The Mitchell Brothers' O'Farrell Theater, the central hub of San Francisco's pornographic past, is going back to its roots and hosting entertainment that doesn't involve nude women dancing.
Since December, the theater's CineStage has hosted Manarchy, an all-male dance revue put on by Jesi Ring O' Fire, and hosted by local poet and performer Wonder Dave. This year the theater expanded its offerings to include other Wonder Dave-curated shows, such as Sex Fail Storytelling, described as "an evening of tales of sex and romance gone hilariously wrong," and Jokes and Jocks, a night of comedy and male dancers.
Though the shows still include dancing and nudity, the dancers are generally men and dancing isn't the focus. Wonder Dave told KQED that the venue is "looking to become a more inclusive space." And because the space hosts adult entertainment, it provides more leeway for onstage material, according Wonder Dave.
"Doing a show in strip club provides a lot of freedom for performers to take things a little further than they might be able to in a bar or nightclub. Burlesque performers don't have to wear pasties, Comics and storytellers don't have to worry about their material being 'too sexual,' he said.
Opened in July of 1969, the O'Farrell Theater was a former Pontiac dealership that Jim and Artie Mitchell converted into a movie theater where they could show their nude films, or "nudies." Along with a 200-seat theater, the brothers built an in-house movie studio, where they filmed Behind The Green Door, their first feature-length film. Released in 1972, the film was the pornographic debut of adult star Marilyn Chambers and reportedly made the brothers as much as $80 million.