Pop Philosophy

Blasthaus; Hot Rodney's Bar and Grill

Hey, there's this great new club ... no, wait, it's goneSome nights it can be hard to get off the couch -- especially in winter, when the world seems to constrict to a 10-foot radius around my gas heater. Harnessing the courage to venture out into the frigid hallway, let alone the great outdoors, takes a gargantuan effort -- even more so when it's for a weekly DJ event. It's weekly, damn it; it'll be there when March rolls around.

Or will it? Even with the dot-com boom turning to bust, local nightclubs and events continue to disappear at an alarming pace -- the Boomerang and CoCo Club being the latest victims. Not to be outdone, the multimedia space blasthaus may have set a record for shortest time in operation before eviction (just before Christmas -- ho, ho, ho).

Blasthaus was a homey club where patrons could play old Atari video games or check out genre-bending art while listening to DJs spin classic Moog soundtracks and experimental electronica. While blasthaus director William Linn had been running the venue in other S.F. locations for the past five years, the stint at 573 Mission lasted only six weeks. "We knew going into it that it was a short-term thing," Linn says. "But we figured we'd get a solid year out of it."

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Sample of Brian Eno's "Needle in the Camel's Eye," from the soundtrack of the movie Velvet Goldmine. Click the "play" icon in the control console below.

<p align="center"> If your browser doesn't display a control console, <a href="http://www.sfweekly.com/media/2001-01-03/eno.mp3"> download the MP3 file</a> to be played by a separate application. </p>

Find more information at www.miramax.com/velvetgoldmine.

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Before occupying the space, Linn discovered that the building was earmarked for sale to New York developer Tishman Spier. Considering that the deal had languished in escrow for two years, Linn moved in and set up the club. Besides "Moog Clinic," the venue ran a weekly abstract dance night called "Mosaic" and held special events with Washington, D.C., easy lounge duo Thievery Corporation, among others. Unfortunately, with a vote on the sale coming before the Planning Commission in March, the building's landlord evicted all the tenants, including blasthaus.

There's a lesson to be learned from this unfortunate event -- the Greeks said it best with carpe diem. Of course, they didn't have gas heating.

In the spirit of seizing the day, you may want to check out the opening night of Hot Rodney's Bar and Grill. The venue, which plans to hold two events a month, will feature the same mix of innovative noise and electronic experimentation that the organizers brought to their previous endeavor, Clit Stop. "Lowbrow and highbrow music tend to thumb their noses at each other," "promotion contact" Jake Rodriguez says. "We're offering a place where the two [styles] can meet." The first show is Saturday, Jan. 6, at 9 p.m., featuring all-star electronics trio Fuzzybunny and the free-jazz combo Marco Eneidi Quartet. Hot Rodney's is at the Delivery Room, 557 Howard (at First Street). Tickets are $10; call 896-6434.

Write on, manTraipsing to the top of Mount Everest, combining peanut butter and jelly in the same jar, writing a 50,000-word novel in 30 days -- all activities that no one thought could be done. I can't say I've ever battled snow avalanches or multicolored sandwich spread, but I did compose a novel in a month (see "It was the best of times ...," Nov. 15). By way of ringing out the old year, I'm sharing with you an unedited excerpt from Parenthetically Yours, my ode to early '90s San Francisco. This passage hints at how music invades every waking moment of the main character's life (no similarity to its author, honest).

Any interested literary agents or thunderstruck readers can contact me at the address below.

As we walked back to my dorm, I began to get nervous about Nickie seeing my room. Had I left anything embarrassing out? Was my journal open to a page talking about her? One time I'd brought a girl back to my room and she'd remarked how incredibly tidy it was. Since then, I made sure to carefully mess it up just in case.

I had also taken to preparing seduction music in the unlikely event that I brought a girl back to my room. I would strategically place a selection of sex-you-up albums near the stereo -- Sonic Youth'sSister, Pink Floyd'sMeddle, Velvet Underground's1969 live album (the side with "Ocean"), any Lee "Scratch" Perry -- so I could casually reach over and slip something on if necessary.

Tonight I hadn't properly prepared. The only records by the stereo were rather slow and depressing albums I wouldn't want to show anyone until at least the third date. As Nickie flopped down on the bed, I tried to come up with something utterly cool and impressive to play. I was torn between something obvious like Elvis Costello or weirder like Can. Finally I settled on Brian Eno'sHere Come the Warm Jets.

Penny was camped out next to Nickie on the bed so I sat in the overstuffed, threadbare chair. We passed the bottle a few times, as I waited for a sign that the music was too strange, too rock, too loud, too arty, or too old. Then, as "Needle in the Camel's Eye" came on, Nickie began to sing along. I hid my smile behind the whiskey bottle.

 
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