When a slowly unfolding tragedy strikes the young and energetic, fate seems especially cruel, a notion I haven’t been able to shake since learning that my friend Hollie Stevens, a 30-year-old porn star, died this week after a year-long bout with cancer that had spread from her breasts to her brain.
Hollie moved here from the Midwest in her early 20s for a career in porn that included more than 170 films, and she had an infectious zest for life and a strong and expansive sense of her community. She was proudly living her dream, parlaying her film career into an entertaining column on porn life in Girls and Corpses magazine, art projects, and speaking gigs.
I met Hollie in 2008 when working on “Cue the clowns,” a Guardian cover story on the burgeoning local indie circus scene, a memorable meeting that I even included in the article. Dressed as a clown at a Bohemian Carnival event, I asked this statuesque blond if she liked clowns, and she responded that she was a clown and had starred in a film called Clown Porn, a cult classic in this admittedly narrow porn genre.
Hollie combined a fun-loving free spirit with a down-to-earth confidence that made her easy to befriend, as other friends of mine at the time also found. While doing often-extreme BDSM porn shoots at the Armory for Kink.com and live shows at Lusty Lady, she also became a regular in the tight crew that gathers on the north side of Baker Beach and a volunteer with How Weird Street Faire and other community events.
We’d lost touch when I heard last year that she was diagnosed with stage three metastatic breast cancer, which first claimed those beautiful breasts and then her luscious life. But our mutual friends said she was a fighter who maintained her spirit and sense of humor throughout, an inspiration to friends and admirers who held a series of fundraisers around San Francisco to help pay her medical expenses. Just last month, she married her love, artist and comedian Eric Cash, while in the hospital.
Hollie was one of those classic San Francisco transplants, who made a real home and family of her adopted city and lived an unconventional life to its fullest potential. She will be greatly missed by many admirers and kindred spirits.
“My job is really weird. I think about that all the time.”
The Mission is a neighborhood accustomed to eccentric individuals. One would think Brande Baugh’s key lime hair and vintage Misfits t-shirt would make her fit right in. Yet her presence in a neighborhood cafe still elicited several stares when she walked in — with her perfectly-curated face, pastel pink lipstick, and evenly-powdered face, Baugh looked like one of Warhol’s Marlyn Monroe silkscreens. Though Baugh stays pretty busy living and working in Los Angeles, she also has regular gigs at Kink, a San Francisco-based pornography website that specializes in bondage and BDSM.
I’ve often imagined what it would be like to be a fly on the wall at Kink, so my talk with Baugh was particularly illuminating. Sample quote: “I’m about five inches away from a person’s face. People start to break down their barriers and tell me things. And when you work with people in the sex industry all bets are off. People just say anything.”
San Francisco Bay Guardian: How did you start doing makeup at Kink?
Brande Baugh: It started off as a fluke. I did makeup for Pink and White’s first episode of the Crash Pad Series. A talent on that production was starting to work at Kink. The talent identified more with a butch aesthetic and needed to do a femme look for her shoot. So she asked me to do her makeup. After the shoot, Princess Donna, a director at Kink, asked who did the talent’s makeup. The next thing you know, they were calling me in for an interview.
For my interview I did Princess Donna’s makeup. She told me to go all out, so I made her look like a drag queen. Donna said she loved it. It’s really funny in retrospect because I would never do someone in porn’s face like that now. I’m sure Donna in part really liked me. In her mind I was hired, and I could have probably done anything.
SFBG: What is it like doing makeup for porn stars?
Brandy’s girls: Kink.com looks by Baugh
BB: There are simple differences in doing makeup for a porn production as opposed to a mainstream movie. A lot of the porn shoots I do are gonzo. I don’t have to stay on set all day, and it’s ok for people to see the makeup degrade over time. It seems like people feel like that’s more real. Also, I have to be really conscious about the makeup products I use. I have to use gloss lipstick and things that wear for a long time. I couldn’t use red lipstick. You have to keep in mind where this person’s lips are going to go. My job is really weird. I think about that all the time.
I have found people in the sex industry to be very open and non-judgemental. I can say whatever I want while I’m at work. We can talk about the type of sex we like, our sexuality, and our gender freely. There is so much less ego in porn. That’s not to say there aren’t some divas. There are a wide range of people who work in porn. Some of the people go to school, some are moms, some are teachers. I’m doing makeup to make them look like they are all the same type of person, but they are all very different. Porn stars are producing something that there is an audience and a large market for, and it’s crazy how much shit they take for doing that.
SFBG:Where does sexuality and makeup intersect?
BB: As a makeup artist I’m creating characters who play out fantasies. Several of the people who work in porn are not the characters they portray. So I have to help transform themdon’t think most people would recognize porn stars if they saw them in the grocery store. There is a certain safety and anonymity behind having people wear this mask of makeup, and there are some porn stars who actually do look like porn stars. There are a lot of ways everyday people use makeup to express their sexuality as well. Sometimes you have to throw on a little red lipstick because it makes you feel sexy.
SFBG:Are you currently working on any other projects?
BB: Yeah, I’m working on a television show called Hollywood Nailz. It’s a show about my friend, a hair stylist, and I, and our interactions with all the people we meet in the beauty industry. We will finish filming at the end of June. I’m really excited.
Hollywood Nails: A different shade of Brandy.
SFBG:How do you identify with your gender?
BB: Well I’m a girl. I’m a lady. I’m a real butchy femme. I feel like I can be anything — I mean I’m a makeup artist, and I also went to school to be a mechanic. I like that dynamic quality.
SFBG: What does creating a sex-positive space mean for you?
BB: For me, it’s a place where you can be whomever and not feel judged. People in a sex-positive space are interested in being progressively more open and aware. It’s about educating one another, but never in a negative way.
You have to have communication skills if you’re going to responsibly wield the amount of sexual power that Princess Donna holds in her sexy little hands in the depths of the Mission District’s very own porn palace, Kink.com. The director-actor of such sites as Kink’s Ultimate Surrender, Bound Gang Bang, and Public Disgrace knows about expanding sexual horizons — which is why it’s so rad we’ve tapped her for this new love and sex advice column.
Submit to it! Really — the email address where you can send questions of your own is at the end of this post.
I’ve heard a lot about female ejaculation, but I haven’t seen much evidence of it in real life. Is this something that anyone with a vagina should aspire to?
Signed, Hot Springs
Dear Hot Springs,
I am not in the business of telling people what specific sexual acts they should aspire to. I think what’s important is finding out what fulfills you sexually and doing that. So yes, if squirting is something you think looks fun, go for it!
I personally think squirting orgasms are rad. As for the conversation about whether it is piss or ejaculate I would like to quote my dear friend Jeremiah Finklestein Brown, “I don’t care if it’s chicken salad coming out of there, it’s still awesome!”
I am from Turkey. 33 years old a doctor. I love your movies but it is very hard for me. Because i want to have sex only with you.
I have never fuck an ass, but after your movies sex is only your ass for me. I am far away, but i must fuck u. Please answer me anything. I need you.
Dear Turkish doctor,
Hi! I don’t see a question in there, but it seems you have excellent taste in women.
DON’T MAKE DONNA RELY ON LOVESICK TURKISH DOCTORS FOR MATERIAL — ASK HER A QUESTION YOURSELF! Sex, love, a combination of the two, a lack of both? Email email@example.com for the best possible solution
Pretty Pretty Collective is more than just a hair salon, embracing style and culture via beauty and hair design – cut, color, and everything in between, like art, fashion, rock and roll, tattoos, hot rods, motorcycles, coffee, food, fun, and creativity. At PPC, fashion production, event production, photography, make-up, and revolving art installations are curated by both local and global artists. Stay tuned for this fall when PPC is slated to open a second location in LA, complete with Four Barrel Coffee (for when your missing a little Mission pizzazz during your SoCal jaunts). PPC strives to enrich any community that becomes home with integrity and a vibrant culture of talent to keep you lookin’ pretty pretty.
3290 22nd St., SF | (415) 282-2002 | theprettyprettycollective.com
This très magnifique boutique on the main thoroughfare of the Mission’s shopping district moved into their newer, larger Valencia storefront two years ago, a dream come true for those who of us who wanted more of their magnificent antique finds. And let’s face it, 24th and Guerrero was just a tad off the beaten path (er, uphill) for us busy aesthetes. Like a museum where everything is for sale, Gypsy honeymoon would be overwhelming if it weren’t so expertly curated. There is an eclectic soul and authentic eye here, where vintage and antique French mingles with European, Asian, African, and American housewares, furniture, art, and jewelry. Inventory is carefully chosen and lovingly presented to create a magical shopping experience. Featured are wonderful handcrafted organic soaps made in Inverness, vintage postcards, old books, prints, photographs, linens, textiles, clothing, and more. Receive 20% off selected items when you mention the Mission page!
1266 Valencia, SF | (415) 821-1713
Luz de Luna
Take a visit to this delightful shop on 24th Street and be sure to knock off a few slots from your holiday gift list. Just recently relocated from their former smaller storefront on 25th Street, the newer digs are much larger, which means more unique and one-of-a-kind trinkets and treasures, accessories like scarves, jewelry, religious items, and more – including an impressive collection of creative salt and pepper shakers, Frida Kahlo swag, and bags made from recycled soda cans. Owner Denise has a passion and love for antiques and vintage jewelry and shares her heritage and celebration all of the Latin cultures with the Mission District. Open everyday until 7pm and 6pm on Sundays, you will find tchotchkes representing all cultures and interests all at an affordable price, which makes Luz de Luna the perfect spot to start your holiday shopping.
3182 24th Street | (415) 920-9988
The Smile Center
Few people look forward to a trip to the dentist, but it doesn’t have to be an ordeal. Dr. Debbane and his friendly staff at The Smile Center will take care of you. They have been serving the Mission District for close to thirty years now and recently re-located to swankier digs. The new office is equipped with the latest in dental technology including all digital x-rays, which provides close to a ninety-percent reduction in radiation, don’t you know. The Smile Center always use the latest procedures in order to minimize patient referrals for specialists that can be costly and inconvenient. Dr. Debbane and his staff also provide the latest in implant dentistry, cosmetic dentistry and even braces. He is the only one that will treat you from start to finish to maintain those pearly whites with the a consistently high level of treatment.
2780 Mission St. | (415) 641-1001
Not your average candy store, the adorable Rock Candy Snack Shop is an emporium full of all things delicious and indulgent, including vegan and non-vegan goodies to satisfy your sweet tooth, as well as loaded nachos, fried tasty treats, and savory sandos toasted to perfection (housemade onion jam, anyone?) They also have a great selection of unique confections like brownies made with wine flour, chocolate swizzle sticks, and Eye Candy – that is, the current exhibition of dazzling and sometimes-sparkly local art for purchase or simply admiring. Mission gourmands need not travel far for a glycemic boost; Rock Candy is just a hop, skip, and a jump up Bernal – and let’s face it, you’re gonna need the extra cardio.
Ayiti: A Story of Love and Resistance at Mission Cultural Center of Latino Arts
Afoutayi Productions and MCCLA present an original performance that explores the secret power of Haitian history through story and a spectacular display of Haitian traditional dance, music and percussion. Ayiti: a Story of Love and Resistance (Ayiti being the indigenous name of the shared island) is the story of Hassen, a Haitian immigrant boy living in San Francisco. Hassen’s future is indelibly altered when his grandmothers’ stories lead him on a magical journey in which he meets the super heroes of Haitian history and discovers the love and resistance that have guided his people.
