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SF's Most Notorious Nudist Stakes Her Claim to History 

Wednesday, Dec 2 2015
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This is one argument that infuriates Sperlein.

"Whenever this issue comes up on Facebook, people say, 'Public nudity wouldn't be so bad if it was pretty people doing it.' Well, that's the fucking point. That last stitch is everything."

That last stitch was also the last straw for many in Scott Wiener's district. Since the passage of the nudity ban in 2012, public nudity in San Francisco is sporadic and mild, usually piggybacking on a permitted event such as the Folsom Street Fair. Lloyd Fishback still makes his daily nude circuit through the Castro, except now a gold lamé pouch hides his genitals. What the neighborhood lost in local color it apparently gained in civic peace.

"For me, the issue is put to bed. I try not to think about it anymore," Cox says.

Aiello seconds that. "I don't get complaints. I don't get emails. It's a non-issue now."

Expunging Taub and her band of nudists from the Castro has segued into another kind of turf war, however. As George Davis notes, Jane Warner Plaza is now sporadically colonized by crust punks and the homeless, almost none of whom occupied the neighborhood before the nudity ban.

"At least nudists were friendly and more fun," he says.

Perhaps because of that, there's been a subtle thawing toward Taub. In the past, she was generally pigeonholed as a harmless kook, or the live-action equivalent of an internet troll — abrasive, unapologetic, and uncompromising.

Recently, though, she's been embraced, however tepidly, as that most fragile of municipal assets: a local character. She harkens back to a San Francisco before the current era of exaggerated wealth and corporate kowtowing, to a city that still appreciated individualists who had the strength of their own convictions, however offbeat.

"Sometimes we have conversations where she's convinced she represents the majority of San Franciscans. I'm not always convinced," Sperlein says.

But just last month, SFGate included Taub in a round-up of "outsized personalities" who carry the torch of San Francisco weirdness. Indeed, Taub's quest — as quixotic and niche as it seems — is distinctly San Franciscan. You could argue that her precursors are renegades such as Carol Doda, the legendary stripper who flung aside her pasties on the Condor stage in 1964, or Mother Boats, the leader of the Psychedelic Venus Church, who, in 1973, sailed from America in a schooner crewed with naked passengers.

Mother Boats is gone now. So is Carol Doda. And Taub has her sights on Portugal, where she can live her "normal, boring life" in peace — a woman with nothing to hide.

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Jeremy Lybarger

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