Sep 222013

Originally written by shadow, posted July 03, 2003.
(With thanks to Argent (Hal), Miss Vicki (keeper of the flame), nadja (the first list Master and font of history), Schwab (great memories) and the Wonderful STella, who started it all.

(Author’s note: In just the 4 years since i first researched and wrote this history, the amount of revisionisim and historical inaccuracy made it imperative to footnote and provide original postings on ASB as verification. As long as ASB archives are available, this information is accessable to all, abeit in a lengthy process, direct interviews, and e-mails).

Munches are traditionally considered a way to get like minded people together in a public venue for light socializing, usually on week nights , and require nothing more than showing up.

Week nights have become the chosen times for such events so that they do not interfere with Dungeon “Play parties”, usually held on Friday and Saturday nights.

Munches have also evolved into the main venue for welcoming newbies into the scene in a non-threatening environment that is easily accessible and requires no knowledge of any protocols, scene history or any “letters of introduction”.

Munches are the one place unsure new people can wander in and find “family”.

The ideology of having a “munch” has spread like wildfire across the planet as WIITWD becomes more available to larger numbers of people (thanks to computers and the Internet), and the event has mutated far beyond it’s conception principals.

With that in mind, it became apparent that some kind of “primer” or “general ground rules” should be set out for new munch hosts and hostesses to use as a tool in their toy bag of social skills.

Nothing in life is set in stone, this primer included. Take from it what you will, change what you need to suit you, your venue, & your community.


In these times people are accustomed to having instant access to adult information via the web. With the flick of a search engine, you can find munches all over the place, mailing lists and web sites filled with BDSM activities, events, even National conferences. Kink activities abound in every city across America, even as Civil Liberties laws are ignored or mutated by conservatives, and no matter what, like minded adults will congregate for entertainment and social interaction, and keep trying to create venues where we can do this easily, without fear of retribution, job loss, or social distress.
Adult organizations that have information about WIITWD are easy to contact, and the question of anonymity is given deep consideration. This was not always the case.

Sometime in the early 80’s, when the “Internet” between Universities and Military establishments became more accessible due to a proliferation of computer terminals, the first message boards were set up about sex.

Sex questions- sex answers. People wanting to know that they were not alone started using the anonymity of the keyboard to tell the other voices in the dark about what they did- or wanted to do- and exchanged information. ( also known as and referred to as ASB) was the largest and most used. Even today, it’s archives of postings are some of the most comprehensive and widely used informational records on the net. Eventually, spamming caused them to move to soc.subculture.bondage-bsdm.

Most users from that time forward had access via their Universities, and the University with the best access, the largest pool of users, and the congregational point for kinky people, was Stanford. The personal computer, microprocessor, and a host of other innovations were being born in the Palo Alto area, and it drew lots of young, hip, adventurous people from all across America.

Now, any given munch has the policies and objectives its organizers set for it. This may, and often does, include being a low-key, comfortable place for newbies to meet some BDSM people, and the munch announcements often say so. But it did not start with that objective, and it does not always have to be that way.

The very first munch, according to several who were there, was a gathering of 13 folks at the “Flames” coffee shop at El Camino Real and Lawrence Expressway in Santa Clara, California. There was no play at this first meeting, it was merely a matter of sharing a meal and meeting each other face to face, discussing what could be done to further filling the void these people felt in the sexuality and their lives.

The original idea for a mailing list started there as well. Originally it was called BABES – Bay Area Bondage Enthusiasts Society, and later BAST, Bay Area Sexually Twisted. The first operator, nadja, set up the list and worked with the continuously growing Kink community. This was the first place that many had ever had to actually talk in real time about their sexuality, desires, fantasies, and the darker aspects of BDSM. It also encouraged some conversations that were sexually explicit about illegal activities. Nadja eventually had to expel a member of the online community for the kinds of topics that could jeopardize the entire group. That incident created a permanent rift in the on line community that was growing.

