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I've Never Been Here Before -- What Is It?

by Allen Whitman

Weather: unseasonably warm with high blue cirrus wisps reflecting with a coral-colored glow in the sun's last light.

Near a busy urban intersection immortalized by Soul Coughing in the song "White Girl," there stands a four story granite building with an Empire facade, a columned, early twentieth century monument. All the classic indicators of the architectural age of big lapels and silk stockings are here: polished wooden banisters curving down steep entrance halls, high-ceilinged rooms and lots of space. Unlike the rat warrens of our busy cubicle culture, this building breathes big room; room to stand with your hands on your hips and your elbows out like wings while you make the decisions that affect the mountains, forests, deserts and farmlands of endless California.

The dust motes left hanging by the last workman as he closed the closets in 1913 still stir in the rafters of the giant ballroom. Heavy trim and a bastard pairing of Turkish and Renaissance architectural notes touches hint at the influence of the Masons. In this square box ballroom hums the memories of a thousand dances. In this building a portion of San Francisco's culture grew up and into the era of fibre optic technology, rock and roll, GPS and the unexpected and not always welcome social and physical by-products of the Celebration of the New.

One of the by-products of the Celebration of the New is hearing loss. Some of its causes (the practitioners of said rock and roll) have decided to pull a Catch-22 by doing the exact thing that caused the problem in the first place. Play loud music in celebration of increased awareness about hearing loss due to excess exposure to loud music! How can this be?

It's the age of absurdity and we can do anything we want!

Welcome to San Francisco!

The purpose of this particular party (San Franciscans never need an excuse to have a party) is to draw attention to and celebrate the relocation and expansion of H.E.A.R.

What is H.E.A.R.? It's an acronym for: Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers. Who cares about the rockers? Kathy Peck does. DIY is her motto. No one else was doing anything so she started an organization to make a loud noise about loud noise. Specifically rock music.

Too many people are losing their hearing because of prolonged exposure to loud rock music. Kathy Peck and her organization, H.E.A.R., are going to bring it to your attention. The rest is up to you.

© 1997 MediaCast