camp Gymnasium at Burning Man 2016

Burning Man festival this year saw the second installation of our theme camp Gymnasium, which refers to the Ancient Greek institution for athletics, philosophy and socializing. You can read more about the concept of our camp on its webpage, but here is our report with some imagery that should help you imagine what it was like (or evoke some good memories, if you participated in our events).

naturist philosophy camp Gymnasium 0000 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Even though our theme camp was first conceived with an idea to revive the ideals of the Ancient Olympics, this year besides the athletics we put more effort into another aspect of the concept of ‘gymnasium’ in its original meaning – philosophical discussions (with wine). For one session, each participant received a quote of a Greek philosopher and lead discussion on its subject, which let us cover all kinds of topics. We also had a session when we talked about our personal attitudes towards nudity as well as our views on the possible role for naturism in the [default] society. The common theme was the feeling of liberation and bonding with others that brings the simple act of social nudity – and the photos here seem to confirm that.

An entirely new idea for this year was the gymnastics wheel (aka German wheel). Several month before the festival, I stumbled upon a photo with German wheel gymnasts from 1920’s and immediately got an impression that it would be a big hit at Burning Man. As you can see below, it provided a perfect link between the theme of our camp and the theme of Burning Man this year  – ‘Da Vinci’s Workshop’.

naturist gymnastics wheel Vitruvian Man camp Gymnasium 0000 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

We of course refer to the drawing of the Vitruvian Man by Da Vinci, and expectedly the Man himself took the iconic shape this year.

Vitruvian Man

We were so happy to see that our idea was immediately understood by other burners – as soon as we rolled the wheel onto the playa, we had people queuing to take a picture,

naturist gymnastics wheel camp Gymnasium 0002 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

and it seemed like it was self-explanatory that one was supposed to get naked for a photo à la Vitruvian Man 🙂

naturist gymnastics wheel camp Gymnasium 0001 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

This was a big success in terms of bringing all kinds of people to try a new fun activity in the buff and in public,

naturist gymnastics wheel camp Gymnasium 0004 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

and they were creative with poses.

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But we didn’t forget the primary function of the gymnastics wheel,

naturist gymnastics wheel camp Gymnasium 0003 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

and  the flat playa surface was perfect to roll it.

We had to be careful to avoid possible injuries, as even one rotation proved to be a lot more difficult than we had anticipated. The gymnastics wheel turned out to be a great magnet for people back at the camp too – dozens of passers by stopped to try it every day; only a few managed though, even with helpers.

naturist gymnastics wheel camp Gymnasium 0075 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

In their defense, I have to note that in the first days we only knew one, difficult way of holding yourself in the wheel during rotation: pushing up with your arms with all power while maintaining them as straight as possible. That was until someone came by and said that there had been a workshop on gymnastics wheel at Hellfire Society camp. (On what subject isn’t there a workshop at Burning Man?) So we went there, and the camp lead gladly arranged another workshop specially for us. It turned out that while our technique wasn’t impossible, the typical and much better way to hold yourself during rotation on the wheel was by hooking your feet.

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After we learned that, the success rate among all the newbies to gymnastics wheel skyrocketed, and we were on the roll 🙂

naturist run camp Gymnasium 0000 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Our first athletic event in the week was the running race.

naturist run camp Gymnasium 0002 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

This year we only had a short race on our street,

naturist run camp Gymnasium 0001 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

but it was a nice way to get attention from our neighbors and passers by.

naturist run camp Gymnasium 0004 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

It was all for fun, but it was a competition nevertheless.

naturist run camp Gymnasium 0005 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

It was no surprise that David won the race, as he was among the top runners at Bouncing Buns trail race two years ago.

