Folsom Street Fair Weekend Party Guide 2019

tl;dr/summary: Folsom is a big gay leather prom. See you there.

And we’re back, ready to rage, rave, rutt, and revel for another magical September weekend! If you’re impatient, jump past my platitudes and get to the list.

You’re reading the guide for Folsom 2019. Here’s the guide for Dore 2019.

Folsom is a Rorschach

It reflects your sexual identity back at you. You learn what turns you on, what doesn’t. What you once thought was kinky, and what you now think is normal. What you might try, what you’re glad you tried, and what you’d never try. Who you’re scared to admit you want to be, what you’re scared to admit you want, and what you’re absolutely sure you don’t.

What is Folsom Street Fair?

Folsom Street Fair (also referred to as just “Folsom”) is the world’s largest outdoor leather/ fetish event and attracts half a million people every year from all over the world. The fair is produced by the Folsom Street Events non-profit organization for an annual roster of beneficiaries. If you’re familiar with July’s Up Your Alley street fair (also produced by the Folsom org), it’s generally a more ‘mainstream’ and straighter affair than Dore alley weekend. Straight kinksters and fetishists have been important partners in the fight for LGBT equality and visibility and Folsom is for them, too. Everyone realizes that after the far-right gets done outlawing queer sexual thrills, they’ll continue with the rest of the Handmaid’s Tale training manual.

You’ll hear The Gays complain that the fair isn’t what it used to be and the Folsom organization has let the event lose its edge. It’s too tame. Too straight. Too many women. (Which usually means they pine for the days of manly-men-only events and venues.) But bitching that things aren’t the way they used to be is one of San Francisco’s most hallowed pastimes. Along with bitching about rents and being seen standing in line for things.

You might see producers refer to the weekend as “FLSM” or just “Leather Weekend.” It’s all the same. The Folsom organization can be pretty draconian about protecting their trademarks.

Know Your History

Photo above from the June 26, 1964 issue of Life magazine profile “Homosexuality in America,” a landmark in LGBT visibility

I’d be remiss if I didn’t include some history. It’s hard to convey how much leather, kink, and fetish culture is woven into the fabric of San Francisco. That libertine spirit has grown to include all sexualities and genders and all types of people and expanded across the world. Here’s some reading for your flight here:

This context is also important because many have a knee-jerk conservative reaction to this collection of people and behaviors. It’s hard to express to straight people sometimes, “We do it this way. I can’t entirely explain why we do it this way, but this is how we do it.” Numerous religious right fundamentalist websites use photos from the street fair to depict all queer people. Some would argue if we just didn’t dress up like that or throw it in everyone’s face that we’d have more queer acceptance faster but let’s be honest: They’d murder us for simply holding hands. See also: Respectability politics.

If you don’t like it, then it isn’t for you, and isn’t intended for you and it’s completely fine if you stay away. That’s why the street fair requires admission and minors aren’t allowed.

For some people, leather and fetish is a core part of their identity and peer groups. For others it’s a fun weekend to get a little wild, experiment with different mode of dress or style, and push your own boundaries of what you like and who you are. You can see this history in action as the entire week kicks off with:

Sunday, September 23rd, 28th Annual LeatherWalk

Founded in 1992, the annual LeatherWalk features hundreds of people gearing up in their best leather finery to walk together down our main drag to celebrate and respresent leather, kink, chosen family, and community while raising funds for Folsom Street Events and PRC charities.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BoHUMLpnG9M/

The promenade stops at several local watering holes ending up at The Eagle where the leather pride flag is raised (know your flags!). On-site registration and check-in begins at 10am at the bar 440 Castro.

No official event page yet so stay tuned.

Here’s a list of many of the events of Folsom Street Fair weekend:

When someone asks me to describe Folsom weekend overall I usually say: It’s like a big gay leather prom.

And just like prom, everyone dresses in their Sunday best, everyone has high and probably unrealistic expectations about getting laid, and everyone is ready to dance and have a great time. Think of Molly Ringwald’s 50 Load Weekend.

Also like prom, you might have some mean girls or mean bears or mean muscle queens or belligerent twinks that are more intested in throwing attitude. You can usually find these assholes standing outside the dance floor not moving at all, just posing. They look amazing and they’ve worked hard all year to look this good – and they are starving. Tell them they look great and then go to the opposite side of the club where people are actually having fun.

Generally the San Francisco crowd is warm and friendly to a fault and the general etiquette is such that everyone introduces everyone to everyone else. As far I can tell this doesn’t happen at other cities (the Atlantis cruises, kinda).

It’s like we say back in Indiana, “The way to a man’s hole is through his husband.”

As you read the guide please keep in mind that:

Taste in music is so individual.

I can rage for hours at an afterhours until 8am and then have a friend say, “Yeah it was too dark, didn’t really do it for me.” Then, I’m at another party with a more disco-y edge and everyone’s grooving and it isn’t moving me at all. I like the familiar structure of circuit mixes with the beat doubling on itself or the steady state deep pumping of a heavy minimal afterhours mix. Others find it completely monotonous. My motto is: If you can’t fuck to it, I can’t dance to it.  That’s probably why our favorite getting-ready-to-dance song is Ivan Gomez’s remix of “Do You Fuck As Well as You Dance?” (1 minute in on this J. Warren mix).

San Franciso parties are different.

San Francisco parties have a beating heart. They have a soul.

We went to Madrid Pride this year and attended several of the We Party production group’s parties. They were stunning evenings with up to 10,000 guys at venues like Fabrik and La Riveria. The production design was absolutely astounding (video). You would have seen similar scale if you were in New York for World Pride this year at the Javits Center party, the Pier for Madonna (“Vogue”), or Alegria. Massive events with tens of thousands of attendees and multi-million dollar production budgets.

I can see why guys come to San Francisco and enjoy the switch to smaller, more intimate events. Going from 8,000 men packed with millions of dollars of lighting hardware rigged to soaring ceilings to several hundred guys packed into Club Six with the low basement ceilings practically sweating from the humidity is a huge change in dynamic and tone. In San Francisco, you are more likely to see the same guys several times a night or throughout the weekend. There’s more a sense of us.

Almost all of the events detailed in this guide are from part-time producers and groups of volunteers who have day jobs and husbands and families and lives. They don’t make millions doing these events (and often lose money just trying to make the bar minimum on other weekends). We know many of these producers personally, and I can tell you that they ache over every single detail and minute of every party trying to bring the best possible experience to a legendary weekend. They do it for the sheer love of music and dance and celebration. So at 3:30am when the mix of sweat and leather hangs in the air and Donna Summer croons, “Oooooooo… I feel love, I feel love, I feel love, I feel love…. I fee-eeel love… “, and you’ve got one beautiful man in your arms, and another behind you, his hot exhale on the back of your neck, and the guy you met at the other party is smiling from across the crowd, and everyone is moving in unison, say to yourself, “This is how they do it in San Francisco.”

I’ve included links to photo galleries for most of the events so you can get a sense for what the mix of the crowd is like and what to wear along with Mixcloud, SoundCloud, and social media profiles for all the DJs so you can get a sense for the music.

Thursday, September 26th

If you’re coming in town early, there’s a few early events ready to get you into the fray:

Horse Market, produced by the Stablemaster

And what better way to launch into the week’s filth flarn filth than with the return of San Francisco’s Horse Market. I checked with the Stable Master and he’s confirmed there will be a Folsom edition of this barn of iniquity. Horse Market is a truly degenerate evening for all, inspired by Europe’s infamous Fickstutenmarkt parties (Vice article). From the site:

The mares [bottoms] arrive before the stallions [tops] and get prepared for the event. They are to strip naked, have their hands bound (lightly) and are then blindfolded. Then the stallions appear and can fully inspect the bound mares at their leisure. When a stallion has decided on a mare, he then leads the chosen mare to a place of his choice to mount. When the stallion has finished covering the mare, this mare is then available for covering by other stallions.

[scratches record, clutches pearls, drops monocle]

There’s even a Best In Show designation at the end of the event because gay men have to turn everything into a beauty pageant scholarship program. So all you guys bitching about Folsom getting too tame, this is that Berlin-grade filth you’ve been pining for.

This is a private event, so you’ll need to get updates from their Facebook groupTwitter, or their mailing list and learn more on the site for the event.

Friday, September 27th

You’re taking Friday off from work, right? Oh, henny. There’s so many parties to choose from:

Brüt, at the Great Northern, produced by Hedonic Productions and Brian Kent Productions, with DJs Dan Darlington, Peter Napoli, and Manny Ward

Brüt started as a New York party but its special mix of leather, music, and muscle has reached across the globe with events in other major cities. We’ve been attending and hosting Brüt parties for six years now in San Francisco, and it’s a fantastic evening of dancing with primal music pumping and guys ready to rutt. Brüt producer/DJs Dan Darlington and Peter Napoli are on hand to deliver their signature subterranean sound with DJ Manny Ward joining the gang and local bestie/producer Brian Kent wrangling the night. These gents are going to have no problem keeping the boys bouncing all night long. Brut’s sound is mostly steady state deep house with tribal mixed and a little circuit-y here and there but mostly a deep carnal groove that isn’t too fast or slow but just right for having a hot guy in your arms (music below).

Top three Brut moments from past parties:

  1. A couple years ago at Folsom Brüt, Dan slowed down the beat and mixed in Nine Inch Nails’s “Closer” and you had hundreds of rutting leather-clad men chanting “I want to fuck you like an animal!” and then as the song ended, Dan kept repeating the Downward Spiral descending motif from the classic album as he brought the beat back up.
  2. Hearing them drop in the remix of DMX’s “It’s All Right” featuring the elegant subtle couplet, “It’s all good! It’s alright! Fuck all day! Fuck all night!”
  3. This past March’s Brüt party, it was later into the night when things start to feel a little otherworldly, and Dan was on the decks (with his usual devilish grin), and he’d just suspended a really hard bass line, and as you caught your breath from dancing so hard, then he faded in an isolated vocal of Debbie Gibson cooing, “No… only in my dreams… as real as it may seem… you are only in my dreams…” Transcendent. 

Resident Brut DJ Dan Darlington on MixcloudSoundCloudFacebook, and the Brüt site and Brüt’s own SoundCloud. My favorite Brüt mix of all time is this Folsom mix from a couple years ago. It absolutely purrs.

Resident Brut DJ Peter Napoli on SoundCloud and Facebook. 

DJ Manny Ward on SoundCloud and Facebook.

Brut featured in:

Photo galleries from past Brut events.

Full details on the Brüt event page on Facebook and on the Brut party website. Portion of proceeds go to San Francisco’s Positive Resource Center.

Prime at Club Six, presented by TrophyDad with DJs Neon and Serge P

It’s like the House of Prime, but with Meat. Man meat.

Friday also marks the return of  TrophyDad’s Prime party to to seedy sleaze-haus Club Six with their party dedicated to “men in their prime and their admirers.” Hot gogo daddies (all over 50) ply their trade (ahem) and keep you entertained while a broad group of dads, boys, otters, wolves, bears, and the rest of the zoo come together to celebrate and dance and enjoy. Upstairs, Prime’s resident DJ Neon spins his trademark blend of celebratory vocals and lots of classics – all with a bit more bawlz behind it. Meanwhile downstairs is the Daddy Pit, recreating the aggressive overt vibe of the leather bars of days gone by with low ceilings, lower inhibitions, and a play space – plus Berlin’s Serge P bringing that dark, sexy sound he’s pioneered at clubs across Europe. Visuals, lasers, and videos from the always dazzling William Brown.

Prime party started a few years ago with our friend Ed throwing himself a big 50th birthday party and then it kinda became a thing. I think as the generation of men that survived the 80s and 90s is hitting their 50s and 60s their redefining what it is to be a gay man after 50: active, vital, confident, horny, and fun.

Love, love, love the security at Club Six. The head Filipina mama always seems to hug Ron more than frisk him. They are super-friendly and always happy to see the gays, and even the straight guys always appreciate a hot ass. It’s staff like that that puts patrons at ease.

Both Club Six and Club OMG (below) are on that strange hellhole block of 6th Street between Market and Mission. You should be fine walking in a group but if you’re solo, I’d grab a car or find some other guys in leather and chat them up and walk with them. There’s a reason the convenience store cashiers there are behind plexiglass. Keep your phone in your pocket, headphones off, and your wits about you – that goes for the whole weekend.

And as you daddy-hunt, remember our advice from daddy connoisseur (papa sommelier?) Baby Jake: “You better check for that AARP card first.”

DJ Neon on MixcloudSoundCloud, and Facebook. 

DJ Serge P on MixcloudSoundCloud, and Facebook. 

Read more about the genesis of the Prime party in Race Bannon’s article in The Bay Area Reporter“Celebrating Grey — the Older Kinkster”

Full details on the Folsom Prime event page on Facebook and you can also follow TrophyDad’s Facebook page and see lots of photo galleries on the TrophyDad’s Facebook page.

Harder at F8, produced by Ricardo Tavares

Friday is also when inked Brazilian muscle stud/cutie-pie producer Ricardo Tavares brings his horny NYC party Harder to San Francisco for a Folsom encounter. We’ve gone to other Harder parties in SF and the guys are always hot, friendly, and agreeable and the music is mostly dark and sexy house-ish, not too manic and not circuit.

Not a lot of details yet or DJ announced, but here’s the Facebook event page and you can follow Harder on Facebook for updates.

Taboo at Oasis

No DJs or theme announced yet for this event. But I confirmed with one of the production team that they are indeed having a Taboo party at Folsom Friday at Oasis.

Taboo is a monthly event with a different fetish or theme each time (last year’s Folsom party was puppy play). Oasis is a fantastic gay-owned venue founded by drag queens with a big front bar, rooftop area, and a legit stage and cabaret theatre space that doubles as a dance floor. You can barely tell it used to be an 8,000 sq ft gay bathhouse in a past life (the step down into the main conrete floor is the old pool space).

Follow Taboo on Facebook and on their Instagram page (didn’t see a main site).

Saturday, September 28th

And by Saturday, we mean Satur-after-noon since you were out late. I hope.

Geared Up Party at Mr. S Leather

Now celebrating 40 years of leather, kink, and style, Mr. S Leather is a San Francisco mainstay and globally recognized leather and fetish brand. Every year on Folsom Saturday they have an in-store party with DJs spinning, and “dirty dancers and the trashiest bartenders in San Francisco” pouring drinks, bootblacks shining, cigar enthusiasts are out on the sidewalk smoking, and guys cruising from every corner – while hundreds of hot guys are shopping and trying on their full range of harnesses, clothing, gear, and toys.

If you are going to buy some new leather finery during your trip, get over there when you first get to San Francisco. They can do alterations onsite to ensure a perfect fit and often while you wait. Their leatherworkers will be going overtime for the weekend so that might be more difficult as the weekend kicks in. Harnesses, hats, ballcaps, boots, uniforms, vests, blindfolds, ropes, lubes, jockstraps, singlets, socks, toys… they’ve got it all. And slings for rent.

Mr. S staff are helpful and friendly and want to make sure you look your best – even if you’re new to the whole leather thing. I remember finding the place super intimidating when were first went since we didn’t know much about leather culture and they helped us pick out our first harnesses. Now we live just a 10 minute walk away and go at least once a month. I went from having panic attacks when I first went in there to being a model for the new harness they debuted a couple years ago.

Mr. S also has their famed brown bottle “cleaning solution” which you have to pay cash to get. There’s an ATM onsite or the one catty-corner at the gas station. Probably can’t take it home if you’re from outside the US.

No event page on Facebook for this page just yet but you can follow their Facebook page to stay up to date.

Big Muscle Party at DNA Lounge, benefiting Positive Resource Center

DJs have not been announced yet for this event.

I always like taking friends to this event because if you don’t know it’s happening on a Saturday afternoon, you don’t know what you’ve been missing. Several hundred muscle guys of all sizes and stripes, and their admirers pack into DNA Lounge (founded with Netscape money and like every other big venue always at risk of closing) to have cocktails and dance and make Mary. It’s got a fantastic vibe whether you’re in the mood to dance on the main floor, chill in the back lounges, hang out and chit-chat in the side bars, or people-watch from the wraparound balcony.

Ron and I contend that this party usually the hottest crowd of Folsom weekend. And some of the guys are yooooge! Like water buffalo galloping through amber waves of grain on the dance floor.

DJs for the Folsom edition aren’t out yet but the music is tea dance-y, but not wussy. The vibe is relaxed and fun and not everybody is a total mess just yet.

It’ll be bright outside and dark as night indoors so it’ll take you a bit to see once you’re in the club. Reminder: DNA Lounge is a huge venue! It took me a couple years to realize, “Ohh shit there’s that back bar there… and oh damn is that another bar further on back… ” So after you’ve enjoyed the main floor, go upstairs to the balcony, the side bar on the left with the windows to the street, the bar behind that, the bar behind that, the bar that swings around behind back into the balcony to the lounge with seating and back around to the other side of the club. One of my favorite moments from last year is the DJ in the upper bar teasing the growling bass line for “The Humpty Dance” for about 10 minutes and you kept thinking, “Am I hearing that?” and then finally launching into the 1989 classic, then back into house.

There’s also the photo booth in the balcony (house-left) where you can get photos of your hot ass and hot-ass friends for posterity. It closes earlier than the event ends, so be sure to get up there sooner than later.

If you get overheated, there are A/C vents to chill you down right in front of the street-side balcony bar.

And don’t forget to grab pizza next door at DNA Pizza (menu) during the party or on your way out. You know these gals like to eat. You can go between the pizzeria and the club and even go outside for a smoke or a vape.

Tip: Lines for the Folsom edition last year were unexpectedly long and we were in the “need to buy tickets” line which was moving pretty slowly. Security tipped us off that you could still buy a ticket online. So we bought tickets on our phones at dnalounge.com and then jumped over to the ticketholder line which was moving much faster. Or just buy your ticket now and save a few dollars. Usually $15-$20 at the door but advance tickets available on the DNA lounge site.

No event page yet but tickets for sale on the DNA Lounge site (ignore the VIP packages, that’s for straight prime time events, and when has a gay man ever ordered bottle service?).

Photo gallery to show you who-all’s there and what to wear in Out magazine: “109 Photos From BigMuscle Party at Folsom Street Fair”

No Magnitude This Year

Folsom Street Events decided not to produce their famed Saturday night party year for the first time in 20 years: Magnitude is not happening this year. Here’s the organization’s explanation in The Fight magazine: “Keeping It Fresh: What’s New And Different At Folsom Street Events:”

“We will not be producing Magnitude this year. The big reason is cost. Magnitude has always had high production costs, primarily due to its sheer size (approximately 2,500 attendees). There are no existing night clubs in SF that have that capacity, so we have been working with large scale venues that, in most cases, require a complete build (sound, lighting, stages), and come with an exorbitantly high rental fee – we’re talking $50K to $75K to rent the space. However, many of those venues have either closed, or are unwilling to host the event due to its sexual nature. In the past, we’ve been fortunate enough to have a space at Magnitude for “getting frisky.” That changed in 2017, EVERY venue we approached was not on board with it, so that aspect of the party had to go away. … Also to note in 2017, we thought we had found Magnitude’s “forever home” at the San Francisco Armory. However, the building sold and the new owners had no interest in hosting the event. Magnitude as a party is over 20 years old, and lost money for the first time, affecting the entire organization. We had to reduce our charitable giving amounts and we had to make substantial cuts to our 2019 administration and production budgets. We literally do not have the funds to produce Magnitude this year. We want to keep it fresh, and with the overwhelming need to find the right venue within our budget to keep the party to our standards, we thought it best to take at least a year off.”

We were all so excited when the Armory’s cavernous hall (a boxing ring in the 1920s) became an event venue for a brief few years. Several huge fantastic parties were there. But the owners that came in after Kink Studios left aren’t interested in it. It’s a fucking shame, really.

Full Fetish at Space 550 Barneveld, produced by Folsom Street Events and Recon, with DJs Cyril G and Brian Novy

Hey Damian Dragon. Sup? <3

In lieu of Magnitude, the Folsom organization is partnering with the perverts at Recon for the Full Fetish party.

