|Marriage Equality USA's Molly McKay and Good Vibration's Jackie Strano|
The Good Vibrations store on Polk Street hosted a benefit party for Marriage Equality USA on July 29. It was was a uniquely San Francisco event co-sponsored by the Center for Sex & Culture. Equality politics merged with the pleasure center that is Good Vibrations to create an exuberant taste of what the Bay Area is known for — unapologetic same-sex marriage, avant-garde feminist sexuality, and outrageous erotic art.
Marriage Equality USA has worked tirelessly over the last couple years to create a new acceptance and welcoming of same-sex marriage all over America. In cities, suburbia, and rural areas the groups’ activists and local allies have spread the word to citizens with a consciousness, politicians, and clergy that the time has come for marriage equality.
Marriage Equality USA’s Molly McKay, a colorful and clever attorney, spoke eloquently at the event about future goals of her organization. Judge Vaughn Walker’s impending decision on same-sex marriage was mentioned and everyone was invited to the rallies and march on "Decision Day." McKay is known for her matrimonial attire and she wore a surprisingly short bridal dress that was, of course, appropriate for the venue.
Good Vibrations Chief Operations Officer Jackie Strano then spoke intensely to the attentive throng about the company’s recognition that non-profits can affect positive social change, and that she supports Marriage Equality USA for that reason. Good Vibrations has a "Good Vibes Gives Back" program that generously funds multiple organizations.
The magic moment of the event occurred when McKay and Strano sang duets of altered Freddie Mercury and Joan Jett songs. The audience was invited to join in with the new hilarious, same-sex marriage-themed lyrics for the melodies, and they did, singing and laughing along with the beat.
Special guests included PFLAG’s Julia and Sam Thoron, and marriage equality activists and husbands Stuart Gaffney and John Lewis. Good Vibes’ Events/Publicity Manager Camilla Lambard bartended and store manager Courtney Ramey oversaw the party. COO Strano’s wife of 17 years, Shar Rednour, who is an author and filmmaker, was there to show her support. Rednour directed and Strano produced the definitive new feminism film/sexual aid in 1998, "Bend Over Boyfriend," which set a new standard for sexual equality. It is still popular today. Nationally-syndicated columnist Dan Savage has named the sex act in the film “pegging” and he patiently informs straight men almost weekly that it will not make them gay and that the women in their lives deserve reciprocity. Kline’s Deli catered and their nutty brownies were a hit.
Good Vibrations has always been more than a place to buy vibrators and condoms — numerous classes and workshops are offered to enhance the sex lives of its customers. Recent examples are sensual tantric lovemaking, improved female masturbation, challenging bondage and exciting spanking.
A multimedia erotic visual retrospective by sex educator Annie Sprinkle and her partner Beth Stephens graced the store’s gallery walls and it was a special, extravagant mixture of rapturous art and photography. The marvelous sheer joy of their appreciation for the female body and its pleasures is obvious. Sprinkle and Stephens have always been ahead of the curve, and now they are vivacious "Ecosexuals," and their engaging green dresses with attached vines and flowers were a must-see at this year’s Dyke March.
It should be noted that the Good Vibrations staff are friendly and extremely helpful, and they are some of the most striking and desirable women and men in the four neighborhoods where their stores are located.