Mike Alexander/The Chronicle Show More Show Less 22 of 34 (Left to right): Dave Rosenberg, Gino Del Prete, Carol Doda, and Herb Caen at the Condor club on Oct 22 1965. An infamous bar on the Broadway Strip, the historic Condor Club broke sexual boundaries when it became known as the world’s first topless bar in 1964. While it didn’t feature dancers, it employed beautiful women in bunny costumes to serve drinks. “Everyone came to see Coby dance.”. Karen Finley, the New York performance artist, worked at the club when she studied at the San Francisco Art Institute.  Peter Mattioli owned the Condor Club by 1967 and Doda still appeared in shows there.
She died in an East Bay hospital of natural causes, according to her daughter, Shari Matsuura of Honolulu. Please note: This feature is available only to subscribers; make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story. A diligently researched book compiled from Pete’s recollections, newspaper archives and other sources, “Three Nights at the Condor” took Benita 10 years to finish. He was overruled by Warren. In the final portion she was attired in only the wraparound. , Doda attended the San Francisco Art Institute and worked as a waitress and lounge entertainer at the Condor Club, at the corner of Broadway and Columbus in the North Beach section of San Francisco.
Now Benita, 72, and Pete, 88, live in Santa Rosa’s Oakmont senior living community. The Mattiolis left the city behind and established a horse boarding, breeding and training business in Sonoma County called Double Bar M Ranch, later renamed Hunter Lane Equestrian Center, which they sold two years ago. Her clothing was removed until she wore only a g-string and the diaphanous wraparound. A stripper underneath him, sheltered by his body, had survived night. ) From the waist up Doda emulated aquatic movements like the front crawl. A diligently researched book compiled from Pete’s recollections, newspaper archives and other sources, “Three Nights at the Condor” took Benita 10 years to finish. Now Benita, 72, and Pete, 88, live in Santa Rosa’s Oakmont senior living community. The author has devoted a chapter each to a trio of eventful evenings at the nightclub. Benita, a former airline flight attendant from Utah who met Pete, then a roguish man about town dressed in expensive Italian suits, in 1967 and married him in 1974, didn’t want to leave the old days behind completely. She participated in ballroom and other forms of social dance at senior centers, right up until shelter-in-place orders were put into effect in March. We will remove any comments — or commenters — that do not follow this commenting policy. A regular performer was Bobby Freeman, the soul singer known for “Do You Wanna Dance?” and “C’mon and Swim.”.  Doda said she was never married. “Damon Runyon didn’t have nothin’ on us,” Pete said, referring to the writer known for his tales of guys and dolls with colorful monikers on New York’s Broadway. As the featured performer, Yee was billed as “China’s Most Daring Dancing Doll.” But Forbidden City was not sleazy. Co-owned by the author’s husband, Pete Mattioli, The Condor’s claim to fame is that it introduced topless dancing in 1964.  Doda was a witness during the trial of two all-nude dancers who were arrested for "indecent exposure and lewd and dissolute conduct", in 1969. Around this time, club owners began asking dancers to mingle with the audience in a bid to increase alcohol sales, a front-runner to lap dance culture at the modern strip club. Yee had so much energy, in fact, that in addition to dancing three sets a night, she bought the place from Low in 1960. loti.com The show was introduced by an emcee who told bawdy jokes. (415) 536-0300 She also had been performing clothed for several years at several San Francisco North Beach bars and clubs, including Gino & Carlo, Amante's and Enrico's Supper Club. The lascivious customs of the old Barbary Coast are maintained here with naughty drink names, striptease, lap and pole dancing and nearly naked hostesses. She made recordings of him telling stories that on car trips to Salt Lake City. According to Matsuura, the family had decided to return to China and came to San Francisco to catch a ship, at the end of World War II. Still, she came out and bowed before him, earning a wave in response from the bachelor king. On Twitter @danarts. The book is not so much a scandalous tell-all tome as a meticulous but lively pop culture history. Chapter 13,“NIGHT TWO: Busted!”: On April 22, 1965, the San Francisco Police Department arrested Carol Doda, Pete Mattioli and his parner, Gino Del Prete, charging Mattioli and Del Prete with keeping a disorderly house, and Doda with indecent exposure, disorderly conduct and outraging public decency. For the topless and waterless Swim, Doda wore the bottom half of a black bikini and a net top which ended where a bathing suit generally began. Doda became renowned for her big bust, and was one of the first well-known performers to have her breasts artificially enhanced. The club featured dancers in “cages,” who eventually became known as “go go dancers.”. “Damon Runyon didn’t have nothin’ on us,” Pete said, referring to the writer known for his tales of guys and dolls with colorful monikers on New York’s Broadway. The movie was produced by Columbia Pictures. Her last performance was at the Rockbund Art Museum, last September, at age 92.  She performed topless that night, the first noted entertainer of the era to do so. The title “Three Nights at The Condor” is more than a spin on a spy movie title. “Coby represents a lost time of beautiful long-legged women with dark lips and pompadoured hair, dancing like angels,” said Trina Robbins, author of “Forbidden City: The Golden Age of Chinese Nightclubs,” which came out in 2010. In 1964 Doda made international news, first by dancing topless at the city's Condor Club, then by enhancing her bust from size 34 to 44 through silicone injections.
She is credited with launching San Francisco’s topless craze (which I guess was a thing?).  Doda's act began with a grand piano being lowered from the ceiling by hydraulic motors; Doda would be atop the piano dancing, But the demand started to die at the same moment Carol Doda’s topless act hit the Condor Club on Broadway. According to Cynthia Yee, the Chinatown nightclubs had been so popular that Gray Line tours would drop as many as five busloads for a show. She self-published it in December 2018, and it’s available on Amazon. She was cross-examined by a deputy district attorney about what she hoped to convey to audiences in her act.
as it descended from a hole in the ceiling. retrospace.org. The rising piano at the Condor Club played a crucial role in a bizarre death in 1983 and also gave a cocktail its name. It was glamorous enough to attract Belgium’s Bachelor King Baudouin who came to see Yee’s act in 1959, an appearance that made Time magazine.
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