Archives for category: theater

IMG_4581This past May, we put on an all-female, fully nude production of Shakespeare’s final play, The Tempest, outdoors in Central Park. It was a huge success, attracting not only an audience of hundreds to the park but also coverage all over the world, from NBC News here in New York (and the New York Post, and the Daily News, and New York Newsday, and many more) to four of the five major newspapers in the UK (Daily MailIndependentGuardian, and Times), and from Jezebel and Salon online to The Huffington Post and The American Spectator. We were covered in Oregon. We were covered in India. We were one of the “photos of the week” chosen by The Atlantic. For an hour or two, we were one of the top 3 trending topics on Facebook.

But despite all that attention, not everyone who wanted to see the show was able to.

Well — now’s your chance. Our Tempest is coming back, this time to Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, for four nights only: September 7-10, at 5:30pm each day. You can find information about the show and directions to the location in the park here.

IMG_3732IMG_4750IMG_4856The cast and creative team is mostly the same, though we have a new Miranda and Gonzalo joining us, and a new painter doing the body art for our supernatural characters.

IMG_4814IMG_4936We’ve already started to get attention — CBS News ran this story last night, and local Brooklyn publications have been all over it.

IMG_5027If you’re in the New York area on the dates in question, we hope you’ll join us in Prospect Park for some open-air Shakespeare and to celebrate the freedoms we enjoy as New Yorkers. And needless to say, if you do come, you’re welcome to watch the show topless yourself. 🙂

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IMG_6430We’re always hunting for interesting, cool things to do around NYC, and when someone told us about Escape the Room we totally had to try it. Fortunately, they were happy to have us come by and play naked in their space.

IMG_6453What is Escape the Room? It’s this cool puzzle game where you and half a dozen other people (your friends or total strangers) get locked in a room full of puzzles, and you have to solve all the puzzles in order to find a key and get out of the room in less than 60 minutes.

DIMG_5146We had enough people to fill two rooms, so half of us did a Victorian/Sherlock Holmes-themed room…

IMG_6452…while the other half did an espionage/James Bond-themed room. Here’s us as secret agents:

DIMG_5299The Victorians managed to get out well before the hour wound down — not quite record time, but a good enough showing to land us on the Wall of Fame.

IMG_6472The secret agents got right down to the final puzzle…but in the end time ran out.

IMG_6478But it’s okay. Fun was had by all. And how often do you get to unlock secret doors and string mysterious clues together and race against the clock, all while hanging out naked with friends?

Not often enough, is the answer.

We’re thrilled to have gone and can’t wait to go back.

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IMG_5038After all the media coverage our production of The Tempest received — newspaper after newspaper, website after website — we didn’t think it could get any better. But we were wrong.

Salon just ran a gorgeous, thoughtful video piece about us, filmed by Janet Upadhye and Peter Cooper, titled This NSFW nude production of “The Tempest” is the most brave and beautiful thing you will see today. In it, you can see some really stunning footage from the performance along with interviews with two of the actors in the show as well as one of the show’s directors.

IMG_4862Not to be outdone, NBC News ran a video story of their own — Female Cast Performs Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ in Central Park — in the Nude, filmed by Jennifer Weiss  — featuring interviews with audience members, and with another of our actors.

IMG_4809The combination of these two pieces really goes a long way toward illuminating our motives for putting on this play and demonstrating that we were able to get our message across. It is honestly one of the most gratifying experiences any of us have ever had, and the fact that it has now reached not just hundreds of people in the park but millions around the world makes us so very proud.

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IMG_4013Well! That was an adventure.

It’s not every day that we’re the #1 trending topic on Facebook.

Or written about by the Daily News, the Associated Press, three British newspapers (the Independent, the Guardian, the Daily Mail), New York NewsdayMetro New York, and countless websites (among others, Huffington PostSalon, and Jezebel). Oh, and did we mention NBC News?

5004IMG_3800What caused that storm of attention? Simple. On two beautiful days last week — rain threatened for a while, but what we wound up getting was sun — our merry band put on a show in Central Park. The show was William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, a story of sorcery and conspiracy and romance on a tropical island, and we performed it with an all female cast of 13, fully nude.

IMG_3862“Fully nude?” you ask. “I know it’s legal for women to go topless anywhere in New York a man can, but I didn’t think it was legal for either women or men to go fully nude in public?” Well, under most circumstances that’s so. But there’s an exception to the laws against what’s called “public exposure,” and one of them is if you are performing in an artistic performance. Such as a play. Such as The Tempest by William Shakespeare.

And so we did just that. With eight outstanding actors, three brilliant dancers, and two gifted musicians, we took over the natural stage at Summit Rock (the highest point in Central Park) and for an audience of more than 200 people each time we performed the play. It was marvelous. Yes, we had to compete with sirens and helicopters to be heard at some points. But that’s what it means to perform outdoors in the middle of New York City. And yes, one or two people gawked or made needless, uncomfortable comments — but only one or two. (Far worse was the asshole from the New York Post who blustered around with a pair of giant cameras and ignored repeated requests not to disrupt the show. But fortunately there was only one of him as well.)