Hookup site/app Recon brings their Full Fetish party to Folsom Saturday with a “sleazy, Euro-style” underground party, so wear your kinkiest gear whether it’s “leather, rubber, sports gear, spandex, military, punks, jockstraps, boots, jocks, harnesses, uniforms and more…” Music in the main room by the infamous Cyril G. (Paris) and DJ Brian Novy spinning house, electro, tribal and everything in between keep you bumping and grinding through the night.

DJ Cyril G on Mixcloud and Facebook.

Brian Novy on Mixcloud, SoundCloud and Facebook.

Full details on the EventBrite page for the event.

Can’t find any photo galleries from past events here in SF, but here’s photo galleries of other Recon Full Fetish parties in other cities.

Masteurdome at August Hall, produced by Brian Kent Productions and Audrey Joseph, with DJs Chus + Ceballos and Ralphi Rosario

If you hang around San Francisco people long enough eventually someone will wax nostalgic for the days of Club Universe and Pleasuredome (1992 to 2002) when massive parties happened every weekend with amazing DJs, trend-setting performances, and outlandish themes – all under the curation of legendary producer Audrey Joseph. Venues close, times change, but she has never stopped creating fantastic memorable evenings.

The last time Joseph and consummate showman and producer Brian Kent got together we ended up with the legendary Jungle party at The Armory where you walked through an indoor jungle to get to the dance floor, stopping at a real wildlife petting zoo along the way, ending up in a cavnernous space ready to dance the night away. Their “Pride at the Armory” event set the standard for what we all hoped was going to be a long string of massive events at The Armory. No matter the venue, Brian always pushes our local scene to be more startling, more innovative, expanding the local palette of party and music. This year they’ve brought DJs Chus + Ceballos and Ralphi Rosario to the city for Folsom Saturday to create what will be a thunderous, unforgettable party.

Iberican producers and best friends Chus + Ceballos (s“choo’s and s’bye-yo’s”) have a sound that blends house and techno in perfect harmony, accentuated with heavy percussion. We’ve heard them at Halcyon a year or so ago and before that back when they did Magnitude with the wild horizontal white shafts of light piercing through the crowd like searing heat lamps. Chus + Ceballos are known for marathon all-night until dawn sets and with deep dark beats. Steady deep house with longer more abstract phrasing and haunting vocals. Be sure to take a listen (links below).

They are joined by superstar DJ Ralphi Rosario who has worked with everyone from Beyoncé to Donna Summer and has spun leather events the world over. Every time we’ve heard Ralphi he’s been fantastic. They’re both amazing acts, I can’t even guess who would be opening for whom.

Chus + Ceballos on Mixcloud, SoundCloud, Facebook, and Instagram.

Ralphi Rosario on MixcloudSoundCloudFacebook, and Instagram.

Plus, it’s Ceballos’s birthday!

Full details on the Facebook page for the event.

Bearracuda at Public Works, produced by Matt Bearracuda with DJ Mateo Segade and Horse Meat Disco

And if Saturday night you’re feeling into the big boys and/or a big boy yourself, the Bearracuda crew is back with their trademark winning formula of big boys and fat beats. These aren’t those Insta-twinks that say omg sis, I’m so thicc or the muscle queens that are all saying Folsom is gonna get whatever body I give it! while being coy about their cum gutters. No bitch, these are the original thick boys. Thick with a capital K. Booty with a capital T. The kinda heft you want to feel on top of you (or underneath).

Matt Bearracuda and the boys are pleased as punch to host the San Francisco debut of London’s notorious Horse Meat Disco on the main floor of Public Works for the entire seven-hour evening. HMD is billed as “a disco behemoth of classics, italo disco, oddities, [and] punk funk.” In the upstairs lounge is local mixmeister DJ Mateo Segade.

We’ve gone to many Bearracuda events over the years (I think four New Year’s Eves in a row now!) and it’s always a great, friendly mix of guys and a positive vibe. And I’ve heard fantastic reviews from friends that have gone to Horse Meat Disco parties all over the world. Overwhelmingly they say if disco is your thing, then this is your party.

Background on the Bearracuda parties and their creator Matt in this profile in Homoculture.

Horse Meat Disco on Mixcloud, SoundCloud, Instagram, and Facebook. No word yet on which two of the four HMD DJs is joining us.

DJ Mateo Segade on Mixcloud, SoundCloud, Instagram, and Facebook.

Details on the Bearracuda website, the Facebook page for the eventtheir Instagram, and here’s a photo gallery from a couple years ago.

Pervert at Mezzanine, produced by Cecil Russel, Matinee, and XOXO Productions, with DJs Dan Slater, Nina Flowers, and Isaac Escalante

Local producers Cecil Russel and Mansingh (XOXO) have joined forces with European production group Matinee to bring their Pervert party to San Francisco for the first time on Folsom Saturday night. Direct from Circuit Festival in Barcelona, Pervert features three master DJs with Dan Slater, Nina Flowers, and Isaac Escalante. We’ve heard Dan Slater several times and he’s always fantastic and I know we’ve enjoyed Isaac Escalante before, but if you’ve never heard Nina Flowers you might need to make some time.

If you don’t know her music, you might know Nina from her stints on Ru Paul’s Drag Race, Drag U, and Drag Race: All Star. Nina Flowers descends upon a party like a vengeful alien queen ready to tear the fucking walls down with the dirtiest hardest beats you’ve ever heard. Nina tears tracks apart and lashes them together so deftly, you can’t help but yell out, “Oh fuck yes!” with each new step into madness. You won’t be able to sit still. Nina is also a master showman and fun to watch as she spins the crowd into a frenzy. So if you like vocals and lighter fare and disco this is probably not the music for you.

Pervert is at Mezzanine, one of our favorite clubs with it’s huge main dance area and cozy expansive lounge overlooking the dance floor (the city’s largest woman-owned venue closing at the end of the year or maybe not).

Dan Slater on SoundCloud, Facebook, and Instagram.

Isaac Escalante on Mixcloud, SoundCloud, Facebook, and Instgram.

Nina Flowers on Mixcloud, SoundCloud, Facebook, and Instgram.

More details on the Facebook page for the event or on the Gloss Presents or XOXO Presents sites.

New Breed at Club Six, produced by PoundPuppy SF and Polyglamorous

This is the one of the more overtly sex party-ish events I’m seeing promoted for the weekend. Upstairs, the Polyglamorous crew is running their usual dance party while downstairs, the gang from Pound Puppy is getting a bit more carnal. I don’t know much about these events at all but it literally has the word “breed” in the title, so there you go.

Details and DJs forthcoming on the Facebook page for the event and follow Pound Puppy SF and Polyglamorous to stay up to date.

NSA Underwear Party at Club OMG, produced by NSA at OMG

The NSA honchos are back on with a Folsom double feature with their underwear party on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons at club OMG. Promotions always promise hot bartenders, bangin’ beats, horny men, and a sexy playful vibe. I mean it has “dim lights” in big text and the word “NSA” so…

No event pages yet for the parties but I confirmed with the producers they are indeed having the event on Saturday and Sunday. You can follow the NSA at OMG folks on Facebook for more updates. Free if you have a student ID.

As I said above, OMG and Club Six are kinda in that strange hellhole block of 6th Street between Market and Mission. Keep your wits about you.

Overnight at Catalyst, produced by San Francsico Bay Area Leather Alliance

This event has not yet been confirmed.

As kink tries to stay fortified in San Francisco, the Catalyst space provides one of the few dedicated play spaces in the city (and like everything always seems to be in danger of closing). And as the Saturday night dance parties continue on, Catalyst opens at 1am ready and waiting for nocturnal activities until 10:30am (and it’s a block away from the fair). And with showers available for guests, you can smell so fresh and so clean-clean as you head to the fair (bring your own towels, pillows, or blankets). The space is open to all open-minded persons 18+ who are respectful of other guests and the space. SF Catalyst is a community-run space for the leather, fetish, BDSM, and motorcycle communities. The 3,000 square foot space is equipped with “crosses, benches, beds, slings, a suspension frame, hoists, and more BDSM equipment.” Donations go to support Catalyst space, a project of the non-profit SF Bay Area Leather Alliance.

This page on their site will probably be where updates happen first or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

House of Black Leather, produced by Honey Soundsystem

Event confirmed but no DJs or venue announced yet.

A lot of people absolutely love Honey Soundsystem and the events that they produce throughout the year. Their music never really grabs me so I’m not a good judge. I find their stuff too light and disco-y. But this event will be packed like all of their events and draw a broad crowd of SF queerdom and I’d venture this is pretty straight-friendly event as well.

This year’s event is from 3pm to 3am. Also note from the event page on Facebook: “Zero tolerance for GHB. Security will be checking for it.”

Full details on the Facebook page for the event and the Honey Soundsystem site.

ONYX vs FLSM at Powerhouse, produced by Onyx

This event, venue, and DJs have not yet been confirmed.

And Saturday night at Powerhouse is Onyx’s Folsom party for leather men of color and their admirers. Waiting for confirmation that this event is happening (though it seems there’s no reason why it wouldn’t, the Dore one did).

ShangriLa at End Up, produced by ShangriLaSF

While the city’s baseline cowhide quotient is off the charts, there’s a few local non-leather events still going on. One is ShangriLa at The End Up (one of the few 24 hour clubs in the city, opened since 1973). The core audience is the city’s huge Asian-American population and those that desire them. Their September party is the launch of the new Asian Men Calendar for 2020 and a fashion show for underwear label 2EROS. But if you’re into smooth brown muscle and leather, I’d still probably go to the main Folsom parties and find guys pre-qualified for some action.

No DJ announced yet. Full details on the Facebook page for the event.

Sunday, September 29th

Well, good morning, precious! How’re ya feeling? Doesn’t matter. We’re not done yet. Momma didn’t raise no quitter!

A few years ago, we got home from Magnitude around 3am and decided we’d just take a brief nap and then go to Aftershock which starts at 4am. Instead, I woke up at 8:30am next to Ron and thought, “Oh shit. Do I tell him?”

So rinse off the shame or get ready to apply whole new sheen – but if you’re gonna sit down – set the alarm!

Aftershock at City Nights, produced by Frisco Disco, with DJ Abel

This is the Saturday night/Sunday morning afterhours before the fair. Aftershock is before the fair. Starting on Sunday. Before the fair. 

It’s hard to say why Aftershock is one of our favorite events of the year. Now in it’s 24th year, it’s got that perfect dark, horny, forbidden, unforgiven ambiance. None of this happy diva vocals and “Isn’t life great!” bullshit. I want to be damned for my sins, dragged to hell, and stay there (did I mention I was raised Catholic?). With Aftershock, it feels like the guys that were focused on hooking up for the night are back at the hotel rooms or clubs or private parties and the crowd that comes to Aftershock is there to dance.  (I mean there’ll be some dance floor fraternizing of course).

And DJ Abel is the fucking king. We’ve heard him in several cities and on Atlantis cruises and whether it is prime time circuit, tea dance, or afterhours, he’s just simply a master at what he does. I know it’s stereotypical to talk about a DJ taking you on a journey but he absolutely executes that every single time. Aftershock starts promptly at 4am. Everyone is pretty much wearing just jockstraps, harnesses, and boots.

The line for Aftershock starts well before 3am. Last year, the line was hundreds of guys down the street, into the parking lot, almost to the overpass. Hopefully you’ll find a way to pass the time. Maybe there’s a cute Argentinian guy who has already taken his pill and is standing in line high as fuck and wants to grope and kiss, calling you “guapo” and asking, “When are we getting together, papi?” as your husband watches, laughs, and shakes his head from the sidelines.

DJ Abel presides over Aftershock, in full swing at City Nights

Aftershock achieves that strange surreal feeling that while you’re dancing in a crowd of hundreds of hot horny, sweaty men, you aren’t entirely sure the world outside the club exists anymore. 

The venue-run coat/clothes check at City Nights is always a disaster no matter who is producing. Producers keep trying different tactics to try and alleviate it, to little avail. (I’ve got some coat check tips below in the FAQs.)

I guess I said we never wait in lines for things in San Francisco. Aftershock is actually worth waiting in line for.

DJ Abel on MixcloudSoundCloud, and Facebook. I’ve never listened to an Abel mix online that comes close to approximating how he is live and he seems to have a a specific style he reserves just for Aftershock.

Event details on Facebook and tickets available on Eventbrite. 

Again, Aftershock is before the fair on Sunday.

Last year, we stumbled out of the club into the sunrise walked back to our place holding hands, turned down Folsom street where coming down Folsom which had already been blocked off for the fair, and vendors and volunteers already setting up booths and stages for the street fair that would start in just a few hours. As we walked up 10th St towards our building, a guy in a jockstrap from a second-story apartment window yelled, “Go to bed, queens!” So we did.

Folsom Street Fair, produced by Folsom Street Events

Ah the fair. It’s huge. You won’t realize it’s so many people until you are there. It’s crazy.

Folsom Street Fair is on Folsom Street between 8th and 13th Streets. It’s a recommended $10 donation to get in. Enter on the side streets especially Harrison, for quicker entry and to get into the crowd faster. It’s over 400,000 people packed into 13 city blocks for 7 hours. It’s insane.

There are several stages with some of the city’s best DJs plus a constant cavalcade of indie music rock acts. Hundreds of booths of fetish and leather vendors. You’ll see just about anything there.

A domme mistress with her attendant and ponies pulling her through the crowd.

What do you actually do there? Get tied to an electrical pole and get flogged, buy some leather stuff, watch fetish demonstrations, have a chicken skewer, dance your ass off, get drunk/stoned/high/fucked/fucked up, or whatever you’ve got a whim for. One year we saw a group berating a naked man with whip marks on his back, re-enacting Cersei’s walk of shame from Game of Thrones.

You will see people dressed in their favorite fetish attire whether is is leather or biker or athletic or rubber or corsets or neoprene or even Edwardian formal wear right out of A Room With a View. Some of these kinksters wait all year for events like this to strut their stuff and fly their freak flag. If you don’t like it or roll your eyes and can’t delight in seeing perverts celebrate their perversions, don’t be a twat about it. Not every thing is for every body.

There are two main strategies to enjoying the fair:

  1. Walk the length of the main drag. Though any place there’s a demo going on the crowd is going to be dense and slow or down where the pornstars play naked Twister.
  2. Stay in one place, and eventually everyone will pass you.

White people/Wypipo: BRING SUNBLOCK. The sun is pretty much high noon and direct with little shade and most of the surrounding buildings are one story. But there’s usually super hot sexy tattooed EMTs with sunblock at the first aid tents. 

People of Color: Please continue to get super-dark and sexy. But don’t burn. We thank you.

We’ve passed a local ordinance that single-serve water bottles can’t be sold or provided on public property at a permitted event. Foldable bottles are available for a dollar or reuse a juice bottle or bring your own canteen to refilll at any of the Water Towers throughout the fair.

Event details on the Facebook page for the fair and just about anything else you’d like to know at folsomstreetevents.org. 

We’ve been to the fair numerous times so I’m hoping we’re sleeping in so we can enjoy our absolute favorite event of the entire year:

Real Bad at 1015 Folsom, produced by Grass Roots Gay Rights with DJs Ale Maes and Fawks

This year’s poster for Real Bad 31.

Sunday night on Folsom weekend is our favorite event of the year. If I could go to only one dance party a year it would be Real Bad, now in its 31st year.

Thousands of the friendliest, hottest men you’ve ever met (and some women) pack into local dance mega-temple 1015 Folsom for a night of dancing and revelry. The event is produced by local non-profit Grass Roots Gay Rights and all the money from the general admission tickets goes directly to local and national beneficiaries.

Real Bad is special to us because it is the centerpiece for an entire year of gay dance events in the city. From the initial margarita party kickoff where they announce the DJs and unveil the poster to their Up Your Alley afterhours, Ritual, and then the check presentation party where we all cry as they give the funds to the beneficiaries, it’s an entire narrative across the year for the community that we call friends. 

You can’t really separate the event from the venue it is in: 1015 Folsom (the address and venue name are the same). A nondescript front door gives way to a warmly lit lobby with a stairs and a ramp on either side spilling into to the main dance floor with three-story ceilings and a wrap around balcony. The balcony includes the lust-laden Red Room and then on the opposite (street-side) the upstairs lounge with seating and refreshments that comprise the VIP area for the first half of the evening (it opens up to everyone later on, so be sure to get up there). The first year we went to Real Bad, we spent most of our time on the ground floor and in the balcony and then we finally went downstairs to discover The Underground – the glowing low-ceilinged basement of the venue – where it’s a whole ‘nother party with a second DJ playing more downtempo steady-state house sound, much cooler down there as well. Our friend Joey spent most of his first Real Bad in just the lobby – thinking the event was just the front lobby (I’ll have what she’s having). So be sure to explore .

This year’s Real Bad DJ is Chicago’s Ale Maes on the main floor and then in the Underground you’ll find local favorite pup and DJ Fawks. The DJ selection process is pretty rigorous (the rules) with a focus on giving fresh talent a showcase in the Bay Area. Many times you’ll get to see a DJ right before they start to blow up big.

The music on the main floor usually starts laidback and kinda disco-y as everyone makes their way from the fair to the venue then gradually gets a bit heavier and leans more into prime time circuit for much of the night and then a little more abstract and dreamy as the night carries on. But always a nice weight to it.

We spend most of our evening on the outer third of the crowd. Dancing in the dense crowd under the disco ball in the center of the main floor can be exhilarating or exhausting depending on how you’re feeling at that moment. I was doing great last year until three taller guys (all friends whom I adore) all wanted to dance and cuddle me. Finally I had to disengage, saying, “Love the enthusiasm, gentlemen, but the claustrophia test is completed.” Like with all things Folsom, you can dial the density and intensity up or down without having to leave the venue that you’re in. Take a break in the upstairs lounge, snuggle up with a guy in the basement, catch a breath outside in the cordoned-off smoking area, or have a stunning tattooed Iraqi muscle stud help you unwrap a Starburst in the lobby (that’s not even a euphemism, it was a literally a Starburst).

I can’t say enough about Real Bad. It’s a singular experience distilling everything amazing about the city of San Francisco into one event. I know that sounds trite. Every year I walk down that ramp from the lobby to the main floor and think, “Goddamn this is a whole other level of party.”

Let’s carb these queens up for another five hours of dancing!

And when you hear “Let’s Have a Kiki” come on, look for Ron and I among the platoon of men and women in aprons (which Ron designed!) and hats (and little else) barreling through the thick crowd handing out popsicles to the over-heated crowd. Sometimes it’s hard to convince a queen to eat a calorie (bruh it is hour five, have a goddamn treat). And be sure you’re in the main room for when they drop the leather flag. The whole night has several peak moments. 

Real Bad tickets are a complete bitch to get. Most tickets are only available through a host system of a couple hundred hosts who are each given a handful of host codes to share with friends and their network (each host can also buy 1 or 2 VIP tickets which they can resell if they like). That approach helps preserve the vibe that nearly the entire crowd is there because of someone they know in the organization’s “Circle of Friends.” They’ve cut the number of tickets given out by quite a lot over the years, to provide “the best experience for our guests by giving them a hospitable, safe, and comfortable space at all of our events” which I think means they or the venue thinks the party is getting too overcrowded.

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If you can’t get tickets through hosts there are two other options available that you should know about. I’ve never seen someone that really wanted to go to Real Bad and asked around and did some legwork and didn’t get in. 

Short documentary about Real Bad, Activism with a Beat. 

Article about Real Bad in The Daily Californian. 

DJ Ale Maes on Mixcloud, SoundCloud, Facebook, and Instagram.

DJ Fawks on SoundCloud, Facebook, and Instagram.

The Real Bad event page on Facebook and the ticket swap group for those looking for tickets and their website RealBad.org.

If I couldn’t get into Real Bad, I’d probably sleep in or hang out or hookup or whatevz until the Nocturnal afterhours started (below).

