Wolverines SF Inc.

Unwilling to break the mold cast by the earliest young bachelors residing in self induced squalor and low on funds, we followed in those intrepid footsteps and batted around the notion of having a keg party to raise some capital. For those who might not know, it was common practice for a student occupied house to purchase several kegs of the cheapest beer available, put up flyers, and try to cram in as many underage eager drinkers at $4 a head as possible before the police came by to shoo everyone away. Illegal, morally questionable, actionable, and ill conceived? Indubitably. Our adopted slogan of ‘old enough to know better, young enough to do it anyway’ held sway, and serious talks commenced.

            The idea floated about in late night conversations and at times to keep the fear at bay as we crouched in the crypt for one of Knaus’s sadistic photography experiments. It was not until the grand architect of our initial move got wind of the idea that things really began to shake out. Dave, or ‘Mac’ as he identified himself as; a tragic victim of a self imposed nickname, came in with his usual savvy, enthusiasm, and a reported host of powerful connections. Anyone, he proclaimed, could throw a mere kegger and take in a grand for a few hours work and initial investment of a hundred bucks, but we were considerably far too advanced to trouble ourselves with such base crudities. Enthralled by his passion, we capitulated and a bold and noble plan was born that would far surpass any Comstockery yet seen by man.

            Our first order of business was to incorporate. Rather than follow the traditional route of creating a legal entity for self protection, we settled on adding ‘Inc’ after our chosen corporate moniker. There was some debate as to what we would be called, but Dave held firm on ‘Wolverines SF’ after his heroes from Red Dawn. Whether it was nostalgia over the departed Soviet threat or Patrick Swazey’s rakish charm that held him captive he never fully answered. The SF stood for survival of the fittest. Name chosen, Knaus wasted no time designing a chillingly effective logo that we subsequently printed on to tee shirts and commissioned the creation of a rubber stamp. It was about $150 to get all this done, but the slick advertising was sure to pay for itself many times over.

            The truly inspired portion of Dave’s vision was the addition of live music to the party – an undeniable draw. This would be the first move toward turning our fledgling company into the powerhouse of local band promotion, especially with the backing of the aforementioned powerful connections; later be revealed as some kids who hung around the Noco where Dave worked and really liked music. Hunting down bands who were willing to play for our shoestring $200 in a poorly lit basement in the worst neighborhood in University Heights proved challenging. At one point, talks were actually initiated with a young and semi-unknown Ani DiFranco until she became aware of any one of those three conditions and let the bird fly. We settled on Bordello Beat (broken up mere weeks after our gig) and Gumshoe.

            The estimates of how much beer would be required was wildly debated and finally settled on an impressive 6 kegs. Where most comparable parties of the day routinely went though 3 in an evening, we were assured of the unquenchable thirst of our revelers, hoarse from screaming the praises of our unknown and remarkably shitty bands, and doubled the number. I being the only member of the steering committee of legal age, took charge of procurement and managed to find a good package deal from Black Rock Beverages who sold us 6 kegs of beer of questionable age and brand for $250. Matt’s truck proved invaluable for the transport.

            In order to further entice our prospective guests, Dave was able to strike a deal with some of the sales representatives who frequented his Noco and enjoyed his ribald tales of our crew. The RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company became our only official event sponsor, and as such, outfitted us handsomely with banner signs, tee shirts, cups, lighters, and other trinkets adorned with Joe Camel in all his phallic glory. I recall Thirsty raising a deep and morally outraged protest against the promotion of this deadly vice, which ensured both use and ubiquitous distribution. His waffling nature revealed itself soon after as he was seen on many occasions sporting the shirts and drinking from the cups in public.

            The date was carefully chosen to capitalize on the start of spring break, as well as the availability of the bands and hundreds of flyers were distributed bearing our official logo, an exciting itinerary of events, a map to our joint and the date of Saturday, March 13th 1993. Each person’s role was clearly defined – I would pump the suds, Aaron would man the door, Jason and Knaus would wander the premises nipping problems in the bud, and Dave would be the grand maestro coordinating all. To protect ourselves from legal woes, we created a sign in sheet for each and every guest to declare they were in no way affiliated with the fuzz, and prayed the air tight laws against entrapment would prove an unassailable shield.

            Saturday, the first official day of Spring Break arrived bearing little resemblance to its name, for instead of the sun burning brightly in the heavens, we were treated to a dismal cold rain occasionally broken by flurries. Our senses heightened and nerves on highest alert, we discussed every contingency. All valuables and furniture had been shoved into Jason’s room while he was at the store that morning in the first instance of what would become a grand old tradition. Everyone’s room door was locked, the cat was safely tucked away, change and loose ones were shoved in the cash box, and Bordello Beat was tuning up unhappily in the dank basement near a pile of Jason’s discarded stained undies.

            “Did you guys know you are all out of toilet paper?” Matt enquired, wiping his hands on his shirt. Our eyes went wide with panic. Women, as we understood, had strong feelings in that vein, and if they left, the whole house of cards would come crumbling down on top of us, also putting end to any dreams some of us may have been harboring regarding the undeniable sex appeal of party planners. We looked to Aaron for salvation; he being the supplier of 90% of house TP though his frequent foraging missions in the computing center and libraries. Our disappointment was palpable when he came up dry and we resolutely decide to hope for the best that everyone would be too drunk to notice there wasn’t any.

