The Behrend College collegian. (Erie, Pa.) 1993-1998, April 30, 1998, Image 7

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    Nudists expose Berkeley effort to
By Renee Koury
Knight-Ridder Newspapers
SAN JOSE, Calif. - When Andrew
Martinez began strolling around Ber
keley a few years ago without so
much as a loincloth for cover, earn
ing the nickname “The Naked Guy,”
it pushed the limits of tolerance even
in freedom-loving Berkeley.
The City Council passed one of the
toughest laws in the state barring nu
dity in public. But five years later,
the council is considering softening
Many web
look alive,
no one’s home
By Janies Romenesko
Knight-Ridder Newspapers
University of Minnesota student
Yu-Ting Cheng decided a few years
ago to entertain the world with some
humor on his Web page. He would
find a funny drawing and feature it
as his “Cartoon of the Day.”
Agood idea, perhaps, but Cheng’s
cartoon about the Super Bowl has
remained unchanged on his page for
708 days now.
Don’t bother calling the young
scholar to request a new joke, or to
advise him that those little colored
balls he uses on his page were cool
in 1994, but considered “tired” by
1995; the phone number Cheng lists
on his Internet home page is discon
John and Tina Armstrong got an
Internet account with Minneapolis
based Vector Internet Services and
intended to share their family’s life
with the 30 million or so other
households online.
There’s a large “Under Construc
tion” sign on the Armstrongs’s home
page, along with this promise:
“We’re currently remodeling to
serve you better. Our full site should
be back in a few days.”
Actually, four months have
passed and it appears the
Armstrong’s remodeling job at is on perma
nent hold.
David Fryxell is looking forward
to his new job at Sidewalk,
Microsoft’s arts and entertainment
online guide. “This represents a
natural combination of things I’ve
long been interested in,” he writes
on his Web page.
Whoops, never mind; that quote
is from Fryxell’s 1996 online Christ
mas card (
fryxell), which collects dust on the
server - way outdated, considering
he’s since left both Sidewalk and the
Twin Cities to work in Cincinnati.
The World Wide Web gives ev
erybody the opportunity to be a pub
lisher, and a lot of people have taken
advantage of it.
Too bad that so few go beyond
that debut issue.
“It’s easy to get the material up,
but then people’s interest in it wanes
and they’re onto another project,”
said Paul Brady, who teaches Web
publishing at the University of Min
nesota. “At first, there’s a sense of
cooJ, but I bet maybe 10 percent will
move on with it (and update the
That leaves 90 percent as aban
doned virtual properties - Ghost
Sites on the Internet, as they’ve
come to be known.
Futurists and pundits saw great
societal benefits with the advent of
personal home pages a few years
Wired magazine was nearly giddy
about the common man and woman
being able to articulate their politi
cal views to the masses via this new
We were all going to be modern
day Thomas Paines - following in
the footsteps of the great revolution
ary who “used media as a powerful
weapon against entrenched array of
the penalty against exposing too
much flesh.
Instead of rejoicing, the nudists are
“It isn’t that we want to be charged
with a misdemeanor,” said Nina
Shilling, 51, of the X-Plicit Players,
troupe that performs naked in the
Berkeley parks on weekends. “It’s
because their reason (for loosening
the penalty) is Byzantine. The whole
motivation really is to make the city
more repressive.”
monarchies, feudal lords, dictators
and repressive social structures.”
Wired writer Jon Katz said of
Paine in 1995: “His mark is nearly
invisible in the old culture, but his
spirit is woven through and through
this new one, his fingerprints on
every Web site.”
The Hillary’s Hair Web page in
The concept sounds great, but
Thomas Paine probably didn’t have
to attend PTA meetings or pack his
kids into the minivan for soccer
practice. People are too busy these
days to spark a Paine-inspired re
“The difficulty is not working on
the content of the page, but finding
the time to accomplish the updates,”
said Dan Koepke, a Twin Cities resi
dent who hasn’t touched his
family’s home page
( for
seven months.
For some, the realization that they
don’t have quite as much4o say to
the world as they thought keeps
them from adding to their sites.
Others check their page counters
and get discouraged when they dis
cover that only a few people in
spected their Web home in a
month’s time.
“People think they’re really go
ing to get their moment in the sun
with a Web site, and that the world
will come to them,” said Katz.
“Then they discover that doesn’t
happen and that existence of a Web
site will not change their life.”
