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The Folsom Street Fair is Like Nothing Else in the World!
|I love the Folsom Street
It is always a blast. An afternoon long, multi-block long, kinky
festival in San Francisco held in late September each year. I
to my first one back in '91 and have rarely missed a year since.
in San Diego as I do, the airfares
up to SF are pretty cheap. Finding a place to stay can be
if you approach it the wrong way. The best thing to do is to make
with some City residents and then - politely - ask if you can crash at
place for the event. Longtime residents of Sodom-By-The-Sea
expect this. They realize that it is actually in the San Francisco City Charter that
must host their out of town acquaintances. The law is the law you
Seriously, this event is a great party and a fun time in a great and fun city. I have always enjoyed myself when I have gone up there for it. The City fills with leatherfolk from the world over for this weekend and there is always something fun to watch and or do.
Some long time attendees of Folsom decry how large the event has gotten and how many tourists now crush into the streets. Well, that may be so but it doesn't detract from the fun for me. I like crowds. I like there being a lot going on to see. Also, Folsom has always been this way for me. I notice little difference from the first Folsom I went to in '91 to the most recent one in 2002. Each one was a crowded event and each one had a wonderful mix of leatherfolk, kinky folk, and tourists. A great blend. Just be sure to bring your camera and leave your attitude behind.
Folsom 2017 was another enjoyable year to be up in SF. It was also another year of my not taking the usual huge number of pictures. I also didn't get a nice bear buzz going on as there was no Sapporo and thus I had less incentive to put up with the long lines to get those beers. Still though, I had enough and was in a nice relaxed mood by day's end. The weather was sunny but not too warm. And that was just right for comfortably wearing fetish outfits as well as showing a nice amount of skin. Well, some guys would always show plenty of skin no matter what the weather. But I'm not counting them...
The Fair started off with my once again taking Beauty's reins for her laps around the Fair in the morning. We were part of the "cavalcade" of ponys and critters making the rounds at the Fair's start.
After a lap or two around it was time for us to head off to take in the Fair on our own. One of the things which caught my eye was this bunch. I really - truly - despise these "Ask First" shitheads.
They're a bunch of sanctimonious authoritarian shitheads. That Folsom is even allowing them to buy a booth is an insult to the whole purpose and history of the Folsom Street Fair. This bunch of assholes demand that everyone respect their privacy while they're letting their freak flags fly at the Folsom Street Fair. Demanding that people "ask first" before taking their picture is something they dress up with all the usual politically correct sanctimony but they're out on a public street - literally in the middle of a public street - at a public event and thus have no right or expectation of privacy. We already have plenty of laws covering harassment and unauthorized use of photographic imagery. These little gits want to control everyone around them by demanding their privacy in public. Fuck them. Their attitude and demands are a cancer on what Folsom is all about.
So, I always make a point of photographing their booth and photographing any of the little virtue signalling shits wearing one of their stickers - all without stopping to "ask first."
After making a round or two of the Fair I decided to hit up the boot black station. This, to make use of the first of the two boot blacking tickets I'd purchased as soon as the Fair officially opened. That's the key to getting a shine without having to wait in line. You find the boot black booth early in the day and get your numbered ticket. The way they then handle things is whoever has the lower ticket number gets at the head of the line for the next boot black. Thus, buying my tickets first thing in the day means I can then hit up the booth when it is convenient for me later on. And that's exactly what I did whilst wearing my Dehner Patrol Boots. I like getting 'em shined at such events as it usually means the boot blacks there are part of the community and really, deeply, love boots and their craft. Once again, I was far from disappointed at this year's bootblack stand at Folsom.
Later in the day I repeated the process to get my Corcoran's shined. And, once again, I got both an excellent shine and some wonderful bootblack energy.
Through my travels back and forth across the length of the Fair I saw a number of intriguing sights. Among these were this bunch of nicely costumed costumers.
The guy camping it up in the center of the image there had made his "wig" out of bubble wrap and it was fabulous! He's quite improved from last year's outfit!
And then there was this lass. Her outfit was imminently practical! She was wearing a headpiece that plainly put "safety first" as well as providing two excellent handgrips for some serious boinking. She was the epitome of the Practical Slut!
And that pretty much wrapped up my Folsom 2017. I'm going to have to try something different for Folsom 2018. My usual routine is to pull into town on the Friday night, check in to the America's Best Value Inn - SOMA, perhaps catch a bite to eat over at Rocco's and then call it a night. Saturday sees me up and off to the Castro - after having breakfast at Rocco's - for my usual haircut, manicure / pedicure at Queen Bee Nails, browsing through Worn Out West, scoring a slice or two of pizza at Escape From New York Pizza, then hanging out a bit at the Starbucks on 18th before heading back down to SOMA to dive into the fun at Mr. S.
Well, it's been a couple years now since the Escape From New York pizza joint closed. The new place is okay but it's not the same. What is now the Starbucks there on 18th used to be Pasqua's Cafe and it had a very different "vibe" that what's replaced it. Worn Out West used to be on Castro but it's moved over to a storefront on Market. Again, a different "vibe" to it all.
Plus Castro Street itself has drastically changed. They widened the sidewalks to make them more "pedestrian friendly" and that they are - but that made the whole area much worse for cars to get to and through. That space also is harder to fill up so it makes the Castro - even on Folsom weekend - seem more empty. The whole neighborhood is also much more gentrified and vanilla - and hetero. That too has greatly changed the "vibe" and the fun of hanging out there.
Getting back down to SOMA and heading over to Mr. S is still fun. The place is jam packed on Folsom weekend. It's their busiest time of the year and you can still get a "contact high" just from hanging out inside the shop. Plus they've a keg running all day on Saturday with but a "requested donation" to keep your cup filled. It makes for some fun times.
