|NEW YORK CITY, May 11 2015 – Folsom Street East, Inc. (FSE) today announced that it will hold its 18th annual Street Fair on Sunday, June 21st, from 11 AM to 4 PM, in Manhattan on West 27th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues.
Folsom Street East is the largest fetish block party on the East Coast; this year’s theme is “THE NEW YORK YOU WERE WARNED ABOUT.” FSE is proud to share visual branding illustrated for the 2015 Street Fair by visionary comic book creator Phil Jimenez.
“Folsom Street East is a celebration of the rebellious spirit of the New York kink and fetish scene, and our imagery for this year’s fair depicts our community in all its vibrant diversity,” said Paul Harrison Phillips, Communications Manager for Folsom Street East. “We’re immensely grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Phil Jimenez to realize an ass-kicking vision of our modern city that never sleeps.”
“As a New Yorker, a longtime fan of the Folsom Street East street fair, and a supporter of the organization’s mission and community engagement, I jumped at the chance to work with FSE to create the imagery for this year’s event,” said Jimenez.
This year’s Street Fair will directly benefit two NYC-based non-profit organizations serving fetish, kink, and LGBTQ communities: the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP) and Visual AIDS.
Folsom Street East 2015 will feature live stage entertainment representing the immense talents of the NYC LGBT and kink community, as well as a beer garden hosted by The Eagle NYC. A full line-up of stage entertainment, running from 12 PM to 4 PM, will be announced in the weeks before the event.
“We’re excited to bring Folsom Street East back to 27th Street for another amazing year,” said Street Fair co-producer Gary Martin. “Whether it’s your first Folsom Street East, or your 18th, whether you love to show off in a harness and jock, or just love to socialize with New Yorkers in the sunshine and support our community organizations, we hope you’ll join us!”
Paul Harrison Phillips – Communications Manager – firstname.lastname@example.org
FSE is on social media. To follow Folsom Street East 2015, use #fse2015 and engage with us:
Late last year, we set out to better and more clearly define who we are as an organization and how we want to shape the world around us. At our first annual board retreat, we spent hours discussing how we envision the futures of our communities, challenging one another on how we can best communicate that vision, and filling some giant Post-Its with our ideas (seen above). But we didn’t stop there! Our work on a revised mission statement went on until just this past month, not content to quit until we settled on two, succinct sentences that resonated with all members of the board. We hope that it will do the same with our beneficiaries, our communities, and the city we’re actively working to make a better place. With that, we give you Folsom Street East’s revised mission statement:
Folsom Street East celebrates and inspires participation and pride in fetish, kink, and LGBTQ communities through the creation of safe spaces for public expression of our sexual identities. Folsom Street East promotes and provides grants to other nonprofit organizations serving these communities.
*Not actually negotiable
In following the tradition started last year, we are pleased to share with you all our Annual Report from 2014!
A few changes to note this year, for those of you who perused last year’s document.
We’re exceptionally proud to announce that we have now donated more than $90,000 to our beneficiaries in the past five years. This money goes right back to services that directly benefit New York City’s queer populations and make our communities stronger and safer places to be ourselves.
Shortened event hours in 2014, however, led to a decrease in donations from the street festival last year. As a result, we saw the percent of our revenue as donations also decrease. This past year, $2.50 of your $10 event entry went directly to one of our beneficiaries.
Most importantly, however, is that we couldn’t have done any of this without the overwhelming support from our peers. Together, we’re working to increase visibility and promote pride in fetish, kink, and queer communities, and we can’t wait to see what the future with all of you holds!
Without a doubt, 2014 has been an amazing journey for Folsom Street East. The board began the year with a daunting goal ahead of us: reinstating our signature event and with that reestablishing nearly two decades of tradition and hard-won credibility with our community. Dave and Gary in particular threw themselves headlong into the work of repairing and growing relationships with city agencies and the police; neighborhood residents, businesses, and organizations; sponsors, vendors, and media; and certainly not least, our entertainers, volunteers, and attendees. Our attendance and revenue exceeded all expectations, allowing us to donate over $13,000 to our beneficiaries, and our hard work this year will bolster our ability to negotiate permitting with the community board and the city in 2015. Beyond all that, though: we did what some folks had insisted was impossible: we brought kink back to the streets of New York where it belongs, and where it will stay.