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Our Gymnasium also offered daily fitness exercises, with Matt leading push-up sessions every morning.

naturist camp Gymnasium 0000 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

This year we had a certified yoga/acro-yoga instructor among our campmates,

naturist acro-yoga camp Gymnasium 0002 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

so we had a few sessions at the camp

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and also played a bit on the playa.

naturist acro-yoga camp Gymnasium 0000 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

We probably should have spent a little more time posing with those amazing and massive art pieces,

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5702/30885939485_b68b54a42d_z_d.jpg

but unfortunately some of them were burned much earlier in the week than we had anticipated (e.g. the pyramids on Friday morning).

naturist camp Gymnasium 0001 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Some installations were quite interactive and served as great frames for photos, literally.

naturist camp Gymnasium 0002 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Other installations referred to familiar views of the “default world”, like NYC skyline at the Kostume Kult, making the whole experience only more surreal…

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(I wish we could sip our morning coffee in Manhattan just like that!)

Unfortunately I enjoyed my nights out in an immediate manner, and recorded neither my own naked dancing on the ashes of the burned Man and at the White Ocean nor the performance by a couple of naked fire-spinners at the Mayan Warrior art car, which was probably my favorite mutant vehicle in terms of the music (and certainly in terms of the lights). But here is a short clip from that night I found online, where you can see those two naked fire-spinners, but resting in the crowd at the time – perhaps a video with their performance will appear at some point too, but I’m just happy to have witnessed it.

As you can see, our camp was primarily focused on providing interactive events rather than art and installations,

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but we arranged some decorations to highlight our reference to Ancient Greece.

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This year we added a statue depicting Hercules wrestling Diomedes for his 8th labor. By the way, I haven’t been able to find an explanation behind that ‘penile grip’ – so if there are specialists in history of art among the readers here, please enlighten us in the comments 😎

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Speaking of wrestling, finally getting to our camp’s most famous feature – naked oil wrestling – with more than 600,000 views of our last year’s wrestling video on Vimeo and a mention in the Independent, we can truly say famous!

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0000 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

As you’d expect, our wrestling matches are preceded by oiling up (with a pure Greek olive oil),

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which feels great in the arid environment of Black Rock City.

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Our entertainers led the show,

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and we had a good turnout of spectators and participants for all three matches that we hosted.

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Just like last year, we used sumo wrestling rules, as the simplest to adopt at a festival setting.

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The wrestlers had to stay within the boundaries of the blue mats,

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and only their feet were allowed to touch the ground.

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There was a great deal of pushing

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and lifting,

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or even carrying the opponent outside the rink.

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Though pushing was certainly the favorite technique,

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and sometimes our puzzle mats did not withstand all that force.

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But some matches looked a lot more elegant,

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almost like a dance.

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And surely it helped to possess a good grip (which the oil made more difficult)

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and/or ability to escape one (which the oil made easier).

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We had some well matched participants,

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so their matches were intense

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and unpredictable.

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Sometimes we’d need a few judges to decide who stepped outside or touched the ground first, but often enough the victory was clear.

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When the most active participants had wrestled each other a few times, we selected those with most victories for semifinals and finals.

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You could tell the finalists took the competition seriously,

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although all they’d get was a laurel wreath and glory, just like in the authentic Olympic Games 😉

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After the winner was determined for each of our three competitions,

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we awarded them at our ‘temple’.

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And the winners awarded us with their glorious smiles 🙂

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Besides giving the golden laurel wreath,

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we added one more touch of the Ancient Greek ceremony by scraping dust, oil and sweat from the winners with a strigil (bought on eBay, supposedly authentic!)

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0001 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

And here is a video compilation from the wrestling matches – our only video from Burning Man this year. Enjoy, hopefully it’s a good reward for your long wait for our report!

 

NuDance class promo sale!

We’d like to remind that our NuDance class is live and kicking, and as a special promotion this weekend from Black Friday to Cyber Monday you can buy any class in December for just $5 – all 5 classes of December would cost you only $25! Not a bad deal, is it? Surely you can learn quite a lot in a month, so if you are in NYC and around – come and join the NuDance movement 😉

And yes, we are long overdue with our report re Burning Man experience this year, but it’s coming. And here is just another reminder about the nu-dancing video we shot at Burning Man last year with our instructor damoN – still can’t get enough of it!

