Enjoy snap shots from the 165th St Patrick’s Day Parade in Downtown San Francisco, California. Photos by: Marisa Tania.
For the 165 times, San Francisco celebrated the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade with traditional Irish fare, live music, extravagant green costume, Irish dance and plenty of candy rain. The parade began at the corner of Market and Second streets where over 100 colorful floats, Irish dance troupes and marching bands will wind their way to Civic Center Plaza.
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade celebrates and showcases the Irish community, Irish culture and character in all its forms. Featured groups from throughout the Bay Area’s Irish community including schools, youth organizations, labor unions, cultural groups, as well as the San Francisco Police and Fire, will proudly march up Market Street.
It was clear this was no ordinary party when I saw naked girls tied to scaffoldings in Shibari, Japanese bondage rope. Unlike the other parties, there was no alcohol or upbeat music, but there was definitely forbidden action going on. Yes, this was a sex party! The popular annual kink convention, which drew about 1000 people, has very strict confidentiality. For the purpose of this article, the adult event will be referred to as Hidden Dungeon.
San Francisco, an interesting pocket of California, has its own world of the kink and definitely part of the 5% of the USA population that sexually deviant, according to a Kinsey Institute report. Sexually deviant fetishists tend to go beyond experimental, even by the open-minded standard. The Bay Area is often seen as the center of kinky life in the United States; it is the home of the Folsom Street Fair, the world’s largest leather event and the famous BDSM porn studio Kink.com. When it comes to an alternative lifestyle, San Francisco is always at the top.
Hidden Dungeon is popular among the self-proclaimed “kinksters”, renowned for its queer party and its brazen flouting of over the top sexuality. Created in 2003, this convention has become the home of top-notch play spaces and mindboggling events that provide a safe, non-judgmental environment where fantasy becomes reality. Hidden Dungeon once again has proven that this city knows how to get down and dirty. The event, which happened last weekend (November 13-15), broke all kinds of sodomy taboos.
Hidden Dungeon featured more than 50 educators and performers for its workshops and parties that weekend. The days were packed with 80 workshops on the broadest mix of erotic and kinky topics, such as the sexy bondage scenes from Suspension Showcase, the exploration of Pussy Play and Orgasm Training, as well as the intense strikes of Caning 101. When the night came, the ballrooms turned into play spaces for the kink party and sexy performances, exploring the sensual delight of dark desires. Carnal Casino’s libidinous gambling game and the Spank Bank’s burlesque show were some examples of the jaw-dropping entertainments.
The leather fetish event took over the entire basement of a hotel located on Van Ness Avenue. The location of the hotel was not divulged to the public; only the approved, registered ticket holder could get the link to the address. To ensure security and comfort, photographic equipment including cellphones were not allowed. If guests didn’t wish to be photographed by the official event photographer, they could get special colored wristbands at the registration.
Once guests put their nickname badges on and entered the basement area, they immediately walked into another world. The 20,000 square foot ballroom space was transformed into dungeons with an open, tolerant and sexual atmosphere containing many BDSM, kink and fetish equipment. Sex swings, restrainers, stripper poles, medical restraints, A-frames, Berkley Horses flogging apparatuses, BDSM slings, bondage benches, X-crosses, giant barrels, and many other wild sex furniture was ready to be used as desired.
Equipped with the trendy all gender toilets, the event was a melting pot of diverse identities and interests that welcome people of all genders, sexual orientations, and erotic persuasions. The attendees were a broad community, including leather people, latex fetishists, swingers, pansexuals, tantra practitioners, straight couples, LGTBQ people and gender queers. There was no dress code; in fact as expected, most people chose not to wear anything.
“For somebody like me who has been in the BDSM scene for more than 30 years, it is nice to see kink cultures come out of the closet and become more and more accepted to the point of having an event in a hotel like this,” said Master Gym, a 50-year-old ‘dominant’ who attends Hidden Dungeon’s events annually with his female ‘submissive’. The guy was wearing a casual t-shirt, jeans, a leather jacket and boots. A horse-riding crop was sticking out from his black backpack. His submissive was only wearing a mini black skirt, a metal collar and leather handcuffs. “[This] is considered a big event, people actually fly in for this. It is discrete and private, unlike Folsom. They also provide the best equipment in this convention. We like to experiment here to add excitement and passion with our partners. This convention is informative for both young and old,” he explained.
Hidden Dungeon was jam-packed with live dominatrix plays and enough naked queers to completely desensitize your life. Almost every guest attended the party with their sexual partners and engaged in different lustful activities. People were having group sex near the stripper pole, sex slaves were moaning when they were restrained and teased with Magic Wand sex toys, sex pets were running around in the cages begging for their masters, and condoms were offered instead of beverages. Watching was acceptable but there was absolutely no touching without consent. Interfering scenes in progress was absolutely forbidden.
