Mark I. Chester
City of Wounded Boys & Sexual Warriors
1981-1982

SexGod/Sisyphus © Mark I. Chester
from "City of Wounded Boys & Sexual Warriors" 1982
18 photographs - 11"x14" matted to 16"x20"

Dark, moody, portraits of men and women exploring devastating grief and loss yet pulsing with ritual spirit and sexual energy. A direct response to and a healing from the devastation of the Folsom St. Fire in July of 1981. In retrospect the title describes a whole generation of San Francisco gay men for me, emotionally, spiritually and psychically.

You're not familiar with the Folsom St. Fire?  In July of 1981, a local workman thought someone working on refurbishing a building at Folsom and Hallam St. (an alleyway off of Folsom) had stolen some tools from him and so he lit the building on fire.  This little act of revenge and arson turned into the largest fire in San Francisco since the 1906 earthquake.  It destroyed one half block of Folsom St., damaging and destroying buildings on Folsom, all the buildings on Hallam St. and nearly all the buildings on Brush Pl, a dead end alleyway off of Hallam, that ran parallel with Folsom.  It was like a warzone, an area of bombed out buildings.  I had never seen anything like it before other than in images from World War II of bombed out cities.