Relevant categories include:
5. Best DJ
9. Best MC
13. Best Bartender
16. Best Gay Friendly Bar/Club
19. Best Live Music Venue
20. Best Cocktail
24. Best New Club (Above DNA counts!)
41. Best Late Night Bite
44. Best Pizza
45. Best Sandwich (Have you tried our new sandwiches? My favorite is the Boba Feta.)
52. Best Drag Queen
53. Best Event Producers
59. Best Place To Hear Random Screaming At 3 a.m. (Maybe we'd rather not win this one.)
We're still bummed that last year they eliminated the "Best Dance Club" and "Best Club Night" categories, since DNA Lounge and/or Bootie won those every year, but please do vote for us in the remaining categories!
Some recent photo galleries:
Also, mixtape 128 is out. Enjoy!
We did not get the 6 votes needed to keep this bill alive in the state senate. This is sad news for the over 10,000 folks who emailed the state senators and all the people who wanted this to become real, we do have an opportunity.
It's telling that when you google for information about this, the only hits you find are the various "Stop SB 635" sites put up by the prohibitionists. Not even a statement on its defeat from Leno, that I can find. Clearly the opposition out-spent and out-organized those of us who wanted the laws governing how San Franciscans may spend their evenings to come from San Francisco instead of Sacramento.
There's some talk of a ballot measure to try again, but that can't happen before 2016, and it will surely just be out-organized and out-spent, like this one was.
Well, that was four of the best shows I've ever seen in my life. I just watched Prince perform for six to eight hours, and I would have watched a third night as well if we were lucky enough to have one.
He's just mind-blowing. He is a force of nature. And his band is amazing, too. Here, read some reviews:
- SF Weekly: Prince Delights Himself (And a Small Crowd) at DNA Lounge
- San Jose Mercury News: Prince royally rocks San Francisco.
- Rock Subculture: Day 1, Late Show and Day 2, Early Show.
- SF Chronicle: Prince makes a racket at DNA Lounge.
- East Bay Express: The Sheer, Epic Princeliness of Prince.
- City Sound Inertia: "I got a lot of hits. We could be here all night."
My mom couldn't stop talking about how much this show reminded her of seeing Hendrix at Woodstock.
This has been an exhausting few weeks, but: we nailed it.
Our staff did such a fantastic job under incredibly stressful conditions! Many of them put in double shifts, two days in a row.
In fact, a number of customers who were sending us hate mail complemented the staff, e.g., "This show was terrible and this is the worst venue the world has ever seen, even though the staff was nice." We got two phone calls today from people calling to say only, "You guys did a great job and your staff was awesome." Nobody ever calls, or even emails, to say things like that. People only call to complain about something!
So let's hear it for the DNA crew. Well done, folks!
Lots of people were pissed off about lots of things, though. The entitlement ran deep. So very deep. A few of the more popular things that people hated on us over:
- It was so expensive, you're so greedy. (The ticket price wasn't our decision, but even so, I'd say that the fact that all four shows sold out in 90 minutes means that the market says that it was underpriced. Also, you'd have paid that much for seats in section 1 of the Oakland Coliseum and still been seated as far from the stage as DNA Lounge is from Slim's!)
- It was totally unfair of you to announce the show and put tickets on sale at the same time. (Also not our decision, but I can't think of anything more "fair" than leaving your opportunity to get a ticket almost entirely to chance.)
- It was totally unfair of you to release 40 more tickets for a discounted price on the day of the show, so you should give me (and, presumably, the other 3,000 people) a refund. (Also not our decision, but come on, these people apparently believe that if any product ever goes on sale, every person who has ever bought one should get their money back.)
- It was crowded, it shouldn't have been crowded. (Presumably they'd rather we let half as many people in, charge twice as much, and halve their chances of being able to attend at all?)
- I got here late and chose to stand at the back behind a tall guy and couldn't see, you suck.
- It's unfair that you won't give me a VIP booth for free, because I'm old / my wife is pregnant / my service animal doesn't like to stand for that long.
Overall, though, response has been overwhelmingly positive.
We must live in a far more violent world than I realized, though, because it seems that about one in fifteen people are mugged and have their credit cards stolen over any given three week period. These were all people trying to use scalped tickets, hoping that if they all gave us exactly the same obvious story, we wouldn't check their credit card at will-call. Probably a couple of them were telling the truth, but we heard this story so many times it's just statistically impossible.