            Guests began to trickle in right on cue and our mouths watered at the thoughts of our coffers being filled. We had sunk over a grand into the gig and were anxious to realize our returns and profits. Rather than fill cup by cup, I had the remarkable foresight to start early and fill cup after cup, lining them on the card table before me like brave little soldiers. My hand grew numb and my arms cramped working the old and poorly functioning pump as Bordello Beat’s wailing cacophony assailed my ears and prevented conversation with the more comely of my customers. While my endless stream of beer kept the corner free of lines at the outset, a delayed effect was revealed when I ran out of cups before the end of the first keg. The partiers, spared from the drudgery of refilling their cups, discarded them about the house and opted to grab new ones, full of fresh beer. A covert plan was enacted in which discarded cups were gathered and smuggled back to me for recycle and it was with great fortune that the conspiracy was never detected by either the revelers or the board of health.

            Bordello Beat had barely begun their first set when someone noticed that towels were being thrown against the basement window on the neighbor’s driveway side. I was immediately concerned that while we were within the legal time limits to create a ruckus, they would call the police anyway and cause an end of operations. I later found out that the cause was of a more entertaining nature. Jason, choosing early in the party to enjoy the privacy of the commode sans TP, went to exit and had the door knob come off in his hands, trapping him soundly. His frantic pounding on the door foreshadowed the Aprils Fool prank to come a year later and was just as ineffective. Dan was the first to catch notice of the situation and stood guard to eliminate any chance of accidental rescue, laughing at the trapped wretch though the door in his hearty haws. The towels were a poorly conceived attempt to get the attention of the basement contingent. I believe his eventual release was the result of a fellow who enjoyed too much beer and was large enough to muscle Dan out of the way.

            The band finished up after an hour and packed up very quickly. They politely declined our invitation to stay and enjoy the party and with great relief collected their pay and left for more interesting environs. It was 9 o’clock and there was some concern growing among the ranks. We had barely allowed 35 people in thought he door so far, and at $5 a head, proved too few to even cover the costs of the band, much less everything else. We consoled ourselves with the understanding that Buffalo students liked to start late and end late. Able to admit to the folly of scheduling the first band so early in the evening, we basked in the wisdom of booking a second act. By 9:30 Gumshoe was tuning up with the same degree of enthusiastic zeal their predecessors had shown. I had, by this point, abandoned my beer post and replaced myself with a sign reading, “Help yourself, and please reuse your cup!!!” as I found I was consuming my own wares at a rate faster than ideally desired for a person of my responsibility.

            The jazzy tunes of Gumshoe attracted a great deal of the revelers to the basement, making room for new guests, of whom there were about 25. They played a short hour, and just like Bordello, were anxious to get paid and depart as soon as their shift was over at 11. With our main draw departed, we stood $700 shy of breaking even and hoped that the late night would bring new visitors eager to sample from our unlabeled kegs with ‘born on dates’ surely older than our youngest guests. This, however, was not enough to keep strangers in our grungy abode and people began to filter out under the cover of night. A cautious optimism was kept up for the sake of good form, but unkind glances were exchanged and thoughts began to turn to blame assignment.

            Hope leapt back into my heart as I heard a large group approaching the door well before midnight. The theory was correct; students like to start late and the possibility of a fourth quarter turn around was increasing in likelihood. Hearty greetings were given and we accepted their entry fees with great gusto and celebration. It was not long before our advertisement of an all night band party was decried as false due to the absence of any live music for the duration. My generous volunteering of the use of my clock radio was rebuffed with prejudice. In my minds eye I can still see poor Knaus backed against a wall by a ludicrously angry young brunette in a wet snow flecked knit cap. She and her compadres, due to the lack of parking and misrepresented distance on our flyers, had walked though the inclement weather specifically to listen to our shitty bands. Bands gone, the trip was for naught and her fury was palpable. Despite their helping themselves to the stale suds in some quantity, she and her crew demanded and received refunds in full, departing in a vicious miasma of hateful words. Her vindictiveness may have held on the return journey as we received no more guests that night.

            Billed and planned as the party of the year in University Heights and the beginning of a brilliant career in musician logistics, we were cleaning up the joint (with the exception of removing the furniture from Jason’s room; another grand old tradition born) by the stoke of midnight. Pondering the shocking turn of events, we concluded that we failed to account for lack of potential customers due to spring break, no parking, abysmal weather, hiring bands who only played an hour each, overbuying supplies, poor location, misleading advertisement, investing more than comparable parties can hope to make, mean cat on premises, and of course, lack of toilet paper. The paltry door take divided, 4 unused kegs stored in the garage, and house given a rudimentary cosmetic cleaning, Wolverines SF quietly unincorporated in the silence of night without pomp or fanfare.

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6 Responses

  1. Turned out one of the bands did take our invitation to stay and party as their car broke down and after ingesting several beers while waiting for AAA decided to “screw work” and continued to drink. One of these band members turned out to be a high school acquaintance of mine, and we all enjoyed some beer.

    With this all in mind, the Wolverines party turned out to be the most successful party in the Comstock era.

  2. I remember I didn’t pay to get in, and I stole a Wolverines T-Shirt and a pair of Joe Camel shorts. The T-Shirt was crap and I now being used as cut up rags by my Mom. I still have the shorts, they’ve held up nicely.

  3. I was not present for this but I must note that the door handle trapping you in the bathroom (without toilet paper) was one of the pre-eminent joys of Comstock.

  4. Wolf and I hid a spoon in the bathroom so we could get out with no problem. Within a week everyone but Jason knew where the spoon was hidden.

  5. You bastards did not tell me about it… hence the night of the Mighty Taco napkins. I do not know if I can bring myself to detail that here.

  6. I would trade your night of the Mighty Taco Napkins for the more heinous week of the coffee filters.

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