Spectator Magazine was an American weekly newspaper published and distributed in San Francisco from 1978 until October 2005, and dubbed itself "California's original adult newsmagazine". The magazine in tabloid format featured sex and BDSM related stories and advice as well as numerous advertisements for phone sex, strip clubs and other sex businesses. The paper was distributed through news racks, adult book stores, strip clubs and some general stores.
Publisher and owner Kat Sunlove was interviewed for Wendy McElroy's 1995 book XXX: A Woman's Right to Pornography. She related how the Spectator Magazine originated in 1978 as the adult-services advertising portion of the earlier free-speech paper Berkeley Barb. In 1987, the Spectator's employees bought the paper.
With the need for a revival, the publication was sold to Dara Lynne Dahl and W. Vann Hall in January 2002, with Dara taking the role of Editor in Chief. Dara brought The Spectator into the spotlight with events in the community and revamped content. Unfortunately, a few months after the change of hands, in April of 2002, competitor Yank began legal action against Spectator, alleging unfair competition.
In 2004, Dara was engaged and in preparation for her move to England and to be married, Dara searched for competent and capable hands to invest in and take over the Spectator. This was done with careful consideration and with the agreement that the new owners would have money to invest in The Spectator and to face the malicious charges brought up by Yank.
Unfortunately, the new Editor in Chief Terry Hall was not up for the challenge and, under false pretenses, took over the Spectator with no intention to invest in a long-term business plan, and ignoring the pressing legal issues that had befallen the magazine. Terry Hall also refused to pay his employees and gutted The Spectator before filing for bankruptcy and closing it down that same year in 2004.
Dave Patrick was the principal photographer and managing editor for the paper from creation to the end.
- Spectator.net, from the Internet Archive
- Wendy McElroy. XXX: A Woman's Right to Pornography, 1995. Chapter 7.
- East Bay Express. "Attack of the Moans", 29 May 2002.