Archives for category: nude

IMG_6346Last summer, we produced an all-female, all-nude staging of Shakespeare’s final play, The Tempest, outdoors in Central Park, and it was a huge success: hundreds of people came to see the play in person, and millions more — literally — read or heard about it in media coverage ranging from NBC News and Salon to every major newspaper in the U.K. (They love it when Americans experiment with Shakespeare, apparently.)

img_3506One recurring theme in the comment section of online coverage, however, went like this: “They could only do this because it was women — try it with naked men and they’d get arrested!” Well, we all know a challenge when we hear one. So our Tempest directors sat down to plan an all-nude, all-male production of Hamlet. 

IMG_6354That production was staged this summer, first in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and then, just this past week, in Central Park, at the foot of the beautifully appropriate King Jagiello statue. Again hundreds of people came, and — lo and behold, no arrests. Just a marvelous production of a great play.

IMG_6343Audience members ranged from 6 to 66, roughly speaking, and at neither end was offense taken, though the youngest viewers seem to have found the iambic pentameter somewhat hard to follow.

IMG_6326Will there be another production next summer, and if so, with what genders performing? Still to be decided. We like to come up with different things to do each year. But we’re thrilled to have helped establish a new tradition: nude Shakespeare in the park. Enjoyed by all, of harm to none, bringing a fresh view to 400-year-old plays and a glimpse of freedom to the public spaces of New York City. The sight of a bared breast doesn’t cause society’s foundations to crack, nor does the sight of a vulva, nor of a penis.

IMG_6325The beauty of the world, Shakespeare wrote, the paragon of animals…in form and moving, how express and admirable; in action, how like an angel, in apprehension, how like a god! And: There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.

We are animals all — and angels all. Our naked bodies are no more than we were born with, the common currency of all humanity, and to hate another’s is to hate yourself.

Or as a playwright once put it, we hold the mirror up to nature. What you see in it is yours to grapple with.

IMG_6344IMG_6331IMG_6314

IMG_1625For the fourth time in four years, a group of more than 100 artists and models congregated in a public place in New York City — this time, it was in Washington Square Park — to demonstrate that art can take many forms, that the human body can also take many forms, that that the human body is nothing to be ashamed of, and that a naked human body can be an aesthetic object, not only or always a sexual one.

IMG_1559IMG_1650IMG_1743The artists came from all over the United States and all over the world — Japan, Russia, Latvia. Texas. Brooklyn. The models came in all sizes, shapes, ages, races, genders.

IMG_1648IMG_1679IMG_1774IMG_1513The theme this year was a broad one — just one word, Humanity. Nothing that would constrain an artist unduly, but a wonderful jumping-off point for art meant to celebrate what we have in common and our capacity for kindness, thoughtfulness, and decency.

Yes, decency — though five dozen naked bodies were uncovered in a public place, in front of thousands of passers-by, it was decency, not indecency, that was on display.

IMG_1688While some in the crowd showed confusion at first, by far the most common reaction was a smile. Some people we spoke to expressed wonder that an event like this was permitted, but they were overwhelmingly enthusiastic and supportive. A few expressed interest in coming back as models or painters next summer. And they’ll be welcomed gladly.

IMG_1622Some of our members made appearances under the paint–

IMG_1728–while for other models this was their first time standing nude in front of strangers.

IMG_1549IMG_1666IMG_1827And because this was an artistic exhibition, nude meant nude, not just topless — the ordinary restrictions on public nudity don’t apply when you’re creating art. Which meant that thousands of people got to see that a vulva or penis is just a body part like a nose or an elbow, not something you need to shield your eyes from.

(Not to put too fine a point on it, but it’s awfully rare to see a penis presented in public in anything other than a hostile way, as an act of aggression or an attempt to provoke shock, fear or disgust. How wonderful to see penises in their natural state, just there between a man’s legs, doing no harm to anyone, and not meant to do any harm.)

IMG_1805IMG_1653IMG_1821IMG_1834IMG_1641Vaginas, of course, by their nature, are harder to display and to paint, but we proudly salute all our sisters and their marvelous multicolored labia.

IMG_1721IMG_1697IMG_1800But the focus wasn’t on any body part — it was on the totality of the human canvas and what art can be birthed from and upon it. We remain in awe of some of the gorgeous creations we saw, including the ones we saw on our own bodies.

IMG_1668IMG_1664And for all those of you who supported the event, or came to it, or participated in it — thank you.

We appreciate, and gratefully salute, your humanity.

