"The Armory" on 14th and Mission. A military arsenal-turned-sports-venue-turned porn-studio. What's next? Luxury condos?
In response to the potential passage of a new state law that would require condoms on all pornography sets, local porn purveyor kink.com (NSFW) has rented a new office in Las Vegas, releasing a video (SFW), which outlining the argument for the move from their Mission District studio. It's the latest in a long line of relocation threats from Kink while the condom bill has been working its way through San Francisco. Is it real—or just posturing? Hard to say.
With backing from the Aids Healthcare Foundation, Assemblyman Isadore Hall introduced AB 1576 with the intention of protecting performers from infection. The bill would make condom-free porn a crime in California, and it would also require more regular STD screenings by law. The bill passed the Assembly and the State Senate’s labor committee last month, meaning a vote by the appropriations committee next month will send it up to the Senate for a final vote.
A meddlesome measure, according to the porn business, since the industry already requires STD screenings every fourteen days. They point to the efficacy of this policy in last fall’s case of two Kink performers who tested HIV-positive (They were infected off-shoot) and set off a panicked but prudent statewide halt in shooting. As it stands, kink.com enforces a condom-only policy for gay shoots, but last year’s scare, along with recent trends in “bareback” pornography have set off alarms for more regulation.
In a world where porn companies aren't exactly thriving, the Mission-based Kink has been a notable exception. In 2007, Kink CEO Peter Acworth bought the long-defunct National Guard Armory Complex for $14.5 million, turning its dungeon-esque vibes into the perfect space for various S&M internet porn brands as well as giving public tours of "The Armory" for more adventurous San Franciscans. But even Acworth is open to the idea of moving out of California if regulations threaten his business's already small profit margins.
Rising production costs in California have long been on porn producers minds, and now the wave of controversy might be enough to push the entire industry into states with cheaper real estate and more relaxed laws—namely, Nevada. So enjoy that mass of militant sexual weirdness while it lasts, Missionites, because the day might come soon when your beloved Armory has disappeared. In its place: high-rent luxury condos?