THE LEATHER RESEARCH REFERENCE SHELF ¶ Leather Culture, 1945-1985 ¶ A Bibliography of Printed and Online Resources

San Francisco

See also Leather Culture, 1945-1985: The Southwest for related links. See the home page of this site for pages devoted to the United States and around the world. Information on terminology and abbreviations is available.

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Sections below:

* Period Writings

* Historical Studies


DeWoody, George. "Folsom Street!" Photographs by Crawford Barton. The Advocate (August 27, 1975), 28-29. Candid photographs of interiors of San Francisco leather bars. [G]

"DrumMedia Movies: Bar Wars." Drummer 79 (1984), 107. Report on a slide show by Alan Berube for the San Francisco Gay/Lesbian History Project, Resorts of the Sex Perverts, on the history of San Francisco bars. Includes a photo by Robert Opel of Chuck Arnett's mural for the Tool Box bar.

"Drummer Goes to the CMC Carnival." Drummer 80 (1984), pages 16-19. On the California Motorcycle Club Carnival. [G]

"The Folsom Attitude: Men of South Market Gathering Places." Drummer 37 (1980), pages 31-66. Special feature on various Folsom Street establishments. [G]

"International Leather Scene: First for Folsom." Drummer 79 (1984), pages 90-91. Three paragraphs on the first Folsom Street Fair. Photographs on this page also depict the second annual Leather Daddy's Boy Contest at the San Francisco Eagle.

"Leather Scene." Drummer 70 (1984), 76-79. Photos with accompanying actions on various events in San Francisco."

* Mains, Geoff. Urban Aboriginals: A Celebration of Leathersexuality. San Francisco: Gay Sunshine Press, 1984. Includes descriptions of the lives of an imaginary San Francisco couple. [G]

* Norwood, Jim. "5 Years Later: A Preliminary Examination of Sexual Behavioral Changes in San Francisco's S/M Community Five Years after the Onset of AIDS." Growing Pains (newsletter of the Society of Janus), May 1986, 15-18. [G]

Welch, Paul. "Homosexuality in America: The 'Gay' World Takes to the City Streets." Photographs by Bill Eppridge. Life Magazine. June 26, 1964. Includes a photo of the Tool Box, a leather bar in San Francisco, with accompanying text about the bar. Excerpts and photos. See also "Chuck Arnett."


* "An Extremely Unofficial Timeline of Dyke SM." Brat Attack 4 (1993).

* Bienvenu, Robert V., II. "The Development of Sadomasochism as a Cultural Style in the Twentieth-Century United States." Dissertation, Indiana University, 1998. American Fetish. Includes a section on the early development of gay leather in Los Angeles. [G and H, with some L]

Califia, Pat. "The Necessity of Excess." CounterPunch (October 19, 2002). Recounts memories of a San Francisco fisting club. [G, H, L]

"Chuck Arnett." Espacio Leather. A Spanish-language article on the creator of the mural at the San Francisco bar, the Tool Box, with a picture of that mural.

Connell, Kathleen, and Paul Gabriel. "The Power of Broken Hearts: The Origin and Evolution of the Folsom Street Fair." Folsom Street Fair. A history of two of the world's largest leather events: Folsom Street Fair (begun in 1984) and Dore Alley Fair (begun in 1986). Includes a history of the leather community in San Francisco.

"Dykes on Bikes: History." Dykes on Bikes. History of a lesbian motorcycle club that began in 1979. [L]

* Fish. "History is Just Good Gossip: Fifteen Years of Dykes Doing SM." Brat Attack 4 (1993). [L]

"Fissures in Gay Mecca." Shaping San Francisco. Concern by vanilla gays and lesbians after Stonewall over the presence of leathermen. [G, L]

Fritscher, Jack. Some Dance to Remember. Stamford, Conn.: Knights Press, 1990. Novel by the 1977-79 editor of Drummer, set in the Castro and South of Market from 1970 to 1982. Includes nonfictional and semi-fictional passages describing leather life in San Francisco at that time. [G?]

"The Golden Age of Folsom." Manifest Reader #2 (Spring 1987). Special issue of the magazine that includes reminiscences of Folsom Street by Dane Leathers ("Folsom Blues"), Robert Opel ("Requiem for a Toolbox"), and Robert Payne AKA John H. Embry ("Folsom's Golden Age"). Also includes a small number of photos of Folsom Street activities and a gallery of work by artists associated with Folsom Street.

Gwynn, David. "Folsom Street in the 1970s." Planet Soma. Subsections: Bars. Bathhouses. The Folsom Street Fire of 1981. Much information on leather history, with quotations from primary sources and individuals' memories. [G]

Highleyman, Liz. "What is the History of the Folsom Street Fair?" GMax. [G, L]

"History of the Leather Forum." The SF Leather Calendar. Describes the history of a calendar of San Francisco leather events that was begun in 1971 by the members of eight gay motorcycle clubs. Issues of the calendar from 1996 onwards are online. [G, H, L]

* "Mecca Then: The Freedom and the Frenzy – San Francisco in the 1970s." International Leatherman 10 (November – December 1996), 12-16. (Timeline.) [Mainly G, with some H and L]

Pacific Coast Motorcycle Club: 20th Anniversary. History of a gay motorcycle club that began in 1970. [G]

Rinella, Jack. "Interview with Marcus Hernandez." Leather Archives & Museum. Interview with Mr. Marcus, a long-time leather columnist, who moved to San Francisco in 1968. [G]

Rubin, Gayle S. "Elegy for the Valley of Kings: AIDS and the Leather Community in San Francisco, 1981-1996." In Changing Times: Gay Men and Lesbians Encounter HIV/AIDS. Edited by Martin P. Levine, Peter M. Nardi, and John H. Gagnon. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997. 101-44. [G?]

—. "The Miracle Mile: South of Market and Gay Male Leather 1962-1997." Reclaiming San Francisco. Edited by James Brook, Chris Carlsson, and Nancy J. Peters. 247-272. Excerpt 1. Excerpt 2. [G]

—. "Music from a Bygone Era." Cuir Underground 3 (1997). Discusses music at a San Francisco fisting club. [no orientation mentioned; the club was for G, H, and L]

—. "Samois" (PDF file). Leather Times (Winter 2004), pages 3-7. Reprinted from the Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History in America, edited by Marc
Stein (New York: Scribner's, 2003). History of the "first known public organization devoted to lesbian sadomasochism." [L]

Suresha, Ron. "The Rainbow MC & the Old Lone Star: An Interview with Pete Vafiades." Ron Shuresha. 2002, 2004. Includes information on the South of Market district from 1979 onwards and the Ambush bar. [G]

Weymouth, T. "Society of Janus: 25 Years" (PDF file). LordSaber's BDSM History Page. San Francisco: Society of Janus, 1999. History of a pansexual BDSM club founded in 1974. [G, H, L]

* Woods, William J., and Diane Binson. Gay Bathhouses and Public Health Policy. Harrington Park Press, 2003. Reprinted from the Journal of Homosexuality, Volume 44, Numbers 3/4. Brief summaries of the articles are online. Among the articles are a history of gay bathhouses and information on the closing of San Francisco bathhouses (including leather bathhouses) in the mid-eighties.

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