Ex-armory turns into porn site; SF Chron reporter delighted

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Note the strikingly pro-porn slant of this SF Chron article:

Kink, a Web-based pornography distributor, buys historic S.F. building to film its bondage movies

A friendly band of San Francisco pornographers can’t wait to get inside the old armory on Mission Street and start tying people up, artistically.

Not only tying them up, but also spanking them, swatting them, cuffing them and whipping them, with sensitivity.

“This is going to be very exciting,” said porn director James Mogul. “What an opportunity.”

The other day, Mogul paid a visit to the cavernous old armory, just to look around. The Moorish-style brick building was recently purchased for $14.5 million by Kink, a Web-based pornography distributor that outgrew its South of Market dungeon.

The armory, built in 1912, served as a military induction and training center during the two world wars. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places but has been empty since 1970. In recent years, plans to build apartments, offices and an Internet switching facility never got off the ground.

At present, kids on skateboards practice their moves on its front steps, and homeless people sleep in its doorways. Its windows are broken and boarded up, its walls covered with graffiti, and its dungeonlike basement is peeling, chipping, rotting and moldering.

Nothing wrong with that, say the pornographers. A real, ready-made dungeon is just the thing for filming bondage movies.

Filming could begin inside the 200,000-square-foot armory as early as next month. To get ready for that happy day, Mogul wandered the crumbling corridors of the enormous dark and dank basement, scouting locations.

“I see tied-up girls, right here,” Mogul said, standing in what was the soldiers’ gymnasium. “You suspend them from these arches. This will be very cool.”

In the boiler room, Mogul said, the possibilities are endless.

“You could put a girl right inside the boiler,” he said. “Why not? It’s a nice little chamber. You wouldn’t have to change anything. It’s already formidable looking. You don’t have to build a fake dungeon; this building is already a dungeon.”

The boiler room and an adjoining room with a giant industrial fan were arousing Mogul’s artistic impulses.

“I see erotic whipping,” he said. “I see all kinds of kinky things going on in here. It’s wonderful to put soft human flesh next to ugly, industrial machines. That’s what we call juxtaposition. The possibilities are endless.”

Mogul, a 41-year-old filmmaker from Boston, said many pornographers went to fancy film schools to learn their craft, but he never found that necessary.

“I got my start tying up my girlfriend,” he said. “It all took off from there.”

Mogul writes, directs and produces an hourlong porn film every week for “Men in Pain,” one of nine Web sites in the Kink chain. At last count, about 70,000 subscribers worldwide were paying $25 a month to gain access to the Web sites, according to founder and owner Peter Acworth, the fellow who bought the armory.

At present, the company’s porn movies are filmed, edited and produced in a two-story building on Mission Street, a block from the San Francisco Centre shopping complex. That building features a dozen sets, including a castle, dungeon, jail, barn, boudoir and what looks like a spaceship. Alas, the Mission Street building has grown too small for the nine movies that must be shot every week.

Acworth said not only is the armory big enough to meet all his porn needs, he also plans to rent out extra space in the building to mainstream filmmakers.

“It could soon become the San Francisco Film Center,” he said.

Residents aren’t quite sure what to make of their new neighbor. Luis Granados, the executive director of the Mission Economic Development Association, said his group found it had no legal grounds to object to having a pornographer next door.

“Whatever you might think about what they’re doing, it’s perfectly legal,” he said. “Do I think it’s a good fit for our family-based neighborhood? No, I don’t.”

Kink will do its part to fit in, said Acworth, pledging to fix the broken windows and the graffiti right away. Kink is proud to bring its high standards to the neighborhood, he added, because Kink stands for decency in pornography. “We have values,” Acworth said. “We believe in showing respect toward women in our work.”

As for vulgarity, Acworth said, that’s all relative. The building’s original purpose, he pointed out, was to train soldiers to kill people.

“That’s obscenity,” he said. “What we plan to do is nothing compared with what this building was intended for.”

Via Sparkle*Matrix

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0 Responses to Ex-armory turns into porn site; SF Chron reporter delighted

  1. annared says:

    “Note the strikingly pro-porn slant of this SF Chron article”

    Oh yes – where did non-bias reporting go?
    Oops, sorry I forgot it was regarding the ‘precious’ porn [sarcasm]

  2. annared says:

    Oh yes – where did non-bias reporting go?
    Oops, sorry I forgot it was regarding the ‘precious’ porn [sarcasm]

  3. Ann Bartow says:

    Thanks annared, two comments for the price of one! :>)
    Even the person who says it isn’t a “good fit” for a family neighborhood, the only slightly discouraging words, is quoted saying “it’s perfectly legal.” Any effort to research or test the “respect toward women” assertion? Oh heck no…

  4. annared says:

    Oh, sorry I thought my comment had not gone through, then I forgot to tag your quote on – oh never mind :-)Colour me cynical here but I doubt very much if any neighbourhood would be that accepting, blasé or just not interested in a pornography torture venue moving in”next door”and lets not even start on the “values” shall we?

  5. jo2 says:

    these are”plans”, the article say. Can they be hindered?

  6. Ann Bartow says:

    I think that would depend on the laws and regs of zoning and city planning that are in effect for that particular location, and how motivated (if at all) the neighborhood is to oppose this.

  7. mythago says:

    Given that nobody else wanted the building, which apparently has been abandoned and ill-used for some time, probably not.

  8. Ann Bartow says:

    Given the real estate market in San Francisco, doesn’t it seem strange that no one else wants the building?

  9. mythago says:

    It would be strange if that were the case, but it’s not, as the article makes clear. The site is a former military building and is on the National Historic Register. It wouldn’t surprise me if the aforementioned failed enterprises decided that the cost of renovating the building for (apartments, stores, telecom sites) was not worth it, especially factoring in anything that might be required of the building as a historic site, liability, security, and so on. Using the site as a photo and movie set apparently was cost-effective, or at least more cost-effective than the other options.

    The real-estate market in San Francisco is also nuts on the residential end, not the commercial end.

  10. Ann Bartow says:

    Well, according to this site: http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/results.htm

    Listing in the National Register honors a historic place by recognizing its importance to its community, State or the Nation. Under Federal law, owners of private property listed in the National Register are free to maintain, manage, or dispose of their property as they choose provided that there is no Federal involvement. Owners have no obligation to open their properties to the public, to restore them or even to maintain them, if they choose not to do so.

    I don’t think the article makes much of anything clear. It just reads like propaganda to me.

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