Saturday night I took Ann out for her birthday to a nice dinner up in the North Beach section of town at the "North Beach Restaurant" on Stockton. Good eats there.
Later I went out that night to a play party where I ran into an old friend from when I lived down in San Diego. We caught up as we watched the various goings on go on. But, I called it a somewhat early night to be ready for Folsom the next morning.
Next time I think I'll try a different routine on the Saturday and perhaps look for other parties to attend that night as well. I dunno. I need to mix it up a tad as it seemed a bit stale for me this year. Still fun and worthwhile but I do need to do something different.
Another year of just "being" at Folsom. I didn't take hardly any photos this year. Some, yes. But not nigh as many as I used to.
As usual, there was a whole lot going on at Folsom. That's why I enjoy attending as much as I do. This year there was a rather dedicated human pony doing it as a four legged variety instead of the normal two legged version. That's just as uncomfortable as it sounds.
I found my usual assortment of nicely curvaceous butts to behold. There was this one guy with some truly dense body fur. The crowd was peeping into the peeping booth. And the food vendors were really smokin' up the joint.
I also found the time during all of this to get my Dehners shined by a very happy Boot Black Boy.
So, all in all, it was another fine year to be up at Folsom!
Ann and I got some fetish photos done on the Saturday prior to Folsom. She had some outfits she wanted photographed.
High fetish indeed. This image is about as "How We Do Folsom" as it can get!
|Another year and another Folsom. Once again, Ann and I were doing her pony play stuff. This year however, I went off a bit more on my own. I didn't take many photos of my own but was lucky enough to be deemed visible by others and thankful for that.|
This is about as quintessential a Folsom image as you can get. This was part of the "Cavalcade" which the pony play / animal play folks up in San Franc put on at Folsom. They all gather and do a lap or two around the length of the Fair. They do this right as the event opens as the crowd soon gets too tick for it to work later. I'm in my leather uniform shirt, leather jodhpurs, and my Dehners looking about as traditional a "Tom of Finland" leatherman as I can look. And Beauty there up front is equally as resplendent in her pony attire. It's a fun thing to do at Folsom.
Andy Barrett caught this image of me as Folsom 2013 wound its way down. It was late afternoon and I was quite relaxed - thanks in no small part to all the Sapporos I'd had that day. The lighting was perfect at that time and Andy paused to capture this one as I had propped myself up against the tree there to watch the crowd flow past.
It's been a while. At least a while since last I updated my Folsom experiences. Since 2008 I've actually not missed a Folsom. And it's not like I wasn't enjoying my attendance each year for I most certainly was. What was different for those years is that I was there with my partner, Ann, and Folsom for her was all about pony play. That had its advantages and was an amazing thing to be a part of. Doing pony play the way we did it at Folsom meant that I was no longer an attendee of the event but became part of the event. Instead of being largely a "consumer of content" I was among the people who were the "content" of Folsom. It was a blast doing that but it also made it a tad difficult to take in the event itself - let alone take photos of it to then share.
Folsom 2011 was my last time with Ann there as my partner. Folsom 2012 was my first time since '08 where I was able to take in Folsom the way that I am used to doing so and where I was once again but an attendee enjoying all that was there before me. I took over three hundred photos that day and have been distilling them down what I think shows best what Folsom 2012 was for me this year.
Three likely lads at Folsom
This is pretty standard fare for the "traditional" image of what Folsom is: big, muscular, handsome, sexy men in leather. Kinda hard to argue with such eye candy. Walking up and down Folsom during that afternoon you're quite likely to see lots of this. I certainly did. I caught up with these guys late in the afternoon. I like that time of day at Folsom as the sun is low on the horizon and yields some wonderful warm and full lighting which can really bring out the warmth and colors you can see through the lens. Also by that time of day, enough beer has flowed to make a goodly number of the Festival's participants quite happy. I think our Red Fleet lad there on the right demonstrates that well enough.
These three guys were certainly friendly enough but they did ask a price of me for my taking their photo. Namely, they wanted to see if I was "regimental" under my kilt. Well, I am ALWAYS regimental under my kilt! I found they also had a nice strong grip. No surprise that. While our sailor boy on the right didn't say much, the other two did and it turns out they're from Canada. By their accents, I'd say the Quebec part of the Great White North. Anyway, it was a pleasure interacting with them. And that, for me, is one of the joys of Folsom - interacting with the people there.
Folsom for me started out early enough with making my first loop as the event opened. Also making a first loop around the Festival were the Ponies. And the critters as well. No surprise, Beauty and Tinnie were leading the herd.
Beauty decided to show a bit more flesh this year 'round and I know it was well appreciated.
Tinnie was also in fine form and doing her part to keep bringing pony play to Folsom.
One thing I like about pony play is that there is lots and lots of room for creativity with it. This couple, for example, demonstrated that quite well with their converted wheelchair as a pony "cart." The pony girl was also wearing tap shoes and that enhanced the "clip clop" of her "hooves." I like such creativity at this event.
Quite unexpectedly, this year turned into a "boot Folsom" for me. In years past I made a point of hooking up with the Hotboots.com crowd and enjoying the company of other bootmen and afficiandos. But, after that last time a "boot mood" struck me, I was pretty much set. Or, so I thought.
I had just been up to the Castro to get a haircut and get my nails done. Yes, I get my nails manicured and pedicured. Deal with it. I went to Daddy's Barbershop for the hair bit and got nicely done by Arlen. Queen Bee Nails took care of the bits on my digits. I've Frank to thank for that recommendation. Anyway, all nicely groomed and trimmed, I made my way back down to SOMA. I had to push past the nudist rights demo taking place there at Castro and Market but, somehow, I made it.
