Archives for category: bodypainting

Tempest-ImageWe’ve got a special event to tell you about.

On May 19 and 20, we’re going to be celebrating the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death by performing our own version of his final play, The Tempest, in Central Park, with an all-female cast of 13 actors, dancers, and musicians. It’s a stripped-down production in two senses: we’ve abridged the script for a shorter running time, and in the rich tradition of live performances that celebrate body freedom and free expression, our performance will use nudity to dramatize the conflict between the visitors to Prospero’s island and its inhabitants.

Like our bodies and our minds, admission is free. Two performances only. For more information, see

IMG_2487IMG_2830IMG_2735IMG_2620Tempest-logoTempest-dates[Logo courtesy of Sarah Sutliff]

IMG_1950What’s the next best thing to having Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling actually show up at one of our events? Our friends at Hard Case Crime are publishing a new novel based on the upcoming Crowe/Gosling detective comedy, The Nice Guys, and they were kind enough to let us steal an advance peek at the book at our last get-together.

IMG_1526IMG_1907We are happy to report that the book contains no shortage of toplessness, as all good pulp fiction should, and if the movie is half as funny as the book is, it’ll be a fine afternoon at the theater, or evening at home with Netflix a few months later. But we prefer to laugh in the great outdoors, under the sun, with as little clothing on as the law allows, and for those purposes the book version was just perfect.

IMG_1953IMG_1695Even one of our few boys got into the spirit of the thing. (He was in boxers originally, but one of us lent him a spare thong for the occasion. It was much too nice out for boxers. And now we have a photo we can tease him with for the rest of his life.)

IMG_1988For the record, we did get word back to the movie studio that if Russell and Ryan happened to be in town for the premiere of the movie they are welcome to come to one of our events in person.

We won’t even make them wear the thong.




IMG_1969Eighty degrees. Who cares that the calendar says it’s still spring, not summer? It was eighty degrees this Monday, and sunny af (as the kids say), and we’ve got the incipient tans to prove it. All over. Well, almost. But almost. And, man oh man, did it feel good.

IMG_1538Is there a better feeling than that first time you peel your clothes off outdoors under the hot sun after a long, cold winter? You wouldn’t know it from looking at the smiles on our faces this Monday when we headed out to Washington Square Park.

IMG_1588IMG_1863IMG_1817More than a dozen of us showed up to share book recommendations (Tom Robbins, Elizabeth Kostova, Mary McCarthy, Tiffany ReiszCharles Ardai)…

IMG_1561IMG_1509IMG_1596…white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, cucumber water, and warm hugs for old friends. All of which are better enjoyed topless. But then, what isn’t?

IMG_1492Behind us, an impressive group of acroyoga practitioners practiced…

IMG_1442IMG_1579IMG_2035…while before us a bubble man did his thing:

IMG_1713IMG_1714IMG_1715And world-famous body painter Andy Golub recruited a few of us to aid in his chromatic pursuits.

IMG_1791IMG_1848IMG_2051But most of our time was spent simply luxuriating, and it was blissful.

IMG_1879Would you like to join us next time? If you’re a bold, body-positive woman in the New York area (or would like to think of yourself as one), send us a note at We’d love to meet you, and to show you just how good it can feel to ditch that top.



NYBPD2-31Last year was the first NYC Bodypainting Day, an event where dozens of models met up with dozens of artists, flown in from all over the country and all over the world, to paint on human canvases in public. It was such a success that this year it more than doubled in size, with over 100 models of all shapes and sizes, genders, races, colors, ages, physical abilities, and other attributes all getting naked together on a beautiful East Side street a few blocks from the United Nations, to get painted head-to-toe under the sun.

Needless to say, we were happy to be part of the fun, with several of our members (and a few long-time friends of the family) contributing their bodies to the general celebration.

And what an absolute joy it was! Even with hundreds of onlookers and a police presence (protective of us, but still), nothing could dampen the enthusiasm of the participants, and a more cordial, well-behaved, kind and good-natured bunch you couldn’t imagine. And despite more than a hundred bared sets of genitalia exposed to the eyes of all passers-by, the city didn’t crumble, God didn’t smite us (it didn’t even rain, the way it had been threatening to!), and life only became a little freer, a little happier, and a little richer.

One step at a time. But this was a big one.

(P.S. Our thanks to all the wonderful photographers who covered the event and posted their pictures of us online for the world to see. We normally shoot all our own photos, but this time around none of us had any place to carry a camera! We got a few cellphone shots of our own, but for good quality images we’re dependent on the many talented and generous non-painter artists who made the day so special.)


IMG_9982The best thing about taking our tops off in Washington Square Park is that we’re never the most interesting people to watch.

