Thursday, February 28, 2008

Cow Palace

According to a news report, a local politician has introduced a plan to demolish the historic Cow Palace!! WTF?!

Umlaut saw almost 2 dozen concerts at the Cow Palace by the likes of Ted Nugent, AC/DC, Scorpions, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Ozzy, Prince, Rush, Jimmy Page, Judas Priest, U2, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, and Black Sabbath among others. It's an important historical site for Umlaut and hundreds (Nay, thousands!) of Bay Area Music Geeks. Typical of a politician to only think of something in terms of its current "value" versus its contribution to a community over almost 70 years!

Dude, KISS played at the Cow Palace on the night Elvis died in 1977 and dedicated 'Rock And Roll All Night' to him.

The Cow Palace may be history
Jonathan Curiel, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Cow Palace has hosted some of the biggest musical acts in the past half-century, from the Beatles in 1964 to Metallica in 2004, and it was at the Daly City venue that John F. Kennedy gave his 1960 speech that first outlined his idea for the Peace Corps.

Though it is one of the Bay Area's historic venues for concerts and events, the Cow Palace may soon go the way of other old structures - like New York's Polo Grounds and San Francisco's Playland at the Beach- that are torn down to make way for redevelopment.

State Sen. Leland Yee has introduced a bill to let Daly City purchase the Cow Palace property, which is owned by the state. He said he wants to fix up the neighborhoods near the Cow Palace and put more money in state coffers.

Ultimately, say Yee and Daly City officials, the 68-acre property will be used to build a grocery store, bank, housing and other projects that will benefit people in the underserved areas - including San Francisco's Visitacion Valley - that border the Cow Palace.

Yee, D-San Francisco, said it's not a fait accompli that the Cow Palace would be razed under the terms of the bill and a subsequent sale of the property. But Daly City's manager says otherwise.

"The Cow Palace has outlived its usefulness," said City Manager Patricia Martel. Events there "contribute nothing to our community. Why would we keep it?"

Since Yee authored the bill Friday that is making its way through State Senate committees, opponents have gathered forces in a bid to preserve what they say is a Bay Area treasure. If anything, they argue, the Cow Palace - built in 1941 with funding from the Works Progress Administration - should receive special status as an officially designated landmark.

"I'm mad as hell," said Kevin Patterson, a San Francisco native whose Great Dickens Christmas Fair is held every year at the Cow Palace. Patterson, with other outraged residents, started the Web site "It should not be sold to Daly City, and certainly should not be bulldozed. This is a real estate venture disguising itself as an attempt to improve the local community."

Mindful that they need to explain the Cow Palace measure to a public that might be skeptical, Yee and the bill's supporters are holding a series of public forums over next four weeks, starting tonight at Daly City's Bayshore Community Center.

Pros and cons

Already, residents who live and work near the Cow Palace are divided by Yee's measure and Daly City's vow to take a wrecking ball to the Cow Palace.

"It would be a good thing," Juan Guzman said Wednesday morning as he waited for a Muni bus at the corner of Geneva and Santos streets, across from the Cow Palace. Guzman, a 47-year-old contractor, says the area badly needs a grocery store. A smattering of convenience stores, family restaurants and fast-food outlets dot the streets near the Cow Palace, but no supermarket. "We don't have anything here," Guzman said.

But Alan J. Smith, a homecare provider who grew up near the Cow Palace, says the venue, besides providing jobs for working-class people, hosts a number of children-friendly events.

"I've been coming to the Cow Palace since way back watching the original Globetrotters; I took my little stepkids to the Globetrotters last month," said Smith, 50, standing near the corner of Geneva and Santos Streets as he, too, waited for a Muni bus.

"It's a landmark," he said. "They have the rodeo, the flower show, the antique show - there are so many good things going on in there."

Martel and the Daly City Council, which lobbied Yee to author his measure, say the Cow Palace hosts too many gun shows, erotic balls and rap concerts, which, said Martel, "contribute nothing to our community and create more problems in terms of public safety issues."

But Mark El-Miaari, who has run a convenience store across the street from the Cow Palace for 17 years, said crime from events is negligible, and that groups like the Jehovah's Witnesses also hold annual events at the Cow Palace, which bring in thousands of attendees who spend money in the neighborhood.

The debate over the Cow Palace's merits would never have reached the Legislature if the Cow Palace and Daly City had completed their negotiations over the property.

For more than two years, the two sides discussed having Daly City lease the facility's upper parking lot, which totals 13 acres and connects with land that Daly City is already developing for housing. Martel says the Cow Palace Board of Directors, a state-appointed body, demanded income from Daly City's new housing properties as part of any deal - which is when Daly City ended negotiations and approached Yee.

