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!

WNBR in Northern Hemisphere is coming!

World Naked Bike Ride will gather thousands of cyclists in many cities of the Northern Hemisphere to promote cycling as a mode of urban transportation, as well as body acceptance. The dress code is “as bare as you dare”, but in my opinion being naked is the best way to get the message across: cyclists use the power of human body for commuting in the city – so, show that body! – and yet we are the ones who are most prone to the truly indecent exposure to the traffic and vehicle pollution. In most cities, including my current hometown NYC, the ride will be held on Saturday the 13th. You can see the list of participating cities here, though it’s not entirely updated – look up if you have a local World Naked Bike Ride near you!

You can see my reports from WNBR in NYC 2013 and 2012, Boston WNBR 2014, as well as from Madrid in 2009Philly Naked Bike Ride was in is the biggest one I’ve participated so far. As long, as NYPD doesn’t disturb us like last year, we should have a fun ride all along – come and join WNBR NYC if you’re around:
Bodies assembly at 4:00pm, ride departs by 5:00 pm sharp. Arrive early for body painting, trainings, teach-ins, and socializing! Volunteers plan on coming early!
Grand Ferry Park; final route will be communicated to riders who show up only. More details on WNBR NYC wiki page!

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[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.

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

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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!

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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!

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!

WNBR NYC and Free Form Festival: free, arrested and then freer than ever!

Last Friday, the weather in New York city wasn’t the most cooperative for the World Naked Bike Ride, and yet a couple of dozens of hardiest cyclists showed up at the Grand Ferry Park. We welcomed the thunderstorm by dancing naked in the downpour, and as the rain was calming down, we took off to the streets of Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Despite the weather, there were still people on the streets, and we got cheered by pedestrians, other cyclists and car drivers alike! We got some friendly smiles and hand waives even from police. When passers by asked us why we were naked, I replied that skin was waterproof 😉

By the time we got to Washington Square Park, it stopped raining altogether.

WNBR 2014 0005 New York, NY, USA

But some of us seemed to miss water already 🙂

WNBR 2014 0000 New York, NY, USA

I wish New York accepted nudity, at least in parks, and as these rides show, general public doesn’t seem to be opposed to it, once confronted to a cheerful naked crowd.

WNBR 2014 0010 New York, NY, USA

The World Naked Bike Ride aims to promote safe environments for cyclists and public in general, and who would argue that if you can feel safe in your city while being naked, it must be as safe as it gets?

WNBR 2014 0004 New York, NY, USA

Then we headed out to the Hudson Greenway and took some more pictures with iconic views.

WNBR 2014 0001 New York, NY, USA

As to the banner, I personally don’t think NYC should be car-free altogether, but it would definitely become a better city, if half of the drivers switched to bicycles 🙂

WNBR 2014 0003 New York, NY, USA

Unfortunately, our ride after that didn’t go as peaceful and proved that it wasn’t the weather we should have been worried about:

WNBR 2014 0008 New York, NY, USA

All of a sudden, we were overtaken  by an undercover police car (disguised as a yellow cab!) and then even more police came and blocked the street. We can only guess why, but they also arrested two of the participants!

WNBR 2014 0009 New York, NY, USA

It was pleasing to get support from bystanders. One of them shouted that he thought he happened to be in Iran. However, this didn’t stop police, and our two arrestees were detained till next evening! Your can read more at the blog of one of the organizers of New York’s WNBR, Ben, as well as an article from Gothamist.

I was very happy about how our ride went last year, and there is no reason why it should have ended so bitter this year. I’m especially puzzled why this happens in seemingly liberal New York. I bet many spectators of our ride on Friday had that “only in New York” moment, but what they probably didn’t realize was that in many cities of the world and US, the World Naked Bike Ride actually attracts many more riders, and what happens only in New York perhaps is that participants of such rides get arrested. Hopefully, it’ll be better next year. And there’re still some more rides this year too, including WNBR Boston next Saturday, June 28 (read this announcement about at Boston Magazine).

 

Last weekend, I went to Free Form Festival at The Schuylkill County Fairgrounds, PA,  and it was a nice and necessary breath of freedom after I witnessed the arrest at WNBR.

Free Form Festival 2014 0000 Pennsylvania, USA

This festival celebrates anything positive and artsy, anything that brings people together and raises the spirit, and social nudity is a part of it.

I started off with a naked lunch, which by coincidence seemed to be all Tuscan style – featuring Tuscan salami, Tuscan bean salad, and Tuscan salami – despite I bought those at different places without thinking about it :p

Free Form Festival 2014 0004 Pennsylvania, USA

Free Form Festival follows the format of Burning Man, just at a smaller scale and with grass instead of dust.

Free Form Festival 2014 0003 Pennsylvania, USA

I didn’t take many photos, as it was more about having fun and interacting with people.

Free Form Festival 2014 0001 Pennsylvania, USA

Even though nudity is not common there, it’s definitely welcome. As you can see at this photo from a contact workshop, where we pretended to be a school of fish, nobody had a problem with following a naked dude.

