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Public Nudity(?) at 44th Anniversary Celebration at Peoples Park in Berkeley
On Sunday. April 28 the Berkeley Police harassed a nudist at the 44th Anniversary Celebration at Peoples Park in Berkeley. This reverses a long time tradition of accepting nudism as part of the Celebration. Just another freedom being chipped away.
I attended the Peoples Park 44th Anniversary Celebration in Berkeley last Sunday nude wearing a sun-hat and Hawaiian lei. I attended the event last year nude and a couple of other times nude with acceptance and no police issues.
This time, I arrived at Peoples Park about 2:30 pm. The weather was in the low 70's, sunny, and little wind. How perfect can that get? I said hi to a couple of friends and settled down to sunbathe, listen to music, and occasionally getting up to dance. For about an hour, I was undisturbed. In fact, a policeman walked by me to pour out the beer a few people 10' away from me were drinking. I figured, "Cool! Nudity is still a non-issue."
About another set of music later, a young woman came up to me and told me that the police were talking about coming over to me. I told her that at worst it's a $100 fine and I have a hundred dollars.
Fifteen minutes later, a policeman approached me. He asked me, "Doesn't the presence of children bother you?" I started going into my normal presentation to that question: "Psychological studies show that children raised around nudism have better concepts of body consciousness and these children are mentally better adjusted than other children. Now, let me present you a question that I pay $1000 for a serious intelligent answer, What harm would befall a child who sees a nude adult? (Go to http://www.urbannudism.com for contest rules and be the first to win.)" . . . I actually didn't get very far in that discussion before Debbie Moore of the X-Plicit Players showed up with several friends and formed a circle around me, the circle quickly grew to about a dozen people. Debbie told the policeman, "Nudity in the park, yes. Guns in the park, no." . . . The police officer said a couple of parents with children complained. Debbie retorted, "A lot of other parents come to this event because there is freedom and nudity." . . . The policeman left the area, but was shortly joined by 3 other policemen. . . . One of the circle members suggested that I move closer to a more densely populated area by the stage. An excellent suggestion which I followed.
I received reports from Debbie Moore and one of the event managers that People's Park is owned by UC Berkeley and the Berkeley Police have no authority there. The Berkeley police did call the UC Berkeley Campus Police. Possibly, because of the probability of a confrontational situation growing out of a peaceful situation, the UC Berkeley Campus told them that they would not be coming out for simple nudity. The Berkeley Police confided to the event manager that the complaining parents should be in another park or at another event if they have those opinions and attitudes.
I was kind of happy that I had the support of the Berkeley Peoples Park community, but kind of saddened that nudity is still an issue in Berkeley. I still think of Berkeley as the place where the Urban Nudist movement began in America with Andrew Martinez and the X-Plicit Players. They showed me that Urban Nudism is a possibility. I would have preferred that nothing special happened and I was treated like anyone else at the event.
Some people are surprised to find out that if there was a list of people who don't think that nudity is a big deal, I could be put at the top of the list. However, events like this do prove that Nudity really is a Big Deal!
See everyone at the Thong Parade and Bay to Breakers.
Naturally, George Davis
PS: On the same day, the How Weird Fair in San Francisco allowed total nudity at the event.