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San Francisco Pinball Needs Your Help!

August 11, 2014


As a few of you know, Gestalt bar in San Francisco has six pinball machines.  Eric W, who took over the Pinball Map for me, contacted the operator with the idea of starting up some pinball tournaments.  The operator obliged and now Gestalt has six pinball machines in great shape, including A-listers like Medieval Madness and Metallica.

Shortly afterward the place got raided by the San Francisco Police Department and shut down.  I don’t know all the details, but basically they’re in violation of local law under permit grounds.

The fallout is they need to go before the City Council and plead their case.  That’s where you come in.

Email and let her know you support Gestalt.  Be respectful.  Be truthful.  Be tactful.  I know you all love pinball, but this isn’t the time when you should fire off that angry email saying ‘get with the times!“.  Pinball is about the positive, and that’s what will convince them.

My email to Cammy Blackstone, the Deputy Director of the Entertainment Division of San Francisco, is below.  You don’t need to elaborate on your thoughts as I did if you don’t want to.  A short, simple note in support of Gestalt also makes a difference.

So take a few moments and spend a few keystrokes to make sure this pinball thing we all love doesn’t get bamboozled for all the wrong reasons.  Once the setback is in, it’s twice as hard to undo.  The deadline is August 14, so don’t wait, do it now!

Oh, and get the word out.


Hello Ms. Blackstone,

I’m writing in support of the permit for Gestalt Haus.

My name is Jon Olkowski and I run the website ‘’.  I’ve run over 40 pinball tournaments in the bay area since 2010.  Several of my tournaments have benefited charities and non-profits such as the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, Dixon Team Center, Boys/Girls Clubs, Playland not at the Beach, and the Pacific Pinball Museum.

The current role of pinball in the community has departed since the laws were created.  It’s now a retro-nostalgic pastime that creates it’s own unique community of participants from all walks of life. It includes all social, economic and gender backgrounds, and gender preferences.  It’s a ‘positive’ for the community.  Additionally, it adds to social, progressive image of San Francisco.

Best Regards,

Jon Olkowski



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