Anyway, off we go:
“I can sum up controversy over closing the Gold Dust Lounge in four words. The lease is up.”
YOU ALSO COULD SAY SOMETHING TRITE LIKE, “A DEAL’S A DEAL.” YOU KNOW, NEVIUS, THIS IS EXACTLY THE SITUATION WHERE YOU’D GO THE OTHER WAY, THE FULL-MAUDLIN APPROACH WHERE WE OUGHT TO LISTEN TO OUR HEARTS OR SOMETHING. BUT I SUPPOSE THAT YOU DON’T CONSIDER THIS PARTICULAR WATERING HOLE AS SOMETHING VERY SPECIAL TO YOU. OK FINE.
Loyal patrons wish it weren’t. People in the Bovis family, which has been renting the space since 1966, wish they’d read their agreement more closely. Preservationists wish there weren’t so many formula retail stores on Powell Street. And I wish I still weighed 167 pounds.
OH DEAR, THE MAUDLIN SIDE* OF NEVE WILL _NOT_ BE COMING OUT IN THIS BIT, NOT AT ALL.
The lease is up.
HERE WE FIND THE NEVIUS ONCE AGAIN IN A FAMILIAR ROLE, THAT OF RELENTLESSLY BLEATING A MESSAGE THAT HE THINKS HIS FRIENDS IN SAN FRANCISCO’S DOMINANT CONSERVATIVE POLITICAL FACTION WANT HIM TO SAY. INSTEAD OF “FOUR LEGS GOOD, TWO LEGS BAD” WE GET SOMETHING LIKE “THE LEASE IS UP.”
In most places that would be the end of the story.
OH, LIKE MOST OF THE REST OF AMERICA, LIKE THE EAST BAY COMMUNITY THAT’S YOUR REAL HOME? WELL, IF YOU LOVE REGULAR AMERICA SO MUCH, WHY DON’T YOU MARRY IT, NEVIUS? AND HEY, WHY DON’T YOU MOVE BACK THERE, SAFE FROM THE AVALOSES AND THE CAMPOSES ‘N STUFF?
But here it is just the first chapter. Supporters have pulled in Tony Bennett, Chronicle columnist Herb Caen and Janis Joplin. (Joplin, it is said, sang “in front” of the Gold Dust, then bought drinks there.)
UH, SOUNDS LIKE YOU’RE WAVERING…
And inevitably, of course, lawyers.
OH, I SEE, YOU’RE NOT WAVERING AT ALL.
“They’ve sued us. We’ve sued them,” said Jon Handlery, whose family owns the building. “Now, unfortunately, it goes down that path.”
NOW WE’RE UP TO SPEED – THIS IS THE NEVIUS GETTING QUOTES FROM THE ONE-PERCENT AND PUTTING THEM INTO THE CHRONICLE LIKE THE GOOD BOY THAT HE IS. IRL, BEING BORN INTO THE ONE-PERCENT, THE WAY JON HANDLERY WAS, IS A KIND OF A HANDICAP FOR PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT. BUT NEVIUS DOESN’T SEE THAT. NEVIUS JUST ADMIRES THE ONE-PERCENTER AND SAYS TO HIMSELF, “GEE, I WISH I WAS A ONE-PERCENTER LIKE MY NEW GOOD FRIEND JON HANDLERY.” AND THE FACT THAT HANDLERY WAS BORN INTO THE ONE PERCENT, WELL THAT’S EVEN BETTER FOR NEVIUS. NEVIUS SAYS, “BOY, I WISH I HAD THE FORESIGHT TO HAVE BEEN BORN INTO THE ONE PERCENT AS WELL.”
I don’t get it. Up Powell just off Union Square, the Gold Dust is small, gritty and unremarkable – although often crowded. The drinks are cheap, which is good, but the idea that it represents the deep inner soul of San Francisco is a reach.
OMG, IT’S A NEVIUS STRAW DOG ALERT!
OK, NEVIUS, HELP US OUT HERE. WHO THINKS THAT THE GOLD DUST “REPRESENTS THE DEEP INNER SOUL OF SAN FRANCISCO?” IS THIS WHAT MOST SAN FRANCISCANS BELIEVE? IS IT WHAT THE “SUPPORTERS” OF THE GOLD DUST GENERALLY BELIEVE? IS IT WHAT ANY PARTICULAR PERSON IN TOWN BELIEVES? NO, NOT AT ALL. IT’S JUST YOU, THE NEVIUS, TRYING TO CONSTRUCT AN ARGUMENT. NO ALARMS, NO SURPRISES.
The idea that San Francisco residents regularly fight their way through crowds around the cable car turnaround to make the Gold Dust their regular watering hole seems far-fetched.
OMG, IT’S ANOTHER NEVIUS STRAW DOG ALERT!
AND ACTUALLY, IT’S FAIRLY FAR AWAY FROM THE TURNAROUND, AS YOU WELL KNOW, NEVIUS.
So does the claim from the tenants’ lawsuit, that it is “one of the last welcoming places to buy a drink in the Union Square neighborhood.” Actually, you could go around the corner to a real San Francisco institution, Lefty O’Doul’s, which is also operated by the Bovis family. There are plenty of places to buy a drink in the area.
SO NOW NEVIUS, THE AUSLANDER WHO JUST MOVED TO TOWN LIKE WHAT A YEAR AGO, IS NOW THE ARBITER OF WHAT’S A REAL SAN FRANCISCO INSTITUTION.
The crux of the lawsuit is that Handlery changed the terms of the lease several times and that James and Tasios Bovis, the renters, didn’t realize what they were signing.
IT’S JUST LIKE THAT SOCIAL NETWORK MOVIE, HUH?
The issue now is whether the Gold Dust is an irreplaceable part of San Francisco history. A group applied for historical landmark status, and in what I thought was a very wise opinion, the Planning Department said that while a case could be made that the “physical features” of the lounge should be preserved, there was no reason the space couldn’t be repurposed “for another use, such as retail.”
HERE COMES “THE LIMITED!” YOU PUT ON YOUR ANGEL FLIGHT JEANS AND I’LL FIND MY LEG WARMERS AND BORROW DADDY’S CREDIT CARD.
The debate is likely to continue, but at the end of the day it’s a bar, one of many. It’s not historic.
WELL OF COURSE IT’S HISTORIC, NEVE. IT’S JUST NOT HISTORIC ENOUGH FOR YOU, THAT’S WHAT YOU’RE SAYING.
And the lease is up.
AH YES, AND FOUR LEGS ARE GOOD AND TWO LEGS ARE BAD.
*COMPARE WITH THIS NEVIUS EFFORT FROM JUST LAST YEAR: “Throwing senior citizens out on the sidewalk is never a good idea, but it isn’t stopping North Beach developer Peter Iskander. He served eviction notices to four elderly tenants on Greenwich Street in March. And now that they haven’t moved, he’s gone to court. It’s unconscionable, unreasonable and stupid. Mostly stupid. Imagine the sight of Carlo Tarrone, who is in his 70s and uses a walker…” BUT NEVIUS, “THE LEASE IS UP,” RIGHT?