gordonzola: (Default)
So, I don’t like to talk about it publicly, but San Francisco and I have been going through a bit of a rough patch. Don’t get me wrong; it’s still my home. It’s still where I want to be. We still have a commitment. It’s just that we’ve been together a long time and there are some things that have been building up.

It started when SF didn’t have a place near BART that [livejournal.com profile] smallstages and her son could afford. It got worse when I realized that at least half of my close friends are now in the East Bay and often when I run into an acquaintance that I haven’t seen for awhile, that’s where they’ve disappeared.

Partially too, I’ve isolated myself over the last few months, mostly with book editing stuff. SF and I were together, for sure, but we hadn’t done anything fun recently. I started to think we had lost our spark.

Thanks to The Folsom Street Fair, the city’s annual huge pervfest, I remembered some of the things I love about San Francisco.

First off, our store had our annual free organic produce booth. Day-to-day retail workers know that you hear far more complaints than praise on the job, so it’s great to see our customers barely clothed and telling us how much they love the store. Also, in a sea of expensive sex tchotkes, folks who didn’t know us were extremely happy that our booth had no catch. “Can you handle our organic bananas?” was a very well received pitch. In fact, two men made quick use of their bananas in a crowd-attracting scene right outside our booth. Banana peels make great slappy sounds

Plus, I don’t do this very often anymore, but I do love a Sunday where we start drinking beer at 11 AM. It was a typical Folsom St. for the most part: I got happy-drunk, friends dropped by, we flirted with strangers and gave out food… but man, who booked the bands this year? There’s never been name bands at Folsom. Granted, they are only “name” bands to us children of the ‘80s, but still: The English Beat and Berlin?

I left our booth to make the English Beat show but forgot that with so many people, it would take a good half hour to walk 4 blocks. Still I arrived at the stage as they were starting “Twist and Crawl”. It wasn’t hard to get to the front; I even managed to put down my cheese bag under the stage.

It was so nice. I immediately saw that my people were there. An anarchist who I knew from mid-‘80s “radical student” organizing, my old queerpunk friend Aloofa, Larry-Bob of Queer Zine Explosion fame. Now, the English Beat were never my favorite Brit ska band, but I liked ‘em plenty enough to have a great time dancing (I can’t say anyone was skanking) to their old favorites with all the other 40-ish year olds. Aloofa swore Dave Wakeling changed the lyrics to another oldie to “Hands off He’s Mine” for the occasion. I actually managed to heckle him effectively when he announced that they were going to play “Mirror in the Bathroom” for the first time in 20 years. I yelled “Hey, why don’t you play ‘Stand Down Margaret’ too?” and he stopped mid sentence and laughed. I only heckle with love.

When they did play “Mirror in the Bathroom”, the leather dyke next to me, a stranger, grabbed my shoulder and yelled, “I can’t believe they’re playing this!” All us old folks were laughing and yelling and dancing in the street. Awwwwww.

Anyways, it was just what I needed. I needed a drunken party full of friends and nice strangers. I couldn’t make Berlin because they were at the stage at the opposite end of the Fair, but I was satisfied and ready to go home. Thanks Folsom St!

(I just posted about another event filled with friends and nice strangers that you should consider going to if you are in the area.)
gordonzola: (Default)
Our store will be handing out bananas and fruit leather until we run out and I'll be at the booth until at least 1 PM. We're on Folsom bt. 8th and 9th but I don't know which side of the street.

Stop by and say hi if you're gonna be there.

edited to add Holy Crap, no one told me that The English Beat and Berlin are both playing the fair. WTF?
gordonzola: (Default)
The best moments of Folsom 2007

1. [livejournal.com profile] smallstages visiting.

2. Less frat boys with cameras this year.

3. Working the Rainbow table and offering apples to all the ponies. Laughing at their almost universal lack of humor over this. Next year we're bringing sugar cubes and/or carrots. One woman/pony did come over and thank us. She had really wanted one too. She stamped her little hoof/foot but her dude wouldn't take the bit out of her mouth.

