Ok, first of all, please vote NO on the stupid Republican recall of Newsom. I am no Newsom fan, but if the recall succeeds we're going to have a batshit insane horse-paste MAGA radio host who doesn't believe in vaccines in charge of the world's 5th largest economy. And that would be bad, mmmkay?

Apparently only 24% of the mailed ballots have been returned. It's sitting right there on your desk. Vote NO, mail it. The ballot only has two questions on it, and the second one doesn't matter.

Second!

It's Best of the Bay time again. Vote for us! Categories for your consideration:

  • 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
and
  • Nightclub trying hardest to keep you alive during a global pandemic: DNA Lounge

Ok, that last one isn't a real category, but it should be.

Attendance is still way down, and that seems to be city-wide, not just us.

There have also been a lot of "lineup changes" due to DJs and bands being unvaccinated -- again, not just us: whole tours being cancelled because now they can't play in California. Several times we've had an email exchange with an agent: "Everyone's vaccinated, right?" A week of silence. "Everyone's vaccinated, right?" And repeat. Then the day before the show, "Soooo, it turns out..."

So that's great.

But as for attendees: our impression has been that most of our unvaccinated customers were not horse-paste MAGA lunatics, but were merely lazy and inconsiderate. They didn't particularly oppose getting vaccinated, they just hadn't bothered. But once it inconvenienced them personally, suddenly they were really interested in getting that shot.

A full year of lockdown, six months of wide vaccine availability, and almost 700,000 dead in the US alone didn't do it, but not being able to go see a DJ was the final straw. Ok, I'll take it.

So if these folks only made their first vaccination appointment after they were denied entry to a bar, how long until they're fully vaccinated and we can take their money again?

  • July 30th: DNA Lounge started requiring proof of vaccination.
  • August 6th or 13th: Most other clubs did, too.
  • August 20th: It became legally required.

If you get one of the two-shot vaccinations, you need three or four weeks between shots, and you are not fully vaccinated for two more weeks. J&J is two weeks total, but most vaccination sites are using the two shot versions.

So if these folks first got turned away at the door on the weekend of July 30th, and got their first shot that week, they'll be fully vaccinated by the weekend of September 17th.

But maybe they first got turned away from a club on Aug 20th instead, and then it most likely took them another week or two before they decided that this was not a fluke and they really did need to take care of their problem if they ever wanted to party again. That puts us at October 1st.

So we've got at least another month of this crap to put up with.

On a related note, I've been hearing persistent anecdotes that many SF bars are clubs are being extremely lax about checking vaccination status, and that several of the larger dance clubs aren't checking at all. To those people I say: shame on you. Do you not want this to be over??

Sigh.

As far as indoor-masking compliance, people have been getting a lot better about it. We still constantly have to nag them, though. Unsurprisingly, mask compliance at So Stoked is pretty much 100% (it was a part of the raver costume already). At the dubstep parties it's a lot lower, and at Bootie it's like "Mask? What is mask, I have not heard this word." We're getting there, though.

Yo, check it. Friday, Sep 17. CYBERDELIA!

It's the 26th Anniversary of HACKERS, so it's that time again!

  • A screening of Hackers at 7pm;
  • Hackers costume contest at 10:30pm;
  • Head-to-head Wipeout XL competition throughout the night;
  • Skate ramps! Rollerblades welcome!

Featuring the Big Beat and Techno stylings of Synthetix, G.A.M.M.A., Kidhack, Tripp (and his Big Ass Touchscreen) and in Above DNA, Joey Beltram and more!

We're getting a bit of a late start on the promo for this one, and unlike previous editions of this party, there's no computer security conference in town on the same week for us to piggyback on, and oh yeah, global pandemic. So please do what you can to spread the word!

Oh, did someone say flu shot?

Reserved seating for the movie is extremely limited, so get your tickets now...

As we speak, I am slaving over the hot floppy drive, burning disks and stickering them for the now-traditional extremely overpriced and overengineered Cyberdelia Floppy Disk Flyers. The things I do for you people.

