11 January, 2010

18+, Or My Visit to The Armory

Kink.com. A San Francisco institution. The home of all that filthy shit you are too afraid to dream up. This is where it is made real and put online for your viewing pleasure. San Francisco is a city of niches, and The Armory is where we make some of the kinkiest niche porn known to the internet (outside of Japan, that is).

So when talented and very cute interior designer SallyTV asked me if I wanted to accompany her on a tour of The Armory, how could I say no?

The Armory is a giant castle-like structure in the middle of San Francisco. It was built for the National Guard somewhere around 1912 I think (maybe I should check my facts before posting this, huh?) and over the years has been used as everything from a set for Star Wars to a place for the SF Opera to build and store sets. In 2006 Kink.com bought the historic building and has since turned it into the home of smut.

Historical rendering stolen from SfArmory.com

And these days, the Armory looks more like this, and flies the Leather Pride flag from one of its turrets.

When I arrived at The Armory I dodged the usual collection of teenage skateboarders out front, and I wondered if they had any inkling of what was being done to hot young girls one brick wall away from them.

The interior of the Armory was surreal. The above ground floors consist of epic marble staircases and long, tall hallways made SciFi by the masses of thick black wires running along the floor every which way. That's what happens when you need to power porn-set lighting in a historical stone building. The entire back of the building is one gigantic enclosed room with stadium seats surrounding it. It made me me think of a prize fighting arena (which I believe it was used for at one time). It is also the only part of the building that most people have ever seen:

We started on the fourth floor and worked our way down to the foundations where the remnants of an old river still dribble along narrow passageways leaving orange algae behind it. Most of the building is still unused- empty rooms with mysterious histories that lead to other small rooms and dark scary corners. But on the same floor, we could overhear the subby girl live on cam being instructed what to do by paying viewers online. I think she was in tears at one point. But judging from what we saw on the screens in the camera room, she got her reward later on.

Some of the rooms on the upper floors:

Medical Exam Room

Kink Uni

(I would have had a much better time attending this university I bet)

One of the many many enema-tastic bathrooms that are on every floor

We even visited the wardrobe department where I ran into a drag queen I used to have an unnaturally huge crush on. One would wonder why a porn studio needs wardrobe, but trust me, you should have seen some of the shoes...

Anyhow, the real action takes place in the basement levels. There are the giant cleaning rooms where clean toys are shelved according to porn site:

And then there are the many, many brick rooms, sets, and cages for our viewing pleasure. Would you like to see a few of them? Say please.

The Boiler Room

A point of interest: Kink.com has managed to utilize so much of the original horror the building provided. This giant boiler, though no longer functioning, is a key piece of the ambiance in scenes filmed in the boiler room. Similarly, the interrogation room in the sub basement in the foundations hasn't been changed much. Or, take The Creepy Room:

The Creepy Room is a tiny room that is in a far back corner, hidden away. Why is it creepy? That window is a fake light source added by kink.com, as is the bed. Other than that, the room is untouched. Those steel rings in the wall? That's how they found the room.

Some more basement fun:

A place to rest your head. There is a camera inside the hole in the ground....

Sally taking a look around.

Anyone seen Videodrome?

And in case you weren't sure what to do in these rooms...

While Sally and I were being led around, we happened upon a small room where a male top was preparing his girl for a hogtied scene. This would later be a key moment on our way back, so remember it....

The giant basement is a sight to behold. Stored underneath that giant enclosed room I showed you earlier is a room full of retro furniture and kinky equipment waiting for their moment in the spotlight. We even saw the giant water tanks that used to be part of bondage scenes until it was deemed a little too dangerous.

A FABULOUS vintage globe that flips open to reveal the essential tools of social lubrication

Why do they have this? Who knows...

And now the photos you have all been waiting for.... our visit to the storage locker for fuckingmachines.com!

I was chased by fuckzilla bot...or was it fuckbotzilla? Either way, I found it more than a little scary and hid behind Sally before I could overcome the initial animal response to run.

And in the tool bench, each drawer contained dildos of various size, shape and color. This aintcho Daddy's tool bench. Or at least, I really hope it's not.

And on the wall:

And lastly, as my camera phone was on its last legs, we were led down to the foundations where the muddy stream still runs, echoing across the empty stone archways like a scene out of The Host. And at the very end, just beyond the wooden stocks, there is a small room with a metal desk, a metal chair, and metal cabinets.

This was an overwhelmingly cool experience being amongst the pervy and nerdy in such a specific, heavy environment. As Sally and I were led back to the above ground, we passed by our hogtying friends. "Hey, want to see how the tie turned out?" the top asked. Sally and I wandered onto the set where this cute girl was tied to bamboo poles, legs spread, arms out, gagged with a bamboo bit, and lightly suspended from the ceiling to help her balance. Suddenly the door slammed closed behind us and the top said, "shhhh we're filming. Have a seat and enjoy!"

The next twenty minutes were very educational. Seated next to a girl I barely knew, I watched live porn being filmed. The tied girl was clothes pinned, caned, whipped, vibrated, and her screams were lovingly noted by her top who cooed, "good girl, such a good girl."

Twenty very intense minutes.

Twenty very fun minutes.

Twenty very inspiring minutes. ;)

It was also twenty minutes during which our tour guide/friend had a panic attack and ran around The Armory looking for us, wondering if he imagined the two girls he was showing around. Apparently he didn't see us get invited into the porn set, turned around to say something and found himself alone.


When we found each other in the lobby Sally and I apologized profusely. But when he found out where we had disappeared to, he threw his hands up and demanded high fives. "Fuck. Yeah."

The skateboard kids were still outside when we left. I was high. I was high off floggers and porn and enema packets. I was giddy with kinky normality- casual kink both thrills and calms me. I love that sex is not a big deal, and yet the complete focus in that building. It is both VERY important, and not important at all. It is sacred and treated with respect, yet exploited and dirtied and used.

Like the castle it once was, The Armory now protects the heart of kink. It stands as a giant stone monument to pervs the world 'round. Whether you're into girls being fucked by robots, hogtying, electrified pussies, naked wrestling, gang bangs in public places, or bi-curious boys humiliated in the locker room by shemales, this is the building that houses and realizes these fantasies of yours.

Bow down in awe.


Slinka said...

Great post! I've always wanted to see inside there.

lipsticklori said...

OMG, I am *so* jealous! :-)

saint said...

One of my best friends used to work there as a PA. Always been curious what the building was like. Thanks!

Fractos said...

Awesome post :) I recognise that building now... ;)

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