Members grew, and people wanted to meet face to face. Many people were referred by friends to the list, and the list membership was the core of the southern Bay Area Kink community. These lists were discontinued when the Communications Decency Act came into effect, and the BurgerMunch list was split into 2 separate types of on line communications. An announcements only list is now run by Vicki, and the discussion list was handed to Marcie and Laura Lee who renamed it as Frenzi.

After that first meeting in Santa Clara, a new venue was found and announced. The Munch concept would be the “BurgerMunch”. STella announced it to the regular posters on and posted to the new discussion list that she would be at the outdoor patio seating area of Kirk’s Steakburger joint on California Street, Palo Alto, California, at the same day and time every week, and she hoped others would join her. This has been dated, according to legend, as April, 1992, althought some question the exact month. Vicki is fairly certain that the date of the first BurgerMunch was 23 April 92. Reserch has shown it was prior to Jun 1 1992, as others were beginning their own versions by then based on what they had heard was happening in Palo Alto. *(Footnote 1,6).

At first attendance was spotty, sometimes it was just STella, but as more people became aware of the BDSM community on line, more people came to see faces attached to the names they had become familiar with reading on alt/ The community of WIITWD was being born.

Postings show a lively regular event by June 1993. *(Footnote 5).

By Sept. 14, 1993, munches (sometimes erroneously using sTella’s term Burgermunch) were running in Portland and Vancouver, and was one was announced (Seattle SouvlakiMunch) for Seattle *(Footnote 3).

People joined the lists on line and learned about the BurgerMunches which were announced weekly; many of the members on the lists were not Newsnet users and had not been involved with the* hierarchy news groups.

Over time, more people came, the “munch” was talked about, and the event grew. After a while, the whole outdoor patio area , directly adjacent to the sidewalk in front, and fairly open to the public in places, had been taken over by BDSM people one evening a week on Thursdays. With half a decorative cinderblock wall, and a lattice work overhang, it was not a secure place to meet or talk about WIITWD.

Stella once defined a burgermunch as:
“a BurgerMunch is when somewhere between three and fifty perverts, some of whom bring vegetarian food from a nearby restaurant, meet at my favorite burger joint (Kirk’s Steakburgers, 361 California Avenue, Palo Alto, 6 pm) to talk about everything including bdsm, to plan future scenes and parties, and, now and then, to share a little pain right out there in front of ghod and everybody. Do check us out if you’re ever in the area. Any non-holiday Thursday of the summer (this winter, for the rainy season, we may move elsewhere, if I can find a good place). ” *(Footnote 7)

The BurgerMunch was a success. It became pretty “out.” People would show each other marks and bruises, or tattoos, cuttings, brandings, and they would show each other toys. After a while, there were floggings going on in dark corners of the patio. The police were called, complaints including used condoms in the shrubs.  *(Footnote 2).

For a while, someone brought a portable massage table and would give massages.

By July, asb. posts openly noted that scaring the vanilla people (“mundanes”) was part of the fun of the burgermunch. *(Footnote 8).

Those activities, the noise levels up and down the street , and a determined feeling of some of the regulars to deliberately bother the vanilla crowd eventually doomed the burger munch. Kirk’s was no longer happy with the loud crowd (many of whom quit ordering food there from their limited and admittedly less than stellar burger and hot dog menu, and either brought their own (sushi was popular with the vegetarians) or didn’t eat at all), and lost all of their regular clientele on Munch night due to the overt sexual activities of the BurgerMunch group. Some felt even the staff was intimidated by the groups activities.

When the entire alternative lifestyle group was eventually kicked out of Kirks in October 8, 1993, *(Footnote 1, 9), many of them went with STella and started meeting at the park down the street, *(Footnote 11) while the rest decided to meet indoors, evolving into the idea of a “regular meeting place for everyone- old and new- to meet”. Vicki became the eventual sole owner of this event.

