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IMG_7191The last days of summer are always bittersweet for us — we wait through months of fall and winter and early spring for it finally to be warm enough for us to go outdoors without coats on, never mind with nothing at all on from the waist up, and then no sooner is it finally nice out than the leaves start falling and it’s sweater weather again. Anyway, that’s what it always feels like.

IMG_6384IMG_6520IMG_7393But here we are in mid-September, and it was nice enough and warm enough and sunny enough for us to hit the grass in Washington Square Park on Friday and not only go topless ourselves but also inspire some strangers who saw us to take their shirts off too. Case in point:

IMG_6928IMG_6964IMG_6976And our new friend wasn’t the only one joining us for the first time. We had more than a dozen people show up for this outing, and most were first timers. They came prepared with books…

IMG_6824IMG_6797IMG_6543fIMG_6699…and vintage comics…

IMG_6816IMG_6684IMG_6704…and a wonderful compendium of sexploitation movie posters from the 1970s:

IMG_6418They came with snacks or partook of the ones we brought.

IMG_6457fIMG_6873IMG_7078(By the way, is there anything like a sweet doughnut and ripe strawberries to make it feel like summer could go on forever?)

IMG_7128IMG_7114And most of all they came with the wonderful, open-minded attitudes all our members have. We’re all ages, all races, all body types, all occupations, and all the same under our clothes. We don’t judge, we don’t preach; we just relax and enjoy the freedom we’re fortunate enough to have, and that too many of our sisters around the globe do not have, or don’t know they have, or are afraid to exercise if they do know. Our goal is to set an example — we enjoy doing that at least as much as we enjoy the sun and the breeze and each other’s company.

IMG_6807IMG_6586IMG_7261IMG_7427And it’s not too late for you to join in. Don’t worry if you’re nervous, or feel shy, or have never done anything like this before. Don’t even worry about the impending colder weather. We’re betting September still has a few more warm days in store for us, and maybe October will too. (And even when it gets too cold to meet outdoors, we always find ways to keep the fun going. But for now, the park still calls…)

IMG_6535Interested? Send us email at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com.  The time to soak up some sun is now — before down coat season begins again.

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IMG_7059Back in May — four months ago now — one of our favorite websites, Jezebel, came to an event we held in Central Park, to film a video piece about our group and the 25th anniversary of the legal decision that established that women in New York have the same right to go topless in public places that men do.

IMG_6608IMG_6612IMG_6553A few days later, they joined us a second time, to film some more footage, this time of one of our members stopping random strangers in Central Park and talking with them about toplessness and equal rights.

IMG_7103IMG_7111IMG_7126IMG_7120Our hope was to see the video run sometime around the anniversary, which was in July.

IMG_7183If you don’t remember ever seeing that video, it’s not your memory that’s at fault. June came and went; the anniversary came and went; August came and went; and now it’s mid-September, and still no video. It’s also not the fault of the excellent videographer who shot and edited the piece, Phoebe Bradford — but for some reason the piece just hasn’t run. Why? We don’t know.

IMG_6513Is it because they didn’t get any footage worth running? Probably not; as recently as August 9, Phoebe wrote, “Excited for the piece to come out!” The only explanation she mentioned for the continuing delay was some concern on the part of Jezebel’s lawyers about not having written releases from every single person they’d filmed. Of course, we wouldn’t have given the interviews in the first place if we didn’t want them used — it’s not like we didn’t know we had a camera pointed at us. (Plus, we were out in a public place! The middle of Central Park!) And we were never asked to sign releases when the New York Times produced a video about us, or either of the times that Salon did. In principle we’d be willing to sign releases this time, but they didn’t ask us to back in May, and by now some of the people they filmed back in May are unreachable — they’re traveling, have gone back to school, have moved or changed email addresses, etc. Some we can contact, some we can’t. But everyone who stood up in front of a camera and spoke for sure intended for the interview to be used. Thinking otherwise is simply bizarre.

IMG_7090So we remain hopeful that Jezebel will eventually let you watch the piece Phoebe shot and edited, and that we gladly participated in. If they don’t want to run it themselves, we hope they’ll share the footage with us so that, if nothing else, we can run it here, on our own site. But until they do one or the other — and there’s no guarantee they’ll do either — we thought we’d at least finally show you some photos we took at these events, and give you a taste of the video that might have been.

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There were not only interviews with us and ones conducted by us, but also a game of topless frisbee!

IMG_7153IMG_7155IMG_7165Now, what sort of cold-hearted villain could possibly capture that on film and not release it…?

Lawyers. That’s who.

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