Folsom Forever

Before leather and fetish went mainstream with novels like 50 Shades of Grey, San Francisco’s beloved Folsom Street Fair was already a highlight of San Francisco’s street-fair season and an international tourist draw. As the bacchanal turns 30, leatherman documentarian Mike Skiff (Kink Crusaders) reveals Folsom’s story, capturing both rare historical moments and glorious festival footage from today.

Smartly positioning leather lifestyles as a “safe way to play,” Folsom Street Fair began in 1984 as a small neighborhood event, and it grew as a response to the assault on gay spaces at the height of the AIDS crisis. By its second year, it was already one of the city’s wildest events, with leathermen of all stripes flooding from SOMA bars into the streets. In the male-dominated world of early Folsom, women weren’t always welcomed with open arms, but hardy pioneers carved out space for themselves as the festival’s caretakers and crucial allies. This allegiance blossoms today in Folsom’s increasingly open (and less clothed) iteration—a much larger but still locally grown event that annually donates more than $300,000 dollars to nonprofits, draws more than 400,000 people, celebrates self-expression and sexual freedom, and reigns supreme as “the grand daddy of all leather events.”

— Jackson Scarlett

This film contains sexually explicit material.

PRECEDED BY:

Dirty Boots (He Don’t)

DIR Adam Baran 2014 USA 5 min

A sexually-charged day-in-the-life of a gay biker gang in Brooklyn leads to unexpected outcomes in this music video for Gainesville indie-band Holopaw’s queer song “Dirty Boots (He Don’t).” Narrated by Peter Berlin.

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: D308

Co-presented by:
Folsom Street Events (NSFW)
The Exiles (NSFW)

Sponsor: Queerty

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