Hidden Dungeon successfully achieved their mission to build a place where the craziest fantasy was possible − the truly mind-blowing carnal adventure in the most promiscuous city in the nation. The king of Californication will return to the city by the bay next year. Will you surrender your desire and explore your fifty shades of grey? (MT)
STEVE SILVER’S BEACH BLANKET BABYLON MUSICAL PARODY WON’T DISAPPOINT YOU THIS HOLIDAY SEASON.
There is one place in San Francisco where President Barack Obama, Kim Kardashian, Oprah Winfrey, The Beatles, Coco Chanel and Snow White are in the same room: Club Fugazi on Beach Blanket Babylon Boulevard.
To ring in the holiday spirit, Beach Blanket Babylon (BBB) brings its legendary Christmas special which will thrill you with its tongue in cheek humor. Founded by the late Steve Silver in 1974, the zany theatrical show known for its twist on the latest favorite music and punchy slapstick, manages to make the audience clap along with the delightful 90 minute hilarious of musical revenue.
“All the single ladies, Snow listens up. When my sister saw my mister she had something to say. Jay-Z couldn’t win − she kicked the crap out of him. The girl went crazy okay,” sings Renee Lubin, aka. Beyonce. Lubin, one of the cast members, in a very playful mood joked to the audience about the Solange Knowles’ infamous elevator outburst.
“The show changes all the time depending on what is in the current news, politics, and what is recognizable by the majority,” says Lubin, who is celebrating 28 years with the company. Jo Schuman Silver, the producer of BBB since Silver’s death in 1995, keeps the flame of her husband’s creative vision alive. BBB’s pastiche is impeccably topical and entertaining.
“I am living my own life. I am looking more smashing than any Kardashian and especially my ex-wife. I am a woman. Yeah I’m a woman, but once was one hell of man,” sings Christopher Green Goodwin, who played Caitlyn Jenner, the new Teen Choice Awards Social Media Queen.
Famous for its outrageous gigantic hats and disproportionately outlandish wigs, one can imagine the hectic costume changes between scenes. “There is onstage choreography and there is behind the scenes choreography too. In the backstage area, if you are not at the right place at the right rime, you might get hit with something flying. Yea, it’s crazy,” continues Goodwin.
Perhaps Donald Trump would be charmed to know that he is among the politicians being parodied in the current edition of the constantly sassy musical showstopper. BBB’s political review is always raucous, witty and irreverent to this beloved country. Other notables earning the honor in this musical version of an SNL skit include Bernie Sanders, Governor Jerry Brown, President Barack and Michelle Obama, plus Hillary and Bill Clinton. A Sarah Palin look-alike also makes an appearance in a beauty pageant bathing suit as well as Mitt Romney, with his Book of Mormon.
How about the spoofs on star-studded pop culture icons? BBB’s versions of Nicki Minaj, Madonna, Adele, Iggy Azalea, Glee, and Orange Is The New Black cast, make the audience laugh out of their seats. The BBB family, as funny as ever, closes the show with the classic jingle White Christmas in extravagant holiday theme costumes.
With a complete package of terrific performers, perfect timing, and incredible music, no wonder Beach Blanket Babylon is the longest running show in United States. All year long, five days per week, for 41 years, BBB is a magical fun-filled San Francisco feast that everyone must see. Better hurry and book your ticket before it’s sold out. Trust me, you will shake your head all along and leave with a huge smile (MT).
For the seventh times, Fear Overload Scream Park returned with two sickening haunted houses on Halloween 2015. Located at Bayfair Center right next to San Leandro’s Bart station, Fear Overload carried two jaw-dropping horror themes: Seven Deadly Sins and Hostel in the Tenderloin, which guest must walk through.
Greeted by Jinx the clown and his chainsaw at the ticket box, Fear Overload Scream Park marked the general admission ticket at $25. Terror seekers must endure gory scenarios, disturbing scenes, dark corridors and extremely tight spaces. If you are easily scared, don’t bother showing up next year since the ghost actors will literally jump and scream at your face.
I personally entered the first haunted house, Seven Deadly Sins only. One big clown ghost pointed a big fake knife under my chin; it was pretty intimidating. I was too scared to enter the next one since horror is not my forte. I did spend two hours in line just to get inside the haunted house, which apparently only lasted three minutes each.
“The Hostel in the Tenderloin was definitely scarier than the first one. Probably that’s why they put it in that order,” said Hayden Stainbock, one of the visitors. Beside all of the praises from the media, this haunted house actually got mixed ratings based on the facebook reviews. “Don’t bother to waste your time. It was too short of a haunted house and had very poor quality: it has a cheap set up inside a dirty mall, long lines and false advertising for the event. There was no live music and not event like at all. I have seen scarier Disney movies,” wrote Michelle Frisby on Fear Overload’s facebook page.
