And it's good variety for viewers too, who get used to seeing the same sets over and over in various porn films even ones by different companies.
FLIRTING WITH THE FUTURE
Perhaps the most advantageous thing about moving into the armory, though, has been the increased possibilities for Kink's growth. With so much space, an almost infinite number of sets can be created without tearing any old ones down. Since multiple shoots can go on at once, multiple sites can be developed and maintained. And buying the building has started attracting directors, models, and Web developers on a scale Acworth hasn't seen before.
"It was initially difficult to find people," says Acworth, who conjectures that it's not just the publicity from the building but also the exciting prospect of working there that's turned the tide. "Now they've started to approach us."
One of those who approached Acworth was Van Darkholme, a Shibari rope bondage expert, a porn performer, and the proprietor of fetish film studio Muscle Bound Productions, who was living in LA. Darkholme saw an article about Acworth and the armory in a magazine and contacted him immediately, hoping to get involved. The Vietnam-born Darkholme, who seems almost starstruck by Acworth's genius, was shocked not only to hear back from Acworth himself, but to be offered a job at the helm of Kink's new gay bondage site: BoundGods.com.
"What Peter does is so avant-garde and so fresh, I just wanted to come in and mop the floor," says Darkholme, who moved to San Francisco in April and launched his new site Aug. 1.
Darkholme's BoundGods takes Kink's principles of intimate, conversational, playful, and mutually enjoyable interactions and applies them to his particular brand of gay sexuality: lean, muscled studs. In one video, a man is tied up in the army-style bathroom at the armory while another fucks him with a large black dildo. In a similar scene, anal beads are gradually pulled from the bound, naked man much to both participants' obvious pleasure (though interestingly, neither are hard). Darkholme makes appearances in many of the videos, often as the dominant character a striking contrast to the camo-shorts-and-T-shirt-wearing, somewhat shy individual I interview at the armory.
He's clearly proud of the product, not only because it's well produced but also because there's almost no competition in the gay market.
"I hate to generalize, but most of what I see out there falls into this trap of gay men putting on leather and grunting and groaning," says Darkholme. "It's visual, but doesn't have as much dialogue. What we do is very real and very intimate, with a realness in what they're saying."
The site marks Kink's first serious foray into the gay market a step the company couldn't quite take while limited by space and resources at the Porn Palace. But set builders are already hard at work constructing an Alcatraz-esque prison gallery for new Boundgods shoots. And the creation of a sub-brand, KinkMen.com, promises more gay-focused fetish sites to come. (Incidentally, Kink tried a gay site several years ago with Butt Machine Boys, which is still online at www.buttmachineboys.com but not listed on the main Web site. Acworth said the site never took off, partly because of lack of budget and partly because, unlike Darkholme, the director wasn't speaking to his personal interests.)
For now, though, Darkholme has his hands full with BoundGods. His immediate goal is to find and train 12 new dommes for the Web site a tougher feat than might be expected. "Femme dommes can dish it out and can really take it," he says.