It looks so slick when it's new, before that furnace of an oven beneath it has warped it and given it a yellow tint... but more importantly, new items!
The appetizers have been re-vamped to be more of a mix-and-match situation, and we've added a few things. Might I particularly recommend the lemon pepper chicken nuggets. Sandwich and salads have also been updated with new puns. The Jayne Cobb Salad and Deep House Salad are out, due to unpopularity (even though I found the names hilarious) but in are: the Leaf Ericson, the Tom Tom Club, the Anton La Vegan and the Mötley Crüton.
The California Chicken, which is actually the sandwich I get most often, is still called that because I haven't been able to come up with a good chicken pun.
The California Über Olive is still probably my favorite of all of these names. You know, Jello Biafra has been here a bunch of times, so I wonder if he's ever noticed it up there. And I wonder if he's ever ordered it. And I wonder if whichever punk rock kid was working the register even recognized him. Because whichever way that scenario played out, it would have been hilarious.
Joshua and Jeff, a pair of our loyal Death Guild regulars, took the Snarkatron home and fixed it! There was no Curse of the Sign this time around. That went a little bit like this, and a little bit like this:
But we also worked out how to get it to display images instead of just text! Witness the new hotness:
I'd actually known this was theoretically possible since the beginning, but never tried it because I didn't think anything would be legible at all, due to the low resolution (160×28) combined with the large gutters between characters and lines. Guess I was wrong!
You have to do it in a completely crazy way: it doesn't have the ability to take a bitmap, but you can upload a new font. So you have to break up your image into 5x7 tiles. And you only get 96 of them, so you have to re-use duplicates and hope that the image isn't complicated enough that it needs more. Colors are per tile, not per pixel, and brightness is global, so no multi-color images or dithering tricks, either.
So, one of these days, they're going to widen our sidewalk. This is a part of the "9 San Bruno Rapid Project", which is a miles-long project involving adding bulb-outs and relocating bus stops and so on. Barry has been attending meetings about this since 2014, I think. To make these things happen, the city bureaucrats prefer to have "neighborhood engagement", so Barry goes to these meetings and says things like, "We fully support this plan, so long as it involves a protected bike lane, no reduction in bicycle parking, and we get to keep our parklet."
Well, we're never getting a protected bike lane, they're almost certainly going to decimate our bicycle parking, and the parklet... has The Fear.
There are two phases to this: widen the sidewalk; then replace all of the junk that goes on top of the sidewalk. That first part, widening the sidewalk, is happening "soon", and the second part -- where all the junk goes, like the bus stop shelter -- is apparently still up in the air.
Here's a photo they've been passing around:
Widening the sidewalk entails removing all of the on-street parking spaces between DNA Pizza and Harrison Street, and making that be sidewalk. The bike lane (such as it is) will remain in the same spot, it will just be right next to the curb instead of next to parked cars.
And by "bike lane" I mean "the part of the road that the city has graciously provided for Uber and UPS to park in."
Part 1, Parklet:
Since our parklet is currently sitting on the street, they tell us we need to remove it so that they can put a sidewalk under it. And once they've done that, "maybe" we can put it back and "maybe" it can be the same size as it was before.
You can imagine how pleased I am about that "maybe".
Trying to get a straight answer on even the process to turn that "maybe" into a "yes" has so far remained impossible.
So let's say it's a "yes". Then I have questions like: what is the latest date that construction might start on our block, and what is the earliest date on which it will definitely be complete? Because I'd like to minimize the time we don't have a parklet, obviously. So far, the closest thing to an answer on that we've gotten is: the contractor is starting work "soon", and the whole 9 San Bruno project "should" take 7 months. Which, you may note, is not actually an answer at all. Unless you choose to interpret that as "you have to put your parklet in a storage unit for 7+ months, because some time in that period, there will be 5 days of work on your block." I do not choose to interpret it that way, because that's, what's the word I'm looking for, insane.
So, maybe they'll eventually let us put it back where it is. Maybe they'll make us reduce its size by half. Maybe they'll make us remove it forever. Maybe we'll have to stick it in a storage unit for the better part of a year before even knowing these answers. Who knows!