Katz concedes he was overly en
thusiastic about the Web’s potential
for electrifying the electorate.
“I don’t see a lot of Thomas
Paines running around,” said the
writer. “I guess I thought there
would be.
Web site creators often start
strong, and promise a stick-to-it de
termination, only to see that fizzle.
When Brian Adduci learned he
was going to be a father, he created
a family home page
( and
uploaded ultrasound images of the
unborn child to the site.
That was just the beginning of
what he thought would be an ongo
ing project - a virtual baby book for
his son.
“My parents live in Arizona and
my wife has relatives all over the
United States so we thought this was
really a good way of showing the
baby to a lot of relatives,” said
Adduci, who works for a Minneapo
lis graphic design firm.
Little A.J. Adduci turned a year
old in April, and his Web page
doesn’t have pictures of him beyond
his infant months.
“I thought I would update it at
least every other week,” said the
father. “But having the baby, you
don’t have too much time on your
hands. I’ve been too busy changing
Adduci’s site, and others like it,
pose a problem for the catalogers at
Yahoo!, the best-known directory of
Web pages.
Yahoo! editor-in-chief Srinija
Srinivasan said her site loses cred
ibility when it sends people to out-
National Campus News
The council is considering a
change to let prosecutors treat nude
offenses as mere infractions instead
of misdemeanors. That would take
the cases away from juries in crimi
nal courts - and shove them into the
mundane arena of Berkeley’s Traf
fic Court.
Supporters of reducing the charge
to an infraction, including Mayor
Shirley Dean, say police and pros
ecutors could handle the anti-nude
cases as swiftly as dispensing with
speeding tickets, without clogging
the courts and costing law enforce
ment time.
But the nudists contend the real
goal is to make it easier to convict
them. They would lose the right to a
jury and the chance to assert what
they claim are free-speech rights to
express themselves with their naked
bodies. In left-leaning Berkeley, they
say, prosecutors simply cannot find
12 jurors who would vote to send
them to jail for going around naked.
So far, in the five years since the
council passed the anti-nude law,
there has yet to be a single convic
Some City Council members fa
vor repealing the anti-nudity ordi
nance altogether, as a waste of law
enforcement time and money.
“We have one of the strictest laws
in the country, and that’s ironic,” said
Councilman Kriss Worthington, who
proposed removing the law. “It’s not
like Berkeley has all these nude
people running around, it’s just a
few. It seems to me the law is a harsh
But others say repealing the ordi
nance would be an invitation to more
restrained folks to start baring all.
To resolve differences, the coun
cil might put the question to voters.
In any case, the officials will con
sider softening the ordinance - but
not without a fight from nudists. The
issue is expected to come up later this
month, or next.
dated pages with dead links.
“When deciding whether to list a
site in the first place, we pay atten
tion to whether it looks like it’s go
ing to be around or updated,” said
Srinivasan. “If it looks like a tran
sient thing, we figure it won’t be
worthwhile to our listings.”
Yahoo!’s staff occasionally goes
through the Web to find old pages
that should be swept from its direc
tory, she said.
“There’s some amount of manual
processing that we do,” said
Srinivasan. “We decide on a site-by
site basis (if a Web page is too old
to remain in Yahoo!’s directory). In
many cases, we think the informa
tion on an old page is still useful.”
While many people put up their
sites and quickly abandon them, oth-
Late-Night sumo wrestling gives students
chance to throw their weight around
Campus Correspondent
Kim Jesuale, a junior at the Uni
versity of Georgia, shoves a tall so
rority girl in the chest, bowling her
over backwards with unexpected fe
rocity. The cheers of other bar pa
trons and Jesuale’s taunts are
drowned out by Guns N’ Roses’
“Welcome to the Jungle.”
The girl on the floor struggles to
rise, but quickly gives up and lies
panting on the floor. The sumo suit
in which she is encased prevents her
from standing up, or even rolling
Jesuale waddles up three stairs to really seem to enjoy it, whether
the dance floor, adjacent to the wres- they wrestle or watch. ”
tling pit, lifts her arms to elicit a roar Contestants gird themselves
from the crowd and then leaps upon for battle, wearing what
the downed girl. The referee counts amounts to a couple of bean
to three, and Jesuale advances to the bags and a black helmet designed
fi na^s - to look like the chignons Sumo
“She was nothing,” Jesuale says, wrestlers traditionally sport.
