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The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

PHOTOS, VIDEO: Folsom Street Fair unleashes San Francisco's wild side

San Francisco
More than 400,000 people attended the 29th Folsom Street Fair leather event that took place Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012 across 13 blocks of downtown San Francisco. Photo by Jessica Worthington / Xpress

Ball gags, harnesses and cock rings, oh my! In San Francisco, it’s no new thing to let your freak flag fly, but Sunday afternoon at the Folsom Street Fair, this flag was made of leather and studs.

Upon arrival it was hard to look away. Everyone who was anyone was dressed up, and it was no time to be shy. It was clear that this fair was all about expressing yourself in what ever way you wanted, especially if it had to do with bondage, domination, sadism and masochism.

Molly Von, 22, a first-timer at the Folsom event, styled her hair in long red ponytails and sported heart-shaped pasties with a pink tutu.

“I have never seen so much old man dick, but I respect the confidence it takes to be nude,” Von said. “I love that this is more about being comfortable with yourself. That’s the thing about SF — anything goes.”

Full frontal exposure was the norm in this sexy, leather wonderland and there was plenty more to see when it came to getting really kinky.

Porn star Nick Moretti was working the fair and handing out autographed nude photos of himself. He explained how he got into fetish porn for

“When I first started I was pretty vanilla, until one day I was an extra at a shoot, then something came over me and I couldn’t resist the bondage,” Moretti said.

Vanilla is a term used by the BDSM community, meaning those who are not into BDSM.

“Once you find something that sparks your interest, you get really into it. It doesn’t have to be about sex,” Moretti said.

Referring to his friend, Moretti said, “I mean, look at this guy, he looks innocent and sweet and honestly. He’s a nerd who plays World of Warcraft, but he ties some mean rope knots. It’s an art, really.”

The Folsom Street Fair is the third largest outdoor event in California and the largest free event geared toward the BDSM community. This San Francisco event donates all proceeds to a number of charities working in public health, human services and the arts. Last year, the Folsom Street events donated more than $330,000 to charities in need.

This event featured more than 250 exhibitors and vendors, ranging from kink wear to full-on BDSM shows.

Liam Snyder was working the Utilikilt sales stand. He explained the liberating feeling of being a man in a kilt.

“The kilt is about freedom. It’s a lifestyle you are buying into,” Snyder said. “Our usual customers tend to be ‘bears,’ because the kilt is a real sign of masculinity. The only requirement to wear one of these is balls, metaphorically speaking.”

At the Society of Janus, the sounds of whipping and moaning were overwhelming. SOJ is a nonprofit organization devoted to educating the community about safe and consensual BDSM.

“When you go home tonight and tell everyone you were too embarrassed to be flogged, you need to tell yourself I was too embarrassed to explore my own sexuality,” a volunteer yelled into a microphone to someone who refused a free spanking.

Michelle Foley, a second year volunteer and 10-year-San Francisco resident admitted that she is here purely to support the community.

“I normally wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t a volunteer. I have many friends in the community and it feels great to be here and support them,” Foley said.


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    John HollandSep 27, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    this used to be fun, local event and then the organizers got greedy and realized they could make it an international event and make a lot of money. hardly anyone in sf goes to this fair anymore. every year in september the organizers of this year turn my city into a theme park for decadent, well-to-do white white that don’t live here, disrupting traffic and altering the fabric of this city, especially the mission neighborhood where there are a lot of economically challenged people of color whose values strongly conflict with the values of this fair. worse yet, some of these outsiders now think anything goes in san francisco and are trying to turn our neighborhoods into year round folsom street fairs for their amusement and self gratification. SHUT THIS FAIR DOWN. DON’T SELL MY CITY OUT. PLEASE.

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PHOTOS, VIDEO: Folsom Street Fair unleashes San Francisco's wild side