SF approves new limited live performance permits

August 2, 2011 8:19:54 PM PDT
San Francisco supervisors unanimously approved a bill that will give small businesses and restaurants a break on fees to bring live music to their establishments. It's an affordable alternative meant to retain a San Francisco style.

The jazz mafia shook up City Hall Tuesday, putting a rhythm to Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi's proposed limited live performance permits.

"A new tier, an affordable tier, a permit, for cafes and restaurants so they can put artists, performance artists and musicians to work," Mirkarimi said.

The permits say small cafes and restaurants will still have to adhere to noise control, public health and safety laws and there will be a shutoff time of 10 p.m.

But the permits are designed to keep a unique atmosphere in neighborhoods from North Beach to SoMa to West Portal.

"What the city has relied on for many, many years, decades, is a one size fits all permit; that permit is usually for the much larger venues; it's cost prohibitive, it's very expensive," Mirkarimi said.

Musicians look at the proposed permits as opportunity.

"Anything that will give us more work and give musicians an opportunity for more work and make it easier for establishments to hire musicians is a good thing for everybody," musician Tom Torriglia said.

"It's going to save our musical lives; at this point we are teaching lessons, we're all trying to stay in San Francisco, but we're losing a lot of our great musicians," musician Rich Armstrong said.

And it should be good for business owners like North Beach's Colosseo Restaurant, which already features an opera singing waiter.

"It just actually brings in a lot of people and a lot hotels call asking if we have the singing waiter," Stella Nevigato said.

The permits are meant to restore a cultural vibrancy.

The new permits could go into effect January 1.


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