The Latest From SOMA: Of Course! The Irish! Legislation before the S.F. supervisors could end the battle over the future of SOMA's 11th Street corridor by creating a Bourbon Street-style urban club center. For the last six months, cops, club owners, and neighbors have clashed over noise levels in the growing and sometimes boisterous South of Market area. The key problem: an influx of new residents who want the cache of the neighborhood but not the noise. Now, the clubs have hope. On July 6, Supervisor Gavin Newsom introduced legislation to establish a South of Market Entertainment District, with relaxed noise restrictions for clubs. The proposed entertainment district started when Paradise Lounge owner Robin Reichert and the 11th Street Coalition, a collection of businesses mostly based around the 11th and Folsom intersection, invited Joe O'Donoghue -- one of the most prolific builders of live/work spaces in SOMA -- to its weekly meeting. O'Donoghue, president of the local Residential Builders Association, says that the clubs were mistaken about the intentions of SOMA builders. "The clubs had this perception that Irish builders were hooked up with their Irish brothers on the police force in an effort to shut down the clubs so we could buy up the properties," says O'Donoghue. "These are lies that have been propagated by the press and my enemies." (The Irish conspiracy theory was news to Riff Raff. Reporters are investigating.) At any rate, it looks like the clubs and the builders are working together to solve the problem. O'Donoghue and the clubs ironed out a plan, which the former took directly to Newsom and Sen. John Burton, longtime mainstay of the city's Democratic political machine. "Burton used to work in a bar and understands the importance of this issue," says O'Donoghue. "He's been very supportive." Currently, the plan is just a plan; the measure has to go through the city Planning Commission, back to the supes, and then to the mayor. The process could take months to push through, if indeed proponents are successful. Business owners think the proposed district -- bordered by 13th, Bryant, Eighth, and Howard streets, and along Folsom to Sixth Street -- will finally create a zone in which clubs don't have to worry about getting ticketed for noise, or having their permits pulled. Clubs would be able to pump out 80 decibels instead of the current 65 decibels, and developers, not clubs, would be responsible for soundproofing. In addition, the legislation would require new property owners and tenants to sign a waiver stating they understand their area will be noisy. The proposal also reserves all ground-floor spaces for businesses, and allows for temporary street closures at night. "It's a good clean plan," says the Paradise's Reichert. "We got exactly what we wanted." Not everyone feels that way. Club owners outside the proposed entertainment district won't benefit. Robert Nunez, owner of Big Heart City on Fourth and Mission streets, says he is happy about the proposed legislation but thinks "that all SOMA clubs deserve to be a part of it." Supervisor Newsom concedes the point but says he felt it was more important to get the legislation on the table rather than watch it die in the process of trying to please all of SOMA. "Everyone has a different idea of where the lines should be drawn," says Newsom. "[The borders] will change. People just have to understand that this is only the beginning of the process, not the end." Another part of Newsom's plan is a temporary new noise ordinance that would give the clubs some breathing room while the city deliberated. Problem: There seems to be some disagreement about what it means. Developer O'Donoghue thinks that the new amendment will keep cops off the club owners' backs by shifting noise abatement power to the Department of Building Inspection. "We want to take away the power of the noise abatement from the cops because there is some arbitrary policing going on in SOMA that borders on harassment," says O'Donoghue. "Were heading into a conflict with the cops, but they should expect it if they're going to act like cowboys." Noise Abatement officers say that O'Donoghue is confused, that the legislation would not transfer noise abatement away from the Police Department. "That's not in there at all," says Lt. Bruce Lorin of the Noise Abatement Division. He says that while the Department of Building Inspection will ensure new buildings comply with the 80-decibel ruling, the police will still enforce noise complaints. Newsom's proposed legislation seems promising, but it might leave some angry residents in its wake. "If all the neighbors are happy then we can agree with it, but that won't happen," says Lorin. "There's people who have lived there way before the clubs came to SOMA, and they're not going to be happy. This legislation is going to create even more problems and essentially won't solve anything." More news later. (R.A.)
Woodstick, the Photos The first Terrastock psychedelic music festival, held in the summer of 1997 in Providence, R.I., produced an astonishing amount of post-concert ephemera. There were live CDs, commemorative 7-inches, and entire fanzines devoted to the festival, sponsored by British fanzine Ptolemaic Terrascope. There were magazine articles, photographs, and tapes of Terrastock-only musical collaborations. Several of those wares were actually on sale for the first time at the second permutation, held this spring in San Francisco. Terrastock II revisionism will start -- appropriately enough -- at Aquarius Records, the Mission shop whose owner helped organize the three-day concert. On Wednesday, July 15, "Retrogressing Terrastock," a group show of photos by Dianne Jones, Erik Auerbach, and Maya Hayuk, officially opens with a 6:30 p.m. reception at the store. The Bevis Frond's Nick Soloman, shot by Auerbach, is pictured above. (J.S.)
Riff Raff riffraff: Robert Arriaga (R.A.), Johnny DiPaola (J.D.P.), Karl D. Esturbense (K.D.E.), Jeff Stark (J.S.), Silke Tudor (S.T.), Heather Wisner (H.W.), and Bill Wyman (B.W.). Send Bay Area music news, band stories, or petty gripes to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail it to Riff Raff, c/o SF Weekly.