History of the BackDrop Club

Spotlight: The Backdrop Club

Spectator Magazine, 6 June, 2005, Issue #1392

Report by Trixy Delight, Photography by the Bondage Bunny

The Back Drop Club has been around for 40 years come this October. They are certainly doing something right and showing a lot of other folks how to do it right as well. Whether you know it or not the BDSM club you frequent probably got its start from someone associated with The Back Drop, and you have them to thank for the thrilling hours you've spent indulging your fantasies in a safe and sane environment.

Sitting down with Backdrop founder Robin Roberts and some of his staff in the library of the club I am struck by how cozy and inviting the space is, not to mention how unusual it is to even have a library in a BDSM club. The walls are lined with bookcases and display areas for the books, comics, toys and photographs all related to BDSM, lovingly collected from friends, employees, patrons and acquaintances. The statements I had read on their webpage about the club's name coming from the desire to provide the "props and scenery behind everybody's fantasies", and to be a "social and educational resource for people who had fetish and fantasy interests" are more than just a good sales pitch. These people care and are passionate about BDSM in an academic sense as well as a play sense.

Robin himself is very much the curious connoisseur who is fervent about many diverse things. He is a computer whiz from way back, a toy and dungeon device designer who has built all the various equipment in the club, an expert photographer and prolific writer. Lucky for us his wide base of knowledge comes together seamlessly in his management of The Back Drop Club. As well as hosting play parties, slave auctions, private events and slave training, he and the well-trained, talented and professional staff also offer private sessions for both Dominants and submissive.

I took this rare opportunity with someone having a long history in the scene to ask how things have changed over the years. Robin's main comments had to do with the diversity and freedom he now sees in the scene. There are fashion players who simply like the clothes, occasional players who may play just on the weekends and the full time people that bring aspects of the scene into their everyday life, but they are all allowed to be much more flamboyant than the people in the 60's or 70's. BDSM is now an acknowledged interest that many people have and it is no longer a secret to be hidden. Although Robin does acknowledge that people in the South Bay are less likely to go parading around in their kinky finest at the supermarket and value their privacy a bit more than S.F. folks, they aren't as ashamed of their interests and BDSM has managed to evolve into a accepted kink rather than something to be fixed or changed. Speaking with three of his lovely staff members about their work it is clear that Robin has kept the high standard he has for himself and the club in regard to his people. They are all well spoken intelligent ladies and acknowledge that it takes more than a pretty face to maintain a happy and satisfied customer.

Happily the club is doing well and is in the process of doubling its space due to the popularity of their play parties and slave auctions. But if you have an interest in going to one of their events, plan ahead. They have rules, for security reasons, about giving out their address and a process to go through to be given access to the club that is reassuring. Nothing outrageous - just enough to weed out the timewasters and goof-balls.

The space itself is very comfortable with a Medical Scene room, The Library (with a very tempting dinning table for bending over), a Quiet Room that is cozy and relaxing, and then a large main play space with more ingenious toys than any one person could use in a single night. Add to that the soothing lighting and the cheery welcome you receive and you may have just found a home away from home.

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