4. Formaldhyde offering a banana to someone in a pink mask with no mouthhole. The masked man just put his head down like a sad clown, unable to accept the offer.

5. Yelling out, "Who wants a banana?" a lot.

6. Kelly. Her performance was exactly what you'd think.

7. Finally meeting [livejournal.com profile] mactavish after being on each other's FLs for like 5 years and both living in the Bay Area.

8. Slapping the ass of one of my favorite cheese rep's boyfriend.

9. People dressed in next to nothing yelling out, "I love Rainbow!"

10. No one I know getting hit by come from 3rd floor window masturbators.

11. Drinking beer outside on such a nice day. God must love pervs. Folsom is almost always beautiful.

The low points:

1. The leatherman conventional apple farmer who came by our booth right as the Fair was starting and we were still setting up. He asked what kind of apples we were giving away. I didn't know at that moment because the person who ordered them was elsewhere and the boxes didn't say. "Those are organic right?" he asked, "I could tell. I'd only use those for juice." He said, acting all stern dad with me.

What kind of asshole complains about free organic apples at a street fair filled with overpriced sex toys and nutritionless food? Sheeesh. For the record they were Romes from Sebastopol and they tasted awesome.

2. The one moron who interrupted a hot spanking scene to take a picture. I thought the guy in the priest outfit was gonna hit him. I wish he had.

3. Missing seeing a number of people I knew were there somewhere in the crowd.

4. Nothing "OMG, I've never seen that before!"

5. Running out of free produce around 3 PM. Man, you folks were hungry!
gordonzola: (Default)
Oh Folsom, what is there to say?

You are always the odd mix of total predictability and odd surprises. Lots of masturbators, sunburns, and generic leather boy outfits to be sure. But then there is the longtime shopper or cheese rep who one discovers is a big perv. It’s the joy of discovery I tell ya.

Our store had a booth again this year, but since we weren’t selling anything, they moved us to the top of 11th St. which only had about 6 booths and a lot less traffic. We did our usual attach our store banner to a row of handtrucks to, as my co-worker described it, bring a more proletarian feel to Folsom St. The rope bondage folks next to us attracted large crowds periodically but it was a very relaxed day for us. We had free spanking rulers which we ordered for the event. They were emblazoned with our store name, made from recycled currency, and were flexible enough to pack a lot of smacky action. People who test drove them in front of the booth seemed to be impressed.

Here’s a picture:
ruler
Isn’t that the most boring Folsom pic you’ve ever seen?

As always, I wish I took pictures of friends but I didn’t. I took a shot at the Eagle from the back steps to show how big and crazy the crowd was and to get an overview of the Tennis Fetishists and the Broken and Bruised having their turf war. Unfortunately on the side of the picture is some woman’s bare breasts so I don’t feel comfortable posting it. Sorry.

The best ever Folsom picture is here on Heathen’s journal. Oh, that Uke-Ray-Ray!

I saw about 20-30 LJers . (In fact, I’m actually starting to believe that [livejournal.com profile] defenestr8r actually still lives in San Francisco since I run into her almost every weekend. ) Special shout outs to [livejournal.com profile] goodbadgirl, [livejournal.com profile] chitinous, and [livejournal.com profile] chreebomb for hanging out all day

My favorite thing of the day was actually watching my young co-worker get kind of blown away by being at her first Folsom St. Fair. By her own account she saw many things for the first time and I think her boyfriend is in for a few surprises. At one point she said, " I want to see someone whip it out and measure themselves with one of our rulers."