Once I'd showered and got appropriately dressed (Mr. S shirt, tank Uk, and desert boots,) I headed off to the Mr. S Leathers store. If you've never been to their store on the Saturday before Folsom you owe yourself a visit. The place was packed shoulder to shoulder (and butts to nuts) with wall to wall hot 'n horny men. Everyone there was having a good time and doing so without even having to buy anything. The atmosphere in that store at that time was intoxicating. You could get a contact sexual high just from standing inside the shop. Everyone was that happy, that turned on, and the much fun to be around. That the guys running Mr. S also had set up a keg dispensing free beer helped. A bit.
One thing I did have to laugh at though was the bathroom there at Mr. S. This year, as opposed to the last time I was in that shop on Folsom weekend, the bathroom wasn't just spotlessly clean it was also quite pungently clean. VERY pungently clean. Pine Sol or what ever other industrial strength / industrial smell cleaner they used had rendered the air inside the bathroom almost noxious with its scent. Now, there could've just been some unfortunate spillage that required the use of a lot of that stuff. Or perhaps the cleaning staff just likes the smell. Or perhaps my schnoz is just overly sensitive to it. Perhaps.
But I really can't help speculate on the inhibiting effect that such a powerful chemical smell has on anybody who sought to use the stalls in the bathroom for anything other than single occupant privacy while voiding ones bowels. This, as opposed to perfect places for a quickie to act on that contact high from out there on the main floor of the store. Smart move on Mr. S's part as anyone who obtained such a release would most likely no longer be in such an eager-to-consume mood.
In any event, I had a great amount of fun wandering around the shop and taking it all in. The beer helped but more so did the happy, sexy, eager guys filling the place. Eventually, I found an item I just could not live without and reluctantly made my exit. I decided that since it was in the neighborhood and since I had damn little else to do otherwise, I'd at least hit up Stompers Boots. Not that I was expecting much from them. The last time I'd tried shopping there I was disappointed. But, like I said, I was in the neighborhood and I was "up for it" to say the least.
Much to my surprise however, Stompers did have merchandise which caught my eye. The eye candy filling the store also caught my eye but they weren't the "for sale" type. In this case it turned out to be another pair of Corcorans. Only this time, it was a pair made out of regular boot leather and not like the last pair of Corcorans I bought. The leather of that pair is such that only the heel counter and toe cap could really be shined. The rest of the uppers are made of a leather specifically finished not to take a shine. This has always been something I've regretted about those boots despite their fitting so well and their being genuine Corcorans.
Well, here at Folsom this year at Stompers they had fully shineable Corcoran jump boots. And that was all it took for me.
While I was there this young lass walked in and began chatting up the staff there and showing them the pictures from her step-down ceremony. Turns out, her name is Luna and she was the California Bootblack 2011 and the International Community Bootblack 2012. Imagine that, a bootblack titleholder showing up at the Stompers Boots store. For her step-down outfit she wore some delightfully and utterly femme black and white custom made dress that apparently caused quite the stir. Good on her!
I left Stampers that afternoon wearing my brand new Corcoran Jump Boots and was quite happy with myself for it. Yay me!
A bit later that afternoon I wound up over at the San Francisco Erotic Art Exhibition 2. I was in hides from head to toes and it was something of a shame that I was really the only guy there in full-on fetish attire. I guess the event is still a tad young and needs more publicity. While there I enjoyed the creations of all involved. Particularly Yancy Mendoza's pieces. He, in turn, appreciated the efforts I went to in turning out for the event. I was pleasantly surprised to see an artist like Nancy Peach tapping into an icon like Peter Berlin. A good trend, that.
The next day, at Folsom, one of the very first things I did was seek out the bootblack booth to get their first official shine. Turns out, Luna was working the booth that day. Another, "gee, go figure!" moment. I put my name, got my little numbered card and roamed around a bit waiting for my turn and her chair to open up. Eventually, it did. In the meantime however, I enjoyed some of the eye candy also getting their boots shined.
First up was this fine example of leatherman:
Damn, but he was distracting! Now, I'm pretty sure this guy used to be - or perhaps still is - one of the models for Mr. S. If not, he certainly could be.
I'm not sure if it was an effect of that chair on that end of the bootblack stand but a while later there was this other bit of eye candy occupying it.
She too was wonderfully distracting! And she also turned out to be VERY well armed as I counted at least three knives tucked into various places there in her shorts!
Adding a bit of "fantasy" and no small amount of "cosplay" to the day was this fine gent. Or rather, his Royal Highness, the Goblin King, Jareth.
He had the hair, the eye makeup, the white poet shirt, the gray tights and the boots down spot on. Very sexy and nice to see someone wearing such a costume to an event like Folsom. I have to wonder though, just how many folk caught the reference.
Eventually, it was my turn however, and Luna was pleased to recognize me from the day before. It was good to connect with the bootblack who was doing my boots for the first time. I was glad for that. And, as I would expect from a bootblack competition winner, she did a most excellent job on them!
Interestingly enough, it turns out to have been ten full years since my last "boot mood" at a Folsom. It was back at Folsom 2002 when I was last in Stompers and last buying any sort of boots at a Folsom. Hard to believe the time has passed like that. Also hard to believe the pair of Corcorans I bought back then are now a full decade old!
And this time, unlike the last time, when I got a picture of me in my freshly first ever shined boots, I actually showed up in the picture! Thank you Olga and Blu!
This was a great way to start my day!
But, the boot fun for Folsom 2012 wasn't over for me
Later that afternoon I wound up over at Stompers. Each Folsom afternoon they have a little boot party out in the "backyard" of their shop. This was the first year I hit them up and it was well worth it. There were plenty of sexy boots being worn by plenty of sexy bootmen and bootwomen too! And if ever there was a place to show your appreciation and enthusiasm for all that, then this was it. Just ask Blu here.