There’s also the official closing party:

Deviants Adult Arcade at Mezzanine, produced by Folsom Street Events with DJs Whitney Fierce, Lina, and Chris Cruse hosted by Mario Diaz

Deviants is the official closing party of Folsom Street Fair, now in its tenth year. This year they’re keeping the Folsom fair vibe going all night with DJs Whitney Fierce, Lina, and Chris Cruse. The party is at Mezzanine, so just a short walk from the fair. The night’s proceedings are hosted by the original King of Sleaze Mario Diaz (of the BFD, Full Frontal Disco, and Dirty Sanchez parties).

I’ve never gone to this one since most of our group goes to Real Bad, but looking at the photos of past Deviants parties it gets packed with a broad range of guys. LA producer Mario Diaz joins forces with Folsom Street Events at Mezzanine (Pervert was there thenight before) which is a great space we always enjoy. DJs are a good mix of house without too much circuit in there – a little disco I suppose?

Whitney Fierce on Mixcloud, SoundCloud, Facebook, and Instagram.

DJ Lina on Mixcloud, SoundCloud, Facebook, Instagram, and her site.

Chris Cruse on SoundCloud, Facebook, and Instagram.

Mario Diaz featured on Gay Life LA: Mario Diaz: King of LA’s Gay Nightlife

Photo gallery of last year’s Deviants party in The Advocate and  some photos of Deviants from the Folsom Street Events Facebook page. 

More details on Facebook and on the Folsom Street Events site.

Release at Catalyst, produced by San Francisco Bay Area Alliance

This event has not yet been confirmed.

And I assume after they’ve aired the place out after Overnight (above), the Catalyst play space opens back up with Release, an open play party inviting you to “bring your partners or meet new ones and get kinky.” As mentioned above, Catalyst is complimented with a full dungeon of BDSM essentials including St. Andrew’s crosses, slings, spanking benches, suspension points, and more.

This page on their site will probably be where updates happen first or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, September 30th

Nocturnal Extreme Afterhours at Halcyon, produced by Ky Martinez with DJ Paulo

This is the Sunday night/Monday morning afterhours after the closing parties. Monday morning.

We’ve known Ky and his husband Juan for many years (they sat at the circuit queen table at our wedding reception) and it’s been wonderful watching them go from producing their monthly House Party event at Powerhouse (every second-Saturday) to building their reputation with larger more sophisticated events like Heaven and Imagina (next one is Labor Day weekend). Their events always draw a fantastic crowd that is a diverse, broad slice of the city’s denizens (leather, muscle, queens, queers, jocks, fairies, and all the rest).

I can’t think of a better way to close out the weekend, the night, and the morning than with Ky’s Nocturnal party under the direction of the original “tribal bitch” DJ Paulo. And at this time of the morning you need a good hard pounding like only Paulo can deliver.

Last year we came home from Real Bad, rinsed off, re-geared and walked over to Halcyon nightclub and thought well shit it’s early and it’s day four so this’ll be cute, I guess. We got in there as Paulo played that clip, “The party… just go started… and the dance floor is full.. this type of groove… makes me wanna move… can you feel it?” and then kicked in the bassline and the place exploded and the crowd went nuts. Guys kept streaming in from all the other events all morning. Again, we kinda like an afterhours because the guys that are there are there to dance.

Expect this event to be packed as the prime time events end and everyone else wakes up. I will say VIP tickets are worth it for Halcyon because there’s a nice lounge that sits behind the DJ and on the sides of the club opposite the bar so you’ll be able to escape the crowd but still enjoy the music. And with lighting and visuals designed by William Brown the production production design will be stellar. 

DJ Paulo on MixcloudSoundCloud, and Facebook. 

Full details on the Facebook page for the event.

And then on Monday afternoon everybody hits the bars and switches to alcohol and calls it “recovery.”

Folsom Recovery at Lookout, with DJ Phil B

No one wants to admit a good thing has to end, so a couple of the bars will be packed on Monday. Lookout and Eagle seem like the most popular ones. Lookout especially. Local favorite DJ Phil B (waiting for him to confirm) is on hand at Lookout to keep the party going as you stave off out your terrible life choices this weekend. Phil intimated that it’s one of his favorite parties he gets to spin. Last year used hashtags #hotcock and #puredurt, so draw your own conclusions.

DJ Phil B on MixcloudSoundCloud, and Facebook. One of my favorite of Phil’s mixes is Bay of Pigs party in 2015 (he teased “I Feel Love” for a full 8 minutes without ever giving us the actual vocal, it was sublime). His mix for Recovery will be much more classic circuit with lots of pop.

No official event page yet but usually the Recovery events start at 1pm and go until 9pm. 

So if you’re still in town, slather on the eye cream, and head over to Lookout. That lockable bathroom can get you in trouble.

Speaking of which – there’s also all the bars.

And along with all these hideous skirt conventions at specific clubs and venues, every bar will be packed to the gills with hot fuckers. Ain’t no shame in doing it the old fashioned way and gearing up and going to the bars to score some hot trade. And some guys just aren’t that into dancing.

Recommended bars in the Castro: 440 and Edge have a fair amount of the leather/bear contingent. The Mix and Midnight Sun are more mainstream-y feeling. Hi-Tops is more jock/clean-cut. Beaux I always feel super old (Cafe also skews younger). We don’t talk about Badlands. 

Recommended bars in SOMA: Powerhouse and The Eagle of course. Lots of guys we know also enjoy El Rio, Lone Star Saloon, Oasis, and The Stud. 

Or just stay home and wait for the hot horny eager men to spill out of the clubs and bars and start popping up on Scruff or Grindr or Recon ready for intense cuddling (it’s like a special hug two men do when they like each other very much).

You’re Looking Foyne As Fuck

You probably look amazing this weekend. You should preserve the moment. Our friend, photographer Trevor Ott will be again doing his impromptu photo shoots with the street fair as the backdrop. We did a shoot with him at Dore a few years ago (above) and in Chicago at IML with our boy Sunny (photo below) and had a great time. Contact him on Facebook if you’re interested and peruse his work on Instagram.

Folsom on a Budget

Travel, tickets, transportation, refreshments, enhancements… this kind of weekend ain’t cheap (and that’s not even counting the leather gear). But, if you’re trying to keep spending to a minimum:

Echo the old-school Castro clone look of our forefathers with tight jeans, a t-shirt, and boots.

If you feel you have to have some sort of leather on ya, grab an armband from Mr. S or one of the other stores.

The Mr. S Party is free since it’s in the store. You can mill about and cruise guys and try stuff on.

Saturday afternoon’s Big Muscle party is the most affordable of the larger dance parties with $20 advance tickets – plus it benefits charity. You can take Muni to Van Ness, walk a few blocks and you’re there. For all the other dance parties above, check out early tier pricing now. Most of the producers we know are sensitive to pricing – especially for younger patrons – and keep their first tier of tickets at a non-insane price. The NSA underwear parties at OMG are also very affordable and free with a student ID.

Hang out at the bars in Castro and SOMA (historically known as “the Valley of the Dolls” and “the Valley of the Kings,” respectively). As I said above, they’ll be packed with lots of other guys that are more into the cocktails and cruising dynamic. Most bars will have a modest cover charge on Folsom weekend.

Most of the bars are walkable via transit. If it’s super late you don’t want to be walking around too much. Like I said before, keep your phone in your pocket, headphones off, and your wits about you. It’s San Francisco, but it’s still a big city with crazy people.

If you really have barely any money at all, you must use it to go to the fair. If ten bucks is all you have, give it to the fair and charity that is the centerpiece for the weekend.

Volunteer for events. Another way to keep costs down is to volunteer for events. For the first few years we were here, Ron and I were greeters and ticket-takers at lots of parties and that was fun because you literally meet everyone on their way in and you get to put wristbands on hot guys and once your shift is over you can go dance.

Other San Francisco Parties for 2019

If you find you’ve got a yen for the way we do things in San Francisco, come see us again and join us for any of our multitude of parties remaining for the year:

Our favorite pups, the Fog City Pack, have their Omega party in November concluding their annual trilogy of sleaze that started with Alpha in the first part of the year, Beta for Up Your Alley, and finishing with Omega before Thanksgiving. To stay apprised, follow Fog City Pack on Facebook or Instagram.

The Paradigm folks produce their annual Shift party which helps raise money for AIDS LifeCycle in spring before the big ride. Plus, last fall they gave us a strange Lynchian experience with their party, X. I bet they’re gonna get impatient and do something before the end of the year, so be sure to follow Paradigm on Facebook and Instagram.

Ky Martinez’s Heaven party at Halcyon on Labor Day weekend with DJs Tom Stephan and our bestie DJ Mohammad (our favorite mix from him) will be a blast. Ky and his husband Juan also produce the monthly House Party at Powerhouse I mentioned above where every second-Saturday a couple hundred guys come out to try and stuff a deep house/circuit party into the back of a trashy gay dive bar. Follow Ky Martinez Productions to stay in touch.

Prime producer’s TrophyDad’s Dad in Training party is on August 17th with DJ Binomio and DJ Salazar and I bet TrophyDad brings us another event before the end of the year so keep in touch with TrophyDad on Facebook.

I’m assuming Dan and the men of Brüt are back in SF one more time before the end of the year so be sure to follow Brüt on Facebook or Instagram to be the first to know.

Okay let’s do a run down of other important stuff:

More questions you may have and stuff you should know:

“Do some people really wear just jockstraps at these parties? I don’t want to be the only one dressed like a whore.”

Dressing like a sex object is pretty much par for the weekend and just-jock seems to be a particularly San Francisco thing. Even at parties outside the high holidays, there’s  always a big leather and bear presence at every party so you’ll always see harnesses. Some guys will wear the classic full leather uniform out to the bars but that’s way too much clothing for a steamy dance floor. Most guys will wear a shirt and shorts over their jock and harness. You’ll want to have pockets to keep your ID, ATM card, phone, cash, mints, and such handy. Or if you have no pockets, wear long socks and stuff them in there. Some guys wear fanny packs (that’s “bum bags” for your Brits).

Peruse the photo galleries of the events for a sampling of the various options available. We’ve done couples’ matchy-matchy outfits before and planned things for the entire weekend in the past. Anymore, I’d rather wear something comfortable I can move in. Or just keep your shorts on and put your shirt in your belt loop. Otherwise you’ll lose your shirt on the floor and have to walk back to the hotel like a hooker.

“Are all these events just a bunch of white hairy guys only looking for other hairy white guys?”

Sometimes these events have a tendency to be a bunch of big hairy white guys only interested in hanging out with other big hairy white guys. And honestly unless they have field markings (tattoos) I can’t tell all these white guys apart. The race politics of the gay dance floor can be pretty shitty (no it’s not just a preference) along with the accompanying body fascism. And that sucks for our brown, black, and/or smooth, skinny, and/or non-huge brethren. The weekend’s events will have pretty broad range in body type and ethnic mix. Chances are you’re “totally my type” for someone in the crowd.

One shortcut is to find the mixed couples (easier to pre-qualify). That’s also in case there’s an emergency, we have to shepherd all the men of color out of the club quickly. Inked brown and black muscle is our nation’s most precious natural resource. Another short cut is:

Always party with the bears and the Brazilians

Numerous studies in the field around the world have confirmed that the bears and Brazilians are usually having the most fun at any dance party. And if you find Brazilian bears, it’s going to be an amazing night.

Tip: If you are looking for the bears at any club, find the big industrial fans. The big boys overheat easily so they’re usually near the fans, or they have actual fans, or are near the A/C vents. There’s literally a ‘bear corner’ at 1015 Folsom because that’s where the big fans always are.

And I dunno maybe talk to guys that aren’t your type. Think of your total type in your head and go talk to guys that are the exact opposite. It’s okay to talk to guys you’re not going to fuck. We call that being friendly.

Don’t mix G and alcohol, you stupid fuck

Don’t mix depressants and definitely never mix alcohol with GHB or it’s pre-cursors GBL and 1,4-Butanediol (“BDO”). If you mix alcohol and G, you’re basically telling your friends you’re a selfish piece of shit and you think it’s cute that others have to take care of you. We saw a guy ‘falling out’ (the more glam way to say overdosing) in a play room once being attended to by EMTs. Nothing kills the vibe like a guy who’s stopped breathing. They were trying to keep him awake. Know your milliliters.

Poppers and Viagra are both vasodialators and together can cause blood pressure to drop dangerously low. Go slow. Also coke can kill your E high.

I won’t even talk about crystal meth (“tina”). It has been tearing down the LGBT community and many small towns like the one I grew up in and we’ve seen friends destroy their lives to continue their addiction. Handle your shit, ladies. 

So definitely:

Always thank the EMTs when you see them

I usually say, “Thanks for working tonight.” They are there to make sure everyone has a great time and stays in the guard rails. If you see someone getting stumbly, ask if they’re okay. If you hug someone and they seem cold or have stopped sweating, ask if need some water or sugary soda. If you know any of the producers of these parties you know that the (mostly straight) venue owners are very harsh when our community is a hot mess. We risk losing access to these spaces for gay events. 

If you are sober and out at these events, be sure you know local AA/etc. meetings so if you need support to stay on track, you’ve got it. 

Have a great time. Take care of yourself. Take care of others.

And thank security

There’s a whole phalanx of security guards working at all the clubs all weekend and many of them are queer people that specifically want to work the events of Folsom weekend. Like our girl Donna: (if you see her say hi)

 

These men and women have an incredible sense of ownership and protection of us as we head out for the evening. One memorable moment of Dore was a lesbian security guard (different than badass Donna above) outside the club who was inspecting bags and doing pat-downs, saying to the guy in front of me and to all of us, “Okay now you guys might have some paraphernalia, I don’t want to see it. Management doesn’t want to see it. If you’re doing stuff just don’t do it on the dance floor. Ok?” And then as she patted me down, “Gotta take care of my community. I love my girls – and my boys. Have a good night!”

It’s easy to take for granted all the people putting aside their own chance at a fun weekend so they can take care of their people.

Get off your goddamn phone

A friend at Dore spent half the night at one club checking his phone for updates from this guy he wanted to hookup with. He had a street address, but no apartment number and we said there’s no fucking way you’re leaving the club to go stand on the street at this time of night for some trick. He’s literally surrounded by hundreds of beautiful horny down-to-fuck men and he’s staring at his fucking phone. It turned out okay, he fucked a guy in a bathroom stall. And they say romance is dead.

If you’re doing extended texting, step to the side of the dance floor and continue. And turn your screen brightness down. It’s obnoxious.

No really, get off your fucking phone

Just wanted to say it a second time.

Be where you are

I’m prone to getting annoyed if the music isn’t perfect or people are bumping into me and just burning the entire evening down and going home and Xanax-ing myself to sleep. Ron’ll adominsh me, “Stop obsessing! Deal with it!” If you and your partner bicker or have an argument, stop. Talk about it next week. Stop waiting for that guy that said he’d be at the place at that time that wanted to meet up or breed you or get your load or get a selfie. Stop chasing that porn star (he’s probably booked all weekend making videos for his OnlyFans page and wants you to participate for free). Remember Daddy Aaron’s only Folsom rule:

If you’re local, don’t make this the weekend you make it happen with that local guy you’ve been over-staring at the gym. Focus on the fresh, transient meat.

“I looked for you all night!” NO. Stop. Be where you are. Here and now. Don’t make this a make or break weekend for anything or anyone. It is what it is. Enjoy it.

We don’t really wear cologne here

When we were in Madrid it was kinda nice that everyone smelled so good and some put on cologne before going to club. But in SF everyone’s a little more earthy. Some guys have a nice fresh sweat on clean skin aroma. Others seriously need to rinse off their taints. I usually put some beard oil on for the night as an extra bonus to whomever gets up in my business. If you like a good man musk you’re in for a treat in this town. And you have to admit the smell of sweat and leather hanging in the air fused with testosterone is kinda hot.

“What’s with the colors and armbands?”

When finding gay sex and companionship was more difficult and dangerous, gay men developed the ‘hanky code’ where you’d wear a specific color of handkerchief to signal what you were into and what you were looking for. Left back pocket meant, top. Right side, bottom. Both sides, vers. This has been carried forth in the colors of harnesses and armbands you see out and about. Sometimes yellow is a signal and sometimes you just want to wear yellow. I had on a snazzy yellow Cellblock13 jock at a party once and a guy said, “Hey, I can piss on you if you want!” and I declined, “It’s more of a sartorial choice.” It’s a fun retro part of the culture we’ve carried through to today. Here’s a full rundown of the hanky code colors in probably one of the oldest web pages you’ll ever read these days. Also:

Getting “mistaken” for a bottom isn’t an insult.

And if you think it is, you’re probably a misogynist piece of shit. If nothing else a man getting fucked by another man is the most masculine thing in the world. It’s like a totes-masc Voltron.

Everyone secretly hates your fan clacking

In moderation and on the beat, it can be positively electrifying. But every goddamn song? C’mon, ladies. And by ladies, I mean queens. And by queens, I mean men. Don’t clack them all night with that sharp sound that feels like an icepick behind your right eye.

And let’s not start with the fucking parasols

Stop bringing parasols to parties. Several producers have mentioned that it fucks up the event photos with your big goddamn umbrella in the way, blocks the view of people around you, and it’s not that fucking clever. Glare at anyone who brings one and say, “You should really check that.” Or break it over your knee and throw it away. You are not the star of this wedding.

Buy multiple drinks at a time (and tip)

Bars will be busy and/or under staffed. If you are buying Gatorade for 3 friends, grab six. If you are buying cocktails, buy double, chug one and then sip the other. Hell, grab 8 Gatorades and hand a couple to guys as you pass on the dance floor. And pay cash if you can. Credit cards slow everyone down. Most venues have an ATM/teller but go into the venue with cash. We usually try to have $80 on us for the night. Break your twenties so you can tip. Non-Americans, the usual tip for a bartender is $1-2 per drink served.

Assume clothes check will be a disaster everywhere

Coat/clothes check will probably move at a glacial pace no matter where you go. We usually bring one of our gym bags and put everything in there (and put phones and wallets in obvious pockets so we can find them quickly for the keys-phone-wallet-ready?! check as you leave the club). That way if our stuff gets misplaced or mis-tagged we can say, “Look for the bright red Timbuktu backpack. I can see it right there!”

Another option is to dress for the walk/car to the club and the dance floor (shirt over harness, shorts over jock, boots) and enjoy the first part of the party and then once the coat check line dies down, go check your shorts and shirt so you can really get down. But if you’re desperate to get to your skivvies you can dance and flirt in the line. We have a friend that wears super lightweight shorts and a tank top and ties them around his ankle for the night. That’s a solution.

Get tested the week after (and two weeks before)

A circuit party is a Petri dish with a bass line. A lot of people have a lot of sex with a lot of people during Folsom weekend so there’s a possibility you might get a bug – even if you’re the most careful condom user ever-ever.

Go to your GP or local clinic to get tested for the full palette of STIs. Keep in mind you can have gonorrhea, syphillis, or chlamydia and not show any obvious symptoms for a while. And even if you’re a “total top” doesn’t really mean anything since infections can spread between oral, anal, and genital regions regardless of who is fucking who. Notify the other people you had sex with if you have their contact info. It’s common courtesy and comes with the territory in our high-volume-hookup sex-as-a-hobby culture.

If you’re really an ethical slut, get tested two weeks early just in case you’ve got some critters. That way if you end up having something, you’ve had enough time to complete a full course of antibiotics (usually 7-10 days). Nobody wants to spend Folsom in sex jail (sex jail sounds super hot, but no it is not). And of course, get tested for HIV. And if you test positive for HIV, go into treatment immediately. It is much easier these days to get down to undetectable levels and manage your health properly.

You should already know that undetectable is untransmittable, meaning an HIV+ person on meds whose viral load is undetectable carries the same risk of transmission as someone without the virus. If you don’t know this you’re not really doing your due diligence as a sexually active gay man. Get your shit together. 