At its peak, the line wrapped all the way around the block: it turned the corner onto Tenth Street. Here's some video I shot of it, when it was not-quite-yet turning the corner:
Still, once the doors were open, we got all those people inside in about 20 minutes.
One of the things Prince wanted was a curtain at the front of the stage. We don't have one, so we rented one, and it was pretty awesome, check this out:
Once the band was set up, though, the curtain was kind of in the way, so they decided not to use it at all. Bummer.
I've realized that I never told our Prince story from 2000! We were deep in the throes of remodeling, and there was no floor in the main room: they were excavating the drains, so it was basically piles of dirt and open trenches full of rust and horror. It looked like this. This is the view from standing on the stage, looking at where the main bar is now:
And then we got a phone call: Prince would like to play a secret after-show there in three days.
Barry and I stood on top of one of those piles of dirt staring at that room for hours, yelling at each other and trying to figure out how we were going to cover this open pit with plywood and rent and install an entire sound system in two days. Because you do not say no to Prince. But we did. We said no.
Thirteen years later, though!
Here's a view we don't get to see very often: Prince's tour bus, shot from a neighbor's apartment:
This is approximately as close as you were allowed to get to Prince with a camera in hand.
Even I couldn't get a photo pass. In my own club.
But you don't say no to Prince.
Will-call tickets can be picked up starting at 6AM on the day of the show! Tuesday tickets will be available all day Tuesday; Wednesday tickets will be available on Wednesday.
We won't allow lines to begin forming until 5pm for the early shows, and 9pm for the late shows. If you try to queue up earlier than that, you will be asked to leave and come back later.
There will be no tickets for sale at the door. At this point, the only way to get in is to reserve a VIP booth. Contact us at 415-857-4417 or email@example.com if you're interested.
We've been webcasting via Justin.TV since early 2008, which was very shortly after they went online. We were one of their earliest users, and probably their first user who was trying to keep the stream live 24/7. Several of their staff were really helpful making everything work, but apparently nobody I've talked to over there still works for them, and their support address isn't answering my email.
I guess it's time to find another video hosting service.
Can you recommend one that is free, and won't spam my video feeds with ads? Preferably one that will let me feed them a stream via Flash Media Live Encoder rather than a Flash plugin running in a web browser.
Meanwhile, a few new photo galleries:
This time we printed the sign in three sections instead of one, to make it easier to update in the future.
Also we added about another two feet onto the front of the stage in Above DNA. It turned out really well: you almost can't tell that it wasn't built that way from the beginning.
It's a bummer, though, because I really didn't want to do that at all. I think the stage was already totally big enough for a room of that size, and the bigger the stage is, the less room there is for customers, but it was becoming a hassle.
We kept having these metal bands up there with these baroquely oversized drum kits. Now, on a stage like that, in a room like that, the right thing to do is to put the drum kit off to one side of the stage, instead of putting it in the center and trying to have your guitarist fit in front of the bass drum. (This also has the side effect that maybe the audience will be able to actually see the drummer, what a concept.)
But no, apparently these metal dudes are just completely temperamentally unsuited to that, so instead they'd try to set up the drums in the center and stand in front, and then would realize that there wasn't room for the drums, their beard, their beer belly, their guitar, and their pedals, so then they'd have the brilliant idea of, I know! I'll just set up on the floor in front of the stage instead!"
Which is nice for the fifteen people right up front, but it means that absolutely nobody else in the room gets to see the show. Oh, except they can see the drummer really well because now our stage has been demoted to the world's largest drum riser.
Well, we couldn't fix the bands, and extending the stage wasted less square feet than was being wasted by their ad hoc Plan B, so fuck it.
Three events tonight! You can probably manage to come to them all!
There will be no tickets available at the door, sorry.
Also, we are taking some strong anti-scalping measures for these shows, so please don't let yourself get ripped off.
In political news, the Western SOMA Plan is finally law. That took eight or nine years. We had a little celebration at DNA Pizza last night, and way more people turned up than we expected! Here's what CMAC said about it:
Yes, you read it right, after almost a decade of work, the Western Soma Plan has been signed by Mayor Lee on Tuesday. CMAC played a large role in making the plan more entertainment and hospitality friendly. For the first time since the 1980s entertainment venues on 11th Street, like DNA, Slim's and Beat Box are (as of right) legal and no housing can be put on that block. They have a more secure future, can expand, evolve and keep competitive thanks to CMAC leadership and huge community support. Celebrate on Tuesday April 2, 2013 at DNA Pizza from 6 to 8 PM with Supervisor Kim and her staff along with the many neighbors and merchants who now have a up to date zoning plan.