IMG_1700IMG_1785IMG_1594IMG_1556IMG_1825IMG_1582

IMG_2904A new non-profit arts organization called Human Connection Arts wants to bring fully nude outdoor body-painting events to four cities this year: New York, Berlin, Amsterdam and San Francisco. But they need your help! They have a Kickstarter attempting to raise the money needed to fund the events, and with only 42 hours to go, they’re still $1,400 short of the goal. And if they don’t reach their goal, they get no money at all! [ETA: They made it!! Whew. Nakedness, art and free expression to ensue as planned!]

IMG_2894IMG_2902To build awareness, the HCA team brought four nude models to the streets of Greenwich Village today for an impromptu painting session that brought traffic to a halt and left hundreds of passers-by smiling.

IMG_2887Lots of people had questions, but only a few expressed anything less than delight and support.

Of course, this was in Greenwich Village — some neighborhoods might be less supportive. But it was a joy to see so many people face to face with public nudity and pleased to see it.

IMG_2868IMG_2872If you’re in New York and would like to see it live, the New York event will take place from 12 noon to 4pm on Saturday, July 22, in Washington Square Park. (Be there or be, um, Washington Square. No, wait, that doesn’t work.)

IMG_2890But whether you can come in person or not, if you like what this group stands for and the work they’re doing, please consider helping out. It’s not our event or our organization, but we do like what they’re doing and we support them. We hope you will too.

IMG_2881

IMG_0232Over the past seven summers, hundreds of women have joined us at our events all over New York City, some coming just one time, others returning time and time again. We love seeing both — our regulars and our first-timers. Part of what makes our group special is that both are greeted with the same warmth and welcomed like family. Maybe it’s something about being naked together. It’s hard to hold someone at arm’s length when your arms (and other parts!) are bare.

IMG_0323Would you like to come to one of our events? If you’re a body-positive woman in the New York area, we’d love to hear from you. Just send email to toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com, and we’ll answer any questions you have and very gladly invite you to our next event.

IMG_0266IMG_0312This past week we said farewell to one of our regulars, who just got a very impressive job at an impressive institution in another state. She’ll still show up at our events from time to time, she promises — she’s still on the East Coast! — but not as often as when she lived here, naturally, and we’ll miss her. On the other hand, we also welcomed several newcomers to our ranks this week. Perhaps one or more of them will become regulars in the fullness of time.

IMG_0369IMG_0370IMG_0372IMG_0290IMG_0143We were also delighted to be rejoined by two former regulars who’ve been missing from our events for a very long time.

IMG_0465IMG_0422We met at one of our favorite spots, a rooftop sundeck in Chelsea that thoughtfully permits not just toplessness but full nudity.

IMG_0260IMG_0344IMG_0160An inflatable pool gave us a respite from the unremitting sun–

IMG_0392IMG_0362IMG_0363–and Prosecco (with or without OJ) gave us a respite from unremitting thirst.

IMG_0444IMG_0136Not too much reading went on this time, but a few books did get cracked —

IMG_0256–as well as three new comics from Hard Case CrimeNormandy GoldPeepland, and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

IMG_0276Doughnuts from Doughnut Plant, fruit from the finest local orchards, sunscreen from the finest aluminum cans…we had everything we needed for a splendid afternoon, and a splendid afternoon is what we had.

IMG_0415…and now you can be part of our next one.

It’s okay if you’re nervous, We were too, the first time. It’s okay if you’re shy. It’s okay if you think your breasts are a funny shape, or one is larger than the other, or you wish they were bigger, or smaller, or whatever. It’s okay if you’ve never been naked with strangers before. It really is. You’re curious or you wouldn’t be reading this. You’re tempted. And it won’t be summer forever.

Sending email takes 3 seconds. Treat yourself. Listen to Oscar Wilde: The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.

IMG_0513IMG_0518IMG_0521IMG_0524

 

 

 

IMG_9510Everyone knows (or should know by now) that it’s legal for women in New York to go topless anywhere a man can. Out on the beach, in the park, wherever. Sadly, though, outside of art exhibitions and theatrical performances, it’s not legal for either women or men to be fully nude in a public place. So where are you supposed to go when the heat approaches triple digits and you just need to get those last shreds of clothing off?

IMG_9384IMG_9416IMG_9436Native New Yorkers will tell you: the roof of your apartment building. But that only works as long as you don’t have overly nosy or censorious neighbors. Happily there’s an alternative, if you’re willing to rent a hotel room: the rooftop sundeck of our favorite boutique hotel in Chelsea, which is clothing optional 24/7, 365 days a year.