 

on being a building block of a city made of humans…

I know many of you are eagerly awaiting our report from Burning Man, but I am still working on the photos. However, this reminded me that I’m also overdue with reporting on an ambitious photo/digital art project by Angelo Musco, where I participated as one of the numerous models… but became a focal figure in the final art piece! You can read about this project in the Huffington Post article, or watch the video below to get the idea and the work behind it.

By the way, can you spot me?

Angelo Musco – Sanctuary

I really like Angelo Musco’s works, which create intricate landscapes and shapes made of hundreds of human bodies. I have been following his art for a while, and was happy to finally be able to participate in his work as a model this June.

Looking at his previous works, I was wondering if I’d be even able to spot myself in this immense ‘Sanctuary’…

so I felt very honored when I found out that I got in the spotlight, being a landing spot for the butterfly, which, as mentioned in the video, symbolizes metamorphosis.

I hope that I’ll be able to see the actual printout at an exhibition – whether in New York, or any other city,

as I am sure that will be a much better way to fully appreciate this masterpiece than on a computer screen.

But it’ll be also fun to try to spot myself as a ‘brick’ in a wall or a part of a column of one of those towers…

And just a few words about the photoshoot: Even for a person like me, who is naked whenever possible and has participated in massive events involving social nudity, e.g. Philly Naked Bike Ride and NYC Body-Painting Day, this was a very special experience. The way we, models, had to act and interact with each other was quite unique and intimate – it was a bonding experience for all of us, although we mostly didn’t know each other at all. It was interesting to participate in something together while only guessing what the final product would look like, and feeling like becoming a part of something much, much bigger. And the result is quite amazing indeed!

PS It was also my first time naked in a church. (Yes, the NYC photoshoot took place in a church!)

NuView from NuDance

Our NuDance project has become a regular feature now, with nude dance classes on Friday nights in Midtown Manhattan. We have fun trying to imitate and learn from our instructor damoN, and then sometimes going out together to New York City’s nightclubs (where we do have to wear clothes, though). Our long-term goal is to stage a performance, perhaps also attracting external professional dancers, and also organize a naked dance party in the city. If you are interested, let us know and get on our  e-mail list for updates as well as to find out the location and timing of the classes.

Meanwhile, enjoy our new video, which is a sequel to ‘Bare Beach Piano‘.

camp Gymnasium at Burning Man 2015

Here comes our report from Burning Man festival this year, when 18 of us gathered together to create a camp themed around Gymnasium as an Ancient Greek institution for athletics, philosophy and socializing. You can read more about the concept of our camp on its own webpage; we launched this project a few months earlier at FreeForm Festival, and here you can see how it came about at the festival of festivals, Burning Man. (But keep in mind that this is by no means an attempt to write about the festival as a whole, there simply “too much” fun stuff happens to be able to grasp more than just a fraction of it.)

After months of preparation, the last days before the festivals were very exciting but also a bit scary – with this endeavor being our first experience as such a theme camp, something was likely to go wrong! Indeed, our early arrival/construction crew had a flat tire at the start of the trip in San Francisco, and as we collected all the stuff that we planned to carry to Black Rock City, we realized we had to buy an extra trailer. We resolved all the issues smoothly but experienced another setback due to the weather, as on Saturday before the opening of the festival, when we had planned to construct our camp, a severe dust storm took place; we could only enter Black Rock City in the evening and started construction early on Sunday.

naturist gymnasium 0001 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

Well, luckily we didn’t plan on building anything complicated, so we raised most of our shade structures before the rest of our campmates arrived. (Then later on in the afternoon a strong gust almost blew off a part of our shade structure, bending some of the carrying metal parts and tearing apart one of the tarps, but we were able to fix it; although it doesn’t say so in the instructions, it is apparently important to fix the structure with additional ropes and rebar.)

naturist gymnasium 0005 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

The final touch was putting up the banner of our camp.

naturist gymnasium 0009 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

Our location was great – at 7:30 Portal and A, we were at a busy intersection, but also with  easy access to the Esplanade and an open view all the way to the man.

naturist gymnasium 0002 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

And that view proved to be nothing short of amazing on the first night, with the supermoon rising next to the Man statue.

naturist gymnasium 0004 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

Another nature’s wonder was a mini-tornado coming to us from the playa –

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it was not any dangerous though, as you can see in the video below.

