IntroductionThis page features a photo essay about the 2008 „Up Your Alley” Fair — a free, open-to-the-public street festival held in San Francisco on July 27. Up Your Alley — which until recently was called the Dore Alley Fair — is very similar to the larger and more well-known Folsom Street Fair, in that they are both held to celebrate the leather and fetish scene in the gay community. While Folsom is internationally known and draws visitors from all over the world, Up Your Alley is thought of more as the fetish event „for locals,” and because of that it is smaller, has fewer retail vendors and booths, and generally flies under the radar. However, in recent years, the original Dore Alley Fair stopped being independently produced, and became a subsidiary of the larger Folsom Street Fair nonprofit organization; the name was changed to Up Your Alley, and was it was more heavily promoted on the official Folsom Web site. As a result, as I discovered this year, Up Your Alley has become extremely popular itself, with many tens of thousands of people in attendance (at least from my guess, though I’m no expert at estimating the sizes of crowds). Now it seems to be more than just a warm-up for Folsom, but instead has grown to become a major event in its own right (some of the photos below show how crowded it was). Why Make This Report? The Politics of Exhibitionism and Public Sex The story behind this report has its origins last year, when I did a photo essay about the Folsom Street Fair itself. After a controversy arose in 2007 about the „blasphemous” poster (a fetishistic parody of The Last Supper) advertising the Folsom event, and about Miller Beer’s prominently visible sponsorship, I went to check out the 2007 Folsom festival to see if it really was as extreme as is detractors were claiming. Turns out that it was. I did a lot of musing and agonizing about my decision whether or not to publish my Folsom photos; rather than repeat myself, I invite readers who never saw my original Folsom report to read my introduction to it here, because most of the arguments I made then remain relevant to this new report as well. However, a few key points need reiterating: • I am only publishing these images for their evidentiary and journalistic value, and have no desire to run an X-rated web site. In order to prove that what I’m reporting is really true, I must necessarily post pictures that many will perceive as pornographic. • I am not responsible for the behavior of the people shown in these photos; if you feel that these images „make gay people look bad” and are unhappy about that fact, then take the issue up with the people shown acting out. Don’t blame me: I’m just the messenger. • I am not claiming that the behavior depicted on this page is practiced by all members of the fetish or gay communitities, nor that they all universally approve of it. • I am not anti-gay, or anti-fetish, or anti-sex. • I myself am neither Catholic, nor Christian, nor religious in any way. • I have no „agenda”; I’m just reporting what I see. I’m publishing these photos to maintain my journalistic integrity and to not engage in self-censorship simply because the facts are inconvenient. • Personally, I don’t particularly care one way or the other about what goes on at these fairs, or about Miller Beer’s sponsorship. I’m just introducing some facts into an argument in which two opposing sides are making mutually contradictory claims. Just as with my Folsom report, I was at the Up Your Alley event for slightly less than one hour, even though the fair lasted all day, from 11am to 6pm. And in that one hour, I took all the images on this page (and many more similar scenes I did not have room to show). The goings-on depicted in this essay are not unique, significant or noteworthy incidents: they’re just random scenes from a random hour in the day. If I had arrived an hour earlier or an hour later, I would have seen a completely different series of incidents. Whether I visited at a particularly sexy time, or during a lull in the action, I don’t know: What I saw during that one hour was probably about average for what went on during every hour throughout the day. So, as I said in my previous introduction, one can extrapolate that a great deal more sexual activity must have gone on during those six hours that I was not there. So — let’s get down to business.