Remember! You can help us keep our costs down by participating in our FLOPPY DISK AMNESTY PROGRAM! That's right, surrender your used 3.5" floppies at the club and through the magic of transubstantiation I will convert them into sweet-ass Cyberdelia promo material.

And this lovely poster is for sale!

24-Aug-2021 (Tue)
Wherein we've got photos

Hey, how about a photo round-up post? I haven't done one of those in like a year and a half. Here are most of our galleries from July and August. It's kind of a lot!

Sequence: Monxx
Moombahton y Reggaeton
Street Fever
Secret Psychedelica
WAP
Turbo Drive: Destryur

Hubba Hubba
Secret Psychedelica
Pow x9
Star Crash: Great Highway + Ryan Flynn + Ponyskull
So Stoked: Summer of Love
Underground Sessions

Hobo Johnson
FSTVS: Lick
Hubba Hubba: Summer Camp
Glüme + Orion + Desire
Turbo Drive: Tonebox + Prxzm
Hoodslam
I particularly enjoy these time-lapse videos of the wrestling ring being set up and torn down:


We had a show booked for next week with Flotsam and Jetsam, Suburban Paranoia and Rage of War, and then we learn that several members of Flotsam and Jetsam are unvaccinated. That's right, they are on tour, traveling through who-knows-what COVID-19 hotspot hellholes, and they're not vaccinated.

But wait, the story gets stupider.

We ask their agent, "So, are they planning on getting vaccinated?" He says he's not sure. Which means we can't even reschedule the show for a later date when they have their shit together, we have to just cancel. Great.

So then after cancelling, we also learn that one of the members of Suburban Paranoia was unvaccinated "because his doctor recommended against it". Uh huh.

Meanwhile, support act Rage of War was talking shit about their own show on Facebook, saying that our vax policy was going to "kill the turnout" and that "at least people will 'feel' safe..... right lmfao"

And then...

Wait for it...

Now one of the members of Rage of War has been hospitalized with COVID-19.

In the Before Times I probably would have been feeling some kind of schadenfreude about this, but I don't. It's just tragic and sad and stupid and completely avoidable and I want it to stop!

If you want to feel terrible about the state of the world, just read the comments on this Blabbermouth article about the cancellation. Apparently it's a "poison jab" and we're "commie libturds" when we're not "nazis". Good to know that that the metal community still has that same old MAGA problem. Good job everybody.

We have another metal show coming up tomorrow, with Lich King, and as far as I know, everyone involved is vaccinated. So, fingers crossed on that. But that's only after we had to kick Helsott off of that bill for being unvaccinated. They tell us that their name means "Fatal Illness" in Old Norse, and while I appreciate their commitment to the bit -- guys, you're taking it too far.

By the way, before you comment here telling me to "do my own research" about drinking bleach or whatever, let me remind you that as of yesterday it is the law that all customers, performers and staff be vaccinated.

That had already been our policy for some time. It just took the law a while to catch up. But at least now I get to stop arguing about it.

(I've posted most of this before over the years, but it's time for some updates.)


So you're performing at DNA Lounge, or booking a show here. Great! We want people to come to the show. To accomplish that, we want to tell people who are unfamiliar with the artists why they should attend.

For that, we need blurbs.

Here are the DNA Lounge Rules For Writing a Blurb That Does Not Suck:

The target audience of these blurbs is a potential customer who is not familiar with the artist, and who is trying to decide whether they would enjoy this show.

So please do include things like:

  1. What genre of music do they play?
  2. How would one describe their music? Quotes from reviews in the press are great here. Failing that, influences or other performers that they sound like.
  3. Names of previous projects, if any.
  4. If there's something special about their stage show or instrumentation, mention that. (People want to have some sense of, "Am I going to see a full band, or some guy standing behind a laptop?")

Things that are OK to include, but that we feel are not like to cause someone to attend the show, are:

  1. Where are they from,
  2. What other bands have they played with recently;
  3. Did someone say something nice about their latest album.

