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

naturist-backflip-0001-Sandy-Hook,-NJ,-USA

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 🙂

naturist 0012 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

… 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.

naturist 0009 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

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,

naturist 0007 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

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

naturist 0010 Sandy Hook, NJ, USAnaturist 0008 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

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

sunset and crescent moon 0000 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

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 –

night naturist 0002 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

they were inspired by the full moon.

night naturist 0003 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

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

plovers 0002 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

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!

[interactive] arts rock!

Lately, there’s been a lot of discussion whether New York City has lost/ is losing its artistic scene and innovative atmosphere – see if this New York Times article can convince you otherwise. However, I’m happy to be involved with two local artists – Andy Golub and Shungaboy – who have a unique approach to art, which allows people to participate in art rather than being its passive consumer (not that there’s anything wrong with that, though).

Andy Golub is a renowned artist that often uses body as canvas, and he often makes a performance of the process itself too by painting bodies of (often non-professional) models at public places in New York. This is probably as interactive and public as art can get: you yourself may be transformed into a piece of art, in the middle of a busy street! Nudity certainly draws attention, but it also certainly makes people think and re-evaluate their attitude towards human body, such as what can be considered ‘beautiful’ or ‘appropriate’, and this is when art becomes meaningful.

I’ve already written up on two events organized by Andy Golub – body art at Times Square in 2013, and the 1st NYC Bodypainting Day last year. You got it right, that was the 1st Bodypainting Day, so the 2nd must follow and so forth 😉 This year, Andy plans to double the capacity for the event in New York some time in July, but he’s also announced a date for the Bodypainting Day in Amsterdam on the 15th of August 2015! You can hear more about these events and Andy Golub’s ideas during his interview as well as see or even participate in nude body painting demonstration this coming Saturday, 24 Jan, in Nyack, NY.

 

Andy Golub has interviewed himself some of participants of his event (check out his Vimeo channel), here are just two of those.

Felicity from Young Naturists America tells how she feels becoming an art object,

and Sidney loves the public aspect of it.

My friend known by his artist name Shungaboy has just started a group for nude male figure drawing. What I like about this group is that everybody joining the group is expected to participate both as an artist and as a model. This creates a friendly atmosphere, and it also must be useful for models and artists alike to try both roles.
nude male drawing 0000 New York, NY, USA

I am certainly not the only one with this impression, as  Shungaboy’s MeetUp group has proved to be very successful from the first class. I actually had never modeled for a drawing or a painting before that, and it was also nice to brush up my painting drawing skills.

nude male drawing 0003 New York, NY, USA

The workshop allowed 15 minutes for each sketch, and with 14 participants, most models were paired.

nude male drawing 0001 New York, NY, USA

What’s nice about sketch format, is that we could put up our works on the wall for immediate discussion, which kept the whole atmosphere stimulating and interactive.

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Having my photo camera handy, I couldn’t resist taking some pictures

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of the painter and the painting process. Now, that I look at these photos, I think the scene of a nude artist painting nude models itself is worth painting too!

nude male drawing 0002 New York, NY, USA

You can see this and another works of the group clicking on the image below.

 

So, whatever you may think of the art scene in New York these days, if you consider yourself an active or artful naturist, you should definitely check out these groups!

theatre shows to watch this fall in NYC

Yesterday, I saw the premiere of Labyrinth at Abrons Arts Center, as my friend performed there. Even though it does refer to the Greek myth of Theseus, there isn’t much nudity in the play, but I thought I should mention it in my blog still (besides the fact that my friend plays there). Theseus in this play, is trying to understand himself while going through the labyrinth of his memories and emotions. While doing so, he touches more general issues from living in New York City as an artist to relationship with religion/s and global warming. When one of his alter egos talked about New York, he mocked the Naked Cowboy of Times Square, “who isn’t even naked”, so he briefly showed (flashed is probably a better word) what “really naked” was 😉

After the show, I grabbed Abrons Arts Center‘s brochure and found that there were more upcoming shows that featured full nudity. So, I’m definitely coming back for at least two of these!

animalinside

2013 Bessie Award winner Jaro Vinarský returns to the Abrons with his newest duet, ANIMALINSIDE, a suite of poem-like stories, inspired by Hungarian novelist László Krasznahorkai and German painter Max Neumann’s book of the same title. This work for two dancers investigates the extreme states of a man’s relationship to his own body, to another man, and to viewers.

In Dawn, the latest production of Hodworks, the naked human body takes center stage.

HODWORKS: DAWN

A daring piece of radical research, the work demands an exceptionally high level of consciousness, strength, and sensitivity from the performers — just as is to be expected from the Hungarian choreographer Adrienn Hód. Watch trailer here.