It’s Miller TimeLast year I published a photo essay about the Folsom Street Fair which received extensive nationwide coverage. Part of the fallout from that controversy was that many conservative and religious groups called for a boycott of Miller Beer, which had been a corporate sponsor of the Folsom event. These same groups also tried to pressure Miller to end its sponsorship of the fair. I did not follow up on that angle of the story, and now that Folsom season is upon us again, I decided to find out: Did Miller ever withdraw it sponsorship of the Folsom events? I say „events” because the Folsom Street Fair is organized by a nonprofit called Folsom Street Events that puts on a whole series of parties, fairs and other happenings throughout the summer, including the Up Your Alley Fair on July 27. Futhermore, was the explicit nature of Folsom Street Events’ free public festivals toned down after the uproar over my previous report? Well, the only way to find out the answers to both of these questions was to go to the Up Your Alley Fair in person and see for myself. Right off the bat, I noticed a big change from last year: Whereas at the 2007 Folsom Street Fair the beer booths all had big banners that said „Miller” and „MGD,”, this year at Up Your Alley the banners simply said „Ice Cold Beer” with no corporate branding at all. And for a brief moment I thought that Miller had indeed dropped its sponsorship of the fairs. But when I got closer, I realized I was mistaken. Turns out that Miller was still involved in the fair, since companies are not granted the beer concession without being sponsors. And Miller Beer was still being sold. The difference was that this year they toned down their visible presence at the fair. They didn’t withdraw their sponsorship — they just made it less obvious. Which must have been a difficult decision for the company’s marketing department: The whole point behind sponsoring events like these is to get the opportunity for all the free adverstising and branding, by slapping your logo as big as possible throughout the event. But now, the big logo-banners were removed, and the only branding was on the small price-list sign. But wait — what are all those other beers doing there? Could it be that Miller is not sponsoring the fair after all, and that it is simply one of many competing brands for sale? A quick bit of research revealed the truth: Every single one of the beers offered for sale at the fair were in fact brands owned by Miller. First of all, Miller Beer was bought by a multinational corporation and is now called SABMiller, and is based in London, not the US. Secondly, SABMiller owns dozens of other brands as well, including (as seen on the sign above) Pilsner Urquell and Leinenkugel’s (which I’d never heard of before). Other signs showed Foster’s lager being for sale, but it turns out SABMiller owns the rights to Foster’s as well. So, despite the apparent wide variety of different beers being offered, they’re still basically all Miller products. Scenes like this are why Miller decided to tone down its corporate branding. In previous years, this „San Francisco handshake” would have featured a big Miller logo on the banner in the background (instead of the tiny Miller logo visible on the price list). In fact, I think it was photos like this from my previous report that convinced Miller to remove its oversized branding from the Folsom events. But there’s no question that they remain sponsors: On Folsom Street Events’ own website, Miller is listed as a „Presenting Sponsor,” which is the highest level of sponsorship. Furthermore, Miller decided to remove its logos from the beer cups as well, to forestall any more embarrassing photos like this one would have been. (Again, last year, I had several photos of Miiler Beer cups in embarrassing situations. But I don’t think SABMiller is going to cave in to any further pressure to withdraw their sponsorship. After all, not only do they sponsor the Folsom Street Fair and the Up Your Alley Fair, but theyalso sponsor the much more extreme, paid-admission adults-only „Bay of Pigs” party, which I’m quite sure makes the public fairs look tame by comparison. If SABMiller has no qualms about events like that, then they certainly aren’t going to be scared off of the street fairs. Furthermore, Folsom Street Events issued a press release saying they weren’t going to allow the pressure from religious groups to dissaude them in any way, and that they’d fight to keep their sponsors. So, I’d confirmed that Miller was still a main sponsor of the fair, and had exclusive rights to the beer concession. That answered my first question. But what about the next question on my list: Had the sexually explicit nature of the Folsom events been toned down at all from the previous year? Time to find out. Wall-to-Wall Humanity I’m posting this picture not because it shows anything interesting, but rather just to set the scene for what is to follow. The fair was packed. Wall-to-wall humanity for about three or four solid blocks. There was absolutely no privacy anywhere, no out-of-the-way corner to hide. Just keep that in mind as you view the rest of the report. Everything shown in the following pictures happened in the midst of this crowd, not in a private area. And remember that this fair is completely free, and open to the public without any admission charge, and is held on public city streets. Oh, and this is your absolute last chance to turn back. Ready? Total Toilet