The origins of San Francisco's legendary Folsom Street Fair may be much different than you think.
When someone talks about Folsom Street Fair in 2015, the leather and fetish elements of the historic outdoor celebration of sexual diversity are likely what come to mind. However, this event is also rooted in a very specific issue that queers and other marginalized groups have dealt with for decades: gentrification.
"Folsom Forever" is a new film from director Mike Skiff that takes a look at the historic legacy of Folsom Street Fair and how this festival was birthed from San Francisco's narrative of gentrification surrounding the HIV/AIDs panic.
"If you've attended the Folsom Street Fair in the last 30 of its 40 years, it would seem this outdoor kinky celebration has always been a Leather-oriented event," Skiff told The Huffington Post. "Making this film gave me the opportunity to, among things, correct that misconception. The fair was actually born in ’84 out of South of Market neighborhood's need for survival, as developers sought to bulldoze buildings and sex businesses -- like the bathhouses -- being closed by the city in misguided AIDS hysteria. What Folsom Street Fair always has been is an expression of human rights, be it the right to low-cost housing or to willingly be flogged without fear of arrest."
Skiff also added that the 1970s in San Francisco was a very specific time -- one in which members of the LGBT community were given the space to explore the spectrum of their sexuality and queerness. ...
Before we eat, Ruban Nielson’s son, Moe, leads us in a blessing. “For trees so tall and skies so blue, for friends and food we thank you,” he sings, in angelic unison with his younger sister, Iris. It’s Moe’s sixth birthday, an occasion for which he’s requested only French fries from a drive-in near the family’s home just outside Portland, Oregon. To round out his dinner, his parents picked up cheeseburgers and cookies as well. “Six,” Nielson says, marveling at his son as he disassembles his food, layer by greasy layer. “I can’t believe it. I remember when I could hold you in my hand. Isn’t that crazy?”
Moe giggles. This disarmingly clear March day is spent as a family, with Nielson—the 35-year-old voice and mind behind Unknown Mortal Orchestra—helping his wife, Jenny, carefully piece together Moe’s gift, a small geodesic dome. As they watch it take shape in the backyard, the kids chase each other in the grass and hang from a tire swing sueded in moss. Iris picks dandelions and Moe sings to himself while banging on parts that have yet to be raised. It's a scene and moment that Nielson—profoundly groggy in an oversized black sweatshirt and rumpled black pants—might normally miss.
“Ever since we’ve been together, he’s stayed up weird hours—dinner is more like Ruban’s lunch or breakfast,” says Jenny. “Usually it’s fine, but sometimes it’s hard if you want to do something with these guys,” she adds, running her hand through Iris’ brown hair. Yesterday, after working through the night in his home studio, Nielson woke up at five in the evening, long after the kids returned home from school. Today, he made it out of bed around noon. “They think I sit in my basement and play guitar all night by myself for a living,” he says of his kids. “But I’ve been more normal since finishing the album.”
While Multi-Love, UMO’s third full-length, marks a thrilling departure from the bedroom psychedelia that has earned Nielson an unexpected following, it’s also an album whose backstory speaks to the manner in which he views his art, his life, and the connection between the two—a leap of faith and a leap forward. It teems with lush synths and futurist textures, hallucinogenic funk and R&B, but emotionally and lyrically, Nielson needed a light. “I wanted my kids to be an influence again,” he says. “The way Moe made me feel—that optimism of having a kid—was a big part of my first record, but the next album was impacted by the guilt of wondering if I was going to be a good dad in the long-term. I needed something outside of myself.”
That something came, but in a surprising and complex form. After touring behind his first two albums for nearly three years, Nielson arranged to take a year off, so that he could write, record, and spend more time at home with his family. But as work on Multi-Love began in earnest last year, Nielson and his wife found themselves reconsidering the outlines of their relationship. As we eat and laugh at their tiny wooden dinner table, I’m sitting in a seat that, up until very recently, was occupied by someone else, someone whose absence is palpable and whose influence can be felt throughout the record she helped shape. “It’s not that this song is about her,” Nielson sings in the album’s hypnotic title cut. “Most songs are about her.”
“I’d never heard of polyamory before and I wasn’t interested in the idea of it,” Nielson tells me after dinner, during a long walk through his neighborhood. “I just wanted to pretend that no one had ever thought of it before, to stumble into it blindly.” He scratches nervously at his chest, over a tattoo of an open eye etched between his collarbones. “I feel like I’m gonna spend the rest of my life trying to live last year down. It was such a beautiful time.” ...
A leader of the anti-gay organization Concerned Women for America has admitted her testimony to the Texas Senate over a bill that would shield clergy and churches from same-sex weddings was not true.
The Civil Rights Movement
by DAVID BADASH
Last week lawmakers on a Texas Senate committee heard testimony on SB 2065, a bill designed to shield clergy members and churches from performing same-sex weddings. While the First Amendment already provides this protection, this bill would allow clergy members who are employed by the state as justices of the peace or county clerks to refuse to marry same-sex couples. Texas lawmakers are engrossed in a battle against their LGBT constituents, and this month over two dozen anti-gay bills before them, including one that would literally defund same-sex marriage in the Lone Star State.
