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After Butchering Folsom St. Fair, “Looking” Finds Redemption At The Stud


On Sunday’s episode of Looking, the fellas navigate the granddaddy of all things kink, Folsom Street Fair, then end up at legendary SoMa staple The Stud Bar. While their depiction of the fair was pretty pathetic–come on HBO, shock me!–the final scene inside The Stud was fairly spot on.


The drag (kudos for the Honey Mahogany cameo), the lights, the noise, the seeing the guy you’re crushing on across the bar; most SF gays have had these experiences or ones similar at the iconic bar.


Here’s a little history on The Stud (which we featured on our list of epic gay places to visit around the world) and a look back at some of our favorite photos from the debauchery within.


The Stud opened in 1966 at 11th and Folsom (pictured left), where you’ll now find Holy Cow, and until recently, the very popular gay Honey Soundsystem party. In 1984 it moved to its current location (pictured right) at 9th and Harrison (formerly Club Nine, pictured center) and brought with it its long history of fags, dykes, daddies and queens all meshing into one gorgeous conglomeration. Nowadays you can still catch some of the best drag in the city Friday nights at Something.












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  • larrybob

    Yeah, but in actuality after the Folsom Street Fair there would be the bear / chub dance Massive, not a drag show with Honey Mahogany. Kind of similar to the goof in an earlier episode where they took the Muni underground instead of Bart from Powell Street to the Mission.

  • Dan Tracer

    @larrybob: you make a good point

  • Uisce

    Seriously? There is nothing redeeming about this show. Even the episode titles are dumb – from the ratings, the last couple of shows should have been called “Looking…for an audience” or “Looking…at paint dry.”

  • KittyLitter

    Folsom Street Fair doesn’t need massive fanfare. It’s just something that happens once a year. Nothing special. You have to remember that the characters have been in SF for a good while. They’re used to it.

    And it’s not like they can show a guy getting fisted or getting a blow job from a stranger in the middle of a crowd.

  • Reid Condit

    I thought HBO goes where others fear to tread. But what do I know? With smoking banned in bars and no bathhouses to socialize in, I hardly go out any more. There’s even an SF law against smoking at street fairs. Too bad the guys today will never know what SF was like circa 1975. Better to stay home, get naked, light up, and watch the Montreal dancers on the ‘Net. . . What if “Looking” had been called “Cruising?”

  • Kangol

    This show is like white noise, going on and on. But apparently a handful of gay people are watching it, so, hey, why not give it endless coverage on Queerty?

  • SteveDenver

    How funny that all the BITCHY BITCHES BITCHING gather here to comment on a show they claim not to like, but know all about.

    Surprise, bitches: this show is about the characters who live in a city. Not about the city.

  • Uisce

    @SteveDenver: STFU, would you rather we burn books without reading them? A lot of people watch this show waiting for something to happen. This show isn’t about a city; it isn’t even about its characters – who are devoid of dimension. It is like a series of stills from old raves and rough trade magazines. It has no flow. No one is doing anything. And that is fine for Seinfeld or a Jarmusch movie, if there is humor, poignancy or moments of brilliance. But this show is just blase.

  • Spike

    In all fairness, if anyone knows anything about butchering the Folsom St. Fair, it would be Queerty! Don’t recall a single picture posted here following the Fair that came anywhere close to the energy and kink that one experiences in person at the Fair.

  • SpiderPIG

    I sincerely don’t understand all the negativity towards this awesome show, I liked it since the very first episode and really can’t have enough of it.

    “Looking… forward to the next episode.”

  • jata

    Ahhh… all the shade being thrown Looking’s way this last Friday at Something suddenly makes a lot more sense…

  • Stache1

    @Uisce: There just getting started. My favorite is Doms relationship with Lynn. Dom wants start up $ for a business and Lynn is helping him out. Curious where that’s going to go. Then their’s Patrick and his boss Kevin and the sexual tension between them. I like it because it’s how real people interact.

  • Stache1

    @Uisce: Then there’ s the escort story and where that’s going to go.

  • NG22

    @SpiderPIG: I agree wholeheartedly. But not everyone has the same taste…which is to say, some people have no taste. This show is so subtle and fascinating, it reminds me of an indie movie. And I disagree with those who claim the characters are one-dimensional. They clearly don’t understand the use of subtext. There are deep, existential problems bubbling under the surface.

    Consider the relationship Patrick has with his family, which he didn’t want to talk about. Haigh said that would come up as the season progressed. Consider how torn Patrick is between different men, and what that reveals about him as a man. Consider Augustin and how unhappy and broken he is, while he’s supposed to be experiencing domestic bliss. And now, he’s lying to his boyfriend. We know Augustin is having an internal battle and his relationship will implode. And finally, there’s Dom–who has so much vocalized and unvocalized angst about being older and not accomplishing what he wanted to in life. His journey to realize his potential and find genuine happiness and stability is apparent.

    Honestly, “Queer As Folk” was groundbreaking and great in its time (particularly the nudity), but I’m happy “Looking” isn’t that kind of loud, soapy, overdrawn melodrama. “Queer As Folk” was a great LGBT show, but only an okay show overall. It was good because it represented us. Compared to acclaimed, quality television, it was barely on the map. “Looking” speaks to me. And so long as the hate keeps the conversation going, and HBO renews it because of the buzz, let the haters hate.

  • jasentylar

    @NG22: I could not have said it better. I love this show (particularly the last episode) because it’s not in your face or over the top. It builds. It matters. It has indie written all over it. I fear that it won’t get picked up for a second season due to the horrendous ratings. I think people were expecting something similar to QAF (thank god it’s nothing like that). So, I’m trying not to become too attached. Things are definitely “Looking” up though….

  • NG22

    @jasentylar: Ratings aren’t particularly important to HBO. If the executives have passion for the show, and think it’s going well, they’ll renew it. However, “Looking” really needs to become part of the general TV conversation if it wants a second season. The reason why “Girls” keeps getting renewed isn’t because of fantastic ratings (though the ratings are better than “Looking”). It’s because “Girls” is a controversial show because of its portrayal of hipsters, its modern lifestyle statements, and its nudity. That’s not to mention the cast–daughters of famous, wealthy men–which has drawn attention. And finally, Lena Dunham has become a high-profile actress and writer because of her body, propensity for baring her body, and her many titles in the production of the show. And none of this even takes into account the fact that Judd Apatow is the Executive Producer of the damn show.

    “Girls” keeps skating by not because it is a higher-quality show than “Looking.” It’s because it’s such a trendy show made by high profile people.

    There are so many gay men who work in development at HBO–including the head of development. I hope they keep this show around as a passion project. And besides, when they only film eight episodes a season, it’s not a very expensive show anyway–it’s not like it has the budget of “True Blood” or “Game of Thrones.”

  • Broey Jones

    I get why people are not into Looking. Most viewers have become accustomed to the fast pace instant drama of reality television. They do not have the patience for real narrative development. They want caricatures a la the Kardashians and not real stories. I relate to the characters on this show and find it refreshing that they are not constantly making up drama and finding problems in the little things that happen in life. This show seems like it’s for grown ups who don’t have high school meltdowns every time there’s a bump in the rode.
    If you paid attention a bunch of stuff has already happened and the characters have grown more in 5 episodes than the entire cast of Girls has in 3 seasons but there’s no dick so forget about it. I can’t wait to see what happens. I’m in for the long haul HBO! Keep it coming.

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