Well, this video shows a few other things too, but there’s still a lot more to the story (and two more videos) – so keep on reading. A couple more words about the camp:

naturist gymnasium 0013 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

We had a simple bike rack available for the visitors (note the horse head masks used for its decoration, I’ll mention them later).

naturist gymnasium 0014 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

For decoration, we used an olive tree (artificial – live plants are prohibited at Burning Man), columns adorned with ivy, and a small statue of Poseidon (without a trident, to make him look more like a generic Ancient Greek athlete…) – next time, we plan to team up with a 3D-printing camp to make a bigger statue.

naturist gymnasium 0015 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

The schedule of our activities was put daily on the blackboard.

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Our first event included two running races – a 100-yard sprint

naturist gymnasium 0006 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

and a longer, approx. 1.8 km run from our camp to the Man and back.

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The sprint was won by Chris, and the long run by yours truly 🙂

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Admittedly, there weren’t that many participants, but it was still very early in the week, while many camps were still wrapping up their construction. We had other races planned, e.g. piggy-back and barrel-run, as we did at FreeForm, but we had to postpone and eventually cancel those due to dust storms and because the horse head masks which were meant for the final run of that race were stolen borrowed without asking from our bike rack. We also had to cancel our only night event – ‘discus  (LED-lit frisbee) throw in the dark… and in the buff’ – because the nights were bitterly cold in the second half of the week! (Though as you can briefly see in the video above, we still managed to dance naked at some night parties getting warm by the fire from the art cars.)

Our ‘Naked Philosophy’ session was more of a personal introduction among our camp mates, as we did not know each of us in person; and then we discussed our experience in naturism and what it meant for us.

Our most successful event by far was the naked oil wrestling, and here is our second video dedicated to it. Unfortunately some of the video is quite blurry, because oil got on my camera, and most of the footage was not usable at all :-/ Oh well, at least it was a GoPro in a sealed casing, so the camera was totally fine after washing.

Our naked oil wrestling drew a lot of attention, even people in fancy mutant vehicles stopped to watch the match.

naturist wrestling gymnasium 0012 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

As at FreeForm Festival, we used sumo rules, which are the easiest to follow from all wrestling types, and added some Greekness to it with olive oil (and nudity), as a reference to the authentic Olympics.

naturist wrestling gymnasium 0014 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

Each match started with ceremonial wide steps, and then opponents tried to push each other

naturist wrestling gymnasium 0004 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

until one of them stepped outside the ring;

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and the soles of the feet were the only part of the body allowed to touch the ground – so pushing the opponent down could also work.

naturist wrestling gymnasium 0041 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

But perhaps the most effective approach is simply carrying the opponent outside the ring, preferably keeping him upside down! 😀

naturist wrestling gymnasium 0043 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

For each pair, the victory was decided in 2 wins out of 3 matches.

naturist wrestling gymnasium 0026 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

We didn’t structure the whole event as an ultimate competition though – anyone could challenge whoever they wanted, and more than once. But we had two wrestlers that stood out

naturist wrestling gymnasium 0022 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

and were well matched –

naturist wrestling gymnasium 0048 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

so their sparring was very intense and captivating.

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But even the fiercest match ended with a hug.

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And both of them received well-deserved golden laurel wreaths!

our winners!
our winners!

(By the way, I lost their contact, so if anyone knows them – please put us in touch!)

After the final match, all wrestlers were welcome to go to an amazing massive group shower ‘perfoamance’ at the camp called ‘Something Freaky Foams This Way’. Next day, we arranged the same competition at their camp – so that people queuing up to get foamed would try their strength in wrestling and entertain the public, and skip the line.  We got in touch with one of the organizers of this camp at FreeForm Festival, and this was the best collaboration we could ask for – getting clean and relaxed felt particularly amazing after days in the dust and then even more so after wrestling. Decent showers are obviously quite sought-after at Burning Man, but this camp brings the whole experience to the next level by making it a massive group (40 people at a time) and entertaining activity (with countdown and music, water and foam sprayed under high pressure).

