Armory pictures courtesy of SeriousBondage.com
While visiting San Francisco recently, I had the opportunity to accompany the men from the Serious Male Bondage website on a field trip to Kink.com headquarters. This enormous enterprise encompasses dozens of bondage-themed adult websites — including the kinky gay sites Bound Gods, Butt Machine Boys and Naked Kombat, plus many other hetero kink sites. The whole business is located in the Mission District of San Francisco — in the armory, an imposing building where the movies for all of these various sites are produced, cast, directed, filmed, edited and marketed.
I cannot even begin to tell you how massive this whole self-contained kink universe is. Even for a jaded New Yorker like me, I must say I was quite impressed. It made me think of the days when MGM and Paramount Studios had huge properties with sound stages, wardrobe departments, set designers and thousands of worker bees running around making movies — not to mention all the big talent like Bette Davis and Mickey Rooney, working under contract. In its heyday during the 1930s and 1940s the American film industry cranked out hundreds of movies every year, to satisfy the ever-growing demand of an insatiable pubic.
In a way, Kink.com is a lot like the golden age of Hollywood. To begin with, when we arrived, we were buzzed in through security and literally drove into the building and parked inside. They have a reception desk, and we had to sign in. We saw dozens of full-time employees going about their business, working behind computers, editing film, creating marketing and promotional materials, and carrying out support and administrative tasks — all cranking out new adult entertainment. These people are all professionals, and they really know what they are doing. The only difference is that, unlike Hollywood, which churned out movies the whole family could enjoy in the theater, the focus with Kink.com is on a much narrower fan base: consenting adults who want to watch very well made kinky porn. And boy do they deliver.
No matter what sexual orientation you are or what kinky fetish you might have, chances are there is a website headquartered here that will get you all hot and bothered. If you happen to get off on seeing grown men tied up and dominated by intimidating, latex-clad vixens in spiked heels, they’ve got you covered. Maybe you prefer to see women in gags and harnesses being worked over by dominant straight men. Well, they have a site or two for you as well. Into watersports? No problem! How about a site featuring athletic men wrestling on mats for real stakes — with the loser getting fucked by the winner? Yeah, they’ve thought of that, too!
And if you’re like me and you enjoy watching really well made kinky gay bondage porn featuring some of the hottest and most adventuresome gay porn stars with great bodies and dependable dicks who know how to suck and fuck like champions, you need look no further than Bound Gods. As readers of this blog know well, Bound Gods is one of my very favorite sites.
Then it’s no surprise, of course, that the highlight of the day was the chance I got to meet Van Darkholme — the man behind the Bound Gods site — in person. In the flesh. Wow. In my opinion, he looked much hotter in person than he does in videos, if you can imagine that. He’s tall and worked out, has beautiful eyes and nice dark hair, and has a healthy skin tone. You can tell he eats right and gets plenty of sleep. He greeted us wearing cargo pants, a sleeveless blue T-shirt and comfortable sneakers, also blue. (He changed into a black ribbed cotton tank top for the on-camera interview we did later) .
When we started talking, I could tell right away that that he is just a normal guy. He even told me right off that he doesn’t let his porn stardom go to his head, and this was apparent in his demeanor. I found him to be friendly, soft-spoken, gracious and polite. When I asked him casually what he likes to do outside the dungeon, he looked me in the eye and without hesitation said gardening, with a sincere grin. But don’t be fooled. Behind all of Van’s boy-next-door charm lurks a true bondage master. He has been known to have even the biggest and most muscular of men trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey and whimpering like a baby in no time flat. When we started talking about his work, his eyes lit up and he became more animated. It’s clearly something he enjoys very much. He explained that he likes to work the tops in his videos hard, and that he takes excellent care of his slaves, protecting them and making sure they get what they need. He also shared some humorous behind-the-scenes anecdotes, one of them involving the actor Nick Moretti, who … well, let’s just say he got a little “over-enthusiastic” one day with a fellow actor.
Van took us to one of the sets, and I immediately recognized it from The Slaughterhouse. He showed us the tenterhooks hanging on runners from the ceiling, the wet area complete with drain in the floor, the built-in cage in the wall, and some of the hanging meat props. He also pointed out how the walls and floors in the room had been treated for a realistic look on screen. They think of all the details.
We got to peek inside some of the other sets, including the bar, featured most recently in Bar Bondage Hookup 2. I really wanted to see the padded cell set featured in The Sex Addict and Tommy, but it was in use. In fact, many of other sets were in use, with blinking red signs outside the doors warning passers-by that filming is in progress, keep voices down. We also got to visit the infamous Upper Floor at Kink.com, where some of the group scenes and live action updates take place.
Van also showed us the equipment room, where the restraints, whips, floggers, hoods, gags, butt toys and other devices are stored. He showed us how directors can come to the room and “check out” equipment to be used in their movies. Sort of like a kinky library or depository. Van said we could not touch any of the gear that would go in someone’s mouth or ass. As he explained, all the gags and butt toys are thoroughly sanitized after each use, and then quarantined for seven days before being put back in circulation. They also have a prep room, where all the actors clean their privates before any on-camera action takes place. We didn’t go in there.
Van also took us on a tour of the rest of the Armory building itself, which really is a former armory. It has a shooting gallery and a live stream running through the basement. (An interesting side note is that when Kink.com purchased the armory building itself, the transaction generated quite a bit of local controversy. Some community activists and neighborhood groups were up in arms over what they perceived as a threat from kinky perverts about to descend en masse into the neighborhood, filling the area with nefarious characters. That didn’t come to pass, of course, and since then the new residents of the armory and its neighbors have apparently settled into a peaceful coexistence. They even host community groups sometimes for events inside the massive indoor space.)
Before we left for the day, Van told us a little about his new, soon-to-be-launched website, called Bound in Public, which will feature lots of rough play and humiliation. I for one cannot wait to see what this site will be like.
Metalbond would like to thank Van Darkholme for his time and for graciously agreeing to be interviewed, and the Kink.com marketing department for granting access to the building and for their time and consideration as well.
Metalbond would also like to express his most sincere appreciation to Mark at Serious Male Bondage for arranging and facilitating the interview.
Be sure to watch for the on-camera discussion featuring Mark, Van and Metal at Serious Male Bondage.