Bad Nudes Bared: Lupin Lodge’s Idyllic Clothing-Free Lifestyle Unravels in Alarming Fashion

Born to a strict religious Filipino father and blue-eyed, blonde Virginia-bred mother, Lori Kay shed the surname Mendoza in her mid-20s after establishing a new life in the Bay Area. While attending UC Santa Cruz as a art history major, she spent time studying abroad in Switzerland, where her host family introduced her to naturism and the body acceptance movement. Upon her return, she discovered Lupin, where she would meet Glyn and raise their two daughters.

One of Lori Kay's sculptures, titled Flight IV, installed at a Fremont fire station.

One of Lori Kay's sculptures, titled Flight IV, installed at a Fremont fire station. (Photo via City of Fremont)

“It’s an incredibly beautiful place,” she said proudly, gesturing to a sweeping view of redwood forest beyond the floor-to-ceiling windows of the Lupin restaurant.

A celebrated mixed media artist and metal sculptor, Lori Kay has exhibited and lectured both locally and abroad. Her work has been commissioned for public art projects in nearly a dozen cities. Through her art, she has explored themes of identity and a childhood marked by prejudice against her interracial parents and their mixed-race offspring.

“I needed to stop and do this,” she says in a 1995 Mercury News article about an exhibit inspired by her biracial heritage. “I couldn’t just keep going casting bronzes and doing public sculptures without questioning … who am I, and how do I bring both my backgrounds to who I am and what I create.”

There’s a stark contrast between Lori Kay’s ruminative artistic self depicted in old news clippings and the portrait painted by court records and accounts from dozens of embittered Lupinites. Tenants and members describe Glyn and Lori Kay, who live apart on the grounds, as a “good cop, bad cop” duo. Glyn is quick to commend his semi-estranged wife—the pair filed for divorce but never finalized papers—for her ability to take charge.

“I’m basically a Los Gatos soccer mom,” she said, “except there are three very unusual things about me.”

For one, she’s mother to a fifth generation of mirror-image twins. High school-aged Simone and Samara are identical but with opposite asymmetric features—one is right handed and the other left, one’s hair whorls clockwise and the other counter. Secondly, Lori Kay said, she’s a female sculptor. And, of course, she manages the longest-running naturist club west of the Mississippi.

“The oldest business in the Los Gatos chamber of commerce,” she said, adding that she intends to keep it that way.

Lori Kay dismisses allegations from former tenants as sour grapes from people who dropped their end of the contract. Lupin won those cases, she pointed out, and the people evicted have questionable reputations and legal troubles in their own right.

“We evicted them as any landlord would,” she said. “We are much more careful in the way we investigate potential tenants in an attempt to minimize the number of evictions.”

Most of Lupin’s visitors have been loyal members for more than 10 years, she said. “Our membership has supported Lupin through some tough times,” she added. “They love Lupin. Many comment that Lupin and the environment that it provides has helped them with negative body issues. The peace and tranquility of Lupin has helped people through tough times in their lives.”

Robert Bergman, a photographer who flies in from Canada every year to organize a body acceptance festival at Lupin said any facility that size will have issues, but that his experience has been positive on the whole. Delman Smith, a Los Gatos-based attorney and Lupin member for decades, agreed, calling the place “Eden-like.”

Citations from various regulatory agencies, Lori Kay said, are simply one of the challenges of running an unconventional business—one that’s part water district, wildlife refuge, mobile home park, tourist attraction and bastion of a widely misunderstood subculture.

“We try our hardest to continue in our 80-year tradition in having a safe, family friendly and mutually respectful place,” she said. “We’re a community.

But even within the tight-knit naturist community, Lupin has alienated some members by blurring the line between sex and social nudity.

“Being a nudist is supposed to be a non-sexual, family friendly environment,” explains Ken Hooper, who canceled his membership in the mid-aughts over what he saw as the club’s decline. “That’s so important. Social nudity is about trust.”