This not-to-be-missed production features an all-star cast of Haitian traditional dancers including Fabienne Denis, “Fofo” Pierre, and many others, with art direction by David Solnit. For more details and tickets, visit missionculturalcenter.org or call (415) 821-1155.
Friday, October 19 & Saturday, October 20 at 7pm @ Mission Cultural Center, 2868 Mission St. | $9-$11
Modern Times Bookstore
Since 1971, Modern Times has survived the collapse of the New Left from which it emerged, the assault of chain bookselling, the death of independent stores throughout the country, gentrification of the Mission, and the competition from online booksellers – all from the support of an ever-expanding community of friends, members, customers, authors, artists, and activists. Selling both new and used books, this San Francisco institution offers wide-ranging literature on globalization, politics and media, as well as an array of graphic novels, fiction, and criticism – not to mention their informed sexuality and gender sections, an extensive collection of writings on Latina/o history and culture with a full selection of Spanish language books, and a nice collection of children’s books. With something for everyone, Modern Times fosters a vital literary community with an exciting calendar of events at their new 24th St. location, as well as a blog with community resources online.
Purusha Yoga Studio offers a not-for profit Seva Project, a program that educates and certifies professional yoga teachers within San Francisco’s at-risk population and also provides free yoga instruction to the public. Every Sunday at 11am in Dolores Park near the tennis courts, Purusha yogis make the trek from their Outer Richmond home base to provide people of the Mission a relaxing morning flow and meditation for body, mind, and spirit and it’s totally free! All ages and all fitness levels are welcome, even your four-legged friends. All you need is a mat or a towel and a positive attitude. So come and play outdoors in nature and enjoy inverting, reverting, and melting into the ground in this inviting, low-key, and fun environment.
Sundays at 11am @ Northeast corner of Dolores Park, Dolores and 18th St., near the tennis courts | purushayoga.org
The Armory Club
Rumors that Kink.com have been tirelessly working to get the old Aces Café across the street from the SF Armory on Mission and 14th Street up and running in time for the Folsom Street Fair are, as it were, true. (They opened last weekend). Updates to the old biker bar include large windows to replace the dated stone façade of its predecessor, as well as an overall Victorian opulence to match the velvet-draped and chandeliered upper floor of the Kink.com headquarters. The drink menu is cocktail-heavy featuring homemade grenadine and bitters, fresh and locally sourced fruit for garnish, and of course a nice selection of liquors, beers, and bubbles. Quite the transformation indeed. (Jackie Andrews)
This two-year old La Lengua watering hole won this year’s Best of the Bay award for Best Happy Hour, and for good reason – delicious six-dollar cocktails that you won’t find anywhere else until 9pm, like the Sazerac made with Old Overholt rye, bitters, absinthe, and sugar served in a bucket; The Restaurateur made with Fernet-Branca, green chartreuse, gin, lime, and ginger beer; Pimm’s Cup made with Pimm’s (surprise!), gin, ginger ale, fresh fruit, and mint; and our personal favorite – the Dizzy Oaxacan made with delicious smoky mezcal, amaro, grapefruit, lemon, agave, and ginger beer. Iron & Gold may not be a dive bar – it’s way too nice for that label – but the warm and cozy décor along with dimmed lights will appeal to those that like to kick it low key as well as your persnickety out-of-town guests.
3187 Mission, SF | (415) 824-1447 | Find them on Facebook
Owning a car in the city can be a pain. Aside from the regular street sweeper dodging, there’s the occasional break down and the bothersome biennial smog check. Luckily, the family-owned SFC motors is your one-stop shop where you can buy an affordable used car and bring it back for all the upkeep and – get this – have it be a pleasant experience. Their prices are always competitive and they offer a free re-test if your vehicle fails which actually happens about 20% of the time, even for new cars. As displaced refugees from the Vietnam War, their family has lived and worked in the Mission District for three decades, fixing up cars and making a reputation for themselves as honest and hard working. If you need any kind of automotive assistance, do yourself a favor and give these folks a holler.
Traditional Thai massage – a more than two thousand year old healing art that combines meditation and yoga stretches with deep pressure massage and reflexology – is finally gaining traction here in the US, and for good reason. It combines all of the benefits of Ayurvedic therapy with traditional massage techniques to send you to straight to a state of nirvana. Let the knowledgeable and talented staff at La Nee work their magic, loosening all the little kinks and knots to leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. If you’re a little more sensitive to the deep tissue, try the Thai Aroma Oil Massage with light to medium pressure or the Thai Herbal Massage. La Nee also offers prenatal massage for the all the expecting mothers out there as well as gift certificates (baby shower gift idea, anyone?) and package deals that accommodate practically any budget. (Jackie Andrews)
With retro prom-themed décor, opulent vintage chandeliers, and Liberace-studded deer mounts, Makeout Room is the perfect place to add a little kitsch and nostalgia to your evenings out. As the home base for Lost and Found with DJs Lucky and Primo, spend your Tuesdays slow dancing to the sweetest 1960s soul 45s. Every other Monday you will find arguably the best karaoke night in town with sax-slinging DJ Purple, but let’s not forget the long-running cumbia night known as El SuperRitmo! on Saturdays or the monthly Writers with Drinks – a mash-up lit event with famous and not-so-famous writers and maybe a comedian thrown in for good measure. The solid calendar of events will lure in and then the strong drinks will keep you coming back – the Makeout Margarita will compel you to do just that, so beware if you have dreams of a future political career. (Jackie Andrews)
Hungry? This weekend, take your appetite to the streets and chow down on some of the most delicious food from the Bay Area and beyond at the San Francisco Street Food Festival. This year, kicking off the festival is the first-ever Night Market – modeled after the night markets all over the world – to celebrate the diverse food and people that make San Francisco such an amazing place to eat and live. The whole shebang supports La Cocina, a non-profit in the Mission that helps low-income and immigrant women entrepreneurs launch food businesses. Read more about it at sffoodfest.com. (Jackie Andrews)
Night Market: August 17, 2012 from 6-9pm at Alemany Market | $25 entrance fee/$10 or less per plate | Free shuttle from 24th St. BART
Street Food Festival: August 18, 2012 from 11am-7pm @ Folsom between 20th and 26th Streets, SF | Free/Passports available online for savings on food
St. Mary’s Pub
Welcome to the best new old bar in the ‘hood. A recent well-deserved makeover has transformed this rundown, dingy dive into a stylish and comfortable neighborhood bar complete with HD TVs, pool table, pinball, and a well-curated jukebox. There’s a different drink special for each day of the week, free pool on Mondays, and a weekly line-up of guest DJs spinning everything from surf and rockabilly to dark wave and post-punk. Nurse a hangover on Sunday Bloody Sunday with their one-of-a-kind bloody mary menu. Grab a slice or a papusa from one of the neighbors and try the Florentine Mary made with sundried tomato pesto or a chipotle Southwest Mary with lots of fresh lime juice. Find them on Facebook for daily updates on drink specials and DJs. (Jackie Andrews)
3845 Mission | (415) 529-1325
The owner at Asiento wanted to open a neighborhood bar and restaurant that solves problems we all have going out with friends – some are on time and others are late, some eat and others don’t, and some don’t mind splitting the tab while others do. Here, folks have complete freedom to come and go, and order and pay at the bar when they choose. No pressure! Problem solved! They serve tapas with a Latin flair, but their menu represents many types of cuisine from lemon hummus and fresh Thai spring rolls to queso fundido (a.k.a. cheese crack) and juicy burgers. Let’s not forget the drinks, like hand-crafted basil lemonade and the cucumber Rosemary. And with their new entertainment license, they have a whole calendar of weekly events, including Thursdays and Sundays that feature local DJs and live performances, while weekends are reserved for patrons to host parties – no minimums, just come and have fun! – and even bring their own entertainment. (Jackie Andrews)
In a city that loves its long lines wrapped around the corners of tiny pop-ups and dives, it’s nice to know there are still places with well-deserved hype, but without the wait. The owners of SOMA’s Koh Samui & The Monkey scored when they swooped up this spacious location with a full bar on Valencia Street. With the help of an award-winning mixologist serving up fresh seasonal cocktails like the popular Monkey in the Middle (a ginger vodka concoction with pomegranate juice and homemade raspberry-lime foam), a chef creating clever Thai dishes for the ‘hood like Tom Yum nachos, as well as cheap lunch specials and happy hour drink deals, Another Monkey is a great place to both impress a dinner date or just grab lunch when the Thai craving calls. (Jackie Andrews)
Named after the owner’s daughter, Miss Phoenix Rose Tattoo is proud of their prime Mission District location with über-talented and friendly artists like Chicago native and published comic artist Micheal Bianco and Atlanta transplant Adam Goodman who brings a southern flavor to the shop. Their newest rising star is local Thomas “Tea” Montano whose easy-going personality and contagious laugh are sure to leave you with a memorable experience (and a damn good tattoo.) Whether your desired ink is tribal or realistic, full color or gray scale, these guys can make it happen with a degree of skill that is anything short of impressive. Seriously, check out their portfolios online. Be sure to like their Facebook page for a 15% discount on your nest tattoo! (Jackie Andrews)
Strategically located one block from the 16th Street BART station and spitting-distance from multiple MUNI lines, the Casanova Lounge is a great place to either start your Mission bar hop or grab last call before stumbling home. With the exception of New Year’s Eve, there’s nary a cover and always stiff drinks at the bar with DJs spinning obscurities, oddities, and the occasional hit from nearly every genre imaginable. They keep the black velvet kitsch of the 1970s alive in this dark, red, candle and gaudy lamp-lit dive with their tacky-yet-mesmerizing paintings of nude women that adorn the walls. Go on a chill weeknight and sip a pint-sized hibiscus margarita or a carefully constructed bloody mary with all the fixins’. (Jackie Andrews)
This neighborhood Irish corner pub is more than just a place to slam a few post-work Smithwick’s or a certain insensitive drink on St. Patrick’s Day. A recent facelift upped this former dive to a sports maven’s haven in the heart of the Mission, boasting nine HDTVs and a huge projector screen in their back room to catch every nuance of every game under the sun, 365 days a year. Not unlike a traditional pub you would find in Ireland, owner Marissa Brown wanted to bring a piece of home to San Francisco, serving traditional Irish food like Guinness beef stew, Sheppard’s pie, and fish and chips. Their motto, “You are a stranger here but once,” about sums up the warm and friendly vibe you will find at The Napper Tandy. (Jackie Andrews)
3200 24th St., SF | (415) 550-7510
Cruz Skate Shop
Located in La Lengua – that long, skinny stretch of the Mission sandwiched between Bernal and Noe – Cruz Skate Shop is a hybrid skate shop catering to both the skateboarding and roller derby communities. Skateboard shops are no longer a rarity these days, but Cruz is one of only three roller derby shops in the country and the only one of its kind in California. Whether you’re a B.A.D. derby girl hopeful or a skate punk looking for a new board, Cruz can help you gear up. They stock up on hardware for both sports, as well as roller skates, boards, and safety gear. For the non-athletes who want to support a local and female-owned business, check out their cool apparel, books, zines, and tote bags that embrace a punk and D.I.Y. aesthetic. (Jackie Andrews)
Those of you who have been around the ‘hood for a minute might remember when 795 Valencia was an oxygen bar. Oh, the early aughts! The spot has changed hands a few times, but Etcetera may be the best yet, and after only six months in business have solidified their seat among the heavy wine hitters in the Bay Area. This warm and cozy wine bar offers a classy respite from the dive bar scene but without the pretension or excessive posh that your typical wine bar may offer, with monthly wine flights and tapas specials on top of the classic cheese and charcuterie plates and full dinner menu. Their flammenkueche, a French spin on pizza with a crispy crust and crème fraiche, is to die for and their two tapas with bottle of wine deal for $35 can’t be beat. (Jackie Andrews) 795 Valencia, SF | (415) 926-5477 | etceterawinebar.com
James Choi at his family owned corner market turned sandwhich hub of the Mission.
