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Lighting Up the Dark Places 

Wednesday, Sep 22 2010
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Put yourself inside the head of Newt Gingrich. (Go ahead. Don’t be afraid. We won’t be there long.) Now imagine what appears in his mind when he hears the phrase “homosexual agenda” – hell, maybe even hearing “San Francisco” is enough to give him nightmare visions. (We hope so.) Regardless, what he envisions is probably pretty dark and scary, filled with burly men and butchy women in leather, with pierced nipples and big tattoos, acting out bizarre scenarios that involve inflicting or submitting to bondage and pain. Now imagine someone who’s devoted his life to shining a bright, artistic light onto such people and what they do. Mark I. Chester photographs members of this subculture, which has existed since the middle of the 20th century and probably longer, finding beauty in what some consider horrific. We like to think that his work has helped people accept, understand – and maybe even become part of – an oft-misunderstood world that’s still vilified and condemned even in some LGBT circles. Chester is a self-described “gay radical sex photographer” as well as a writer, artist, performer, and curator. His new exhibit, “Doing Time on Folsom Street,” spans 30 years of his fine-art fetish photography. It coincides with today’s Folsom Street Fair, the world-famous epicenter of kink. Gingrich’s nightmare scenario continues into the night at the fair’s brand new afterparty, “Deviants.”
Sept. 26-Dec. 31, noon, 2010

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Keith Bowers

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