The attentions of the police cars now loitering around the area, especially the park where sTella had moved to, along with some growing philosophical differences, as well as the colder nights, all fueled this change in locale and focus. Burgermunches were still being held outdoors there well into December 1993 * (Footnote 12).

The second group that had split off from the idea of public play began munches at Antonio’s NutHouse about 1/2 block away from Kirk’s. Reminders of regular meets were out by Jan 1994 *(Footnote 13).

STella asked the second group not call their meeting a BurgerMunch because that was her name for an event where public play was encouraged. STella did not trademark the word. It was used as late as May 28th, 1994  *(Footnote 4, 14, 15).

Her group eventually was forced out of the park by a combination of cold weather, changes in city policy about park closing times, and STella’s personal wishes. That group of players has moved into a more private venue, and disappeared from the public history of BDSM, although they were still playing and interacting with the Nut House munch bunch from time to time as late as July 17, 1994 *(Footnote 16).

The group that split off from STella’s (Antonio’s Nut House bunch, eventually known as the Thursday munch or Vicki’s munch) evolved with 2 philosophical requirements, and grew in size over the winter as many joined them in the heated environs of the Nut House.

1. This gathering was not a play party. The open to the public venues were *not* appropriate for BDSM activities.
2. They wanted a non-threatening place for new folk to discover BDSM. The second group felt that the location should be as open (visible) as practical so new folk could observe without “outing” themselves. *(Footnote 17).

Since play was being discouraged at the second group, and STella had asked that the name “Burgermunch ” be hers exclusively and denoted a play based gathering, the second group, meeting at Antonio’s Nut House began to use just ”munch” to denote what they were.

STella was not focusing the BurgerMunch on “newbies”. She wanted to socialize with BDSM people, and to create a situation where they could get to know people in a non-intimate environment. She succeeded far beyond her wildest dreams and will forever be linked with the term “BurgerMunch” as well as founder of the world wide phenomena known as munches within BDSM. *(Footnote 18).


We Went to Kirk’s and All We Got Was this Lousy Hamburger
From: STella Date: Fri, Oct 8 1993 1:28 amWell, tonight, BurgerMunch attendees were told by the cops that we were no longer welcome at Kirk’s, that any of us who congregated there would be arrested. The senior manager was there, complaining about vegetarians with their (imported from nearby) sushi, talking with carnivores and their burgers.Do NOT eat at Kirk’s, do not MEET at Kirk’s, and watch the newsgroup, since someone will likely announce a followon event, at another location. Especially, stay away on Thursdays, if you look like you might be one of Those People.When I started the Munches, a year and a half ago, I thought it would be worth doing, but never expected that it would work out as well, or last as long, as it has done.There will be other opportunities for us to get together, other places. Someone ELSE will announce them, because last week, when the sympathetic night manager told us the owner wanted her to kick us out, I suggested that we move elsewhere, and come back in a few months. I was told by many that “we don’t want to, this is a great place”, and by others that “you’re just copping attitude”.Not my cops, but I’ll own some attitude….Please, as a matter of fairness, and a favor to me, since the only contact either the owner or the police have for the group is MY name and addresses (yes, my home one too), do NOT give shit to the STAFF at Kirk’s. They have been unfailingly polite, respectful and helpful to me personally and to the other attendees at the Munch. Do, however, refrain from going to Kirk’s on Thursdays expecting to find BurgerMunchers there. You will not find us, and you MAY be arrested for trespassing. I will be in the small park at the end of California Ave, opposite the CalTran station, next Thursday, unless the new Munch coordinator (if in fact someone wants to do that) announces a different site.

If someone chooses to organize a weekly get-together, I suggest that putting its location on the poster kiosk in front of Kirk’s would be a good idea. I know that a lot of people offline know about the Munch, please try to spread the word. And remember what the I Ching says: What has happened once will happen again. BurgerMunch was my baby, and now it’s leaving home. I’m VERY pleased at the way it grew, and gave other folks the assurance that they could meet people and find friends, and I’ll be delighted as other areas start up their munches, and as the Bay Area finds its next opportunity.

