Saturday, May 20, 2006

RIP Andrew (aka "The Naked Guy") Martinez

I used to live with Andrew--better known as "The Naked Guy" to the general public for his militant 'nude-in' behavior in and around the UC Berkeley campus--at Le Chateau, a wild and crazy party house where I lived for a whole year during my first year at Cal Berkeley. We did dishes together (the pic below actually shows Andrew in the Chateau kitchen), hung out intermittently. I didn't know him well. (And yes, when we did dishes together, he was frequently naked--although he usually wore athletic shoes). We all supported Andrew's one-man crusade to defy social control and assert his natural nakedness. He was actually a pretty good-looking guy, with a cut physique (a factor which definitely helped his cause).

I was saddened to read in the paper today that he has apparently committed suicide while in jail for assault. The San Jose Mercury News published a story here. I hadn't seen or heard about Andrew in years, so I'm shocked by the news. Apparently Andrew had struggled for years with mental illness without getting sufficient, comprehensive treatment from the system, which today's article in the Chronicle tells of. There are many more folks out there like Andrew who need mental health services and can't access them, or are kicked out on the streets. Andrew was smart and always wanted to talk philosophically. He was a real idealist who seemed--at least in the short time that I knew and lived with him--to live in the world of logic and ideas, and then manifest those ideas in his behavior. I admired his civil disobedient nudity--I got topless that first year at Cal at my first Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco--and learned a lot from his upbeat, positive, playful take on protest and politics.

Rest in peace, Andrew. We won't forget about you.

1 comment:

anna said...

That's a really sweet post! You totally nailed him (figuratively) on the philosophical bent. Thanks for writing it.