I told her, "I bet all you have to do is ask." But she was too shy. Awwwwwwww.
gordonzola: (Default)
I meant to post this before I left town.

gordon_chillin
Me and [livejournal.com profile] elusis at the Folsom St. Fair. One of these years I have to bring a camera to take pics of friends.
gordonzola: (Default)
I love sitting around in a shaded booth drinking beer in the middle of the day watching the sexy freaks walk by. I love flirting with everyone who comes by the booth, regardless of sexual orientation or fetish. I love giving out crap for free in the middle of a giant bdsm mall. I love the tragic nudity and the hot nudity equally, though in different ways. I love the meat-on-a-stick even if, as [livejournal.com profile] final_girl noted, it was a little subpar this year.

Unfortunately Panda discontinued their 3 ft. long licorice whips that came in bundles of 12 looking like really mean floggers. We didn’t realize this until we tried to order a pallet of them to give away for the fair so we had to make do with fruit leather, magnets, pens, canvas bags, and vitamin samples. We had a few fly swatters but they didn’t pack a very exciting wallop. (Confidential to SF Environment: "Swat it! Don’t spray it!" really isn’t much of a public health slogan).

One non-leather-clad fair-goer confronted me with the statement, "Why are you here? You’re a vegetarian store!" I told him that we also had a table at the World Vegetarian Day Fair in Golden Gate Park but that we felt a connection to both communities. Then my brother called me from the veggie fair wondering why I wasn’t working the booth.

"Wrong fair," I said. "Take off your clothes and come on down." He declined.

Without the licorice whips, we ran out of giveaways really early and made our booth into a little shaded lounge. "Punch: Utilikilt!" was played for the second straight year. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] chitinous for the "HOT" stickers, and [livejournal.com profile] elusis for the 3 block swim through the river of buttcheeks and bar vests. This really is my favorite San Francisco holiday.
gordonzola: (Default)
At about 11:30 AM, before the fair was anywhere near full blast, a woman with long curly blond hair sat down on the sidewalk across the street from us. She had on a tiny, shiny, red PVC outfit, fishnets, and knee high boots. She was crying. She started unlacing her boots and a gasp came from my co-workers. "If she takes those off she’s never gonna get ‘em back on!"

It was too early for that kind of pain but she was suffering. She sat on the curb rubbing her feet, still crying, and looking for her friend. We started discussing whether to offer her our cooler to stick her feet in, but as we were reaching consensus, her friend showed up and comforted her. Eventually she managed to dry her tears, get her feet back in to the boots, and with support, limped off to 11th Street.

Remember kids, don’t let this be you. Break in those fetish boots before you wear ‘em in public.

On the other hand, I found out who yelled "Cheese Whore!" at me from the moving car. It was LJ people after all: [livejournal.com profile] wookiepocket and [livejournal.com profile] cholthered But I’m sure it was [livejournal.com profile] wookiepocket’s idea.
µ
gordonzola: (Default)
Well, I wasn’t gonna post anything about Folsom St. because I’ve written about it the last couple of years, but heck, all the other Bay Areans are doing it.

After having some weird insomnia, I awoke with three hour’s sleep at 6:30 AM to drive my workplace’s truck to our booth. Hot. No, not hott, hot. I was out of the house at 7 and it was obviously gonna be a scorcher. I thought of all the fiery red butt cheeks I would see by the early afternoon. And that only a certain percentage would be inflicted by people rather than nature.

We loaded up the truck with a half pallet of two foot long Licorice whips,10 cases of fruit leather, a case of lip balm, badly written informational literature, pens, magnets, chairs, tables, flags, and a cooler filled with beer. Even in the early morning, it was no picnic trying to drive through Folsom street to our set up point in a fully loaded truck. Many pervy boots and shoes don’t let their wearers move too quickly out of the way of danger.

Dripping sweat by 9 AM I abandoned all thought of wearing leather (besides my boots of course). Let’s all acknowledge something right here and now. There is a palpable anxiety in San Francisco on the days before Folsom St. (and Pride for that matter) from people worrying about what they’re gonna wear. That’s why the leather daddy/bear clone look is so popular. Well, one of the reasons. Anyway, let’s just acknowledge it and move on. I didn’t do Pink and Fluffy btw, not that any of you thought I would. But I did wear my pink rubber spikes as an act of solidarity.