Here are some more photos from the wrestling matches at our camp and ‘Something Freaky Foams This Way’, if the ones above and the video aren’t enough.

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Besides planned events, we had a few spontaneous activities, e.g. dance practices by Antony and damoN.

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Unfortunately, we don’t have any footage of our fun session of a naked Greek dance with music from ‘Zorba the Greek’. It was lead by our new friend from another camp, and he rightfully suggested we would like the idea of performing this dance naked, which he said was his fantasy from a while ago, when he learned it at a Greek restaurant.

And if you follow this blog, you shouldn’t be surprised seeing some naked capoeira here 🙂

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And with Tam around, acro-yoga was bound to happen sooner or later –

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to our own and guests’ entertainment.

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Then we toured a bit around the playa and did more acro-posing with some of Burning Man’s most interesting art constructions in the background.

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This structure proved to combine very well with acro-yoga,

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as its multiple lines were quite easy to align with the body parts of the posers.

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From afar, it looked as if the giant metal ball was resting on Antony supported by Tam’s legs…

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or arms.

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Then we posed with the Man himself –

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can you spot him here?

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And how could we forget ‘the Woman’?

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(This statue is actually called R-Evolution.)

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And one of the Mars Molecules seemed to be designed perfectly for acro-yoga, not just as a background, but as a base too.

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Here is a composition with three men again.

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And now, three men intertwined into one ‘laughing dragon’ –

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laughing and causing laughter in viewers alike.

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There were a few other camps that offered activities in the buff. Besides washing your body from all the dust, sweat and, in our case, also oil at the ‘perfoamance’ camp, cleaning the nose from accumulating dust seemed like a good idea too… and of course there was a camp for that – Neti’s (naked) Nose Spa – and naked too! I really liked how I felt afterwards, so when I got home I immediately ordered a neti pot. Some events were missed due to dust storms or cold nights (e.g. black light naked twister), others I simply forgot about (e.g. naked skateboarding session).

naked skateboarding at Burning Man 2015

The camp across the street from us, Decadent Oasis, provided the best light show at night, with their technicolor ever-changing palm trees and great music. We were invited to do a striptease for their bachelorette party, though we first had to find some clothes to put on 😀 They also had a slackline,

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and we were treated with a show of really good slackline walker  who was naked and walked it all way through.

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He must be quite good at balancing, as I remember this guy on a unicycle at the Naked Pub Crawl 3 years ago.

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Speaking of which, the Naked Pub Crawl was again among the best events at Burning Man

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and certainly the largest naked one.

naturist naked pub crawl 0002 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

You can see more of it in the first video above,

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but as you can guess from the name, it involves cycling naked around Black Rock City with hundreds of fellow burners and getting drinks at participating camps.

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Duckpond camp offered some extra entertainment with their ‘mechanical bull’ ride,

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but unfortunately my favorite part from the Naked Pub Crawl 3 years ago – the slip’n’slide “duckpond” – was absent, being apparently prohibited by the state health agency… A slight consolation came from a slide at another camp, which was down a giant sheep’s ass 😀

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But we did plenty of naked cycling on our own too,

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exploring the playa and its installations.

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One of the most intriguing and impressive was the Totem of Confessions,

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which featured plenty of nudity in its decoration among other elements.

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Another view of the R-Evolution statue.

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Riding on the bike in the heat of the day felt pretty nice thanks to the light wind (unless it turned into a dust storm!)

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But the best conditions seemed to be around sunset time – the sun wasn’t scorching but it was still very warm before the onset of the cold night, and the air was still – that’s when we liked strolling around in our altogethers. But the photo below shows how you can be well protected against the elements while being naked!

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And for comparison, this is how the same place looked like one day after the end of the festival…

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Sad that everything has to come to an end, but on the other hand Burning Man celebrates immediacy, so realization of the temporary nature of… everything is part of the festival.

view 0007 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

We made sure to leave no trace behind us and were ready to go home for the next adventure. Gymnasium proved to be a great experience for its organizers and visitors alike (hopefully all of them, let me know if not) and will hopefully develop only more in years to come!

