Thursday, April 15, 2021
Arts + Culture Elbo Room elbowed out

Elbo Room elbowed out

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Beloved Mission club will close in November to make way for condos.

elboclose48

By Marke B

APRIL 23, 2015 — The owners of storied Mission hangout Elbo Room — which hosts/has hosted some of my favorite parties, concerts, and reading nights, including Dub Mission, 120 Minutes, Afrolicious, Literary Death Match, Tormenta Tropical, Body Shock, and Sweater Funk — are going ahead with their questionable plan to convert the building into condos so they can have a place to retire. (They currently live across the street.)

Thus, they are not renewing the Elbo Room’s lease, which runs out in November. Many of the parties — and even the owners of the Elbo Room itself (the club, not the building) — have started the scramble to find a new home. DJ Sep of reggae mainstay Dub Mission on Sundays, one of the city’s longest-running weekly parties, wrote last night in a Facebook post:

“It’s not what any of us wanted to hear. Elbo is much more than just a venue. It’s where Dub Mission started more than 18 and a half years ago. We consider it home. Matt Shapiro, Erik Cantu, and the club’s supportive staff are all part of the reason for Dub Mission’s longevity and success. 

Party Radar, Nightlife SF: Dub Mission by Alex Grande
DJ Sep of Dub Mission Sundays at the Elbo Room. Photo by Alex Grande.

“Dub Mission WILL continue at the club until its lease runs out in November and we‘re very happy to hear that they’re committed to finding a new spot. If you have any ideas (it doesn’t have to be a bar/club, it can just be a great spot), please contact mattshapiro@mac.com. Long live Elbo Room!”

Here’s the official announcement from the Elbo Room:

Official Statement about the future of Elbo Room

Hey Everyone
There is finally news. Dennis and Susan Ring had a meeting with the powers that be and they seem quite confident that their condo project will be able to move forward.
As a result, they have decided not to renew our lease which expires Nov. 1st, 2015.

Yes, we are in shock.

What’s next? We will be looking for a new space to continue what we are doing. With hopefully as little lapse as possible. We own the liquor license, the business and all contents inside (except for pinball/pacman). Hopefully we can find something soon.

If you have any leads on a space for us, or wish to help… please email mattshapiro@mac.com. Thank You for your ongoing support

Matt Shapiro/ Erik Cantu
and the staff of Elbo Room

There’s more than just the usual, storied club history tied up in the Elbo Room. As the Preserving LGBT Historic Sites in California Facebook page notes:

San Francisco: The bulldozers are inching closer to another significant queer historic site in the Mission District. The Elbo Room at 647 Valencia St. at the corner of Sycamore Street is slated for demolition. The building was the location of Amelia’s, a beloved lesbian dance bar from 1978 to 1991. Owned by Rikki Streicher, lesbian activist, businesswoman and cofounder of the Federation of Gay Games, Amelia’s sponsored the first women’s team in the Gay Softball League. The club was one of the anchor establishments for the Valencia Corridor lesbian-feminist enclave that thrived from the 1970s through the 1990s.

Little-noted is the previous gay history of the space: In 1972–1973, it was home to the Gaslight, which the February 1973 issue of Ciao! (an early gay travel magazine) described as follows: “This is a nude Go-Go bar…. If you aspire to turn pro, they have tryouts anytime. On Sundays, chicken is on the menu for fifty cents.” The Gaslight was part of a wave of gay bars in the city that offered nude male go-go dancers in the early 1970s. Another short lived gay men’s bar, Gay 20s, took over the space in 1977. The building thus tells the story not only of Valencia Street as a women’s district, but also an earlier story of Valencia Street and nearby parts of the Mission starting in the late 1950s as an area with a number of bars, bathhouses and other businesses catering to gay men. 