Both she and I appreciated the boots Olga was trying on. Not sure if she eventually bought them and if not, then those boots have a jump start in the personal energy invested in them for their new lucky buyer.
Of course, it would've been wrong to have left out the oh-so-helpful Stompers bootman helping Olga and Blu come to their boot purchasing decision. Very wrong.
Yes, very wrong indeed.
enough, just next door to the Stompers store there was a semi-private
party going on and its attendees were a wee bit different from the
crowd hanging out just a couple of doors down.
Another sissy gets spanked!
This very sexy mistress kept herself quite busy for quite a while there on that afternoon. I managed to hit up Stompers twice that day and she was out front there working over different sissies every time I passed by. The party itself had a nice assortment of such gender bending and gender fucking going on. Some were "classic" sissies in girly attire. Some were club kiddie androgynette. And others were just intent on doing their own thing in bending the holy blue hell out of the entire gender role concept.
That would be one truly interesting football team he's playing for!
Tattoos at Folsom always catch my eye. There's a lot of very creative folk who turn up to this event and no few of them carry that on to the creativity they impart onto their own flesh.
This lad's ink was quite eye catching.
The ink this lad worked up on himself was about as impressive as the flesh it adorns.
What really caught my ink appreciating eye though, was the works on this lad. He was quite literary in his adornments.
I have more shots of him that I hope he follows through in contacting me for as I really like how they came out.
While that was visual enough, it was the bliss of the dancers which really struck me. In particular, the bliss of this one lass as she joyously twirled away there that day.
She is another one who I hope follows through as I've a series of great shots of her twirling away in her joy.
These two were quite the pair. They had enough sequins, make-up, and glam on to lay waste to an entire Vegas showgirl chorus line. And they were having a blast that afternoon.
As I've mentioned, I really like the late afternoon sun at Folsom. The lighting is great, the bulk of the crowd has moved on, and of those that remain, they're usually pretty mellow and in a lot of cases quite unique. Unique, such as this fine gent.
There are few other places in the world where you could wear such spectacular shades and fit right in while doing so.
Now, of these next images, I'm not exactly sure what was going on about them.
I'm sure there must've been some point to having a big inflatable King Kong atop the building but I'll be damned if I know what it was. It did make for an often captured image that day.
This group was well and elaborately turned out. I'm not sure what the intent was, but it was striking none-the-less.
And then there was this bit of graphic oddness on display at the Festival. The "S&M Obama" I'd seen from previous years. But the Hellfire armed Predator drones sporting gay pride flag colors was something entirely new. And there was at least one guy walking around the Festival with more of these posters for sale.
I saw this gent in line to get some Festival food and, aside from being entirely covered in silver body paint, he was sporting a truly striking bit of ear jewelry that I thought well worth the moment.
Another thing I like about Folsom is the sense of frolic that so many of the attendees bring to it. This little clutch here was frolicking quite intently and doing so right outside the entrance to the hotel I was staying in. Apparently, for the guy on the left here, it was his first date with the lass there in the middle. And it looked like they were hitting it off just fine.
As the afternoon wore down into early evening, and as the San Francisco weather did its usual frosty thing, I enjoyed the change in energy and scenery that this brought with it.
I made sure to stop at the Utilikilts booth and get a shot of me in my brand new black Uk. The folks running the booth were willing enough to take the pic even though I'd bought that Uk at their Seattle store and not at their booth. Later on, the same Uk booth lad was even willing to "Morgan" for me.
I'm not sure who's booth this was but the play station frame they had there was quite beautifully done and made for a great image. I really like the lines and the curves and its contrast with the sky behind it.
I kept my eyes peeled at that time for other such intriguing compositions and was well rewarded for it.
Other such "Folsom moments" weren't nearly so artistic. While the attendees enjoy the Festival, the folks who work the Festival do just that - work. And by Festival's end, they're done. Very done.
Yeah, we got yer glamor, right here!
I don't know, there was just something captivating about this guy as he sat there at Festival's end. A few minutes prior - half an hour at the most - and the crowd would've been too thick to have gotten this image. As it was, at this moment, he and I could've been the only ones out there. I don't know his story, I don't know his name, and I've no idea why he was there. But, there he was and the composition of the moment really struck me.
Men With Strong Hands
But Folsom isn't only about the images or the spectacles. It's also about the people there at Folsom. In this particular case, as I walked around in my Uk at Festival's end, I encountered a couple of men who also turned out to have very strong hands.
Arlen, for instance, had a nicely developed grip that was quite fun to rock back away from and I enjoyed how in place his grip remained. So too did a bunch of other people around us with their cameras. I was however, too... focused... to ask for copies of those images.
Arlen is also the lad who cut my hair at Daddy's on Saturday. It was good to see him at the Festival as well.
These two lads here, aside from being fellow kilt fans, also had good, strong grips. Like I said, I like that. A lot.
And that was about it. I'd spent almost the entire Folsom 2012 out amongst the middle of it. The only time I was in the midst of was when I was in the midst of the Stompers boot party or up in my hotel room executing yet another quick costume change. That is one great advantage of being right there at the Festival as I swapped out of my leather BDUs & leather shirt into my leather shirt, jodhpurs and Dehners and then into my tan Uk, Catskill Moccasins and then into my leather kilt and then into my black Uk and Catskills. Like I like saying: change is good. Change or die.
So, by Festival's end, I was more than spent. The numerous Sapporos I'd downed had to have helped with that to at least some degree. But, at least I could carry myself away from the event and back to my hotel room. I do have to admit however, that it would've been fun to have been carried away from the Folsom Street Festival 2012 like this lass got carried away!
Perhaps next year!
Practice made it perfect!
