From the “City of Wounded Boys and Sexual Warriors”
December 1st is World AIDS Day. I have been invited to Monday evening’s gala, Light in the Grove. A festive thank you for my participation in“Unsung Heroes,” an HIV Story Project’s film in progress. It honors the San Francisco Leather Community’s response during the 80s and 90s caring for those whose lives were stolen. What is remembered lives!
My long time friend and mentor Mark I Chester, radical sex photographer who has lived on Folsom Street since 1977, captured the passions of leathermen and fetishists in his new book “City of Wounded Boys and Sexual Warriors.”
His images are not only stunning; the way he photographed “the flood of gay men who left their homes and families and emigrated to San Francisco…pushing the limits and demanding sexual freedom” oozes intimate tenderness and strength. His acute eye for the moment documented our “community’s erotic imagination and behavior” from then till now… and I am blown away by his writing.
Mark writes, “These images are a meditation on life, death and eros in San Francisco during the late 1980s. It had been more than a decade of grief and loss. I felt totally spent….These photographs became a kind of visual diary of my thoughts, obsessions, passions and desires while caught in the quicksand of so much death and dying swirling around me. Much of this work was influenced by my ex, gay playwright Robert Chesley….to honor him, I included spandex,” his fetish.
“I know it seems incongruous to some that I would put together images of beautiful men, hard dicks, leather sexuality and visible images of AIDS and SK lesions, all in the same body of work,” Mark continues, “…When your life is marginalized, when your hopes and your dreams are treated as if they are irrelevant and without any value, the only option you have is to speak your truth and tell your story.
Mark’s “dark explicit photographic diary from San Francisco’s gay sexual underground, 1977-2015” is available at http://markichester.com/ He also shares beautiful images of our diverse community now. Like this one of sarah and Leland.
What an amazing month it has been for me! I had the honor to introduce body rituals to adventurous OneTaste members in New York City, teach Dominant Men starting on their leather journey this past weekend with Eve Minax in San Francisco, and to bring it all home, our annual year-end energy hook pull ritual, Fakir’s Spirit + Flesh, is just a week away on Sunday, December 6.
So much healing is needed. Today I received an email from Luna. She wrote, “With the recent events occurring around the world (and personally), I am seeking some catharsis with piercing.” Yes we need release, we need community, we need to keep opening our hearts to more trust, more connections and more pleasure. We kinsters have the tools with our floggers, canes, needles. We have the tools with our negotiation skills, safewords, aftercare, sex rituals. Fuelled by our erotic energies, our play offers such broad possibilities, from personal empowerment to deeper intimacy and aliveness.
Release all negativity and in its place let Harmony be!
As the year ends I thank all my students, volunteer bottoms, everyone who attended my workshops or Intensives in SF, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, anyone with whom I have been in ritual, alone or with Fakir. We are able to be the change we want to see in the world because of you; strong and resilient with your trust and your support.
Imagine all the people living life in peace..Namasté,
In kink and leather,
with special thanks to JR Church for the cheery portrait on my blog’s banner! And this one in the fascinator was taken by Mark I Chester!