From Issue 3.1 - September/October 1996
Well known San Francisco leather community artist Mark I. Chester is releasing his first book, Diary of a Thought Criminal, featuring fine art black and white photographs documenting life, love, and death in San Francisco's gay male sexual underground during the early 1990s. The book includes a reminiscence by Chester on his life and work, and an afterword by Pat Califia, entitled "We Are All Thought Criminals." Califia relates the history of a raid on Chester's home and studio following a South of Market fire in 1981, and reminds us of the importance of supporting our community artists. Chester's work falls under the criteria established by Jesse Helms barring work from receiving NEA support: it is homoerotic, sexually explicit, and deals with radical/alternative sexuality.
Published by RFD Press, who put out the radical faerie magazine of the same name, the 64-page book includes hard-dick images of men Chester has known and loved, including photos of playwright Robert Chesley in a spandex Superman suit that reveals his KS lesions, images which were banned from previous shows at the New College of California in San Francisco and the Leslie-Lohman Gay Art Foundation in New York. Images from Diary of Thought Criminal have been exhibited throughout the U.S. and in Australia.
A show at Chester's studio/gallery will accompany the
release of the book. The opening night reception is September 20 from
7-11pm ($5). The show will run Saturdays and Sunday through October 13
from 1-6pm or by appointment ($2). Chester's studio is located at 1229
Folsom Street. For voicemail information call 415-292-3223. Selected
images from the book can be found on Mark I. Chester's web site.