Part 2, Bike Racks:
When we installed the parklet back in 2013, we had approval to put bicycle parking next to it, but getting the city to come out and actually do that was going to take literally months, so we gave up on waiting and just bought bike racks and installed them ourselves. MTA has been pissed about this ever since, because they say our bike racks are too close together, and that there shouldn't be any bike racks on the sidewalk itself. So if they had their way, they would replace our 5 street racks and 2 sidewalk racks with just 3 street racks, since they say that's all that there is room for. Well, since our racks are full pretty much all the time, with 2 or more bikes on each rack, Reality disagrees with them:
In late 2014, MTA was this close to telling us, "you have to tear those out because we're about to install approved, and far-fewer, bike racks", but then this 9 San Bruno project was approved, which changes everything, so they temporarily (and by temporarily I mean three years) dropped their plan to destroy our bicycle parking. See? Sometimes the molasses-like progress of bureaucracy can work in your favor!
Part 3, Bus Shelter:
Some of the people over at MTA are of the opinion that the bus shelter should go directly in front of DNA Lounge, replacing all of our bicycle parking. Some of the people over at MTA (partly due to Barry having gone to all of these meetings and said "bike racks bike racks bike racks bike racks" every time) are of the opinion that the bus shelter should stay where it is. No decision on this has apparently been made.
Can you imagine what a clusterfuck it would be if there was a bus shelter two feet to the right of DNA Lounge's front door? The sidewalk would be basically impassible. The shelter would be full of people just loitering all the time. It would be a disaster for our customers and the people just trying to get on a bus.
Oh, but the part that would really make my head explode? All of San Francisco's new bus shelters have a six foot tall video screen on them running ads! Visualize fucking ClearChannel advertising fucking McDonald's two feet from my front door. Visualize it and weep.
This week is your second-to-last chance ever to see Point Break Live! They're calling it quits on the whole production, which is tragic. But the 50 Year Storm is coming, so they're all headed to Bells Beach. The early show is almost sold out, the late show is going fast, and the closing shows next month have also sold quite a few already. Get on that: everybody loves a funeral.
I re-watched Point Break last night for the first time since before we started doing Point Break Live here three years ago, and I've definitely reached the point where I remember every line in that movie more from all the times I've seen Point Break Live than from all the times I've seen Point Break.
It really is an excellent action movie. And it contains the single greatest commentary on the Reagan Administration ever committed to film:
I also tried to watch the 2015 remake of it, and I didn't last ten minutes. Oh, man. On a scale of "one" to "even", I can't.
Bootie Aprilween had a costume contest, as usual, and it was a travesty of justice, as usual.
The guy who won was wearing a $12 "slice of pizza" costume. Absolutely zero effort or creativity. He might as well have been wearing a giant foam sombrero, or a t-shirt that says "this is my costume".
And not only that, but the audience chanted for him. They chanted. They were 100% on board.
There was a girl wearing a really great home-made Loki costume, with a light-up staff and everything. It was really well done. Effort was invested! She came in second, but honestly, I don't think she even won the popular vote; I think the superdelegates weighed in on that one.
There were also several full-body-suit furries who entered (it was furry night in Above) and nobody even cheered: you could hear a pin drop. I mean, I can kind of understand them not winning outright, because furries kind of all look the same (is that racist? That kind of sounds racist) but still, effort was expended. Even wearing one of those things is an ordeal.
Dr. Kingfish has a theory, that I find hard to counter, that these days "trying" must be a thing that is commonly considered to be uncool. People flock to these semi-crowdsourced events that offer nothing but "participation", so long as that participation takes zero effort -- the kind of Special Olympics where you get a prize just for showing up, like pillow fights and lightsaber battles. If participation means wearing a trivially simple uniform and leaving a mess for someone else to clean up, people are all in. But if participation means you had to actually try, oh, no way, forget about it. "Trying" isn't done.
So when Pizza Guy wins the costume contest, what the people are saying is, "Look at that guy, not quite trying! Way to not-quite-try! You really hit the sweet spot there!"
I've been calling it the Culture of Meh. "Meh" is the worst word in the modern vernacular: when you use it, you are saying, "I don't have a strong opinion about this thing, but I think that the fact that I am not taking any kind of stand about it is important enough for me to talk about. Look how noncommittal I am, and how that is something to be admired." It's a celebration of beige.
This used to be a town that treasured its costumery. Maybe this is the new normal, now that we've become a bedroom-community suburb of Mountain View.
There are a bunch of new galleries since the last time I did a photo dump.
Our Pac-Man machine is hurting. Sometimes it does this, and sometimes it does this:
I imagine it just needs some caps replaced and some cracked solders fixed. Are you a person who is competent to fix such things? Are you willing to do so in exchange for drink tickets and admission to shows? If so, I think we have a lovely future together.
