Smut Sales and Masturbate-a-Thons are about to become harder to find in San Francisco, as the kink community space Center for Sex and Culture (CSC) is now moving out of 1349 Mission St. A farewell party tonight will be the final event at this CSC location, and there are no current plans for the Center to move into a new space.
“That might happen in future, but we’re an all-volunteer crew with some gaps in our overall coverage of the roles necessary to do such a big project right,” co-founder Carol Queen tells SF Weekly. “Closing now is a mix of that reality, burn-out, and especially the reality of trying to make it as a grassroots entity in a mad expensive town.”
Hoodline reported in 2016 that the landlord moved to triple the rent on the Mission Street and Grace Alley space, but eventually agreed to a more modest rent increase. Queen tells us they’re currently paying nearly $10,000 a month in rent.
“That simply isn’t sustainable,” she says. “The changes in San Francisco have been a looming threat for a while, and we have been working on a shut-down plan for over two years. The writing has been on the wall.”
This doesn’t mean curtains for the Center for Sex and Culture. The Center’s head librarian Lady Katerina tells SF Weekly, “We’ll still do pop-ups, education, and events. We’ll still be a sponsor to organizations.”
According to Queen, the Center will be more of a digital institution, at least for the near term. “We’ll have a more robust online presence before long, and we’ll probably webcast interesting conversations, collect oral histories, and try to better document San Francisco sex culture, now and historically,” she says.
The Center’s giant multimedia library of books, zines, videos, and memorabilia is being disbursed to new homes. Most of it will go to Harvard University, but other works will land at Cornell University, the GLBT Historical Society the S.F. Public Library’s Hormel LGBTQIA Center, and Los Angeles’ ONE Archives Foundation, among other human sexuality institutes and collections.
But tonight’s Goodbye To 1349 Mission party will be the Center’s final event at that physical space.
“Friday’s event is a closing party, and it will be part closing reception for our final art show, too, Jack Davis’s FAGGOTS,” Dr. Queen says, adding there will be performances too. “People should attend to be together in a sex-positive space and celebrate CSC’s 15-ish amazing years in San Francisco. And if anybody writes a check, I will happily take it and thank them lavishly.”
Fundraising will be key to any sort of next incarnation of the Center for Sex and Culture. They encourage you to support their Patreon campaign or make an online donation to CSC, and also need volunteer help to transition to a more robust online organization.
“If anyone who reads this wants to be part of the team that creates web content, tends the site, works on pop-up events, or helps keep things together administratively, they should definitely get in touch.” she adds. “Our website has been hacked and screwed with — and it was platformed on Tumblr anyway, so lots of pretty pictures just got censored out of existence. But we have a Facebook page, which is a way to communicate with us.”
It’s never been easy for a volunteer-driven nonprofit to survive in San Francisco, and the Center for Sex and Culture has hopscotched to four different physical locations in its 15-year history. It now moves into an online and pop-up incarnation, but this sex center remains a labor of love.
Goodbye to 1349 Mission, Friday, Jan. 25, 7 p.m., at the Center for Sex and Culture, Mission St. Donation Suggested; 415-606-8167 or sexandculture.org