STella%thelema.u… STe…
1016 E. El Camino Real, #302, Sunnyvale, CA 94087
Where I am is Here, Where I live is Now. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.


Rumors of My Arrest…
All 3 messages in topic – view as tree
From: STella – view profile
Date: Fri, Aug 20 1993 5:27 pm
Email: STe…@thelema.uucp
Not yet rated
Rating: show optionsFYI: I have not been arrested, kidnapped by space aliens, nor raped by a giant swan.BurgerMunch has not been cancelled or moved, and will not be so unless I have posted annnouncements of that to, to the local list in the Bcc line, and to various irc-folk as I see them on channel, which will happen, if at all, the day before a Munch at latest. The simple, and relatively uninteresting, truth is that, at about 10:30 last night, an hour and a half after Kirk’s closed, a cop did ask us to break it up, and we did. No problem, they have my name and number, and I’ll be touching base with Kirk’s, since the cops did say they’d had complaints (about rubbers in the shrubbery, for ghodsake) from Kirk’s, and I figure Monday I should speak with them, find out what THEY actually think is a problem, and settle things with them. Or we can take our several hundred dollars a week elsewhere, to one of the backup sites I have in mind. For the moment, however, I am not in jail, Kirk’s is still the site of BurgerMunches, and I presently expect this to continue to be the case. Too bad, though, that I haven’t been kidnapped by space aliens — would be a lot more entertaining than the current dreary set of eviction/separation/cartrouble hassles.Here, swanny, here swanny-swan….
STella%thelema.u… STe…
1016 E. El Camino Real, #302, Sunnyvale, CA 94087


From: Elf Sternberg – view profile
Date: Tues, Sep 14 1993 7:28 pm
Email: e… (Elf Sternberg)
Groups:>There is one in Portland and one in Vancouver, geesh i wish the seattle scene would get with it.Okay, then, let’s organize one. If I get enough email by Friday to justify creating one, I tentatively announce the First Ever Seattle SouvlakiMunch !!! (“Munch” is ™ someone, I’m sure) Where: Costas Greek Restaurant 4559 University Avenue (corner of 46th and University) Seattle, University District Reservation space in the rear of the restaurant. When: Wednesday, September 22 (First day of Autumn) 7:00 PM — Whenever. What: A Munch, of course!


From: STella – view profile
Date: Wed, Sep 15 1993 6:05 am
Email: STe…@thelema.uucp (STella)
In article <275uip$…> e… (Elf Sternberg) writes:
> I tentatively announce the
> First Ever Seattle SouvlakiMunch !!!
> (“Munch” is ™ someone, I’m sure)
I have never bothered trademarking it, except in the usenet Nice-guy(tm) sense. It’s one of mine, but I won’t flame you for using it to describe any get-together that is completely open to newbies, lurkers, and other such. A lunch or dinner that one has to RSVP to, to get on the list, and be informed of where and when, is not a “munch”, as I’ve been using it and encouraging its use, but Oh well, if you don’t follow MY rulez, I’ll take away your petunia! So there!
STella%thelema.u… STe…
1016 E. El Camino Real, #302, Sunnyvale, CA 94087
Where I am is Here, Where I live is Now. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.==========

From: STella – view profile
Date: Tues, Jun 8 1993 7:30 pm
Email: STe…@thelema.uucp (STella)
In article wi.7… writes:
>for committed couples ( or places where we can meet such ) in the San Jose
>to San Francisco area. We are not looking for partners to swap with, rather,
>we are looking for people with common interests so we don’t seem so damned
>alone. We don’t have any hangups about non-hetrosexual life styles. We are
>just looking to meet people committed to each other, while embracing the
>leather persuassion.

