A multimedia-enhanced photoblog about San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood


Kitty McMuffin, unionized stripper & peep-show owner, in her own words

Kitty McMuffin has appeared on this page more than a few times- and not without reason. She was the subject of a month-long photo story that centered around her night job in North Beach. Above is the final result. More still photos can be viewed here: Elijah Nouvelage Photojournalism on facebook.


Tim Santry, wigmaster and artist, talks about loving the work you do [NOW IN HD]

Many of the photos in this video can be seen here individually: Elijah Nouvelage Photojournalism on Facebook.

Javier Garcia waxes philosophical about life, death, and the business of being a mortician

Here’s a bit of an interview with Javier Garcia, who is the supervising embalmer at Green Street Mortuary in North Beach. I find what he has to say fascinating, so I mostly let him do the talking. Enjoy.

Kitty McMuffin, the lustiest lady, turns 30!

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Kitty McMuffin, who loyal readers may remember from my previous post about The Lusty Lady, turned 30 on Saturday, and celebrated it with a big birthday bash and burlesque show (say THAT three times fast) at Mojito in North Beach on Sunday. Feeling a sense of obligation to cover the event, your loyal blogger grudgingly headed to SF to get the low-down.

I’m kidding, of course. I had been promised burlesque, live music, lots of spankings, (not on my tush thankyouverymuch), and a bacon skirt in the vein of Josephine Baker, so I was primed and excited for the night.

It started at 7, and built up steam as Kitty’s coworkers slowly trickled in over the next few hours. The liquor was flowing, served up with a smile by Stuart, the friendly fauxhawk-styled bartender.

As the night wore on, the birthday fun began. First came the live music, which featured Kitty on background vocals, (while she just meowed over and over again, it was her energy and enthusiasm that made her performance memorable), before the “birthday presents” were administered- in the form of many, many spankings. (Followed by kisses on all the places where she had boo-boos, naturally.)

A birthday strip-tease by the Lusty’s own Princess, (followed by more spankings, of course, this time with a leather riding crop), was the culmination of the first round of entertainment, but Kitty still had that bacon skirt waiting upstairs for the most loyal of attendees.

She put it on and came sashaying down the stairs to resounding cheers and catcalls from the audience. She did a bit of a strip-tease herself, (pasties made her show, as with Princess’, PG-13- alcohol was, after all, being served), before tearing off the skirt and feeding her fans and friends pieces, one at a time, until everyone’s appetites were sated.

Or were they…..if yours wasn’t you can always find her at the Lusty Lady, in a more intimate setting. ; )

Until next time, leave the flying to me.

“I Love You, Mrs. McCoveyou”

Dale Silver and her dog JoJo are the subjects of my first audio slideshow. Viewable in up to 1080p HD.

Until next time, leave the flying to me!

A Tale of “Twin Peaks,” aka Making Sure This Blog Includes Strippers

Image from http://wapedia.mobi/en/Carol_Doda

My blog title references strippers, and yet, until now, I haven’t delivered on the promise of naked women (or men) (Not that there’s anything wrong with that). It’s not too surprising, really, since strip clubs really aren’t my thing, and besides, cameras are verboten inside- which makes them as realistic a port of call for me as Siberia in the dead of winter.

You see, I live in Oakland,  and when I come to North Beach I do so carrying 40lbs of camera gear on my back, even if I’m only passing through. What if an earthquake happened, or a police chase went down right in front of me? I would hardly have time to drive back to Oakland, (if I even could), just to get my gear. No, I come prepared, ALL the time. Which brings me back to strippers. If I can’t bring my cameras inside, well why bother…… But hey, maybe they’re your thing, that’s fine.

What does interest me though, is history, and North Beach’s history is inextricably intertwined with the stripping profession, thanks to Carol Doda. Doda was a waitress at The Condor Club, (which still stands at the corner of Broadway and Columbus), and is widely regarded as one of the first topless dancers in the country. In 1965 this behavior brought her international fame and notoriety, but also some unwanted legal attention- she was arrested along with the then-owner of the Condor Club for lewd and indecent behavior. After winning her legal case she returned to stripping, becoming one of the first all-nude dancers in the country.

Images from: vintageconcertposters.com and chrystelle.blogg.se

Although famous for her stripping, she made headlines again when she went from a 34 bust size to 44 through the then-new process of silicone implants, a process which secured her place in the history books, along with North Beach’s, and The Condor Club’s. Doda’s implants were so famous they had their own nicknames. Doda’s “twin 44’s” and “the new Twin Peaks of San Francisco.”

It is pointless to recount her entire life story here, so rather than regurgitate ancient history, I recommend that readers visit her wikipedia page, which goes into more detail about her life.

Doda still lives in San Francisco, and is a fixture in some North Beach bars, including Gino and Carlo’s and Mr. Bing’s. She and her manager Dick Winn perform at Amante’s the last Sunday of every month (although the April performance is actually on May 1st this cycle).

And, to save you the time of a google search, one more photo for the road:

Image from: chrystelle.blogg.se

Until next time, leave the flying to me!

Bob Anderson – Documentary filmmaker and inveterate wanderer

Bob Anderson, 81, poses for a portrait in his home in San Francisco's North Beach

Bob Anderson, 81, is kind of cat-like. Not in the sense that he has feline features, (he doesn’t, at all), nor in the sense that he sleeps a lot. Nor has he died nine times. But he has had nine lives. Or at least enough adventures to fill the lives of nine, normal, work-forty-hours-a-week-and-vacation-three-weeks-a-year people.

In a non-fiction book he self-published in 2010 called ‘The Errant Nomads’, Anderson wrote about “Greenwich Village in the ’50’s, Alaska as a territory, Europe before tourists, Puerto Vallarta as a village, San Francisco in the ’60’s, China just after Mao, Wreck diving in Micronesia, and life in an expatriate colony” – and that’s just one book.

Anderson’s two sons, Bob Jr., a fishing boat captain, and Tony, a writer and artist, both live and raise their families in a small town up in Humboldt County. Bob Sr. has lived in Mexico, New York, Washington State, Oregon, and Marin before buying his home in North Beach 28 years ago. He hasn’t moved since.

Which is not to say that he’s been stationary. Along with his late wife Jeanne, Anderson criss-crossed the globe numerous times in search of adventure- and most of the time he found it. He has also directed documentaries that touch on subjects only slightly less varied than his own real-live adventures.

The view from his home is gorgeous. Two windows, at right-angles from each other, look out on the Bay Bridge and the Transamerica Building, respectively. Anderson acknowledges the view in passing, admitting that it was the reason he and Jeanne decided to buy the building all those years ago, even though $240,000 seemed, at the time, far out of his budget.

Many of Anderson’s neighbors have moved in the last ten or more years, thanks to the dramatic rise in their homes’ value. The money allowed his neighbors, many of them Italians who had lived in the area since birth, to move to Marin, and other less urban areas. The view may be fantastic, but there’s another reason Anderson hasn’t moved in the intervening years like so many others.

North Beach is “extremely neighborly, it’s very live-and-let-live, [and] it allows a lot of pretty loose living,” said Anderson. For someone who has always lived life on his own terms, this may be the highest compliment Anderson could give.