SRL was recently banned from performing in San Francisco by the SF fire dept. In December 2011, Somarts, a local gallery venue,/arts support organization in the city asked SRL to participate in I am Crime, a show of artists who had been arrested for activities related to their work. The SRL participation was to have included an installation of one machine, the Spine Robot in the gallery and a one day street closure of Brannan Street between 8th and 9th for a short outdoor SRL event at the closing of the installation. The city of SF approved the street closure, but the SFFD, citing an SRL show from 1989, Illusions of Shameless Abundance stated that SRL would no longer be allowed to perform in San Francisco. This resulted in the outdoor show being called off by Somarts.
This is not the first time that the SFFD has been responsible for shows by SRL being banned both in San Francisco and elsewhere. In 1995 we were planning a show with Somarts that was funded by the BBC as part of a feature length documentary Pandemonium when the SFFD warned the then director of Somarts, Jack Davis, that any attempt to host an SRL event would result in the possible closure of Somarts. This was, according the to the SFFD representative, because SRL had ‘humiliated the SFFD in a prime time news segment that appeared on the Connie Chung show a few months earlier’. ( This was a co-production SRL did with CBS news on the Calculated Forecast of Ultimate Doom show staged at pier 70 in SF in 1994. It ended up on the Connie Chung show, co hosted by local news host Dana King and it dramatically played up the dangerous, out of control nature of SRL, and the inability of the fire dept to control the group, etc. )
SRL then staged the Crime Wave show in 1995 after which Mark Pauline and Mike Dingle were promptly arrested and questioned by local authorities and the FBI and later charged with arson and the use of explosives to endanger the public, the charges being directly filed by the SFFD top brass.
The DA at the time, Terrance Hallinan tried to have the charges dropped but in the end, due to pressure from the top brass at the SFFD, the court would not drop the charges and we had to plea bargain the charges down to arson. All this even though no damage or injuries resulted from this show, (or any other SRL show staged in or out of SF)
Later the SFFD directly or indirectly banned 3 more SRL events. One in Phoenix Arizona in 2000 when the SFFD heard of the show and contacted the Phoenix Fire dept to advise against allowing it to proceed. Then in 2005 in SF, at a large outdoor event at the Candlestick park parking lot, the SFFD intervened to insist that the audience remain at least 300 ft from the edge of the SRL event area, essentially leaving no space in the lot for the rest of the event to occur. Finally in 2006, SRL had a show in Las Vegas through the University of Las Vegas Gallery that was thwarted by the SFFD when the Las Vegas Fire Dept contacted the SFFD for a reference on SRL, received an earful and backed out.
SRL would love to perform our fantastic entertainment fantasies for the residents of SF but for now we remain, banned in San Fran.