Pig Shortly after arriving, I encountered my first evidence that the Up Your Alley Fair deserved its reputation. In plain view on the public sidewalk, a man in a helmet was performing oral sex on two men simultaneously, while just a few feet away two other men were going at it hot and heavy. The man in the helmet had the words „Total Toilet Pig” written on his back, and a cup bearing the phrase „Got Piss?” which obliging passersby had partly filled with urine. A man with a „FUCK” belt-buckle (and not much else) loomed close with his penis. Did he want a blowjob? As it turns out — no. He had other things in mind. He let loose a stream of urine onto Total Toilet Pig’s neck. He proceeded to give Total Toilet Pig a good soaking. Notice the color difference between his cup of beer and the liquid in Total Toilet Pig’s cup, confirming my suspicion that it was in fact urine. Total Toilet Pig didn’t seem to mind. In fact, it looked like he was enjoying it — after all, he was a total toilet pig. It was only after the stream of urine started to get all wobbly, spraying this way and that, that I realized I had leaned in rather too close in pursuit of the perfect picture, so I quickly backed up to avoid becoming an accidental total toilet pig myself. I should have known this was on the agenda. When FUCK’s piss had slowed to a dribble, Total Toilet Pig turned and gave him a good cleaning. Afterwards, as a digestif, Total Toilet Pig savored his cup of anonymous urine. Whew! That was heavy. Time for some comic relief. Hallelujah, It’s Raining (Se)Men On Dore Alley itself (the street after which the fair was originally named — The Dore Alley Fair), a window overlooked the crowd below. As I was walking past, a naked man appeared in the window and began masturbating. Hundreds of people on the street below took notice and gave him whoops of encouragement. This public attention made him more and more excited and before long he began to ejaculate out the window. I provide this close-up to prove, beyond any doubt, that he was indeed ejaculating onto the people on the sidewalk below. Semen was raining down. Spurt after spurt flew out of the window. I instinctively took a step back, but in truth I was too far away to get hit. The crowd went wild. They cheered through his entire orgasm. The weirdest part of all was that he seemed to keep his eyes open the whole time. Again, another close-up for the Doubting Thomases. As it came to a close, the window sill was dripping semen. After he was done and retreated inside after waving to his fans, another man looked out of the window to see who had gotten splattered (luckily, not me). Where Were the Police? After my Folsom Street Fair report last year, the question I got asked most often was: Where were the police? Isn’t public sex illegal in San Francisco? In order to stave off a similar barrage of questions this time around, I present the following pictures. The police were there. You can see them at the upper left in this picture. Mostly they seemed to stay on the periphery. There were several entrances to the fair, and a few police were stationed at most of them (though the one I entered through was unmanned). Here are three cops at a popular entrance on Folsom Street. But in no case did I see any actual policemen inside the fair area (several city blocks). The closest I saw any cop to being „in” the fair was this one who stood about two feet inside the entrance. Mostly they just stood around impassively. They didn’t even react to the many people there who wore faux police uniforms (such as the guy in the foreground). I can only assume that the police were on order to not interfere witht the goings-on inside the fair area, however illegal they might otherwise be. Some of the sex acts shown on this page were within plain sight of policemen loitering nearby. Is it city policy to allow a temporary „law-free zone” inside the Up Your Alley and Folsom Street fairs? I don’t know. But it sure seems that way. These guys were humping right up against a barrier that the police had installed earlier. Feeling Horny Right in the center of the street, a guy with devil horns was getting a frenzied blow job from a guy with a shaved head. They quickly drew a crowd of shutterbugs. Some light testicle torture was next on the agenda. Then he took matters into his own hands and pressed the guy’s face into his crotch as far as it would go. Sausage, anyone? Orgasm Dude I happened upon this five-way encounter: three guys performing oral sex on two recipients. Someone with a „Beer Nuts” hat walked by at that very moment — especially appropriate considering the next image below. Suddenly, the man on the left started having a very vocal and very obvious orgasm. Orgasm Dude moaned and groaned as everyone turned to look. The man on the receiving end did his best to swallow at first… But he then allowed the rest of the ejaculation to roam free in the open air. Here’s a close-up from the previous photo, to dispel any doubts about what was going on. He finished the job by hand. A final close-up for those those who still cling to thoughts of „This can’t possibly be happening in public.” The human face can be so expressive.