So is it worth the money to visit Fear Overload Scream Park next year? I guess we leave it up to you to decide. (MT)
Fear Overload Scream Park
15555 East 14th Street
San Leandro, CA 94578
ENJOY THE NEW EXPERIMENTS IN ART AND TECHNOLOGY (NEAT) IN THE CONTEMPORARY JEWISH MUSEUM LATEST EXHIBITION
Featuring nine Bay Area artists, the Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM) presents a celebration of the rapidly evolving relationship between art and technology at its new exhibit NEAT: New Experiments in Art and Technology. The showcase breaks down the barrier between artist and scientist, demonstrating the Bay Area’s leading role in bringing digital innovation.
When you enter the exhibit on the CJM’s second floor, you will be hypnotized by the interactive experience from all the artwork. One of them is a giant evanescent, multi-layered screen projection by Camille Utterback. “Sometimes what happens with artist using technology is that because maybe we are less formally train, we don’t know what we are not supposed to do. When engineers see it as a problem, we sometimes see it as the most interesting part of the system,” explains Utterback in CJM’s YouTube video. Her installation piece has two interactive areas with a camera and software that can capture the viewer’s movements. This results visually in a very futuristic collaborative space with transparent images that’s also tied to your present physical action.
NEAT takes its inspiration from E.A.T. Experiments in Art Technology, a 1960 project that is recognized as a landmark to be the pioneer of technology in contemporary art. Since then, there has been a basic change to the landscape of digital art forms. Artists don’t need to be paired with engineers anymore.
“In the second decade of the twenty-first century, the role of artist and engineer has merged,” writes CJM Chief Curator Renny Pritikin. “Programming is understood as a new tool for artists to create work, just like a paintbrush or pencil, and with the understanding that interdisciplinary thinking is inherent to individual makers now.”
At the end of the exhibit room, you will encounter a piece by Mary Franck that brings you to another world. It is the perfect art to end the museum tour. Franck’s Gilded and Unreal is a media sculpture that merges contemporary digital fabrication images and surfaces into one thing. The unidentified organic living colony creates a very relaxing atmosphere that makes you not want to leave this surreal exhibition. (MT)
Dating Apocalypse on Outloud Storytelling
If you ever need a good laugh with friends to refresh your day, make sure to stop by Oasis Club to enjoy its hilarious Outloud storytelling. Every third Tuesday of the month, the new cabaret nightclub presents its brand new storytelling series featuring the true tales by the bay.
Tuesday’s theme was Adventures In Digital Dating, the first hand accounts of such dating adventures told by digital daters: Marga Gomez, Lady Bear, Leo Forte, Beatrice Thomas, Jerry Lee, and Trixxie Carr. The local luminaries shared their personal stories about the ancient Friendster booty-calls, Grindr hook-ups, Tinder nightmares, forays on Craigslist, and online dating adventures in general.
There are a lot of ways to meet people online these days. Some of the younger generation would not know that in the history of dating, people used to have to talk to someone in person. What are now known as emojis used to be called facial expressions. Dating, as we once knew it, feels pretty much over. Since Tinder is a place where you can find a true “love”, sometimes twice in one night, all the single Tinderellas are ready to mingle. Instead of talking to real-life potential matches, singles are more likely tindering, swiping their phone screens to the right or left.
“I lost my virginity at 23,” one of the speakers, Beatrice Thomas told the crowd. “So I’m being a fucking late goddamn bloomer. Now I am ready! I joined eight dating sites. I learned a lot from joining Match.com, E-harmony.com, AdultFriendFinder.com, and all the other sites. I would rather be a spinster with well sex than to be in a relationship.” She then continued talking about her online dating test run, like how she met with a guy who likes giant things in his rectum, or how another guy sent her a picture of him fucking a water melon.
“Actually I have grown and found my voice as a person and it improved other aspect of my life. It was just a really amazing journey learning about sex. I learned when I stopped all the bullshit and open myself up, I found that there are more than enough people that want and love me for who I was,” she added. “I since then have found my husband, and we enjoy a completely honest open relationship. We didn’t meet online, we met through mutual friend.”
Beatrice Thomas shared her hilarious online dating stories at the Oasis Club (17/11)
Another highlight of the night was Lady Bear’s funny story from the world of GROWLr. For those of you who don’t know, GROWLr is a gay dating app, sort of like Tinder for the LGBT community. “At first when I signed up to GROWLr I thought wow this was amazing, the line of hot guys was fabulous. One day I got a message from a guy who came out really strong. But I don’t know, he was simply cute. Then I realized oh-my-gosh, he is the older version of me, that’s why I find him attractive because I am just a narcissist,” said the witty drag queen.
