Some photos are up of three of the five (!) live shows we had last week:

7-Oct-2009 (Wed)
Wherein we're on the radio.

Hey, check it out, we have a radio commercial for one of our shows! This has probably happened before, but I think this is the first one I've ever heard. It's for the Phenomenauts show next Friday (which will be an excellent show, by the way!) The commercial is running on Live 105, but you can listen to it here.

And photos are up of the recent Apoptygma Berzerk + Aerodrone show.

Also, come to The Lucky Road this Friday. You will like it.

Oh man, R. Black has really out-done himself this time!

That does, in fact, appear to be a fembot... hugging a robotic puffin... that has machetes for wings. What does it mean? It means THIS POSTER IS AWESOME is what it means!

And it can be yours for a measly ten bucks.

Also, we just added a new show to the calendar: BrokeNCYDE! I mention this show in particular because they are hilarious:

Seriously, I've been making fun of this video for more than a year. This band is what you would have if Psyclon Nine shopped at American Apparel and used a whole lot of autotune. I kinda can't wait to see this show.

I do not approve of these idiotic "Which X are you?" quizzes -- in fact, my longstanding policy is that if any of my "friends" on Facebook post them, I un-friend them -- but here's one that I'll let slide. Ron made a "Which DNA Lounge Bartender are you?" quiz.

(Of course, to take this quiz, you have to allow Facebook to turn over all of your personal information, photos, and friends lists to the makers of the "Quiz Maker" application for their nefarious data-mining and privacy-invading needs.)

Speaking of Big Brother, I've noticed that with the latest Google Maps Street View update, DNA Lounge is again visible! Some time in early 2009, Google rolled out a new set of Street View imagery that deleted all of Eleventh Street between Bryant and Mission (it had been in there before, but then it disappeared!) Well, now it's back. DNA Lounge is almost entirely obscured by trucks, but that is often what it looks like during the day, I guess.

Also, this is what DNA Lounge looks like in Google Earth, with "building models" turned on:

I'm not particularly impressed. Someone (by which I mean someone who is not me) should make us a real building model! I've got a rough 3D KML model of the interior of the building that was derived from the MiniCAD files that our architect used for the blueprints back in 2000, but it needs some help.

I've always wanted to have a decent 3D model of the building (for use in first person shooters, or for showing to people interested in booking events here who don't actually know what the room is shaped like) but nobody's volunteered to make it happen yet.

Please help support night-time entertainment in SF by coming to a hearing on Monday, Oct 19 at 10am in room 263 at City Hall!

UPDATE: The hearing date has changed! It is now Monday, Oct 26 at 1PM!

A vocal group of ultra-conservative neighbors have banded with the anti-alcohol and anti-entertainment elements in the police department and the state alcohol control department to shut down night-time entertainment in San Francisco. This is a real threat. These people have come to hearings at City Hall and blamed night-time entertainment for violent crime, murder, prostitution, public urination and defecation and any host of problems that the city has been facing for decades. Never before have they been this strong and powerful, if you love going out at night, you need to show up and tell City Hall that we are not to be blamed for society's problems. We need you to show up at Monday's hearing and/or send an email of support now.

The Entertainment Commission was created in 2002 to take responsibility for the granting and oversight of Entertainment and Late Night permits. Before the EC, these permits were all controlled by the police. Separating the authority was a way to give citizen stake-holders a place in the decisions around entertainment. Enforcement remained with the police, and the granting and oversight were given to the EC.

Two years ago the Mayor's office and the EC convened a "Night-time Safety Summit" to hear recommendations from the entertainment community and the Police Department on how to strengthen the role of the EC in rewarding well managed venues, and disciplining problem venues that were making the industry look bad. The legislation that is being heard on Monday comes from that summit.

Currently, the Entertainment Commission does not have much enforcement power: they just have the "big stick" of permit revocation, which is a very heavy-weight, expensive and time-consuming process. This hearing is about giving the EC the ability to write tickets for minor infractions, for example, to tell a venue to manage their line better without having to first let things get bad enough that revocation makes sense.

