This is the space Acworth hopes will become the Mission Armory Community Center (which would unintentionally bear the same acronym as one of the groups that protested Kink.com's purchase of the armory), a public venue available for sporting events, educational seminars, film festivals, and someday maybe a Folsom Street Fair party. According to MACC coordinator David Klein, a developer who has no affiliation with Kink.com, that dream is a long way off with plenty of renovations, public meetings, and applications standing between here and there. In the meantime, the Drill Court serves as an occasional event site (such as for the Mission Bazaar craft fair earlier this year) and an employee parking lot. Currently, the most public location is the Ultimate Surrender room, where small numbers of members are invited to sit in bleachers and watch women wrestle each other to the ground on large mats the winner, of course, gets to fuck the loser.
The armory's basement is by far the most interesting area. "It's a wonderland of sets," says Acworth, and it's hard to argue with him. Some rooms seem perfect as is, such as a former gymnasium whose floor has long since been removed to reveal gothic-looking structural planks punctuated by intimidating bolts. All it took was adding a platform in the center of the expansive room and a pulley above it to make it a perfect bondage set. Next door is an army-style communal bathroom, another favorite as-is set. Other rooms on this floor are a completely furnished 1970s New York loft; a padded cell with an observation room connected by a one-way mirror; a former hermetically sealed gunpowder room that's been outfitted with all sorts of rings, hooks, and rope pulleys; an office connected by a cage to the "Gimp Room," where ceiling chains hang like some kind of Donkey Kong homage; a hallway storage room chock-full of expected (whips, chains, clamps) and unexpected (mops, long-handled brushes with hard bristles, small boxes with smaller holes in them) toys; the large prop room, where human-shaped cages, monstrous doghouses, and machines like the back breaker and water-torture wheel are kept; the laundry room, where shelves are lined with douches, enemas, latex gloves, and sanitized sex toys; and the former shooting range, which has a Pirates of the Caribbean feel, complete with a river running through it.
And that's just the start of it. Just when you think every nook and cranny has been used including an oddly shaped corner off the production gallery that looks like a 19th-century psychiatric ward you'll discover a hallway that's virtually untouched. Hardly any construction has been done on the third or fourth floors, including the officers' quarters, which occupy one turret. Even the roof, with its castle-y details and flags, seems like a perfect potential shooting location.
Kink's porn palace, the San Francisco Armory. Photo by Pat Mazzera
Kink already has plans for several new sets: the military clean room, a stark '50s-era space, slated for FuckingMachines; an abandoned electrical equipment room for WiredPussy, where dead vintage electrical equipment will line the walls; an Alcatraz-esque prison gallery for BoundGods.com; and an expanded DeviceBondage.com room, which will be clad with cultured stone to look like the basement of an old castle.
Reps won't say just how much it costs to maintain the armory or to shoot a scene, but Acworth told 7x7 magazine last year that profits were upward of $16 million. And spokesperson Thomas Roche says that the cost of a shoot, including sets, makeup, wardrobe, video and still photo staff, and editing, would be prohibitive if Kink weren't doing lots of them. Luckily, the armory allows for a volume of shoots that makes it feasible sometimes four or five in a single day.