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The Time Dreamforce and Folsom Street Fair Collided

Updated: Sep 20, 2023 18:57
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There is a certain poetry in the fact that just after the metaphorical gangbang that is Dreamforce, we get the literal one that is Folsom Street Fair. Dreamforce brings in thousands of out-of-towners, ties up downtown traffic and tortures locals. Folsom also brings in thousands of visitors, but at least shares the tying up and torturing fairly equally between the visitors and San Franciscans. And the similarities don’t end there.

At both Dreamforce and Folsom, you get to learn important stuff! Dreamforce once had a session called “10 Things You Can’t Break in Salesforce.” Last year at Folsom, I’m pretty sure I saw something that amounted to “10 Things You Can’t Break in a Human Being.”

It’s funny, though: Dreamforce and Folsom Street Fair kind of represent the two warring sides of San Francisco. Dreamforce represents the “capitalism at all costs” tech sector. It brings in loads of revenue for The City, while also attracting people who do really stupid things, like that company who spray-painted its name all over our sidewalks (I refuse to give them free publicity by printing their name). It also makes downtown feel more white, boring and milquetoast than a country club in Orange County.

Folsom also brings in some revenue for The City (far, far less) and its fair share of idiots, too. That naked 20-year-old in the cowboy hat, who was blissed out on any number of things and humping my girlfriend’s leg? Guaranteed to be from out of town. But at least it represents that weird, freaky-deaky San Francisco that so many of us fell in love with.

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Is San Francisco swaying away from being the place that harbors things like Folsom Street Fair in favor of things like Dreamforce? Or does the future have the potential to continue to keep both of them alive?

If all the people who live the Folsom Street Fair life every single day of the year (bless their perverted little hearts) get evicted, does it become solely a thing for tourists? Or does it go away forever when all the new neighbors living on Folsom Street get up in arms because there is a man with his arm, wrist deep, up another man’s arse? Will it matter to the new neighbor that those two gentlemen have been performing that same act of sacred profanity, on that same spot, for damn near 30 years?

Probably not.

One of my fantasies has always been to bring unsuspecting tourists to the Folsom Street Fair. I imagine telling them, “Oh sure, this is a great outdoor festival that is just SO San Francisco,” and then watching their minds explode when they see what I mean. And this just gave me an idea: What if we start holding Folsom Street Fair and Dreamforce at the exact same time? Like instead of having a Foo Fighter’s concert be the denouement, of the tech conference, why don’t we have it be the Folsom Street Fair?

Pause for a second and think about that. Imagine, if you will, all those guys in cargo shorts and polo shirts with the company name embroidered over their hearts, chained to a whipping post and biting on a ball gag. Really imagine it. It’s beautiful, isn’t it? It might just be the thing that saves San Francisco.

We wouldn’t even have to change the name: Dream-Force already sounds like the kind of thing that happens at Folsom Street anyways.

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This piece was originally in my Broke-Ass City column in the SF Examiner 

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.