If you have answered at least questions 1-3 in paragraph form, you will have written a decent blurb. Congratulations!

Things that you should not include in a blurb are:

  1. That they are performing at DNA Lounge;
  2. The date that they are performing at DNA Lounge;
  3. Also performing are "X, Y and Z" or "On tour with X, Y and Z".
  4. "Don't miss this great show", "be there or be square", "please please please attend", etc., etc.

We've already established that they're playing here, on what date, with whom, and it should go without saying that we'd like people to show up. Don't just repeat all of that in sentence-form.

Also please omit:

  1. They have been remixed by XYZ;
  2. They have "caught the attention of" XYZ;
  3. They were played on radio station XYZ;
  4. Last year they toured with XYZ;
  5. They have ten zillion streaming plays;
  6. They won an award (unless it's a Grammy or something).

Tell people why they will like them, not a list of other people who like them.

Nobody in the history of ever has said to themselves, "Well I wasn't going to come to that show, but now that I have read that they have ten zillion streams, I have changed my mind."

And to illustrate how this can all go wrong, here are some egregious examples of blurbs that we have been sent, mildly censored to protect the guilty. These are all terrible in that they do not communicate anything that would make someone attend the show if they weren't already planning to.

If your blurb sounds like one of these, your blurb is bad and you should feel bad.

  1. The "Come to this party, it will party more than any party has partied" blurb:

    Join us on DATE at DNA Lounge for PARTY, featuring all the new rising Bay Area talent! This month come check out up and coming dubstep sensation SOMEONE! Also joining us will be SOMEONE ELSE and many other local artists that are ready to lay down some heavy bass lines and fat beats.

  2. The "I will assert greatness without saying anything" blurb:

    Three Bay Area GENRE bands, A, B and C, come together under one roof at DNA Lounge for an incredible showcase on Thursday, SOME DATE. Expanding the beautiful realm between SOME GENRES, these hand-picked bands push the boundaries of buzz bands right through to the bigger picture: great indie music, created by lovers of great indie music.

  3. The "appeal to authority" blurb:

    BAND is the name of CITY's AGE-year-old producer, REAL NAME. NAME works out of his bedroom creating his unique brand of music. His music has been featured on LONG LIST OF WEB SITES YOU DON'T READ and many more. His breakout album has gained worldwide praise and attention from superstars like THREE FAMOUS PEOPLE and many more. Don't miss this rare showcase of raw talent!

  4. The "I plagiarized this directly from Wikipedia" blurb:

    BAND is an American GENRE band that was formed in CITY in YEAR.

    Yeah, I'm gonna stop you right there. The Wikipedia house style is intentionally dry and stultifyingly boring, and while it may communicate certain facts, it will not convince anyone to come to a show.

  5. This one's evocative, I guess, in that I can actually smell the dirty scalp and ball-sweat and skunk-weed just from reading it:

    DUDE has been in the right place at the right time. The avid skater met esteemed workaholic producers WHO? and WHO? at a 2007 PARTY in CITY and later became immersed in CITY'S weekly hot spot CLUB, witnessing the SOME DJs tear it up on the regular. An INJURY forced DUDE to take a year off from skating, which allowed him to focus on his music. He eventually ended up rooming with WHO? and WHO?, absorbing the rampaging, wonkily funky sounds he heard in his living space and then peace-ing them out into more blissful configurations.

  6. The "exhaustive timeline and list of members" blurb:

    BAND was founded by DUDE and OTHER DUDE in 2004 as an outlet for experimenting with electronic music. With the addition of THIRD DUDE in 2005, BAND released their first album WHATEVER on the WHO CARES label in 2006. After several weeks of topping SOME INDUSTRY CHART YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF and a handful of shows in the U.S. and Mexico, BAND went on a long hiatus while DUDE starting putting together material that would advance and not copy other electronic music. In 2010 ANOTHER DUDE joined BAND and the genre-bending album WHATEVER was written and conceived. Upon the release of THAT AGAIN in 2011 BAND divided audiences and critics.

    ...and it goes on like this for three more paragraphs.

