A recent Thursday at 6:25 p.m.:
A few minutes before his band takes the stage at an after-work mixer on the roof of the Mechanics Bank in the Financial District, Jack "Da Hat" Luna finds a free moment for conversation and a cocktail. "Music is pretty much full time," said Luna, who adopted the Jack Da Hat persona after doing a guest appearance in North Beach with Carol Doda, San Francisco's famed topless entertainer of yesteryear. "When the goddess of San Francisco calls you 'Jack Da Hat,' you need to keep the name," the singer said. It's been more than 10 years since that fateful night, and it's a struggle - but he loves what he does. If belting out big-band standards and fronting an eight-piece band were the only requirements for this vocation, Luna would be living the dream. But truth be told, most of his hours are spent on everything else it takes to make his business work. "It's sales. You're calling people all the time. If you're not trying to get a gig in a club or a wedding, you're trying to get your musicians ready," which can be "like putting kittens in a box. It's work! But once the show gets going, it's worthwhile," he said, insisting San Francisco is still the best place to play.
To see a multimedia production of this piece, go to sfgate.com/cityexposed. If you have ideas for the City Exposed, e-mail Mike Kepka at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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