Thursday, January 26, 2017

San Francisco Armory: From Kink HQ to Musical Venue

the end of an era

The Armory is a BDSM movie studio - a haven perhaps - that stands out for its educational qualities. The 200.000 sq foot building will soon be converted into a musical theatre. Yet the tune of femdom movies will continue to go on in Las Vegas.

San Francisco Armory - kink.com head quarter, home of femdom video labels divine bitches and men in pain. owner mr. peter acworth.
The San Franciso Armory - Most likely successor to the OWK


After watching the final episode of Sherlock, series four, I began to fantasize where to relocate the Other World Kingdom (OWK) to. The idea came to me after seeing a top secret prison facility on the show - don't ask.

Today I read an article in The Guardian about the Armory, a 1914 reproduction of a Moorish castle in San Francisco. One look at the image [above] made me realize two things. Not only is the Armory the one and only successor to the OWK, on top of that all movies from the many Kink.com labels were shot at the Armory. Silly me, I never understood why the building featured so prominently in the opening sequence of BDSM labels such as Divine Bitches and Men in Pain.

San Francisco Armory - kink.com head quarter, home of femdom video labels divine bitches and men in pain. owner mr. peter acworth.
Peter Acworth launched Kink.com in 1997. Nine years later he purchased the 1850 sq m Armory building, which had been vacant for 30 years for $14.5 million. He turned it into the Kink[.com] headquarters. Before that, the massive brick building served as one of the sets for the Millennium Falcon spaceship in Star Wars. In the decade that followed innumerous femdom and kink movies were shot there. At its height 100 movies a month were filmed at the Armory.

San Francisco Armory - kink.com head quarter, home of femdom video labels divine bitches and men in pain. owner mr. peter acworth.
It's a big, big world!
Initially I balked at those "boring" before and after interviews. It took me a while to realize just how important they are. To us it is obvious, but what those segments teach the public at large is that whatever cruelty takes place during a session, it is always consensual [1]. Seeing happy dommes and joyful slaves afterwards proliferates the notion that some of us are happy playing out scary stuff and are even happier afterwards. I am certain that those before and after interviews play a major role in helping vanilla people to accept - not understand - kink. Most likely it paved the way, at least partially, for the Fifty Shades books. Don't worry, I won't hold it against you Kink.com.

The Armory is symbol of much more. To the informed observer it comes across as a labour of love. Or as The Guardian puts it:

Kink.com built its reputation as the rare porn company with a mission statement – to “demystify and celebrate alternative sexualities by providing the most ethical and authentic kinky adult entertainment”.

Followed by a quote from Kink’s former director of sexual health and advocacy:

“Kink, with its shear reach, has done so much to educate people,”
- Eric Paul Leue.

One thing, I'll always regret is that I never took the tour of the facilities. It must have been something quite special.

It looks an aweful lot like Toy Story.
Over the past few years Kink.com's membership dropped from 50.000 to 30.000. With income slashed in half and porn moving to free sites, Mr. Acworth had little choice, but to look for other revenue streams. Once the Kink.com studios have moved out, the Armory will be converted into a music theater. Production of BDSM videos will resume at a new Las Vegas location.
Mr. Acworth, I salute you!

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