“I destroyed her.” “They really stink,” Jesuale said.
Sumo Suit tournaments are fast “The helmet had lots of sweat in it.
becoming the most popular late- I wanted a swim cap.
night entertainment for college stu- “You get really hot in there, and
dents around the country. Students you’re just exhausted,” she added.
Alameda County prosecutors have
brought only one Berkeley anti-nu
dity case to trial, and that was un
successful. In 1996, Shilling and fel
low artist Debbie Moore, 45, were
charged with three counts of sing
ing, strolling and communing with
nature while in the buff.
“They interviewed 30 (prospec
tive) jurors, and only two said they
were neutral on the anti-nudity law,”
Moore recalled of the jury-selection
phase. “The rest were opposed to the
law. Some people even wept when
they thought we’d be put behind bars
for what they thought was a benevo
lent act.”
Berkeley police say they won't ar
rest anyone for being naked unless
they get a complaint. And prosecu
tors say they have dismissed several
cases they felt they couldn’t prove.
But Assistant District Attorney John
Adams said Berkeley juries haven’t
been adequately tested on the anti
nudity issue. “We’ve only had one
trial so far, so you can’t take the leap
of faith to say we’ll never find that
jury (who would convict),” he said.
State law prohibits indecent expo
sure, but that doesn’t mean one can
not go outside naked. It means one
cannot act in a lewd manner while
naked in public, lawyers say. But
Berkeley’s ordinance goes further to
simply prohibit any public nudity,
making exceptions only for breast
feeding women.
While the controversy brews, the
naked man who inspired Berkeley’s
anti-nudity ordinance has remained
largely silent about it. Moore, who
remains friends with Martinez, said
the famous Naked Guy went back to
live in Cupertino, Calif. Shilling said
Martinez was tired of speaking pub
licly about his nudity crusade.
But he has left a legacy.
“Andrew is very special, and be
ing naked was really his own inter
nal experiment,” Shilling recalled.
“He walked around in a sloyv and de-
ers continue to upload and debut
Web pages every day and, accord
ing to Forrester Research analyst
Bill Bass, they’re doing it in record
“There is a personal publishing
phenomenon going on,” said Bass.
“Look at the growth of sites that of
fer free personal Web page hosting
- Geo Cities and Tripod. They came
out of nowhere and are on par with
some of the largest sites.”
Tripod said it hosts nearly 2.4 mil
lion personal home pages, while
Geo Cities claims 1.6 million.
At the University of Minnesota’s
Twin Cities campus, about 15 per
cent of students pay $4O annually
for space on the central Web server,
said Frank Grewe, the university’s
manager of Internet services.
are lining up for the chance to throw
their weight around - and perhaps
win a few drinks in the process.
One event, held every Monday
night at The Armadillo, a bar in
downtown Athens, Ga., gives the
winner a $25 bar tab or freebie pay
per-view wrestling matches. The
wrestling - or is that wrasslin’? -
begins shortly after 11 p.m.
“We’ve got quite a regular
crowd that comes out,” said
Brad Scott, a bartender, who
sometimes doubles an an
nouncer for the events. “People
Thursday. April 30, 1998 The Behrend College Collegian - Page 7
soften penalties
liberate manner. He didn’t let any
one rile him. He was almost like a
minister or a priest.”
Martinez, who once explained he
thought clothes were “stupid,”
started walking around naked as a
youth back home with a nude stroll
down Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road. He
was a 19-year-old student at the Uni
versity of California in Berkeley in
1992 when he began attending his
classes stark naked, drawing national
publicity and inspiring other students
to attend “nude-ins” at Sproul Plaza.
His bareness rankled UC officials,
who enacted a new dress code
against nudity and then expelled
Martinez for violating it. Martinez
also showed up at a Berkeley City
Council meeting completely nude,
offending then-City Councilwoman
Mary Wainright, who swiftly intro
duced the anti-nudity ordinance. It
The Naked Guy protested indecent
exposure laws were illegal, and he
wanted to prove it in court, but when
he was arrested, prosecutors dropped
the charges. After he was kicked out
of UC, he surfaced in San Jose where
he was arrested in 1993 for showing
up naked at an anti-abortion rally.