We're happy to have entertainment actually be allowed on 11th Street again (instead of being grandfathered in as "existing nonconforming", which it had been for many, many years). There are other good changes in the rezoning too, like, Folsom St. is going to be two-way instead of one-way. I believe the changeover is moving from 12th St. down to 7th St., which should make those blocks much less menacing to pedestrians and bicyclists.
Some photos from our GDC-heavy last week:
Please pass it on!
Photos of Bootie Request Night, and of the fantastic Sandra Kolstad show last night, which all of you missed, because you people just don't listen to me:
I see that there are a lot of parasites trying to scalp tickets at absurd multipliers already, and I gleefully look forward to their disappointment. I guess they didn't read the part on the checkout page where it said that you can't pick up your will-call tickets without presenting the credit card used for the order.
Photos and videos:
The Death Guild Anniversary was the biggest Death Guild party of all time. (Of all time.)
I didn't get any photos of The Frail because we had two shows that I wanted to see on Friday, and after Happy Fangs and Night Club I went next door to see Vows and Lebanon Hanover. That's a problem I haven't had before!
Tonight's another two-event night: we've got GDC-associated chiptunes and Peelander-Z in the main room, and Sandra Kolstad, Moon Cadillac and Seatraffic in Above DNA, both of which promise to be great shows.
Also, if you still want to buy Prince tickets, we'll be raffling them off at the end of the Sandra Kolstad show. But you have to get here early!
Prince is playing four shows at DNA Lounge on Tue Apr 23 and Wed Apr 24 -- two shows each night!
Tickets are on sale right now:
Some of you heard about this on Wednesday night when the beans were spilled on a webcast -- we can tell from the email and phone calls we've been getting already, oh yes -- but we didn't have permission to say anything until just now.
I think the last time Prince performed at DNA Lounge was in April 1997 (almost exactly 16 years ago!) and before that, in April 1993. But those were secret-ish late-night gigs after his main show at much larger venues. This time, we're an official stop on the tour!
These are specially formulated to re-brand laptops! They are die-cut foil: the DNA Lounge logo is a transparent cut-out. If you stick one of these over the glowing Apple logo on your laptop, the DNA logo will light up, and no other light bleeds through!
You will see no "Ghost Apple" like you always see with other, lesser stickers. The animation above is not a simulation. That's exactly what the video I shot looked like, with the sticker on an Apple laptop.
At the low low price of $1, that's just one of your Yankee Dollars!
It took us quite some time -- like, three years -- to both figure out how to make this work, and then to find someone willing to actually do it, let me tell you.
So please buy them up, ok?
Officer Chan, the permitting officer for SFPD, called to remind us that we're required to have video surveillance that records everything our customers do, and to give that footage to SFPD any time they ask, without a warrant or explanation. "Actually, that's not the case, I'm not required to do that," says Barry. "It's a part of the Good Neighbor Policy," says the cop. "No, actually, it's not. And it's also not a condition of our permits."
"Well! I guess I'll have to speak to the Entertainment Commission about that, then!"
Thirty minutes later, Barry got a call from this guy's boss, admitting that while we're not technically required to, we really, really should "consider" it. After some back and forth, he says, "Should I take from this conversation that you're not willing to consider this?" "We have considered it, which is why we fought to have that condition not put on our permits."
Someone from the Entertainment Commission said, "Yeah, it's really weird that you don't have that condition, because they're putting that on everybody's permits now. Nobody else has fought it."
Which isn't surprising, since apparently everyone who works for SFPD is going around telling everyone that it's required by law when that's not even remotely true. It's just another sneaky, backdoor regulation that ABC and SFPD have been foisting on everyone without any kind of judicial oversight, in flagrant violation of the Fourth Amendment.
Remember, they tried to get this written into the law back in 2010 and got their asses handed to them, so instead they've just been making it a condition of every new permit ever since. Because they think that they get to just make up laws, all on their own.
