Entry for May 21, 2006

The above photograph is of Andrew Martinez, clothed, by James Donald.

In another short story waiting to be written, a continuation of strange obituary news from yesterday’s entry, I refer you to San Francisco Chronicle staff writer Carolyn Jones’s account, “Champion of nudity found dead in jail cell ‘Naked Guy’ won fame in Berkeley, challenged values.”

The Naked Guy, whose au naturel jaunts through Berkeley spurred a nudity revolt in the early 1990s and earned him national fame, died in a San Jose jail cell, apparently of suicide.

While many chuckled at the exploits of Andrew Martinez, friends and family of the 33-year-old talked Saturday about a troubled man who struggled for years with mental illness.

“He was a person with tremendous gifts and charisma who could have been a great asset to our society, but instead I feel like society — me included — failed him,” said Martinez’s best friend, Bryan Schwartz, a civil rights lawyer in Washington, D.C. “It’s such a waste.”

The Roanoke City Library’s cyberpatroller  program  kept me from reading the article, maybe because of the word “naked” in the title.  Here at the college, where speech is freer, I’ve also been able to read ‘s tribute page to Martinez at the Prickstown Pen Is Examiner.

On it, Donald says Martinez had friends in the performance group X-Plicit Players. who performed from 1992 until 2002.   They last  did a musical set at the 2004 Shelter from the Storm benefit with Carol Denney  and Country Joe.McDonald. They also took part in the People’s Park annual celebration with Denney and host Wavy Gravy.  Struggles at the park still continue.

By the way, in the it’s a small world category, Wavy’s site was designed by Jordan Romney who did the “birth tax” poster I featured April 28.  Another Romney is administrative director of Wavy’s Camp Winnarainbow and serves on his Seva Foundation.  Maybe a relative?

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