27-Jan-2016 (Wed)
Wherein it's time to Hack The Planet again.

Hey, remember when we had that Cyberdelia: 20 Years of Hackers party back in October, and it was epic? Well, we're doing it again this Friday! Like last time, we're dressing up the club as the club from Hackers, including skate ramps, big-screen head-to-head Wipeout XL battles, a costume contest -- but this time instead of starting the evening by watching Hackers, we're watching Tank Girl instead!

Both "90s Cyber" and "Tank Girl" are considered valid in the costume contest, by the way.

Please spam your friends with the Facebook invite, ok? It being January, the time of year when everyone is afraid of fun, ticket sales have been low. (We are almost out of the reserved-seating tickets for the movie, though, so if you want to sit, get on that!)

In other news...

Sunday night, some human shitstain tagged the front of the DNA building with their initials in six foot high letters. I'm not going to show you a picture because that's probably what they want. We had the poor penmanship of this piece of garbage wrapped in skin painted over by the morning, but fuck, like this is what I want to be spending time and money on?

Codeword is still an unmitigated disaster, for all the reasons I whined about last time. It's kind of amazing how much debt you can rack up in just a few months of running a bar that doesn't have any events and that nobody wants to go to. At this point we're deep in triage and damage control mode, trying to prevent the Codeword boat-anchor from capsizing the good ship DNA. We're giving up on the Codeword location of DNA Pizza being 24 hours, at least until the spring. That will complicate things and possibly confuse customers, but -- on the plus side -- there aren't many of those customers. Oh wait that's not actually the plus side. But we just can't afford to subsidize it while waiting for people to discover that we're there.

It's been a constant effort to keep my cool when well-meaning friends can't help but "why don't you just" me, with suggestions that boil down to "throw some parties that people actually want to go to" or "spend a bunch of money on advertising and pray".

Now, if you have any friends who actually want to throw a party that people might actually want to go to, please send them our way. Terms are reasonable. It's a god damned fire sale over here.

Anyway, photos:

Bootie: NYE
Hubba Hubba
Venom, Inc.
Swmrs + Melissa Brooks
Agent Orange

12 Responses:

  1. Dan says:

    Regarding CodeWord, why do you think it's underperforming? You obviously had expectations of success, else you wouldn't have bought it in the first place. But what happened between the start of the project and now that's making it so difficult?

    • jwz says:

      I expected more customers? I expected it to be easier to find promoters who were good at promoting? My strategy of "buy high sell low" turned out to be less than ideal?

      • Ed says:

        You are a saint to put up with questions like this for a lifetime and still have a nice blog full of fun things. Thank you.

  2. Christian says:

    Bug?: when clicking on the logo on codeword-sf.com, the calendar for November 2015 opens.

    • jwz says:

      Ha! Oops, fixed. But the only reason you were even able to see that is that you don't have WebGL which is very sad for you.

      • Christian says:

        I see that this would explain why I found the layout underwhelming (but then why would I try to criticize it when I'm old-school myself). My admittedly old Android but with recent Firefox doesn't show any WebGL either though, and I'll have to work to get WebGL on my laptop so I'll see the real thing another day.

  3. Christian says:

    PS. I realize that the WebGL will perhaps just make the logo move, so I'll clarify what I mean with the "underwhelming": the layout is using roughly the same underlying principles as your other sites (page structure, boxes, box borders), and it's using colors that don't particularly make sense to me (Mexican desert? WWII posters?). Also, people may be trained to time a site according to visual cues coming from the technologies used (CSS features) and fashion trends followed, decide that it's old-style and hence feel that the new location is missing juice. Ok, enough extrapolation, I'm not a graphical designer, just a ex wanna-be web dev.

    (I think the dnalounge layout is pretty good, but the green on black here stands out and makes sense, either as geeky reference to monochrome monitors or to some poisonous mix brewing in an alchemists flask.)

    • jwz says:

      Well, I'm sorry you don't like the design of the Codeword web site, but a few points:

      1. I believe that the design of nightclub web sites has exactly zero impact on attendance. Functionality, sure: can you find the link to buy tickets? Great. Nobody gives a shit about anything else. I enter into evidence as support of this theory: the web sites of every other nightclub, bar and restaurant in the whole wide world.

      1b. My spinning 3D logo is sweet, though.