The guy to Orgasm Dude’s right reached for his penis……and slurped up any leftovers. And where were the police during all this? Why, right next door! Smoking a big cigar. (Note: Fetish costume. Not actual police uniform.) Many of the beneficiaries from the fair’s vendor proceeds were AIDS-related organizations. And various AIDS-themed booths were stationed around the fair — such as the San Francisco AIDS Foundation seen here on the left. And yet, right next door was another booth unapologetically selling „barebacking” porn videos. Since barebacking (having sex without a condom) is considered a major factor in the spread of AIDS in the gay community, one wonders if anyone noticed the inconsistency of the message. And considering that I did not see a single condom being used all day in any of the sexual encounters I witnessed, I doubted the efficacy of holding a fair like this to raise money for AIDS groups. It was almost like hosting a Gamblers Anonymous convention in a casino. Crotch-cam So much was happening so fast that I quickly became overwhelmed. Every time I paused to take a picture of some scene, I would notice out of the corner of my eye three other photo opportunities slipping away. Furthermore, a lot of the action seemed to be going on at crotch level, which wasn’t always clearly visible from normal camera-taking heights, in the crush of the crowd. Because of these factors, I eventually decided to set the camera shutter on „auto-repeat,” let my hand (holding the camera) dangle down by my hip, and just snap away at random as I passed through the crowd, without really seeing what I was photographing. It was only later, after I uploaded the pictures at home, did I browse through these „crotch-cam” shots to see what I captured. Most of them were blurry and at odd angles, but they did present an interesting view of the Up Your Alley Fair from crotch level. And so I present for you here, without captions, a selection of crotch-cam highlights, snapped at random: Hernia sufferer or practitioner of scrotal inflation? Only his doctor knows for sure. Piss Cop Hello, what’s this? A man seems to be urinating on someone’s leg. Why, he’s a New York City policeman. Or at least he’s dressed like one. Something seemed odd about the way the urine was coming out of his penis — it didn’t shoot out completely straight, but emerged in three seperate streams or dribbles. I went in for a closer look. Turns out the Piss Cop was a practitioner of a mild form of genital splitting, in which the urethra is cut open along the underside of the glans or penis. I didn’t notice until after looking at these pictures later that the man on the right already had urine-soaked pants from a previous incident (on the insides of his legs). I suppose his fetish must be „letting people walk up and piss on me.” Put the Bone In More window action: A naked guy (possibly the same one we saw earlier, or not — I couldn’t tell) appeared at a window overlooking the crowd holding a plastic bone in his hand. Can you guess where it’s headed? He probed for an opening. The crowd below shouted encouragements. This guy really takes the expression „getting boned” literally. Successful insertion was followed by some vigorous wanking. Windows 3.0 In yet a third defenestration from the same building, a short time later another man ejaculated (or at least tried to ejaculate) out the window onto the crowd below, as partiers on a nearby balcony watched. I was pretty far away at the time, and took this photo with a zoom lens, so I couldn’t see exactly how things turned out, sperm-wise. And just to prove that this wasn’t some out-of-the-way corner with no one around: As you can see from this shot, the street below the windows was packed solid with people. Pleased to Meet You One of my „crotch-cam” shots captured the moment when one man walked up to another and introduced himself by bending down and…well, the picture explains it better than I ever could. I was standing just inches away when it happened. I stepped back and raised the camera to see what would happen next. The two new friends then engaged in a more traditional „San Francisco handshake.” After this introduction, he went down on his knees and got to business. Notice the sign for the beer booth in the background. In previous years, it would have said „MILLER BEER,” leading to some unfortunate photo opportunities (unfortunate from Miller’s perspective). They were wise to tone down the visibility of their sponsorship. Other photographers got interested as the action got hot and heavy. After a while, the recipient emitted some noises that seemed to indicate he was starting to have an orgasm. He raised his bag to block his face while this was happening. Luckily, in this case, the ejaculation remained well-contained inside a bodily orifice. If only more people followed your lead, I wouldn’t have to keep dodging out of the way of these precious bodily fluids! A parting kiss before we go on to Part 2…
