BackDrop – Quality B & D

By Scott A Staberg

Nestled in the warehouse district of Richmond, California (just north of Berkeley), stands a non-descript corrugated structure identified only s “BLDG #1”. It is similar to BLDG # 2” and “BLDG #3”, except for the blue and white sign over the door that proclaims this building to be the site of “BackDrop”.

Entering, one is taken by a stark contrast with the fabricated metal outside- a modern office facility exists within, tastefully done in a current veneer décor complete with a cheery faced receptionist and constantly ringing telephones. Offices awash with the green glow of video terminals line a far wall. However, the passing of a staff member dressed in a low-cut black dress with thigh length skirt and fish-net stockings begins to raise suspicions that this is not an ordinary business establishment.

And indeed it is not, as BLDG #1, the home of BackDrop, houses the facilities to quicken the pulse of anyone interested in B&D.

First formed in 1966 as the “Menlo Park School of Bondage”, BackDrop has involved into a premier b & D club with 4,400 members worldwide. It boasts a 3,200 square foot clubhouse complete with fully equipped “session rooms”, a main chamber where various events are held, a comfortable sitting room sporting a fireplace; and even a 7,000 volume library that is claimed to “the largest collection outside of the Vatican”, with books ranging from “The Naked Ape” to A. N. Roquelare/Anne Rice “The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty” series.

BackDrop’s event calendar is filled with 20 to 40 events per month. They are wide ranging, with topics including Master/slave training sessions, TV/TS workshops, and “The sub-MISS-ives” women’s special interest group (which helps submissive women deal with the conflict generated by the message of today’s world to Drive, Succeed, and Be Aggressive when ones basic nature may be saying just the opposite.

One of the more popular events is the Slave Auction which is held every Friday night. When members arrive at the club for the auction, they are given an envelope of monopoly-type money. This money is then used to purchase items placed on the auction block. Anyone can place their slave (or themselves) on the block. Things sold range from a block of time (as a Submissive or Dominant) to various services (dinners, costume making, massages, etc.) The Auction is primarily a way couples to have fun and singles to meet. Because of this, a careful ratio between males and females is kept, with the split being 60& male and 40& female. As the event is weekly, single males usually have no problem getting in with a week or two notice.

Besides the slave auction and other calendar events, several other services are available to the Marquis de Sade want-to-be. Session rooms are available for use by members or, if single, professional sessions are available with one of the barely dressed staff members already mentioned. BackDrop publishes “Common Bonds” a high quality bound magazine containing stories, articles and personal ads. They have a retail sales outlet named, appropriately enough, “The Chain Store”, where one can find that special gift not usually found in main-stream retail stores.

The diversity and success of the club can be traced to the activities of one man – Master Robin. As founder and involved since its inception as the Menlo Park School of Bondage, Master Robin has used high-tech sophistication and detailed organizational methods to raise the club from its infancy of 30 members to the current 4,400 both domestic and abroad. An electronics engineer by trade, he has computerized the club to such an extent that his office has every possible space filled with computer equipment ranging from museum quality 8” disk drives to a newly developed optical scanner. With his wife, aRRyana, Robin maintains a strong leadership coupled with the motivation needed to keep the club more than deserving its international reputation.

A gifted Master, Robin has set several hard and fast rules that keep the club operating at its level of excellence. Among these is a strictly enforced “No Drugs, No Drunks” policy. No drugs are allowed in the facility or at any of the events, and anyone who shows up at the club with a chemically-enhanced state of mind is politely but firmly escorted off the premises. Similarly, anyone who arrives inebriated is shown the exit. One of the club’s motto is “If you are not in control, you’re not in control”, an idea that has helped keep a high quality membership, free from unsavory characters of society. “Why would you show up here [drunk],” Robin wonders, “knowing that there are more pairs of handcuffs here per capita than anyplace else on Earth?”

Another vital rule is one that has kept the club clear of any involvement with law enforcement authorities. In a professional session (e.g. with a staff member), the is “If there’s money involved, there cannot be sex involved’” Adamant regarding this, Robin states, If I find anybody here turning tricks, they’re working someplace else tonight. This is a definite.” In its twenty-five year history, BackDrop has not had a single involvement with authorities.

Overall, BackDrop is a quality organization with superior members and superior facilities (which will get even better as the club is in the process of signing a lease for a new headquarters in downtown San Francisco). If you are lucky enough to live in the Bay Area, or are planning a trip out there, I urge you contact them. You will not be disappointed. In the words of Master Robin, “[BackDrop] is a place to have fun!” Everyone could use a good spanking once in a while". Trust me, I know (ouch!). Ciao from the Bay Area.

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