Recently a physicist teamed up with a bakery to formulate the perfect sandwich, which resulting in a long string of symbols seemingly lifted from the chalkboard in Good Will Hunting. Back in 2009, when Rhea’s liquor store decided they wanted to include a Deli and make delicious sandwiches, they didn’t need science, just good ingredients with perfect proportions and creative combos like Korean steak, pork katsu, and faux-BBQ chicken. Plus, their house-made aioli, jicama slaw, pickled red onions and jalapenos sandwiched between Boar’s Head cold cuts and Acme bread make the perfectly portable and un-soggy meal to take to Dolores Park or the new Mission Playground. (Jackie Andrews)
800 Valencia, SF | (415) 282-5255 | Take-out, dine-in, or delivery
Mission Cultural Center Presents: La Quebradora
The Mission Cultural Center has assembled a collection of art and performances that map Mexican cultural history through the spectacle of Lucha Libre, including an appearance by the “Mexican Hulk Hogan” himself, el luchador Mil Máscaras. On June 6 from 6:30-9:30pm, watch good battle evil in “KKK vs. EZLN,” when six burly combatants in colorful masks determine the future of mankind – or just put on a damn good show. Other events are planned for the duration of the exhibition. Call or visit the Center website for the complete schedule of programs. (Jackie Andrews)
Even if you’ve never been inside Mixcoatl, chances are you have noticed the corner storefront wrapped in colorful luchador masks. How could you miss it? But step inside this museum-like tiendita and you will find a kaleidoscopic array of arts and crafts that reflect the creativity and customs of the Huichol people of western Mexico, including yarn paintings, beadwork, and embroidery in vibrant patterns and symbols — not to mention the many cases of silver, turquoise and other gemstones, feather jewelry, scarves, candles, and more. (Jackie Andrews)
3201 24th St., SF | (415) 341-4191
Co-owner Miguel Escobedo at the 24th St. location. Photo: Brant Ward/Chronicle
Papalote Mexican Grill
In a neighborhood with a taqueria (or two, or three) on every block, one must have a menu standout to beckon the hungry masses. At Papalote, their secret weapon is the salsa – elevated to cult status even before co-owner Victor Escobedo defeated Food Network celeb Bobby Flay in a Throwdown. If the fiery, roasted salsa brings you in, then their fresh, colorful ingredients and vegetarian friendly menu (tofu mole, anyone?) will keep you coming back for more. (Jackie Andrews)
Who wants to hang out with these guys? You do, that’s who!
We’ve all lowered our standards for the sake of booze-induced late night snacking before, but the good folks at Bender’s Bar don’t think we have to. Not with all the vegetarian and vegan-friendly comfort foods made from high quality ingredients on their menu, a curious thing indeed for a Mission dive and rowdy rock music venue. Relics of ill-fated watering holes adorn the walls and fake IDs encased in lacquer play peek-a-boo from the tabletops. But more importantly, where else can you wash down seitan tacos and tater tot-topped mac and cheese with a Pliny the Elder on draft? Need we say more? (Jackie Andrews)
Another year of Sunday Streets is upon us, marking the onset of beautiful San Francisco weather – knock on wood – with this ongoing free health and community event. This year, the third “Streets” of the season kicks-off the new Mission Pilot – four consecutive months of Sunday Streets in the Mission on May 6, June 3, July 1, and August 5! Bring your roller skates, unicycle, skateboard, or just a plain pair of walking shoes and enjoy the activities, performances, and vendors that line this route, closed off from automobile traffic for the whole day. (Jackie Andrews)
Mission Sunday Streets begins Sunday, May 6 from11am-4pm @ Valencia from 14th St. to 24th & 24th St. from Valencia to Hampshire, SF | www.sundaystreetssf.com
One might imagine that there is hardly a personal entanglement that Princess Donna, director and star of Kink.com‘s Public Disgrace, Bound Gang Bangs, and Ultimate Surrender sites, can’t handle with a strong wrist and flogger. While that may be true, the BDSM power player is also a master of the kind of communication involving words. And unlike your standard sex advisor, she’s that frank kind of sex-positive feminist that can help with whatever you want to do in bed (/dungeon) that is safe and consensual. And be real sexy through the processing, to patent leather boot. We had to give her her very own Guardian sex advice column.
How do you get a sugar daddy or mommy? And once you get one, how do you keep them happy?
Signed, Broke’s Not Cute Anymore
I’ve never personally had a sugar mommy or daddy, but I do know that there are websites out there were you can find them! As far as keeping them happy goes, I’d tell you the same thing that I’d tell you for any relationship, communicate! Talk about what your expectations for one another are, set boundaries, etc.
My other advise for you would be to think about exactly what kind of relationship you want before seeking out your sugar parent. Are you looking for love and someone to take care of you financially, or are you looking to exchange sex for money in a more straight-up way?
As the name implies, these kind of relationships can have a built in power dynamic as one person financially supports the other. Be sure that you have thought about what that implies and that that is truly what you are looking for!
My brother and I have a lot of the same, amazing, sex-positive friends. The chances that we may find ourselves at the same sex party are high — what can we do to avoid weirdness (and incest) between the two of us?
Sincerely, Family Fun
Dear Family Fun,
Avoiding incest should be pretty easy, just don’t get it on with each other.
As far as avoiding weirdness, the first step is to establish what you think is weird. Is it weird for you guys to bang in the same room? Is it weird for you guys to share the same sex partners? Is it weird just to be at the same sex party? Once you have established exactly what makes you uncomfortable you can set boundaries. I know, I’m boring. I’m all boundaries and communication over here…
The only thing is that, in my experience sex parties can often occur spontaneously, so you are going to want to establish the ground rules before you find yourself in a potentially awkward situation. You don’t want to happen upon an awesome sex party and spend the night fighting with your twin when you could be getting laid!!
>>IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION for Princess Donna on sex, love, or a combination of the two, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kink.com is getting its star turn in the mainstream media – everyone’s favorite historic-building-cum-porn-palace served as the shooting locaiton for the movie that Stephen Elliott and Kink star Lorelei Lee penned, Cherry (trailer here). The flick, which makes its San Francisco debut at the SF International Film Festival (April 24, 27, 28) stars James Franco and Heather Graham, who plays a female director at a porn company.
It isn’t Kink in the movie, exactly — it’s not a BDSM company, for one. And I met up with Lee at Thieves Tavern this week and she told me that despite the vocation of Cherry‘s protagonist, she didn’t consider it a movie based in sex-positive activism.
“You can really destroy a movie by making it too political,” said the NYU student and star of multiple Kink sites, over a glass of red wine. Lee says she and co-writer Elliott wanted to write a story with a happy ending (er, spoiler alert.) “I think it’s a complicated story that doesn’t try to sell you on anything.” Of course, showing happy, functioning sex workers should be considered activism in and of itself these days.
Theirs isn’t the only project that uses the Armory as a backdrop for for an upcoming non-NSFW film. Filmmaker Simone Jude has been shooting a documentary on the lives of Kink’s women – Lee, Isis Love, and Princess Donna primarily — for the last four years. The trailer looks fucking awesome, and Jude needs your Kickstarting help funding the final editing process.
The three women portrayed are total badasses, and it’d be great if this film could recieve the same kind of exposure that Cherry, which picked up IFC as its distributor and is being slated for a limited-city release, is enjoying. With all the sex-negative politicking going on these days, we could use some more high profile looks at women who refuse to let conservative social norms guide their views of fucking. People need to be exposed to that kind of stuff. Or at least, as Lee told me “I hope that they leave the theater feeling like they’ve watched a movie about real people.”
And now for your week in sex events.
“A Taste for Brown Sugar: The History of Black Women in American Pornography”
Rad lecture alert: University of California Santa Barbara professor Mireille Miller-Young will be giving a talk about her much-needed manuscript examining the history of black women in porn this afternoon. Miller-Young’s work tends to focus on race, gender, and sexuality as it appears in sex work and popular culture and she is also currently collaborating with sex-positive author Tristan Taormino and others on The Feminist Porn Book: The Politics of Producing Pleasure.
Writers With Drinks with Rachel Kramer Bussel and Curvy Girls
Rachel Kramer Bussel is the editor of Curvy Girls: Erotica For Women, which I recently had the pleasure of reading and is real hot. The stories are all about voluptuous women getting it on – in restaurant kitchens with the head chef, with the house sittee’s relative, with the guy that sold them those hot boots. The erotica follows curves like a racecar, and is a phenomenal piece of work for anyone who is looking for a re-up on body image – no matter what their measurements. Tonight, Bussel is reading at the much-loved Writers With Drinks event, so expect to get nicely liquored and hear her talk about sexy, body-positive couplings.
The perfect opportunity to sample wines from around the globe while training your obedient submissive, this Femina Potens event has an value-added feature: different models from rope companies Maui Kink, Twisted Monk, Bind Me, Lover’s Knot, and Jugoya will be on hand, and wrist, and ankle, and ribs so that you can see the difference that quality and texture can make in your play. There’s limited space available here, so you should get on this quick-like.
It was a controversial move. Industry types, wary of an already flagging adult DVD market, have made weak noises about condoms not being sexy — but also that LA clamping down on the issue will only cause studios to move away. Internet porn is a largely amateur, largely diffused phenomenon that doesn’t rely on SoCal so much anyway. AIDS organizations applaud the measure’s potential to cut down on sexually-transmitted diseases.
But what do the stars themselves think? We were able to speak with a few of them on the red carpet: AVN’s official red carpet host Kayden Kross, Kink.com directors Princess Donna and Bobbi Starr — the evening’s winner of Best Female Performer — and Jon Jon, who was nominated for a passel of AVNs that night including Best Group Sex Scene for his work in Asa Akira is Insatiable 2 (hands down, the night’s big winner with seven awards in total).
Here’s what they had to say. You can watch the rest of our clips from the red carpet — including an interview with Jincey “lesbian Hugh Hefner” Lumpkin, who figured prominently in my “Queer and boning in Las Vegas” cover story here.
Princess Donna and Bobbi Starr (pardon the screeching that begins the clip) “It’s only going to affect the people that purchase permits for their shoots, and I gotta say that it’s actually a very small percentage of the industry that uses shooting permits.”
Jon Jon was unruffled by the controversy:
Kayden Kross was adamant that the regulation was babysitting an industry that doesn’t need it: “I think it’s the most retarded answer to something that wasn’t even a question.”
Of course, what none of these interviews mentioned was a point that this article brings up: that condom regulations are not just for the wellbeing of the professionals who act in pornography. Many of us grow up watching porn — for some of us, it’s our first image of what sex is. If porn stars using condoms can convince teenagers to do the same, more power to the condom regulators.
