A documentary about San Francisco's famed, pioneering topless dancer Carol Doda (RIP), which premiered at the Mill Valley Film Festival last fall, will be getting a theatrical release.
Carol Doda Topless at the Condor was one of the documentary highlights of the 2023 Mill Valley Film Fest, and filmmakers Jonathan Parker and Marlo MacKenzie are now bringing their film to big screens in a theatrical release. As KQED tells us today, the film will be released on March 22.
The busty Doda was once known as "The Girl on the Piano," because of her entrance dancing atop a baby grand piano that was suspended up in the ceiling and would be lowered to the stage for every show. She and the owner of the Condor Club, Pete Mattioli, conspired to put on this topless dance number, which initially landed both of them in jail — but it also became a sensation that drew tons of tourists to see the show in North Beach.
Doda's topless, and later bottomless shows, the first of their kind in the country in a non-underground space, became the subjects of landmark court cases that opened the doors for strip clubs everywhere. And they spawned many imitators along Broadway in North Beach — which had long been a "red light district," but now had a particularly big, national reputation.
Doda, whom Chronicle columnist Herb Caen once referred to as "the Susan B. Anthony of this particular liberating movement," passed away in 2015 at the age of 78, and with her went a vital piece of SF's libertine history.
Parker and MacKenzie's documentary is based in part on the 2018 memoir by Mattioli's wife, Benita Mattioli, titled Three Nights at the Condor. See the trailer below.
And below is a Q&A from the Mill Valley Film Festival with the filmmakers.
See more info about the film here.