Oh, so many memories! Dirk was a legend on the punk scene. My punk band, Burning Witches played the Mabuhay a number of times, and I went to so many shows at the Mab and On Broadway. (The On Broadway was not actually upstairs from the Mab, as the article states, but just up the street. On Broadway was a bigger venue than the Mab, a big open warehouse-type space with a stage, whereas the Mab was an actual nightclub with a bar and tables and chairs.)
When Dirk decided to close the On Broadway, he had shows every night for the last ten days, and allowed every local band who wanted to to sign up for a spot on one of the nights. That was the only time my band ever got to play the On Broadway! It was a great time, but bittersweet because we knew it would be the last.
The photo in my icon, of Henry Rollins in Black Flag, was taken at the On Broadway by a photographer friend of mine. A few years ago, I took a copy of it to a con where Henry Rollins was a guest and got Henry to sign it. He asked me about it, and I told him it had been taken at On Broadway. He said it was a great venue, and asked if I knew that Dirk Dirksen had died recently. No, I said, what a shame! He said Dirk was a great guy.
The San Francisco punk scene wouldn't have been the same without him.
Dirk Dirksen was a music promoter and emcee of the San Francisco punk rock clubs Mabuhay Gardens and On Broadway in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Dirksen was nicknamed the "Pope of Punk". When the On Broadway was closed in 1984, Dirksen went into video production with his firm, Dirksen-Molloy Productions, which he co-owned with his domestic partner Damon Molloy. A second generation videographer, Molloy joined DMP-Dirksen/Miller Productions in 1985. By 1988 he was a full partner.
Dirksen was born in Braunschweig, Germany and emigrated to the US in 1948. He was a nephew of United States Senator Everett Dirksen. He served in the Army, briefly attended San Jose State University, and entered the entertainment business in the late 1950s, hosting a live television show called Rocket to Stardom. He then worked as a tour manager for several 1960s rock and soul acts. In 1974, he began to book acts at the Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco's North Beach, and began booking local punk acts (The Sheets, Crime, Mary Monday, etc.) along with soon-to-be-famous national and international talent, such as Blondie, The Ramones, Devo, Black Flag, and The Dead Kennedys. From 1979 to 1982, he wrote and directed Amapola Presents Show, a weekly magazine–variety show on KEMO-TV, Channel 20. The show starred Filipina superstar Amapola with co-host Ness Aquino—Mabuhay Gardens' owner. Amapola Presents Show became Dirk Dirksen's showcase for local punk acts, local Bay Area bands and artists, and a group of Bay Area actors called "The Straight People". Dirksen gained some negative notoriety for allegedly ripping off SoCal punk rock bands Youth Brigade and Social Distortion while on their independent summer 1982 tour, and further taunting them by giving them rolls of pennies, as documented in the rockumantary Another State of Mind.
After leaving the Mabuhay Gardens, he operated the On Broadway nightclub just down the street from the Mabuhay.
Dirksen was also active with the organization H.E.A.R. (Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers).
In April 2006, he hosted a Mabuhay reunion event at the Fillmore Auditorium, featuring members of the Dead Kennedys, The Mutants, Flipper, and The Contractions. Later that year, he died in his sleep of an apparent heart attack at age 69.
On November 12, 2008, an official measure was passed to rename Rowland Street after him.
Act Like Nothing's Wrong: The Montage Art of Winston Smith by Winston Smith and Dirk Dirksen
Paperback: 95 pages
Publisher: Last Gasp (March 1994)
Amazon: Act Like Nothing's Wrong: The Montage Art of Winston Smith
More Real Life Romances at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance
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