On Monday, May 4, Beverly Roberts, an Area Director for Concerned Women for America, delivered testimony before Texas Senators. Concerned Women for America (CWA) is a right wing religious anti-gay, anti-abortion activist group that opposes same-sex marriage, a woman's right to choose, the teaching of evolution in schools, feminism, pornography, stem cell research, and advocates for school prayer.
"The mission of CWA is to protect and promote Biblical values among all citizens — first through prayer, then education, and finally by influencing our society — thereby reversing the decline in moral values in our nation," its website states.
"I have a question for you," Roberts, in red in the photo above and video below, told the Texas Senators as she began her testimony. "Is it necessary for a couple to be married by a minister to be legally married?," she asked.
"If not, why are homosexual couples in states where same-sex marriage is legal, demanding that ministers perform their marriage ceremonies?"
"Should we not consider these to be hate crimes?," Roberts continued. "Are these not instances of targeted bigotry? Are these couples not engaging in the same bullying tactics they profess to deplore? Why are they attacking a minister when they don't even need him to perform their marriage? So again I ask you, who are the bullies, the bigots and the haters?"
The New Civil Rights Movement reached out to Roberts via email on Monday, asking her to point us to "the story or stories you testified about," as – to our knowledge – there are no actual instances in reputable news reports of same-sex couples demanding that ministers perform their marriage ceremonies.
In an email response received Monday night, Roberts effectively admitted that her testimony was false.
"My testimony did not relate to a specific instance," Roberts told NCRM in her email, adding it was "to put a law into place ahead of a possible Supreme Court Ruling requiring all states to perform same-sex 'marriages.'"
"We know that, given the tactics of the LGBT community, it would not be long before they started suing churches and ministers who decline to do their ceremonies," Roberts wrote. "They just move incrementally as they force their agenda on the rest of us and we have begun to fight back." ...
The new 'polyamory' dating site is increasing users by 100pc a week
Openminded.com, a new “ethical cheating” website, is on target to attract 250,000 members worldwide in its first year.
The start-up, which promises to “eliminate the monotony of monogamy”, claims it has tapped into the " growing trend towards polyamory ", the forming of intimate relationships with more than one person.
The company provides a platform for couples looking to meet like-minded individuals.
The dating site, headquartered in Los Angeles, launched last month and received 10,000 sign-ups on its first day from both singles and couples.
“Open relationships are an under-served market and we want to clean up the space and give people a safe place to meet,” said founder Brandon Wade.
He believes that polyamory could be the “hottest new niche” in a crowded online dating market. “Open relationships can be found among even the most 'vanilla’ couples,” he claimed. “Our numbers are growing exponentially, up 100pc in the first week.”
It is estimated that there are up to 10,000 dating sites worldwide but just a handful are dedicated to polyamory, including LoveMany and BeyondTwo. “The other people in this industry are all very vulgar and all about sex,” claimed Mr Wade. “We want to cater to those who actually want relationships. This is not a site for hook-ups.”
The number of polyamorous couples and individuals worldwide is unknown as people are not required to put this information on a census. In order to cater to the growing numbers of polyamorous individuals , the Polyamory Society was launched in 1996, offering courses in relationship management and jealousy mitigation.
Mr Wade claimed that by creating OpenMinded.com , he is making polyamory more socially acceptable, and helping couples to be more honest about their needs. “This is still a highly stigmatised and scrutinised population,” he said. “There are more people cheating on their spouses than there are people in open relationships and that’s what I am seeking to change.” ...
An Airbnb-like accommodation booking site serving the BDSM community with dungeons and prison cells for rent around the world recently has launched with about 40 listings.
Darren McKeeman, a co-founder of the San Francisco-based service, said Thursday that KinkBNB.com formally launched May 1, processing less than 100 bookings so far.
Travelers who practice BDSM, generally identified as sex play involving bondage, discipline, sadomasochism, sadism and masochism, sometimes don't have the option of vacationing long distances with the equipment they prefer, said McKeeman and fellow founder Ryan Galiotto.
That's a particular problem when air travel and the Transportation Security Administration are involved, said Galiotto, a practitioner.
"This is a tool to make it more acceptable and normal for us. Right now, traveling is kind of difficult. You can't really bring anything with you," he said.
One listing in Queensland, Australia is advertised as The Reformatory and offers amenities that include a dungeon, a playspace and toys, calling itself "orgy friendly," and "swinger friendly" for $180 per night.
Another dungeon in Seattle offers 2,000 square feet and host of amenities for $400 a night, promising access to spanking benches, cages, an isolation cell and a custom-made, queen-size bondage bed — all with easy access to the city center.
Rentals guarantee a "formidable collection of tools, toys and other devices." Yes, there's a red room, ala "Fifty Shades of Grey." ...
I’m not quite sure how to say this, so I’ll just come right out with it: Washingtonians are kinky.
