Chicken John’s Odeon Bar was another seminal institution that help draw my heart to San Francisco. It’s been closed for a few years now. Replaced by… a bar. Here’s Chicken John’s announcement:
Phoenix, Windy, Robin, Camilla, Ben, Jenner, Summer, Flash, Chicken, Tyler. 3223 Mission Street. The Odeon Bar. Thank you to Tracey for believing in us. Thank you to Mazin for letting us figure it out by ourselves. Thank you to Simone for taking care of all the things all the time. Thank you to Nieves for your leadership and positivity.
It was an impossible task, really. In the year 2,000 or so I set out to turn a failing bar into a variety arts empire. A bar in the Mission that would only book circus, theater, comedy, bizarre music and odd or unlikely variety acts. They all said it would totally fail and never make any money. And they were right! We kept it open, somehow. Little hustles here and there. Who knows how. Some of the magical nights there are burned into my brain. It was an amazing place.
I started seeing the acts that I had been promoting playing at other venues. Bigger venues. Better venues. I knew I could hang on and it would be a successful business. Someday. But that’s not what I wanted. And I learned to detest the alcohol. My work was done. Now, EVERY venue in SF has permanent rigging for trapeze. There are still tons of bands playing, but the newspaper or blogs will write about your chainsaw sharpening musical or your typewriter ensemble, which would have been impossible 15 years ago.
One of the reasons I had to sell was because I was diagnosed with Hep C (which I recently have been cured of), and had to stop drinking. Listening to all your drunkies while dead sober was awful. The other reason I sold was because it just wasn’t needed anymore. There were other places that were promoting the ideas I had latched on to. We had a vision. We saw the vision. I mean, you drink water NOT to be thirsty. That’s how the whole cause and effect thing works…
It wasn’t easy to re-build a new machine. But we did it. And the machine we built is mighty! The Odeon was an important part of the balanced breakfast that is the SFIOP. Alliances that were forged there are still honored to this day. It’s an honor to serve.
So ten years have gone by. I rented to the Knockout for the night, May 30th. . Zoli has arranged for some entertainments which I will tell you about in the next email I send out. Come raise a glass to the old days.
The Knockout is at (duh) 3223 Mission street, where Mission and Valencia intersect. Yes, they do. Yes they do I go there every fucking day shut up! (I haven’t said that for exactly ten years!) We all have kids now, so the show will start late, at like 10. Goes till 2. And we don’t have to clean up!!!!!!!
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