In San Francisco, you never know what you're going to find when you knock on a car window -- but nothing prepared the cops for what they found the night of Nov. 3 down by Aquatic Park.
The window came down and there was a guy with a chicken sitting on his lap and a second chicken in a bag on the passenger seat.
"What's with the chickens?" the cop asked.
"I'm going to take them home and eat them,'' the driver replied.
"Lift up the chicken,'' the cop said.
The driver did -- and the next thing you know, the driver was in cuffs and the chickens were on their way to the humane society -- where (we kid you not) the hens were given a sexual battery exam by a vet the cops called in.
All we can say is, it's going to make for some very interesting testimony on the witness stand.
"But the killer will be the other evidence,'' a law enforcement source said. "A 15-ounce jar of Vaseline... with three feathers in it.''
New Model Army also did a (mostly) accoustic set, and I was very impressed. I'm not real familiar with their music, but they were really, really great live.
The downside to the show was that a small percentage of the audience seemed to be completely oblivious as to what is appropriate behavior at an accoustic performance. There were two or three small groups of people who spent whole show being boisterous and screaming and cackling at each other, ensuring that the 200+ other people who actually did care about the show had to hear the quiet parts of the songs punctuated by the mating call of drunks. I mean, sure, this is a nightclub and not a church, but seriously, this went way beyond "bad movie theatre behavior."
Even better was that one of the louder groups was up on the closed-off half of the balcony: which means that all those people were friends of club staffers. So that means that not only were they screwing it up for the people who actually cared about the show, but also almost certainly meant that none of them even paid to get in.
For obvious reasons, I find it interesting to read about other clubs and how they came about. Caroline loaned me a fascinating book called This Ain't No Disco: The Story of CBGB. Recently someone pointed me at a very long (and interesting) "oral history" of the Minneapolis club First Avenue (you may know it as "the club in Purple Rain.") Also good reading is Working on a Building of Love, a history of The Hacienda, the Factory Records club in Manchester. This was also the subject of the recent movie 24 Hour Party People, but that article is a lot more interesting (and believable) than the movie was.
There are some interesting parallels between CBGB and First Ave. You can pretty much sum up both their histories like this: open a dive; have live music all the time, with no customers to speak of; it becomes a place where most of the customers are also members of the bands who play there; squeak by in poverty for five years, then BANG, something happens and suddenly there's a vibrant music scene and the place is packed all the time.
Sounds like a good plan: the piece we're missing here is "low overhead." Sadly, our overhead here could more accurately be described as "astronomical."