Making their American debut, Radio Ballet presents The Nature of Love, a choreographed fictionalization of the private and shared experiences of the performers. Avoiding worn clichés of movements and gestures, their intimate duet is lyrical, unashamedly shy, and a wry commentary on the demented state called love.

a creative sunburnt man at Sandy Hook

naturist juggler 0023 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

This blogpost is our little tribute to the huge festival in the desert that is drawing to an end at this moment. I’ve been to Burning Man only once (in 2012) and would love to come back with my own camp, even though lately I’ve heard and read a lot of controversial opinions as to whether the festival still holds to its creative and accepting principles. Regardless, the idea of encouraging creativity, personal participation and acceptance of any [non-harmful] practices is very attractive, but I’m even more enchanted by people who live by these principles without having visited Burning Man.

naturist juggler 0026 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

I had such an encounter this weekend at Sandy Hook. He built a sort of Woodhenge, if you will, away from the crowded part of the beach, with a bench facing the ocean and a seat facing the sunset; and it was decorated by ornaments of shells on the sand. I was inspired to continue with these decorations, and who knows how it will look like in two weeks, if  it doesn’t get destroyed in a storm… By the way, Burning Man itself started at a nudist beach too, Baker Beach in San Francisco.

naturist juggler 0024 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

Meanwhile, the creator of Sandy Hook’s Woodhenge is also learning the art of juggling. Let’s follow the example and let our creative and playful inner self flourish!

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blue multi-faced humanoids take over New York City

Last Saturday, something incredible happened: blue humanoids with additional faces in unexpected places took over the streets of Midtown Manhattan! No, it’s not a plot of a sci-fi thriller. In fact, the humanoids were greeted by New York denizens and visitors with joy and excitement!

It was New York Body Painting Day, a project by the artist Andy Golub in collaboration with Young Naturists America. I participated in a similar body art event at Times square a year ago, but New York Body Painting Day must have been the biggest so far, with 3o artists and 40 models!

Besides bringing art to the people in the most interactive way imaginable, New York Body Painting Day had a clear message on body acceptance.

We started at Columbus Circle by the corner of Central Park. After the artists spilled their creativity over the models with flying colors,

some of the models helped to finish painting their fellows. By the way, this photo below with my legs being painted by the model-turned-artist made it to an article on BBC website, which was among the top-read news on that day!

Given that my upper body appeared in a cover photo for the last year’s event coverage on NBC, I can only guess what other parts of my body will feature in the top news outlets, if I keep on participating in these events! 😀

The models who were finished earlier strolled to Central Park for a photo shoot.

Here are just a few of my favorite photos. Rocks and trees provided a naturalistic background

and an opportunity for some bolder poses.

Some models did not just pose but performed a little show with hula-hoops.

When all models were ready, we gathered by the fountain at Columbus Circle

and strolled down Broadway.

Being in a very cheerful mood, we of course took every opportunity to stop and play with whatever we encountered on our way.

I was offered to ride a pedicab… Not often do you get a chance to ride a bike naked in New York without risk of getting arrested. Unfortunately, that photo is no longer available from the original source, and I have never downloaded it :-/

The red stairs at Time Square gave us a great opportunity for some group photos.

All eyes on us!

That wasn’t our final stop, however. We then had an entire double-decker bus for ourselves and rode through Midtown to East Village.

I’ve never taken such city sightseeing bus tours, but I assure you this was something else! We had so much fun greeting the crowd and getting their amused and amazed reaction back! We actually got a couple of passers by naked in solidarity with us 🙂 [Unfortunately, that photo is no longer available from the original source, and I have never downloaded it]

But there are some great photos of people’s reaction, which ranged from WTF kind of amusement

to pure cheerful smiles

and I wish I was there look on the face 🙂

And then, that awkward moment when Naked Cowboy realizes he is not actually naked…

We had a break at Andy’s studio with some snacks and art viewing

and then headed back for an after-party.

It was a day to remember for all the participants and spectators alike!

exhibition: Alexander Kargelstev’s Friends and Lovers

The image was taken as a protest against Russia's 'racism and homophobia'

My friend Alexander Kargaltsev has recently made headlines with this image above that was taken as a protest against Russia’s ‘racism and homophobia’.

Kargaltsev's Asylum

I wrote about him and his exhibition about Russian gay asylum seekers in the US more than a year ago, and now he’s staging a new exhibition – “The Last Polaroids: Friends and Lovers” set to open at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York on February 28.

Alexander Kargelstev's Friends and Lovers

Be sure to expect some friendly and lovely nudity, of course.

Alexander Kargelstev's Friends and Lovers

Alexander is also set for a new play, Crematorium:

Putin builds a Crematory in Russia to burn gays. Four couples are picked to test a new machine to turn them straight.

Get tickets here.

Photoexhibition by one of our authors in Sydney: Freedom

Brenton is a prolific blogger and an excellent photographer from Sydney. He contributed to our website a video and a story about his favourite nature retreat in New South Wales, River Island. Naturism and nudity in art are among his recurring themes, and now he has an exhibition of his photo works that combine both aspects, evoking the sensation of comfort in your own body and harmony with nature. He called his exhibition “Freedom” and that is exactly what it feels like.

Here are just a few samples from the Tumblr page of Brenton’s exhibition.

Freedom Exhibition by Brenton Parry

Freedom Exhibition by Brenton Parry

Freedom Exhibition by Brenton Parry

Freedom Exhibition by Brenton Parry