The strategy of the anti-night-life and anti-alcohol forces is to keep the Entertainment Commission toothless, because that makes them look ineffective. They think that if the EC continues getting bad press, SFPD will be able to take back unilateral control of permitting, which would be bad for night-life and bad for San Francisco.

So please show up and support this legislation that will allow the EC to do its job, out in the open, with accountability and citizen oversight! Don't let the prohibitionists wreck your city.

Whether you can make it to the hearing in person or not, we need you to send an email to the committee members of the Board of Supervisors who will be presiding on Monday. For example, something like this:

Subject: Support 1060/1070 without moratorium

Honorable Mayor and Board of Supervisor Committee members;

I support the strengthening of the Entertainment Commission. I do not support the moratoriums that will restrict the granting of special event permits because there is no proof that those special events are any problem.

I am a ___resident / employee / patron___ and I think that the entertainment venues in the city are safe, well run and that the Entertainment Commission does a good job managing all of them. The couple of problem venues will be required to fix their problems faster if the commission gets this additional power.

I pay taxes, live, work and play in San Francisco and believe that well managed entertainment of all types is vital for a city like ours. It is one of the reasons I choose to live here and not in the suburbs.


___your name___
I live in ___your neighborhood___

If you are able to make it to the hearing on Monday it would be helpful if you were willing to speak for a minute or two in support of the Entertainment community and the Commission that was set up to regulate it. Some suggested points to make:

  • Sunshine and fairness: The EC allows neighbors, the music community, and stake-holders an official, on-the-record forum for public input. The EC has taken venue licensing out of back rooms and into the public eye where it belongs.

  • Better neighbors / safer clubs: The EC holds venues accountable with fair, enforceable steps to become good neighbors. The EC has mandated more soundproofing, plus fire, electrical and building safety upgrades than at any other time in the city's history.

  • More local jobs: Venues are labor-intensive, and almost completely locally staffed. SF needs jobs!

  • Tough / fair enforcement of sound laws: EC staff test for sound complaints and ensure both compliance for neighbors, and fairness to venues. The EC's staff must be augmented, and given more enforcement power, a key issue on Monday.

  • Cheaper tickets: More venues means more shows, competition for artists and competitive pricing for customers.

  • Protect outdoor concerts, street-fairs: The EC has defended the city's unique locally operated fairs and festivals. They employ thousands, entertain hundreds of thousands and bring millions into city coffers, plus massive hotel and restaurant income.

  • Fair regulation: Every Week San Francisco hosts regional, national and international tourists who support our local economy. Hundreds of thousands of people come and go enjoying the sights, food and entertainment that this city is famous for with few problems. Keep that success and give the Entertainment Commission the authority to regulate the few problems that we do have.

  • I love going out: Tell them about your favorite venue and how often you go out. Tell them that you enjoy your time with friends listening to music and dancing, that you feel safe and secure, and thank the Entertainment Commission for doing its job.

  • I make my living from entertainment: If you work in the night-life industry, tell them about it! Give examples where you have seen the Entertainment Commission doing good work.

I am sorry to report that the date of the hearing has changed. The new date is:

Monday, Oct 26 at 1PM, City Hall room 263.

Please continue sending emails, and if at all possible, please show up at this hearing. Details are in my previous blog entry.

I've created a Facebook event for this hearing -- please invite your friends!

Folks, I have to share with you these photos I came across of San Francisco's Board of Supervisors... of the year eighteen hundred and ninety-nine:

Are they a dapper bunch, or what? And we had "Wards" back then!

Speaking of the Board of Supervisors, you will be coming to meet our current batch at the hearing on the Entertainment Commission, yes? That's Monday, October 26 at 1PM, City Hall room 263! RSVP on Facebook.

