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Meet Your Friendly Neighborhood Smut Peddlers

The Glen Park couple who made "a love letter to the city." With bush.

This picture was the cleanest one we could find.

"We want to come off as friendly, approachable, and not sleazy," says David Beaulieu, the editor-in-chief of Belle SF.

It's a new San Francisco-based magazine that mimics the aesthetic of Playboy back when Hugh Hefner could still be bothered to change out of his pajamas.

Beaulieu and his wife Melissa, the magazine's co-editor, don't resemble your average pornographer. They certainly have little in common with that other local porn kingpin, Peter Acworth, the hard-charging head of the Mission District's kink.com. Rather, the couple seems like the average young Glen Park breeders (they brought along their wide-eyed infant son on a visit to our offices), who'd be more at home discussing the merits of organic baby formula than sexual positions.

But then they open their mouths, and that appearance goes right out the window. "I'm politically against shaving," says David, meaning the pubic region—not facial hair. For the Belle SF's first issue, they made sure that the two featured women—shot in the Beaulieu's backyard, among other modest locations—appeared fully natural. "One of the hardest things is to find somebody who hasn’t shaved. The models just assume that we want them shaved. We’re okay with different types of beauty."

For their first issue, the couple drew inspiration from Jacques, a New York magazine that was run by a similar husband-and-wife team. But they only want the parallel to go so far. "The editor ran off with one of the cover models," says David. "That's not going to happen with us," Melissa interjects. "We've been together sixteen years."

The first issue includes elements of the classic Playboy line-up: A nude centerfold, well-argued essays, fiction, and—because this has always been a food town—restaurant features. But the content is plenty au courant. They tackle Bitcoin, San Francisco artists moving to Oakland, and even the Google Bus. Of the rapid changes in San Francisco, David is even-handed: "It may seem that we are blaming everything on the techies. It feels right to do that, but it’s not," he says. "This is a city that absorbs change, even if this one is really rapid."

There's one thing that doesn't change. The Beaulieus belong to that long tradition of San Franciscans who outwardly appear conventional—or downright boring—but who possess crazy radical predilections. "The real reason we're doing this," says David of a magazine filled with naked women, "is to give back to a city that has been so good to us." 

Only in San Francisco, kids.

Belle SF is available at Green Apple bookstore on Clement, Modern Times and Adobe books in the Mission, and Good News in Noe Valley.

 

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Email Scott Lucas at slucas@modernluxury.com
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