Not all people who come to BurgerMunches are committed couples, but I can think of more than a few such. And even if you’re mostly looking for other couples, you might occasionally find something of value in words from the non-partnered BurgerMunchers. So give it a try, if you want, and see how you like it. BurgerMunches occur each Thursday evening, starting about 6pm, at Kirk’s Steakburgers, 361 California Avenue, in Palo Alto. We meet in the outside seating area, and I’m the one wearing denim and a whip. Hope to see you soon! (And if you’d like to chat with me before meeting, either email me a phone number, or write from your own account (I don’t give my phone number to anonymous strangers, for reasons I’m pretty sure you understand) for mine.)

STella%thelema.u… Don’t blame me, I voted Libertarian!
1016 E. El Camino Real, #302, Sunnyvale, CA 94087


First mention of “munch” in ASB:
Sep 20 1993, 9:08 pm

First mention of Rhode Island munch:
Oct 13 1993, 12:19 pm

First mention of Bugermunch in asb:
Apr 2 1993, 2:47

Ontario burgermunch:
Apr 8 1993, 1:43 pm


FOOTNOTE 8<hr />


From: M. Madeleine – view profile
Date: Sat, Oct 9 1993 6:56 am
Email: an29… (M. Madeleine)

M. Madeleine here. Quite shaken.

I just had my world yanked out from under me.

I knew something was wrong a week ago. The train had a new schedule. The train that ran express to burgermunch didn’t quite anymore.

At Burgermunch, there was talk of discontent from the owners. One of the managers came out and said the owners had asked her to chase us off, but she said she would try to go to bat for us. Nervous.

This week I did a strange thing. I bought a spare ticket to Palo Alto. After all, I go there every week. When I got to Kirk’s I borrowed the key to the bathroom. The regular manager gave me a strange, spooky look when I smiled and nodded at her. I missed it and every other sign. For two hours we socialized, ate and played. Yeah, people were wacking each other. In plain view. Another sign. This time the cops didn’t catch us mid-flog. But they did catch us. My heart sunk when I saw them. I knew it was over.


The thread continues by M.Madeline and “Fluffy” as they bemoan the loss of the location. The first notes about the difference between policing ourselves and being too out are here, as they relate to the Bay Area scene.


(M.Madelaine verifys he is NOT the owner of event).

The next BurgerMunch will be Thursday 6-ish at J. Bowden Park, the small park on North California Avenue and High St. in Palo Alto. This is just across the tracks and through the pedestrian underpass from the train station. Gather under the wooden structure thing about in the middle of the park. Lots of food available by walking through the underpass to California Avenue proper: sushi, Indian, burg^H^H^H^H, dim sum, vegetarian, books, copies, etc. Bathrooms: two blocks away at Printers Ink; be discreet. Several people noted a police car there last time. We asked, he knew nothing of us and could care less; he had just chosen a quiet spot to do paperwork. At this writing they seem to have No Problem with us using the park. How to get there, after we talk about rules.

Rule A. Have a good time.
Reason: Personal fiat
Penalty for violation: You have a lousy time.
Rule enforced by: You.

Rule B. Don’t fuck it up for everyone else.
Reason: it’s bad manners.
Penalty for violation: We lose this site forever.
Rule enforced by: probably, the Palo Alto P.D.

Some of our friends are allergic to heavy perfumes and aromatic stuff and will go to the hospital. We’re sharing the park with locals and children. Two streets have houses facing the park. Some Burgermunchers are uncomfortable around public play. The park closes at 10:30pm. ”


From: Stan Schwarz – view profile
Date: Thurs, Dec 16 1993 7:17 am
Email: sschw… (Stan Schwarz)

Gentle Reader reminds us about the next Austin ‘munch. I’d just like to add a quick note to the lurkers out there to come down and join us. All the cool kids are doing it… 😉 Also, I want to say a thank-you to STella and all the others who were at the Bay Area Burgermunch last Thursday. I had a fun time hanging out with y’all ^H^H^H^H^H you all. If any of you are ever here in Texas, be sure to mail us and come visit.