PORN AWARDS In a conference room at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, diminutive porno starlets with improbable racks highlighted by latex or spandex-heavy outfits shifted, stilletto-to-stilletto, as lines of eager fans filed past to express their admiration for favorite scenes — and possibly cop a feel for their buddy’s camera. Flatscreen TVs showed avatars having at each other in various positions, advertisements for recently-released X-rated roleplay video games. One booth advertised both granny and midget couplings, another adult parodies of True Grit, Training Day, and Mallrats.
This was the weekend of the AVN Awards, the Oscars of the porn industry that take over Vegas once a year to honor the most compelling orgasms, wittiest titles, and best double penetration scene of the last 12 months.
In the midst of the melee, queer porn star Sophia St. James from Portland, Ore. waited in line to meet one of her idols. “I’m so excited!,” St. James told me when I chance across her on my AVN fan expo wanderings.
Most of the adult film aficionados present that Saturday afternoon in January had probably heard of the object of St. James’ affections, Belladonna, well-known in the industry for her gonzo-style sex and smoldering-pixie looks. Perhaps fewer of them would have been familiar with St. James, though the Amazon-esque beauty has an eponymous strap-on model and has done scenes for one of the nominees for the Best Alternative Website award, to be presented that night at the awards ceremony.
Later that day, we sit outside a Hard Rock coffeeshop with a handful of St. James’ co-stars from the AVN-nominated, San Francisco-produced QueerPorn.TV. I ask her how her fangirl experience went.
“I couldn’t believe it!” St. James exclaimed. “I got to the front of the line and was bending over to put down my bags when I hear this voice go ‘Sophia St. James.’ And I look around and Belladonna is saying my name!” The two exchanged gropes, business cards, and the promise to keep in touch. St. James was beaming.
This is why queer porn went to the AVN Awards. Sure, QueerPorn.TV was nominated for an award, and it was a good excuse for its actors to have a ball and a biscuit in Vegas. But also, queer porn wanted its props. And it turns out, it might be having a bigger impact on the industry than you’d expect for a bunch of Bay Area alterna-kids.
“QueerPorn.TV got nominated for Best Alternative Website. Regardless of whether we won or not, we needed to celebrate,” Courtney Trouble said. She was explaining why she booked a luxury Vegas suite for the weekend of the AVNs where 12 queer porn stars definitely slept, and possibly had an orgy. (“I’ve heard some rumors of that,” she wrote me in an email that confirmed the hot tub was flop distance from a king-sized bed with a view of the Strip.)
Trouble is responsible for more than her fair share of the queer porn that is available today. Her San Francisco production company Trouble Films includes QueerPorn.TV and NoFauxx.com (which she started decades ago in Olympia, Washington). In addition, she and co-director Tina Horn make DVDs — most recently, Fuckstyles, a compilation of vignettes featuring trans men, lesbian sex, and pegging scenes that will be released this year on Valentine’s Day.
Bereft of even the ever-diminishing profit margins of mainstream DVD porn (which are difficult to quantify — for a bare-all industry, the porn biz is remarkably adamant about hiding its sales figures) queer porn is largely a labor of love for its creators. During the weekend of the AVNs, its stars tell me the genre serves two purposes.
For one, it fills a masturbatory niche for those non-plussed by the heteronormative and Barbie-on-Barbie couplings of mainstream adult entertainment. But no less sexily, queer porn is an activism unto itself. “There are people out there that don’t see representation for themselves in porn,” St. James said. “Queer porn offers representation for everyone in the community.” By having sex on camera, queer adult film stars are taking their brand of sexuality from out of the shadows.
“Politically, trans visibility, queer femme visibility, and feminism are all very important things to me,” says Trouble, for whom 2012 marked her fourth year in Vegas for the AVNs. “If I didn’t do this every year and try to get as many folks as I could out there on the floor, a lot of us would just dissolve into the background of the industry. Every year I’m like, I’m going to rip this year a new one.”
So despite being there to party and bang each other, the queer porn stars were out to make a point. Sometimes explicitly. On Friday night, I sat on the floor of a mid-range hotel suite for an expert panel on the queer porn biz that featured Trouble, St. James, Horn, actors Tobi Hill-Meyer, Dylan Ryan, and to the glee of all involved, the legendary Nina Hartley, a bisexual feminist porn star who rose to fame in the 1980s. An intimate crowd wearing equal parts street and fetish wear listened to frank, cerebral discussions of what it’s like to be in the queer porn biz, about the disappointments and the rapturous moments when a particularly good physical or mental climax is reached. I left feeling uplifted, like I’d witnessed something important.
THE LESBIAN HUGH HEFNER
Chris Thorne is the founding editor of Xcritic.com, an adult DVD review site. He’s a member of the AVN Awards academy, and I called him pre-AVNs to get the inside scoop on the arduous process of voting in the 41 porn categories — but we would up talking about the rise of non-traditional porn titles.
“The biggest growth category for adult film right now is lesbian sex on film,” he said. “Hands down. Girl-girl porn has three dimensions right now. On one side, it’s a male fantasy, on one side you have girl-girl porn that appeals to females and straight males, then you have queer porn that is lesbian porn. The lines on all three of those are not clear. That middle part is where there’s a huge growth.”
The queer porn crew isn’t the only one that considers its offerings an alternative to mainstream skin flicks. All too early the next morning, I was at the fan expo interviewing Jincey Lumpkin, director of the Juicy Pink Box films, distributed through Girlfriends Films. The media is fond of calling Lumpkin “the lesbian Hugh Hefner.”
Lumpkin falls into that middle part Thorne was talking about. Queer she is not — she shies from the term and is also uncomfortable with “dyke,” attributing her preference to her religious upbringing in Carrollton, Georgia (she says her move to New York five years ago the first time she was exposed to any kind of queer community.) Lumpkin used to be an attorney who specialized in banking litigation, working 80 hours a week. Her coworkers — mostly straight, mostly male — were intrigued by her love life, and to satisfy their curiosity she started a confessional blog called Single White Femme.
Through means that are not quite explained during my interviews with Lumpkin and Girlfriend Films’ founder Dan O’Connell, the blog led to O’Connell granting Lumpkin directorial control over a subdivision of his company [CORRECTION: O’CONNELL AGREED TO DISTRIBUTE JUICY PINK BOX THROUGH GIRLFRIENDS]. “I like that she’s a lesbian,” O’Connol told me. “You can’t say it’s not lesbian porn.” Still, he says straight men like himself account for 40 percent of the films’ audience. He guesstimates single women make up 30 percent, and couples the remainder.
Is Lumpkin’s porn alternative? It’s up for debate. She tries to “break away from the traditional script” of girl-on-girl porn, a style that has long been a part of the traditional porn canon. Lumpkin dismisses this kind of “fake” lesbian scene as “let’s flutter our tongues together”-style porn.
She says her vignettes exclusively feature actual lesbian or bisexual women. Lumpkin won’t work with women with obvious plastic surgery or fake nails. But when I asked her to compare her work to that of the queer genre associated with San Francisco companies like QueerPorn.TV and Crash Pad Series she says “my work has more of an emphasis on aesthetics. I’m sure they hate it when I say that.”
Her scenes’ artful lighting might only account for part of this statement. “I would imagine if you asked someone in the Valley what San Francisco makes they’d say they make really nasty queer shit and really nasty kinky shit,” comments Horn on the perception of the Bay Area in other realms of the porn world. Still, the boundaries between the Valley and the Bay aren’t so defined — many actors like Arabelle Raphael and Ryan work in both places.
Everyone, it would appear, has a different notion of what makes queer and lesbian porn authentic. The Juicy Pink Box series, for example, does feature scenes with women scissoring. Lily Cade, a butch actor who is called “Porn Valley’s gold star lesbian porn star” because she’s never shot a scene with a man, eschews scissoring scenes on her own label Filly Films. “That’s stupid,” she told me at the AVN expo, clad in a suit (“I’m a professional, so I’m going to dress like one,” she said of her outfit choice). “I’m not aroused by that, so I’m not going to ask my actresses to do it.”
You’d be hard pressed, by way of another example, to find fisting scenes in a Filly or Girlfriends movie [UPDATE: Lumpkin writes to say that she is in full support of, and has shot fisting scenes, but that Girlfriends Films will not accept them on their label due to obscenity laws. More on that distinction here]. But Trouble’s scenes have them — in fact, on October 21 the SF auteur inaugurated an international day of celebration for that particular rough sex act. Filly and Girlfriends stick to cis-gendered actors [ANOTHER UPDATE: That should read “tend to stick to cis-gendered actors.” Drew Deveaux was the first transgendered actor for Girlfriends Films, in the Juicy Pink Box feature Boutique], and rarely use body types besides the taut standard of the porn industry. Trouble, a woman of size herself, is committed to portraying sexy fat people.
Perhaps another difference lies in the intended audience of each scene. Cade allowed that much of porn’s audience — even the “lesbian” films of Filly and Girlfriends — is men. “Wet dreams!” wishes a note inside Girlfriends Films’ Poor Little Shyla, whose plot line centers around Catholic school girls given hands-on lessons in lesbian sex by their wiser, big-boobed mothers. Though the blessing could hypothetically be geared towards women watching the flick, one suspects it’s not.
But all these types of porn share things in common. “I think we are all outcasts,” Trouble told me when I ask if there’s a big difference between queer and mainstream actors. “You have to be pretty courageous and strong to be in the porn industry. I think even Jenna Jameson would admit to being a total weirdo.”
“I’D LIKE TO THANK MY ASSHOLE”
The weekend’s climax for queer porn did not take place at a podium. Best Alternative Website didn’t win its category, which turns out is among the B-list honors that are announced in a quick scrolling of names on a Jumbotron at the AVN ceremony’s terminus anyways.
The high point instead, was the red carpet. “That’s where I shine the most,” Trouble told me. Arms draped around each other’s tuxes and sequined mini-dresses, queer porn stalked the lane in front of the flashbulbs and broadcast press with aplomb. It looked like they’d been doing it for years, which speaks to their professional talent — actors James Darling and Charlie Spats were walking as the second and third trans men ever on the AVNs’ carpet (Buck Angel, winner of 2007’s AVN for Best Transsexual Performer, was the first).
Queer dominatrix Princess Donna of San Francisco’s Kink.com walked the gauntlet arm-in-arm with Bobbi Starr, who would later accept the AVN for Best Female Performer. Hartley was there with her husband, and chatted with me about her role in queer porn education. “It helps that I can pass for a normie,” she laughed. “The presence of my physical self allows the message to sink in. I believe in this [queer porn] to my core.”
In the moment, it seemed that queer porn was truly a force in the industry. The week after the awards, I forwarded Trouble a photo of herself with an arm around a beaming Ron Jeremy on the red carpet. She cropped and lightened it before reposting on her Facebook page with the note “Ron Jeremy, you have made some seriously hot porn. I am a fan!”
But when it came time to watch the awards themselves — a drawn-out, logistically disastrous affair whose 2012 highlight was Best Anal Scene champ (and winner of seven awards in total) Asa Akira’s acceptance speech: “I’d like to thank my asshole for putting up with all my shenanigans!” — the core queer porn team was nowhere to be found. Beat from hours on their high heels in front of the cameras, Horn, Trouble, and co-stars went out for a “steak and a Manhattan,” rather than settling in with overpriced drinks to watch teleprompter flubs and malfunctioning clip reels.
Once again, the queer porn stars were taking what they wanted from the adult industry and leaving the rest. Explains Horn: “everyone was on their magic phones and on Twitter people were saying how terrible everything was. I was putting marrow on toast and I was like, eh, I don’t think I’m going to make it.”
