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A naughty party remains pure SF

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Dana George strikes a pose at the 35th annual Folsom Street Fair on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

I don’t go to Folsom Street Fair, it comes to me.

Since I live on Folsom Street, I make a point of not drinking too much the night before the festival. That’s because, come 10 am, the bass from the speakers outside makes my room sound like I’m in the middle of a rave.

Kayla and I tried to watch Netflix that morning and had to put on the subtitles because we couldn’t hear the words.

Despite my apartment getting the Manuel Noriega treatment during the event this past weekend, I love the fair.

It’s this weird, wonderful day that reminds me of the city I fell in love with. The San Francisco I moved to in 2002 was full of freaks and oddities, people who found refuge in SF because they didn’t fit in anywhere else. And Folsom Street Fair is kinda like homecoming for many of those folks.

This naughty, bawdy, tawdry party is billed as the world’s biggest leather event, but that really doesn’t do it justice. Folsom goes way beyond leather. Any kink you can imagine – and some you’ve never even fathomed – can be found strutting in its finest and filthiest regalia for all to see. In fact, the participants really want you to see them, that’s part of the fun.

Walking through the festival you’ll see people dressed in latex dog outfits playing on their hands and knees in a pen, people bound, gagged, and whipped in front of cheering onlookers, people in gimp suits being led on leashes, and dicks. So many dicks.…well you know what I mean, it’s a panoply of dicks.

Yes, there are many reasons I love the Folsom Street Fair, but one of my favorites is that it would be incredibly difficult tomake this a corporate event. I’ve written before about how shamefully corporate Pride has gotten. How sadly ironic it is to see companies like Walmart, who pay their employees terribly, march in the

Pride parade sandwiched between two labor unions. But thankfully I don’t see major corporate advertisers paying to be part of the Folsom Street Fair anytime soon. That said, I’d love to sit in on the meeting where the marketing team pitches the idea to the executives.

If there’s one thing that’s reaffirmed for me each year it’s how hopelessly straight and vanilla I am. But that’s ok too, Folsom Street Fair accepts you for who you are. You can tell I’ve been in San Francisco for too long because the only thing that grossed me out was seeing a woman dancing barefoot on Folsom Street. I mean, that’s just disgusting.

As San Francisco gets more square and normal, Folsom Street Fair becomes even more important. Even if it makes my apartment an impossible place to sleep for one day year, it’s totally worth it. I wouldn’t want to live in a San Francisco that didn’t have the Folsom Street Fair. Would you?

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, TV host and poet. Follow him at BrokeAssStuart.com and join his awesome mailing list to stay up on the work he’s doing: http://bit.ly/BrokeAssList. Broke-Ass City runs Thursdays in the Examiner.

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