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.
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