A lot of guys will also be “cleaning out” for the weekend in the event that they bottom (hell, lots of tops even clean out just in case they meet a guy who’s sponge-worthy). Here’s a guide (still don’t agree with the stomping). Pack the shower shot (or buy one at one of the sex stores) and don’t forget the wrench (which TSA may take if it is in your carry on). If we’re dancing and I smell a waft, we gotta vacate the surroundings. Some guys even forego eating real food and use Immodium to halt everything for the day or weekend. I’m not saying any of this is healthy. 

“Blessed are the bottoms, may their waters always run clear.” (Matthew 6:9)

If you are HIV-, get on PrEP

If you are HIV negative, consider getting on PrEP. It doesn’t protect against other STIs but the risk of HIV transmission is statistically approaching that of condoms. We have the technology to stop HIV in its tracks in this generation and we’re stupid if we don’t take advantage of it. Remember, you have to take PrEP daily for seven days to reach maximum efficacy. And if you are not on PrEP and have unprotected sex and think you might be at risk for HIV, go to the PeP protocol which is for after a possible exposure. 

When agreeing to meet or hookup, be clear about condom use (or not) so no one feels pressured to make choices not aligned with their values. And if you take Metamucil or Pure or other fiber supplements to be bottom-ready, do not take them at the same time as your PrEP or other meds. Fiber supplements might soak up the meds in your digestive system and prevent them from getting into your blood stream.

“I’m too fat, too thin, too short, too tall, too young, too old to go…”

The only difference these days is we take ibuprofen before we head out for the night. You will see guys who are so roided up they are practically parodies of masculinity (and probably have a dialysis machine hidden in their jock). Other guys have their ass sticking out so far, you’d think you’re at a pelvic tilt convention. You’ll see beanpole guys who are skin and bones and guys going nuts over them, too. All shapes, all sizes, and ages ready to have a great time. Both US straight mainstream culture and the queer/gay minority sub-culture is co-opted by marketers to tell us we never have enough, do enough, or are enough so not hating the way you look all the time is kind of a triumph. Fuck the male gaze (that we literally created ourselves). Go have fun and fuck all the rest of it. There aren’t “leagues.” No guy is too hot to go up and talk to. And if he thinks he is, he’s probably a terrible fuck. Or a bad kisser. And a hot guy who can’t kiss is a crime against God.

Introverts, here’s a Facebook thread I started about meeting guys on the dance floor. (My solution has been: Marry an extrovert.)

You have the right to have a fucking great time no matter how you look or how you feel about how you look.

Don’t wait until you “lose the weight” or “do a cycle” or whatever other barrier to entry you’re setting for yourself.

“Can I go to these events if I’m a straight man or a woman?”

Yes, you can. Keep in mind though: Most of the events I’ve detailed in this guide are intended for and produced primarily by gay men seeking to meet and dance and do whatever with other gay men. You might not be the target audience here. It’s our space – it’s great you feel safe here, too – but we built this. There’s several lesbian and straight women that are a big part of the community out here and join us for many of the parties as patrons and producers and talent. And they know the events that are more play-oriented aren’t really for them and sure they could go into a back room and look around, but turning someone’s sexuality into a tourist attraction is tacky and gross. You will probably see public sex between men at the fair or on the dance floor or in a bathroom or in a lounge or in an alley way. Enjoy watching or just turn 180 degrees and voila! it doesn’t even exist anymore. I’ll keep searching for lesbian events for Folsom, too so I’ll add them here. Don’t want our Sapphic sistren to feel left out.

“All these goddamn events are sold out!”

You waited too long. In this town, we buy our tickets early (and much cheaper first-tier pricing). If you are looking for tickets for a particular event, post as such on the Facebook page for the event. Mark yourself as Going for the event so you’ll get alerts if someone posts on that event page they have a ticket available. As the weekend approaches, people decide which ones they are or aren’t going to and will sell their tickets.

“What if I have tickets I don’t need?”

The opposite of the above, post on the event page to see if others are interested in buying your tickets. And don’t scalp, that’s some hetero asshole bullshit, right there.

No life decisions the week after a party

Until there is at least a glimmer of hope in those dead cow eyes, don’t get together or break up or get married or close things or open things or move out or move in or quit a job or start a job. I’m usually a dessicated husk until at least Thursday night after a weekend rage. On Tuesday, it’s “That wasn’t so bad. I feel fine.” Around Wednesday, it’s “Ugh nightmares last night. We really have to stop doing this.” Thursday is, “What am I doing with my life? Am I a good husband? Am I a terrible son?” Then Friday is, “I feel great when’s the next one?!”

I’m sure I’ve forgotten some events, let me know

No slight to producers or DJs if I’ve missed one (and I didn’t even do shoutouts to all the talented lighting, sound, video, laser, and environment designers and special peformers).

Where to Visit While You’re in SF

We’ve lived in San Francisco for 11 years and here’s our recommended points of interest and touristy activities if you’re here for several days:

Beach Blanket Babylon is the world’s longest running musical revue, closing end of this year.

Former federal prison Alcatraz Island has a haunting audio tour.

Muir Woods is a forest of giant redwood trees (think ewoks/Endor).

The Castro Theatre has new releases and classic films with a live organist before each showing.

The best photos of the bridge are Golden Gate View Point plus nearby abandoned gunnery stations from WII.

The California Academy of Sciences has huge aquaria and a four-story tropical rainforest installation and a planetarium where she kept talking about “Sharon” and I realized oh she means Pluto’s moon Charon and I couldn’t stop giggling. Classic Sharon! The Conservatory of Flowers just across the way is also fantastic.

Fisherman’s Wharf is kinda trashy don’t bother unless you came all this way to have Ruby Tuesdays. It does have the only In-N-Out in town, though I’d tell you to go to local favorite Super Duper Burger (see below).

There’s wine country – Napa and Sonoma – but we find the whole wine thing boring. But go for it if you’re nuts for wine.

Where to Eat

We’re both from the Midwest so we’re not really foodies, we just like to eat. Our go-to restaurants:

Super Duper Burger is our usual post-party weekend lunch of burger, fries, and milkshake.

Fable serves modern American cuisine with a huge back patio. Reservations through OpenTable.

Catch is great for brunch or dinner with a front patio with lighting that takes strangely high-quality selfies. Reservations through OpenTable.

Fringale French bistro with “Gallic cuisine with a Basque twist.” Reservations through OpenTable.

The Cove diner across from the Castro Theatre has been a Castro institution for over 40 years. 

Sam’s Diner across from the Whitcomb Hotel on Market near 9th has non-complicated breakfast and you can add tater tots.

Mona Lisa in Little Italy/North Beach has great Italian food and homemade pasta.

You probably have some for-real foodie frends in San Francisco if you’re really looking for a high-quality fine-dining type thing. Ask them for their recommendations (they’ll probably roll their eyes at mine).

And don’t forget a full raft of delivery restaurants on Grubhub and other apps if you’re in your/someone’s hotel room and need a cube of cheese.

Finally: Fucking dance.

I try to remind myself it hasn’t been that long ago that police would invade gay bars to stop men from simply dancing together. It is easy to take the level of relative safety we enjoy now for granted. And many queer groups in many countries and cities are still not completely safe. Hell, is anybody completely safe?

Dance for yourself. Dance for your friends. Dance for your community. Dance for those never got to have the man or woman of their dreams in their arms. Dance for those that are no longer with us. Dance for those that are still here. Dance for Pulse in Orlando, for the UpStairs Lounge in New Orleans, and for all the rest who died or were injured while simply trying to have a fun night out.

Dance for the closeted queer kids stuck in backwards boondock burgs or dangerous families trying to just hold on until they can get out (please just hold on). Dance for those that live in countries where they would kill us for simply holding hands.

Dance for the queens, the queers, the faggots, the fairies, the leathermen, the bulldykes, and all the other outlaws who said no seriously fuck this shit and fuck you and risked their lives and their careers and their families and put it all on the line. You have the luxury of living right here, right now, because so many people fought for it.

Don’t ever forget that.

A few folks shared screencaps of that last year, so I made it a meme:

See You On the Dance Floor, Gentlemen

View this post on Instagram

Fresh fade and late Friday night workout.

A post shared by Ron (@ronamatic) on

 

…and ladies, and everyone else in between. It’s incredibly rewarding to have guys from all over the world say hi and say that they read my guide and found it useful. So, if you see us on the dance floor, say hello. Look for the complimentary Polynesian sleeve tattoos (reference photo above) on the sexy Filipino muscle daddy with the huge smile dancing with abandon and probably sporting a majestic fan (Ron) and the semi-serious inked bearded white muscle daddy wolf trying to keep up with him (me).

Thanks for reading – please share!

Andy (with editing/etc. from Ron)

p.s. You can follow my writing on FacebookTwitter, and enjoy cat photos, thirst pics, Ron’s Stepford streak, doppelbängers, general shirtlessness, and fear of aging on my Instagram (andymaticgram), but actually Ron posts better photos on his Instagram (ronamatic). If you want even more reading in this vein, you can read my previous guides for Dore (2019, 20182017, and the 2016 recap) and Folsom (2018, 2017, and 2014 recap). Or read about that time I turned 40 or when we got married. And if you’re really retro, there’s the old fashioned RSS feed for my blog at andymatic.com.

Up Your Alley/Dore Weekend Party Guide 2019

Welcome to the Dore 2019 party guide! (Looking for the Folsom guide?)

At a glance grid:

Yellow indicates the events we are probably going to and is by no means at all a comment on the quality of the other events. With Dore and Folsom, the city’s top producers, DJs, designers, and queer denizens roll out the red carpet to show you how we do things in this crazy libertine town. You’ll have a great weekend attending everything – or nothing but the fair.

Up Your Alley? Dore? Dore Alley?

Yes, it’s true. The weekend is named for the street fair that takes place on Sunday. Most people just call it “Dore.” Rhymes with whore-y. Named for the street intersection the fair is oriented around, Dore Alley and Folsom Street.

Proper usage:

  • “Are you and the pups coming for Dore?”
  • “Which parties are you and your Sir going to for Dore?”
  • “Will you and your husband be playing separate for Up Your Alley weekend?”
  • “Are you ready to hoe it up for Up Your Allley?”
  • “Do you think that piece of shit Aaron Schock will show up at Dore this year? She betta wear a pup mask.”

The weekend of events is anchored by Sunday’s Up Your Alley street fair, which celebrates gay kink and leather culture, produced by the Folsom Street Events organization. They also produce the Folsom Street Fair in September which is an even bigger event and bigger weekend. The difference between the two? Up Your Alley weekend is usually described as a bit kinkier/nastier, more gay male centric, and attended by more locals. You’ll have fewer tourists who are there to watch rather than participate.

But there’s a lot more there there than just the fair .

Continue reading “Up Your Alley/Dore Weekend Party Guide 2019”

In Defense of Villainesses

Sarah Gailey writes on Tor.com:

“She’s hungry. She wants money, and she wants more luxurious coats, and she wants power. She wants to sit in the chair that is currently occupied by whoever’s in charge, and she doesn’t want to wait for the world to give her that throne. She doesn’t have time for that. She’s not going to wait. She’s going to take it. …

“Why is it that I can easily remember the faces and voices of female cartoon villains, but if asked about female cartoon heroes, all I can remember is the clothes? …

We look at female cartoon villains and we see what’s forbidden: ferocity. Never laugh with your head thrown back. Never apply your eyeshadow as a cut-crease. Never draw in your brows or dye your hair. Don’t wear nice clothes (unless they’ve been sewn for you by people or animals who love you, or delivered to you by magic). Don’t look in mirrors. Don’t want things. Don’t get old or fat or tall. Don’t make demands. Hope, maybe, but never expect. No, not even if you’ve dedicated your life to a goal—even then, don’t you dare expect. Work hard, but don’t grind for years and years building an empire because if you do, then you’ll get taken down and the audience will cheer at your suffering. Don’t carve your face into a mountainside, because that territory is reserved and your name is not on the list.

What could we become if we were willing to push aside everyone who stands in our way? What could we accomplish? What would happen to us, if we decided that we didn’t want to scrub floors during the day and wish on stars at night and wonder when the adventure is going to come find us?”

Full essay.

We Ain’t Terraforming Shit

From a Reddit thread about Bill Nye’s “are you high?!” reaction to Mars colonization:

  • “People have confused the notion of Mars being habitable for bacterial life and perhaps plant life as being habitable for human life. On a terraformed Mars, you would not live there any differently then than you would today. Life would be spent either underground or in bubbles. Reasoning forthcoming.
  • “Mars is tectonically dead. There is no plate movement because the core is either cold or in an extremely energy-poor state from which it will not recover. This means there will be damned insufficient magnetic shielding to protect you from the devastating genetic damage caused by solar rays, and no tectonic sublimation or meaningful volcanism to renew the land over long periods of time.
  • “As a consequence of the aforementioned lack of a sufficient magnetic shielding, the solar wind has been stripping Mars of its atmosphere at a phenomenal rate. The winds on Mars currently have little ability to do any damage, the most severe storm basically just kicking up dust clouds. While that may sound nice, it means there’s not enough air to breathe. “But we’re TERRAFORMING!” you say, “We’ll MAKE new air!” Ballsacks to you, and here’s why!
  • “No one ever addresses the elephant in the room where terraforming is concerned: Where are we getting all the necessary raw material to create the chemical composition of the terraformed Martian atmosphere? Are you all seriously that ignorant? Do you not understand the phenomenal weight of the material we’re talking about? Air is not nothing. It’s matter. It has density and weight and there’s more of it than your mind really has the ability to comprehend outside of a mathematical framework. And again, Mar’s atmosphere is being stripped. You don’t just have to finds one Mars’ worth of air, you have to find an ongoing renewable source of this material! You are flat out smoking cock-weed if you think that’s in any way feasible. That’s not even science fiction, that’s pure fantasy. You may as well have said “OH, Merlin will come and jiggity whippity us up some air with a magic wand” because that has as much credibility as saying “we’ll just make more atmosphere.”. Horse hockey, we will!
  • “Mars is too small. Specifically, it lacks the mass to support us. People in orbit for long periods of time have to do some pretty aggressive, highly disciplined exercising to SLOW DOWN muscular-skeletal degeneration. They can’t even stop it. They HAVE to return to the planet at some point or their bodies will essentially wither. Because Mars has little mass, it has little gravity. It’s only a bit bigger than the moon! No amount of atmospheric dicking around can change that. Anyone who goes to live on Mars is absolutely doomed to a slow, and likely short, painful life of bodily degeneration.

“tl;dr – we ain’t terraforming SHIT. And these, and other similar problems will follow us ANYWHERE in the galaxy we may one day be able to go. We evolved to live HERE, and you all had damn well better get the stars out of your eyes because here is a fucking mess we must clean up.”

Full thread in context.

Image source.

Folsom Weekend Party Guide 2018

This is the 2018 guide, here’s the Folsom guide for 2019. Or if you want the guide for Dore 2019. tl;dr/summary: Folsom weekend is like a big gay leather prom. See you there. Last year’s Folsom guide was a hit, so here we are yet again. Folsom is a Rorschach. It reflects your sexual identity back at you. You learn what turns you on, what doesn’t, what you like to watch, what you used to not even consider, what you now think is normal, what you like to do, what you might try, what you’d never try, who you’re scared to admit you want to be, what you’re scared to admit you want, and what you’re absolutely sure you don’t. Folsom Street Fair (also referred to as just “Folsom”) is the world’s largest leather fetish event and attracts half a million people every year from all over the globe. Folsom is generally a more ‘mainstream’ and straighter affair than July’s Dore/Up Your Alley weekend (also produced by the Folsom organization). Straight kink and fetishists have been valuable partners in the fight for LGBT equality and visibility and Folsom is for them, too. I think they realize that after conservatives get done outlawing all of the gays’ sexual thrills, they know anything but straight procreative married sex is next. You’ll hear some gays complain that the fair isn’t what it used to be. It’s too tame. Too straight. Too many women. Bitching that things aren’t the way they used to be is one of our most hallowed San Francisco pastimes. Along with being seen by others while standing in line for things.

First: Know Your History

Photo above from the June 26, 1964 issue of Life magazine profile Homosexuality in America, a landmark in LGBT visibility.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t include some history. It’s hard to convey how much leather, kink, and fetish culture is woven into the fabric of San Francisco and how that libertine spirit has grown to include all sexualities and genders and all types of people and expanded across the world. SFTravel article Behind the Harness: The Extraordinary History of the The Folsom Street Fair. Found SF article Changes and Continuities in the Leather Community. SFist article Brief History of the Folsom Street Fair Blogger Broke Ass Stuart’s Down and Dirty History of the Folsom Street Fair This context is also important because many have a knee-jerk conservative reaction to this collection of people and behaviors. It’s hard to express to straight people sometimes, “We do it this way. I can’t entirely explain why we do it this way. But this is how we do it.” Numerous religious right fundamentalist websites use photos from the street fair to depict all queer people. Some would argue if we just didn’t dress up like that or throw it in everyone’s face that we’d have more queer acceptance faster but let’s be honest: They’d murder us for simply holding hands. If you don’t like it, then it isn’t for you, and isn’t intended for you and it’s completely fine if you stay away. That’s why the street fair requires admission and minors aren’t allowed. For some people leather and fetish is a core part of their identity and their peer groups. For others it’s a fun weekend to get a little wild, experiment with different dress or style, and push your own boundaries of what you like and who you are. You can see this history in action as the entire week kicks off with:

27th Annual LeatherWalk on Sunday September 23rd

Founded in 1992, the annual LeatherWalk features hundreds of people gearing up in their best leather finery to walk together to celebrate leather, kink, chosen family, and community while raising funds for Folsom Street Events and PRC charities.
They stop at several local watering holes ending up at The Eagle where the leather pride flag is raised (know your flags!). On-site registration and check-in begins at 10am at 440 Castro. Full map and event details and event on Facebook. When someone asks me to describe Folsom weekend I usually say:

It’s like a big gay leather prom.

Sure there’s gonna be Mean Girls or Mean Bears or Mean Muscle Queens or Mean Belligerent Twinks that you want to kick in the face – let it slide. Any time you get more than a dozen gay men in one space, a few decide they are the fairest of them all, and that others should give them deference and act generally like tween girls. As I tell my sister in recounting these antics, “Yes, these are adult grown men acting like this.” (Hell, sometimes I’m using that describe our behavior) You can usually find these a-holes because they are standing outside the dance floor not moving at all, just posing. They look amazing and they’ve worked hard all year to look this good and they are starving. Give them a quick high-five and tell them they look great and then go to the opposite space in the club where people are actually having fun. Anyway: You’ll lose 10 pounds (but age 10 years). But generally the San Francisco crowd is warm and friendly to a fault and the general etiquette is such that everyone introduces everyone to everyone else. It’s like we say back in Indiana, “The way to a man’s hole is through his husband.” I describe it to my folks back home in the Midwest as it’s like a really slutty adult Halloween. Here’s a list of many of the events of the weekend. I’ve tried to included links to photo galleries for most of the events so you can get a sense for the mix of the crowd is like and what to wear. Taste in music is so individual. I can rage for five hours at an afterhours until 7am and then have a friend say, “Yeah it was too dark, didn’t really do it for me.” Then I’m at another party with a more disco-y edge and it isn’t moving me at all (I keep trying to get into EDM, but it leaves me completely cold). I like the familiar structure of circuit mixes with the beat doubling on itself and building and building and then the 1-2-3-4 – suspend – and the bass kicks back in. Or the steady state deep pounding of a heavy spare minimal afterhours mix. Others find it completely monotonous. My motto is: If you can’t fuck to it, I can’t dance to it. Probably why our favorite getting-ready-to-dance song is Ivan Gomez’s remix of “Do You Fuck As Well as You Dance?” (1 minute in on this J. Warren mix). I’ve tried to find Mixcloud, SoundCloud, and Facebook profiles for the DJs so you can get a sense for their music as well. You’ll also notice producers of the ‘unofficial’ parties calling the weekend “leather weekend” or referring to it as “FLSM.” That’s because the Folsom Street Fair producers are a bit protective of the Folsom Street Fair trademark.

