Posted by: Hackney Tours | September 14, 2009

Scarlet City

SF Mission Make Out Room sign

Make-Out Mission style

“Empty vessels make the most noise,” my Gran always used to say. In the sexual realm this translates to ‘those that talk about it the most are doing it the least’. You can add to this with comments about dark horses, or having to watch the quiet ones. But if this rule of inverse proportion were to be rigidly applied, SF would be supremely celibate, because tonight the S-word is seemingly on every set of literary lips.

Returning to the venue of the Make-Out Room for a second set of readings at The Rumpus, sex is on the agenda again. “Hypothetical lesbian” Minal Hajratwala dips a toe in the Sapphic shallow end as she comes out gradually in 1989, a teenager in a book by Ryan Boudinot takes sperm to school to be examined under the microscope, and a million metaphors are mined as man-on-man action is abstracted by local poet DA Powell.

The profits from Saturday’s Writers with Drinks went to the nearby Centre for Sex & Culture, and after a little earwigging in the Dolores Park Café earlier today it’s obvious that they couldn’t have picked a better place to locate this library of licentiousness. But nothing comes free in this life, and even in a city where sex and sexuality is so intrinsically linked to self-expression and equality, it has its price.

DA Powell dedicates “Crab Louse” to an unnamed ex. I say unnamed, though a ripple of laughter from a particular table suggests that if you’re in the know, you could guess his name. It’s a reminder that the road of excess might well lead to the palace of wisdom; but sometimes a discreet detour is required as it diverts to the clap clinic for a quick check-up.  Luther Van Dross (soul-haters insert your own joke) sang “The best things in life are free” in the classic soul track; maybe a more apt refrain is a retail regular we all know off by heart: “Buy now, pay later”.


  1. I don’t know If I said it already but …Excellent site, keep up the good work. I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, 🙂

    A definite great read..Jim Bean

    • Thanks Jimmy. Glad you enjoyed it. Sorry I’m so slow at responding, your comment was lost in my spam file for some reason.

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