There's a tendency for out-of-touch older folks to write off the hobbies and pursuits of the young as somehow less genuine or important than those of the "glory days." That's no less true for disenchanted former punks, many of who have been heard to lament 924 Gilman's alleged spiral into mediocrity. "It's just not the same as it used to be" is a common complaint. Sure, the all-ages, volunteer-run punk venue has seen a few changes: indoor smoking was banned a few years back and door prices have indeed gone up. (In what other venue hasn't this happened?) But the reality is that the punk-rock institution has stayed remarkably true to its roots in that it still introduces adolescents to the Bay Area's vast and thriving musical subculture. Where else can a fourteen-year-old catch a raucous lineup of bands, learn the politics of circle pitting, catch a tag in a slimy bathroom, and then get picked up by her loving parents — all in one evening? There's nothing quite like that sweat-drenched, adrenaline-fueled feeling of pure contentment that follows a young'un's first few Gilman shows. In a word, it's magical.
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