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Tour of the SF Armory (slightly NSFW)
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There is a forbiddingly high, incongruous, block-sized Scottish castle a few blocks from my house.  It used to be a city armory back in the day, but has been abandoned and disused from the 1950s.  Abandoned, that is, until recently.  In an effort to raise money, the city decided to look for potential buyers to purchase the abandoned armory building.  However, they wanted to find a buyer who would preserve as much of the building's historic appearance as possible.  The winning bidder was a company that, unlike the other bidders, was happy to get a set of dingy, mostly windowless spaces with heavy iron doors, boilers, and lots of attachment points on the wall and ceiling. 

Specifically, this company made kinky porn, and an old armory/castle suited them perfectly.  There were some protests from local residents who felt that the company would bring an unsavory character to the neighborhood (a neighborhood, I should point out, that's rife with drug dealing and other street crime), but the city government went ahead with their bid.

Recently, the kinky porn company started offering building tours.  Porn isn't my thing (I'm more into the real thing than watching other people do it), but the promise of learning about the internal workings of the porn industry and getting to poke around a mysterious old building was too hard to resist. 

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We got to talk to several of the kink.com employees, and from what I could tell, they do a very good job of treating their employees well and trying to keep safety standards as high as possible. 

Everything is regularly sterilized, and they have sanitation procedures reminiscent of the sort of thing you'd see in a hospital.  This is especially amusing when you're in a room designed for acting out medical fantasies, and you realize that the line between pretend and real is not where you thought it was.  :-)  There were also rooms that were designed to look as dirty and degrading as possible, but in actuality were extremely clean and regularly power-washed.

Tour of the SF Armory, now a porn studio  Tour of the SF Armory, now a porn studio
Tour of the SF Armory, now a porn studio

The stockrooms were a sight to behold... long lines of every conceivable sexual toy neatly arrayed and organized on the wall.

Tour of the SF Armory, now a porn studio  Tour of the SF Armory, now a porn studio 
Tour of the SF Armory, now a porn studio  Tour of the SF Armory, now a porn studio

Really, this is where Johnny Five, the robot from Short Circuit, ended up?

Tour of the SF Armory, now a porn studio

There are certain things here that are presented with a businesslike plainness because it *is* a business.  Knowing how much weight you can suspend from the ceiling in the Gimp Room is a very serious and practical matter.
Tour of the SF Armory, now a porn studio
Tour of the SF Armory, now a porn studio

And yes, sexual lubricant does come in 35-gallon containers.
Tour of the SF Armory, now a porn studio  Tour of the SF Armory, now a porn studio

This is the only place you can see the Mission Creek, which apparently runs under our feet.  It looked like something from Half-Life 2.

Tour of the SF Armory, now a porn studio  Tour of the SF Armory, now a porn studio

On the top floor, they had a 24-7 reality show going on involving a half-dozen women living as full-time submissives in a "mansion".  We got to chat with them a bit about their work.  It seems like a clever project -- the show is designed to be real-time and interactive in order to combat widespread piracy of porn. 

Tour of the SF Armory, now a porn studio  Tour of the SF Armory, now a porn studio

Full photoset at:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/9055206@N06/tags/armory/


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It's just so interesting, how things change. My father was stationed at the armory when he was in his early 20's (so, the early 70's). He took me and my sister there before kink.com bought it to show us the building and talk about what it was like to drive armored vehicles in and out of the place.

I don't know what he'd think of it now. :)

Ah, history. One of the things I like about cities is that many urban buildings are now being used for something other than their original purpose, and that adds to the character of both the building and the business within.

All ceilings should specify how much weight can be hung from them.

(I spent yesterday evening hanging from our ceiling.)

Visiting the armoury was a sexy highlight of my trip to SF.

The armory is pretty awesome. I know a fair number of people that go to parties on the upper floor on a regular basis. (The parties sound great, but everyone is filmed, so while masks are totally ok, I still don't go.)

Wait, how does reality TV lead to less porn piracy?

It's an interactive show, so the monthly subscribers can interact with the women in the house.

Ah, so that show specifically is less prone to being pirated. I was thinking it was somehow supposed to make people less inclined to pirate other porn.

Brainwashing. No, wait, that's marketing.

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