I also stumbled across a fire insurance map of the vicinity of DNA Lounge from 1900. The Ancient History page has been duly updated. Our neighbors at the time included a brewery, a piano-finishing shop and two pork-packing and lard-rendering operations! Pretty much the same as today, really.

James Dudley, the infamous Captain of Central Police Station, the largest station in area in the city which covers North Beach, Union Square and parts of the Embarcadero (among other neighborhoods) has been promoted to Commander of Field Operations of the City of San Francisco. That means he is the boss of all of the stations and their Captains.

Dudley is best known for his continuous and relentless crackdown on night life in North Beach, turning the Broadway corridor into a virtual police state. He is responsible for the large presence of police officers, including those with riot helmets. He was responsible for the actual closing of Broadway Street so that taxis were unable to pick up fares when the clubs closed. The environment created by Captain Dudley made North Beach and the Broadway corridor so unfriendly to night life that many of the clubs are near bankruptcy, for sale, and barely holding on. He has expanded his tactic to other neighborhoods within his district, and blames night life for all crime in the area, regardless of whether those crimes have anything to do with the clubs. He is relentless and uncompromising, and wants all alcohol sales to be stopped at midnight -- MIDNIGHT! -- especially during the week. He wants after-hours venues to be done away with completely.

On August 18, Captain Dudley was on KQED's "Forum" radio program (mentioned previously) where he made some truly outrageous claims. Dudley expressed his opinion that nightclubs and night life cost San Francisco more in police expenses than they bring in benefits. His view is that the clubs need to be shut down, and that's what he has been attempting to do. Here's the transcript of the last few minutes of that show. (Listen there or here):

Ezra: I just wanted to respond to a comment that you made about the extra cost is takes to the city to patrol the nightclubs. And I just want to point out that, not only do we pay a lot of sales tax and fees to the city and the state, but also we -- my club employs about 30 people, all of which live in San Francisco and turn around and spend their money in San Francisco and the sales tax, etc., think that the net impact of having these clubs is better for the city. And it's, in fact, a big source of income for the city, not to mention the fact that the tourisplement of sheriff's vans that helped with the -- the drunks. Officers are often asked to stay beyond their shift on overtime to stay for the unruly clubs that are letting out at 2:00. But people hang out till 3:00 and 4:00 because of the after-hours places. And when the overtime dries up, we bring in people from all over the city. Sometimes, we have 30 officers from neighborhoods that still need policing.

This is the SFPD view of SF night life: that it is a burden that has no benefit because of the police resources that have to be used for a few clubs. The entire purpose of giving the Entertainment Commision enforcement authority is to bring those clubs into line without the SFPD having to get involved.

And that's why we hope you will show up this Monday to support that legislation, and tell the SF Board of Supervisors that this War on Fun won't stand. The hearing is Monday, October 26 at 1PM, City Hall room 263. RSVP on Facebook.

Here's the press release:

Members of the San Francisco night life community including clubs, bands and customers, will be rallying their support for the Entertainment Commission on Monday Oct 26th 1PM before the Board of Supervisors.

The Entertainment Commission has come under attack of late by those groups who seek to limit the variety of entertainment venues in this world class city. The night life industry is a significant economic engine driving the San Francisco economy and that industry along with its talent and customers are rallying to show support for the Commission.

The legislation before the Board will empower the Entertainment Commission to enforce its own permits. The industry feels strongly about the Commission that regulates them and intends to demonstrate to the board of supervisors and the police that they too have a voice.

Performing on the steps of City Hall will be the Jazz Mafia, an acoustical jazz group. Performing inside City Hall will be the night life industry and their customers who too are citizens of this great urban metropolis.

For more information:

If you can't make it to the hearing, please email the Mayor and Board of Supervisors. Details on what it would be helpful for you to say are in my Oct 14 blog post.