Sat, Jan 29 1994 2:01 pm
Email: an46…

Once again, there will be a South of the Bay Lunch in Sunnyvale, California on Monday. We meet in the food court on the second floor of the Sunnyvale Town Centre about noon to 12:15. We mark our table with a helium balloon, a red one if possible. We are there until about 1:15 to 1:30. There is also a 12:30 lunch on Tuesdays at the Dutch Goose. And BurgerMunch is in Palo Alto in the front restaurant at Antonio’s Nut House.


From: M. Madeleine – view profile
Date: Wed, Feb 16 1994 9:16 am
Email: an29… (M. Madeleine)
Groups: ……..

Do you know about BurgerMunch? It’s an informal gathering of a.s.b-folk in Palo Alto, California. We meet Thursdays at 7:00pm at Antonio’s Nut House, on California Avenue in Palo Alto. Now, being as this message looks just a bit like a personal, and that starts withn “P” and that rhymes with “C” and that spells “clueless”, I thought I’d pass on something that I read, back a year and a half ago when I started reading a.s.b. It went something like this…Munch is not a play party. It’s not a dating service. It’s not a singles bar. It is a place where friends who have a.s.b. in common, gather to munch burgers and talk about lots of things.

All in all, it’s a pretty good group. They’re my friends.
M. Madeline
Earliest ref on A.S.B. that I can find that establishes burgermunch at San Antonios.

M. Madeleine here, taking note of a Munch coming together in an old Stomping Ground…

Johnny Bomber writes,
>Well, here we go, jumping on the Burgurmunch express.
>I’m trying to get one organized for the SE Michigan area.

Glad to hear it! Kind of ironic, though… STella once told me that Munch would’ve started there, had she not moved to the Bay Area… If you’re interested in attending one, or helping organize or whatever, send me some email and let me know…and please don’t send it from an address…

> Oh definitely… we wouldn’t want any of those ANONYMOUS posters showing up at Burgermunch… or GOSH, Heaven Forbid an Anony-un-person should actually ORGANIZE one!

And anony-mice shouldn’t announce them either, ohno! By the way, Palo Alto Burgermunch is every Thursday at 7:00pm at Antonio’s Nut House on California Avenue. The last three have been great, and the management is very happy to have us. (even lets us stay late!)


From: STella – view profile
Date: Mon, Apr 25 1994 5:54 am
Email: STe…@thelema.QueerNet.ORG
BurgerMunches, as I see it, ended. The folks now doing a Thursday get-together ban playing, and chose a place where smokers must go away from non-smokers. If I’d done anything to make BurgerMunch a legal trademark, what’s now happening at Antonio’s Nut House would NOT be a BurgerMunch. But still, one can find people who read asb at the restaurant on the corner of the block Kirk’s was in. One can occasionally find me out in the front, but more often, if I’m there, back in the smoker’s ghetto playing pinball.
STe… STe… STe…
1030 E. El Camino Real, #302, Sunnyvale, CA, 94087
If I get in my own way, we will take a step aside, all our parts will touch me and we will go on, for everything within me is sacred.


Still being referred to as Burger munch by May 28th, 1994.
Misinformation on FAQ at:



M.Madeline’s outline of proper munch location, best thoughts on how to hold one.


Regular asb postings were still appearing as late as Sat, Nov 26 1994.

December 1994.

January 5, 1995 M.Madeline is no longer posting the event, Nadja is.

March 27th, 1995 first asb post of the link between events.

August 25th, 1995- Stella still attending munch, first mention of both original Thursday munch AND Wednesday night “Stanford Students” original munch after it had moved and was morphing from students to BDSM’ers of all ages. First mention of Vicki as hostess.

Searcher posts of the 2 munches and some history Dec. 2, 1996– ASB lists no longer viable for general discussion (spamming), discussion list has moved off ASB. She formalizes “rules list”.

Feb 2, 1997. This is the last posting on the original board.

Published here, written by shadow (aka i999shadow), July 03, 2003; shared with permission

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