The senator, whose district includes Daly City, said he was already looking at ways to improve the area around the Cow Palace when Daly City asked him to consider a bill that would let it buy the whole 68-acre property, not just the 13 acres of the upper parking lot.

The Cow Palace hosts about 60 events a year, and generates, according to Martel, "a minimal amount" of revenue from parking, ticket and concession sales that's divided among Daly City, San Mateo County and the state. Yee said the Cow Palace, when it balances revenues against the costs to running the facility, loses money every year, and needs millions of dollars in earthquake retrofitting that the cash-strapped state can't afford to fund.

Other venues

If the Cow Palace is torn down, Yee said, he will help ensure that annual events ordinarily held there will find a home elsewhere in the Bay Area.

That's not good enough for the Dickens Fair's Patterson, Cow Palace Chief Executive Officer Walter Haub or other fans of the facility, who say it should be preserved at the same time that Daly City gets part of the property on which to build a grocery store, bank and other neighborhood amenities. Showing visitors around the Cow Palace on Wednesday, Haub pointed to a wall in the box office where such stars as Elvis Presley, Tom Jones and Burt Bacharach had signed their names after concerts. In the Cow Palace's corridors, blown-up photographs spotlight the singers, sports teams, evangelists, politicians and rodeo stars who've performed or spoken to adoring crowds. Outside, along Geneva Avenue, an electric sign advertised the facility's upcoming performances, which include a garden show, train show and circus.

"We're not saying we're the Taj Mahal," Haub said, "but we also believe that we still have a role to play in the community."

Four public forums have been set up by Daly City groups that support Sen. Leland Yee's Cow Palace bill.

Tonight: 7 o'clock, Bayshore Community Center, 450 Martin St., Daly City.

March 8: 10 a.m., Visitacion Valley Community Center, 66 Raymond Ave., San Francisco; 11 a.m., Bayshore Community Center, 450 Martin St., Daly City.

March 25: 7 p.m., Saddleback Homeowners Association Clubhouse, 1800 Saddleback Drive, Daly City.

The Cow Palace was recently featured in the documentary on the new Iron Maiden Live After Death DVD:

Cow Palace - 1985.. Umlaut was there!

The Cow Palace was the site of some of Umlaut's very own Heavy Metal Parking Lot shenanigans:

Waiting for AC/DC - February 1982

Anyway, chances are the march of progress will win and the Cow Palace will fade into the dust of time. Truth be told the last time Umlaut was there for a concert was on March 8, 2004 and the old venue was in all of its shit hole glory. The entertainment that night was a local band called Metallica.

The show happened to fall on the hottest March 8th in San Francisco in 112 years (!). Inside the Cow Palace was a fucking humid sweat box; where the hell was the building's air conditioning?? Ironically, it was one of the last concerts held at the Cow Palace... and given the medieval conditions inside the venue that night I can't say I'm surprised.

Hmmm... maybe it is time for the Cow Palace to be put down after all. Discuss amongst yourselves.

Oh well, whatever.. Nevermind:

Cow Palace compromise lets arena stay, allows parking lot to be sold
John Wildermuth, Chronicle Staff Writer

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

16:23 PDT Sacramento - The landmark Cow Palace got a new lease on life Tuesday when state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, dropped efforts to put the aging arena in Daly City up for sale and settled on a compromise measure that would allow only an adjoining parking lot to be sold.

The state Senate's Agriculture Committee, meeting in Sacramento, approved legislation that would allow the state to begin negotiating the sale of a 13-acre parking lot along Geneva Avenue to Daly City, which wants to put a supermarket on the site.

Directors of the state-owned facility, along with groups that have used the arena over the years, fought Yee's original plan to declare the entire facility surplus, which would have allowed the land to be sold and the Cow Palace to be razed.

Cow Palace officials had been negotiating with Daly City over use of the parking lot, arguing that the land should be leased, with the ongoing flow of cash going to upgrade the arena.

Yee's compromise measure calls for the state Department of Food and Agriculture to negotiate a sale price for the parking lot. Money from the sale would go to the state fair system, which oversees the Cow Palace, and could be used for improvements there, a spokesman for Yee said.

Punishark asked: Did you go to the Ronnie Lane ARMS benefit show during 1982 or 83 at the Cow Palace? Great show (from what little I remember). I learned a valuable lesson at that concert - if a guy in a wheelchair offers you a hit off his joint so he can borrow your binoculars for a moment, DO NOT TAKE IT! (It could possibly be laced with PCP)...

Umlaut says: $20!

For the newbies: The ARMS shows featured all 3 guitarists from The Yardbirds on the bill: Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, and Eric Clapton. The supporting cast included the likes of Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, Paul Rodgers, Kenny Jones, Steve Winwood, and Joe Cocker among others.

Note: All concert ads and ticket stubs are from the Umlaut Archives.