But they met up with those who did attend the awards for the after-party. And yes, there was a hot tub involved.
Special thanks to Broke Ass Stuart for supplying the headline of this article. Porn + words = Stuart.
Thankful. I am thankful for San Francisco sex. Just got back from the AVN awards in Vegas this weekend and couldn’t get over the fake boobs (literally — mountainous cleavage), rubber ducky-esque lips, and rote couplings that took over the Hard Rock Hotel for the better part of the week. Don’t get me wrong, the weekend was all kinds of wonderful and there were buffets and penthouse hot tubs filled with Tina Horn, Princess Donna, and Akira Raine — salacious tweeting and rumors of Robin Leach and deep red carpet conversations about being forced to wear condoms. But for me, SF.
Also, the trailer for James Franco’s new movie based on the life of Kink.com actress-writer Lorelei is out:
Why am I so stoked on this city? Read on about what San Francisco does best: weird, original, affirming sex events in the City By the Bay. Here’s four reasons that’ll make you glad you’re here (pervert).
Good Vibrations’ Lakeshore store opening
Once an employee-owned store in the Mission, Good Vibes has expanded into a nationwide business, powered by an Ohio sex toy corporation, and teaching everyone from Florida to Washington about the power of gadgets in the bedroom through an award-winning sales and education website. (Read our interview with the company’s C.O.O. and staff sexologist Carol Queen here.)The empire gets one bigger today, with the opening of Good Vibes’ first Oakland brick and mortar location. Kandi Burress of Real Housewives of Atlanta will be on hand to promote her superlative line of vibrators, Bedroom Kandi.
Accepting his honor at this year’s Guardian Goldies art awards, performance provacateur Philip Huang utilized a neti pot in ways surely frowned up by the Health Department. The man is inappropriateness, embodied — just ask those “God Hates Fags” people, he’s crashed their protests with a colander head, carrying a sign that says “No Fags on the Moon.” So what does a Huang do at a reading made for and by pervy weirdos? You’ll just have to attend the latest edition of Perverts Put Out, to find out. Tonight’s event also features sexy solliquies by horehound stillpoint, Sherilyn Connelly, and Jen Cross.
Harken back to your best memories of golden age porn star John Leslie, who passed away in 2010. Center for Sex and Culture will be hosting this memory circle for friends of his work — which includes Talk Dirty To Me (1980), Nothing To Hide (1981), and Talk Dirty To Me, Part II (1982). One of the first actor-cum-director hyphenates in adult film, the man was big back in the days of well-budgeted productions. Perhaps this will also be a look back on the long, strange road the porn industry has traveled over the past few decades (after all, Leslie did finish out his career directing gonzo releases).
Name the sexiest cities in the world. Did Sao Paolo, Berlin, and San Francisco make it on there? They’re the obvious choices, of course — and fertile territory for this global documentary project. The team behind [SSEX BBOX] chased tail around the globe, chatting with all orientations and genders about what makes them tingle below (above) the equator.
SEX “It’s hard when you’re making out with a babe and it’s really hot and you realize you’ve been videotaping a wall for two minutes.”
No one ever said that making self-filmed feminist porn was easy. But for local self-proclaimed “slut kitten” Maxine Holloway, it’s an important — and incredibly arousing — process. Holloway is the newest webmistress on Femina Potens gallery founder and sex activist Madison Young’s Feminist Porn Network. Holloway’s sub-site Woman’s POV (www.thewomanspov.com) is perhaps the first to feature only shoots which are filmed by the actors themselves — the letters in the title standing in for “point of view,” of course.
Hence, her phone interview with the Guardian last week had turned to tricky camera angles. It can be incredibly difficult to film your own orgasm, Holloway says. But she’s learned a lot since her first POV scene (in case you were wondering, it involved a passel of “Italian babes” and a hotel room). The key, she says, lies in reconfiguring the way you look at having sex on camera — which inevitably involves spending a lot more time in your viewfinder.
Which is not necessarily a bad thing. “You see things that you wouldn’t normally have the time to focus on,” Holloway explains. “Twitching fingers, a hand on a thigh that looks amazing.”
And she’s hoping that fingers will walk to the site to check out its clothes-on segments, also. “We have these really sexy, amazing, vivacious women on our website, and I want people to lust and jerk off to them. But I also want them to hear what they have to say.” Woman’s POV has posted interviews with Kink.com fetish model Eden Alexander on what it’s like to work in the porn industry. Holloway has penned educational letters to the syphilis infection (Hitler, Van Gogh, Beethoven, and Lincoln, it says, were all rumored to be victims of the STI), and conducted an interview with erotic comedian and dandigrrl AfroDisiac.
“We’re showing the wholeness of what makes women attractive,” she says. “It’s not just their breasts or how they fuck, it’s what’s on their minds.” Bay Area women will have a chance to be featured on the site at Mission Control’s monthly queer sex-dance party Velvet on Fri/2 — Holloway and Young will be trucking out a dirty videobooth for self-filmed couplings (or singlings), not to mention conducting a workshop on the empowering and relationship-boosting aspects of filming your hook-ups with a partner. It will be a “fun and safe place for people to explore their exhibitionism on camera,” promises Holloway.
This kind of multi-lateral approach to sexuality is just what Young intended when she started her first website, Madison Bound, in 2005. Although she was already a successful sex performer who had been curating sex-art shows at Femina Potens for five years — having recently pulled together “White Picket Fences”, a multi-disciplinary look at what family and future mean to local queer artists and sex workers — she found the web to be a particularly useful tool when it came to advocating alternative sexualities.
“The Internet has the capacity to reach a lot more people,” she told the Guardian on a recent afternoon in the large, white Mission-Bernal Heights studio that is serving as the Femina Potens office space while the gallery is between brick and mortar locations. “I’m a girl from Southern Ohio and I’m always thinking about the girl from back there.” Despite her central role in a burgeoning alt sex community here in the Bay Area, she feels a responsibility to make images of queer sex available for Middle America. “You’re just not going to have this stuff happen in front of you in Iowa.” Other subsites on the Feminist Porn Network include Perversions of Lesbian Lust, a slutty take on lesbian pop novels, and Femifist, a site devoted to the much-maligned practice of fisting.
Young has known Holloway for years — Holloway has hosted many of Femina Potens’ “Other View” panel discussions on BDSM, consent, and the anti-rape movement — and over the past two has watched her develop a distinctive voice when it comes to directing porn. “I wanted Woman’s POV to be a place where she could explore that voice,” she says. “It’s super empowering for [the webmistresses and actors] because they’re able to find out what they think is hot. Women aren’t usually put in that position to be able to find what turns them on. People are like ‘oh my god that’s hot. Oh my god that’s me!'”
That kind of discovery, Holloway says, isn’t just sexy — it strikes back at the disempowering way that society treats sex workers. She mentions that she sees the site as an important step in the sex workers’ rights movement. When asked to elaborate, she says that the movement’s about “the ability to support yourself safely and creatively.” In other words, it’s not enough to have a safe working environment for adult film actors — although that’s important too. It’s important that sex workers have the opportunity to portray the kind of intimacy that turns them on. What better way to do that than hand them the camera?
Friday evening of the Folsom Street Fair saw a throng gathered in a second-story SoMa apartment for an art opening. The space was owned by a one Mark I. Chester, a man who counts as one of the city’s many hubs of sex culture. Chester tends towards the art side of rough sex — regularily hosting drawing sessions where men pose in various states of disarray — a harness here, a dog mask there, and not much else. But tonight, the crowd was more diverse. It was there to witness the opening of “Fear No Art,” the sex and power exhibition that you watch close its doors on Sun/30 this week.
Black-and-white photographs hung densely on Chester’s walls, but the opening party was 3D. On”stage” (the front of the living room), a man in a gold lamé thong performed comedic showtunes describing his life as a D-List porn star. Soliciting audience interaction, he neatly displayed his aptitude for deep-throating. Lucky banana.
Any lingering effects of his levity was appreciated for the next act (at least, your hemophobic reporter appreciated them). Next up was Leland of the San Francisco girls of Leather, who announced to the crowd that she’d be etching the exhibition’s name onto the back of the helper she’d brought to the front of the cramped room with her.
“Don’t be afraid to move in closer, it’s actually really quite beautiful,” she counseled the audience. A handful of art lovers obliged, pushing in for a closer look at her razor-thin lines that blossomed into strips of blood before their eyes as the woman who the back belonged to squirmed in agony — particularly when Leland went back over the lines for a more pronounced look.
“Fear No Art” advises you in a similar manner — not to be afraid to look at sex in all its forms, and to consider what every kind of eroticism says about us as humans. It closes Sun/30, an excellent chance to take in 2D representations of human beauty, lust, and love.
Naked Girls Reading: Neil Gaiman edition
So lit-sexy it’s scary, this regular reading event — hosted by the area’s hottest female sex activists in their alltogether — welcomes to its featured artist slot Rain DeGrey, professional bondage rigger, Kink.com star, and sex educator. She and the regular crew of NGR will be reading from the works of Neil Gaiman, a novelist whose children’s book featured a young orphan being raised by a graveyard, if that gives you any idication of the creepiness of his canon of work. C. Theodore Walker will perform a “half play, half ritual” based on the works of Aleister Crowley.
Powerhouse kicks off Halloween weekend with the 12-monther of its bathhouse revival shindig, Steam. It’ll be garaunteeing that the ghouls drop their sheets with a wet towel contest (winner gets $100, which will buy a zombie Amy Winehouse-sized load of vodka-Red-Bulls. Go-gos, power showers, hot boys — oh, boo.
Halloween at Mission Control is like Christmas Day in Santa’s Workshop — all the work from around the year pretty much leads up to this one big spectacular. Do these swingers have mad flair game? Obviously. Pack more than a sheet with holes in it when you go to this two-night extravaganza featuring performances to fuck to from DJs Jocelyn and Cyril Noir, seances, zombie strippers, and virgin sacrifices (yeah right).
In a sex events column gone by we talked about Femina Potens’ plans for an art exhibit that re-envisioned what family and home meant in the alt sex-LGBT community. It’s opening on Fri/28, a multi-media presentation featuring artists Midori, Monica Canilao, Harrison Bartlett, Mev Luna, Amelia Reiff Hill, and Madison Young. Go to reflect on your own notion of what the future holds, and be inspired by the imaginings of others.
“Things I Have Fucked Someone With: An Incomplete Collection” is photographic round-up of just those things by Patti Beadles. It looks like one of those kitchen posters that show you all the different kinds of chili peppers, and at this sex art exhibition she also displays a similarly-configured of things she has not fucked anyone with (shape seems to be the defining factor between the two). Pair this with Jim Duvall’s BDSM romance novel cover of a woman being used as a harp by a lover, Shilo McCabe’s pussy-baring fetish art, and others and you have yourself a panoramic view of human sexuality at local sex luminary Mark I. Chester’s SoMa apartment.
Ghost Hunt! On this week’s cover, the spirits of Johnny Venetti, Jasmine Donaldson, and Jackie Andrews haunt meddling kids Caitlin Donohue, Marcus Banshee, and Walter Gomez on the Kink.com Armory’s Upper Floor (NSFW). Photo by Matthew Reamer, concept by Mirissa Neff.
This year we’re doin’ it up (f)right for halloween with an issue full of ectoplamic boo-ness. Fear our terrifyingly bad puns!
