THE WEEKNIGHTER We were all there for Kelly Malone. It was the opening for an art show she'd done, as well as a fundraiser to help her kick cancer's ass. At least I think that's what it was. I don't fully recall, to tell you the truth. Most of 2011 was a blurry, self-congratulatory, victory lap for me. I had done what I set out to do, create and host a TV show based on the Broke-Ass Stuart brand I'd been hustling for a million years.
I was having a moment and it seemed a lot of other makers, doers, and shakers, who'd been creating in San Francisco for a long time, were having one, too. At least on a professional level. On a personal level, a lot of us were not so successful; Kelly was still sick, I was in a half decade long relationship that was dissolving, and other people around us were falling prey to drug addiction and suicide. Every coin has two sides.
Mini Bar (837 Divisadero, SF. 415-525-3565) was packed that night and everyone was there. This was before the mass exodus of artists had begun in earnest, before the evictions and the shakedowns, before the sad headlines and the sadder stories. Mini Bar lives up to its name, and the lot of us who were crammed into that tiny and narrow space were sweatily and unintentionally bumping and grinding in order to get a drink. "This is really good," I told Kelly, not meaning her cancer of course, but meaning the turnout and the support from the community that had grown around her. She understood what I meant. "I know! This is amazing!" she told me before swerving away to talk to somebody who was eyeing a piece of her work.
Divisadero has changed a lot in recent years and at the time, Mini Bar was a fairly recent but very welcome addition to the neighborhood. Part of the joint's charm is that nearly every time I go there a different artist is being featured. On weeknights it isn't too crowded so you can walk in, peruse the wall hangings, and then actually find a seat at either the bar or one of the small tables. And usually on these nights you can also find some of the neighborhood regulars who pop in to wet their whistles on whatever the featured cocktail is that week.
But this wasn't a regular night. This was something special. It was a gathering of the tribes in order to support one of our own. Since it opened, Mini Bar has been a hub for people who do cool shit. Maybe it's because the owners purposefully set that vibe, or maybe it's because Mini Bar arrived at just the right moment in that space between what Divis was and what it was becoming.
Or then again maybe it's just because I'm only there when I'm drunk.
Kelly sold a lot of art that night, and the money raised otherwise throughout the evening also went towards her mounting medical bills. Most of us realized then and there that what we were doing was the definition of being part of a community. We'd all always figure out ways to help out when the going got fucked. Or at least for as long as we were all able to stick around.
Stuart Schuffman aka Broke-Ass Stuart is a travel writer, poet, and TV host. You can find his online shenanigans at www.brokeassstuart.com