What a crazy few weeks it's been. In case there was any doubt, running a club is really hard! I didn't expect it to be this much work. It's fun, though: the only part that really sucks is all the worrying about money, since it's also way more expensive than I thought to run a club. We're doing pretty well on saturdays; now we just need about two and a half more saturdays per week, and we'll be golden.
I'm finding it harder to write these updates since we're open, since most of the funniest stories are ones that it would not really be in our best interest to tell: some killjoy is just going to find a way to use it against us. Like, if I were to mention the ________ _____ __ ____ ____ ______ __ ___ __ ___ _______ _____ _____, then someone might call the ____ ______ _________ and cause us all kinds of unnecessary trouble. Or, if I were to tell you about the moron who _____ _ ___ _____ ____ __ _____ ___ _____, and when we told him to knock it off, retorted with, "hey man, ___ _____! __ ______ __ _ ______!"... that's just the kind of bullshit ammunition that the ____ ___ ____________ ___________ would like to use against us.
We gave that turkey the "why are you trying to spoil it for everyone?" speech and sent him on his way, but I'm sure it didn't sink in. Hopefully we've lost him as a customer. I keep telling people that this is yet another problem that would have been solved by a PVC-only dress code. That would cut down not only on the parka-wearing hippies, but also on the baseball-cap-wearing post-frat date-rape jocks and their fried-blonde fake-boobed girlfriends. We haven't been getting too many of those, but they do tend to multiply like roaches.
Oh, here's a good one I can tell: at one of our events, the promoter had a fashion show. Now, when it's getting near opening, the security staff go through the building and check the IDs of everyone who's there, so that the classic trick of "I'm with the band" doesn't let under-age folks get in. So John, one of the security guys, says to one of the models, "can I see your ID?" He hands it over. John looks at it for two seconds and hands it back. "Do you have ID?" The guy produces his actual driver's license, which shows that he's 20. John says, "now see, you only need to be over 18 when you're working in a club, you just can't drink. But now you've lied to me. So you'll have to leave."
That must have been a beautiful moment. I wish I could have seen it.
We're finding that running a venue and promoting an event are both full time jobs, so I'm afraid that we haven't been able to give our friday events (N:CODE and D:CODE) the attention they need. The sensible business decision would be to farm out fridays to an outside promoter like our other nights, but hey, what would be the point of owning a nightclub and not having a night that played the music you most wanted to hear? I'm totally loving the music on fridays, but it's taking time for the word to get out. We keep running in to people who don't even know DNA is open again!
Unfortunately, we're at a point in the evolution of the business where we need to be making more money. We've still got construction bills to pay... So I'm afraid that if fridays don't pick up, we might need to cancel it and do something more mainstream. It would be fairly easy to pack the place with a house music night, but I really want fridays to be darker and more experimental: modern electronic dance music, stuff that owes more to industrial than to disco.
We're also starting to look in to getting the live music part of our business in gear, and we're finding that after all the damage that the Internet boom did to this town, San Francisco doesn't really have much of a live music scene left. We're looking around, and even the most popular local live acts don't seem to be drawing crowds that would fill our main room. That leaves us with national touring acts, which is fine, except that most of those balk at the idea of playing a 21+ venue (and we're not ever allowed to be 18+ or all ages, even if we chose not to sell alcohol that day: that's how the laws work here.)
Plus, we're expecting to meet resistance from the record labels about our webcasts. We webcast everything we do here, and so far that hasn't been a problem on our dance nights, even with internationally-known djs. But when you're dealing with a band who is signed to a label, they've usually signed away almost all of their decision-making rights, and there are both label contracts and all kinds of union rules to contend with; so even getting the ear of the person who has the ability to say "yes" can be a major project. That situation may make it impossible for us to do a webcast of many of these bands, which to me means, those bands can't play here.
This idea infuriates me, because it means that the recording industry has, in fact, managed to legislate progress out of existence. Never underestimate the power of bureaucracy.