Friday, September 28th

Folsom Sunset Cruise, produced by Brian Kent with DJ Tony Moran

The Pride Friday and Folsom Friday sunset cruises have quickly become some of the most popular events of the season – and they always sell out, so get your tickets now. Join a couple hundred of your new best friends on a cruise sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, The Bay Bridge, and watching the city come alive as the sun sets.
Veteran superstar DJ Tony will spin you into the night from the moment you board the boat and are handed a glass of champagne through to the return to the pier. The revels include a bon voyage champagne toast, drink specials all night, and just about the friendliest crowd you’re going to find in the city. Bring a coat or jacket (or wear your leathers). It can get blustery out there in the water. Of all the parties this is truly a unique only-happens-here type of event If I were to choose the most mainstream, straight-friendly party or event of the weekend it would be this one. Photos from two year’s ago by Mr. Pam. DJ Tony Moran on Mixcloud, SoundCloud, or Facebook. Details on the Facebook page for the event or on Eventbrite. Facebook event page points out ‘cash only onboard,’ btw.

Brüt, at the Great Northern, produced by Hedonic Productions and Brian Kent Productions, with DJs Dan Darlington, Peter Napoli, and Manny Ward

Two of my favorite moments of Folsom weekend two years ago year were at the Brüt party at Great Northern (formerly the old Mighty space). One was when Brüt producer and DJ Dan Darlington slowed down the beat and mixed in Nine Inch Nails’s “Closer” and you had hundreds of rutting leather-clad men chanting “I want to fuck you like an animal!” and then as the song ended, Dan kept repeating the Downward Spiral descending motif from the classic album as he brought the beat back up. That and the remix of DMX’s “It’s All Right” featuring the rap, “It’s all good, it’s alright, fuck all day, fuck all night.”
Photo of Ron and I with our Orlando husbands back in Folsom 2016. Photo by Marques Daniels.
Brüt – originally born in NYC – has really built up a fantastic following over past three years in San Francisco. We also went to the Brut party at IML in Chicago last May and it was a great time.  The party always attracts some of the die-hard leather and fetish crowd but also the guys like us who just like to dress like fuckbots from time to time or the more mainstream circuit queens giving the leather thing a spin. In the bear/muscle spectrum, it’s more on the muscle side. I love the aggressive feel to Brut events, you can feel the testosterone hanging in the air. The Dore edition of Brut was glorious and sweaty and horny. Photographer Joe Pessa’s galleries from Folsom Brut 2015, 2016, and 2017. Producer and resident DJ Dan Darlington on Mixcloud, SoundCloud (Brut also has it’s own SoundCloud), and Facebook. My all-time favorite Brut mix is  this one from Folsom a couple years ago it really purrs at 33 minutes in. Resident Brut DJ Peter Napoli on SoundCloud and Facebook. DJ Manny Ward on SoundCloud and Facebook. More details on the Facebook page for the event and on the Brut party website. 

Prime at Club Six, presented by TrophyDad with DJs Neon and Serge P

The dads are back! After a rollicking Prime at Dore Alley, TrophyDad returns to seedy Club Six with two floors of daddy issues for everyone to work through for the evening. Upstairs, resident DJ Neon spins his trademark blend of vocal circuit spanning pop hits and the classics – all with a bit more oomph under it – and a big grin on his face as he sings along. And downstairs is the Daddy Pit, with Ed and Julian recreating the aggressive vibe of the leather bars of days gone by  with DJ Serge P from Berlin bringing that dark, sexy sound he’s pioneered at clubs across Europe. Hot gogo daddies (all over 50) ply their trade (ahem) and keep you entertained while a broad group of daddies, otters, wolves, bears, and the rest of the zoo  come together to celebrate and dance and enjoy. DJ Neon on Mixcloud, SoundCloud, and Facebook. DJ Serge P on Mixcloud, SoundCloud, and Facebook. Details on the Facebook event page and on the EventBrite page.

Bearracuda at Public Works, produced by Matt Bearracuda with DJs Ted Eiel, Victor Rodriguez, and Perfect Lovers

And if you’re skewing more bear than muscle, the boys of Bearracuda have got you covered. Matt Bearracuda and the Bearracuda crew are back with their trademark winning formula of thick boys and deep bass, provided by DJs Ted Eiel, Victor Rodriguez, and Perfect Lovers – all DJs that don’t play SF very often so we’re in for a treat. DJ Ted Eiel on Mixcloud. DJ Victor Rodriguez on Mixcloud, SoundCloud, and Facebook. DJ Perfect Lovers on Mixcloud, SoundCloud, and Facebook.

Taboo: Puppy Play at Oasis, produced by Taboo with DJ Chad Bays with guest star Boomer Banks

The category is… puppy play! Our canine brethren come out to bone on Friday night at Oasis for Taboo’s Folsom edition of Puppy Play. Wear your leather best or your pup gear and celebrate your fetish fantasy while gogo studs get down and dirty all night along and a fierce ensemble of drag pups takes to the stage to show the children how it’s done including pup-queens Anna Rexie, Lady Camden, Senda Rose, and Cloaca Munro. Oasis is a fantastic venue with a big front bar, rooftop area sometimes open, then a legit stage and cabaret theatre space that doubles as a dance floor. You can barely tell it used to be an 8000 sq ft gay bathhouse in a past life. DJ Chad Bays on Mixcloud, SoundCloud, and Facebook. Full details on the Facebook event page for Taboo or on their Instagram page (didn’t see a main site).

Recon San Francisco Party at DNA Lounge

Recon.com’s party this is “where all the geared-up men come meet, dance and get ready for the oncoming carnage of Folsom. This is a men only event where you can find the guys you’ll be playing with all weekend long!” Details on the Facebook page for the event or on Eventbrite.

Baloney Does Folsom at Oasis, produced by Rory Davis

And SF’s only all gay male revue is back with their Folsom edition and it’s going to get kinky. Always a fun evening with these beautiful men. Ugh, Pablo I cannot deal with him. No dates yet but more than likely it’ll be Folsom weekend and maybe a few days on either side. Featuring live demos by the men of Kinkmen.com. Details on the Facebook page for the event or on the Baloney website.

Saturday, September 29th

Wake up, six! Time to rise and shine and brunch up and gear up and go to:

Geared Up: The Infamous Folsom Party at Mr. S Leather

Just like with Dore, San Francisco’s globally famous leather store Mr. S Leather hosts an in-store party for Folsom – on both Friday and Saturday. Fetish demos by the Mr. S Crew throughout with (quoting from the Dore event) “dirty dancers and the trashiest bartenders in San Francisco.” We always tell people if you are going to buy something at Mr. S, get over there when you first get to San Francisco. They can do onsite alterations to ensure a perfect fit and often while you wait. Their leatherworkers will be going overtime for the weekend so that might be more difficult as the weekend approaches. Harnesses, hats, ballcaps, boots, uniforms, vests, blindfolds, ropes, lubes, jockstraps, singlets, socks, toys… The store has just about everything you’re going to need for your revels and I think they also have slings for rent for the weekend as well. Details on the Facebook event for the party.

BigMuscle Meet & Greet at DNA Lounge, with DJ Shane Stiel benefiting PRC

I always like taking friends to this event because if you don’t know it’s happening, you don’t know what you’re missing. Several hundred muscle guys of all sizes and stripes, and their admirers pack into DNA Lounge to have cocktails and dance and make Mary. It’s got a fantastic vibe whether you’re in the mood to dance on the main floor, hang out and chit-chat or people-watch from the wraparound balcony.
Keep in mind that DNA Lounge is much bigger thlan you think. If you’re new to the space, go upstairs and do a promenade all the way around and through – I totally missed the far-back back lounge all these years until we were there for Dore. You’ll also see the annual reveal of the  Bare Chest Calendar with a hot man for every month. Relaxed and fun with lots of hot guys and not everybody is a total mess just yet. Also a cheap ticket. $10 on DNA site I think (with suggested $15-$20 donation at the door the day-of). If you wanted to go to a mild but fun event and still be in (someone’s) bed at a reasonable hour, I’d say go to this one. You’ll be blind for the first few minutes you enter the club since it’s so bright outside and so dark inside. Ron and I have always had a great time at this event. Proceeds go to Positive Resource Center which recently merged with AIDS Emergency Fund. Photos from two year ago event. Details on the Facebook page for the event or the DNA Lounge website. I’m hoping we relax after that but a lot of folks will probably go to:

Magnitude at Fort Mason Center, produced by Folsom Street Events with DJs Boris and Pagano

Magnitude is huge. Massive. I mean that’s why it’s called Magnitude. You don’t know how big it is until you walk in the venue. There was a scandal last year when it was announced the event would not have the usual fully outfitted dungeon/demo area (bigger SF venues aren’t willing to risk their liquor license blah blah techies ruin everything blah blah).
Ron and I at Magnitude in 2015. Sleeve ink wasn’t done yet and I’m a little bigger and more wolven now. Photo by Michael Smith Photography.
Magnitude’s headline act is German superstar DJ Boris, resident at Berlin’s notorious club Berghain with London’s DJ Pagano opening the evening. Both artists are on deck with meaty, sexy beats to keep the crowd moving all night. Pagano was with us all week on the Atlantis cruise last January and he’s fanastic whether he’s doing prime time, tea dance, or afterhours. Magnitude event page and some photos.
Photo of Magnitude from 2 years ago, photo by lighting/visual designer William Brown.
We’re going to skip Magnitude this year. One reason is because is two years ago we overslept and missed one our favorite events Aftershock (below). We got home from Magnitude and decided we’d just take a brief nap and neither of us set an alarm. I woke up at 8:30am and thought, “Oh shit. Do I tell him?”
Everybody teased us at Sunday night at Real Bad saying, “You guys look so fresh!”

Bound on Folsom Street, at Folsom Foundry, produced by Brian Kent and Matt Berracuda with DJs Ralphi Rosario and Philip Grasso

A brand new event! Brian Kent Productions and Matt Bearracuda are set to deliver a mind blowing production with amorous visuals and sexy gogo men that aim to have you begging for more. So check your clothes and ride out what will be the epicenter of a new energy on Folsom Street. Headlining the event this year is superstar DJ Ralphi Rosario who has worked with everyone from Beyoncé to Donna Summer and has spun leather events the world over. And opening the night is local kitten Philip Grasso bringing his unique brand of  dark,  driving, funky house and tech house.  And production by the folks at RAGErLAZER will make it a visually dazzling evening. Clothes check at Foundry is alway pretty nuts so go early (or plan to not check anything). Learn more about Bearracuda from this interview at Unicorn Booty as they celebrate their 12th year of producing events around the world. No photos from last year’s event since it’s the debut but reference the guys in the poster up there. Ralphi Rosario on Mixcloud, SoundCloud, and Facebook. Philip Grasso on Mixcloud, SoundCloud, and Facebook.

Heat at Monarch, produced by Cecil Russel and Evan J. Sun, with DJs Dani Toro and Mohammad

Packing Monarch with prime time get-to-the-point circuit to shake the walls. Cecil and Evan are producing another awesome Heat event with two floors to enjoy with expert DJs manning the decks all night long. Monarch’s seedy basement makes way for DJ Dani Toro to rattle the low-ceilings and make you move. And then on the lavish ground floor lounge, local BFF Mohammad brings his hard, raucous brand of circuit and tribal glory. She better not steal my look again!
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Again? Always with this one. Shirts from @rau.apparel.

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DJ Dani Toro on Mixcloud, SoundCloud, and Facebook. DJ Mohammad on Mixcloud, SoundCloud, and Facebook and featured in Chicago Pride for his upcoming Market Days gig. We are always overplaying his promo mix from Ram party NYC and his 5 year anniversary of House Party mix. House Party (Facebook page) is every second-Saturday at Powerhouse. Now Mohammad’s music… that I can fuck to. Full details on the Facebook page for the Heat event or on the Gloss magazine site.

Friendly Fire at Danzhaus, produced by Gage Lennox with DJs Marek and Salazar

And Gage Lennox’s Friendly Fire event for Fancy Fellas that need a helping hand. Ahem. Resident DJ Marek will be breaking the boys in for the night and then Hellbound’s DJ Salazar slides in to continue to give you a good stretch while lighting maven, Visuals by 3, keeps the kaleidoscope of visual effects spinning. Admission includes access to both floors of the venue, which and coatcheck, the main DJ theater, bathrooms plus shower, refreshments, and snacks. Note this is one of the specifically cash only venues and I don’t think there’s an ATM  onsite. Detail on the Friendly Fire site or on the Facebook page for the event. If this is your kinda thing, add Gage as a friend and then join their private Facebook group. Gage runs a fantastic global community of ffun enthusiasts and this is one of the few times a year the crowd gets together to blow the doors off. The vibe is safe, fun, respectful, consensual, and everyone’s ready to learn, watch, experience, and have a good time. Trim your fingernails. DJ Marek on Friendly Fire’s SoundCloud profile, and Facebook. DJ Salazar on Facebook. So we probably will do something new/different instead of Magnitude since we’ve done it a couple times now or snuggle and sleep until 3am and then rinse off and gear up for Aftershock. If you’re looking for something even wilder for Saturday prime time:

Stripped at 415 10th St, produced by Truck Events with DJ Trever Pearson

Truck (formerly a real bar in the city, now a production group) is back with a vengeance producing underground parties (including the notorious Truck Tuesday events I keep hearing about) throughout the city. They’re back for Folsom with Stripped at a nondescript nameless private loft space down on 10th St. in SoMa. The Truck team promises to deliver one of those “only in SF” nights where you can lose your inhibitions with locals, visitors, and porn industry special guests. As the Facebook event description says:  “Fuck. Yes.” DJ Trever Pearson on Mixcloud, SoundCloud, and Facebook. Details on the Facebook page for the event and on EventBrite.

Aftershock at City Nights, produced by Frisco Disco, with DJ Abel

It’s hard to say why Aftershock is one of our favorite events of the year. It’s got the perfect dark, horny, forbidden, unforgiven ambiance. None of this happy vocals and “Isn’t life great?!” bullshit. I want to be dragged to hell and stay there. With Aftershock, it feels like the guys that want to hookup have already met at Magnitude (or the bars or the apps) and are in their respective hotel rooms in the throes of whatever. The crowd that comes to Aftershock is there to dance. And DJ Abel is the fucking king. We’ve heard him in several cities and on the Atlantis cruise the past two years and whether it is prime time circuit, tea dance, or afterhours, he’s just simply master at what he does. I know it’s stereotypical to talk about a DJ taking you on a journey but he absolutely executes that every time. Aftershock starts promptly at 4am. Everyone is pretty much wearing just jockstraps, harnesses and boots.
Aftershock achieves that strange surreal feeling that you’re dancing in a crowd of hundreds of hot horny sweaty men and you’re not entirely sure the world outside the club exists anymore. City Nights clothes check is always nuts (better last year) and hopefully you get there early enough that you aren’t waiting in line for 45 minutes but the line will be long. Last year we got there over an hour early and the line was already down the block. Hopefully you’ll want to find a way to pass the time. Like if there’s a cute Argentinian guy who has already taken his pill and is high as fuck and wants to grope and kiss, calling you “guapo” and “Papi” as your husband watches and giggles and shakes his head from the sidelines. DJ Abel on Mixcloud, SoundCloud, and Facebook. I’ve never listened to an Abel mix online that comes close to approximating how he is live. Event details on Facebook and tickets available on Eventbrite. Keep in mind Aftershock is before the fair on Sunday morning. Stumbling out into daylight at 10am and stumbling back to your hotel will be something you remember forever. Besides the fair starts at 11am so you better rinse off and gear up, babydoll. Other events on Saturday include:

New Breed: The Second Coming at Club Six, produced by PoundPuppy SF and Polyglamorous

Along with Friendly Fire, this is the most sex party-ish events I’m seeing promoted for the weekend. Upstairs, the Polyglamorous crew is running their usual dance party while downstairs, the gang from Pound Puppy is getting a bit more carnal. I don’t know much about these events at all but it literally has the words “breed” and “coming” in the title, so there you go. Very few details on Facebook and tickets not on sale just yet.

Folsom Street Overnight at Catalyst, prodcued by the San Francsico Bay Area Leather Alliance

As kink tries to stay fortified in San Francisco,  the Catalyst space provides one of the few dedicated play spaces in the city. And as the Saturday night dance parties continue on, Catalyst opens at 1am ready and waiting for nocturnal activities until 10:30am (and it’s a block away from the fair). And with showers available for guests, you can smell so fresh and so clean-clean as you head to the fair (bring your own towels, pillows, or blankets). The space is open to all open-minded persons 18+ respectful of other guests and the space. SF Catalyst is a community-run space for the leather, fetish, BDSM, and motorcycle communities. Catalyst is equipped with “crosses, benches, beds, slings, a suspension frame, hoists, and more BDSM equipment.” Donations go to support SF Catalyst, a project of the non-profit SF Bay Area Leather Alliance. Details on the Facebook page for the Overnight event or on Eventbrite.

House of Black Leather, produced by Honey Soundsystem with the Zenker Brothers

A lot of people absolutely love Honey Soundsystem and the events that they produce throughout the year. Their music never really grabs me so I’m not a good judge. I find their stuff too light and disco-y. I’ve included links to the DJs below. But this event will be packed like all of their events and draw a broad crowd of SF queerdom and I’d venture this is pretty straight-friendly event as well. Zenker Brothers on Mixcloud, SoundCloud, and Facebook. Full details on the Facebook page for the event and the Honey Soundsystem site.

ONYX vs FLSM at Powerhouse, produced by Onyx with DJ Jason Godfrey benefitting Leatherwalk

And Saturday night at Powerhouse is Onyx’s Folsom party for leather men of color and their admirers. Cover benefits Folsom Street Event’s Leatherwalk. No details yet on Facebook or on their site.

Sunday, September 30

Sunday morning we stumble out of Aftershock and sleep until Real Bad. But if we have houseguests, I might be convinced to go to:

Folsom Street Fair, produced by Folsom Street Events

This year’s poster for Folsom Street Fair. Event posters this year were designed by famed queer horror writer, film director, and artist Clive Barker, whose work has alway included elements of leather, fetish, and BDSM.
Ah the fair. It’s huge. You won’t realize it’s so many people until you are there. It’s crazy. Enter on the side streets for quicker entry and to get into the crowd faster. It’s half a million people packed into 13 city blocks for 7 hours. It’s insane. There are two huge dance stages with some of the city’s best DJs and a couple other stages with a constant cavalcade of indie music rock acts. Hundreds of booths of fetish and leather vendors. You’ll see just about anything there.
The Folsom Street Fair (FSF) is an annual BDSM and leather subculture street fair held on the last Sunday in September and caps San Francisco’s “Leather Pride Week”

What do you actually do there? Get flogged, buy some leather, watch fetish demonstrations, have a chicken skewer, dance your ass off, get drunk/stoned/high/fucked/fucked up, or whatever you’ve got a whim for.

If you’ve never been to the fair, go. I’d go early if I were you. The crowds are crazy. It’s an introvert gauntlet. White people/Wypipo: BRING SUNBLOCK. The sun is pretty much high noon and direct with little shade and most of the surrounding buildings are one story. But there’s usually super hot sexy tattooed EMTs with sunblock at the first aid tents. People of Color: Please continue to get super-dark and sexy. We thank you. Event details on Facebook and just about anything else you’d like to know at folsomstreetevents.org. Usually we walk the length of the fair or if you just stand in one place you’ll eventually see everybody. Lots of other people love the fair and it’s their favorite part of the weekend and they stay out for hours. We’ve been to the fair numerous times so I’m hoping we’re sleeping in so we can enjoy our absolute favorite event of the entire year.

Release at Catalyst, produced by San Francisco Bay Area Alliance

And I assume after they’ve aired the place out after Overnight (above),  the Catalyst play space opens back up with Release, an open play party inviting you to “bring your partners or meet new ones and get kinky.” As mentioned above, Catalyst is complimented with a full dungeon of BDSM essentials including St. Andrew’s crosses, slings, spanking benches, suspension points, and more. Full details on the Facebook page for the Release event but no Eventbrite listing yet.