Folsom weekend has arrived and if you’re new to the game, you’ve got all kinds of decisions to contemplate before running out onto the leather field. Those who trot through the gates minus preparation are still going to win on visuals and play, but those who put in just a minute of pre-fair prep will really score– hard. The best place to garner suggestions is obviously via a Folsom veteran, but take it a step further and open your orifices to advice from those who not only make it a point to attend, but whose job it is to professionally observe, capture, and display erotic action at the fair and beyond.
Fear No Art features 17 local photographers and a body of work that will make you cum, gasp, smile, and laugh (not necessarily in that order). From intense bondage, hardcore sex, pretty toys, notes on death and loss, and even a woman strung like a harp, this collection is going to get you all revved up for the weekend’s plethora of sexual opportunities. Since these photographs are more so for offering inspiration and not the obvious logistical advice you may need for your first-time Folsom adventure, a handful of the artists have offered up some helpful hints to get you off in the right direction.
SFBG: Give us a couple notes on etiquette– what to do or not to do? Are there rules?
Beadles: Be respectful. Don’t touch people without permission. Looking is OK but gawking is tacky. Try not to sound like a drunken frat boy by making crude passes at people.
SFBG: What to wear? Ahh, the choices!
Beadles: Wear whatever you feel comfortable and sexy in. Leather is good. Lace is good. Heels are good. Boots are good. Whatever you wear, remember that you have to spend the afternoon in it while walking around in the hot sun!
SFBG: Give us three must-sees for newbies.
Weinert: 1. The boot black stand at the intersection of Dore and Folsom. Make sure to tip your boot black! 2. Venus’ Playground. Great performances are open for all to watch but the women/trans only space is a great place to get out of the crowd. 3. The Kink.com booth is a crazy place to watch some interesting public performances. The Kink.com models and directors never hold back!
SFBG: What to wear? It’s so last minute…
Weinert: Multi-Kulti is a great place to get fishnet body suits, sequined booty-shorts, and false eyelashes. Clothes Contact is full of awesome vintage lingerie and great dresses– most of it sold by the pound!
SFBG: Name your absolute must-try?
Rosen: Five dollars gets you three minutes of spanking, flogging, or foot worship via one of the ladies of Fantasy makers, a local BDSM establishment. Five dollars can also get you three minutes to fondle the ample breasts of a beautiful, green-haired lady. All proceeds go to charity, this year to the Center for Sex and Culture.
SFBG: What should I wear?
Rosen: Dress to impress, or not. Nudity is OK; wear clothing you can stuff into a fanny pack. The police are cool, but they will tell you to stop any sexual touching. Bring your camera. Leave your “certified panty/jockstrap inspector” t-shirt at home. It’s OK to wear a law enforcement officer’s uniform, as long as it’s not from the SF Police.
SFBG: Three must-sees?
Weisburd: 1. Fear No Art Exhibit 2. My Daddy’s hot ass 3. All your friends nekkid in the sunshine
SFBG: How about a must-try?
Weisburd: Something you have never ever done before.
SFBG: Thoughts on etiquette?
McCabe: 1. Please refrain from taking photos without permission. 2. Don’t touch anyone without permission– seriously. Just because someone is showing a little (or a lot!) of skin doesn’t mean it’s there for you to touch. 3. Leave the kids at home! It’s kind of unnerving to see parents pushing strollers or walking around with toddlers in hand.
SFBG: What to wear?
McCabe: I always suggest to my friends that the most important things to wear are sunscreen and shit-kicking boots– in case you have to kick shit.
SEXISSUE 2011 In 1969, San Francisco became the first city in the country to permit the exhibition and sale of hardcore pornography. Although “permit” isn’t exactly right. The city’s vice squad (with the help of Supervisor Dianne Feinstein) fought it every step of the way. But by the time a rag-tag band of hippies with cameras began harnessing the Free Speech movement to challenge obscenity laws, San Francisco had already become, in the words of the New York Times, “a sort of Smut Capital of the United States.”
Earlier this year, director Ben Leon and I produced Smut Capital of America, a documentary short about San Francisco’s flesh-filled reign as the center of U.S. hardcore. (The skin flick industry didn’t move down to San Fernando Valley until the 1980s, when VHS took over and Los Angeles stopped arresting filmmakers.) The film industry itself may have been shaved and plucked, but San Francisco never lost its filthy patina, thank god.
Here are a few of the filthy great places, classic and new, that any self-respecting San Francisco pervert and/or fan might want to map.
1. The Condor Club
The first topless dance took place in 1964 at the Condor when Carol Doda took to the stage in designer Rudi Gernreich’s revolutionary “monokini.” The bathing suit never really caught on, but topless dancing became an export that would become synonymous with San Francisco.
2. The Mitchell Brothers O’Farrell Theatre
The good ol’ boys from Antioch made a fortune with movies like Behind the Green Door, but when obscenity busts began taking their toll, they moved to live shows. The place still give a great lap dance, but the days when you could eat a girl out for a dollar are long gone.
3. The Strand
I once heard it referred to as a stop on the underground gay railroad — and for good reason. While this theater showed big Hollywood movies and noir retrospectives, the balcony was the cruisiest, bleachiest-smelling place in town.
4. The Magazine
This still-operational vintage magazine shop has never shied away from porn. And since few museums find it palatable to save smut, it’s a living archive of the sexual revolution, balls, and all.
5. The Screening Room
In 1970, the Screening Room became the first theater in America to show hardcore pornography, with a law-skirting documentary about the free-loving Danes called Pornography in Denmark. Director Alex deRenzy set off a cinematic revolution, and earned a profile in Time magazine. Perhaps fittingly, it’s now the Power Exchange sex club.
6. The Roxie and the New Follies
3117 16th Street and 2961 16th Street
Long before it was an indie movie rep house, the Roxie showed soft-and hardcore 16mm loops shot by the Mitchell Brothers, then just out of college. The New Follies, just down the street on then smut-filled 16th Street (it’s now the Victoria), pioneered bottomless dancing, and later, live sex shows.
7. The Sutter Theatre
Arlene Elster and Lowell Pickett plotted the International Erotic Film Festival at their theater off Union Square in 1970, when the area was still known as the downtown Tenderloin. The films themselves screened at the prestigious Presidio Theater in the Marina with a red carpet covered by KPIX. Even smut-opponent Dianne Feinstin showed up to rant against the duo’s “very depraved wares.”
8. Le Salon
1118 Polk Street.
“There out to be a plaque on the building,” says Bay Area Reporter porn critic John Karr, who went to this bookstore to cruise and flip through dirty magazines. Store owner Roland Boudreaux eventually opened a non-smut operation next door with a connecting doorway so that customers could leave and enter without attracting stares from high-society queens.
9. The Lusty Lady
The original Lusty Lady showed 16mm films, but by the early ’80s this North Beach smut center had live dancers as well. In 1997, the dancers organized an Exotic Dancers Union to make it the first unionized sex club business in the United States. In 2003, they bought the business, making it a worker-owned cooperative.
10. The Gordon Getty Mansion
During the ’80s and ’90s, this Pacific Heights mansion was the home of smut merchant and Falcon Studios honcho Chuck Holmes, whose name now graces the LGBT community center on Market Street. In the afternoons, he shot gay porn in the basement. In the evenings, he hosted spectacular galas to raise money for visiting politicians.
11. The Armory
1800 Mission Street
Does anyone not realize that this former munitions warehouse now houses an arsenal of dildo-equipped robots and that the National Guard training hall is used to film “Wired Pussy” episodes? Thanks, Kink.com for making sure San Francisco is still known as the Smut Capital of America.
SEX ISSUE 2011 I saw Donna Dolore for the first time at a Hard French queer soul dance party at El Rio. I remember because she took my drink so authoritatively that I had no choice but to be okay with it. She sipped it, handed it back, and strode away. Can I get a thank you? Throughout the whole, sloppy afternoon, I noticed it was kind of her theme.
But no one seemed to care. Part of it was obvious: Dolore is a Sophia Loren with wider eyes, maybe a little taller, with the same generous tendencies towards sharing glimpses of the bust line. Only — I reflected, shortly before falling back into cheap-beer-and-go-go-dancer melee — that attitude. Who the hell is this woman?
Weeks later, I’m telling her the story in person in the cavernous break room at Kink.com’s headquarters in the San Francisco Armory (everything at the Armory is cavernous). It turns out that Dolore is in fact, a pretty big deal. Just ask her legions of heavy-breathing fans who know her as Princess Donna, the Kink.com director and star queer dominatrix.
“Oh my gosh, I did that?” At the office from where she plans shoots for the three Kink websites she heads, Dolore is a less formidable figure. She’s not wearing any makeup. Her black outfit makes her look like she’s about to take off for a light jog around the Mission.
But she might just be being coy. After all, I’d stalked her up good before our appointment and had come across this gem in a video interview she did a few years back: “I’m pretty true to form — Princess Donna acts a lot like I do.”
Dolore double majored at New York University, perfectly enough, in gender and sexuality studies and photography. She became a stripper while at school, and then on a tip from a coworker, got into professional BDSM shoots. Although she had been to some BDSM play parties, the work was the first time she’d ever been tied up.
“I was immediately into the challenge of being in a really stressful position — being flogged or caned, total sensory overload,” she remembers. “I would leave a shoot feeling really invigorated, a stronger person. It made me want to see what my body was capable of.”
Nowadays, Princess Donna sits — utterly sexily, usually in a short skirt and fuck-me heels — atop the Internet BDSM porn puppy pile.
At Kink she is the mind behind no less than three sites. For “Public Disgrace,” Dolore makes trips around the world to supervise the stripping-down, feeling-up, and penetration of beautiful women in town squares and busy bars. On “Wired Pussy,” she plays with electrical equipment, inducing screaming orgasms in her female partners.
In her latest endeavor, “Bound Gang Bang,” Dolore supervises teams of horny men and one or two women in fantasy-type shoots: high school nerds get their revenge on the bitchy mean girls, a prison warden drops her key and winds up giving head to inmates through a chain link fence. She has guest-starred in many of Kink’s different sites, usually as a top, sometimes as a bottom.
“I get stressed out because we have so much content to produce,” says Dolore, who works on one or two shoots a week. “But it’s a challenge that I enjoy.” One gets the sense that at Kink, Dolore has found a place that can nurture her talent for perversion.
Like most of Kink’s offerings, Dolore’s sites are unapologetically brutal. Women are dominated, wind up covered in ejaculate and with bound breasts that are agonizing to look at (well, at least for the BDSM newbie).
This is exactly the kind of stuff that sends shivers — the bad kind — up the spines of anti-porn feminists. But Dolore is a feminist too. As articulate as she is and as prominent she is and as wild as her porns are, she’s often called on to defend BDSM’s treatment and portrayal of women.
“I think the exact opposite of the people that think that BDSM would promote violence against women,” she says. That tired question — “is porn degrading to women?” — is something that Dolore finds degrading. Why, she asks, don’t the anti-porn musketeers ask the same of men in the industry?
“What is going on in our society that we continue to see sex as something that is put on women that they don’t desire? Why can’t we fathom it being a dream job for a woman?”
Kink is doing its part to raise awareness about the sexual pleasure that can be experienced by submissive actors. Before and after each shoot, the man or woman who you’ve watched screaming, a cattle prod or vibrator pressed against their genitals, is interviewed. That familiar dazed after-sex look is all over their faces, and their endorphin-heavy perk is really all you need to know what Dolore says is true: the models at Kink really, really love their job.
Delore contests the notion that only people who have been sexual abused take pleasure in pain, although she says you’ll find abuse victims in porn studios, just like any other workplace.