Free Form Festival 2014 0002 Pennsylvania, USA

At night, everybody gathered for the effigy burn, and a few people, including me, were dancing naked around. One of the fire spinners got naked too, and had a solo performance on the side. Also, a guy whose dance style was more like Tai Chi got naked too and taught me a couple of principal Tai Chi moves. Then he brought me to a creek with cold water behind the amphitheater. And that was my experience of duality – this year’s theme of Free Form Festival – fire and water, heat and cold, light and darkness…

Hopefully, events like the World Naked Bike Ride and Free Form Festival will make world a more open, accepting and freer place, so that you can feel safe even naked!

some upcoming events this month

WNBR NYC 2014

World Naked Bike Ride will gather thousands of cyclists in many cities of the Northern Hemisphere to promote cycling as a mode of urban transportation, as well as body acceptance. The dress code is “as bare as you dare”, but in my opinion being naked is the best way to get the message across: cyclists use the power of human body for commuting in the city – so, show that body! – and yet we are the ones who are most prone to the truly indecent exposure to the traffic and vehicle pollution. In most cities, the ride will be held on Saturday, 14 June, but in New York City, it’s on Friday the 13th. This will be a hell of a fun ride: an awesome way to finish off the work week, to say the least! You can see my reports from WNBR in NYC last year and 2012, as well as from Madrid in 2009; Philly Naked Bike Ride is in August, and with 3500 participants last year is the biggest one I’ve participated. Although I don’t know the reasons why WNBR is held on a different day here in New York than in most the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, I’m glad that it’s on Friday, because it lets me go for the weekend to yet another amazing event.

Free Form Festival brings together the vast East-Coast creative arts community from 12-16 June at at The Schuylkill County Fairgrounds, Pennsylvania. With its aim to “increase diversity in our local artistic landscape”, it will surely be interesting and fun, and by the way, it is an officially clothing-optional event too! Tickets are still on sale and may be purchased by clicking here. Who else is going?

I’m also looking forward to ‘Bouncing Buns7k Trail Race in Pennsylvania for American Cancer Society on the 21st of June. 7km is the longest distance that I’ve seen for a naked or clothing-optional race – it’s good to be challenged, moreover for a good cause. Well, in 2012, I passed the challenge pretty well, coming in third! I ran a bit faster last year, but with fiercer competition, I had only 7th result. This year, I cannot hope to run faster, as I’m still not 100% recovered after my ankle injury, but will I have less fun? Of course not! With 150 or so naturist folks of all shapes and ages, everybody can feel comfortable in their own skin. However, I’m going with a couple of fellows again, and it doesn’t hurt to have some healthy competition, just like with the friends in ‘Team America’ that I got to know last year. The event is organized by Pretzel City Sports and you can register for the race at their website: $25 before June 9, $32 after. Part of your registration fee will support American Cancer Society, and afterwards you get an opportunity to hang out at Sunny Rest naturist resort, where the trail race will take place. It’s a great opportunity to run just the way you like. The event is clothing-optional, and we’ll certainly opt for the style of the [authentic] Olympic runners 😉 Also, if you have any doubts about running naked, have a look at my brief overview that links running and our naturally naked (furless) body from an evolutionary perspective – I hope it’ll make sense to you. Besides participating in the race, we also plan to do some yoga at Sunny Rest, as well as play badminton and volleyball.

Last but not least, as the beach season has commenced, it’s worth mentioning that there is a Groupon sale for the Seastreak ferry from Manhattan to Sandy Hook beach: $25 instead of regular $45. Unfortunately, unlike in previous years, there is no $30 coupon on Seastreak’s website, and you can only get one groupon ticket…

body art in a new light

Camping trips are usually associated with such visually pleasing activities as watching fire and starry sky, but on our outing to Painted Canyon (aka Mecca Hills), California, we had a rather artsy experience – light painting. It’s a photographic technic that uses a light source for “painting” (illuminating certain parts with certain colors) or “drawing” while the camera captures the scene at a prolonged exposure time. Ramon thought of it as soon as he saw a small light with red laser pointer on my key chain. It was of course very different from watching fire, because we were actively creating the imagery, but the other hand it lacked immediacy, as we couldn’t appreciate the result fully until we saw the photos on a bigger screen. However, it didn’t stop us from being engaged with light painting for most of the evening

naturist 0000 body art light

Here, I became fire spirit.

naturist 0001 body art light

Don was about to start flying with his multiple arms that emitted electric pulses…

naturist 0002 body art light

and then he became a pure spirit after separating from the shady and sketchy alter egos.