Real Bad XXX at 1015 Folsom, produced by Grass Roots Gay Rights with DJs Jesus Pelayo, Charly, and Byron Bonsall

This year’s Real Bad poster was a family affair to show the breadth of the community. Find Ron in the middle-left, my face is right next to him but I’m rotated 180. Photography by Michael Smith Photography and art direction by Simon Tam.
Literally our favorite event of the year. If I could go to only one dance party a year it would be Real Bad. And this year is the 30th anniversary of this famous fabled Folsom closing party. Thousands of the friendliest, hottest men you’ve ever met (and some women) pack into local dance mega-temple 1015 Folsom for a night of dancing and revelry. The event is produced by local non-profit Grass Roots Gay Rights and all the money from the general admission tickets goes directly to local and national beneficiaries.
If you look at the main shaft of light. About 8 o’clock and two guys over are the Orlando hubbies and me. Not sure where Ron is at this time. Photo by Michael Smith 
Real Bad is special to us because it is the centerpiece for the entire year of gay dance events in the city. From the initial margarita party kickoff to the premiere of their new Dore afterhours, Ritual, and then the check presentation party where we all cry as they give the funds to the beneficiaries, it’s an entire narrative across the year for the community that we call friends. Tickets are a bitch to get. Most tickets are only available through a host system of 250 hosts who are each given 5 host codes to share with friends and their network (each host can also buy 1 or 2 VIP tickets which they can also resell if they like). That approach helps preserve the vibe that nearly the entire crowd is there because of someone they know in the organization’s “Circle of Friends.”
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You'll float too. #folsomstreetfair #folsommemes

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You can’t really separate the event from the venue it is in: 1015 Folsom (the address and venue name are the same). A nondescript front door gives way to a warmly lit lobby and a stair and ramp on either side lead to the main dance floor with three-story ceilings and a wrap around balcony. The balcony also includes the notorious Red Room and then the large upstairs lounge with seating and refreshments that comprises the VIP area for the first half of the evening (it opens up to everyone later on). Since it’s Real Bad’s 30th birthday, they’ve got two DJs on the main floor, with two of Madrid’s finest: DJ Jesus Pelayo from Real Bad XVII (he was fantastic) and newcomer DJ Charly taking you on a ten-hour journey (they added an hour!) from post-fair tea dance into the early hours of the morning. The first year we went to Real Bad, we spent most of our time on the ground floor and in the balcony area and then we finally went downstairs to the The Underground – the glowing low-ceilinged basement of the venue- where it’s a whole other party with a more downtempo steady state house sound, much cooler down there as well. This year the Underground DJ is local veteran favorite Byron Bonsall whom we always enjoy. Be sure to explore the entire venue. Our friend Joey spent most of his first Real Bad in just the lobby – thinking the event was just the front lobby. He was literally missing the entire overwhelming wonder that is the event. It is hot as hell at Real Bad. They’ve pulled back on the number of tickets the past few years I think because it gets so packed and so hot. The venue had new air handlers installed a couple years ago that also help and you can tell when they open the side doors so the cold air from the alley gets inside. Some people find it too intense to enjoy. We rarely try to make our way to the inside of the crowd on the main floor since it’s so many people. Usually we’re on the sides or in the less dense areas. Take a break in the upstairs lounge, snuggle up with a guy in the basement, cruise guys in the lobby, or head out to the roped off smoking area outside if you need some fresh air. Like with all things Folsom, you can dial the density/intensity up or down without having to leave the venue you’re in. I can’t say enough about Real Bad. It’s a singular experience distilling everything amazing about the city of San Francisco into one event. I know that sounds trite. Every year I walk down that ramp from the lobby to the main floor and think, “Goddamn this is a whole other level of party.”
And when you hear “Let’s Have a Kiki” come on, look for Ron and I among the platoon of men and women in aprons (which Ron designed!) and hats (and little else) barreling through the thick crowd handing out popsicles to the over-heated crowd. Sometimes it’s hard to convince a queen to eat a calorie (bruh it is hour five, have a goddamn treat). And be sure you’re in the main room for when they drop the leather flag. The whole night has several peak moments. It’s worth the rigmarole to get tickets. If you can’t get tickets through hosts they have a limited set of tickets available Saturday morning at Mr. S. Leather. Show up early. I’m not joking. The line is long and half the guys are still a hot mess in their leather gear from the previous night. Short documentary about Real Bad, Activism with a Beat. Article about Real Bad in The Daily Californian. DJ Jesus Pelayo on Mixcloud, SoundCloud, and Facebook. DJ Charly on Mixcloud, SoundCloud, and Facebook. DJ Byron Bonsall on Mixcloud, SoundCloud, and Facebook. Real Bad event on Facebook and ticket swap group for those looking for tickets and their website RealBad.org. If I couldn’t get into Real Bad, I’d probably make Magntiude on Saturday my ‘big event’ and then hang out with friends or whatevz until the Nocturnal afterhours started (below). Or some of the other Sunday night events:

Deviants Adult Arcade at Mezzanine, produced by Folsom Street Events featuring Derek Monteiro, DJ Lina, and Lovefingers

This is the official closing party of Folsom Street Fair. I’ve never gone to this one and don’t a lot of friends that do. Which honestly probably tells you more about me than this event. But looking at the photos of past Deviants parties it gets packed with a broad range of guys. LA producer Mario Diaz joins forces with Folsom Street Events at Mezzanine which is a space I always enjoy with a huge main dance area and cozy expansive lounge overlooking the floor. DJs are a good mix of house with out too much circuit in there – a little disco I suppose? Maybe the Burning Man crowd type sound? I might be talking out my ass. DJ Derek Monteiro on SoundCloud and Facebook. DJ Lina on Mixcloud and Facebook. Lovefingers on SoundCloud and Facebook. Not finding a lot of photos of the event, here’s some photos of Deviants from the Folsom Street Events Facebook page. More details on Facebook and on the Folsom Street Events site.

Monday, October 1st

You requested Monday off, right? I’d hope so. I’ve got the straight people on our team trained on the calendar: “Oh that September leather thing is this weekend right? That’s like that May thing in Chicago right? You’ll be off Monday then. Do you think I’d like the fair?” After Real Bad ends at 5am we’ll probably come home and rinse off and re-caffeinate and have some calories and then attempt to rally to go:

Nocturnal Extreme Afterhours at Halcyon, produced by Ky Martinez and Cecil Russell with DJ Paulo

I can’t think of a better way to close out the weekend, the night, and the morning than with the original “tribal bitch” DJ Paulo. Last year we came home after Real Bad to lie down for a quick break before going to Nocturnal but didn’t get up – I swear to God we’re getting there this year! Doors open at 3am and the event goes until 9am Monday morning. Our friends Ky and Cecil are producing and their events always draw a fantastic crowd that is a broad slice of the city’s denizens (leather, muscle, queens, queers, jocks, and all the rest). And at this time of the morning you need a good hard pounding like only Paulo can deliver. Again, we kinda like an afterhours because the guys that are there are there to dance. Expect this event to be packed as the prime time events let out. Honey Sound System’s event is right next door so everyone’s just going shuffle over to Nocturnal along with a short walk from Deviants at Mezzanine a few blocks away and Real Bad is just a quick car. I will say VIP tickets are worth it for Halcyon because there’s a nice lounge that sits behind the DJ and on the sides of the club opposite the bar so you’ll be able to escape the crowd but still enjoy the music. And with lighting and visuals designed by William Brown the production production design will be stellar. DJ Paulo on Mixcloud, SoundCloud, and Facebook. Nocturnal details on Facebook page for the event or on the GlossPresents.com site. And then on Monday afternoon everybody hits the bars and keeps drinking and calls it “recovery.”

Folsom Recovery at Lookout, with DJ Phil B

Bars will be packed the Monday after the weekend since no one wants to admit every good thing has to end. Lookout and Eagle seem like the most popular ones. Lookout especially. Local favorite DJ Phil B is on hand at Lookout to keep the party going as you try and delay thinking about your terrible life choices. Phil intimated that it’s one of his favorite parties he gets to spin each year and used hashtags #hotcock and #puredurt, so draw your own conclusions. DJ Phil B on Mixcloud, SoundCloud, and Facebook. One of my favorite of Phil’s mixes is Bay of Pigs 2015. No official event page yet but usually the high holy day Recovery events start at 1pm and go until 9pm. That lockable bathroom can get you in trouble.

Speaking of which – there’s also all the bars.

And along with all these hideous skirt conventions at specific clubs and venues, every bar will be packed to the gills with hot fuckers. If you wanted to do Folsom super-cheap? Friday night, bars. Saturday, Big Muscle ($20), bars. Sunday the fair ($10), then the bars. Buy a leather armband at Mr. S and go shirtless in jeans or shorts. Done and done. And a lot of the events above are expensive by the time you buy your ticket then pay for a Lyft or Uber or cab and clothes check and a few drinks and tipping plus if you’re going the enhanced route that’s a whole other effort and expense. Ain’t no shame in doing it the old fashioned way and gearing up and going to the bars to score some hot trade. Recommended bars in the Castro: 440 and Edge has a fair amount of the leather/bear contingent. The Mix and Midnight Sun are more mainstream-y feeling. Hi-Tops is more jock/clean-cut. Beaux I always feel super old (Cafe also skews younger). Recommended bars in SOMA: Powerhouse and The Eagle of course. Lots of guys we know also enjoy El Rio, Lone Star Saloon, Oasis, and The Stud. Or just stay home and wait for the hot horny eager men to spill out of the clubs and bars and start popping up on Scruff or Grindr or Recon ready for intense cuddling (it’s like a special hug two men do when they like each other very much).

Okay let’s do a run down of other important stuff:

Do you have to be into leather or fetish to attend and enjoy these events?

Not really. When we first moved to San Francisco ten years ago, we didn’t really get the leather thing at all. We’d lived in Chicago for ten years before that and had gone to the annual International Mister Leather convention but it didn’t really stick then. I found leather culture intimidating and overwhelming and was honestly pretty prudish back then. We’ve been back to IML since then, and we seem to have a lot more fun:
But here in SF, you’ll see at a few guys in leather at every event so it’s part of the city’s baseline temperature. For some people, leather is core to their identity and social circles. They carouse at leather bars and events and enjoy all the accoutrements of leathermen culture. (I’m including “leather” broadly to include fetish and kink though they are overlapping Venns, not complete circles). There’s a very consistent personal narrative a lot of these men and women experience that is something like: “I grew up knewing I was different. I came out gay/lesbian/queer. But I didn’t feel like I fit into the commuity. I found leather/fetish. And I felt welcomed and accepted.” Since that is not my personal experience – even though we go to these events and I’d say we are leather-adjacent and have a huge dufflebag of leather gear at home and hell I’m literally the model for Mr. S Leather’s newest harness – I don’t call myself a ‘real’ leatherman. For the rest of us it’s a self-dare to stretch your self-image and push your own boundaries. But if you find the culture off-putting you are definitely not going to have a good time – so don’t be a bitch about it – just leave. Not every thing is for every body. It’s okay to give it a whirl and say, “Wow. I tried it out and saw that and it was totally not my thing.”

Speaking of which, I’m looking fine as fuck, how can I preserve the moment?

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Daddies and their boy. Photo credit by @trevorottphoto

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Our friend Trevor Ott will be again doing his impromptu photo shoots on Sunday with the street fair as the backdrop. Trevor will be doing 15 minute photo shoots on Sunday. We did a shoot with him at both Folsom and in Chicago at IML (photo below) and had a great time. Full details on the Facebook event for his day of photo shoots.
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Andy 2018

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Do some people really wear just jockstraps at these parties? I don’t want to be the only one dressed like a whore.

Ron and I ready to gogo at one of Gage Lennox’s events. 
Yes. I like to call it fuckbot couture. Dressing like a sex object is pretty much par for the weekend and just-jock seems to be a particularly SF thing. Sometimes at other cities and on the gay cruises people go out in just a jockstrap, but SF seems to go full-bore-whore a little more regularly and with more intensity. Some guys will wear the full-on leather uniform out to the bars but that’s way too much clothing for a steamy, hot dance party. Most guys will enter the clubs with shirt/jacket, shorts/jeans, boots, harness, and a jockstrap underneath and many will check their shirt/jacket or shorts/jeans. You’ll want to have pockets to keep your ID, cash, mints, and such handy. Or if you have no pockets, wear long socks and stuff them in there. It gets humid too – my iPhone shorted out halfway through Real Bad a couple years ago. Had to put it in a bag of rice that night. For some parties, we aren’t sure if we’ll want to check clothes so we’ll dress with the intention that we can check shorts or jeans if we want to later on in the evening (or not). But peruse the photo galleries of the events for a sampling of the various options available. We’ve done couples’ matchy-matchy outfits before and planned things for the entire weekend but anymore I’d rather wear something comfortable I can move in. Or just put your shirt in your beltloop and keep your pants on. Otherwise you’ll lose it on the floor and have to walk back to the hotel like a hooker.

Are all these events just a bunch of white hairy guys only looking for other hairy white guys?

Sometimes these events have a tendency to be a bunch of big hairy white guys only interested in hanging out with other big hairy white guys (and gay-dom has some pretty shitty race politics in it sometimes and no it’s not just a preference). And that sucks for our brown, black, and/or smooth and/or non-huge brethren. The weekend’s events will have a pretty broad range in body type and ethnic mix. Chances are you’re “totally my type” for someone in the crowd. We always find the mixed couples anyway (easier to pre-qualify). That’s also in case there’s an emergency, we have to shepherd all the hot men of color out of the club quickly. Inked brown and black muscle is our nation’s most precious natural resource.

Don’t mix G and alcohol, you stupid fuck

Same warning as Dore: Don’t mix depressants and definitely do not mix alcohol with GHB or it’s pre-cursors GBL and BDO. If you mix alcohol and G, you’re basically telling your friends you’re a selfish piece of shit and you think it’s cute that others have to take care of you. We saw a guy ‘falling out’ (the more glam way to say overdosing) in a play room at a Dore party being attended to by EMTs. Nothing kills a play space like a guy who’s stopped breathing. They were trying to keep him awake. Know your milliliters. Poppers and Viagra are both vasodialators so together then can cause your blood pressure to drop dangerously low. Go slow. I won’t even talk about crystal meth. It has been tearing down the LGBT community and many small towns like the one I grew up in. If tina ever gets into our house it’s Grab the cat, walk out the door, marriage over. Handle your shit, ladies. So definitely:

Always thank the EMTs when you see them

I usually say, “Thanks for dealing with our bullshit.” They are there to make sure everyone has a great time and stays in the guard rails. If you see someone getting stumbly, ask if they’re okay. If you hug someone and they seem cold or have stopped sweating, ask if they feel dehydrated and need some water or sugary soda. If you know any of the producers of these parties you know that the (mostly straight) venue owners are very harsh when our community is a hot mess. We risk losing access to these spaces for gay events. If you are sober and out at these events, be sure you know local AA/etc. meetings so if you need support to stay on track, you’ve got it. Have a great time. Take care of yourself. Take care of others.

And thank security

I’ll always remember standing outside in line for a party and a (presumably straight) security guard looking inside the club and the wildness going on and remarking to me, “God-damn you boys can throw down!” And yeah there’s an extra bit (read: a lot) of permissiveness at these events that ideally is liberating but can also be dangerous and it takes a village to keep everyone safe. There’s a whole phalanx of security guards working at all the clubs all weekend and many of them are queer people that specifically want to work the events of Folsom weekend.  Like our girl Donna: (if you see her say hi)
These men and women have an incredible sense of ownership and protection of us as we head out for the evening. One memorable moment of Dore was a lesbian security guard (different than badass Donna above) outside the club who was inspecting bags and doing pat downs, saying to the guy in front of me, “Okay now you might have paraphernalia, I don’t want to see it. Management doesn’t want to see it. If you’re doing stuff just don’t do it on the dance floor. Ok?” And then as she patted me down, “Gotta take care of my community. I love my girls – and my boys. Have a good night!” It’s easy to forget all the people putting aside their own chance at a fun weekend so they can take care of their people.

Get off your goddamn phone

A friend at Dore spent half the night at one club checking his phone for updates from this guy he wanted to hookup with. He had a street address, but no apartment number and we said there’s no fucking way you’re leaving the club to go stand on the street at this time of night for some trick. He’s literally surrounded by hundreds of beautiful horny down-to-fuck men and he’s staring at his fucking phone.
Checking woofs during the Real Bad poster shoot.
If you’re doing extended texting, step to the side of the dance floor and continue. And turn your screen brightness down. It’s obnoxious.

No really, get off your fucking phone

Just wanted to say it a second time.
It’s not a creep shot if it’s youre husband, right?
Meaning:

Be where you are

I’m prone to getting annoyed if the music isn’t perfect or people are bumping into me and just burning the entire evening down and going home and Xanax-ing myself to sleep. If you and your partner bicker or have an argument, stop. Talk about it next week. Stop waiting for that guy that said he’d be at the place at that time that wanted to meet up or breed you or get your load. Stop chasing that porn star (he’s probably booked all weekend making videos for his OnlyFans page and wants you to participate for free). Remember daddy Aaron’s only Folsom rule:
Be where you are. Here and now. Don’t make this a make or break weekend for anything or anyone. It is what it is. Enjoy it.

No life decisions the week after a party

Until there is at least a glimmer of hope in those dead cow eyes, don’t get together or break up or get married or close things or open things or move out or move in or quit a job or start a job. I’m usually a dessicated husk until at least Thursday night. Around Wednesday while I’m at work is when Ron usually texts me, “We really have to stop doing this.”

How to find the bears

Tip: If you are looking for the bears at any club, find the big industrial fans. There’s literally a ‘bear corner’ at 1015 Folsom because that’s where the big fans always are. The big boys overheat easily so they’re usually near the fans, or they have actual fans, or are near the A/C vents.

What’s with the colors and armbands?

When finding gay sex and companionship was more difficult and dangerous, gay men developed the ‘hanky code’ where you’d wear a specific color of handkerchief to signal what you were into and what you were looking for. The color communicated fetish/activity and the back pocket would tell you your role. Left side, top. Right side, bottom. Both sides, vers. This has been carried forth in the colors of harnesses and armbands you see out and about. But sometimes yellow is a signal (watersports) and sometimes you just want to wear yellow. I had on a snazzy yellow Cellblock13 jock at a party and had a guy say, “Hey, I can piss on you if you want!” and I countered, “It’s more of a sartorial choice.” It’s a fun retro part of the culture we’ve carried through to today. Here’s a full rundown of the hanky code colors in probably one of the oldest web pages you’ll ever read these days.

Everyone secretly hates your fan clacking

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And the fan for Saturday night revels. #dorealley #upyouralley

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The fan thing has taken off the past few years and there’s nothing I love more than seeing a big burly boy queening out over one of Ron’s (many) fans. But don’t clack them to the beat with that sharp sound that feels like an icepick behind your right eye. Everyone is secretly hating on you for doing that and wants to choke you down to the ground. If you want to hear some some expert clacking, Ron provided the clacking sound effects for DJ Jack Chang’s mix of Alan Capetillo’s song “I’m Tired.”

Buy multiple drinks at a time.

Bars will be busy and/or short staffed. If you are buying Gatorade for 3 friends, grab six. If you are buying cocktails, buy double, chug one and sip the other. Hell, grab 8 Gatorades and hand a couple to guys as you pass on the dance floor. They will act like you’ve given them nectar of the gods. And pay cash if you can. Credit cards slow everyone down. Most venues have an ATM but go into the venue with cash. We usually try to have $80 on us for the night. Break your twenties so you can tip.

Assume clothes check will be a disaster everywhere

Given the minimal attire of patrons to most of these events, coat/clothes check will probably move at a glacial pace no matter where you go. We usually bring one of our gym bags and put everything in there (and put phones and wallets in obvious pockets so we can find them quickly for the keys-phone-wallet! check as you leave the club). That way if our stuff gets misplaced or mis-tagged we can say, “Look for the bright red Timbuktu backpack. I can see it right there!”