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Jennifer Wadsworth is the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper. Email tips to [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

19 Comments

  1. Very informative story using just the “bare facts.”

    Good Reporting Jenn W.

    David S. Wall

  2. I would suggest that you either get a base tan, or apply sunscreen liberally. Nobody will care what you look like, and you might find there are others that are a bit more out-of-shape than you! Check LocalNudistSingle com to give yourself a better chance by meeting nudist singles who enjoys the same nudist lifestyle that you do!

    • ya,maybe they should give you free tanning lotion on the days there are police raids..

      • Police raids? What century are you living in? Lupin has been there for 80 years or so….the police don’t care…in fact, more than likely, there are, or have been, a few law enforcement personnel who were members or casual visitors over the years.

        • yes warren..police raids..one every 8 days for the last 2 years on average…you can find the century im living in elsewhere.

          • John, you’ve misquoted Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. James Jensen:
            “…in the past two years deputies WERE CALLED OUT TO Lupin once every eight days on average.”
            These were not raids by police, these were responses to calls for assistance from members, residents & employees of Lupin.

  3. “Lupin traps you up on that hill,” Chrisley said. In May of last year, he was evicted for not paying rent.

    I lived a few years one road up from you on Laurel when I was in High School. As a teen without a car, ya I felt pretty trapped up there (only laurel is one helluva last push compared to just going to Lupin)

    I also visited Lupin.. Alot. Between 1989 and 1991. Summer would come, and I’d sneak a dip in the pool. Never got caught going by myself, but one time I brought some friends there and… Sheriff. Ah well, lesson learned.

  4. yes the nudist/naturist lifestyle can be truly enjoyed at aanr endorsed clubs..lupin is not one of them..

  5. An interesting case study in “tribalism”.

    Probably mirrors the way humanity lived 10,000 years ago before the invention of herding, agriculture, private property, and individual “rights”.

    The “shaman” ran the show: leader, warlord. medicine man, pope, judge, and jury all in one.

    My way or the highway.

  6. Here’s a prayer that the besieged couple who own he park get their problems worked out, get more membership and visitors, and restore the park, one part at a time to its original glory. Unfortunate things happen, but with a positive attitude things can be worked out. This article seemed to be a bit of an overkill to me. Bad health, and an earthquake was certainly not their fault. The barter system is a good workable idea as long as the barterer continues to keep his part of the bargain. When he does not, of course bad feelings result when that person is kicked out. Let’s all wish them well as they go forward to the future.

    • pathetic and insensitive of you to offer up a prayer to the stouts and bypass michael schaupp and his family.

  7. Why is it being characterized as a problem, that some people at the Lupin community, apparently like to do meth? I have it on good authority that some people in the city of San Jose, like to do meth too, LOL. Meth’s actually everywhere, Aunt Martha.

