I’ve had a budding interest in the sexual history of San Francisco ever since moving to the Bay Area in 1999. It was clear that social and political movements start in the bay area. Even at this exact moment, I feel like I’ve been an integral part of a queer porn revolution in terms of gender identity and cinematic sexual expression, one which had origins in SF’s lesbian-made porn scene in the late 70’s – early 80’s and which we’ve seen spread globally in 2000’s through the internet and film screenings and award celebrations worldwide. Fueled by female-focused sex toy stores and independent women-owned websites, this smut would not have been possible if it weren’t for the actions that took place in the late 60’s – early 70’s primarily in the Tenderloin district of SF.

Last month I was invited to the GayVN Awards by Jack Shamama (@Shamama), who is producing a beautiful gay film with NakedSword called I WANT YOUR LOVE. Jack recently let me know about another project he is involved with, Smut Capital of America, a documentary short directed by Michael Stabile (@mikestabile).

Jack wrote me saying, “Due in equal parts to a willing model pool, a history of free-speech advocacy, and film labs willing to defy federal authorities, porn as an industry was born in San Francisco and for nearly a decade the city was at the forefront of the Sexual Revolution. We’ve interviewed some of the few theater operators, actors, directors, and consumers (gay and straight) to map how porn moved out of the closet — or from under the counter — and put sex into the public discourse.”

I immediately fell in love and think the project — and this footage — is really important in bringing out these stories of sexual revolution. So I became am a backer of the project and want to encourage you, too. The project is picking up attention. It’s been mentioned in the SF Bay Guardian, SFist.com, Violet Blue’s Open Source Sex, The Sword and today was on the homepage of Kickstarter!

‘Smut Capital’ (Teaser Clip) from Michael Stabile on Vimeo.

From their Kickstarter page:

While researching a project on pornographer-philanthropist Chuck Holmes, we came across a 1971 NYTimes article on the city, and on then-Supervisor Dianne Feinstein’s attempt to clean it up. We’ve been talking to people who were there — porno house operators, models, filmmakers — from San Francisco’s Tenderloin, trying to figure out how porn came out of the closet, and why it happened in San Francisco.

We’re close to finishing the project — in fact, the interviews are complete and we’ve pieced together a clip from our 15 minute opus above — but the footage that we need to use to tell the story is very expensive. Much of that footage from that era is on old 16mm reels which costs a lot of money to reconstitute and digitize. And rights to other footage, like news footage, can cost up to $150 PER SECOND. Even the rights to photos cost money.

The fifteen minute short will screen at festivals this winter, but only if we’re able to raise the money to pay for the footage. We’re making deals to get discounts on this footage now and are paying for it out of pocket as well, but we still need more than $7,500 to make our actual budget. Help us excavate one of the forgotten sites from the Sexual Revolution — San Francisco’s Tenderloin.

Check out their trailer, and help Jack and Mike reach their goal. Any little bit helps, even just $5 — for which they promise to donors a “hippie-style hug”. I hope that means nekid.