“Unfortunately, you could look to any profession and say a lot of them were abused as kids. You could look at secretaries and say that. Personally, I wasn’t sexually abused.” She smiles. “I’m just a natural pervert.”
Delore’s a regular on the queer party circuit — this week, you can catch her stealing drinks at Sunday’s “Deviants” Folsom Street Fair closing party. Her exuberance in exploring the outer realms of sexuality haven’t gone unnoticed in the San Francisco sex community. Kelly Lovemonster, editor of the queer quarterly sexuality zine [SSEX BBOX] is a close friend of Dolore, and calls her a “super heroine.”
“Even when she is portraying a submissive bottom, being cattle prodded, nipples clamped down and attached to electric cords, you can tell she is absolutely in control,” says Lovemonster. “She shows us that our dirtiest, scariest, and wildest sexual fantasies can come true through healthy communication and BDSM play. She rescues us all from a world where sexuality is suppressed and made shameful.”
This, according to Dolore, is a big part of why what Kink produces is important. The website puts BDSM urges out there, lets people that get turned on by being slapped across the face know that they’re not the only ones.
For the dis-empowered and isolated BDSM fan, that can be heady stuff. “You can explore your rape fantasy in a way that the woman is in control of what’s happening to their body — it’s a way to relive a situation where you had no control and relive it in a way in which you do have control,” says Dolore.
In a direct repudiation of the claims that abuse victims fall into BDSM for unsavory reasons. Dolore says she’s seen rough sex and power play rehabilitate partners whose sexuality seems terminally fucked. “I’m not a therapist but I feel like I am sometimes.”
But when I ask her if she considers herself an activist, she says no.
“When I think of the word activist, I think of people who are more outspoken than I am. I do my thing on my website, and people can come watch it if they want to.”
Which is not to say that the forward girl at Hard French doesn’t think she’s affecting change. Says the princess: “I’m just happy that I can help people be honest about what they want in bed.”
DEVIANTS: OFFICIAL FOLSOM STREET FAIR CLOSING PARTY
A man dressed in suit and tie walks into a conference room. A woman stands up to shake to his hand, followed by another man who unbuttons his jacket and outstretches his hand. You anxiously await the stereotypical bow-chika-wow-wow music to signal a wild menage a trios but instead, actual business is conducted. As easy as it is to imagine the inter-workings of the online adult entertainment industry as a porn itself, the reality involves a lot more clothing and a lot of legit, business-type activities. This week’s 15th annual YNOT Summit 2011 is the proof that will eventually become your pudding.
The YNOT Summit began in 1997 as the Cybernet Expo and has since become the longest-running adult industry gathering for professionals to hang-out, swap ideas, teach, and learn about running successful erotic web companies. The event is the physical representation of YNOT, an adult webmaster resource site that provides industry news and directories, basically a Better Business Bureau for online sex. About 400 adult industry professionals from around the country have registered for this year’s three consecutive days of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. classes. It’s a full-on school day covering all the general subjects, business models, legalities and international market basics, with a couple recess-like networking opportunities, including a game of Two Truths and a Lie and an interactive photo-shoot.
This year’s hottest session will no doubt be the “Pros and Cons of .XXX Domain Names”; an industry-wide debate over the new voluntary option for sex sites to take on the .xxx domain, which officially premiered this spring. Jay Kopita, the Summit’s director of operations, expects things could get a little hostile, as most industry folks disagree with the system and think it’s simply a disguised measure for governing bodies to collect some cash and increase censorship. Supporters of .xxx claim it’s all about protecting the children– no surprise there. A member of the ICM Registry, the Florida based company who runs all .xxx operations, will be on the discussion panel to answer questions and to tackle the loads of criticism.
Not just any conference– check those banners!
The rest of the conference should be pretty predictable and Kopita says the event aims to keep things as professional as possible during the day.
“It’s not about going out and partying all the time. I mean, that happens anyway when you bring together a bunch of adult industry professionals, but the daily actives of the Summit are for people who are looking for a return on their investments,” he says. “These are people who want to learn how to make money from the adult business.”
The group is encouraged to get it all out after hours: each night the Summit throws an exclusive party for attendees. Saturday night’s play time is “Kink at the Castle”– a sure to-be exciting evening running around the Armory with Kink.com. Work hard, play hard.
YNOT SUMMIT 2011
Thurs/23- Sat/25, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
Web registration closes Wed/22– ask for SFBG discount at the door
And we’re back! After a brief jaunt around the world, I’ve returned to hunker sexily down amidst a mountain of press releases for SF’s sluttiest happenings (yes, they make press releases). Seems like y’all have been busy since I’ve been gone – this week alone there’s a big-ass conference for nerdy – is there any other kind? – pervs and a class with Madison Young on making your own adult videos.
Idea: go to Young’s Good Vibes class tonight, complete your star turn post-learnin’, and learn how to market and code the darn thing (or meet someone who can) this weekend! Then give link to all the new friends you meet at Pride. Planning ahead: it pays!
Because it’s not just about figuring out how to many books to prop the Flip atop. No no, recording your sexy precious moments requires a lot more skills – starting off with the skill of knowing what dirty tricks you’d most like to capture for posterity. Femina Potens’ head mistress Madison Young (it’s safe to say) is a master at figuring these kinds of things out, so entrust to her your future on the silver – or laptop – screen. She’ll be touching on scripts, casting, and financing, so dream big.
Ecosexuality, the sensual relationship with the world around us. Not surprisingly, Nature (that sexy beast) plays a big roles in many pornos. Beaches, vineyards, parks – all this and more you will see for your own dirty little eyes if you attend a mini-fest incongruously located in the Tall Tree Tambo center, which last I checked was a spa and woo-woo health club-skillshare type arrangement in the back of Lower Haight’s favorite hippie hangout, Pkok. Enjoy! (Psst, if things get really natural, ask to take the party to the sauna out back in the garden).
Formerly the Cybernet Expo, this three day conference for the online sex industry promises to hook you up… with networking opportunities, at least. Attend speed mix-and-mingle sessions with your point-and-click-to-perversion peers, learn about legal issues surrounding online porn and escort services, and of course, the Saturday night show. Last year the nerds hit up the Kink.com palace, but this year they won’t even have to truck out the Mission: Kimo’s is hosting a show by the Asian Diva Girls and Smash Up Derby, which is curiously dubbed “one of San Francisco’s favorite bands” by conference organizers. Well hell, if they say so!
Be entertained by Chadd Behavior of SF Boylesque and the triumphant return to Mission Control by X-rated storytelling doyenne Dixie De La Tour – or just fool around with everyone in the building. This week’s Kinky Salon swinger’s party is themed SanFranSexual for a reason, you’re allowed to do whatever the hell you want, in style.
Bawdy’s back – could this be the most popular monthly storytelling series in the Bay, pervy or not? – in its East Bay incarnation. Dixie’s overseeing a night of swingtastic synopses, from fundamentalist Christians at key clubs (I’d love to hear the scripture on that), and other godly pursuits.
On the website for Kink Studios – Kink.com‘s foray into the world of arthouse porn cinema – one scrolls down a quote from, of all people, that strapping hunk of man meat Roger Ebert. It’s about The Last Tango in Paris:
The movie frightened off imitators, and instead of being the first of many X-rated films dealing honestly with sexuality, it became almost the last. Hollywood made a quick U-turn into movies about teenagers, technology, action heroes and special effects. And with the exception of a few isolated films like The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988) and In the Realm of the Senses (1976), the serious use of graphic sexuality all but disappeared from the screen.
But being the innovators, perverts, and getting-things-done Type A’s that they are, the minds behind Kink.com decided to do something about this dearth of sexy, smart art. To wit, they made a film, Indietro, that combines all the flogging and excited screams that you’ve come to expect from the website’s more conventional BDSM flicks, with haunting piano trills and – gasp! – character development. They stocked the film with acting turns by Madison Young, Aurora Snow, and William Van Toland, and is written and directed by Vivian Darkbloom.
It’s playing at Mission Control (via Femina Potens‘ programming) on Thurs/12, along with a Q&A with cast and crew. See it to believe it – and bring Mr. Ebert, won’t you?
Virgie Tovar presents “Burlesque Basics for the Shy and Awkward”
Amazing alert: the fantabulously fat burlesque star Dulce de Lecherous (Miss Tovar if you’re nasty) is doing this course on Burly Q gratis for the wonky and discombobulated set. I bet you never thought you’d be able to shimmy in stilettos, or twirl tassels with tact – but this here Virgie is ready to ease all comers – boys, girls, bois, “girls” – into stageside sexiness. Or, at least get you on the right path. We’re only talking about an hour-long class here, people.
Watch Kink Studios’ first foray into art porn, ask all your perverted wonderings of its cast and crew, then enjoy black and white porn and live burlesque performances. Afterwards, you can stay for the play party – if you’re a member of Femina Potens. Keep it classy, art freaks.
A educational run-down of positive power exchange practices in the Japanese samauri tradition. Sure, it’s not your run-of-the-mill Exiles class (they tend to focus on more explicitly S&M teachings), but that’s why this course sounds so cool. Ground your play time in a background of service-oriented community.
This training is not about loving control – or maybe it is, but don’t walk into it whip in hand. Being a dungeon monitor is a big deal, a crucial role in the pursuit of a healthy S&M scene. This orientation is open to everyone, and features interactive scenes showing problematic dungeon happenings in which you’re asked to practice your better judgement to mediate. Not into becoming a monitor, per se? You’re still welcome to learn and hone your skills as a member of a smart and safe community.
SF’s regularily-occurring lit night is famous for letting it all hang out. Really — the women on stage are naked as jaybirds. And though once again local luminaries like Lili St. Cyr, Lady Monster, and Cherry Galette will be orating from honored texts, this time around at least part of the show will be occuring offstage. Burlesque legends from Holiday O’Hara to Satan’s Angel will be in attendance – and you can sit next to one of the lovelies, if you’re down to shell out another five bucks. Deal!
Perhaps you recall a few weeks ago when I espoused my love for Rihanna and slightly-less-intense love for the new music video for her song “S&M.” I’m saddened to report that the lovely RiRi is in a spot of trouble over the new reel – David LaChappelle is suing her for deriving the video’s “composition, total concept, feel, tone, mood, theme, colours, props, settings, decors, wardrobe and lighting” from the fashion photog’s work. Here‘s a helpful guide to the similarities between the video and LaChappelle’s photos.
But you know what, Violet Blue’s going with RiRi and so am I. David LaChappelle, for the love of Perez Hilton on a leash – is this video detracting from your personal worth as a pervy photog? Now you can say you made a Rihanna video and maybe people will believe you. Problem = solved! Now onto sex events. Dirty talk and sexy poetry readings, etc.
Word on the street is that sex educator-kinkster Midori’s voice is like buttah, so slide on into her workshop, which focuses on that most sexy, most mind-blowing organ of all – our voice! Uh wait, that’s not an organ so — our throat! Um — our diaphragm! Yeah, you’ll need one of those, so close enough.
Wanna bring sacred into BDSM? Perhaps BDSM into the sacred? You are in luck because we have here a genuine shaman (who may or may not look like Melissa Joan Hart from “Clarissa Explains it All”) and a priest of love and eros who has the skillz to pay the billz in balancing the masculine and feminine in our lives. They’ll perform a sacred collaring ceremony for ya, and in general encourage more feeling in your feeling.