Also -- and this is probably a much harder project -- you know the Snarkatron, the big, slow-moving, low-resolution LED sign hanging from the DJ booth that lists our upcoming events, and the DJs at Bootie and whatnot? This thing:
Well, it's hurting too. It's getting kind of hard to read. At first you might think that it's suffering from some burned-out LEDs, but I'm pretty sure that's not the case: what's actually going on is that the letters are corrupted: like, sometimes the letters are not only missing pixels but actually upside down -- but only in some rows. You might see a right-side-up and an upside-down "T" on the screen at the same time.
The sign actually belongs to John, even though it's been hanging here for seven years now, but every time I mention it to him he just mutters something about shift registers and yells "Just throw the god damned thing away already!"
So, do any of you want to take a crack at fixing it?
It's not a particularly useful device, but it's unique and cool looking. And yes, I know I could replace it with a cheap TV, but you know what TVs are not? unique or cool looking.
Now is probably a good time for you to re-read my 26-Apr-2013 blog post about our series of four Prince shows. It's a good story.
I'd sure love to share some music with you right now, but if you know anything about Prince, you know that he didn't make that easy.
This was not the first time Prince had played here, though sadly it was the last. Paste Magazine has put up a pair of streams of Prince's 1993 show at DNA Lounge. Go listen! It sounds great. They say:
Prince and his band would occasionally play unannounced aftershow parties at local nightclubs, often into the wee hours of the night. These aftershows were the hippest place to be and provided Prince and the New Power Generation musicians had the ability to intimately connect with a small audience of hardcore fans. These performances also allowed Prince to experiment with his music, performing new, unreleased and cover material as suited his spontaneous whims. These performances often took on an even wilder abandon than the official concert dates and those lucky enough to attend experienced something not soon forgotten.
The Act 1 Tour hit San Francisco on April 10, 1993 and San Jose the following night. One of the most memorable aftershows occurred after the San Jose date, when Prince and the New Power Generation returned to San Francisco and partied into the wee hours at San Francisco's DNA Lounge. Taking the stage at 3:30am, they proceed to tear it up for another two sets before a highly enthusiastic small club audience. Taped by the Bill Graham Presents crew, who provided sound reinforcement for this late night appearance, this remarkable recording faithfully captures Prince and the New Power Generation in high spirits, laughing and joking their way through two sets jam packed with the undeniably danceable, sex-fueled style of music that made Prince such a phenomenon.
I can't find a torrent of this recording, though. There's a torrent of that same 1993 show here, but it's extremely low quality -- I wouldn't even bother downloading that one. I mention it only so that you can exclude it from your searches.
As you might expect, he was pretty adamant that we not do our usual webcasting of the show. However, a few days afterward, I did discover a bootleg recording that some audience member had made of two of the four DNA Lounge 2013 Prince shows -- and it sounded really good. This bootleg had been at purplehouse2.blogspot.com, but of course that blog is long gone, and the Wayback Machine barely crawled it. Still, if you can find a copy of that, it's a fantastic recording. The CD cover says "The Professor" and "Enhanced by Dabang", if that helps in your searches.
New toy! As a thematic companion to the Pac-Man machine at DNA Lounge, I brought my Vectrex in to Codeword. It sits at the end of the bar now. What's that, you ask? Vectrex is a home video game system from 1982 that has a built-in black-and-white vector monitor, meaning the electron gun traces out shapes diagonally instead of raster-scanning like normal TVs. It is an ancient artifact of rare beauty, and it plays Berserk and Asteroids really well. Along with 70 other games -- I have this multi-cart that has everything ever released for the system.
And 30 seconds after I put it on the bar, it was already being played by anime bunny-girls who were born at least a decade after this thing rolled off the production line. So, mission accomplished I guess!
It is reasonably well secured, but be gentle with it, ok? Try not to get it too sticky.
Actually, there's a pretty nice emulation of it here that you can play online, but it's really just not the same without the weird, flickery glow from that little CRT.
The SF Weekly Best of SF poll is up -- go vote for us, ok?
Relevant categories include: Best Dance Party, Best Live Theatre (Point Break Live or Mortified), Best Live Music Venue, Best Late Nite Bite and Best Pizza.
Codeword still doesn't have enough customers, because we have almost no events. Hooray. We've been working more on trying to get on the "corporate party" circuit, courting the kind of people who organize after-parties and whatnot for Moscone conventions, but it's slow going, and that is not our area of expertise.
So, you know... if your company is looking for a space to rent, or if you think you can throw a dance party that will get a hundred people, do let us know.
I understand that the cool kids have been abandoning Twitter for Instagram, so I finally extended our pseudopodia in that direction. If you are of that persuasion, you can follow us on Instagram at dnalounge, dnapizza and codeword_sf.
Some recent photos: