Folsom, fetish, fun!
by Race Bannon
How does a year go by so quickly? It seems like I was only recently penning a column extolling the wonderfulness of Folsom Street Fair and all of the events surrounding it. Anyway, here we are again, just days away from the largest kink/BDSM/fetish event in the world, the Folsom Street Fair.The Fair
Once again, the centerpiece of the week, Folsom Street Fair, produced by the nonprofit organization Folsom Street Events (www.folsomstreetevents.org), will be on Sunday, September 25, 2016, from 11am to 6pm, on Folsom Street from 8th to 13th Streets and the adjoining side streets.
This year the folks at Folsom Street Events have created an extremely helpful Fair map that you can view by visiting their website on the Folsom Street Fair page. You can quickly determine where the entrances, porta potty facilities, music and dance areas, performance and main stages, clothes check, bicycle check, beer booths, food, and more are located. Check it out before the big day so you know exactly where you're going once you get there.
On the same page, the entertainment lineup is listed. As always, Folsom Street Fair offers its visitors a wide array of music and performance entertainment sure to appeal to the diverse demographics who attend this mega street fair every year.
All the same basic Fair rules are in place again this year. That includes nudity being permitted on the fairgrounds. So come to the fair dressed and take advantage of the coat and clothes checks located on both 10th and 12th Streets. Stay geared up or strip down to as little as makes you feel hot and sexy. But remember, no actual sex can take place on the fairgrounds. So strut your naked or nearly naked self, watch all the hot flesh, but save the sex for later. And remember, donating $10 at the gate gets you a sticker that entitles you to $2 off each drink you buy.
Leading up to the Fair is what has been termed Leather Week, which is chock-full of more places to go and things to do than any kinky person has a right to expect. But, lucky for us, here it is, in our own backyard.
So while the Fair itself is the focal point around which other events revolve, there is still an embarrassment of riches for other offerings throughout Leather Week. Here is just a smattering of them. I also recommend you make use of the Folsom Street Events calendar on their website for a useful listing of details about many of the Leather Week events.
Accompanying this column is a calendar of events of interest to LGBT Bay Area kinksters. Along with the Folsom Street Events calendar, I recommend you scan this column's calendar listings too. Between them you should be able to fill your date book with enough to keep you busy nonstop if you so choose. Here are a few event highlights, but really, do look at the calendars and see everything there is to do. There's just so much.
I'm going to tout one of my own events that's happening Thursday, September 22. I'm one of the co-executive producers for Divine Deviance (www.divinedeviance.com), an exciting new multi-part documentary project about kink/BDSM/fetish around the world. We're having a big kickoff fundraising party at the Armory, 1800 Mission Street, 8-11pm.
There's a lot going on during the evenings of Leather Week, but what's there to do during the day? One of our local leather/kink retailers has a great option. Mr. S Leather (www.mr-s-leather.com) is hosting their Geared Up in-store parties Friday and Saturday, September 23-24, 385 8th Street, from 11am-8pm. Mingle and shop with some of the hottest guys around in one of the world's most amazing fetish stores.
While so much of Leather Week happens South of Market, the Castro is still a hotbed of sexy people, both local and visiting, during these kinky high holy days. The Edge hosts their monthly Code party on Saturday, September 24, 4149 18th Street, 9pm-2am. This is the only regular leather/kink party in the Castro and this one's sure to be hopping.
Magnitude, the iconic dance party the night prior to the Fair, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. 20 years! How many of such events can say they've been around that long? This year it's at Midway SF, 900 Marin Street, 9pm-4am. Typically it pays to get tickets to this event in advance.
Finally, after the Fair, dance and frolic at Deviants Adult Arcade, the official closing party of Folsom Street Fair. It's at Mezzanine, 444 Jessie Street, 6pm-2am. This is always a great party and a wonderful way to end the busy weekend.
I've listed just a few of the dozens of things you can do during this busy time. Check out everything in the calendars and have a blast!
