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A Twisted Tale 

A well-known erotic performer is now an international fugitive. A look into who’s getting caught up in the identity theft crackdown.

Wednesday, Jan 24 2007
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The Diplomatic Security Service and Department of Homeland Security feel differently.

"Passport fraud and visa fraud potentially threaten the national security of the United States," Ambassador Richard J. Griffin, assistant secretary for Diplomatic Security, said in a December press release. "The U.S. passport and visa are two of the most coveted travel documents in the world, and those who have acquired passports and visas fraudulently could perpetrate further illegal acts. These crimes make the United States more vulnerable to terrorism, plain and simple."

And Thomas K. Depenbrock, special agent in charge of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, San Francisco Field Office, says that using a dead child's name is "morally repugnant," and a desecration of someone's identity, one that victimizes the family of the deceased.

Immigration officials also recently announced a crackdown on illegal immigrants who use false or stolen Social Security numbers to get jobs. For example, the December sweep at Swift meat-packing plants netted about 1,300 immigrants accused of identity theft and immigration violations.

Depenbrock links stopping identity theft to controlling the country's borders and protecting the integrity of the U.S. passport.

But some of those caught in the passport fraud net seem to pose a far greater threat than Jade. For example, the son of former Liberian President Charles Taylor, Roy Belfast Jr. (aka Charles "Chuckie" McArthur Emmanuel), was arrested last year after he gave a false name for his father on his passport application. But Belfast, a U.S. citizen, was also wanted on torture charges stemming from his work leading a violent paramilitary unit for his father's government.

Those who know Jade say it's ridiculous that she's being lumped in with such notorious criminals. "She was just sort of dropped off here, working under the table," said Paul Stoll, owner of Body Manipulations piercing, branding, and scarification parlor and producer of Flying Tiger Circus. And he wonders how many millions of dollars are being spent on going after people like her rather than, for example, terrorists. "Go find something better to do," Stoll said of the Jade bust.

When "Unkle" Paul Nathan answered the door at his house and walked back to his computer to show a video of Jade's last live contortion performance, he still seemed shocked over her arrest. He's known Jade for about 15 years, since he met her at an underground lesbian cabaret show where she performed by placing gold leaf on her body. Nathan watched her grow as an artist, from a milk bath she did at the Exotic Erotic ball a decade ago to her work as a contortionist.

Nathan looked sad and worried as he watched Jade's on-screen show, recorded at the 2005 Dark Kabaret. In it she looked more mature and moved slowly, no longer performing in the nude, raising herself into a handstand before twisting into the splits as the live band played along to her performance.

Nathan admitted that his longtime friend made a mistake by obtaining an illegal identity, but said he can't believe that the former "cover girl" of the San Francisco performance art scene has had her life ripped out from under her. He described her as a loving, caring, strong woman who's more American than she is Japanese. He even offered to marry her — the only time he's proposed to anybody — to help her stay in the country. But she said her legal problems were too serious.

"I'm going to miss her," Nathan said, nervously flipping a cigarette lighter between his hands. "I think San Francisco is going to miss her."


All rose when Chief United States Magistrate Judge James Larson entered the courtroom on Jan. 11 for the sentencing of Jade-Blue Eclipse.

Everyone, that is, except for Jade, who didn't show up for the hearing. That's when her lawyer reported rumors that she'd left the country. The assistant U.S. attorney assigned to the case asked for a bench warrant and it was issued.

Jade is now a fugitive wanted on charges of possession of a false U.S. identification document and failure to appear in court. DSS would not comment on whether she will face any additional charges. If caught abroad, she could be extradited.

Jade has decided that a life on the lam is far better than doing time in jail.

"After much deep listening and surrender, I came to the conclusion that it is very ridiculous to engage in conversations with a system that treats human beings as non-living beings," she recently wrote.

The arrest, she said, inspired her to do something she would have normally never done — close down her new crime-scene cleaning business and head to South America. There, she wants to travel to the Amazon and meet shamans. She discovered a psychotropic Amazonian vine called ayahuasca about a year ago, and wants to use it to learn how to live "in harmony with the land."

Jade seems completely enamored of her new boyfriend Smokes, who she says "takes care of me better than any woman" whom she's dated.

Before she left town, the pair made a batch of ayahuasca tea at their "temple" in Pescadero as Jade did her laundry and packed her things. She alternated putting her clothes in the wash and pounding the twisted ayahuasca vine with a hammer. They then added it and other ingredients into a massive silver turkey fryer and boiled down the brew to create a kind-of tea known for its hallucinogenic properties.

Jade looked softer now, compared to promotional pictures from her days as a performance artist, her face rounder and muscles smoother. Her hair no longer dyed any bright colors, she's traded her sexy clothes for mala meditation beads, a warm jacket and scarf, and a leather hip sack. She sat in the living room near the book Ganesha: Remover of Obstacles, held a drum, and talked about losing her identity, her name, and saying goodbye to San Francisco. She says that she's "held the heart of this city" for a long time, but that the city has changed and is now expensive, gentrified, and growing to be a police state.

About The Author

Mary Spicuzza

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