Ever wonder why San Francisco isn't like New Orleans, or Chicago, or Paris, where every cafe, bar, restaurant, and shoe store seems to feature live music at one point or another?
Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi thinks he knows the reason: Getting the required entertainment permit is just too damn difficult and expensive for a small business.
So Mirkarkimi and fellow supes Scott Wiener, Eric Mar, and David Campos helped write legislation for a cheaper, simpler permit that would allow small cafes and restaurants to host live music legally without dealing with lots of red tape. Instead of, say, $15,000 to get a permit, this one costs less than $400.
It's called the Limited Live Performance Permit, and as you read this, the S.F. supervisors are deciding whether to approve it. At a press conference/music party on the sunny steps of City Hall Tuesday afternoon, Mirkarimi seemed confident it would pass.
"It's about time we started getting more live music happening in this city," he said.
The new permit allows live music in accordance with the city's noise ordinance until 11 p.m. in most places (10 p.m. in some neighborhoods). But there are big things it doesn't cover, such as DJ performances. Mirkarimi said he supports legislation to allow DJs the same performance opportunities other musicians would get in the permit.
He sees the new permit as a way to put struggling artists to work -- and to make S.F. a more vibrant place. "I agree with the consensus of many about the war on fun in San Francisco," Mirkarimi told SF Weekly. "This is an antidote to that."
After his remarks, Mirkarimi turned over the microphone to members of Jazz Mafia and accordionist Tom Torriglia for a performance. They lit into a bouncy brass-band jam in true New Orleans style (was that "Do Whatcha Wanna?"), brought out MC Dublin to rhyme through a megaphone, and even had the supervisors dancing a little on the City Hall steps.