”I call this gentleman point two, because he is 0.2 miles away. We got to know each other well enough to know that we don’t want to know each other any better than this. I’ve been meeting him for two years and I don’t know his fucking name. Is that wrong?”
This monthly comedy show, hosted by the charming Joshua Grannell (aka. Peaches Christ), offered two hours of full happiness. The storytellers were genuinely entertaining with their wicked funny way of sharing their stories. It also makes us feel better when we know our dating disasters are not the worst in the world; some people actually have worst drama from digital dating. It was a highly humorous performance while providing a sacred space to celebrate vulnerability.
Finally, there is a place to satisfy your craving for delightful cocktails and amusement. Come and find your Oasis, make your Tuesday count and end it with the combo of good laughs plus cheap beverages! (MT)
Oasis – Nightclub and Cabaret
298 11th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 795 - 3180
Ticket price: $10
Restrictions: 21 and over
The first Sunday of October in San Francisco was marked once again by the Castro Street Fair, an annual LGBTQ event founded by former San Francisco Supervisor, Harvey Milk in 1974. This year’s theme – QUEEN- was dedicated to celebrate the life of the beloved drag queen Cookie Dough who died earlier this year. The fair included the usual assortment of live music, DJs, drag, Sundance country line dancing and dance alley. For the first time in 2015, Kink Karnival Alley was a part of the fun adult-oriented event, presented alongside the bawdiest fetish porn website: Kink.com for the grown-up crowd.
Cookie Dough, a.k.a. Eddie Bell was a regular at Castro Street Fair. She emerged as a drag persona fifteen years ago, and was famous for her goofy off kilter humor. Since 2005, Cookie hosted her weekly show at The Edge in the Castro, The Monster Show. It is the Castro’s longest running drag show. She died at 52 from complications of brain edema (swelling in the brain) after her last show, The Golden Girls.
Clear sunny skies, barbecued foods, vendors, and of course beers, make up the fun at the 42nd annual free daytime community street party. The intersection of Market and Castro streets were enclosed with LGBTQ awareness organization booths, food stalls, pop-up stores, and art exhibitions. Each vendor tried to grab the attention of the crowds with unique activities such as a dildo toss and a pie throwing games. There were stalls that provided free HIV tests as well.
At the Castro Street Fair clothing ranges from over-the-top outfits to no clothes at all. What attracted most of the attention were the gorgeous drag queens who wig out in flamboyant colorful costumes. Throughout the fairgrounds, we are bound to see a lot of rainbows without the rain; they brighten up the celebration and symbolize the diversity of LGBTQ community. As colorful as this neighborhood party is, Castro Street Fair this year was very tame and “vanilla” compared to its younger sister on Folsom Street the week before. (MT)
18,000 Hippie Generations Attacked Treasure Island Music Festival 2015
There are two things that dominated when 18,000 Californian youngsters gathered at the Treasure Island Music Festival 2015: magic pot and beer. The music devotees were rocking their bodies, nodding their heads, waving their hands and tingling with excitement. Last weekend was a visual feast; it was the hippie era in a modern light and a celebration of the new millennial flower power generation.
The San Francisco’s Bay 9th annual two-day festival carried a line up stacked full of electronica, hip-hop rap and indie rock names. FKA Twigs, Gorgon City, Chvrches, Dead MAU5, and The National were some of the headliners who showcased electrifying performances. But the performers aren’t necessarily the point. The goal is simply to dance and get lost in the rhythm.
Beautiful Golden Gate and Bay Bridge backdrops were the other highlights for ticketholders. As the sunset washed out the San Francisco skyline, Insta-addicts turned their hovering phone on the cityscape behind the 60-foot Century Ferris Wheel. The festival landed smoothly with 300 crews working on Silent Disco area, rocking boats, comedy club, DIY camp, holistic hula-hooping, fashion booths and delicious food stalls.
Beyond the upbeat music and the idyllic sunset view, there were crochet tops, flower head pieces, paisley pattern pants and fringed dresses galore filling the Treasure Island field. Many were dressed too early for Halloween, more dressed like they were attending the 1969 Woodstock. Beards came back and bras got burned. The overwhelming pool of reborn baby boomers dressed as modern day hippies, embodied today’s fashion movement: feeling free to be whoever you are sexually, spiritually, emotionally in your daring wardrobe and lifestyle.
It’s a time of rock and roll, weed and freedom of expression. So fellow proto-hippies, don’t miss the future Treasure Island Music Festival, wear your flower crowns and get cracking next year! (MT)