With a year's familiarity and time to think about it, we perfected things. Beauty went out and got an actual harness made for herself that allowed her to pull the chariot with her body and not just with her arms. Plus, we did more work on me standing in the right position to keep the chariot balanced so that it didn't exhaust her arms trying to do so herself.
The result was truly smashing!
This year she was able to pull the Roman Chariot all around the Festival without any exhaustion. And we were quite the hit. This, even with it being a cloudy and rainy Folsom.
After the fun we had doing the ponyplay thing at the previous year's Folsom we decided to "bump it up a notch" for this year's. To that end, Ann had a friend of hers help her making a chariott for her to pull instead of the usual cart. And we went with a "Roman" theme for it all.
In the months leading up to Folsom I scoured the Web to assemble my half of the ensemble. I went as "Tribune Madoc Hibernicus Britanicus Maximus, commander of the Emperor's Ponygirl Legion." That meant I sported an officer's armor and a "Praetorian" style helmet. The "musculata" armor I found online and the helmet I ordered from a company in France. I got everything together while I was working in Aurora, Colorado and even had the armor and the tunic altered by an amorer I'd found at the Colorado Rennaissance Faire.
I'd also found a source for a Roman Legionnaire Cavalry sword and a Legionnaire's personal dagger. Rounding the outfit out, I even found a source to make me a pair of custom Roman Legionnaire's sandals. I was as authentic as I could get. So, come Folsom, I was all set.
Ann had done a splendid job with the Roman Chariot.
She'd even outfitted the thing with attachment points for our water bottles and sundries.
We made quite the sight!
And we even got a video of us in all our Roman Legion Ponygirl splendor!
While our planning and preparation for the Roman Chariot got the appearances down, the actual pulling of the thing proved more problematic than either of us thought. The balance on the Chariot proved very difficult for Ann to deal with and she was soon exhausted. One of the tires also sprung a leak and that made it even more difficult for her to pull it along. So, after a very brief foray out onto Folsom we retired back to the hotel and did a costume change. The full arrival of the Roman Chariot Ponygirl would have to wait until the next year.
Some years I take or wind up with lots and lots of photos from Folsom. Other years, not so much. Folsom 2009 was one of those "not so much" years.
It was however, the first year I attended Folsom with Ann and it was also the first year we got some professionally done fetish photos of us together. They came out nicely.
Ann and I went full glam, full fetish for this set. The photographer had never photographed a ponygirl before so this was something very much new for him. In the years since, he's gotten quite a few compliments for how these images turned out.
On Folsom day itself Ann sported the silver outfit for when we did our walking 'round the Festival. That's where we ran into Azalea here. Ann's outfit is about as custom as she could get and it cost her accordingly. That's fair enough as she likes the results she's gotten with it and so to do quite a few other folk.
Azalea's outfit however, was all home made - with the exception of the bit. Her hooves were but some black electrical tape and everything else was homespun and homemade. And it was great! We both really loved how genuinely enthusiastic Azalea was in making all that herself and how much joy she was finding in it all. Having such fun is a big part of what makes Folsom so enjoyable.
Earlier in the day, Ann and I had done a few loops around the Festival before the crowds set in. She'd chosen a different outfit to start the day and I think it worked well.
I would normally have taken more photos but I didn't get the chance to take any, actually. This was my first time to a Folsom where I wasn't taking in the spectacle of Folsom but was, instead, part of the spectacle of Folsom.
To say that Ann / Beauty was photogenic and eye catching would be an understatement. Everyone, it seemed, wanted a photo of us. Well, at least of her and they didn't mind if I was in the frame. Whether we were doing the cart pull thing or whether I just had her by the reins, the attention was constant. And it was a rush. There was almost always a crowd of folks crowding around us to take our picture. I'd never experienced that before. And it was a heady thing. I can now much better understand why celebrities do just about anything to keep getting that sort of attention - it's an enormous ego stroke and quite intoxicating.
So, I never got a chance to get my camera out to take any photos of my own. Instead, Ann and I simply cruised the various online photo upload sites after Folsom and began culling the imagery of us that others posted there. To this day, web searching "folsom ponygirl" will bring up an image selection in which Ann is prominently featured. Oh, and I'm there in the frame too...
I was last up at Folsom in 2005. Then, I was there with my partner, Julia. It was her second Folsom and my eighth? ninth? tenth? Anyway, I’d been there a lot times more than her so I got to enjoy her enjoying it as something still very much new. Julia and I wound things up last summer so this year I was back in SF on my own; free, white and definitely over twenty one!
In getting set for this Folsom I wanted to stay near the action so I could be part of as much of it as I could. That meant finding a hotel pretty close to where the Festival would take place so I could hit that room up frequently for what costume changes I needed to make.
For anyone who has spent some summer days in the City, you know how it lives up to the old saw: "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." Folsom Weekend 08 lived up to that in great degree. In the mornings the difference between being in the sun or in the shade meant needing to be in shorts or bundled up in a sweater. By mid-day it was hot enough to roast. By late afternoon, the marine layer started rolling in and the breeze ahead of it, combined with the roiling clouds to the west, would drop the temps down hard. Folks who’d been hot ‘n sweaty in their next to nothing at the Festival around mid-afternoon suddenly were all chills, goose bumps and chattering teeth by Festival closing.
If you chose hide as your attire you were mostly comfortable in the morning, sweating like a pig by mid-day, and warm (if still damp) by sundown. It all depended on your comfort level and what you wanted to achieve. Me? I wanted to be both comfortable and look good. Thus, I knew I’d need to change at least a couple of times during the day. That plus I had more than a couple of things to change into so getting a hotel nearby for those “costume changes” was mandatory.
