Golden Gate takes gay porn out of the studio and into the San Francisco streets
SEX/TV "We get to shoot all over San Francisco," Jack Shamama of NakedSword.com tells me over the phone, a wicked lilt tiptoeing into his voice. "How great is that?"
Double entendres! He's referring to Golden Gate, the spunky episodic porn Web series he wrote with Michael Stabile, which just wrapped up its first season and will begin a second season in February. The weekly series runs on the Naked Sword site, with a new episode debuting every week to a substantial viewership that values glossy production and polished presentation.
Although there's no grand soap opera-like family tree of intersecting characters and storylines, each episode does feature quite a bit of plot, at least by wank-flick standards, and solid back stories for the various players. (Sample: "Robert is an unemployed writer who spends his days at cafes. He's got a real interest in humanity, and is garrulous and friendly. He's almost always dressed casually. Robert lives in the grittier Castro-adjacent neighborhood of the Lower Haight." Robert gets crammed full of a two-foot-long cone-shaped black dildo. But I digress.)
GOLDEN GATE TRAILER (er, NSFW)
Pornisodic series have been done before — the sprawling Wet Palms comes to mind — but this is the first that really focuses on San Francisco. Shamama and Stabile being our perennial enfants terribles of porn, there's some fun with San Francisco archetypes in each episode as well, bringing together, say, a high-powered downtown investor with a struggling Mission District artist who pimps himself out online for rent money. And while there are a few problems with verisimilitude (that struggling artist has waxed eyebrows and an all-over tan), there are plenty of spot-on in-jokes. In one episode, a couple of almost-hipster rockers get approached by a groupie for sex — but first they hand him a flyer for their band's show at Bottom of the Hill.
After we dished a bit about the scheduling woes of porn stars in the Internet Age and the purported whereabouts of 1990s bear porn pioneer Steve "Titpig" Hurley, I asked Shamama a few questions about Golden Gate.
SFBG What pricked you into Golden Gate action?
Jack Shamama In the past, Naked Sword has teamed up with partners to produce hardcore content, behind-the-scenes specials, porn event coverage, and our regular talk show, "The Tim and Roma Show." But for our first completely in-house production, we knew we had to come up with something big that wouldn't run out of steam, since we wanted it to be a weekly series. The concept that kept coming up was the city itself.
Gay porn was pretty much invented in San Francisco and even today maybe as much as 75 percent of it is still filmed here, but you really wouldn't know it since most of it's filmed on sets. Those movies that do spotlight San Francisco generally end up giving people a dumbed-down CliffsNotes "gay Disneyland" version of SF, with an opening shot of the Golden Gate Bridge and credits rolling over a shot of the giant rainbow flag in the Castro.