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Meanwhile, I was fighting with the Devil himself.

naturist 0005 body art light

Despite his tricky rasteira (a movement in capoeira used to sweep or pull an opponent’s leg in response to a kick), I still won…

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and became a god of lighting!

naturist 0007 body art light

So, this is what happens when naturists turn into artists 😉 Next day, we also had an amazing hike in the Painted Canyon.

naturist 0008 body art light

The next opportunity for body art, even though it will be a very different experience, is next week already  – “New York Naked Painting Party – World Tour Kick Off!” – see you there?

body art at Times Square

US is often portrayed as a pretty uptight nation, but luckily there are people who challenge this view. One of them is the artist Andy Golub. He creates body art at landmark locations of New York City. Body painting in this case not only serves as an art act but also promotes body acceptance, i.e. it helps people to see human body as something normal and nothing to be ashamed of (as oddly, as it sounds – how come that we actually need that?). As you may know from my blog, I feel very comfortable naked, and I have been to numerous events that involved full body painting, but doing it at Times Square brings it to the next level.

naturist 0000 body paint art, Times Square, New York, NY, USA

When I arrived there, Andy Golub and his team had already been painting several people for a couple of hours… surrounded by dozens of onlookers. I guess for all models it took some time to get used to be in the centre of attention, but the general atmosphere of fun and encouragement made it easy to enjoy it! This is definitely a good exercise for your confidence 😉

naturist 0001 body paint art, Times Square, New York, NY, USA

I couldn’t wait to join the fun and get painted. What colours would I get?

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Finally, it was my turn, and Andy brought me to his assistants – Gypsy Twins, as they called themselves.

naturist 0002 body paint art, Times Square, New York, NY, USA

Andy gave them an idea as to how he envisioned me painted, and there I was getting covered in gold. First, I kept my shorts on, to make the transition less ‘shocking’ to the audience, but not for too long 😀

naturist 0003 body paint art, Times Square, New York, NY, USA

I don’t think I’ve ever been that shiny!

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Then, it was time for face. It was quite contrasting to the rest of the body, but regardless, it felt almost hypnotic to get my face painted by both twins simultaneously.

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After that, the master himself was about to paint me.

naturist 0008 body paint art, Times Square, New York, NY, USA

It took him a moment to get an idea,

naturist 0009 body paint art, Times Square, New York, NY, USA

and shortly, a black pattern was emerging on my chest.

naturist 0010 body paint art, Times Square, New York, NY, USA

All this time, I and the rest of the models were constantly being photographed by the crowd and Andy Golub’s crew. Most of the photos in this blogpost are courtesy of Arthur.

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After we were done with painting, it was the time for photo shoots.

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Needless to say, most of the audience loved it, someone provided his skateboard as a stage for one of our models.

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I’m not generally into posing, but the fellow model Sky got me inspired.

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When else could I do a naked handstand at Times Square? I didn’t want to miss that opportunity!

naturist 0012 body paint art, Times Square, New York, NY, USA

Obviously, many people were curious about what was happening, and you could see all kinds of reactions but almost all were positive. Many people were surprised to find out it was totally legal. It was funny to hear that even when people were baffled at first, they immediately approved the event as soon as they heard the magic word ‘art’ – why are we so attached to labels?

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Luckily, some people noticed another important aspect of this body art event – the models were of different ages and body complexions, which certainly promoted body acceptance.

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And could there be any better place for that than Times Square?

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The Statue of Liberty obviously approved that! Would there be liberty without nudity, and would there be art without nudes? (I know, someone else already said that.)

naturist 0017 body paint art, Times Square, New York, NY, USA

Thus, despite the ban on clothes-free recreation at some Fire Island beaches this year and nudity ban in San Francisco, success of the World Naked Bike Ride in NYC this year, and now body art performances in landmark locations in Manhattan by Andy Golub give us hope!

PS Andy is planning more similar acts, so keep your eyes open!

World Naked Bike Ride, NYC edition 2013, is on Saturday, 8 June!

World Naked Bike Ride is coming to New York City again, on Saturday, the 8th of June, together with many other cities around northern hemisphere. I’ll repeat again, that it is a worldwide demonstration promoting cycling as an urban mode of transportation, as well as body acceptance. Riding naked is symbolic and effective way to draw attention to vulnerability of people against the traffic and pollution, and it also shows that being nude is not lewd. Please refer to my previous post why I think we really need this demonstration to be seen and heard in New York City particularly.

Even if you don’t consider yourself an environmental activist or are not sure about public nudity, consider another great aspect of WNBR – fun! I’ve participated in this event in Madrid and New York, as well as at Burning Man last year, and it’s always great fun!

Refer to the official wiki-page of WNBR-NYC and Facebook page for details.

Can New York make it as big as London? or at least Madrid?

World Naked Bike Ride – London – Big Ben

WNBR – London – Piccadilly Circus

Something is missing here!

Times Square – no WNBR?

Black light body paint party in NYC tomorrow + a couple of announcements

Tomorrow, the Gallery Bar in East Village will once again turn into naked dance and body paint extravaganza. I’ve been to a couple of their previous events, and they were a lot of fun. This time it’s going to be a little crazier, as the paint will be glowing in the dark!

Curiously, these events are organised by Social Exposure Media, which isn’t a nudist group, but they manage to get a good turnout of happy naked people, I bet many of whom are first-timers. The webpage with info of the party is courtesy of Young Naturists America, however.

I also would like to add that my silence in the last weeks was mainly due to two amazing travels, which will definitely make several excellent entries for this blog 😉 One of them, as you can guess from my previous announcements, was of course Burning Man. Meanwhile, my friend Juan finally got his first blogpost published, congratulations! Soon we’ll add English translation.

Stay tuned!