22-Nov-2019 (Fri)
Wherein DNA Lounge is now 34 years old.

Happy DNA Lounge Day! This club opened on November 22, 1985. Want to see some photos of opening night?

I guess this means that our 35th Anniversary Celebration starts tomorrow and lasts 364 days. That's how this works, right?

On this anniversary, let me toot our own horn a little bit.

As San Francisco's local music scene is being systematically taken over and dismantled by the multi-billion dollar international media conglomerates AEG and Live Nation / TicketMaster, DNA Lounge holds the line as one of the city's very few remaining independently owned and operated venues. And we also have one of the most diverse lineups of any club you're going to find anywhere. It's one of the things that we are most proud of.

Of course we have our regular concerts and dance parties: we have all the metal (e.g. Goatwhore) and all the dubstep (e.g. Sequence and Wasted). And with So Stoked, we are one of the very few clubs willing to take the chance on all ages raves, giving the under-18 crowd a safe place to party. And there's Bootie, the world's greatest mashup party, which is still going strong after 16 years (and happily, attendance has been climbing lately!) And Death Guild, at 26 years old, is the nation's longest-running goth club and is still brooding and spooking it up here every Monday.

But we do so much stuff that's a lot harder to categorize, and is definitely not normal nightclub fare. Just to list a few upcoming and recent examples, in no particular order:

  • At Dorkbot last week, we had lectures on how to make your own video microscope on the cheap, as well as a kookoopants explanation about how cats are space aliens.

  • Each month we do at least five burlesque shows bringing you hilarious comedy and dance, which, really, is quite a lot.

  • Entering its eighth year here, the monthly comedy stylings of Mortified, where people read from their real teenage diaries, is still hilarious.

  • We have Dr. Sketchy's an extremely-nonstandard live figure-drawing class.

  • In a couple of weeks we have Astronomy on Tap, where real-life astronomers get drunk and tell you what they've been working on.

  • Twice a year we host Debut, a runway show by the graduating students of the Paul Mitchell school down the street: their hair designs are way more sculptural than you might expect.

  • Every year we host the Western Hemisphere's only Cocktail Robotics event.

  • You may have heard that Q Bar was recently the victim of a fire, so until they can rebuild we're hosting Bump, their weekly Wednesday gay hiphop party.

  • And though it's been a little while since we've repeated this one, who else is going to build skate ramps on their dance floor for a party celebrating the movie Hackers?

  • A couple times a year we host Mercury Soul, a very cool event that mixes a classical orchestra with DJs and electronic artists. They also host a daytime version of the show for local high school students, where the kids stage their own dance routines to it. It's amazing.

  • Then of course there's this blog. How many nightclubs do you know of that have a blog, that isn't just their calendar? For 21 years now I've been documenting in great detail the process of building and running the business, and all its ups and downs, with level of transparency that terrifies most business owners. Over the years, many industry people, both old-timers and those just starting out, have praised us for being so open and informative about how things work, and helping them avoid pitfalls and run their own business better. I've often suspected that my true mission in life is to serve as a warning to others.

  • Webcasts, we got webcasts. We have webcast every event, in both audio and video, free to watch to anyone anywhere in the world. That is nearly 6,000 events, comprising over 30,000 hours of local live entertainment.

  • One of the things I really love doing here is what I call "crossing the streams". We often have completely unrelated events in the Main Room and in Above DNA, but as often as we can, we try to mingle them together. Sometimes we just open the connecting doors and see what happens, but most often, we allow the earlier event to exit into the later event. When we have a punk show and you leave the building by walking through a candy rave first, most of those punks probably aren't going to enjoy it per se, but they might be entertained by it enough to stick around for a little longer, and they're certainly going to remember it.

    A great example of this was our sold out show with The Ocean Blue in Above DNA last week. As the band ended, we exited people into Mercury Soul. You've just seen your favorite jangly 80s dreampop band, and now you're looking over the balcony at a live string quartet performing their arrangement of Madonna's Die Another Day, what?

All the animals come to the watering hole eventually.

And so, that's what we do and that's why we do it. None of this stuff makes us any money, but we do what we must because we can. Thank you for showing up and making it possible.

Please join our Patreon to ensure that we can keep doing it.

For the financial situation remains apocalyptically dire, and we are still rushing headlong toward the cliff.


Oh yeah, today is also the 32nd anniversary of the Max Headroom broadcast signal intrusion event, so there's that!


4 Responses:

  1. Andrew says:

    Hey, thanks for doing this! I'm very happy to be a Patreon member and a card holder.

    I think you might want to bring back the Red Phone.

  2. Ole Eichhorn says:

    Awesome, congratulations! And here's to x22 more years!

  3. jboy says:

    Congratulations DNA Lounge! Happy birthday!

    Those DNA Lounge photos from 1985 are great. They remind me of this fan-made music video for Trisomie 21's “The Last Song” (which itself was spliced together from 1986 video of Stratus Dance Club in San Diego). The diversity of 1980s fashion & hairstyles is great.

  4. Magenta says:

    Your country thanks you for your service.

    Looks like the Objets Vend'art machine from opening night was one of many and some might still exist. Apparently it was vending these delights that night:






    Resurrecting a couple of these should stem your financials, no?

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