Bend over the rainbow

Golden Gate takes gay porn out of the studio and into the San Francisco streets

Real estate porn? D.O. plays a stranded waiter in Naked Sword's Golden Gate series

SEX/TV "We get to shoot all over San Francisco," Jack Shamama of 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.)


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.


I realize Marke B isn't as young as some of your intern and writers, and that he's not a journalist, but more of a scene and nightlife reporter. However, if he's going to do a huge tongue bath on the rear end of one of the largest gay porn companies in America (and one of the largest owners of content producers of porn), under the guise of a puff piece, what little facts he throws out should, at minimum, be fact checked by your editors, unless they are too busy bemoaning the loss of a progressive majority on the Board of Supervisors. There is nothing amateur about Naked Sword except that some of the people in the major behind the lines production positions, don't have much actual experience producing content. The performers in the films are certainly ones who have a lot of experience in a lot of varied productions, from studio/DVD releases to web only producers, in nearly all cases, both. The "director" and other technical crew also have similar, even longer historied experiences and backgrounds. Also, as gay porn has been produced in SF for almost as long as Marke B has walked the planet, there have been plenty of locations in SF used for actual porn, from the usual, such as empty bars (including the End Up, what is now Asia SF, what is Trigger and what used to be Club Universe, as well as any number of other bars and entertainment locales), former and current bathhouses, businesses, empty and not so empty office buildings, warehouses, and yes, even street corners and taxi cabs.

If you're going to let Marke B puff up his friends or friends of his friends, you should at least be honest about it to your readers. For shame.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 11:12 am

could you please point out where in this article I said that Golden Gate was an amateur production? And also, could you please indicate where in the article I said that this was the first porn ever to be filmed in San Francisco outside of studios? Feel free to read the article anytime, that's why it's on a website.

Posted by marke on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 1:25 pm

going have to side with Marke B on this one.

Posted by Benny on Jan. 15, 2011 @ 4:46 pm

1. Nothing has existed except that which Marke B. has seen himself.

2. There is no gay porn made in Europe, Los Angeles or New York.

3. There has been no porn shot outside of studios in San Francisco that was not Disneylandish.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 12:31 pm

what your point is Marcos, other than you spend a lot of time watching porn. You should go outside. It's sunny! You remember sun, yes? It's that big yellow thing on the other side of your tinfoil window.

Posted by marke on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

Marke, I actually am sitting at my computer today writing programs for people who give me money looking out my window at my garden. I would love to go outside and ride my bike today, but my mortgage is unforgiving.

I've been around the block a few times with the gay porn industry, on the inside, with the talent, and as well as studying the economic impacts of the industry in western SOMA.


Posted by marcos on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 1:56 pm

One day, perhaps, you will be able to read the grand, expansive article about all gay porn ever in humanity that you so eagerly wish to. This, however, was about one interesting thing happening in the world of San Francisco porn right now. To call someone solipsistic simply because they stick to the subject matter at hand is specious, and illuminates yet again your strange logical gap(e).

Posted by marke on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 2:19 pm

The only interesting or real thing that goes on in porn in San Francisco is what happens between the ears and the legs of the observer of said porn.


Posted by marcos on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 10:45 pm

Another puff piece on his friends. At least these ones are semi-attractive.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 9:22 pm

The thing that gets me about this is that you've just done a non-critical piece about a site, Naked Sword, that goes to great lengths to market it's bareback porn.

Don't get me wrong, Marke. I like yr writing and I liked this piece, but I think the distribution and marketing of bareback porn puts all porn actors at risk and encourages a sexual environment for men that is unhealthy at best. I think it is a real scourge.

Posted by CHRISTRAPER SINGS on Jan. 17, 2011 @ 1:23 pm

though one that's outside the scope of this article, and Golden Gate seems to take great pains to show condom use. Also interesting: I'm not really aware of any porn distributor or viewing site that explicitly blocks bareback porn (it's obviously popular, as the "most popular" list on almost every gay porn portal is riddled with it). Philosophywise, I vacillate about bareback porn (on the whole I think it's gross as hell.) Bareback porn has been back in the news lately, and it would be intriguing to take another look at it for a future article ... thanks, christraper!

Posted by marke on Jan. 17, 2011 @ 2:35 pm

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