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Carol Doda

We will dispense with the double entendres: Carol Doda, who we lost in November, was a San Francisco hero who will be rightly celebrated and remembered as long as the town she helped create still stands, the torch held aloft along Broadway and kept alight in neon. A young woman without anything but desires and dreams when she arrived in Beatnik-era North Beach a half-century ago, Ms. Doda embodied all the values so celebrated and commodified in today's oft-unrecognizable San Francisco: courage, innovation, and character. Enhancing her body and her viability with still-risky plastic surgery was a leap of faith. But while her enhanced chest drew the crowds out, it was her stage presence and charisma that kept them there and made her a pillar of a neighborhood, and helped remake nightlife. Once some of the luster of youth was gone, the way she navigated the male-dominated skin trade and reinvented herself to stay independent, relevant, and, above all, herself, should be inspiration to anybody, in any field.

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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