Gerard Koskovich, who runs the Preserving LGBT Historic Sites in California page, says “More on the early 1970s gay history of the site: Jeff Buckley’s ‘San Francisco Scene’ column in the February–March 1972 issue of the gay magazine California Scene notes, ‘There are now five bars or bar-restaurants down 18th at Valencia offering all sorts of things from excellent food and piano entertainment at the Fickle Fox to the Gaslight.’

gaslight48gerard

 

“Buckley also mentions ‘the frenetic dancing scene (at the Gaslight).’ A display ad for the bar indicates that it was one of only three gay dance bars in the city at the time with full liquor licenses: ‘In all of San Francisco, there are only 3 liquor bars where you can drink and dance. One of these is The Gaslight.’ The ad also touts the club as a good bargain: ‘No admissions, no shows, no minimum.’ (And by the way, the Fickle Fox was in the building at 842 Valencia St. where Range restaurant is now located.)

Marke B.
Marke Bieschke is the publisher and arts and culture editor of 48 Hills. He co-owns the Stud bar in SoMa. Reach him at marke (at) 48hills.org, follow @supermarke on Twitter.

56 COMMENTS

  1. So you want others to throw bricks through windows while you are not willing to yourself?

    You comploan that others will not do what you will not do

  2. Again, I was responding to a post that is essentially paranoid nattering. You defended that post but can not supply any factual basis for it’s claims.

    Your deflecting is pathetic, made more so by your on-going claims of your righteousness.

  3. I was suggesting direct action to attack profits extracted from our communities. I trust that people can interpret and implement that creatively on their own, at night.

  4. Nope. I commented on a post and you defended it, I asked you to supply non Hearsay evidence. You could not, now you try and turn it back on me and whine.

  5. You suggested personal support for direct actions like throwing bricks through the windows of white male tech workers who gentrify the Mission by buying condos there.

    I was merely asking questions about how you would do that

  6. Are you using this blog to suggest violent attacks on particular individuals in particular places?

  7. They have deflation right now so I doubt they are worried.

    Germany runs a relatively sound money system and so can afford some money printing. If the Greeks can’t keep up, let them go back to their drachmas

  8. You could start with the windows of the condo that marcos bought by outbidding local people of coloredness, thereby displacing them

  9. When you owe a bank $1m and can’t pay, then you have a problem.

    When you owe a bank $1b and can’t pay, then the bank has a problem.

  10. Why don’t you lead the way, foghorn?

    What direct action do you plan against white male tech workers who gentrify the Mission by buying condos?

  11. Irrespective of landlord action, it is time for direct action on the part of San Franciscans.

    Any inferences made on your part above and beyond that are your error.

  12. For every protest movement that partly contributed to change, there were 99 others that dismally failed because the we the people didn’t give a rat’s ass about it.

    Recent examples of such inglorious failures would include “Occupy” and the “black crimes don’t matter” mob riots.

  13. Foghorn, can you explain to us how throwing a brick through the windows of a Mission district condo, say like the one that white male tech worker marcos owns, will help bring about the great socialist revolution that we all so earnestly crave?

  14. Again.

    “Please link to something beyond hearsay on the subject of “If Land lords
    can find a way to burn down buildings while escaping the law,””

  15. Please link to something beyond hearsay on the subject of “If Land lords can find a way to burn down buildings while escaping the law,” Something involving the factual knowledge of landlords burning down property, it would help if you had some sort of Ford Pinto type memo from some governmental agency around the subject giving known fire bombing land lords a pass.

    You claim actual useful movements while defending posts that are somewhere between anti-vaccine / chem trail and “thats what they want you to think.”

  16. The women’s suffrage movement, the Civil Rights Movement, the anti-war movement and ACT/UP were all paranoid. Right.

    Gimme more paranoia, if the paranoid win.

  17. Most of today’s activists who do direct action are so concerned about being seen by their friends as being radical that they can’t not make themselves the center of what passes for “direct action.”

    True, the system has adapted to traditional forms of direct action, but there are many of us and few of them, they cannot control organizing towards many small acts of nonviolent civil resistance.

    But that would involve the advocacy model of activism putting its own immediate agenda aside in favor of an agenda that originates from below and connects with people to mobilize them.