Dear bar owners: you do not have to put up with this extrajudicial bullshit.
We had two sold out shows this weekend! I like it when that happens.
When we sell out, we always hold back a few tickets to sell at the door, so this means that people show up early to try and get those. This time, Barry had a great idea: he said, "Instead of all these people standing around on the sidewalk waiting to get in, why don't we let them stand in front of a bartender?" So we opened Above DNA about an hour before doors and let them hang out there until the main room was ready. That Barry, he's a thinker.
The Bone Thugs show was probably one of the most "well-documented" events we've had since Blow Up. It seems like every single person in the audience was trying to record the whole thing on video. Devon said he counted 50 cameras in the air before he lost count. There are already dozens of videos of it on the Youtubes, and in most of these videos the bottom third of the screen is a sea of other peoples' phones recording the same thing. The show was a DJ with five MCs just kind of standing around. Pretty dynamic.Twitch this month: normally it's on first Fridays, but this month it's on Thu Mar 7 and Fri Mar 22, because of the bands' availability. These shows should be cool. You should come.
Also, we recently booked a couple of tribute bands: a Led Zeppelin tribute and a Daft Punk tribute. (Ok, so let's let that last one sink in. What is a Daft Punk tribute like? I'm guessing it's, "wear blinky helmets"? I'm sure they press play exactly like the real thing! We shall see.)
Anyway, I mention these shows because I just want to put it out there that I think both shows would be awesome were they to trade set-lists. I don't think I'm going to get my wish, though.
More Dazzle is in progress as we speak. This is how the magic happens:
Some photos from last week:
As usual, Trannyshack is all videos, no photos. We handed out photo passes to eight people with pro cameras that night, and only two of them even bothered to respond to my followup email (and they both shot video). I don't get it. You people are just not cooperating.
The lighting made most of these shows very difficult to shoot. At the Limousines show they were experimenting with some projections on big balloons, which is a really cool idea, but resulted in the rest of the room being basically black because their projector isn't bright enough. Nice idea, needs work.The Atlas Obscura and Stick To Your Guns shows in Above DNA basically had no lighting at all, for no sane reason, making it almost impossible to shoot anything.
There will be words.
The Limousines played a bunch of unreleased stuff from the new album that they've funded with Kickstarter, so that was cool. It should be good.
At the show last night in Above DNA, I overheard a guy from one of the opening bands bitching that they were in the small room instead of the big room. He said something like, "Man, we sold like thirty tickets and they put us in here? Lame." This always bums me out, especially when it comes from a performer instead of a customer, because it means that this guy doesn't understand that being in the smaller room was for his benefit. If we had put this show in the big room, the show would have sucked. When you put 150 people in a room that holds 900, your show feels dead and your fans go away thinking, at best, "eh, that show was ok." But when you pack the people in, it's more energetic and everyone has more fun.
We've been at this a while. We know this to be a fact.
Maybe the guys in the band don't get to feel like big important rockstars because they're on a smaller stage, but the show is better and the fans have more fun. So, you know, if you want to play a bigger room, maybe get more fans. Oh snap, I said it.
Speaking of, it looks like our XXYYXX show on Thursday is probably going to sell out, so you should get tickets soon!
You may have noticed that that's our first ever show that's a part of Noisepop! Which is great. Does this mean they've finally stopped ignoring us? Well, they didn't bring one of their shows to us; rather we had the show booked already and they hopped on later. So... maybe?
SFBG: Clubs vs. Condos
The commission heeded the recent recommendation of the nightlife community and District 6 Sup. Jane Kim to modify the plan to prohibit new residential development on the 11th Street block where tipsy visitors to Slim's, DNA Lounge, and other big clubs clog the sidewalks every weekend. But it also voted to grandfather in a 24-unit residential project at 340 11th Street, which everyone now involved in closed-door negotiations simply calls "the purple building," a two-story masonry structure built in 1907 that is awaiting demolition. [...]
For example, just one neighbor of Slim's [...] has waged a relentless campaign that has forced temporary shutdowns and cost the club more than $750,000 in mediation costs, Alan said, despite the club's sound buffering and general compliance with local codes.
Alan said that it's simply unthinkable to add more than two dozen new homeowners to that busy block in a condominium building that only allows access on 11th Street.
