July 14, 2020

I love Benders. I used to go there when it was Sacrifice back in the day. I’d meet Michael Barbarino and Silvia Stephenson there before web team meetings. BrokeAss Stuart is right, it’s a great place to just sit and write and meet random people. This was the last place I went to before COVID19 was a thing in the US. When certain idiots at the top were telling us it would magically disappear.

Dante Nuno and Kevin Scally and I went to an anniversary show at Modern Eden’s new spot. I got there early and I waited for Dante to arrive with his amazing show cake, drinking at the Jacks up the street. The art was awesome. Seeing friends was awesome. There were no masks in the house. Who had masks? Maybe we had them from the last fire year just last year. I hugged the last person who wasn’t Jenny or one of my dogs that night. Then we took Uber over to the Mission to see our friend Mike Davis who’s put art on significant parts of my integument play with his band Bad Lemon at Benders. No masks, no paranoia.. well maybe a little.. but it hadn’t even really entered the national mainstream even though New York was seeing a surge.

Benders was the last place I hung out with random beautiful dangerous strangers listening to music, drinking, seeing the smiling half buzzed smiles, uncovered faces, the zero spaces, the agendas over stage side in the corner and soaking in the laughter and all of us emerging from winter to that bar warmth before pulverizing summer heat or SF zero fog hour freeze around July.. that wonderful comfortable happy din and that thing some random loud person said that you plucked out of the air and wrote down because it may never be said again and should be preserved for perpetuity like so many butterflies flutterflying around, all of us.. just experiencing the best of pre-COVID life.

It was the last place I took a piss in the bar bathroom toilet, holding myself up with my hand on the wall while examining the stickers around the toilet to see if there were any new ones I hadn’t seen before.

That night, if you’d have said there would be a shelter in place, or masks had to be worn if you went out to get groceries, or you wash your hands and don’t touch your face to keep the virus off you, or that the shelves would be bare because the supply chain might break down, or that our country would be the world leader in failing to have a national response to keep 135 thousand of our people from dying and this would become a political thing to divide us I’d have said, yea Right…

There are signs in Benders from other SF Bars that went under and I always thought this place would survive. It was the place I knew would be there. Do what you can to help them survive if this place is on your list of great institutions.

Kevin Scally
“holding myself up with my hand on the wall while examining the stickers…” sounds familiar 🙂. Argus lounge sign is there. Great memories

Lori Stein
oof. everywhere is closing. wtf. what’s gonna be left of sf?

Dante Nuno
Love you, brother. Thank you for posting this and reminding us all how lucky we are to have a place like Benders to hang out in. A true classic SF institution. I’m going to do what I can to help their cause. Can’t let them go down without a fight!

Nondas Voll
they are up to 42.5K. Thanks for reminding me of all the reasons I should give a little extra to help keep hope alive.

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