Thanks to everybody who came out to the Entertainment Commission hearing on Monday! We packed the room, and the public testimony was overwhelmingly in favor of night-life. I took a few photos. The comments were eloquent, heart-felt and often hilarious. The hearing was recorded, but I don't see it on SFGTV; maybe I'm looking in the wrong place. Many people spoke out not only about the Entertainment Commission issues, but also shared their frustration with the ABC-led club crackdown, and asked why the Board of Supervisors hasn't been showing some leadership in stopping that. While not strictly what this hearing was about, it was good for that to be said, I think.

The committee voted in favor of the EC legislation, and now it goes on to the full Board of Supervisors on Nov 3. That hearing will not allow any public comment. If it passes, it then goes to the Mayor to be signed into law.

One unfortunate point is that the legislation still contains the moratorium on late-night permits. This means that the number of late-night permits in existence can only increase by 15% per year, which is somewhere around 10 or 12 permits. Fortunately this doesn't include permit transfers (e.g., selling your business) so it's not terrible. But, it's a new limit where there once was none, and thus constitutes an erosion of night-life. There are people who think that serving people alcohol right up until 2AM and then kicking them all out on to the street at exactly the same time is a good idea. Those of us who actually work in this industry understand that giving people time to sober up and trickle out over an hour or two leads to less noise on the street and less drunk driving.

As I said, now the legislation goes from the committee to the full board for a vote. This means that it's important that you keep those emails coming in! The three supervisors on this sub-committee voted to send the legislation to the full board. That makes it likely that those three will vote for it, but there are eleven people on the Board of Supervisors, and we need a majority of them, too. So please email them -- particularly the supervisor of your district -- and ask them to support this legislation. For example, something like this:

Subject: Support 1060/1070 without moratorium

Honorable Mayor and Supervisors;

I support the strengthening of the Entertainment Commission. I do not support the moratorium that will restrict the granting of late-night permits, because there is no proof that those events are any problem.

I am a ___resident / employee / patron___ and I think that the entertainment venues in the city are safe, well run and that the Entertainment Commission does a good job managing all of them. The couple of problem venues will be required to fix their problems faster if the commission gets this additional power.

I pay taxes, live, work and play in San Francisco and believe that well managed entertainment of all types is vital for a city like ours. It is one of the reasons I choose to live here and not in the suburbs.


___your name___
I live in ___your neighborhood___

Oddly, even those who opposed the legislation seemed to misunderstand what the legislation actually says. We live in some kind of bizarro-world where the nightclub industry is asking for their regulatory agency to have more enforcement power to punish bad operators, and the neighbors are against that. Apparently someone told them that this legislation was going to increase the number of late-night permits, when in fact it does exactly the opposite.

Almost everyone who was there speaking against this legislation was complaining about a Pink Diamonds, a recently-closed strip club in North Beach that had been notorious for gang violence. The irony here is that, because that strip club never served food or beverages, it was not required to have any entertainment permits! Which is strange, but apparently that's the way the law works here. That meant that the Entertainment Commission had no authority over them at all, either before or after this legislation. It was entirely a police problem.


So, that was an exciting way to spend a Monday afternoon. In news more in line with the business I had hoped to be in -- that of "nightclub owner" rather than "political activist" -- some new photo galleries of DNA Lounge shows have gone up recently:

Apparently the video of the hearing is, in fact, online, but it's a complete pain in the ass to get to it unless you run Windows. It's here, via the City Operations & Neighborhood Services Committee page on SFGTV. Unfortunately, their embedded video doesn't play on MacOS or Linux, because apparently the San Francisco city government thinks that it is OK to require you to tithe money to Microsoft before you are able to watch video of your government in action. Why don't they just upload all this crap to Youtube so that it would work on any operating system? Who knows.

Anyway, if you want to watch this video on a Mac, you have to install VLC and open this URL in it. The Entertainment Commission part of the hearing starts quite far in, at around 3:24:00. Public testimony begins at 3:44:00.

If anyone manages to download this thing and upload it to Youtube, please let me know.

The transcript of the closed captioning is here, but it's full of hilarious errors that make it largely incomprehensible. Search for "Recess until 1:00 P.M." for the beginning of the EC hearing.