Here's a good article in the Guardian slamming SFPD's latest proposal that all nightclubs be forced to scan the driver's license of every person entering a club and turn that data over to the cops. The idea is to force on us some kind of "do not fly" list for clubs, because that works so well for the TSA.

Going to a club -- or boarding an airplane?

Civil libertarians and many club owners call this a blatantly unconstitutional invasion of privacy. [...] the proposals also come in the wake of overzealous policing of nightclubs and parties -- including improper personal property destruction and seizures, wrongful arrests and violence by police, harassment of disfavored club operators, and even dumping booze down the drain -- mostly led by SFPD Officer Larry Bertrand and his former partner, Michelle Ott, an agent with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Those actions [...] are the subject of multiple ongoing lawsuits by nightclub owners, patrons, and employees, including a racketeering lawsuit alleging that officials are criminally conspiring against lawful activities.

Yet rather than atoning for that enforcement overreach, Newsom and SFPD officials seem to be doubling down on their bets that San Franciscans will tolerate a more heavily policed nightlife scene in the hopes of eliminating the possibility of random violence.


Jamie Zawinski is the owner of the DNA Lounge, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. He has been a leading voice in pushing back against the War of Fun, including running a blog that chronicles SFPD excesses. He said the proposed regulations go way too far.

"It's gang violence happening on the street. The nightclubs are being scapegoated. You don't solve the problem by increased security in the clubs," Zawinski told us, adding that the lack of proper policing on the streets should be addressed before putting the financial strain on the entertainment industry.

"It's ridiculously insulting. I will not do that to my customers. It's not a way to solve any problems," Zawinski said. "It sets the tone for the evening when you start demanding papers."

"The rise in violence has to be looked at from a societal point of view," said Sean Manchester, president of CMAC and owner of the nightclub Mighty. He noted that most of the violence that has been associated with nightclubs took place in alleys and parking lots away from the bars and involved underage perpetrators. "In many instances [the increased security measures] wouldn't have done anything to stop it," he said.

Also, photos are up of last week's Darkest Hour and Epica shows, and New Wave City.

First! The Travel Channel, of all places, just named Hubba Hubba Revue one of the top ten burlesque shows in the world. WTF? I mean, that's fantastic, but WTF? It's in their "Museums and Culture" section, which also features "Best Dinosaur Exhibits" and "Extreme Bathrooms".

Second! In case you ever asked yourself, "The Galactic Empire: was it fucking metal?" The answer is yes, it was fucking metal. Here's Epica covering the Imperial March:

Third! I wrote about this next story back in my heavily-redacted and fairly depressing 2008 year-end wrap-up, but you had no idea what I was talking about because 80% of the words were blacked out. But I now hold in my inbox a document showing that the case in question is settled, so at last it can be told:

Back in 2007, we let someone put on a rather repulsive event called "Chocolate Syrup Wrestling". The promoter came in, set up a kiddie pool, filled it with chocolate, and got a bunch of girls in bikinis to roll around. It was disgusting, but it seemed harmless enough. (There used to be photos of this on our web site, but I took them down because I was tired of the top 90% of the hits in our referer logs being from poop-oriented porn sites.) Even grosser than the show itself, though, is that the promoter filled his kiddie pool from big aluminum cans of syrup... and he apparently left one of the sharp metal lids from the can in the pool, and one of the girls cut her leg on it.

Now, not only did she cut her leg on it -- but she refused medical service, then had another cocktail, then got back in the syrup and wrestled again. So apparently it wasn't that big a deal to her at the time.

But several months later, she decided to sue us. Why sue us, and not the promoter, the guy who hired her and who personally (if indirectly) caused her injury? That's a very good question, and presumably has a lot to do with the fact that the promoter was A) her friend and B) broke.

Said promoter also "lost" the liability waiver he had all the wrestlers sign. How convenient.

So, almost four years later, after several depositions, after having won a non-binding arbitration, and just days before the scheduled court date, our lawyer finally reached a settlement, paying her $6,000 to just go away and stop wasting our time. Presumably her lawyer will take most of that.

So, "yay?"

Needless to say, for failing to take responsibility for his screw-up, Micah Byrnes and Blasthaus will never do another event here again.

We have a new monthly party joining us: starting on February 11th, Blow Up will be every second Friday at DNA Lounge! It's an 18+ electro party, and they have extensive photo galleries and videos on their blog for your evesdropping pleasure.

Remember back in June when the Guardian did a cover story on the most innovative local clubs, and three of the four profiled -- Bootie, Trannyshack and Bearracuda -- just happened to take place at DNA Lounge? Well, the fourth club profiled in that article was Blow Up, so now we've collected the entire set!

Here we go again...

Ma seeks to ban raves in latest War on Fun offensive

Someone needs to tell Assembly member Fiona Ma that the '90s -- with its myopic War on Drugs mentality, ascendant rave scene, and chest-beating "tough on crime" political one-upsmanship -- are over, even though we're still paying that era's bills. Because Ma just introduced AB 74, which seeks to bans raves in California.

Why now? Well, her website says this "historic legislation" was written "on the heels of recent drug-related tragedies in Los Angeles and the Bay Area," referring to three drug-related deaths at two events last May and June. And even though the same statement claims "attendance at raves can range from 16,000 to 185,000 people," Ma somehow thinks that a few overdoses justifies a broad ban on dance parties (although she pointedly exempts live concerts, for reasons she doesn't explain, even though the exact same argument can be made about concerts).

As a representative from the vibrant city of San Francisco, Ma (who did not return our calls for comment) is an embarrassment, taking the already-regressive War on Fun efforts by so-called "moderate" politicians to a new low. But unfortunately, the effort to ban public dance parties has already gained traction at the federal level with provisions of the long-controversial RAVE Act -- promoted by top Democrats as well as Republicans -- finally sneaking their way onto the books last year.

The bill is here, and is very short: AB-74. Apparently she defines a "rave" as any event at night, not in a bar or stadium, that is more than 3 1/2 hours long and includes any pre-recorded music.

I'm sure there will be no Constitutional problems with that, at all.

Back in 1994, when the UK tried to put a stop to those young whippersnappers and that boom-boom-boom noise they call music, they included the awesome phrasing,

"music" includes sounds wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats.

This resulted in Autechre releasing an EP with the warning,

Warning. 'Lost' and 'Djarum' contain repetitive beats. We advise you not to play these tracks if the Criminal Justice Bill becomes law. 'Flutter' has been programmed in such a way that no bars contain identical beats and can therefore be played under the proposed new law. However, we advise DJs to have a lawyer and a musicologist present at all times to confirm the non repetitive nature of the music in the event of police harassment.

Remember when we had a War on Drugs and now there are no more drugs? And then we had that War on Terror and now there's no more terror? I sure am glad we got rid of all of those repetitive beats.