The big Panda licorice whips come 12 to a bunch hooked together with metal clips. They totally look like floggers when hung from the top of our booth. We gave the clips out to the people who wanted to strap their licorice to their utility belts. People were surprised at how much a licorice whip can hurt. This proves my theory that all you need for s/m is a trip to the grocery store…

I love giving away stuff for free at Folsom. But I’ve written about that before. My favorite person this year was the suspicious Russian woman. I don’t like to stereotype, but older Russians immigrants tend to be suspicious. There are good cultural reasons for this, it’s not a criticism. Or maybe we, as a store, just especially push their buttons.

Back at our old store customers had to check their bags before shopping. One Russian woman, clutching her purse with white knuckles, refused and demanded to speak with The Manager.

"We don’t have a manager, we’re a collective," the desk worker replied.

"Co-lec-tiiive," the Russian woman hissed. She looked to both sides for the KGB. No one was closing in on her. She saw she still had a chance for freedom and ran out of the store yelling "No… no.. .no…"

Anyways, the woman yesterday kept saying, "Is free? Why free? This is expensive. I put fruit leather in grandson’s lunch. Is expensive. Why?"

I decided to respond to her cultural background with my Northern Californian one. "Because we love you," I said. She scooped up some more fruit leather and left

There are a million more things I could write about. I saw a ton of LiveJournalists all of whom were hott. Maybe it’s because I started drinking at 11:30, but I don’t think so. I’m afraid to try to name them because I undoubtedly miss some, but what the heck. Let’s see… in order [livejournal.com profile] cholthered, [livejournal.com profile] wookiepocket, [livejournal.com profile] albatrossity, [livejournal.com profile] nadinelet, [livejournal.com profile] amarama, [livejournal.com profile] bornbent, [livejournal.com profile] msjen, [livejournal.com profile] vituperation, [livejournal.com profile] chitinous , [livejournal.com profile] ilipodscrill*, [livejournal.com profile] epilady, [livejournal.com profile] chestertodd**, [livejournal.com profile] telebraker6, [livejournal.com profile] beautifultoxin, [livejournal.com profile] whimsicalpops, [livejournal.com profile] princessrugger, and [livejournal.com profile] hmcallister. I’m pretty sure I saw [livejournal.com profile] pegsioux and [livejournal.com profile] charliegrrrl from a distance.

Who’d I miss? .

If you’re wondering whether you saw me, I was wearing black sunglasses that are slightly too small for my big head and a faded purple sleeveless shirt. The shirt had a drawing of a woman looking out at couples in the street saying, in pink*** "There’s someone for everyone — but me." My cheese tattoo was showing. If you came to our booth and someone tried to give you licorice using the phrase, "tasty and functional" it was probably me. Or handed you a pen with our workplace name and said, "handy for writing down the numbers of new friends you might make today."

What I love about SF is that I also ran into two cheese sales reps of mine. I ran into one outside the skanky porto-let. He was shirtless, with a leather collar, and hairier than I thought he would be. "I’m not pulling off this look am I?" he asked.

"Nah, you look great," I said. "See ya on Tuesday."



*your new friend was cuuuuute.
**maybe I’m not a big perve. The worst beating I got this weekend was by Chestertodd’s team in our fantasy football league.
***my second act of solidarity with the Pink and Fluffy.
**** Special thanks to [livejournal.com profile] chitinous for hanging out with me and eating food despite the difference in our sobriety levels.
gordonzola: (Default)
As if further proof was needed of the sectarian left being out of touch with The People, ANSWER organized a "troops out!" demo on Sunday on the same day as the Folsom St Fair Predictably, only about 5000 people showed up to the demo which is a pretty dismal showing in SF for a "mass" Sunday afternoon protest. I think there were that many people a few years ago for the joke "Legalize PCP!"* rally someone called to make fun of the NORML folks.

