San Francisco: The Real “Smut Capital” of America

by Violet Blue on September 29, 2010

Is SF really the actual historical smut epicenter of America? This is going to be a fascinating film, and I can’t wait to see it — I hope they get the fundraising they need! I’m excited to be mentioned in it, but more excited to see John Waters chiming in, and that it’s directed by Gay Porn Blog‘s Michael Stabile (!love him!). So. Awesome. The San Francisco Bay Guardian has this great post on it:

“(…) I’d always thought of it as an industry that emerged from LA, but San Francisco was actually the city that birthed the porno theater. It was the beginning of the sexual revolution, and in a lot of ways these directors were documenting this newly found freedoms.” Stabile attributes the renaissance to hippie women “with really no hangups,” a progressive zeitgeist that had seized the city in the late sixties and early seventies, and film processing studios that were willing to develop sexually explicit material. By the era’s zenith in 1972, there were porno film theaters in neighborhoods across the city.

Not that everyone was down to get all that action on screen. Diane Feinstein, first in her post as the city’s first female president of the Board of Supervisors and then as SF’s first female mayor, led a crusade focused on cleaning up the Tenderloin, which incidentally included sweeping the neighborhood free of its supply of adult movie houses. What ensued was an orchestrated harassment policy that different porn theaters dealt with in different ways.

Established theaters, Stabile says, actually benefited from the police and media persecution. “They’d come in with cameras, it’d be on the five o clock news and it would be great for them,” he says. “Advertising was very limited at the Chronicle. Feinstein would come in with her troops and would detail everything that was going on. Suddenly there was a way to talk about it, so people would flood into the theaters.” The Mitchell Brothers grew so adept at playing the cat and mouse game, he says, that they would post Feinstein’s office number on their marquee under the words “call for a good time.” (…read more, sfbg.com)

Violet Blue

The London Times named Violet Blue "One of the 40 bloggers who really count" and Self Magazine named TinyNibbles one of the “Best Sex Resources for Women.” Blue is an autodidact and pundit on sex and technology, hacking and security, porn for women, privacy and bleeding-edge tech culture. She is a journalist for ZDNet, CBS News, CNET; she's an educator, speaker, crisis counselor, volunteer NGO trainer, and the author and editor of over 40 award-winning books.

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{ 4 comments }

1 Ally October 1, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Madame Blue, how does a girl win your attentions these days? I’m an SF native if it helps. Come visit me at http://www.racybunny.com/ so we can chat and play. Ally

2 charazarr September 30, 2010 at 1:17 pm

I was just reading that during the Civil War, D.C. had nearly 400 cat houses and appr. 6000 ladies of the night catering to the gathering Potomac Army. One such was named after General ‘Fighting’ Joe Hooker, supposedly ‘Hooker’s House,’ as the establishment was named added itself to our lexicon. Go D.C. Enjoy :)

3 Mike September 30, 2010 at 9:57 am

Hello lover!!!! Thanks so much for the amazing write up. Any chance you’d be willing to post a link to our kickstarter account, where we’re doing the actual fund-raising?

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/15215410/smut-capital-of-america-documentary-short

4 Rhacodactylus September 29, 2010 at 3:41 pm

California here I come!

(because somebody had to say it)

~Rhaco

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