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Bondage-a-Go-Go Is Closing, Over Pandemic And ‘Ongoing Issues’

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Image: BaGG via Twitter

Many San Francisco club nights were bound to close during the COVID-19 pandemic, but this one really hurts. The weekly BDSM/kink institution Bondage-a-Go-Go announced its closure on Monday, possibly bringing an end to the “longest running fetish dance party in San Francisco” after 27 years. The long-lasting leather, latex, and lingerie club had us grinding our privates on dance floor partners to Nine Inch Nails and Sisters of Mercy til the wee hours on so many Wednesday nights, and left us hung over with bruised buttocks on so many Thursday mornings.

Bondage-a-Go-Go’s leadership team let the cat out of the BaGG with a Monday statement on social media. “It is with both frustration and sadness that we must announce that Bondage-a-Go-Go is closing. Between the current pandemic and ongoing issues, we feel it is no longer feasible to continue operating Bondage-a-Go-Go in its current form,” they said.

“We are hopeful we will be able to find a new set of owners to pass on the legacy and ideals of Bondage-a-Go-Go in a new, more viable way,” they added. “We want to thank everyone who has supported us and helped BaGG reach 27 years of continuous operation.”

Bondage-a-Go-Go started in 1993 at the old Trocadero Transfer (now The Grand), where founding kinksters George Lazaneo and Scott Grudge kicked off a vision that would last for decades — an alt-goth-fetish club where newbies could mix with advanced players, with a hardcore sex club vibe, but no nudity or actual sex. A character named “Snakeman Dan”  Dieguez danced in a g-string with an 11-foot-long Burmese python (drawing the ire of the city’s Animal Care and Control department, when he did live feedings onstage). The club got famous overnight when Playboy magazine did a 1994 feature on the club, and would regularly draw underground 90s luminaries like Crash Worship and Lydia Lunch.

The club would move on to venues like the Glas Kat and the Cat Club, with an evolving cast of hosts and DJs, and dungeonmasters operating a bondage playspace that welcomed everyone from the curious to the sexperts. They would establish annual favorite nights like the Rocky Horror Bondage Show, Betty Page Look-a-Like contest, Blood Wrestling, Pirate Night, and of course their recurring late November party Spanksgiving, creating a popular kink culture gateway friendly to all sizes, colors, and genders, where we could all have a great time, expand our horizons, and quite possibly get some action.

The club’s current DJ Fact 50 reminisces to us that “I had worked with Bondage-a-Go-Go off and on for over a decade as a guest, and in 2018 they brought me on as a regular back room DJ, for special event nights. Later in that year I lost three full-time DJ gigs in the same month, and out of the blue, the management at BaGG contacted me to say that they had really loved all of the music I’d been playing in the back space and offered me a full time position in the front room, with DJ Damon. That single act of kindness brought me out of an almost 6 month bout of depression. 

“For that I will be eternally grateful. I hope that the team can figure something out and come back once more. I’ll be ready if they do.”

Pretty much all of us in the Bay Area kink scene learned the ropes through Bondage-a-Go-Go, where we figured out how to transform our shitty porn VHS/DVD fantasies into a self-actualized wardrobe, communication, and consent game. The current team bid farewell saying they’re “hopeful we will be able to find a new set of owners to pass on the legacy and ideals of Bondage-a-Go-Go in a new, more viable way,” so we do hope they peg some new generation leaders who will get to the ‘bottom’ of this and bring Bondage-a-Go-Go back.

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Joe Kukura- Millionaire in Training

Joe Kukura- Millionaire in Training

Joe Kukura is a two-bit marketing writer who excels at the homoerotic double-entendre. He is training to run a full marathon completely drunk and high, and his work has appeared in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal on days when their editors made particularly curious decisions.

3 Comments

  1. Nikolas
    August 26, 2020 at 9:58 am — Reply

    They are folding for a number of reasons, but the biggest current one is horrifying. A former DJ was fired after complaints about him from female club members. Wanted to get his spot back, tried to sue the club. He handed over email records he had to a friend of his, who was also a persona non grata at the club. That guy blew it up to 11, started harassing everyone he could get his hands on, and making threats. The emails included assault and harassment records from BaGG’s anoymous reporting system. He has threatened to make the original files public, with identity info attached, OF EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO REPORTED HARASSMENT. Who have nothing to do with this conflict, and are overwhelming women and femme people. All that info, including contact details, straight to the hands of the people who they reported against. Chew on that as your daily dose of horror.

    • Cadence
      August 27, 2020 at 10:36 pm — Reply

      That’s a terrible way to handle, what should’ve been a confidential email, and harassment reports from the club/organizer.

      • Nikolad
        August 28, 2020 at 12:11 pm

        Yup. The manager team decided it was safer to fold then put their members at that kind of risk. I’m proud of them and it’s tragic.

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