In parallel with bringing back the street festival, we began to bring Folsom Street East into organizational maturity as a nonprofit. Rising to the level of effort that goal demanded meant a lot of firsts for us, not least among them our first annual report and our first board retreat. Speaking as the guy who suggested we all schlep upstate for a chilly weekend in the country to talk about strategic planning and governance, I was frankly floored by the level of engagement and conversation among my fellow board members. On some level, I always knew why we do what we do; the retreat allowed us to put that into words and tie those words to actions in a way more powerful than I thought possible. We’ll be formalizing the new mission statement drafted at the retreat and sharing it with you all early in 2015, but our inspiration to continue our work has already been renewed.
Based on feedback from 2013’s community survey, we made a huge effort to better inform you about us and about our beneficiaries. This was enabled by the completion of two big behind-the-scenes projects in 2014: the overhaul of our website and the migration to our new web domain. Together, these have ensured that we will be able to easily deliver timely, secure communications in the years to come. In early 2015 we’ll be migrating to a new email marketing platform which will allow us to manage mailings more efficiently and economically.
It’s with regret that we accepted long-time member Ray’s resignation from the board last month; however, we know he’ll continue to be on call for event support and other special projects on an ad hoc basis going forward. On a brighter note, we have four new board members joining us in 2015, effectively doubling the board’s size. Marie, Paul, Robert, and Rudy have already made inestimable contributions to thought leadership and our ability to execute, and we are excited to continue to work with them in the coming year.
We’ve achieved a lot as a board this year, but we couldn’t have done it without you. I was reminded of that early on the morning of the street festival, when I found that at least twenty volunteers had showed up well ahead of me and were standing under the High Line awaiting my sleepy-eyed direction. After months spent planning for every contingency, our plans came through because you did. Even six months later, I still stand in awe of all that we were able to achieve together in those few hours on a summer Sunday — and I don’t just mean pushing porta-potties around. I mean playing a part in something bigger than any one of us — creating a public space where our culture can flourish. For that (and for moving porta-potties, too): thank you, thank you, thank you.
On behalf of the board, allow me to wish you the happiest of holidays, and invite you to mark your calendars — the next street festival is slated for 21 June 2015. Looking forward to seeing you all there, and to sharing some surprises with you along the way!
Matt Johnson, Board Chair, Folsom Street East
Here at Folsom Street East, we are working year-round — not just to bring you the street festival each June, but to grow and nourish the organization which makes that possible. In another first for the FSE board, we gathered at secretary Gary’s home upstate over a weekend in mid-November for some intensive brainstorming on our mission and our vision, as well as developing a strategic plan for the years ahead. The weather was chilly, but the fire was warm, the tunes were carefully curated, and the food we made together was delicious.
During the day on Saturday, we achieved consensus on a number of matters, certainly not least of which was that giant Post-Its are pretty much the best thing ever.
After enjoying a contemplative moment in a magic marker-induced haze, we conducted our final business meeting of 2014 and welcomed four new board members — Marie, Paul, Robert and Rudy — with a celebratory dinner!
As we moved from Saturday night into Sunday morning, the Post-Its only increased in number.
Whether it was the markers, the strong coffee, or simply the mental effort, our giddiness only increased as well.
But we left Sunday afternoon with the draft of a new mission statement — no small feat!
All these warm fuzzy vibes inevitably culminated in our first-ever board selfie:
From left to right: Robert Lopez (at-large), Paul Phillips (at-large), Matt Johnson (chair), Dick DeWilde (treasurer), Gary Martin (secretary), Dave Hughes (president), and Doc Hoskins (at-large).