This time, there was an acroyoga trio or foursome (it was hard to keep count) just a few steps away…


…and a guy performing juggling flourishes with a wine bottle just a few steps behind them.


Not to mention the row of fresh MBA grads in purple robes, led by purple bagpipers:


And us? All we were doing was reading and relaxing and enjoying fine lemon tarts and such. With our shirts off. But who in Greenwich Village cares about such a trifle? A nipple’s a nipple. We all have them. And in New York we’re all free to bare them under the sun.


A dozen of us packed the lawn, with books in hand from Ed McBain and Gore Vidal, David Brooks and Mindy Kaling. Not to mention the latest from comic book historian and publisher Craig Yoe, including the insanely wonderful WEIRD LOVE (collecting old romance comics; weird is the gentlest way to describe them) and ALICE IN COMICLAND (collecting appearances of Alice in Wonderland in comics ranging from Superman to Archie to Pogo.)


And what a joy it was to be back in our element. We welcomed two first-timers, plus a couple of boyfriends who tagged along, making the female-to-male ratio a bit more balanced than usual. Only one random stranger decided to be a nuisance, and he left soon enough when we declined his company. Otherwise, the afternoon couldn’t have been lovelier, nor could a dozen bare torsos have seemed more natural.


Meanwhile, up in Times Square, female toplessness is being presented this way:


Nothing wrong with body paint, and Times Square is as good a place to go topless as anywhere. But isn’t it nice when a bare chest is just a bare chest, not a spectacle on par with a guy dressed as Iron Man or a six-foot tall smurf?

IMG_8579Showing uncommon tenacity, the temperature hit a summery 82 degrees over the weekend. So we chased the mercury up and out onto the sun-dappled terrain of Sheep Meadow — the very spot where we first welcomed the advent of spring not so very long ago. It was a lovely chance to gather in one of New York’s most crowded and yet most serene spots, where as one of our number commented, “No matter how strange you are, you’re never the strangest person in sight.” We certainly weren’t — that honor goes to the couple performing acrobatic maneuvers, perched on one another’s knees, arms and shoulders, or possibly to the several people standing on their heads. (Their own heads, not the couple’s.) Hell, we weren’t even the only women enjoying the sun topless, which was a true pleasure to see. Four summers ago, when we first formed our group, we would have been.


As for us, we can very happily report that no one interfered with our exercise of our freedoms, or said anything to us, or even bothered us non-verbally unless you count one verging-on-elderly man who knelt a couple of feet away, staring, until we told him that this was rude, at which point he picked up and knelt next to another topless woman elsewhere on the lawn. (We sent an emissary to point out to him that this was not an improvement. He finally left her alone too.)

One of our newest members, possessed of an artistic bent, brought body paints and, using another member’s torso as her canvas, improvised in color and line.


All in all, a terrific, chill, laid-back moment in the sun. At one point, someone spotted a plane in the sky, leaving behind it a trail of skywriting:


“GOD…BLESS…AMERICA…,” we read, as the message emerged letter by letter. Unironically written, we assume, and taken in the same spirit. Pick your god, or cherish your lack of same — it’s as fine a way as any of expressing thanks for living in a time and place where we can all bare our bodies equally and face no scrutiny or disapprobation for this innocent act.

And with that we bid the summer of 2014 farewell. We’ll have events in the fall and winter as well — but there’s nothing quite like summer.

We leave you with one more pic, sent in by a friend who couldn’t make it to Central Park but joined with us in solidarity from her Brooklyn backyard.


If you want to join us sometime — either in person or in sprit, via selfie — just drop us a note at We welcome all women bold and body-positive and wise to the fact that a nipple is a nipple is a nipple. (Gertrude Stein said that, didn’t she?)

Just grab your favorite book and set your breasts free.

IMG_6715Today, thanks to Andy Golub, was New York City Bodypainting Day, a celebration of art and the  naked body. While normally only toplessness is legal on the streets of Manhattan, full nudity is legal if it’s in the service of an artistic production, and there’s no question that this gathering of a few dozen of the nation’s finest body painters was an artistic production. Working with a common color palette and a mandate to incorporate eyes into their designs, the painters attacked the problem with relish, producing human canvases that were imaginative and beautiful.


And it was wonderful to see so many people boldly and proudly naked in the sun, on the street at the Columbus Circle entrance to Central Park. Spectators watched, remarkably politely, and the moral fabric of the city was not rent asunder despite the presence of dozens of bared penises, unclothed vaginas, and breasts of every shape, size, age and gender. (Not to mention the handling of same, in full view of onlookers of every shape, size, age and gender.)


Which begs the question, of course, why it’s okay for people to see this once a year when paint is involved but the other 364 it’s grounds for arrest. But one step at a time.