26 November 1995
9:00 PM PST
Show Location: Viewers should assemble in San
Francisco at the intersection of Main and Folsom. Tickets
will go on sale at 8:00 PM. Do not show up early as no
tickets will be sold early. Show will start promptly at 9:00
PM. Tickets are $10 (cash only). No refunds will be given.
I really had a great time at the SRL show tonight. The show was a long
one, over an hour. I shot 3 rolls of film, we'll see how they turned
If you don't know about SRL - Survival Research Labs, you should. Check
We (Me, Lisa, Zardoz, Jeff Hunter) arrived at 7:30ish hoping to get in
early. We were a little too late for that, and had to stand in line for
half an hour to get tickets and getting "in". I was a little annoyed at
having to stand in line; I'm plenty happy to support SRL and pay the
$10, but I didn't want to stand in line. But enough whining.
Wayne and Vince (aka the Flame Thrower guy) were there already in their
Bright Orange Jump Suits(tm). (Wayne, Andrea and I had come by earlier
while they were setting up but we all left to take care of things,
Vince had been there almost since Saturday Night)
Tons of people started showing up. There must have been over 2000 by my
quick count; a bunch of the otaku and cyborganics were there as well as
the usual Burning Man / Cacaphony Society crowd. Saw a lot of people
from the Trocadero and Bondage-a-Go-Go too. To me, that means either
this is a really small city or that there are a lot of people with the
same eclectic mix of interests that I have.
A few things that made an impression on me:
- The Number and Scale of things.
- The location at the foot of the Bay Bridge. It's a $3.50/day parking
lot that has been the site of some (in)famous events (raves and skate
parties) in the past. There is a huge cement footing where the bridge
and the suspension cables are anchored into the side of Rincon Hill.
- Robot Choreography was great. Almost everything worked like it was
supposed to, and combined well with the spooky industrial-ambient
- The Fire/Flame Vortex that created a tornado of flame. Wow. What a
strange sight, I want one for home now.
- Seeing the Portside Condiminium building (a block away) smoke alarms
go off: it's a new building with the ADA-compliant visual (strobe) as
well as audible alarms. Every room in the building was flashing,
prompting Lisa to say it looked like a UFO about to take off. Very
- Penn Jillette (of Penn and Teller) doing the Announcing. We saw Penn
walk by and Vince confirmed that he did announce the show.
- There was an ISDN line installed for live videocasting to the
Internet. Worked half-way decently, to boot - we watched the setup from
my loft before we got there.
- I wasn't the only person with a gas mask
- The small percentage of assholes present
Afterwards: Ana and I drove by afterwards and parked up on the Harrison
street bridge to watch the aftermath, Vince was there. He said the cops
and fire department were really pissed off at first, but they were
starting to calm down.
Originally, they roped off the whole area as a police line - do not
cross, then said they were confiscating everything - including the
trucks and cars there. Someone brought in coffee and donuts as a peace
offering (we saw the big pink box of several dozen donuts); but the
Fire Department was still there with the HAZMAT hazardous materials
team with a big book of code violations for the SRL guys. He was going
through the book and making a big list.
That sheriff in the jumpsuit who came throught the crowd by us was very
cool about the whole thing. Vince was stationed at the street area when
he came in and said "Why have you blocked off the street?" They told
him they were filming a movie* and that they didn't want people to have
to make a u-turn on a one way street. They pointed him to someone who
was in charge; he was all steamed up at first but they gave him some
ear protection and said "enjoy", and he is basically responsible for
letting the show go on. He was still there at Midnight when Vince, Ana
and I were there.
Vince said the cops told everyone to leave a little after we left, and
it was a shame because there were lots of people who wanted to stay
behind and help clean up. Now the core team will have to do it or else
pay the city to do it. (There were some small spills of oil and gas
that were made worse when the Fire Dept hosed everything down.
PS - The 'thing' that makes the incredibly loud noise was just that: a
thing that makes a huge amount of noise. It is a V-8 hooked to an
modified automatic transmission (I think "turned backwards" to rev it
up) which then spins a steel cable around in circles. The sound is that
of the steel cable. Rumor has it that as it gets up to speed, the ends
of the cable are going faster than the speed of sound and so it makes a
series of tiny sonic booms - hence the insane loudness.
* The event was Video'ed and will be available on tape soon. So this
was not a lie.