Get tested the week after (and two weeks before)

A circuit party is a Petri dish with a bass line. A lot of people have a lot of sex with a lot of people during Folsom weekend so there’s a possibility you might get a bug – even if you’re the most careful condom user ever-ever. Go to your GP or local clinic to get tested for the full palette of STIs. Keep in mind you can have gonorrhea, syphillis, or chlamydia and not show any obvious symptoms for a while. And even if you’re a “total top” doesn’t really mean anything since infections can spread between oral, anal, and genital regions regardless of who is fucking who. Notify the other people you had sex with if you have their contact info. It’s common courtesy and comes with the territory in our high-volume-hookup sex-as-a-hobby culture. If you’re really an ethical slut, get tested two weeks early just in case you’ve got some critters. That way if you come back with something, you’ve had enough time to complete a full course of antibiotics (usually 7-10 days). Nobody wants to spend Folsom in sex jail (which you would think sounds hot, but no it is not). And of course, get tested for HIV. And if you test positive for HIV, go into treatment immediately. It is much easier these days to get down to undetectable levels and manage your health properly. Undetectable is untransmittable, meaning a positive person on meds whose viral load is undetectable by conventional testing carries the same risk of transmission as someone that is HIV negative. It sounds too good to be true, but research looking at over 70k condomless sexual encounters between couples with one HIV negative partner and a HIV positive but undetectable partner resulted in zero new infections. If you don’t know these stats you’re not doing your due diligence in staying informed as a sexually active gay man. Get your shit together. A lot of guys will also be cleaning out for the weekend in the event that they bottom. Here’s a guide (still don’t agree with the stomping). Pack the shower shot – and don’t forget the wrench! If we’re dancing and I smell a waft, we gotta vacate the surroundings.

If you are HIV-, get on PrEP

If you are HIV negative, consider getting on PrEP. It doesn’t protect against other STIs but the risk of HIV transmission is statistically approaching that of condoms. Again, one of those medical breakthroughs that sounds too good to be true but actually is what it is. We have the power to stop HIV in it’s tracks in this generation and we’re stupid if we don’t take advantage of this technology. And remember, you have to take PrEP consistently for seven days to reach maximum efficacy. And if you are not on PrEP and have unprotected sex and think you might be at risk for HIV, go to the PeP protocol which is for after a possible exposure. Be clear about condom use (or not) when agreeing to meet or hookup so no one feels pressured to make choices not aligned with their habits. And if you take Metamucil or other fiber supplements to be bottom-ready, do not take them at the same time as your PrEP or other meds. Fiber supplements will soak up the meds in your digestive system and prevent them from getting into your blood stream.

I’m too fat, too thin, too short, too tall, too young, too old to go…

Too old? The only difference these days is we take ibuprofen before we head out for the night. You will see some guys who are so roided up they are practically parodies of masculinity galloping like water buffalo across the dance floor (and probably should have a dialysis machine on their armband). Some of these guys have their ass sticking out so far you’d think you’re at a pelvic tilt convention. You’ll see beanpole guys who are skin and bones (and guys going nuts over them, too). All shapes, all sizes, and ages ready to have a great time. You should go. Let’s be honest, both US straight mainstream culture and the queer/gay minority culture is co-opted by marketers to tell us we never have enough, do enough, or are enough so not hating the way you look all the time is triumph of the human spirit. Go have fun and fuck all the rest of it. No guy is too hot to go up and talk to. And if he thinks he is, he’s probably a terrible fuck. And a bad kisser. Which really is a crime against God. Well, shit I guess that’s about all I’ve got to say about that.

Can I go to these events if I’m a straight man or a woman?

Yes you can. Keep in mind though: Most of the events I’ve detailed above are intended for and produced by gay men seeking to meet and dance and whatever with other gay men. You are not the target audience here. It’s our space – it’s great you feel safe here, too – but we built this. There’s several lesbian and straight women that are a big part of the community out here and join us for many of the parties as patrons and producers and talent. And they know the events that are more play-oriented aren’t really for them and sure they could go into a back room and look around, but turning someone’s sexuality into a tourist attraction is tacky and gross. You will probably see public sex between men at the fair or on the dance floor or in a bathroom or in a lounge or in an alley way. Enjoy watching or just turn 180 degrees and voila! it doesn’t even exist anymore. I’ll keep searching for lesbian events for Folsom too so I’ll add them here. Don’t want our Sapphic sistren to feel left out.

All these goddamn events are sold out

You waited too long. In this town, we buy our tickets early (and much cheaper first-tier pricing). If you are looking for tickets for a particular event, post as such on the Facebook page for the event. Mark yourself as Going for the event so you’ll get alerts if someone posts on that event page they have a ticket available. As the weekend approaches, people decide which ones they are or aren’t going to and will sell their tickets.

What if I have tickets I don’t need?

The opposite of above, post on the event page to see if others are interested in buying your tickets. And don’t scalp, that’s some hetero asshole bullshit, right there.

I’m sure I’ve forgotten some events, let me know

No slight to producers or DJs if I’ve missed one (and I didn’t even do shoutouts to all the lighting, sound, video, laser, and environment designers and special peformers).

Finally: Fucking dance.

I try to remind myself it hasn’t been that long ago that police would invade gay bars to stop men for simply dancing together. It is easy to take the level of relative safety we enjoy now for granted. And many queer groups in many countries and cities are still not completely safe. Hell is anybody completely safe? Dance for yourself. Dance for your friends. Dance for your community. Dance for those never got to have the man or woman of their dreams in their arms. Dance for those that are no longer with us and dance for those that are still here. Dance for Pulse in Orlando, for the Upstairs Lounge in New Orleans, and for all the rest who died or were injured while simply trying to have a fun night out. Dance for the queens, the queers, the faggots, the fairies, the leathermen, the bulldykes, and all the other outlaws who said no seriously fuck this shit and risked their lives and their careers and their families and put it all on the line. You have the luxury of living right here, right now, because so many people fought for it. Dance for those that live in countries where they would kill us for simply holding hands. Dance for the closeted queer kids stuck in backwards boondock burgs or dangerous families.

See you on the dance floor, gentlemen

And ladies, and everyone else in and around. It was incredibly rewarding to have guys come up to me at every Dore party this year and say that they read my guide and found it useful. So, if you see us on the dance floor say hello. Look for the complimentary polynesian sleeve tattoos (see photo) on the sexy Filipino muscle daddy with the huge smile dancing with abandon and probably sporting a majestic fan (Ron) and the semi-serious inked bearded white muscle daddy wolf trying to keep up with him (me).

Thanks for reading – please share!

Andy with editing/etc. from Ron You can follow my writing on Facebook, Twitter, and enjoy our chronic shirtlessness and fear of aging on my Instagram (andymaticgram), but actually Ron posts better photos and gets all my likes on his Instagram (ronamatic). If you want even more reading in this vein, you can read my 2017 guides for Dore (here’s 2018’s) and Folsom or my recaps of Dore 2016 and Folsom 2014. Or read about that time I turned 40 or when we got married. And if you’re really retro, there’s the old fashioned RSS feed.

Up Your Alley/Dore Weekend Party Guide 2018

Looking for this year’s Dore guide? Right here, stud.

I had a great response to last year’s guide for Dore and Folsom, so figured what the hell let’s make this a thing. (Last year I billed it as a “modest Midwesterner’s guide” since I always joke that SF has eroded my Midwest modesty, but not my Hooiser humility.)

Up Your Alley? Dore? Dore Alley?

Yes, the actual weekend is called Up Your Alley fair weekend. Most people just call it “Dore” for the street intersection it’s oriented around, Dore and Folsom.

Proper usage:

  • “Are you and the pups coming for Dore?”
  • “Which parties are you and your Sir going to for Dore?”
  • “Will you and your husband be playing separate for Up Your Alley weekend?”
  • “Are you ready to hoe it up for Up Your Allley?”

The weekend of events is centered around the Up Your Alley street fair produced by Folsom Street Events which is a street fair that celebrates gay kink and leather culture. The fair is similar to the Folsom Street Fair in September (and produced by the same organization), but is usually described as a bit kinkier/nastier and with more locals (and fewer tourists who are more into gawking/guffawing and not participating). But there’s a lot more there there than just the fair .

First: Know Your History

From Dore Alley Street Fair, a history lesson: “The Up Your Alley Fair, wasn’t originally on Dore Alley, and it wasn’t originally ‘Folsom Street Fair’s dirty little brother’. In fact, the two fairs were originally completely unrelated to one another. The first Folsom Street Fairs were celebrations of SoMa’s neighborhood diversity whereas Up Your Alley was a celebration specifically of the gay leather community.” Read the full article…

Here’s a list of many of the events of the weekend. Keep in mind this is just one guy’s opinion on what to do and where to go. I’m not a big kinkster. I don’t think. But like we know people that are for-real into this stuff much more intensely and I’m like, “Yeah I’m more like a Brooke and Megan of BDSM.” Be sure to ask other friends and acquaintances for their must-do events if this is your first Dore weekend.

I’ve included links to photo galleries for most of the events so you can get a sense for what the crowd will be like and what to wear.

Thursday, July 26th

Ambush at Underground SF, presented by Mister Drummer ’79 with DJs Mozghan and Matthew Paul

Let’s turn back the clock on Dore Thursday as Mister Drummer 1979 recreates one of the cities most famous watering holes. The Ambush, an SF gay bar open from 1973 to 1986 was a favorite hangout for many SF leathermen and bikers. The bar’s patrons were known for a relaxed and rugged style that included flannel shirts and Levi’s which would become part of bear identity and culture. For a time, the bar even marketed their own brand of poppers that was described as smelling “like a strange mixture of battery acid and vegetable shortening.” The building housed a marijuana smoke-filled bar on the first floor and a cafe and shop on the upper floors.  Over the years, the Ambush became known for its kinky art shows, state-of-the-art soundsystem, sex in the bathroom, and LSD. All of this was writ-large by the artistry of Chuck Arnett, whose heavy logo and artwork for the Ambush underscored the legend of this long-lost queer space. The Ambush party promises to return to that ambience of yore.

Full details on the Facebook event page and I couldn’t find photos from previous years’ events but Mr Drummer ’79’s Instagram probably evokes the vibe you can expect.

Friday, July 27th

Did you go to work? I’ll probably go to work on Friday. Maybe Monday off? My old boss always knew when I switched to protein shakes for the week that I’ll probably need Monday off.

Beta at Club Six, presented by Fog City Pack with DJs Clark Price, Charley Ten, Michael Romano, Brian Rojas, Astro, and Fawks

The pups from the Fog City Pack are bringing the Empire Strikes Back/The Two Towers of their annual three-party trilogy that starts with the Alpha party and ends with Omega and in the middle – for Dore – the notorious Beta party Club Six. They’ve commandeered both the ground floor and the seedy basement for your evening’s adventures. Music is kinda steady deep house with a delightfully sordid and sleazy vibe. Make it hoe, but fashion, but probably more hoe.

Full details on the Facebook event page and the Fog City Pack’s page has a photo gallery of last year’s Beta event and past Pack events.

Prime Daddy Alley at The Great Northern, presented by TrophyDad with DJ Neon

Meanwhile at The Great Northern (the art deco remodel of the old Mighty space with a crystal clear sound system and exposed brick loveliness) TrophyDad‘s Prime party will be hosting a gaggle of gogos over 50 with a party dedicated to “men in their prime and their admirers.” If you’re feeling the need to work out some daddy issues (or work over some boys), this will be the place to be. The crowd includes lots of guys you usually don’t see out and about and the music will be prime time circuit with celebratory vocals and lots of classics with a modern remix with resident DJ Neon the Glowgobear. And he mixes in the older classics for geriatrics like us.

Full details on the Facebook event page and here’s a photo gallery of last year’s Dore Prime event and you can see more galleries on the TrophyDad Facebook page.

Hogwild at Oasis, presented by Folsom Street Events and Recon with DJ Mark O’Brien

An official Up Your Alley event and the weekend kickoff, Hogwild promise an old school kind of leather party and bringing back the heyday of leather, so wear your uniforms and old school gear and as they says, “Get in gear and get off your phone, or stay home.” Local favorite DJ Mark O’Brien will spin sleazy beats and sweaty horny gogos will work everyone into a frenzy. If the line is like anything it was for opening party of Folsom, go early.

Details on the Folsom Street Events website and the Facbeook page for the event and photo gallery.

Bearracuda Dirty Dore at Folsom Foundry, presented by Bearracuda and Brian Kent Productions with DJs Kam Shafaati and Paul Goodyear

And if you’re into the big boys and/or a big boy yourself, the Bearracuda crew is back with their Dirty Dore underwear party at warehouse space Folsom Foundry. Our local BFF Brian Kent and producer Matt Bearracuda are back with Bearracuda’s trademark winning formula of thick boys and deep bass, provided by DJs Kam Shafaati and Paul Goodyear.

Details on the Bearracuda website, the Facebook page for the event and here’s a photo gallery from last year’s event.

Saturday, July 28th

Put on some eye cream and a ballcap to hide the crow’s feet. Maybe pancakes? I don’t know. Sam’s Diner has tater tots. I might have to have bacon, eggs, and tater tots.

The Dore Party at Mr. S Leather

Less of a party-party than everyone’s shopping at Mr. S Leather anyway so let’s have drinks and gogos and everyone cruises each other while they try on new gear to wear while they paint the town. I think this is the party where I had a panic attack trying on a metal cockring since the dressing rooms were all taken and I’m trying to shove my boys into the ring while a gathering crowd starts to watch, eventually muttering “Goddammit, we’ll just buy it!” and went to the cash register. Anyway, fun times, hot guys, booze, drinks, gogos, pounding bass, dirty movies playing on the in-store displays. Note: If you are getting the SF early in the week, you might go to Mr S sooner than later. They can usually do alterations in-store, while you wait if it isn’t too busy or you can come back an hour later. Once the weekend is in full swing, it might be a longer wait and they might run out of what you’re looking for.

If you’re coming from out of town, you can shop online on the website to get a sense for what you might like to try on once you’re onsite. You might even see some familiar faces modeling some of the harnesses.

Full details on the Facebook page for the event.

Flagging in the Park at the National AIDS Memorial Grove, produced by Xavier Caylor with DJ Randy Bettis

There’s not much more San-Francisco-y things to do in San Francisco than Flagging in the Park, a monthly event that comes to us during the spring and summer months. It’s one of those things that once you know about it, you’ll wish you’d known about it sooner. Featuring a sunny pleasant afternoon of some of city’s top DJs spinning bright happy vocals while dozens of people engage in flagging, poi spinning, and other visually enchanting “flow arts.” Bring a blanket, sunscreen, some snacks, and a couple bottles of champagne (or other transformative substance) and enjoy the music and the colors – and even take a try at flagging yourself with helpful folks on hand to show you how. DJ Randy Bettis is spinning the July event and there’ll be a few shundred people out the National AIDS Memorial Grove, a lush verdant meadow in Golden Gate Park. This is a free event but donations are encouraged to help with the upkeep and maintenance of the Grove, ” a dedicated space in the national landscape where millions of Americans touched directly or indirectly by AIDS can gather to heal, hope, and remember.”

For more information about Flagging in the Park join the FitP Facebook group or the Facebook event page for the Flagging in the Park July event.

Big Muscle Party at DNA Lounge, hosted by Bare Chest Calendar with DJs Paul Goodyear and Steve Fabus

Do people still go on the BigMuscle site itself? That all seems retro from the Gay.com/RealJock and Yahoo! Personals era. Everyone still calls this and the Folsom iteration a “meet and greet.” It isn’t gregarious massive men sharing cocktails and chit-chatting and shaking hands. It’s a club packed full with some of the hottest guys you’ve ever seen in your life ready for dancing and flirting and yes I suppose some conversation. Local charity Bare Chest Calendar is hosting and you’ll get to meet this years dirty dozen of hot men featured in their annual calendar benefitting PRC, a Bay Area orgnanization that for decades has been helping those affected by HIV/AIDS, substance use, or mental health issues. Music is tea dance-y. It’ll be bright outside and dark as night indoors so it’ll take you a bit to see once you’re in the club. Usually the hottest crowd of Dore or Folsom weekend. And some of the guys are yooooge! Like water buffalo galloping across the dance floor. Usually $15-$20 donation at the door but advance tickets available on the DNA lounge site.

Details on the Facebook event page for Big Muscle Dore Edition and here’s photos from the photo booth at last year’s Dore event and photo from the Folsom event last year.

Brut at The Great Northern, produced by Brut Party and Brian Kent with resident DJs Dan Darlington and DJ Peter Napoli

We always have a fantastic/notorious time at Brut parties and it attracts a deliriously sexy crowd of horned up men clad in their best gear, ready for a night of dancing and carousing. Resident DJs Dan Darlington and Peter Napoli spin Brut’s restless, aggressive, writhing mix of music, muscle, and leather. The party will be at The Great Northern with the high ceilings and and guaranteed low inhibitions.

Details on the Facebook event page for Brut Dore and gallery of photos from last year’s Folsom Brut event to give you a flavor for the crowd.

Bay of Pigs at Public Works, presented by Folsom Street Events with DJs Jack Chang, Brian Novy, and Jordee

The big official party of the weekend is the most cleverly and tastelessly named circuit party ever: Bay of Pigs. Slight scandal last year when it was announced the event would not have the usual fully outfitted dungeon/play area (bigger SF venues aren’t willing to risk their liquor license blah blah techies ruin everything blah blah). 1,000 fit muscle pigs, hot daddies, and hairy bears dance to our favorite-est DJ ever-ever the infamous DJ Jack Chang with DJ Brian Novy starting off the night and in the Loft space on the second floor, music by DJ Jordee.

Full details on the website and the Facebook page for the event and a gallery from last year’s event.

Marginally Talented Show at Counterpulse, presented by the SF Girls of Leather

Alright! Found something for the ladies! The San Francisco girls of Leather bring you the first ever Marginally Talented Show. It’s a talent show and/or pageant! where everyone who attends gets a tiara, the winner gets a sash and crown. Cheap cocktails and snacks and other delights.

Full details on the Facebook page for the event.

(But I mean seriously you better hope the gays don’t find out about the tiaras!)

Friendly Fire at Danzhaus, produced by Gage Lennox with DJs Marek and Salazar

And then there’s Friendly Fire, an event pitched to your favorite handyman, celebrating their one-year anniversary. This event takes place at a dance studio re-tooled to be a dance floor and back lounge on the main floor and then up a set of stairs, an activity room. If this is your kinda thing, add Gage as a friend and then join their private Facebook group.

Full details on the Facebook event page for Friendly Fire Dore.

Onyx’s Dore Alley Invasion Weekend at Powerhouse, presented by Onyx Northwest

Onyx Northwest invades Dore Alley and our favorite dive-bar Powerhouse with their Invasion event featuring sexy kinksters and leathermen of color with geared up gogos, fetish demos and more – all for charity.

Onyx NW has a whole set of events for men of color and their admirers throughout the weekend, so be sure to read the full event description on the Facebook page for the event.

Sneaks at Club Six, produced by Polyglamorous with DJs Keenan Orr, StrikeStone, and Chuck Gunn

Polyglamorous’ notorious sneaker fetish party returns for their Dore edition. Dress code is enforced so you must wear sneakers (no jeans, no slacks) and sports attire is encouraged (jockstraps, singlets, gym shorts, etc.).

Details on the Facebook page for the event and I’m not easily finding any photo galleries from past Sneaks events.

Code at Edge presented by Erick Lopez with DJ Sean McMahon

Spend your Saturday night at the Castro’s only monthly leather party as they celebrate Dore weekend with the pups! Come on over to The Edge and get your puppy on (bring snacks) and enjoy geared up gogos and cruisy beats from resident DJ Sean McMahon. Clothes and coat check provided if you want to strip down.

Full details on the Facebook page for the Code event.

Ritual After Hours at 1015 Folsom, produced by Real Bad with DJ Juanma Escdudero

This is the first year for this event but it’s produced by the Real Bad organization that will celebrate 30 years of “activism with a beat” this September with their Folsom closing party. Ritual will be in one of the city’s top dance temples, 1015 Folsom, with last year’s Real Bad DJ Juanma Escudero coming back to spin the complete event that lasts well into the morning. This party starts at 3:30am Saturday night/Sunday morning (before the fair) and goes well past sunrise. Proceeds to benefit the Grass Roots Gay Rights Foundation.