IMG_9209True, you’d only want to take your clothing off in New York maybe 10/7 and 120 days a year; but during those hours, on those days, this rooftop is a blessing. Private and serene, quiet and well appointed, you can bask in the sun or lounge under an umbrella…

IMG_9087IMG_8997…read a book or enjoy the scenery…

IMG_9402IMG_9371c…have a drink or a nap…

IMG_9351IMG_9375…or find novel uses for heart-shaped lemon cookies.

IMG_9045Other hotel guests turn up occasionally, but everyone’s tolerant and no one raises a fuss over a bared vulva or exposed penis. And mere bare breasts…? You’ve got to be kidding. That’s nothing at all.

IMG_9480rIMG_9022We’ve been coming here for years by now — at least six — and it’s become sort of a second home for us, a secret lair: our Batcave, if you will.

MK47382013-f62013-f30911-MK5And we’re glad to share our Batcave with you — photographically, as you see here, or in person if you’re a body-positive woman in the New York area (or visiting New York, that’s fine too!). Just drop us a note at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and let us know you’re interested, or curious, or whatever.

If you’ve ever hesitated about taking your clothes off outdoors, this is the perfect way for you to dip a toe in the water. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being naked in the sun — and in our little private hideaway, you can do it without any worries at all.

IMG_9373IMG_9454IMG_9206IMG_9344IMG_9440IMG_9500

IMG_6347A couple months back, we reported on our first encounter with a place called Doob, where you enter a futuristic white chamber, some mechanisms pop and whirr, and out comes a miniature, 3D-printed replica of you, a little like the last kid in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. (Unlike the Dahl story, though, the original you remains intact and unharmed. Whew!)

IMG_6337Well. We couldn’t Doob half a dozen of our members without several others clamoring to be Doobed too. So we returned to their downtown studio for a second round.

IMG_6291IMG_6326IMG_6371Three more poses to select, three more turns through the machinery, and then three more 6-week stretches for the printing to be done (it’s not instant, like the phrase “and out comes” might suggest), and presto, three more of us have mini-me’s to cuddle and show off.

IMG_6902IMG_6938IMG_8575Is it worth the money? Yeah, it kind of totally is, even though these things are expensive (like hundreds of dollars each, though the kind folks at Doob cut us a deal in recognition of the number of them we ordered). Just imagine having a little naked you on your bookshelf to astonish your friends and embarrass your parents!

IMG_6989Or you might find other uses for your Doob. Only limited by your imagination, as they say. 🙂

IMG_7004More outdoor fun to report on soon. (Much, much more!) But in the meantime, we and our little friends will be getting to know each other better in the comfort of our own homes.

 

IMG_8455Andy Golub, the visionary artist behind New York Bodypainting Day, has formed a new non-profit arts organization called Human Connection Arts, to spread the word that art and nudity can both be tools for human connection — and that the human body, in all its infinite variety, is deserving of respect and love.

IMG_8421The group’s first project, called “Body Notes,” took place last Friday in the middle of Times Square, with literally tens of thousands of workers and tourists, businesspeople and students, the young and the old, all present to witness and enjoy what we were doing. Who were “we”? About 200 models, women and men, including a number of members of our book club. And what were we doing? Getting completely naked and painting each other from head to toe, first with base coats of orange, blue and yellow, and then with heartfelt messages chosen by each model to express a point of view important to her or him.

IMG_8412IMG_8404RandAIt was a revelatory experience and a liberating one — to stand naked at the Crossroads of the World, with a sea of humanity around us, with police there to protect us, not to hassle us, and with the vast majority of the people in the crowd just honestly curious, and many of them enthusiastic.

IMG_8378So many people posed for photos with us! Or blushed at first and then asked how they could get involved. Or just nodded and took it all in. It was a profound moment of acceptance and tolerance and open-mindedness.

IMG_8384Every body type was represented, every age, every race, every gender.

IMG_8431IMG_8462IMG_8312And we all treated each other — and ourselves — with the kindness and respect we deserved.

IMG_8447Now, if you’d like to see how the event ended, you can Google “Body Notes” and see countless photos that ran in the media all over the world, of a mass of hundreds of painted models swarming the bleachers at the north end of Times Square and posing as a group for photos memorializing the event. Instead of repeating those, we thought we’d share some photos of how the event began, when we were all just works in progress, getting those first coats of paint on. The humanity of it inspired us — we hope it will inspire you too.

IMG_8324IMG_8329IMG_8363IMG_8416IMG_8290IMG_8337IMG_8323IMG_8335IMG_8388If you are inspired, take a look at Human Connection Arts and their upcoming events. Or, of course, drop us a note at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and join us at one of our get-togethers. There are many, many opportunities to exercise your freedom and be part of something wonderful. Don’t let them pass you by.

IMG_8425