IMG_3892The hundreds of other New Yorkers and tourists who joined us on our adventure sat rapt and appreciative, and the end of each performance was greeted by a tempest of thunderous applause. Nothing could have made us happier. Not only did we put on a terrific play, but we proved a point: that the human body is a thing of beauty, not of shame. Not fearful, not dangerous, not troubling. The presence of a dozen naked women on a lawn in Central Park did not cause the sky to fall or the moral fabric of the city to be rent asunder. On the contrary, it probably went a small way toward teaching people that nudity is not inherently very noteworthy at all. What we do with our bodies can be good or bad, praiseworthy or the opposite. But our bodies themselves are just bodies, and deserve nothing but simple respect.

Which is what we received. What a wonderful, wonderful beginning to this glorious summer of 2016! We only wish more of you could have come (though the space was filled to overflowing). And we remind you all: whether you’re  a woman or a man, you don’t have to be performing Shakespeare to enjoy a summer day in the park naked from the waist up. Men know this — women too often do not.

IMG_4247And if you are a bold, body-positive woman — or if you’re unsure, maybe even nervous, but you’d like to be one — you can join us and try it in our company. Send us email at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and tell us a little about yourself. We’re always happy to expand our ranks. You don’t need to be an actress, a dancer or a musician. You just need to have a body, and a desire to be free.

We have our own magical island. It’s called Manhattan. And we would love for you to join us there, as naked as the law allows.

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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 www.TheFreeTempest.com.

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

1510_STUK_TOPLESSSOCIETY_0129This past weekend, the Sunday Times of London ran an article about us in their Style section. It was the work of reporter Rosie Kinchen, who joined us for our pre-Halloween get-together in the East Village, and featured images captured by the brilliant Sally Montana. Who else would have thought of asking us to re-enact The Last Supper?

1510_STUK_TOPLESSSOCIETY_0254The Times only managed to find room for two of Sally’s photos, but we’re very happy to share a few more here. (Along with a copy of the article itself at the very bottom, since you can’t read it online unless you’re a Times subscriber.)

1510_STUK_TOPLESSSOCIETY_01841510_STUK_TOPLESSSOCIETY_01391510_STUK_TOPLESSSOCIETY_03351510_STUK_TOPLESSSOCIETY_04671510_STUK_TOPLESSSOCIETY_0486We’re so pleased that our message has begun to spread internationally! Maybe it’ll even reach people in some part of the world where it’s warm enough now to take advantage of the freedom to go shirtless outdoors (which it currently isn’t in New York City). In the meantime, we’re wearing our best cable-knit sweaters and enjoying warm beverages and snuggling with friends and loved ones and, of course, many good books.

And waiting for the spring.

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IMG_8478Most of the time, New York is cold enough on Halloween that only a madwoman would go outside shirtless. But once in a very long while it’s milder, making a variety of costume options feasible that otherwise might not be: topless flapper, for instance, or topless princess, or topless Carmen Sandiego. Several of us explored these and other forms of sartorial self-expression at the intersection of Stanton and Allen Streets, where the city has helpfully set out some benches in the middle of traffic…

IMG_8494c…before heading down the block to the Slipper Club, burlesque emporium extraordinaire, for an evening of merriment.

20151030_173933What sort of merriment? Well, to start with, it was the largest gathering of our members we’ve ever had, with several dozen of us in attendance. Costumes were welcome (as was the lack of costumes — we’re nothing if not open-minded). We welcomed cyborgs…

IMG_8548…and monsters…

IMG_8508IMG_8519…droogs that would’ve made Anthony Burgess proud…

IMG_8671c…and various other characters, familiar or invented.

IMG_8515IMG_8514(What is this last costume? So glad you asked. It’s a blue-footed booby, of course.)

The Pinchbottom burlesque troupe put on a special stage performance just for us, featuring numbers inspired by Shelley, Coleridge, and Dante, with pulp novelist Jonny Porkpie on hand as Master of Ceremonies and Reader of Excerpts From the Referenced Literary Works.

IMG_8644IMG_8654Afterwards, there was a bit of a bar crawl involving Bulgarian hookahs, Belgian ale and silent televisions playing World Series game three for the Mets fans among us. Photos are few from the indoor portions of the evening, and in-focus ones fewer still. But you can get some sense of what we got up to below.

(And here’s an extra treat for those of you in the UK: a reporter from the one of the biggest newspapers in London flew in just for the event, and an article about us is supposedly forthcoming. Who knows? Maybe it’ll inspire a revolution across the ocean…)

IMG_8558IMG_8525IMG_8573IMG_8559IMG_8659IMG_8660Happy Halloween, all.