Real Bad events always have the friendliest, warmest crowd.

Full details on the Real Bad website or the Facebook page for the Ritual event. No photo galleries yet since this is the first year for Ritual but here’s photos from last year’s Real Bad events.

Sunday, July 29th

Shower off the shame, skanks. We’re not done. No seriously. Stank ain’t musk, ladies. Some of you fuckers need to rinse off.

Up Your Alley Street Fair, produced by Folsom Street Events

There’s the fair obviously. We’ll probably go for a bit. It’s funny how it seems kinda normalized anymore for us to go to a street fair and see a guy chained to a telephone pole being whipped or a domme in a carriage being pulled by a quarter of human ponies or shirtless women being flogged to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” Like Folsom, the fair encapsulates the crazy kinky libertine spirit of San Francisco – and with Up Your Alley it’s much grittier and more queer/gay than Folsom Street Fair. You will see people dressed in their favorite fetish attire. Some of these kinksters wait all year for events like this so strut their stuff and fly their freak flag. If you don’t like it or roll your eyes at people or can’t delight in seeing perverts celebrate their perversions, don’t be a twat about it. Get the fuck out of there and go to Woodfield Mall. Not everything is for everybody.

White people/Wypipo: BRING SUNBLOCK. Or there’s usually super hot sexy tattooed EMTs with sunblock at the first aid tents. [fans self]

Full details on the Folsom Street Events website or the Facebook event page for the event.

Rough at Mezzanine, produced by Folsom Street Events with DJs Russ Rich and Casey Alva

In it’s third year, Rough is the weekend’s official closing party and is back at the Mezzanine space (just a few blocks from the fair, you won’t even need to put on pants). It’s starts at 6pm for those that work on Monday (but goes until 2am for those that don’t). Mix will have more vocals and feel more relaxed and not be too dark or gritty as 1,000 sweaty men (and a few women) dance the evening away. LA’s DJ Casey Alva opens and local favorite DJ Russ Rich continues the evening. We always enjoy Russ and usually Ron and I end up down front in front of him dancing and laughing at each new song he drops.

More details on the Folsom Street Events site or the Facebook event page for Rough. Gallery of photos from last year’s Rough.

Berlin produced by Rude Circuit with DJs GSP and Mohammad

The folks at Rude Circuit are launching their first party with Berlin, a closing party for the weekend at Halcyon (the former Beatbox space, with a fantastic interior upgrade and great sound system). This event benefits the Queens of Castro, a 501(c)(3) organization serving LGBT high school youth in San Francisco. Our bestie, local sexy/cute-pie DJ Mohammad opens the night with his signature hard, pounding sound and then DJ GSP (London/Greece) continues the night with even deeper beats to keep you going. Billed as “a space to let our inhibitions die and turn it all night” and inspired by “the sweaty, piss filled pigs who bear no shame in expressing their queerness.

More details on the Rude Circuit site or the Facebook event page for Berlin.

Freedom Music Festival at Folsom Foundry, hosted by Pigs N Wigs with Cazwell

Close Dore off with “a dose of  your Dore Alley Sunday off with a dose of DJs, dancing and dope performances” at the Folsom Foundry as Pigs N Wigs presents the hottest queer clubs acts around, including Cazwell, MC Crumbsnatcher, Treble, Muenca, and local besties Bebe Sweetbriar and Sister Roma. DJ sets from DJs  Gehno Aviance, Adam Kraft, Justime and a the Foundry’s full kitchen open and serving food well into the night.

More details on the Facebook page for the Freedom Music Festival event.

Harder at The Stud, produced by Ricardo Tavares with DJs Juan Garcia, Eric Bloom, and Mike ETC

NYC producer Ricardo Tavares brings his Harder party back in town, holding forth at the The Stud. This seems to be the event that runs the latest – until 4am. Rough and Berlin are scheduled to close at 2am. So if you’re out and about and still want to rage, this will be the place to be (or just start here at 9pm and stay all night).

Full details on the Facebook page for the Harder event and photo galleries on the Harder page.

That’s About All of It I Think

Why is everybody’s dick bigger? Higher temperatures are giving men summer penises where the dick hangs farther away from body looking better/bigger. Would the Daily Mail ever lie? Article: Soaring temperatures are giving men ‘summer penises.’

For our straight friends and women: I’d probably recommend the fair of course, Rough or Prime since the mix will be lighter but driving. Big Muscle feels more relaxed but is almost entirely men. Those events are not as overly overt. There’s a few die-hard straight women and some of our sapphic sistren that always come out to enjoy all the festivities.

Clothes check is a bitch and will piss you off: Given the minimal attire of patrons to most of these events, coat/clothes check will probably be a complete bitch anywhere you go. We usually bring one of our gym bags and put everything in there (and put phones and wallets in obvious pockets so we can find them quickly as we’re leaving instead of panicking and bickering at each other in public). So if it gets misplaced or mis-tagged we can say, “Look for the bright red Timbuktu bag.” Which also means:

Lines to get in to venues can be long: So if you’re going to get elevated or enhanced you might wait until you’re inside the venue so you aren’t fucked up standing in line hoping people aren’t staring at you because you saw the face of God in a fire hydrant.

Don’t mix G and alcohol, you stupid fuck: Don’t mix depressants and definitely do not mix alcohol with GHB or it’s pre-cursors GBL and BDO. If you mix alcohol and G, you’re basically telling your friends you’re a selfish piece of shit and you think it’s cute that others have to take care of you. So definitely:

Always thank the EMTs when you see them: They are there to make sure everyone has a great time and stays in the guard rails. I usually say, “Thanks for dealing with our bullshit.” If you see someone getting stumbly, ask if they’re okay. If you know any of the producers or staff of these parties you know the venues (mostly owned by straight businesses) can be very harsh when our community is a hot fucking mess. Have a great time. Take care of yourself. Take care of others.

I’m sure I’ve forgotten some events: No slight to producers or DJs if I’ve missed one (and I didn’t even do shoutouts to lighting, video, laser, and environment designers).

See You on the Dance Floor, Gentlemen

And ladies, and everyone else in and around. If you see us on the dance floor say hello. Look for the complimentary polynesian sleeve tattoos (see photo at right) on the sexy Filipino muscle daddy with the huge smile dancing with abandon (Ron) and the semi-serious inked bearded white muscle daddy wolf trying to keep up with him (me).

Thanks for reading – please share!

Andy with editing/etc. from Ron

You can follow my writing on Facebook, Twitter, and enjoy our chronic shirtlessness and fear of aging on my Instagram (andymaticgram), but actually Ron posts better photos and gets all my likes (ronamatic).

And if you’re a really retro there’s the old fashioned RSS feed . If you want even more reading in this vein, you can read my 2017 guides for Dore and Folsom or my recaps of Dore 2016 and Folsom 2014.

Children Suffering Is the Whole Point

From Reddit:

“There’s an element to this that people really need to get

“The suffering of these children isn’t an unfortunate accident. It’s not a temporary bump in the road because something didn’t get funded, it’s not a weird outcome of some other idea that nobody saw coming. It’s not one of those weird things you hear about where nobody is really in charge, and is just taking a strangely long time to get fixed. It’s not even like those horrifying things you’d hear about governments of old doing, where they’d take kids away from natives to re-educate them. At least back them, the government was merely indifferent to the suffering of those children.

“But we’re in a whole different moral ballgame now.

“The suffering of these children isn’t a byproduct, it’s the point.

“The Trump administration has been trying to pin this on the Democrats, claiming that it’s something nobody wanted and making sad, sad noises over the whole thing. This is horseshit, because leaked notes show that this is something they were planning right after Trump got sworn in as a “deterrent.”

“Everybody needs to pause and let every implication of that sink in, and I mean really sink in. The wails of these frightened children aren’t because of some unfortunate oversight or some unexpected externality, it’s the desired outcome of a deliberate policy choice. Remember, it’s a “deterrent.” They want to scare families away. The policy completely fails if children are not shaking, terrified and screaming.

“What’s all the more flabbergasting is that none of this was even remotely necessary. There’s no crisis that necessitates such a draconian policy – illegal immigration has fallen since 2009. Not only that, but a lot of these kids aren’t even one of those scary “illegal immigrants” at all. Families are willingly presenting themselves to border authorities to freely announce that they’re seeking asylum, only to have their children stripped away from them:

So the idea of zero tolerance under the stated policy is that we don’t care why you’re afraid. We don’t care if it’s religion, political, gangs, anything. For all asylum seekers, you are going to be put in jail, in a detention center, and you’re going to have your children taken away from you.

“The little girl wailing in this picture isn’t from some skeezy band of gangsters trying to tunnel under and steal all the glorious fruit-picking jobs, she’s with a family fleeing horrific violence, seeking asylum and protection from what one presumes is a great nation.

“This is an important point, and one that bears repeating – this is a policy of deterrence which is being directed at asylum seekers. Okay, sure, let’s say that there’s a lot of people to process, and that can be difficult. If they government worried about the number of people they have to process, the Trump administration could simply throw up a few more shelters or hire a few more bureaucrats to work through the paperwork. Hell, the country ain’t even close to broke – Trump is always talking about the “booming economy” and just recently proposed a militarized “space force” whose price tag is sure to be unfathomable.

“But instead of doing this, they instead decided that it would be cheaper to make little children suffer, in the hopes that the sound of their screams might be broadcast into lawless lands and act as a deterrent upon people considering whether to flee to safety. And even this, the presumption that it’s all about money, is the charitable interpretation of their actions, given the President and his staff’s noted distaste for the nonwhite world.

“But regardless of their exact motivation, they are the government which represents all Americans, and that’s a country which now gets to wake up, look in the mirror and say “Today, our choice was to make children suffer.

Full discussion/context.

Dear “Oppressed” Trump Supporters

From a Reddit thread:

“I love this, native Americans had their lives systematically destroyed for no reason other than their land, Jews were rounded up and mass murdered because they had different beliefs, blacks were made into slaves over the color of their skin then upon being released to this day still have a stigma against them, homosexuals couldn’t come out without risking being beaten or murdered over something they couldn’t control nor change, transexuals have been made out to all be pedophiles for wanting to use the gender appropriate bathrooms after a full transition, North Koreans live under a violent deranged dictator who gets his kicks by threatening to throw the world into a nuclear apocalypse, Chinese citizens live under extreme censorship without so much as the ability to access the full internet, Japanese citizens were rounded up and thrown into camps in the country they lived in just because of their ethnicity, Mexican children within the US are forced to represent themselves in court at an age where they can’t even read, yet are told they can simply be taught immigration law so they can defend themselves, blacks to this day are shot in cold blood by the police over thinly vieled racism and their murderers face the horrible punishment of paid vacation and reassignment

“Yet here we are, with the trumpeteers, who love calling everyone “triggered snowflakes” yet get their jimmies in a bunch over football players kneeling to protest police violence, trying to convince everyone that they are the most opposed group, because they support a racist, misogynistic, idiotic, xenophobic, flaming pile of garbage and make the compelling arguments for supporting these shitbags as “b…but both sides?!!” Trying to convince themselves that they are the most oppressed group in the world, as they support a man who loves nothing more than oppressing minorities and selling out this country for a quick buck

“I wonder why the reasonable level headed people hate you, because you sold out your own fucking home for some shitbag president in the name of “triggering libtards”

“You shot yourselves in the foot to make sure the gun worked before shooting this country in the heart and delivering a nearly fatal blow

“You continue to relentlessly and blindly support a man alienating us from the world, destroying relationships with long time allies over what can be equated to “I didn’t get my way so fuck you”

“And you continue to support a man hell-bent on exploiting this country for every dime it’s worth, while trying to shut down an investigation into treasonous acts quite possibly committed by the president of these United States, citing “it’s a massive waste of money” when the entire investigation has cost less than Trump has spent golfing on his own fucking course (a world record of wasted money by the way, by an incredibly wide margin, something that Trump and all of you bashed Obama for using a fraction of the amount) and very likely will uncover the biggest scandal this country has ever seen

“Trump is your revenge for Obama, he’s not your leader, he’s not making this country better, he’s not good at his job, he wasn’t even good at his previous jobs. Trump is nothing more than a republican “fuck you” for the Obama administration, and even he realizes this and has made it clear he’s hell-bent on destroying Obama’s work regardless of if it’s universally believed to be good or not

“You turned the running of this country into a fucking sport, where it’s “stand by your team no matter what” and you drafted the biggest disaster the game has ever seen, you’ve actively attempted to destroy this country in the name of upsetting the other side, and now you cry about opression when you’re in the staggering minority who still refuses to open their fucking eyes and realize what a massive mistake you’ve made, who refuses to see just how much you’ve hurt this country you claim so much to love, how you sold out yourself, your family, your friends, your enemies, and every Ally who supports this great nation in the name of “LE TRIGGERED SJW SNOWFLAKES XDDDD” and you wonder why everyone is turning against you, because what you’ve done is reprehensible, unforgivable, and disgusting, but hey at least as you burn in the hell that you’ve created, as you watch the Titanic sink thanks to the glacier you’ve steered it into, you can see all those “triggered sjw snowflakes” go down right?

“You attacked the integrity of this country, and now that the country is fighting back you cry about how you’re being bullied, you make a pathetic attempt to feign innocence and laugh at how “triggered” everyone is, as you sell out your own lives and everyone else’s for absolutely no personal gain, just so you can say “I triggered le snowflakes guys!!!?!!?!” As the man you supported Robs your home blind and destroys it’s relationship with the world. But hey I’m sorry you’re so “oppressed” in having to be called out on your actions like the adults you are, yet refuse to behave like.

Full discussion/context.

Photo from US News.

Are You Sure?

From a thread about women who say they’ve never been catcalled, harrassed, or experienced any form of sexism:

“Are you sure? You’ve never been told you can’t play because you’re a girl?

Never been told your worth is in your virginity?

Never been told to “submit” to your husband, or ensure that you’re “pure” for him (even though you haven’t met him yet?) Never been blamed for not being submissive/pretty/etc. enough or not having been a virgin on your wedding night if this guy cheated on you or abused you?

Never made less than a man doing the same work at the same company?

Never been told to smile when you didn’t feel like it?

Never received crass comments from a car full of teenage boys?

Never been hit on while you’re working?

Never been groped by a patient? Or been mistaken for a nurse when in fact you’re a doctor?

Never been told not to use a title you earned, such as “Dr.” or “Rev.” because it might hurt some man’s ego?

Never had life choices concerning marriage or children questioned?

Never had your achievements ignored in favor of how you look?

Never been told that when a boy acts like a jerk it means he likes you?

Never been encouraged to leave your career for your kids even if that’s not what you want?

Never been made to feel that your worth is all in your looks?

Never watched your brothers get away with murder while Mom and Dad kept you on a tight leash?

Never been told by a doctor that it’s all in your head, or that it’s just part of womanhood, when you know that something’s wrong?

Never had some yutz you met less than an hour ago send you a picture of his dick?

Never been told “Tits or GTFO!” when you tried to play an online game?

Never been told you’re a fraud for wearing makeup and at the same time told you look terrible without it?

Never been leered at even though you were wearing a chunky sweater and a maxi skirt?

Never been told you’re too this or too that, or not this enough or not that enough?

Never been thought of as clueless at the mechanic or dealership?

Never been told you can’t be a minister/priest/etc. because you’re a woman?

Never been expected to do all the housework while your partner coasts along?

Never been taught that your wedding day is the pinnacle of your existence?

Never been told you can’t go to college, or denied financial help with college because of your sex?

Never been told you can’t move out before marriage while your younger brother goes backpacking through Europe by himself?

Never been denied a medical procedure because your future husband might disapprove, or “you might change your mind someday?”

Never had some dude turn ugly when you told him you didn’t want to go out?

Never felt unsafe going out at night by yourself?

Never been told that you’ll “invite trouble” or “distract the boys” by wearing certain things?

Never had some guy try to explain something to you that you already know and didn’t ask him to explain?

Never been told that you can’t make the first move because it’s “desperate” or “wrong?”

Never been told to stay with someone who’s treating you badly and just pray that you can be a better/more submissive wife?

Never been pressured to marry right out of high school?

Never been shamed for your sexual history or lack thereof?

Never been pressured to diet even though you’re perfectly healthy?

Never had to pay extra for a razor just because it’s pink?

Never been shamed for body hair, stretch marks, etc.?

Never been unable to take your shirt off on a hot summer’s day because doing so would be considered “obscene?”

Never been shamed for breastfeeding discreetly in public?

Never had your parenting authority questioned?

Never had your partner get praised for changing one diaper, while you’re expected to just do those things without expecting or receiving any such accolades?

Never been called “bossy” or “bitchy” just for speaking your mind, even though you weren’t bossy or bitchy about it?

Never had your leadership qualities dismissed as “OMG, she’s such a bitch!” while a man with those same qualities is “a born leader?”

Never been threatened implicitly or explicitly with rape?

Never been told you’re shallow for turning down a man you’re not physically attracted to, even though “lack of physical attraction” is a totally valid reason for him to turn you down?

Yeah…okay. Sure. Whatever.”

Link/context.

A Con Man With No Empathy

Explaining the trade war from POTUS point of view:

“Something we need to understand about Trump is that he is, at his core, a con man with no empathy. It’s what has driven his success, and his ruthless, non-politician style is what so fiercely magnetises his base. He assumes that everyone he deals with is also a con man with no empathy, and that every exchange of goods and services that exists in this world is, on some level, a con.

“Let me try and explain. Trump assumes every transaction in the world – between people, businesses, nation-states, even between two different agencies of the same government – has a winner and a loser, a scammer and a sucker. He believes if you’re not ripping someone off, you’re getting ripped off. From an economist’s perspective, this is of course complete nonsense. Unless there are major information asymmetries or distortions of market power, and often even then, most transactions are generally to the mutual benefit of both parties. Otherwise, no deals would ever get made, so it’s a constant battle with reality to believe that deals struck only ever benefit one party.

“But Trump – the same man who created an illegitimate university, made stiffed contractors, hired the mob, filed for bankruptcy six times, and has slogged through two divorce settlements – cannot believe his. So he goes out of his way to cherrypick how he sees the world, so that everything we do looks either like a ripoff or a steal. It’s not simply that Trump doesn’t think the Paris Climate Agreement, the Iran nuclear deal, TPP, NAFTA, or luxury cars from Germany are a good deal for America. It’s that he can‘t think that. It’s an alien concept to him that a deal other people want with him could also help him.

“To Trump’s mind, the mere fact other countries sought out these deals with us, and that their own economies benefit, is unassailable proof that he got ripped off. He can’t see the evidence they helped us too. His mind will only cherry-pick potential ways it could be bad for us. This is why Trump will never, ever, be able to negotiate with the rest of the world. He doesn’t believe in mutual benefit. The second anyone tells him, “This is your end of the deal”, he’ll rip it up. He believes only one party can have an end of the deal, and it shouldn’t be him. I hate to tell you this, but he’s only getting started. He will forego billions, maybe trillions, of dollars in world trade. He will renege on bilateral security agreements. He will walk away from the table the moment he senses equilibrium. And if he ever gets something from another nation it will be by force.

“Which brings us full circle to my conclusion: You’re fucked. And not just on the level of foreign policy, but domestic too. Think about the last few months in particular: it explains his behaviour over DACA, spiking two bipartisan deals even though they fulfilled what he asked for. He assumed if Democrats were willing to talk, his deal wasn’t ripping them off, ergo it would rip him off. That implies if Democrats win Congress, we are going to enter an all-out legislative standstill like we’ve never before seen. The American political system is entirely reliant on compromise, but compromise isn’t compatible with Trump’s beliefs. America will struggle to pass even basic reauthorisations. This nightmare is not going to end until this pathological con man is thrown out of office.

“He is not just bad at being president, he has a defective way of seeing the world that is not compatible with being president. And the US, along with her frustrated allies, will pay for it.”

Full discussion in context.