We sure would prefer that the developers who now own that building put in retail and office space instead of condos. This would help grow the daytime business in the neighborhood, which would be good for the local restaurants (including ours) without giving the nightclubs yet another source of conflict.
The hearing is this Monday, Feb 25, at 1:30pm at City Hall.
Even if you can't attend, we need you to send some email to the Board of Supervisors to help prevent this insanity.
CMAC has some suggestions on what your email should say. Points 1, 3 and 5 are the really, really important ones:
To: David.Chiu@sfgov.org, Jane.Kim@sfgov.org, Scott.Wiener@sfgov.org
1. No more residential permits on 11th Street between Folsom and Harrison. History tells us that residential and entertainment uses need some space around them, or conflict results. 11th street is a historic space for entertainment and there is no space on that block for residential.
2. Limited Live Performance Permits should be allowed to have live entertainment inside a tiny area up to 10 PM. A restaurant that wants a singer, piano or violin or a bar that wants jazz, needs this "Limited Live Performance" permit. Folsom Street and numbered cross streets (7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th) should be allowed to have this permit. Live music should flourish, not be prohibited.
3. Folsom Street should be allowed more entertainment permits. Folsom Street is the new "main street" of San Francisco, paving the way for a nighttime economy that is helping our economic recovery. Why not expand permits and allow another Brain Wash or Cat Club?
4. Folsom Street needs commerce above the first floor. With conditional use authorization, Folsom Street should be allowed to permit restaurants and lounges on the second or third floor. San Francisco should open the door to innovative new places to eat.
5. Expand the sunset date on entertainment permits from 3 years to 5 years. If an entertainment venue closes for more than 3 years in SOMA, it is gone forever. Let's be more supportive of retaining our entertainment venues in San Francisco and let it be 5 years. This saves the Paradise and Raw Hide from disappearing and hurts no one.
Tonight is our second Obscura Society event, Tales from the Winchester House. It's an early (7pm) seated event in Above DNA, and it should be great fun. (See the photos from their Emperor Norton presentation last time.)
Friday is The Limousines! These guys are fantastic, and you need to come to this show. I expected it to be almost sold out by now but it's not, which makes me worry that not enough people are aware that they're playing here, so do us a favor and tell your friends, ok? Here, watch the video. It has zombies and cardboard weapons.
New photo galleries since last time:
And there's a pretty entertaining review of Bootie in SF Weekly:
Bootie Takes Pop Culture and Rearranges It Completely
The bouncer stamped my left wrist, my friend and I walked through the door, and then it all went blurry: We had just stepped into a club full of shitfaced people screaming the chorus to Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know" over the spiralling pianos of Coldplay's "Clocks." Trying to make our way toward the ATM (and ultimately failing), we pushed through the crowd like icebreakers violently navigating an arctic trade route. Cocktails flew everywhere, flesh ground against flesh, shutter shades were dropped and stepped on. I looked up and studied a pirate flag draped from the balcony of DNA Lounge and asked myself if it would have been a better idea to have finally gone to a salsa night instead.
Twitch is a fun party with interesting music, but turn-out has been a bit thin. You should come, so that we get to keep doing it.
It's about a month too late for it to really matter this year, but the DNA Pizza dining room now has a working heater! It's that big box inline with the ventilation duct:
These heaters have been up there for years, but the thermostats were all smashed, so we had no idea whether they worked. They do! Though apparently they haven't been turned on in 5 or 10 years. That initial burst of burning dust was tasty, let me tell you.
There are actually two of them in the dining room and one in the kitchen, but apparently when we re-did the electrical for Above DNA we commandeered that power, so we don't have enough juice to run all three any more. Oops. So we turned off the one in the kitchen to bring one in the dining room back online.
The heat from the pizza oven in the restaurant helps a bit, but we like to keep the room pressurized with air blowing out the front door, because otherwise the dining room tends to fill with Mystery Smells from the street like car exhaust, welding from the auto shop next door, and inconsiderate smokers. Closing the front doors isn't really an option either, because then we look closed and lose business. So, heat!
Also: DNA Pizza will be having a Superbowl Special this Sunday! The special is: ABSOLUTELY NO SUPERBOWL. So if you're looking for somewhere to hang out that is 100% sportball-free, that's us. There will be our usual offerings of pizza, coffee, alcohol and awesome yet sometimes disturbing music videos.
And if someone tries to burn down our neighborhood, we plan to close the doors.