Recently, a web site surfaced about
Martinez featuring photographs of
the Naked Guy as he appeared four
years ago, both clothed and un
Berkeley officials say they don’t
see Martinez displaying his body
around town any more. But Shilling
and Moore, who first shed their
clothes publicly during a demonstra
tion against the Persian Gulf War,
still practice their art.
The women, and fellow actor
Marty Kent, perform in public parks,
inviting people to commune with
nature. They also lead topless pa
rades down Telegraph Avenue, urg
ing others to shed their tops, too, and
sing their whimsical “breast free
dom” song.
The demand has been steady over
recent years, but students aren’t ap
proaching online publishing with
the enthusiasm they once showed,
he noted.
“The glamour of having a Web
page is less than it v/as year ago,”
said Grewe. “It’s common now. I
think the students who do it tend to
be those who are very, very active
on the Net, or it’s a part of their re
Analyst Bass said the best per
sonal sites on the Web don’t have
revolution-inciting ambitions, and
are designed for a narrow audience.
More people are putting up simple
resume pages or using their sites to
communicate with relatives, he said.
“You have bored graduate stu
dents building up links to other sites,
“But you’re laughing so hard you
can’t do anything about it.”
In Sumo Suit wrestling, just about
anything goes. Participants bump
bellies and behinds to knock their
opponent off a mat with a 10-foot
Shawn Paynter, a UGA senior
who was Kerns’ tag team partner,
had several tips for novices.
“Stay away from the big guys,"
he said. “In the two-on-two
matches, you’ve got to gang up on
the little guy.”
Brady Hayes, a junior who wound
up defeating Jesuale in the women’s
final, said she particularly enjoys the
colorful commentary of an
“ You get really hot in there, nounccrs j wh ° offer en«>urage
ment and insights along these
and you re just exhausted, but lines: “A beautiful headbutt to
you’re laughing SO hard you the mid-section!” “Get mean, get
„ tough, want it!” “Slam him
can tdo anything about it. against the walir and .. My
Kim Jesuale grandmother’s bedroom has
a junior at the University of Georgia
- * seen more action!
During one particularly lively
round, Michael Kerns, a graduate
student in chemistry, and his chal
lenger managed to tear down a rail
ing separating the wrestling pit and
first row of tables and nearly shake
a big-screen TV from its stand.
“It’s harder than it looks,” Kerns
said. “The real motivation was the
bar tab.”
Moore and Kent said they were
cited five times last year and ap
peared in court on April 13 on new
charges. They were shocked to find
their case relegated to traffic court,
even though the city hasn't yet soft
ened the law.
The move was a mistake, and the
charges were dropped on a techni
cality. Moore and Kent applauded
the move. They still want their day
in court - in front a panel of their fel
low citizens.
“If they change it to an infraction,
every time we step out of our house,
we could he slapped with a $l3O fine
and have no access to a jury," Moore
said. “That's not a position we want
to be in.”
But Mayor Dean says the nudists
can challenge the constitutionality of
the law in federal court if they want,
and the city should not be in a posi
tion of trying every case. “They think
they have a free-speech right to be
naked,” she said. "I think I have as
much right not to see those ladies
Some wonder how officials could
enact such a conservative ordinance
in the a city that gave birth to the Free
Speech Movement in 1963, where
shops are perfumed with incense and
the “older generation” wear
Birkenstocks and gray ponytails. The
answer, many observers agree, is
Berkeley is one of the few places in
the nation where walking around
naked is a frequently practiced po
litical act.
“This is the only city in the coun
try where we’d even be having this
argument,” said City Councilwoman
Betty Olds, who voted for the ordi
nance in 1993. “There’s no other city
where people are traipsing around
nude. In most places, the expectation
is, you'll keep your clothes on. Not
and some of them are very good
said the analyst.
Wired’s Katz notes that some of
the best personal sites - and the most
updated - are simply produced
online journals.
"There’s an extraordinary amount
of individual writing and
storytelling going on,” he said.
But Katz said many people - him
self included - had hoped for more.
“In terms of what people ex
pected, I think there is some disap
pointment,” he said. “I think people
hoped for more impact, a larger au
dience and more response (to their
pages). But it’s hard because there
are so many pages out there.”
“It’s a once in a lifetime
kind of thing,” she said. “Anything
you have to sign a waiver for will
probably be worth it.”
Scott said the bar plans to con
tinue its Sumo Suit tournaments in
definitely - or at least until some
one breaks the big-screen TV.