In summary, blurbs are a land of contrasts. It is difficult to write a good one. Writing about music is hard. Writing about yourself can be even harder. But getting it right will help the shows attract new fans and succeed, so you gotta do it.

Today Mayor Breed announced that San Francisco will be requiring both proof of full vaccination and masks in bars, restaurants, and basically all indoor settings.

This is great news. We've been doing this already, but having legal backing behind it makes our jobs easier and the arguments shorter.

I guess this just how things work now, huh? We on the front lines have to decide what to do to keep ourselves safe, and then some time later the Mayor pops up and says, "Where are my people going that I may lead them?"

Some good news from the Mayor's new mandate: it does not allow a loophole like showing a negative test result from half a week ago. With the short incubation period of the Delta variant, accepting negative tests was a dangerously irresponsible thing to do. People can be asymptomatic but infectious for several days before a test will return positive.

Some bad news: the new mandate says that a photo of your CDC card is good enough. This policy is foolish, as such photos are trivial to fake. Consequently, DNA Lounge will still be requiring your original CDC vaccination card (not a copy), or the CA DPH vaccination QR code from myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov.

In wider news, multinational superpredator AEG has announced that they will also be requiring proof of vaccination at all of their shows. Which is good, as far as it goes. But sadly, they are still allowing "medical and religious exemptions", so that pretty much brings the whole thing back down to "honor system", and we've seen how well that has been working. The virus doesn't care about your allergy or religious derangement, infectious is still infectious.

(AEG, you may recall, is the the $11 billion corporation owned by a fundamentalist, homophobic, climate change denier that owns Coachella and Bottle Rock, and through their Golden Voice subsidiary runs The Warfield, Regency, Social Hall, Great American, etc.)

Multinational superpredator Live Nation ($13 billion owner of TicketMaster, Masonic, Fillmore, etc.) is leaving the decision up to the headlining artists, which is to say, they are doing nothing at all.

And rounding out the corporate triad, Another Planet (Outside Lands, Bill Graham, Greek, Fox, Independent) are requiring vaccination but still allow a negative test (prior to the mandate, at least.)

Anyway, how's things? Things are not great.

Our attendance over the last two weeks was way down. We were feeling a brief glimmer of optimism in June and July, but that has been duly squashed. This slump isn't solely because we began turning away the unvaccinated: presales were dramatically down too. It is simply that a lot fewer people have been going out. Whether that's because they're afraid, or unvaccinated, is hard to tell.

We and our promoters have also been having the fun time of discovering that a number of DJs and bands, even ones currently engaged in national tours, are unvaccinated, and so we've had to replace them on the bill. I mean, I guess it's good information to have about them -- "you are a dangerous idiot" -- when the time comes to consider booking them again in the future.

Anyway, we do have some good stuff coming up this weekend, and I hope we'll see your (vaccinated, masked) faces at some of these shows.

Tomorrow is our first Mortified in 18 months! Get your seated tickets... and if you're worried about it being crowded, uh, it's looking like you needn't worry about that.

Also, Saturday's Hubba Hubba Revue is having a "Best Mask Contest". We use all parts of the buffalo.

And I'm really looking forward to Glüme, Orion and Desire this Sunday, and so should you.

Sequence: Boogie T, Tonight
Mortified: Friday
Lick, Friday
Hubba Hubba Summer Camp, Saturday

Bootie, Saturday
Secret Psychedelica, Saturday
Glüme, Sunday
Grimefest, Thursday

This weekend we began requiring proof of full vaccination for all customers. It sucks. We're not happy about this, but this is the only way that we can keep our staff, our families and our customers safe from this ongoing pandemic which is very much not over.

Let's get this part out of the way first. These are the facts:

  • Being vaccinated dramatically reduces your chance of being hospitalized, and reduces the chance that you will die from COVID-19 to nearly zero.

  • Being vaccinated does not prevent you from contracting the disease. It just means that you probably won't die.

  • It is possible to be infectious and have no symptoms.

