Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Closing of Wicked Grounds Has Left a Gap in the Kink Community

Posted By on Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 2:00 PM

click to enlarge LR_Wicked_Grounds_TwitPic_poster.jpg

It wasn't like its fragility was any secret: Wicked Grounds, the SoMa cafe by and for the BDSM community, has been struggling financially since its opening two years ago. In April, owners Rose White and Ryan Galiotto held a fundraiser that brought in $50,000, but that wasn't enough to save the cafe, which closed in early October.

The existence of a kink cafe may have sparked titters in some circles, but over on Exhibitionist, SFoodie's sister arts blog, Chris Hall has written a heartfelt eulogy to the closed cafe that's well worth reading. He explains that it's a huge loss for the kink community, coming on the heels of the closures of places like Stormy Leather and the Eagle.

With each closing, it feels like San Francisco is becoming less and less of a place to be queer or kinky, unless you want to keep it in your apartment. Wicked Grounds was unusual in that it was primarily a social space where everyone just happened to be kinky. People came in as a normal part of their everyday lives, not to get laid or to buy stuff for a special night out. On any given afternoon or evening, you might see Scrabble at one table and bondage at the next. The casual nature of the space broke down the careful segregation between "normal" life and sex.

It's a reminder, in the era of single-estate Rwandan siphon-dripped coffees, that cafes have long played other important roles in the community, whether fomenting revolution or simply providing safe spaces for people of the same stripe to gather.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.
Follow me at @JonKauffman.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , ,

About The Author

Jonathan Kauffman

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook

Slideshows

  • Phish at the Bill Graham Auditorium
    Phish is in the midst of a block of sold out shows at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium (October 27-29). The Monday night concert featured a rare first set opener of “Walfredo” with the band members switching instruments for the song. The evening’s highlights included John Fishman and his iconic vacuum cleaner solo and favorites such as Chalk Dust Torture, Slave to the Traffic Light, Axilla, Rift, 2001 Space Odyssey, and Maze. The show also featured Phish’s debut of a, seemingly impromptu, version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” to with roaring approval of the, singing along, crowd. With Game 6 being tonight, partying Phish fans will join Giants fans in Civic Center Plaza where there will be a World Series viewing party on a large screen set up by the City. Photography by Jamie Soja.
  • The 4th Annual Masquerotica 2014 - NSFW
    The theme this year was Carnaval Mystique for the 4th Annual Masquerotica at The Factory. Attendees were entertained by strip dance, trapeze, and live music. Photographs by Calibree Photography.