Not pictured are Marie Gagnon and Rudy Flesher (of Providence, RI, and Philadelphia, respectively), who were unable to join us for the retreat but will be working with us both virtually and in person in the new year!
We did it! Thanks to our generous sponsors, our hardworking volunteer corps, and all of you who came down to West 27th Street in June for a fun afternoon out, Folsom Street East was able to award over thirteen thousand dollars to our beneficiaries!
Executive Director Sharon Stapel and Development Associate Andrea Durojaye accept a check from Folsom Street East board chair Matt Johnson, president Gary Martin, and treasurer Dick DeWilde on behalf of the Anti-Violence Project.
Ride Coordinator Steve Bratton and Team Eagle riders Skip Ralph, Dan Parente, Johnny Nowak, and Stefano Biaggio accept a check from Folsom Street East board chair Matt Johnson, president Gary Martin, and treasurer Dick DeWilde on behalf of Cycle for the Cause.
Senior Vice President for Development and Marketing Andrew Greene accepts a check from Folsom Street East board chair Matt Johnson, president Gary Martin, and treasurer Dick DeWilde on behalf of Housing Works.
Fil Vocasek accepts a check from Folsom Street East board chair Matt Johnson, president Gary Martin, and treasurer Dick DeWilde on behalf of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom.
What would a fetish fair be without accessories? On Sunday you can chat up our exhibitionists — erm, exhibitors — take home a great new toy, and maybe even someone to play with!
All of our amazing beneficiaries and sponsors will be on hand, too, as well as many other community groups — check out the full list below:
ACT UP New York
Anti-Violence Project (AVP) (beneficiary)
Callen-Lorde Community Health Center
City Cruisers NYC MC
Columbia University Medical Center HIV Prevention and Treatment Research
Eagle NYC (sponsor)
Friends of the High Line
Heritage of Pride
Housing Works (beneficiary)
Imperial Court of New York (sponsor)
Folsom Street East is a proud sponsor of Leather Pride Night!
Join us at the Eagle NYC on Folsom East Eve (Saturday June 21) from 6 to 10 pm for a collection of performances by burlesque and fetish world favorites, raffles, prizes, and fantastic surprises, all for the benefit of New Alternatives and Cycle for the Cause’s Team Eagle.
Event tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Each admission includes one drink ticket. Purchase advance tickets online via Brown Paper Tickets.
Now in its 31st year, Leather Pride Night is an annual fundraiser and social event in NYC put on by the SM/Leather/Fetish communities in the metro area and a number of committed individuals.
In the weeks leading up to the street fair, we’re taking some time to introduce you to this year’s beneficiaries and share some information about the good work that you’re supporting.
The New York City Anti-Violence Project empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected communities and allies to end all forms of violence through organizing and education, and supports survivors through counseling and advocacy.
AVP provides an extensive range of client services addressing many types of violence, including immediate crisis intervention, safety planning, short or long-term counseling, police, court and social services advocacy and accompaniment, information and referrals. Their free bilingual (English/Spanish), 24-hour, 365-day-a-year crisis intervention hotline, is staffed by professional counselors and trained volunteers who respond to the immediate needs of LGBTQH victims and survivors of any type of violence. AVP receives about 3000 hotline calls a year – an average of one call every 3 hours.
Additionally, AVP organizes responses to specific violent incidents throughout New York City and State and creates campaigns that address LGBTQH people’s safety. They also collaborate with community leaders and community-based organizations at the local, state and national levels to raise awareness about the intersection of LGBTQH identity and violence. AVP’s Training and Education Institute trains thousands of community members, police, court staff, district attorneys’ offices, rape crisis centers, domestic violence agencies and other mainstream health and human service providers.
AVP also graciously hosts all of our Folsom Street East board and street fair planning meetings, for which we cannot thank them enough.
If you or someone you care about has been affected by violence and needs help, call the AVP hotline at 212-714-1141. All AVP services are free and confidential.