  • The long-term consequences of this disease, even for asymptomatic infections, are still poorly understood, and scary.

  • Wearing a mask is not about protecting you, it's about protecting others from you. If that doesn't matter to you, you are a sociopath.

Moving on.

In my humble but correct opinion, proof of vaccination before entering any business should by now be required by law nationally, but our city, state and federal governments apparently do not have the political spine to make it happen. So as usual, it's left to those of us on the front line to take care of ourselves.

We started requiring proof of vaccination this weekend. Several other bars have already been requiring that, and from what I've heard from other bar and club owners, it's going to be pretty much universal in San Francisco by next week or the week after. It sounds like just about every venue is hopping on this train, and good for them. So get used to it.

Our first two nights of requiring proof of vaccination went better than I expected. Obviously there were some unhappy people, and it slowed down entry a lot. But we had to turn away fewer than 10%, I think, and most of them didn't get belligerent about it. Our current rules are:

  • Two weeks after final shot.
  • Original CDC vaccination card (not a copy or photo), or:
  • CA DPH vaccination QR code from myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov.

Some venues have been allowing people to enter if they show a negative COVID test within the last three days. We are not accepting negative COVID tests at all. With the short incubation period of the Delta variant, accepting negative tests makes no sense to me. People can be asymptomatic but infectious for several days before a test will return positive.

And yes, there are some people with legitimate medical conditions that mean that they cannot be vaccinated. Those people have my sympathies. But all of us had to go fifteen months without being able to party at crowded dance clubs. If you can't get the vaccine, maybe that's going to be eighteen months for you. Or longer, depending on how long the antivaxxers drag this nightmare out for all of us.

We also do not accept a photo or photocopy of your vax card. It has to be the original card. If you think that people wouldn't bother to photoshop the card, let me assure you, they will. I assume that there are already dozens of meme-generator-style sites out there that will do that for you. Faking the physical card is obviously still possible, and there are some people out there who definitely will go to all that trouble, but that requires more crafting skill. And we are a bar: spotting forged IDs is one of our core competencies.

The CA DPH QR codes are cryptographically signed, and cannot be forged. We are scanning those with the Smart Health Card Verifier app by The Commons Project. It works great.

So if someone who is vaccinated shows up without their physical card, we just have them scan that QR code on the poster where they can enter their info and get the confirmation QR code back. This worked well and was pretty quick for the vast majority of people!

Where we saw it fall down most often was for people from out of state who did not bring their physical CDC card with them. Those people aren't in the California database, so the CA DPH site won't issue them a confirmation code, and we don't let those people in, because they can't prove to us that they are actually vaccinated. That's a bummer, but we have to err on the side of caution.

Sadly, the Card Verifier app that we are using does not appear to work on QR codes issued by states other than California. One hopes that this will change eventually. I don't know the details.

The next set of angry people are those unvaccinated who say, "But I didn't know! You only told me last week that I needed to be vaccinated and that's so unfair!"

To those people, let me say: "My friend, after a full year of lockdown, you then spent all of March, April, May, June and July deciding not to get vaccinated. You are part of the reason that we are in this mess in the first place, so you can fuck right off with that 'I didn't know' crap."

And Now A Word On Masks.

CDC recommends that even the vaccinated wear masks indoors. If you are the kind of person who complains about that, it's like you're saying "My car has airbags, so why do I need to wear a seatbelt? I guess airbags don't work!"

But again, for the vaccinated, masks are less about protecting yourself and more about stopping the spread of the virus and protecting everybody else.

So for the last few weeks we have been "strongly encouraging" people to wear masks indoors. We haven't yet stepped up to actually enforcing that because, given what we have observed of the behavior of our customers, to enforce it would require us to double our security staff and we'd end up throwing out more than half of our customers when they repeatedly refused. And if we throw out half of our customers, we can't afford to be open: it would be like being back in lockdown.

This Saturday, we told every person to put their mask on before entering the club, and to please keep it on. We handed out around 200 free masks to those who claimed not to have one, before we ran out. I think about four of those masks got worn. We might as well have just set them on fire.