  8. I was a frequent visitor to Lupin when I lived and worked in the San Jose/Santa Cruz area. I am acquainted with Lori Kay and Glyn and briefly considered taking a position of general manager when their then manager was retiring. Although it was a very fluid discussion about what the position, pay, responsibilities etc were in actuality. I found them difficult to nail down on almost anything. I’ve found it’s best to make sure that everyone understand the terms of any deal before entering into it, otherwise there will undoubtedly be unmet expectations on somebody’s part. Many of the the claims reported above became clear to me during this time. The drug abuse while somewhat hidden from visitors and while officially not tolerated by the management was definitely part of the subculture enjoyed by what seemed to be an indentured staff. There was a palpable sense of desperation among the staff. The barter system works great if the credit one is given in return for the labor is enough to cover their needs and if everything you need is available for purchase with your credit. People have needs beyond room and board and food. I gave numerous staffers rides into Los Gatos to the CVS there. I got to know a few and it was apparent that they were at Lupin’s mercy. They had no where else to go, and no way to get there even if they did. To be fair Glyn and Lori Kay were working with an aging membership that was declining in numbers. Ed had run large numbers off and in his absence they weren’t returning. Gentrification was taking it’s toll on membership. To Glyn and Lori Kay’s credit they understood that they had to change the status quo at the lodge to attract new younger visitors and members. The raves and the fetish parties are attempts at doing just that but more so at bringing in much needed funds for the ongoing operational costs of the lodge. I sat one morning watching a crew of Lupin’s finest work (I use the term loosely) on several small projects. One guy was working on a remodel of a small cabin. This project had been going on for weeks and it was nearing completion. Now in all honesty this cabin should have been torn down and replaced from the ground up. It was small enough that with a coordinated effort and proper scheduling of the trades involved that the thing could have easily been replaced in a couple weeks. So this fellow gets dropped off by the foreman of their construction crew and he sets up his work area tools, saw horses etc. He goes inside to measure something and comes back out. Now all this going on with a liberal amount of swearing, and kicking things around. He finally gets his saw set up and looks around for the board he wants to cut. He finally finds it and goes back in to measure again. He comes out puts a mark on the board and cuts it. Hooray. He goes into the cabin and you start hearing all the swearing and he comes out looking around the ground, kicking a few things and stomps off towards the back 40. 20 or 30 minutes later he comes stomping back with another board in his hand. he goes in to measure again, comes out and cuts the board. He takes it inside and soon you hear the swearing again, but this time you also hear the hammering. He comes out looks around on the ground for something for a little while until he again stomps off to the back 40. Another thirty minutes and he returns with another guy. They go into the cabin talking back and forth and they both come out and stomp off toward the back 40. This went on all day. He installed almost nothing all day. I was curious so I went into the cabin which was a one room approximately 12’x8′ area. It was made up by a small living sleeping area and a smaller still breakfast nook area. There were no appliances (it looked like an under counter refrigerator may have gone in later) and a sink. No restroom. It looked new inside, with fresh paint and newly repaired countertop. The flooring was new but the floor sloped easily 2″ from one corner to the other. The outside was dilapidated with pieces of siding replaced here and there and none of it matched. Plain flat plywood, plywood with vertical grooves (T1-11) and ship lapped pressboard siding. It was obvious that they used whatever was available. If it was any better off than when the work started it must have been in horrible condition. I spoke to Lori Kay who seemed pleased with how it was coming along. I explained that the crew was basically incompetent, lacked any sense of direction, there was no planning involved, materials weren’t readily available, inefficiency was the rule rather than the exception, and that although she was paying very little for the work she was getting even less for it. Lori Kay didn’t appreciate my take on things. She spoke of the “Lupin Way” of doing what it takes, coming together as a community, overcoming adversity through communal…. blah, blah, blah. Okay that’s all fine if your are living on a commune, tending bees, and selling honey to get by. But Lupin is a business. It is a naturist lodge, on edge of the silicon valley, trying desperately to attract new visitors. Clearly on the edge of no longer existing. I explained in my opinion “doing what it takes” wasn’t getting it done. The Lupin way no longer supported modern expectations for the accommodations and amenities of such a business. I asked them both to take a trip to Costanoa near Ano Nuevo, Sycamore Mineral Springs in Avila Beach, and El Capitan Canyon North of Santa Barbara to see models of what could be. Sure these were not naturist resorts. They were modeled in more of an eco-tourism model but they share many similarities and if marketed correctly the naturist component would be the icing on the cake. I explained that they needed to act on what they knew needed to be done. Gain a vision for a new Lupin, and develop a master plan for shepherding it there. I understood in the wake of Ed their wariness of partners but without the influx of some serious capital they were going to find it difficult to make the change. This Lupin way is at the root of all their troubles. When you can only offer room and board in exchange for the labor of others you are not going to be able bring quality staff on board. Your going to get folks that are in a desperate situation and everything that is listed in the above article is what comes with that. You have to feel sorry for the Stouts to an extent, they are trying their best to hold on and keep it all going but its a war of attrition. Unfortunately I think they are too bogged down in the muck and the mire of it to see a way out.