But, due to a lot of factors out of my control (and some well within it) I only got started on my Folsom plans late in the season. In years past if you didn’t lock in your hotel room for Folsom by late winter / early spring then you were SOL bigtime. As I was starting this effort in late July I was just hoping to find a hotel within a half mile or so of Folsom. I fired up Expedia and ran a search on hotels in San Francisco and then started looking on the map for ones that were in the SOMA (South of Market Area.)
One place I found was really surprising in that it’s location was more than perfect, it’s room night price was actually pretty low, and it actually still had rooms for the weekend even at this late date and even with all that other stuff going for it. Knowing how Expedia works, I decided to light up the hotel directly. That way I could book my room there without having to pay for it up front.
The hotel I speak of, Americas Best Value Inn & Suites – SOMA, is located on Hallam Street. This isn’t just near Folsom it’s on Folsom. The northern face of the hotel is on Folsom street itself and the place is literally just a stone’s throw away from where they set up the 7th Street Stage. Yeah it’s that close.
The place has an interesting history to it as well. I knew that prior to it’s becoming a hotel in the Americas Best Value series it had been a youth hostel. That gave me a bit of a pause as I really didn’t want to deal with sharing one bathroom per floor or something like that. However, the place had been renovated enough that each room had its own facilities.
At some point prior in its history, the building had actually been used a bathhouse. This was “back in the day” as a friend of mine, Ron of BigBlackBoots.com, told me when he learned where I was staying. He remembers the place from when he was stationed down in the South Bay and would go off duty on Friday nights, drive up to the City, check in to that bathhouse, spend the rest of the night fucking his brains out, and then get turned out onto the street come Saturday morning. Bathhouses were not hotels and thus could not provide overnight accommodations and thus had to close for business the next day. A legalistic quirk that put well and truly spent guys out on the street at an early hour.
I found the hotel to be well suited to my needs. It has few of the amenities you’d expect from a national chain but it had enough to get by. WiFi access being both free and online was the primary one I needed. The rooms were small but serviceable. The place was clean enough and secure enough as well. I was a tad worried about that last bit as I knew the Folsom crowds could mean for so much foot traffic it’d be easy for a thief to get through. Luckily, no such thing happened.
I figure that it was a younger Indian guy who bought up the place and converted it into its present form. He did the managing and such, while bringing on the rest of his family to staff out the rest. As a result there were a couple of older Indian women on duty through the weekend and it was real clear they had no idea what part of town they were in nor what sort of crowd they’d see over the weekend. Coming back from one of my rounds on Saturday I crossed paths with one of these ladies. I was in my new leather jodhpurs, Dehner patrol boots, and black Mr. S Leathers shirt. That lady clearly did not approve of such attire and kept her eyes upon me as I walked through the small lobby of the hotel. For my part, I didn’t give a rat’s ass what she approved of and locked my eyes upon hers. My facial expression made it pretty clear that her expressing any further disdain would be most unwise. I didn’t see her again that weekend.
A few years back, when I was last up in SF for a Folsom by myself, I was lucky enough to stay in a friend’s house in the area. Being that central to SOMA meant I really didn’t have much cause – nor much time, in fact – to get much away from the area. The same happened this time up there.
I got up to the Castro on Friday afternoon shortly after pulling in to town, and then again on Saturday when I was up there to have lunch with a friend. Other than that, I stayed down there in SOMA within but a few blocks of the hotel. And I wasn’t wanting for staying so close!
Friday afternoon I took a tour of that friend’s place. He’s recently got it finished and it is truly wonderful. I’m happy for him in this because he’s put a lot of effort and thought into its renovation and the results truly bespeak him.
From there I went over to the Mr. S Leathers store on 8th Street. It was literally “just around the block” from my hotel so it was but a short walk down Folsom and then down 8th to Richard’s store. Damn, but that place is intoxicating. It is a true “toy store for adults” and is filled with the finest gear for such play as you can imagine. And on Folsom weekend it is also filled with lots and lots of sexually charged men and women looking for such gear to fulfill their fantasies. That and perhaps meet others of like mind while shopping there to.
Unless you’re a sexless eunuch or such a prude that you can’t tolerate anyone else having fun, just standing in that store will give you a “contact high” from all the erotic energy being generated there. I spent a good couple of hours in the shop on Friday and on Saturday and got a buzz from that on both days. I also did a bit more than just “stand there” (thank you, James!) and managed to part with no small amount of coin to boot. But hey, I need all that schwag!
I’d started Friday afternoon in my shorts but was soon in my black Utilikilt back at the Mr. S store as I needed a new belt and Sam Browne for it. It felt really good to be able to walk around the streets in that kilt. I only looked a little bit out of place as I strolled up 7th to catch a cab up to the Castro and once in the Castro I looked not at all out of place.
Up in the Castro on that Friday I realized that I had forgotten to bring any jacket along for the weekend. I had thought things through far enough the last time I was in San Diego to pack two leather jackets in anticipation of this trip. But in my haste to get to the City, and being used to the Alabama summer’s heat, I had left both jackets hanging in their Huntsville Residence Inn closet. Smooth move, Madoc! So, I walked up to Worn Out West and checked out their goods. Luckily, I found a used leather jacket that both fit and was of a reasonable price. There at the store’s counter I also found something similar to one of these little gems and decided to give it a try as well. Whaddayaknow, it fit! One of the guys working there, Mike, was quite helpful in making sure of that. Odd how so many guys in San Francisco are just so damn helpful like that, eh?
I wound up that evening by getting my Dehners shined just down the street from the hotel at Chaps II. Bootdog was on duty for the “boot party” and while he did a good job, he wasn’t as personally into it as Paksen was back in Denver. I miss Paksen.