Local award winners
The Pantheon of Leather Awards 2016 hosted by Dave Rhodes and The Leather Journal are, to the best of my knowledge, the longest running community awards that span the entire country's leather/kink/BDSM/fetish scene. This year the awards ceremony was held on September 1 in Dallas, Texas as part of the International Leather Sir/boy and International Community Bootblack contest weekend.
I was honored to receive this year's NorCal/Northwest Regional Award, but much more importantly some amazing people and an organization were honored with awards.
One of the biggest awards Pantheon of Leather bestows is the Mr. Marcus Hernandez Lifetime Achievement award. One each is given to a man and women annually. And yes, that award is named after the originator of this very column you're now reading, the forever memorable Mr. Marcus. This year's woman's award went to Queen Cougar.
Queen Cougar has a long history of tireless work in our scene. She's well known not only locally here in the Bay Area, but also nationally and internationally, as a classy, intelligent and thoughtful leader. I asked her for her reaction upon receiving the award.
"I am particularly proud to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award because so many years of my adult life were spent in the company of Leather Fetish people. When your fellows appreciate the work and play you have demonstrated among them and offer their respect to you, then you can never complain that your time was wasted or not well spent. Also, when you do not campaign for accolades and yet they are offered to you, it is much more appreciated and feels valid. I hope Marcus would have been proud of me."
I can assure you, Queen Cougar, Mr. Marcus was always proud of you and I know he'd be the first person standing and applauding for this deserved recognition.
Another local kink notable received a Pantheon award. Erik Will, Chairman of the Leathermen's Discussion Group (www.sfldg.org), received one of the four President's Awards given at the ceremony. Erik had this to say.
"I have the utmost respect for so many people honored by The Pantheon of Leather Awards. I am touched and humbled that I am included in those names this year."
Erik does amazing world in our local kink scene and he deserves every recognition he gets.
The Pantheon of Leather awards also recognizes organizations and events as well. This year they honored the IMsL (International Ms. Leather) Foundation (www.imslfoundation.org) with the Non-Profit Organization of the Year. While IMsL is an international competition and its annual event draws women and their friends from around the world, it's held and produced right here in the Bay Area. The Foundation is tied closely to the event itself.
The Foundation, established in 2014, supports the development of sex-positive communities, provides education on alternative sexuality and sexual freedom, and enables leaders to articulate the values, goals and visions of their diverse communities.
Congratulations to Pat Baillie and everyone she works with as part of the IMsL Foundation for being recognized for the important work you all do.
Iconic leather artist show
I was able to attend a recent huge art opening at Strut (www.strutsf.org) for the Becoming Tom show featuring unique works by Tom of Finland, perhaps the most famous kinky artist in the world.
Becoming Tom is a selection of source materials that served as Tom of Finland's inspiration for finished artworks. Tom (real name Touko Laaksonen, 1920-1991) combed a wide variety of visual resources from around the world such as Norman Rockwell's work in the Saturday Evening Post from the 1940s, Bob Mizer's Physique Pictorial from the 1950s and 1960s, and porn magazines such as Drummer and others in the 1980s and 1990s.
For Tom to create his ideal men and perfect his drawing skills, he first needed images of them. In the early years of post-war Europe, magazines were not readily available, so Tom learned how to photograph models and develop and print what he shot. He added the pictures to his catalog of print material he used as reference for his drawings.
After a preliminary sketch, Tom would draw a finished work, then he would need to document it. He would photograph these works and create contact sheets to mail to customers from which they could order prints; prints which Tom produced in his own darkroom.
Tom enlisted his friends, geared them up, often in his own leathers, and posed them to capture the exact way he wanted the body and gear to look in his realistic drawings.
The Becoming Tom show is a fascinating collection of work that provides you with an insight into this brilliant artist's mind and process. Anytime you can see a Tom of Finland art show, or one sponsored by the Tom of Finland Foundation (www.tomoffinlandfoundation.org), do it. You'll be happy you did.
Race Bannon is a local author, blogger and activist. You can reach him through his website, www.bannon.com