Emma Goldman might not have agreed in her historical time period, but this definitely fell in the frame of that fake "If I can’t dance to it, it’s not my revolution" quote attributed to her every five minutes or so.* Folsom St. is one of SF’s big weekends, smaller in size than Pride and Halloween, but equal in prep time and looking-forwardism.

If the Leftoids ever got out of the house and had fun they might have realized that it was a bad idea to "restart" the anti-war movement on a day where they were competing with SF’s pervy population, truly the soul of the city, as well as the SF Blues Fest. We’ll leave out the Niners game ‘cuz they’re sucking so badly this year. Here’s a pic from the demo *** and here are two crowd shots of Folsom St. last year. Good or bad organizing? You be the judge.

Even though I was deathly ill all week, I knew I had to roll out of bed for Folsom. First off, [livejournal.com profile] vestalvixen had come all the way from Boston for it and I was already being a whiney and terrible host, second, I was scheduled to work a booth for my workplace and third, I always have fun at Folsom even though I’m not usually a dress-up kinda boy.

Thankfully, I woke up feeling good so I dressed to show off my cheese tattoo and headed down to our booth to hand out licorice whips and fruit leather. Everything was free, we consider it community outreach**** since our store is a block away from the fair, but people were wary and skeptical. "Do I have to give my e-mail address?", "Is the prize free after my free spin?", "What if I don’t like my prize?" Sheeesh. Of course, every time I guaranteed someone there was "no catch", they’d spin the wheel and land on the tiny little square that read, "We whip you with a licorice whip!" But it was just one smack and then they got to eat the licorice, so no one seemed upset. My RSI arm is my smacking arm so I just handed stuff out.

I know you all were giving me sympathy yesterday, but I felt good enough on Sunday to drink the beer that we smuggled in, check out The Shocker (with Jennifer Finch from L7), and make out a little with a hott LJ babe***** (not my houseguest). My favorite line of the day was one I ran into an acquaintance who was complaining that none of her freak friends wanted to go this year. She continued, "I told ‘em, if you’re not gonna go to Folsom, you might as well just move somewhere with cheap rent. It’s why we’re here."

[livejournal.com profile] vestalvixen seemed impressed by the whole thing. I’d run into someone, say hi, then someone else would come up from behind and my friend and they would start fooling around or go underneath the stage together. VV kept saying, "I love your city!". Yep, VV, it’s like this every weekend here.

I only have one question and I need to ask one of my bear friends but I’ll post it here anyway. Do bears roll around on the carpet, building up static electricity to get their body hair to stand that far off their bodies? Do they have to recharge after awhile? Do they have little pieces of carpet tucked away along the route for this purpose? Are their bear fashion mags that teach their tricks?



*"New studies show that PCP is as safe and beneficial as blue-green algae."

**The Chron had an exceptional recent butchering of this fake quote (can you butcher a fake quote?) but the search feature on their archive is so bad that I gave up trying to find it. It was something like, "If I can’t have fun, I won’t join your social movement".

***There was an overhead shot on the SF Indymedia website, but since it seems to be down again I subbed the Chron one.

****There is some irony to our (almost) vegetarian store hanging out at the leather event, but NOT ONE person pointed that out.

*****Name not mentioned because it was a bit of a pity makeout on her part. I was still a little exhausted from all the not-eating last week. It was like I was a little birdy who wasn’t strong enough to go gather my own food.

******If you can’t get enough Folsom, here’s last year’s entry.
gordonzola: (Default)
I had a wonderful Sunday. My workplace had a booth at the Folsom Street Fair this year. Even better, we were just giving stuff away. Amidst the overpriced food, drink and leather accouterment we had to convince people, at times with a riding crop, that our stuff was FREE and that they needed to take it.