Saturday morning found me relaxing out front of the Starbucks on 18th Street in the Castro as I waited for my friend Frank. We had a lunch date to catch each other up on our lives. This Starbucks used to be a Pasqua’s coffeeshop and it has always done a land office business. It’s convenient to the rest of the Castro, it’s located within eye shot of the 18th and Castro intersection, it’s shaded by a few well placed trees, it has a few seats outside, and it has become one of the places for folk to hang out, cruise, people watch, and simply to be at. I got cruised and flirted with, heavily, by some of the guys there and that was flattering.
From there I went off to the boot “brunch”
held at Rocco’s, as
I mentioned earlier. Leaving there I
made my way over to a "scene" photographer’s studio nearby. I’ve known of his
works for a number of
years now and have also known of his studio being open during Folsom
well. I’ve dropped by a few times
previously and gotten some
in the process. Today was no
different. I was dressed in my finest
fetish gear; my freshly shined Dehner patrol boots, my Marvelous
leather jodhpurs, and my longsleeve black Mr. S Leathers uniform shirt. On this day, I looked about as regulation “Tom of
as I was
ever gonna get. We
wound up taking a buncha photos and he was pretty
what he saw through the lens. I’m
hoping that will well translate into equally as enthusiastic images.
Looks like the photos come out even better than I'd
From there it was back again to Mr. S (hello James!) and then off to collect Simone from the Citadel. We had a dinner date and wound up at Rocco’s – up front this time, not out in the gravel covered lot in back. We caught each other up on things and how our weekends were going. I was starting to fade having had a really energetic afternoon. I think I should’ve taken a “disco nap” in anticipation of the rest of the night. In any event, I was pretty well done by the time I’d walked her back to the Citadel and made my way back to my hotel. After a bit, I decided to get some rest for the next day and turned in.
Sunday, I was up early. To early as it turned out. For me it was well past time for me to be up, 09:00 by my Central Time acclimated body clock. That meant it was but 07:00 Pacific Time and, worse, it was that early on a Sunday morning down there in SOMA. Nothing was open! Well, nothing was open for business, that is. I got rather peeved at a couple of places nearby which had staff in them, their lights on, and their front doors propped open but were all “Oh, sorry, we’re not open yet” in response. One place even had its “Open” lighted sign in their window all lit up and blinking that they were “open” when, in fact, they weren’t. Not a good thing for a hungry guy like me in the AM. I did find a place to take the edge off and then got going doing my first walkaround of the event. I made five such runs that day.
This was one of my main goals, purchase-wise, for the weekend. I’ve long been after a second Uk. I’d bought my first one at the 2001 Folsom and soon found myself wanting another one. The first one was a black Workman Uk and it seemed more appropriate as fetishwear than otherwise. The black is a bit severe for day to day wear and I really didn’t want to do much real work in it ‘lest I get it marked up. So, I’ve long been in the market for another one that doesn’t shout “fetish” quite so loudly. This new caramel Uk is just the thing. I was real happy to have finally laid my hands on one. I’d hoped that Utilikilts would have had a presence at Dragon*Con but no such luck. This, despite guys wearing Uk’s being all over that event.
I was quickly back up in my room and working
up my first
blog entry about Folsom. Then it was
time to shower and get slung up in my first outfit of the day.
Bully for him in his creation!
By day’s end I was pretty well done myself. That’s a lot that gets crammed into Folsom’s seven hours. The evening’s approach, with its quick drop in temps and blustery winds, made it clear things were done for another year. I wound down that evening with Simone over dinner at Basil Thai’s and still had some fun with the crowd there doing the same.
Lemme know what thoughts you have of this. Also, if you know the names of the folks in
these images please send that on or put them in touch with me. I
tried to give out my cards as best I could
but between running out and between folks losing them I’ve not been
able to be
in touch with everyone I recorded.
All in all, this was another good Folsom. I think I found a good place to stay at for
next year and I’m already thinking about what I could do differently
and what I
could simply repeat to keep on having a good time at the event. So, that wraps this up.
Now it's time to plan for the next Folsom!
year's gap between getting up to SF for its annual Folsom was a year to
long apart for me. But then, poverty will tend to do that to
anyone's traveling abilities. I missed Folsom '04 because I was
seven months unemployed by that point. So, come '05 I swore I'd
be god damned if we were going to miss it again! We did, however
make some concessions to frugality. In years passed I'd gone up
there on the Thursday or Friday preceding the Fair and stayed through
into Monday. Not so this year. Instead of getting up there
that early and spending all that much money on a hotel room, Julia
and I decided to just go up there for the day. This
was both being la-T-da, oh-so-jet-setter, and also being as damn cheap
as possible. So, early on the morning of the 25th, Julia and I
flew into Oakland, did a quick costume change in the airport bathroom,
and then hoped onto BART to zip into town. We then spent the day
enjoying the Festival, the eye candy, the spectacle, and each
other. While there, Julia got a
chance to try an some awesome bit of bondage hardware made by a fine
gent from Germany. Martin's "Rigid Fiddle" is a sight to behold
and a joy to wear. Martin was even kind enough to allow Julia
and I to go running around the Festival with her wearing it. He
did, however, make sure to retain the key...
was the first Folsom that Julia and I attended together. We spent
the weekend up there and took in all that we could take in of San
Francisco during that time. We stayed real busy doing that as
there's always a lot to take in when your in the middle of The City!
Once we'd gotten our sight seeing all seen, it was then time to do Folsom. I didn't take a bunch of pictures this time 'round but I did take some and some others took some of us as well.
As our hotel room was so close, Julia and I were well able to dash back to it and execute at least one costume change each during the course of the fair. Thus, as the day progressed we had on a different outfit when Julia ran into one of her many leather family friends. In this case it was Donald Dotson.
|Another fine year
in The City
is now history. This year was a bit different for me as I wound
at a friend's house which was right in the middle of the event.
gave me a rather unique perspective on the whole weekend and one which
enjoyed immensely. It is indeed good to have such friends.