Based on a 2014 report, more than 11,000 residents in D.C., Maryland and Virginia participate in BDSM. Based on population size, this makes Washington, D.C., the kinkiest place in the nation.
California based pornography giant Kink.com recently published an article rating the 10 kinkiest cities in the U.S. It listed D.C. as number five based on porn consumption habits. I spoke with Mike Stabile, Kink.com’s communication director. He explained that Kink’s article used data on users of Kink.com combined with data from FetLife.
So is D.C. the capital of kink? And if so, what does that say about us? ...
A changed stance
For years, the American Psychiatric Association categorized people who participated in BDSM as mentally ill.
“It really had a chilling effect on everyone who was kinky," says Susan Wright, the founder of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. “It really kept us isolated. It keeps people from coming out because there is such a stigma.”
She created the coalition in 1997 to advocate for consenting adults with sexual interests outside the mainstream. And after more than a decade, her hard work paid off. In 2010, the psychiatric association changed its stance.
"They came right out and said kinky people are perfectly mentally healthy.”
In the D.C. region, there are more than 10,000 people who practice BDSM, according to a study last year examining social network use. So why is it so popular in the nation’s capital?
"I think that politics is about power and how you wield that power and in a lot of ways so is kinky sex. Its about the power exchange," Wright says. "So its really no wonder to me that people in D.C. are into BDSM."
For many, she says, the BDSM lifestyle is more like a sexual orientation than a choice: “People’s sexual desires are as individual as a fingerprint.”
Two dominatrix pornographers have become the first adult filmmakers to fall foul of strict new regulations governing online pornography.
In December hundreds of pornographers took part in a “face-sitting” demonstration outside of parliament to protest against new rules which brought niche internet porn in line with DVD sales in sex shops.
They said the rules effectively banned a range of sex acts on film, including face-sitting, strangulations, canning and spanking.
Now, a ruling from the television on demand regulator has found that videos from professional dominatrix Megara Furie and a Welsh dominatrix operating under the name Mistress R’eal were in breach of the new guidelines.
In the first ruling of its kind, the Authority for Television on Demand (Atvod) found that sites run by the two dominatrix filmmakers breached rules designed to prohibit scenes that range from detailed portrayals of violence to scenes of criminal activity.
According to Atvod “banned pornographic material” on the websites included “heavy whipping likely to cause lasting physical harm, the infliction of pain on a person who appears unable to withdraw consent, and repeated strong kicks to the genitals which appear to draw blood.”
Critics of the new rules have long argued online viewers of niche pornography are still able to access content banned in the UK by watching videos filmed abroad, and new rules amounts to “arbitrary censorship”, while Myles Jackman, a British obscenity lawyer said that the case showed regulators were “making up their interpretation” of obscenity laws “as they go along”.
A spokesperson for Backlash UK, which is campaigning to defend freedom of sexual expression, added: “Atvod have erected themselves - pun intended - as the UK's Pornfinder General…. The sole purpose of this new puritanism is mass control and surveillance, under the pretence of protection. “ ...
'Like the WWE...kids don't try this at home. I just want to be treated like every other extreme performer,' Santos told Dailymail.com
There is a fine line between what's acceptable and taboo in the practice of S&M in which partners consent to test one another's limits.
And now an anesthesiologist named Dr. Edwin Perez is defending his right to perform a controversial bloodletting practice at an event called Cirque De Plasir in New York, after an anonymous party attendee has demanded that he stop.
The party guest witnessed Edwin Perez engage in a practice called 'arterial tapping' at a recent event and it chilled her to the bone.
The S&M act is performed by the dominant party who hits his submissive partner's artery in such a way that he can control his or her blood flow.
'Some people just do blood play where they just get some kind of rush out of releasing blood from their arteries,' said the fetish party attendee to NBC.
She criticized the demonstration in which Santos, a name Perez uses when he is performing, splatters his submissive partners blood onto a canvas.
She said that because Perez is an anesthesiologist the act of bloodletting is disturbing.
'I think there’s definitely more of a shocking aspect that [he is] a doctor who took a Hippocratic Oath to help and heal,' she said.
'It just seems so contrary to his profession.'
DailyMail.com spoke with Dr. Perez who said his activities at parties have absolutely no place in his professional life. Perez is an anesthesiologist who practices in Newark, New Jersey.
Perez is active in the S&M community and says he and his submissive partner don't just do arterial tapping at parties but they do it at home as well.
Perez reiterated the fact that his partner enjoys the activity and that he would ever hurt any of his patients.
'Basically I present myself as Santos to the public and perform with others. I never present what I do for a living except to people that ask me privately,' said Perez of his sex party alter ego.
'I also perform with my personal partners. The girls that I date or have dated. We do these things in our personal life as well,' he added.
Santos says that the blood splatter painting from the party has been hanging in his date's room since the event.
He also says that he warns other against doing what he does, especially if people do not know what they are doing.
'Like the WWE...kids don't try this at home. I just want to be treated like every other extreme performer. It just turns out that I have a day job.' ...