And here is our third, bonus video with damoN performing on the playa. This was shot while the festival was still rocking, just outside Black Rock City. In case you thought it was difficult to escape from the crowds at this massive festival, it is actually easy to find a place where you can be alone when you would like to reconnect with your ‘inner self’; and the vast open landscape of the desert will only help with that. But it’s good to know that you’re next to the city full of your friends or yet-to-become friends.

bare dance on a bare beach

Many of you are eagerly awaiting updates from our experience as a theme camp at Burning Man, but it will take some time to get through all the amazing photos and videos – stay tuned, it’s worth the wait 😉 Meanwhile, enjoy our new video from the NuDance project.

We see dance as a celebration of human body in movement, and what a better way to celebrate and appreciate it than in the nude? Beach provides a great setting for dancing in the buff, and those old poles remind of piano keys, referring to the soundtrack by Eric Prydz – ‘Pjano’. We experiment with masks here to shift focus on body expression.

By the way, we will have our last beach session of this summer at Sandy Hook this Saturday – Gunnison Beach on the right side at 16:00. Then we plan to start again regular weekly classes in New York City; if you are interested, get on our  e-mail list for updates and find out the location and timing of the classes.

hypnotic fire spinning… that’s our “burning” man!

This blogpost is a bit unusual for this blog, as it is dedicated to just one video, and it is more of an artistic value than informative re naturist activities. Though, of course it features a naturist, and a very active one. (On the other hand, you needn’t go much further than the previous post to see that naturism and art can be a great blend.) I shot this video when I went to Sunny Bowl, yet another naked volleyball tournament, at Sunny Rest, a nudist resort in Pennsylvania that readers of this blog may know from my reports on the annual 7k trail race there. I love these events as they attract many people who are both into sports and hanging out naked – my favorite combo – but then there is always even more to them than just sports. So, this time too, our games and parties were accompanied by excellent music with DJ Ashley Crawford and a great fire show, which is what the video is about. As I watched the original videos, I had a tune in my head that was just released right after that weekend (‘Opus’ by Erick Prydz), and somehow it clicked that it would fit perfectly to the fire spinning show. I first thought I’d select just a a few short clips and combine them into a minute long video, but after playing with different speeds, I wanted to overlay the video on the whole track. I highly recommend watching this video in the dark for the best, hypnotic effect; put it in full screen mode, turn the music up, sit back and enjoy!

On another note, watching this naked man spinning fire poi, it’s hard not to think of Burning Man – he’s a perfect personification of the festival! By the way, preparations are in full swing for our theme camp, Gymnasium. If you have a ticket and would like to join, contact us, we have place for a couple more people! Too bad that this guy won’t be there, but I’ll see him and many other naturist volleyball friends at the Naked Volleyball SuperBowl, which is right after Burning Man.

recap of the BodyPainting Day in NYC

NYC BodyPainting Day It’s no surprise that body painting works best with naked people, and Andy Golub brings this art form to the next level by arranging massive body painting sessions in public spaces. While I thoroughly enjoyed those body painting parties that used to be quite common in New York a couple of years ago, it is a totally different experience when you get painted by a professional artist while being watched by dozens if not hundreds of passers-by somewhere like Times Square – you do feel like you become a piece of art! And that was the theme of the 2nd annual BodyPainting Day – ‘All Bodies Are Works of Art’ – Andy Golub’s  biggest event so far which he organized together with Young Naturists America. In case you missed my report from the first one last year, here it is; and you can still participate in the European gig in two weeks – BodyPainting Day in Amsterdam on the 15th of August. Don’t miss it if you’re around! Here is my recap of the event in New York just a little over a week ago, with 100 models and 70 artists! We first got painted at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza.  It took 2-4 hours for some models to be finished, so it’s a pretty serious commitment for both models and artists. It turned out that my artist, Naty, and I had a friend in common, but we surely became friends too during the painting process 🙂

I was covered in bright sunset colors and strings of DNA, symbolizing our deeply embedded connection with nature. Our neighbors were a mother and her son painting her. It was really amazing to see how understanding and natural they were with each other – a level of comfort that not many people reach with their parents. And here are some more of my favorite photos:

from the painting process

and a bit of posing

– luckily it didn’t rain!