Unlike the first part of this report, Part 2 is not about politics and sex and beer: it’s just about funny and interesting pictures. So you don’t have to brace yourself for more explicit scenes. Not that I’m saying this page is G-rated — far from it — but this half of the report is more of a lighthearted take on the Up Your Alley Fair.Years from now, someone’s going to write their PhD thesis about this picture. It’s a little hard to see, but this guy had the words „Decency Sucks” written on both of his arms. Sometimes, testicles simply need adjustment. And then there were the Mystery Huddles. All up and down the street, wherever I went in the fair, men would gather in small clusters and do…something. I could never quite figure out what the Mystery Huddles were for. Perhaps my mistake was thinking they were all for the same purpose. Maybe each one was unique. For example, from the motions of the participants, this one seemed have something to do with anal sex. Frottage? Sometimes a Mystery Huddle would part to reveal nothing much happening at all. Let’s Play Dress-Up The Up Your Alley Fair is also known for the creative fetish costumes worn by many of the participants. I’m not sure if people put on these outfits because they find them sexually arousing, or if they just like wearing Halloween costumes. Either way, here’s a selection of the many costume themes I spotted: The „Boy Scout” look was very popular. Not sure why. Then there was the „vaguely Hitlerian Boy Scout” look. Here’s a Scout leader in „Troop 69” wearing a utility kilt and hugging a Highway Patrolman. Speaking of which: The next most popular look was „law enforcement.” All sorts of agencies were represented, from the California Highway Patrol… …to the New York City Police Department (yes, this is „Piss Cop” shown in Part 1, stocking up his bladder for another soaking)… …to a not-very-believable Los Angeles cop. This was actually my favorite costume of all: Naked Hillbilly. The obsolete 2-megapixel camera — something only a real hillbilly would have — lent a perfect touch of authenticity. Keep movin’, movin’, movin’ Though they’re disapprovin’ Keep them dogies movin’ Rawhide! The classic ZZ Top look has mostly fallen out of fashion, but several practitioners were on hand to kickstart a revival. Another popular theme was „high school athlete.” Here we have a pair of wrestlers… Vinyl football player. („69” seems to be a common number.) Cal shortstop. For some reason, Gestapo dogs were in short supply compared to the packs at the Folsom Street Fair. These were the only two I saw. The Horned One seemed strangely lonely. Once, long ago, when you heard the words „gay men dressing up,” you’d think: drag queens. But those days are long gone. Drag is definitely passé, at least at Up Your Alley. The few drag queens at the event seemed wildly out of place. Of course, that excludes the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the Grand Dames of San Francisco, who were on hand as the security team. Smoking? Horrors! „Excuse me, I’m lost. Do you know where I can find the 1970s?” Here’s a guy „transitioning” from drag queen to leather boy. Unfortunately, he seems to have gotten stuck right in the middle. All the branches of the armed forces were represented: The Navy… …The Air Force… … and, in a sense: The Army. There were so many real erect penises bobbing around that there wasn’t much of a need for a guy in a penis costume. Speaking of which: remember „Orgasm Dude” from Part 1, who had his penis in two different mouths within a short period of time? Well, here he is with his penis in yet a third mouth, just a few minutes before that scene. Maybe I should have called him Mr. Sexual Ecosystem. „Consent. Submit. Indulge.” Advice that everyone already seems to be following. I like the expression of the guy in the foreground. „La de da, nothing happening here….” Above the crowd in a different building on Folsom Street, butts were presented out the window for a good spanking. Thwack! The only female I saw experiencing sexual pleasure (aside from a few ladies being mildly flogged) was this woman who seemed to have something resembling an actual orgasm while engaging in some very dirty dancing. I couldn’t really tell if they had holes in their pants or if they were just doing some brisk rubbing. I didn’t see any overt politics in evidence — aside from this one Obama button. The rest of the pictures below I will present without captions, as a sort of slideshow of what you would have seen as you strolled through the Up Your Alley Fair if you tried not to notice all the sex. Acest articol este un pamflet ! Stilul Times New Roman