Sex is poetry. Get all those nasty limericks out of your head for good at this kink-friendly (kinda goes without saying when you’re talking about the coffeeshop that hosted a Kink.com shoot a few years back) poetry night at Wicked Grounds. Emceed by a one TheyCallMeVroom. Nice name.
Hello hetero-centric gentlemen: do you have a lovely lady who is raring to play with you and sexy strangers this weekend? Why don’t you sign the two of you up for Kiss, the Mission Control play party for couples and single ladies only. Reserve your spot now – the night is reservation-only and we hear that the stripper pole at Mission Control books up fast.
Probably the most exclusive BDSM party going on this particular Sunday, the 15 Association will be celebrating 20 years in the male fraternity bondage business. Of course, if you’re not a member you can go to the open party on Sat/26 – but c’mon, don’t you want to see what sex looks like after two whole decades of hedonistic association?
CULTURE/ALT-XMAS At some point this December, my holiday spirit failed to launch. It’s strange in a way — I love gluttony, formal wear, time with loved ones, and the Latino church procession I saw going down South Van Ness Avenue the other day gave me a little shiver of happiness (not to mention the purple lights bedecking kink.com’s Armory). But I just don’t want to do the tree, the presents, the pressure. Really, this list of Xmas week alternative activities is for me as much as anyone, which I hope means I still get to do the mistletoe thing.
OPTION ONE: HEAD FOR THE HILLS
You ain’t got shit to do, so why not take your melancholy and foist it on nature? The recent spate of rain may make for a wet winter wonderland, but that should suit misanthropes just fine. Wear your best raincoat and mittens and you’ll be snug as the baby JC in his manger.
Where to go? The No. 76 Muni bus can get you to the Marin Headlands Recreational Area (remember, the buses run on the holiday-Sunday schedule on the 25th , check www.511.org for times) where foul weather makes for thrilling, wind-whipping hikes about the hills to the north of Golden Gate Bridge. Or you can take advantage of the greenery within city limits. Glen Canyon Park’s many trails are an excellent place to wait out the tinsel and treacle, as are the startlingly beautiful red rocks jutting out over the city in Corona Heights Park and the idiosyncratic bison paddock in Golden Gate Park.
Bonus round: get your conservation on the day after Christmas in Muir Woods with a free hike called “Get Your Spawn On: Searching for Endangered Salmon.” The hike will take you on a hunt for salmonids and reveals how we can help the fishies swim their way back into species security. (Meets at Muir Woods Dipsea Trail Trailhead, Mill Valley. (415) 349-5787, www.wildequity.org. 10 a.m.–noon, free with $5 park entrance fee)
OPTION TWO: GET A LITTLE CULTCHA IN YA
Sure, many of our venerable cultural institutions stay away from organizing events over the holiday weekend. But with only a small amount of searching, you can dig up the brave souls who see no reason to halt their arty trot on account of jingle bells. These include Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, which will be celebrating Dec. 24 with part one of its two-part exhibition “Audience as Subject,” a multimedia exploration of crowd behavior. Filmmaker Stefan Constantinescu will screen Troleibuzul 92 (2009), an examination of reactions to a planted actor on a crowded bus making abusive phone calls to his “girlfriend,” and visual and video artists investigate variations on the theme. (Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, SF; (415) 978-2700, www.ybca.org. Noon, $7.)
If self scrutiny’s not your jam, head to the Contemporary Jewish Museum on Christmas Day, where free admission all day means that you can save your bones for New Year Eve’s and still check out the work of H.A. Rey and Margret Rey, the husband and wife who created Curious George. The couple just barely managed to smuggle the early sketches of George (and themselves) in their escape from the Nazi invasion of Paris, which they accomplished by bicycle. The drama might explain George’s penchant for close calls and saving the day. Kind of makes that cycling slog through this week’s foul weather seem less onerous, no? (Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission, SF; (415) 655-7800, www.thecjm.org. Open 11 a.m.-5 p.m.)
OPTION THREE: GET IT ON FILM
Going to the movies on Christmas has long been the treasured territory of awkward family gatherings, and with the mega-release of Tron: Legacy (playing at various Bay Area theaters) you can take it to the third dimension! Why talk about each others’ lives when you can plop down in the Castro Theatre with a tub of popcorn, affix 3-D glasses to your face and zone … out … for two hours and seven minutes? Hell, you can even skip the fam-fam and bring your girl Mary Jane, because this is one flick that promises to look real cool with a side of herb — soundtrack, acting, and plot notwithstanding.
And there’s no need to be a lonely anime geek by the Christmas tree. Bebop Nights, the recurring get-together of cult classic TV show Cowboy Bebop fans is holding its sixth installment Dec. 25, a day stereotypically characterized by animated features with way, way less cooler characters. Sure, Rudolph and Frosty are bulbous and ebullient, but Spike, Vicious, and Julie are deep space bounty hunters with a penchant for dope background music. Which cast better characterizes your lump of coal attitude this yuletide? (Bridge Theatre, 3010 Geary, SF; (415) 668-6384, www.landmarktheaters.com. Midnight–3 a.m., suggested donation $4)
Other promising showings include Natalie Portman’s psycho-ballet thriller, Black Swan, camp of the year Burlesque, the Coen brothers’ remake of the western True Grit, and Naomi Watts as CIA agent Valerie Plame in Fair Game.
OPTION FOUR: DRINK
And when all else fails, raise a glass to (and of, see how that works?) booze. Many of your watering hole favorites will be open Christmas Eve and day, but why not try on a new barstool and pack of regulars for size? My pick for caroling into the bottom of your glass is Trad’r Sam (6150 Geary, SF; (415) 221-0733. Open noon–late), a kick-ass Outer Richmond tiki bar where I am cautioned that a solo scorpion bowl mission will result in the ability to see reindeers, unless that’s what you’re going for. To make your Christmas denial complete, keep one eye on the jukebox, and your clobbering stick handy for any poor schlub who opts for Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas.”
You wouldn’t think that P-raw: Whore of the Underworld would have problems with being cockblocked, but there you have it. P-raw will be one of the charismatic over-sharers at this week’s installation of Bawdy Storytelling (Wed/10), the naughty, gleefully live version of the embarrassing stories section they used to have in Sassy Magazine. Man, we miss that rag. Anyway, if past editions are indicator, tonight’s Bawdy (whose stories will pay homage to times when sex got squashed by a bystander) will be a silly, sexy romp. Chicken John, Phuong Mai, Airial Clark, and Suzanne Forbes take the stage and need your commiseration.
Bawdy Storytelling: Cockblocked
Tales of love lost – to that jerk in the fedora, no less – reign at this pervy live storytelling series.
Dropping trow and covering one’s boobies in whipped cream may not immediately seem like it will be beneficial to women’s health in the Bay Area, but that’s probably because you’re not thinking big enough. One group of women did just that and the fruits of their labor are now a twelve month 2011 calendar featuring women from around the Bay gettin’ pin-up with it. Proceeds from the calendar will go straight to Women’s Community Clinic in San Francisco. Tonight’s party will feature live music, a photo booth for muggin’, and more.
SF Leather Daddy boys and the SF Girls of Leather are hosting a beer bust to benefit Sunburst Projects, a charity that supports families with HIV/AIDS. You already know altruism is sexy, so saddle up that leather vest and cap, and snag your favorite toy to bring on the road – a latex (or otherwise stimulating) lovely will score 20 tickets for the raffle featuring prizes by Kink.com and Off Ramp Leathers.
Tops and bottoms and lovers of some good ass are welcome to this primer by porn star-pro switch Tina Horn. Flogging, role play, and caning are all included on the day’s docket, and really, the hands-on demonstration alone should be worth the price of entry.
Shall we not gloss over the glory of a good wank? Eros won’t, and it doesn’t want you to, either. Gay men are invited to bring their lube of choice and refocus on self. The class will be a walk-through of tantric masturbation, the art of concscious cumming — expect light eye contact and encouragment of primal sound.
Who loves you, momma? Yeah, yeah, the rugrat, but also your friends at Good Vibes. And unlike Baby, GV can mix you free drinks, set up free one-on-ones with staff sexologist Dr. Carol Queen, and introduce you to mommy writers like Billie Sharp, D.I.Y. Expert. Because even you need a play date.
Support your local sex workers! We are lucky to live in a city where those salacious somebodies that will take their kits off in the name of our pleasure and payment don’t have to lay down and take it when the man gets all censorious and grabby – lucky to live in a city where St. James’ Infirmary exists, that is. The Lusty Ladies agree, and on Sat/16 they’re holding their annual Playday for St. J’s – 16 hours of girl-on-girl-on-call for justice.
For there was a time where if you got picked up providing sex to paying customers, you got stuck. We’re talking hypodermic needles – part of a policy that used to go down in SF that forced sex workers to give up blood samples in jail for mandatory STD testing. As you can imagine, this was not always done in the most respectful of manners. Enter St. James’, founded by sex worker advocacy group COYOTE (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics). The center holds a health clinic, trainings and support groups, hormone therapy programming, peer counseling, and oh so much more. Why on earth not head down to the Lusty to make sure our ladies – and gentlemen – of the night continue to be treated as such?
Original Plumbing Bathhouse Reception
Celebrate the notion that a photo-heavy magazine of transmen is one of the most hot publication debuts to hit the racks in 2010 – Original Plumbing’s fourth issue is out! And it features a hunky lineup of working stiffs, all of whom will be at the wine and cheese reception, open to all genders and levels of ab definition.
Don’t worry, consoles the description of this Edu Kink offering: “there will be plenty of spanking time.” That’s because even though this is technically a class on spanking – its possible childhood associations, how to deal with them should they arise, on technique, and enjoying the spank on the receiving end – Edu Kink’s Paideia workshop series has a focus on lecture leading to experience. So prepare you that booty, naughty kids.
What better way to amp up for Mission Control’s pansexual play party than this week’s warmup: a chance to swing those hips to the down ‘n’ out blues on the dance floor. Costumes not required, but membership to the club (and a smile) is.
What’s that chill that just ran down your spine? Are you frozen in fear by a classic ghost story, channeling the pre-Halloween vibe – or are you just naked? It could easily be both at this storytelling series that pairs the city’s sexologists and stage presences with a favorite book, a mic, and little else. Watch for the SF Ghost Society’s Elissa Fricano’s tales of personal encounters with the world beyond.
Everyone needs a little extra attention on their birthday. And on the founder of Kink.com’s 40th, you can only imagine what form that personal touch will take. Our town’s foremost world-class fetish porn palace opens its virtual doors to members who want to join in on the fun online. Visit www.theupperfloor.com on Saturday evening and watch live as hot doms and slaves create sexy mayhem during a celebratory dinner in Peter’s honor.
Sat/16 6:30-11 p.m., free for Kink.com members, $.25 cents per minute for nonmembers
That’s right, get your dirty, dirty prescription for a Saturday in the hospital – or rather, nurse’s office. The Lusties will be pulling on the rubber gloves for a day of sexual healing. Girl-on-girl action all day long, with a portion of the proceeds going to everyone’s favorite hustler health care provider, St. James’ Infirmary.
Sat/16 11 a.m.-3 a.m., $5 before 10 p.m., $10 after
Have you been there, done that when it comes to the sex education classes at Good Vibes and the host of other venues around our pervy city that like to teach on the tactics of titillation? Take your love of lovin’ to the next level with this little one-off. Dr. Charlie Glickman is sharing the secrets of his sexpert trade: how to plan and orchestrate sex ed for adults.