– reference to last year’s theme – faces?

– my friend from FreeForm Festival; he was supposed to join my theme camp for Burning Man too but had to cancel his trip – well, at least he’s on fire here!

– just chilling on the bench 🙂 – Eve and the evil Serpent in one – probably my favorite work from this year!

After all that painting and posing, we were really hungry, but luckily lunch was included in the program. I bet this was the most amusing workday for that food truck! Lunch break wasn’t too long though, as we marched out towards the UN building. Some posing with police 🙂 Even though it’s legal in New York to be naked for art performances, police gave Andy Golub hard time during his first public body art gigs, so he eventually got a special permit. Good to see police actually being supportive of an event like this! Maybe they won’t arrest us anymore during the World Naked Bike Ride either? As we got to the UN, we were surrounded by a pretty big crowd – maybe some UN workers among them? Hopefully one day the freedom to be naked will be acknowledged as a fundamental human right – the right to be just the way you were born, and the way you are, uncovered. naturist 0000 BodyPainting Day, New York City, NY, USA Well, for now, we need events like this to be able to take a nude photo by the UN building 🙂 naturist 0001 BodyPainting Day, New York City, NY, USA I tried to replicate DNA double helix shape with my body; naturist 0003 BodyPainting Day, New York City, NY, USA handstands weren’t as meaningful, but when else would I get a chance to act like that by the UN? Too bad there probably was nobody to appreciate the view from those offices, as it was Sunday… I actually ride my bicycle on this bike lane a few times a week – this place will never be the same for me! 😀 Then we all (models, artists and photographers) got on two double-decker buses and rode around Manhattan cheering and amusing passers-by – and also being cheered back. The first stop for a group shot was at Rockefeller Center (see the first photo in this post) followed by the NYC Public Library. Then we went down to Washington Square Park, where we started dancing to the music of street musicians, so our appearance was more like a fun flashmob. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fbe1cbo5DiE During those stops we also had an opportunity to talk to people, as many were wondering about the cause. I don’t recall any negative reaction, which once again shows that by far majority of people, once confronted with nudity, don’t actually see it in a way that you might expect judging by our legislation – our bodies are nothing to be ashamed of and on contrary are works of art!

NuDance

Active Naturists present  NuDance, a nude dance movement, at FreeForm Festival this weekend! It may sound new to you, but we see it as urban movement going back to its roots 😉

We are about to start regular weekly classes in New York City, so if you are interested, get on our  e-mail list for updates and find out the location and timing of the classes. We are launching this project at FreeForm Festival as a part of our theme camp Gymnasium. We plan to have more workshops at other festivals, including Burning Man, and outdoor locations (e.g. Sandy Hook beach), as we see nature as a source of inspiration too.

We see dance as a celebration of human body in movement, and what a better way to celebrate and appreciate it than in the nude? We also think that by removing clothes, we’ll get rid of preconceived notions of how we are supposed to move according to the social status and social group associated with clothes; also, different dance styles are usually associated with different attire, whereas we want to give your body full freedom in motion and let you move the way you want  irrespective of style. In other words, free your ass, and your mind will follow!

The class is based on various street/urban dance styles, such as hip-hop, breaking, krump, house, etc.  Electronic music and various mixes will serve as the musical accompaniment for the class, to get your energy flowing and your heart pumping while you have fun, learn and get a great workout in the process! And while these styles may appear utterly modern, many moves and rhythms are traced back to tribal and folk origins. Thus nudity will only add that authentic, raw feel, as in many tropical cultures, as well as the cradle of European civilization, Ancient Greece, dance was often performed naked.

