How is it almost October already? Well, this means that it's time for The Guardian's Best of the Bay again, so vote for us, ok? It's kind of a weird poll to have at all this year... They say:
We wrestled with the idea of continuing Best of the Bay this year, with so many of our favorite spots struggling, shutdown, or permanently closed. In the end, we decided that it's essential to bring the community together to celebrate its resilience, pay respects to legends, and energize ourselves for the fight to continue. Please vote in the below categories for who or what you think deserves to win, even if that business is closed.
I suggested that the poll should only be open to businesses that closed this year, but I guess that's too dark.
Anyway, categories for your consideration:
- Best Streaming Show: DNA Lounge Live Webcast
- Best Takeout: DNA Pizza
- Best Pizza: DNA Pizza
- Best Overall Bar: DNA Lounge
- Best Dance Company: Hubba Hubba Revue
- Best Theatre Company: Hubba Hubba Revue
- Best Performance Space: DNA Lounge
- Best Live Music Venue: DNA Lounge
- Best Nightclub: DNA Lounge
- Best Dance Party: Bootie SF, Turbo Drive, Cyberdelia, So Stoked, Wasted, Sequence, Death Guild...
- Best Burlesque: Hubba Hubba Revue
New product alert!
Our Dazzle Masks are guaranteed to prevent the enemy from getting a lock on your heading and range!
Styled after the distinctive paint job in DNA Lounge's "Dazzle Room", itself based on the "razzle-dazzle camouflage" used on warships early in World War II, prior to the invention of Radar. Camouflage designed not to conceal but to confuse.
And every one of these masks is different: we have sixty-four different patterns, selected for you randomly!
They are of the same high quality construction as the Deluxe Masks: hand-made cotton twill masks with built-in over-the-nose wire. $25 each.
I expect these to be quite popular, so get your order in now! Our first batch is in stock, and we've already got a second run of them in production.
How DNA Lounge Is Keeping Sf Weird During The Pandemic:
The DNA Lounge webcast -- dnalounge.com/webcast/ -- has, for nearly 20 years, been piping audio and video of its live events onto the internet. Now, under the direction of general manager Devon Dossett, and with crews of dedicated producers, promoters, performers and techs, the club has significantly upgraded its webcast technology, and has transformed itself into a de facto television studio, for broadcasting live events from its stage to the world. [...]
Events so far have included live variety shows, projection-mapping artists, DJ parties with full club lighting and go-go dancers, and even an appearance by EDM luminary Shlump, on his way to perform at an outdoor, drive-in rave in Colorado. [...]
Hopefully better Federal leadership and real solutions will come soon, and we'll be able to return to live shows and live gatherings before it's too late for local venues and local live entertainment. In the meantime, DNA Lounge, and all its partners, are doing what they can to keep San Francisco's independent, non-corporate entertainment business alive and viable for the Bay Area's future.
SF Weekly spoke to a number of venues, including us, about our disparate, desperate efforts:
Trials & Innovations: Live Music During COVID-19.
Socially distanced shows, live streams, and new tech won't be enough.
Instead of going outdoors, DNA Lounge has responded to the pandemic by going online. Ever since reopening in 2001, DNA Lounge has made live-streaming events online a major part of the club's identity. [...] A little less than a week after the Red Room Orchestra played the Chapel, the DNA held their own music event: a quasi-live performance by chiptune and electronic band Crashfaster in which half the band filmed themselves playing, and then the other half performed over that prerecorded video. "They even had a friend of theirs record a performance of some laser equipment," Dossett says, a testament to the kind of creative thinking artists are putting into practice these days. [...]
However, as with the Red Room Orchestra show at the Chapel, Dossett says DNA's currently scheduled events aren't really about making money. It's just an attempt to keep nightlife alive during the pandemic. Live music, he says, is "vital to people's emotional wellbeing." [...]
The reality for musicians and venues alike, is that until touring returns -- until venues can open to full capacity and it is possible for bands to safely travel the country again -- both are going to be hurting. Badly. [...]
Back in June, the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) estimated that 90 percent of America's independent venues were likely to close during lockdown due to lost revenue. In July, Senators Amy Klobuchar (D) and John Cornyn (R) introduced to the Senate the Save Our Stages act (S. 4258). If passed, the bill would authorize up to $12 billion in grants for venues and industry workers from the Small Business Administration.
And The Examiner, as well:
SF clubs mix things up to avoid a last call Proprietors get creative with money-raising efforts during pandemic
"None of this is even remotely sustainable," says Zawinski. "So, like every other nightlife-related business, we're all just sitting here watching the clock tick and waiting for the money to run out." [...]
Club owners and managers all hang varying degrees of hope on the local Independent Venue Alliance, which represents and educates a group of over 20 mostly closed nightlife venues on state and federal funding initiatives. [...] But with little financial assistance from the government thus far or any clear-cut timeline as to when bars and clubs will be allowed to fully reopen, many remain forced to rely on limited patronage and donations from longtime customers.
As always, if you want to ensure that DNA Lounge will still be here for you once the pandemic is over, contribute to our Patreon or make a one-time donation. And buying some pizza or cocktails helps, too!