      2. My experience with dealing with "designers" of all stripes has been pretty much uniformly negative, in a professional capacity. For example, last year I spent around $3,500 between two different designers just to do the logo for Codeword and got nothing that was any good, so I ended up just doing it myself. That's how it usually goes. (Hell, we can't even find people to reliably make gig posters for us who don't want to charge more than the total profit of the gig.) And so:

      3. What that results in, web-site wise, is the DNA site re-skinned with a different CSS file. I had no strong opinions or great ideas about a color scheme, so I just eyedroppered the colors off of some Constructivist posters (Shepard Fairey or R.Black) and ran with that (which is a tree that I've been barking up for a couple of decades already, but whatever).

      That said, if anyone reading this has suggestions for a better, different look for the site, I'm all ears. The best kinds of suggestions take the form of drawings or CSS files. Spoiler alert: I do not expect to receive any...

  4. Caroline says:

    Oh. Was wondering why it was closed when I stopped by on Saturday....

  5. Marc says:

    That webgl logo is pretty freaking awesome. I would love to book my next clergy training event at Codeword, is one of the things I was thinking as I browsed the site.

    Some SEO things stood out to me. For any crawler that cares about URL slugs, the event URLs are just a bunch of numbers (date numbers sure, but still no keywords), there is very little semantic clue-stick stuff for crawlers like h1 tags for the event title (an image is used on the pages I saw, which a crawler can't read even if it got a sense that it was an important image), and maybe some other opportunities like the fact that you built the best dance club, but outside of the Facilities page there's no page or group of pages under e.g. /new-best-dance-club/ all about why Codeword is just as cool as DNA. For intuitive browsing purposes I would also think about splitting the Facilities content into Facilities and About Codeword. People who click menu items like "Facilities" and people who are wondering what the thing itself is are groups that seem like they wouldn't overlap much.

    Nothing earth-shattering consequence, but if you planned to review the site soon anyway it might be simple to address those and lead to an increase in local search visibility.

    Reading your thoughts since the mid 1990s and seeing that something you're involved with might be failing or hurting or whatever, I don't wonder at all the suggestions you're getting. People want to help. Hope this wasn't too prescriptive.

    • jwz says:

      All of the calendar pages use hCalendar and vcard microformats, which Google parses quite nicely. I think your theories about how semantic SEO actually works are a decade or more old, I'm afraid.

  6. Elusis says:

    So, I'll give customer feedback and hope I don't set myself up for too big a helping of that famous JWZ charm.

    We came for Ya Mama's Basement.

    Stuff I liked:
    Good music (Myster C and Starr, props).
    Good pizza.
    Good beers on tap.
    The bathroom was nice.

    Stuff I did not like:
    The portion of the dance floor farthest from the DJ booth was literally some kind of spirit-sucking, light-eating black hole. (The comment "Jamie finally managed to make a club as dark as his soul!" was overheard but I could not say from what quarter.) I could only barely make out that there was a table because I could sort of see the outline of Devin's hat sitting on it, but finding the edges of the table and the accompanying chairs was like learning Braille. Of course, a nightclub should not be lit up like a Home Depot Design Center, but I usually expect dance floors to have enough lighting for me to be able to distinguish the walls from the floor and make sure I don't trip over anything. I couldn't even be sure of putting my drink down on a solid surface. The room looked squalid and uninviting from the outside, and was not somewhere I wanted to sit between songs.

    The "hall" which is also part of the bar room was, conversely, kind of bright (thanks to light from the pizza shop) and also pretty uninviting, with pretty much nothing to look at other than my own feet (nothing in the way of art or interesting lighting or architecture, and the dance room was, as mentioned, hella dark.) It felt like it could hold more tables, but only had a couple of two-tops. If you want to sell pizza, where are people supposed to eat it at? The two high-tops in the pizza room? And it was freezing both places, because the front door was open, blowing straight into the bar.

    The back room was blocked off.

    Basically, the music was great, but I felt like there was nowhere inviting to be if I didn't want to stand at the bar (which is rude and not conducive to eating) or be on the dance floor (which is not conducive to pizza and drinking, and anyway nobody but tweakers dance for hours on end without stopping).

    I considered checking out Saturday Death Guild in January but didn't really feel that excited about going back to the space, TBH. I've got February on my calendar, but without somewhere inviting to sit between songs, and put my stuff and my drink, and with the lack of "atmosphere," I'm not super-motivated.

    You obviously know how to create an inviting club space, so it seems like this could be overcome with some lighting and seating and etc. I'd like to support the new venue. I just don't have that much interest in being somewhere that I'm like "well, the music is fun but otherwise I'm uncomfortable; how long before I can make an excuse and go home?"