And as a pleasant side effect, you’ll probably learn the moves better than at any other (clothed) class, because you can’t cheat your moves naked 😉

Enjoy this preview with our brilliant instructor damoN, and stay tuned for updates! Join the NuDance Movement!

celestial bodies at Sandy Hook

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Now that the beach season is open in NYC, here is a recap of last year’s fun times at Sandy Hook, and to complete the full circle (and start the new one!) – a couple of photos from the first beach day this year. (Well, first beach day here – as you know, I was in Miami in March :-))

Before I forget, here are useful links for the Seastreak Ferry that goes to Sandy Hook: two $25 dollar offers – Groupon 1 and Groupon 2; and $30 coupon from  website (regular price for return ticket is hefty $45).

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I’ve written on Gunnison Beach of Sandy Hook on multiple occasions (just do a search for “sandy hook” on this website for more); so if you’ve read my blog for a while, you know it’s a kind of beach where you go with with a group of friends, and even if you go alone, you end up with with a few friends anyways 🙂

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… just sometimes you need to dig them up from the sand!

naturist jump

With my friends, our beach day is rarely a passive pastime, as we literally jump around, and frolic in all ways possible.

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While I did some acro-yoga with one David, I was happy to see another David to be almost fully recovered after his surgery and back to do his gymnastics tricks, including a backflip.

naturist flip

Looking forward to doing more gymnastics and capoeira with him this year, just like we did it two years ago! If you’re there, feel free to join us 🙂

I did report about our ball games at Sandy Hook last year, and I hope to do only more of these year. It’d be awesome if we could manage to play foot-volley,

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though unfortunately one of my best friends who was good at football juggling has moved to Hawaii.

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As the evening approaches, the beach is emptying out and calms down.

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If you stay till sunset, you may be a witness of a grand show provided by our two brightest celestial bodies.

crescent moon 0001 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

Last year, I discovered that there is a campground on Sandy Hook. Unfortunately, if you want to stay on the weekend, you have to reserve it well in advance (most Fri and Sat nights for this summer have been booked out already)! The campground itself is not nude-friendly, but you can go back to the beach and experience it like never before.

night naturist 0001 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

These are pictures from Christian and Giorgio –

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they were inspired by the full moon.

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But if you are not lucky enough to capture the full moon,

night naturist 0000 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

you can enjoy the lights of a different kind:

night NYC view 0000 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

New York City at night provides quite a spectacle too.

night NYC view 0001 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

However, I was looking forward to seeing sunrise at Sandy Hook, as the beach faces eastwards.

sunrise 0000 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

Arriving to the beach just before sunrise, to our surprise we were not the first ones, but it was still very different from a day scene there.

sunrise NYC view 0000 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

Well, and even the ‘city that never sleeps’ looked kind of sleepy in those pale morning colors. But the sun was about to come out,

sunrise 0001 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

and we looked away from the city skyline. I don’t see sunrise very often, and there is always something inherently exciting about seeing the rise of our parent star.

sunrise 0003 Sandy Hook, NJ, USAsunrise 0005 Sandy Hook, NJ, USAsunrise 0006 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

It was even more exciting to experience that naked; not to mention that even in August, dawn time is a bit chilly, so the first rays of the sun were very much welcome on my skin!

sunrise 0007 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

The  beach was still pretty empty,

sunrise NYC view 0001 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

and shorebirds such as plovers certainly took advantage of that.

plovers

It is always funny to see how they follow retreating water in search of newly revealed food

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and then hastily run away from approaching waves. They literally live on the edge… of the ocean.

plovers 0003 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

And here is a couple of photos from my first day at Sandy Hook this year – this past Monday. That was apparently the last week until the end of summer when Gunnison Beach was open in its entire length, as already this weekend part of it was closed for an endangered plover species to build nests in the dunes.

shrine 0000 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

No, this is not how plovers’ nests look like. Somebody had built parts of this construction, but then I found it destroyed by the strong wind later in the day. I repaired this “shrine”,

shrine 0001 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA adding an animalistic twist to it. Well, to me it was just an artistic expression, but I can bet that if it ever gets fossilized and then later discovered by future archaeologists, they will get some twisted story to explain it 😀

naturist 0015 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

By the way, I have a strong suspicion of who might have initiated this construction, as someone I got to know last year built something of this kind but even more impressive. This summer has just begun though, so surely we’ll have more stories to share from this amazing place!