    The sinecure advocates do not want the competition, they are paid to squelch any competition so that the clearcutting of our city can proceed unfettered.

  18. I wonder if the more rational leftist types wonder through here and are aghast at the paranoid style?

  19. If Landlorts can find a way to burn down buildings while escaping the law, they should be able to do the same thing.
    Come on people! Let’s put in the effort!!

  20. Amelia’s was a pretty hostile operation, to every gender identity.

    I’m not a fan of crowds and DJ’s so seldom made it the Elbow Room late, it is an OK place to have a beer before the crowd shows up.

  21. That’s what I’m saying.
    Instead of doing stupid marches, why don’t you start fucking throwing bricks through the windows of the new condos!!!

  22. so why the hell doesn’t the Elbow Club “community” fight the condo project?

    what is so remarkable about the new gens in SF is how passively they allow themselves to be lead like sheep to their slaughter. both locally and nationally.

  23. Ugh. That’s exactly the sentiment of all of these newbies that think they are in the right. No big deal here. Keep on moving. Nothing here for you to see. Yup. Nothing going on here. Go about your business. Yeah. Stay boring.

  24. More on the early 1970s gay history of the site: Jeff Buckley’s “San
    Francisco Scene” column in the February–March 1972 issue of the gay magazine California
    Scene notes, “There are now five bars or bar-restaurants down 18th at
    Valencia offering all sorts of things from excellent food and piano
    entertainment at the Fickle Fox to the Gaslight.” Buckley also mentions
    “the frenetic dancing scene (at the Gaslight).” A display ad for the bar
    indicates that it was one of only three gay dance bars in the city with full liquor licenses: “In all of San Francisco, there are only 3 liquor bars where
    you can drink and dance. One of these is The Gaslight.” The ad also
    touts “no admissions, no shows, no minimum.” (And by the way, the Fickle
    Fox was in the building at 842 Valencia St. where Range restaurant is
    now located.)

  25. More on the early 1970s history of the site: Jeff Buckley’s “San Francisco Scene” column in the February–March 1972 issue of California Scene notes, “There are now five bars or bar-restaurants down 18th at Valencia offering all sorts of things from excellent food and piano entertainment at the Fickle Fox to the Gaslight.” Buckley also mentions “the frenetic dancing scene (at the Gaslight).” A display ad for the bar indicates, “In all of San Francisco, there are only 3 liquor bars where you can drink and dance. One of these is The Gaslight.” The ad also touts “no admissions, no shows, no minimum.” (And by the way, the Fickle Fox was in the building at 842 Valencia St. where Range restaurant is now located.)

  26. More on the early 1970s history of the site: Jeff
    Buckley’s “San Francisco Scene” column in the February–March 1972 issue
    of California Scene notes, “There are now five bars or bar-restaurants
    down 18th at Valencia offering all sorts of things from excellent food
    and piano entertainment at the Fickle
    Fox to the Gaslight.” Buckley also mentions “the frenetic dancing scene
    (at the Gaslight).” A display ad for the bar indicates, “In all of San
    Francisco, there are only 3 liquor bars where you can drink and dance.
    One of these is The Gaslight.” The ad also touts “no admissions, no
    shows, no minimum.”

  27. It’s definitely one of the longest. I’m sure the disputes will continue regarding longevity. I’ll qualify above.

  28. Property flipping is the only viable business in town at present. If you rent, you are playing with fire. If you own a building and run any other business out of it, it’s as a hobby or for some ready expense cash. Land appreciation is where the cash is, and any other kind of business, however essential for a functional city, is very much a second-class citizen.

  29. This is not a rent-vs-buy issue: small business, on the whole, does not buy.

    Why should it? Running a club has little in common with owning a building.

  30. Renting is, by its very nature, temporary. If you want permanence, buy.

    They say they will look for a new space. Hospitality places move and relocate all the time.

    What’s the big deal here?

Comments are closed.

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