Jacks are wild!
by John F. Karr
Cock Art. That's what the gallery show that celebrates the 30th anniversary of SF Jacks should most appropriately have been called. But hey, the occasion is momentous, so we went with a tonier title, The Art of Jacks. And by we, I mean myself, a co-founder, and the bunch of dedicated volunteer co-hosts who keep it up week after year. We'd been so busy playing with the pricks of a couple thousand guys over the years that we didn't really notice the amount of art piling up. Things we commissioned. Things we created, and things that were presented to us. Paintings, sculptures, music, all sorts of graphics, and tons of photographs. This ain't porn we got here – It's Art! Although some of it does waft the divinely tainted scent of the pornicious.
The Art of Jacks launches this Sunday, March 24, at the Center for Sex and Culture, 1349 Mission St., with an open house from 2 to 6 p.m., where viewers can expect to meet the artists. The show, which will run daily except Monday through March 31, focuses less on the history of Jacks, which is indeed colorful enough to entertain for hours, but on the Art. Some of which relates to that history. But you better believe the Cock Consciousness of this Art runs high.
Alright, I can hear you asking, What's Jacks? When my mom wanted to know what my ongoing Monday night commitment was, I told her I facilitated a men's consciousness-raising therapy group (so when we were looking for a new place to rent, she suggested I ask the Unitarians). When I could be more explicit, yet still proper, I'd say it was a grass-roots organization that hosted social masturbation events for men. Which, in the language that you and I speak, boils down to a jack-off club.
Some guys can't believe: Only JO? It's not like you gotta make a life-long commitment to the exclusion of all else. For many years I supported a career in low-paying local theatre by working night-shift at Blow Buddies, where I was one busy buddy distributing oral delights amongst the men. I'm not gonna let my limber lips wither away, but c'mon, what else is there to do on a Monday night?
Here's the official verbiage: "SF Jacks is a fellowship of men who like to jack off with like-minded men. Neither a business nor a religion, Jacks is a public service organization. Traditionally loose, goofy, and semi-spontaneous, Jacks provides the space, and the players call the shots: creative peckerplay is its own reward."
Photo: Courtesy SF Jacks
Another reward is to receive the blessings of the divine by beholding its image. The show's graphics include covers commissioned for our yearly scrapbook The Penis Mightier, and examples of our rather crazed Newsletters. In the days before digital cameras and cell phones, Jacks provided a public service by inviting its men to have sexualized photos taken of themselves by The Notorious Jim James, who was anointed The Official Jacks Photographer. His photographic studies commingle low-down with high art.
For our 20th anniversary, I invited a couple dozen fellow Jacks and local artists to "dickorate" a Balinese wooden phallus. The results were a wonderment, so we're revisiting it for the current show. The best of the earlier dicks will be back on display – work by Seth Eisen, Jack Davis, David Ross – and a dozen new dickorations will join them. Actor and horror fan Flynn Demarco provided horrification for his dick, while Pink Feather, an entirely festive Fey Boy, has whipped up a dazzling confectionary of a cock. Theatre director Allen Sawyer, who has written plays based on trashy pulp paperbacks, has pulped one cock, and then, for good measure, made another that sparkles plenty. Keith Hennessy has left behind the dance and the circus for the more meditative message of woodburned words. Forgoing his usual watercolors, David Barnard has fabricated a tattooed tool. And I, whose memoir will be called All About the Bone, have made three (count them, three) pieces! One is a death meditation, another a comical celebration of sex.
The show's sensational centerpiece is the huge acrylic painting – it's six feet across! – created by the late Lou Rudolph, who painted events as they transpired. There he was, in the absolute middle of masturbating mania at the very first Jacks event. The painting's bold strokes and slashes of color seem fluid as a movie.
There's a whole lot more. All in all, The Art of Jacks is an unusually unique exhibition. Light-hearted on the outside, yet on the inside, deeply connected with cock.
More information at www.SFJacks.com.