I love working at a place that has a booth at the biggest perv fair in the City. And it was nice to hear from the adoring customers instead of the annoyed ones. In fact, it was pretty refreshing since the night before I had to deal with one of the most obnoxious customers I’ve seen for a long time. He went up to a biracial co-worker and said, "Do you speak English? Have you ever heard of tofu?"* My co-worker looked at him with a totally straight face and said, "To-fu? What’s that?", even though she was actually stocking it at the time.

But she was still pissed off, so I got on the store intercom a few times in the next 10 minutes and said "To-fu? What’s that?" in a mocking voice.

So it was really nice to have an appreciative audience yesterday. Because it is the leather fair, we brought licorice whips, Newman Os Tops and Bottoms (kinda of an organic Oreo but separated), organic fruit leather, condoms, lip balm, and temporary tattoos. A dyke friend and I decided to go as bears so she made thick fake mustaches for us (out of carpet I think), a belly wig for herself, and we wore more or less matching mirrored shades and macho baseball hats. Her "That’s Mr. Fag to You!" shirt outdid me though.

Unfortunately, as we dressed at the store, we got a panicked phone call from the booth telling us that they WERE OUT OF EVERYTHING. We quickly loaded up a handtruck with 10 more cases of fruit leather and a hug box of lip balm and headed out to the event. Trading off clearing the crowd and navigating the fully loaded cart, it took us about a half hour to get through the cheek to cheek crowd over the five blocks from the store. Overall it was very butch and went with our outfits. However, I worked up such a sweat that my mustache fell off when I joined the others at the table and took my first sip of beer.

My bear co-worker had a little song and dance for us to do that she had designed the previous day while working cheese. To that annoying, but catchy , Pink song she’d sing, "We’rrrrrrrrrrrrrre / Bruce and Lance /So you better get this party started." while holding a piece of cheddar in each gyrating hand. However without my ‘stache we called it off. The real bears were alternatively amused and upset by our outfits. One took offense when my co-worker said to the hairiest one of all, "You’re my mentor."

The wonderful thing about volunteering to do this event was that we could drink as much as we wanted since we weren’t on the clock. In fact, we soon found out that we all had smuggled beer into the event. My co-workers never cease to impress me. After a few hours we realized that everyone walking by was looking a lot cuter than they had been when we arrived. Time to stop drinking? Well, maybe. It’s always much more fun, I find, to be at a booth at a street fair rather than just walking around looking for fun. This way, the fun comes to you.

Eventually we gave away our fruit leather and lip balm and folded up our table. While we waited for the company truck to pick us up, we were total freak magnets. People were taking pictures, weird boys with Klingon ears were offering massages. In fact, the last-call dregs of the entire fair seemed to be attracted to us. At one point we had three fucked up, creepy guys hovering around us asking for beatings, cigarettes, beer or just staring. After we chased them away, we didn’t let anyone even pause. As soon as some creepy-vibed dude slowed down, we all started yelling, "NO! Keep moving. Nothing to see here."

Though at this point I did see an ex looking especially hott in a PVC enema nurse outfit. She pointedly didn’t introduce me to the boy she was with. I also said, "Oh my god, a Young Pioneer uniform fetish!" to a guy with commie pins and a red scarf. He stopped, amazed, "You’re the first person to get it all day!"

"I have kind of a commie fetish myself," I replied.

And then it was time to meet my housies at Walzwerk , an East German restaurant celebrating its anniversary. I love German food and this place is done up in the kitsch of the owner’s youth. With all the Social Realist art, I should have invited the Young Pioneer to come with me. I did have my Hungarian Young Pioneer housemate though. We ate free sausages, potato salad, chocolate desserts and drank very expensive beer at cost. I ran into a lonely sales rep who had had a huge fight with last year, but we chatted and discussed food.

And then I walked home with my housemates and went to bed. What a special day.

*Ignore for a second that tofu has only become an English word relatively recently.

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