The weather this year was just about perfect. Not quite as hot as Folsom '01 but still warm enough that it made sense to show an awful lot of flesh. That suited me just fine! Once the late afternoon rolled around then SF's infamous chill rolled in too. Then it made sense to wear an awful lot of hide - which also suited me just fine! Life can be good!
Because of my location this year,
perspective changed. I still took a whole bunch of photos but
were of different things. I also realized that I had enough
of the standard eye candy which abounds at Folsom and I didn't want to
up more such images when they really wouldn't be distinct from other
Nor did I want to take pictures of the more unique images this year's
lest I give the impression that freakishness is what Folsom is all -
- about. I say this even though there was this one couple
in drag at the
who really stood out.
Those are my boots in the picture. That _is_ me in those boots, and that is Bootdog shining them. Honest! ;)
Once I got the boots properly shined I hung out for a bit longer and then decided to crash home. Folsom was beckoning and I knew how much of an endurance thing it would be for me the next day. I went back to my bed and was quickly wrapped up in sleep.
I was up early the next morning though and got to take it all in from a very preliminary moment. That was fun, as I've mentioned above. Once the day got going though, I decided that I just had to get my brand new boots shined at their first Folsom as well. Not that Bootdog didn't do an excellent job, it was just that Folsom was Folsom and it was only right and fitting that my new boots get shined there too.
So, I quickly found the Driller's
Stop bootblack booth at the Fair. Bootdog happened to also be
there but I didn't get lucky enough to get him two times in a row.
|Another great year! The
excellent at this year's Festival and that allowed for some truly great
candy to be seen. A little hot perhaps - but then what is a
when it brings forth such sights, eh?
I had my camera with me as usual and went through three rolls of film that yielded almost eighty pictures. I have gone through them and culled the most interesting for here. This year I actually managed to run out of business cards before I ran out of film or out subjects to shoot pictures of. I was really surprised at that for it is almost always the other way around. I'll have to work on that for next year!
Where Else But In SF...
This is the primary reason I go
Folsom. I have a number of friends up in SF and even more of my
pile into town over that weekend as well. It is always good to
them and catch up with them even if but briefly. There is also
good chance that I will make new friends over the weekend as well.
I have been to enough Folsom's and other outdoor summertime events to realize that comfort is king and style is secondary. While a head to toe heavy leather outfit may look hot, out in the warmth of a sunny day, it is more than hot to wear - it can actually be unhealthy! Then too there is the price you pay for fashion even beyond the possibilities of heat stroke. Some outfits are not just killer in how they look but also killer in how uncomfortable they are to wear - and I'm not even talking about the ladies (of various gender) who try wearing their stilletos all day on pavement!
With all this in mind I have tried to be both as comfortable and as appropriately dressed as I can when I am at Folsom. Usually this has meant wearing my black BDU's (Battle Dress Uniform) pants and my army boots. These BDU's may be black but they are all cotton and only "tropical weight ripstop," i.e. lightweight and thinner cotton than otherwise. This means that my pants breathe a lot better than even jeans and immensely better than a pair of leather pants ever could.
So I was pretty much set when it came to this year's event. I was wearing a white shirt and my black BDU's as I started strolling through the festival. It was hot and I was sweating a bit but I knew that, save but for a pair of leather shorts, I was dressed in a manner finely balanced between comfort and leather image. Or so I thought.
Two of my longtime Bay Area friends, Kevin & Andy, then came up to me and quickly dispelled my illusion. They were both wearing their matching black Utilikilts. I had seen one of these fine things before but never so many and never so up close. They looked great! I also imagined that they would be much more comfortable in that day's heat than even my "tropical weight" BDU's. I was in luck because the Utilikilts (Uk for short) folks just happened to be vending at the Festival and just happened to have a pair in my size and color preference. Here is the result just a minute or so - literally - after my slapping my plastic down to make one my own.
|I was at the Festival to do more
pictures and collect phone numbers. I also pulled duty manning
the National Coalition for Sexual
The NCSF is an organization devoted to helping defend alternative sexual practitioners from being crushed by the array of reactionary forces in our country. It is a tough row to hoe but I am glad to be a part of the effort. They have proven instrumental in getting the word out to the media and the public that sex is not a bad thing and that leatherfolk are not crazed psycho killers just waiting to abduct innocent high school kids.
A very worthwhile organization run by some very dedicated folks.
Folsom's of Years Past
|I have been to more than one
Festival and at each one I have taken a bunch of pictures. Some
are worth putting up here on my site.
As I go through my albums and scan those in I will be updating this page with those new images.
The Folsom Street Festival is full of wonderful eye candy. A lot of it is leather or fetish oriented but some of it isn't. Take this fine gentleman to the right here.
Aside from his belt he isn't wearing a bit of leather on him yet he was quite a sight to see. I thought I would share this with you.
There are some Folsom "old hands" who have been to so many Festivals that they really know how to get the best results from their time at them. Some of these guys stake out a particular piece of real estate on Folsom Street and let the Festival pass before them.
The real estate they pick is worth it to them for various reasons. Some guys pick a nice shady spot. Some guys pick a spot with a good view of the crowd. Other guys pick spots with a good view for the crowd. I don't know if this man was of the later or the former but the crowd certainly did enjoy their view of him!
If you would like to know more about me, then ask me directly. Just click on my email address here:
In the meantime, I hope you have enjoyed your "stay" at this site. Check back again to see what new images I have added. Until then, stay well, play hard, play safe, and have fun!
This page was last updated on: 4 October 2012
In the meantime, I hope you have enjoyed your "stay" at this site. Check back again to see what new images I have added. Until then, stay well, play hard, play safe, and have fun!