Persistent rumor has it that San Francisco will begin mandating masks again next week. I hope this mandate is a requirement, not a cowardly suggestion, because hopefully that will give us the legal backup we need to actually enforce it.

We still have some DNA Lounge and Dazzle masks for sale! They are lovely.

And now a few relevant zingers from elsewhere:

Karl Bode:

Despite the anti-vax crowd being immeasurably and painfully stupid, in a way I find the pouty anti-mask contingent even dumber because there's not even a needle involved.

It's just you, a tiny piece of fabric, and the requirement you have the tiniest shred of empathy.

Jesse McLaren:

Imagine this was an epidemic of people sticking their dicks in light sockets. Electrical grids are fried. Dick-born electrical fires kill thousands. Hospitals at capacity from penis burns. Businesses shut down. And everyone's like "Please, don't talk down to the socket-fuckers."

Thanks to another generous donor, we were able to upgrade our subwoofers for full compliance with the Dubstep Accords of 2015. This took a little longer than we had hoped -- we thought we might be able to get these in before reopening -- but they're in now! We replaced two of our four EAW DCS2 subwoofers with a pair of EAW SB2001 subs. They each have two independently powered 21 inch drivers, run by a pair of Crown Macrotech 5000i amps.

The new ones are half the size of the old ones (and about twice the power) so we're going to pack that gap above them with insulation and wall it off. No camping in the bass bin.

The old subs cover an effective range of about 45hz to 80hz, whereas the new ones go down to 20hz! But they are best below 50hz, which is why we're using both models. At 20hz you are feeling it more than hearing it, but modern production has been favoring frequencies that low, particularly in the dubstep world, and it really provides that extra oomph! It will rattle the drink out of your cup, as demonstrated in this video:

The two old subs are going to go up in the Lounge, giving that room quite an upgrade. We use all parts of the buffalo.

Also! Today is the 20th anniversary of DNA Lounge's re-opening, back in 2001 when I bought the place. The club has been DNA Lounge since 1985, but my tenure here has now hit two decades, which is kind of hard for me to comprehend.

Here's an ad for our re-opening weekend in the Bay Guardian (thanks, Internet Archive!) from the before-before times when newspapers were how one advertised.


21-Jun-2021 (Mon)
Wherein we did the thing

Our opening weekend was amazing! All of the events were really fun, and packed. It's nice to be back.

The thing that struck me most about our Friday night re-opening party, Turbo Drive, was that it wasn't the usual Turbo Drive crowd. I got the impression that a lot of people said to themselves, "I don't know what synthwave is, but I'm going anyway." And they stuck around, too! Also they all dressed up, but everyone dressed up for a different party. Here's a girl dressed for the symphony, here's a guy dressed for a punk show in 1977, here's Lara Croft swing dancing with Snake Plissken.

I very much hope that this wasn't a one-off and that people hold on to that attitude: "I don't know what this is, but let's check it out anyway". Nature is healing and you are allowed to try new things.

Then Saturday, we had three events: the early show was Hubba Hubba Revue, followed by Bootie in the main room and Lower Underground in Above DNA. The audiences for these parties were more traditional; it was the usual Hubba, Bootie and dubstep/rave crowds, but, there were nearly twice as many of them as in the Before Times, which was awesome.

I had wondered whether people would stil be skittish about being in crowds, and the answer to that is, NOPE. They were happy being absolutely packed in, sweating all over each other. Though all our staff are still wearing masks, I'd say that less than 1% of the customers were. No soft re-entry here: they have embraced the Full Florida.

I also very much expected to see some people getting seriously sloppy by about 1am, since everyone is out of practice at drinking in public, but nope again: they mostly held their shit together pretty well! Good form, SF.

Our crew were all pretty exhausted by the end. It's going to take a little while to get our sea legs back. And also we are still hiring -- bartenders, security, restaurant and floor. Email jobs@dnalounge.com.

Tonight: The Return of Death Guild! Bereft (I am reliably informed) in deathly bloom.