Gymnasium schedule at Burning Man 2016 + 2 tickets available for new campmates

In less than a month, our theme camp Gymnasium will come again to the much anticipated Burning Man festival. If you read this and plan to be there, I’m pretty sure you’ll want to visit our camp. And if you wanted to go but couldn’t get tickets, we have good news for you – two tickets and a vehicle pass are available through our camp, please e-mail us or leave a comment here! New members are very welcome!

You can read about our theme camp idea on its page, and check out our last year’s experience, including the famous naked oil wrestling:

This year we shall enjoy our new big fun toy – gymnastics wheel (aka German wheel), which should be a lot of fun to roll on the playa. And given this year’s theme for Burning Man – ‘Da Vinci’s Workshop’, we can use it as a photo booth to take photographs a la Vitruvian Man.

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Below is the schedule of our events, but keep in mind that we plan to do even more than we have announced – so stop by our camp at 8:15 & Donatello and you’ll find something fun to do and learn… all in the buff!  And what is mind-boggling is that it’s all just a tiny fraction of all the “craziness” that Burning Man is!

  • Butt-Cheeky Run Come get your burn started – with the sun’s soft caresses on your butt cheeks! The Ancient Greeks always trained and competed naked – in fact the ’gym’ comes from the word ‘gymnos’, meaning ‘naked’ in Greek. Come experience the amazing freedom of running and jumping and exercising free of clothing! Or at least come and see what a great spectator sport it is:) We’ll do a warm-up at the camp and then run wild in the ‘hood and all the way to the Man!
    • Monday, 29 Aug, 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Naked Oil Wrestling Wrestling is one of the most fun sports you can ever try. It’s also one of humanity’s oldest and was among the major events of the original Olympics. Long before we were kicking balls around we were rolling around in the dirt, putting each other in headlocks! It doesn’t matter if you’re a complete novice who’s never tried it in your life or an experienced fighter, come along and experience this amazing bonding experience in Gymnasium, Black Rock City’s Ancient Greek wrestling school!
    • Tuesday, 30 Aug, 3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
    • Thursday, 1 Sep, 3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
    • Friday, 2 Sep, 1 p.m – additional match at another camp at 2:15 & G
    • Saturday, 3 Sep, 3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Discus-ish Throw in the dark… and in the buff Discus (well, LED-lit frisbee) throw competition followed by ultimate frisbee game (or regular frisbee, depending on the mood). Bare your body, but wear lights! The Ancient Greeks always trained and competed naked – in fact the ’gym’ comes from the word ‘gymnos’, meaning ‘naked’ in Greek. Come experience the amazing freedom of running and jumping and exercising free of clothing! Or at least come and see what a great spectator sport it is:) This is our only night event, but don’t worry about cold – movement will keep you warm!
    • Wednesday, 31 Aug, 8 p.m. – 9 p.m.
    • Friday, 2 Sep, 8 p.m. – 9 p.m.
  • Naked Piggy-Back and Wheelbarrow Run Race Bare with us for this fun athletic event! Bring your friends, but choose wisely, as you’ll have to bear them on your back, bareback… or vice versa. Great bonding experience guaranteed! The Ancient Greeks always trained and competed naked – in fact the ’gym’ comes from the word ‘gymnos’, meaning ‘naked’ in Greek. Come experience the amazing freedom of running and jumping and exercising free of clothing! Or at least come and see what a great spectator sport it is:) PS In ancient Olympics this would have been an equestrian event, but BMORG wouldn’t let us bring horses…
    • Friday, 2 Sep, 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
  • Greek Dance workshop Let’s dance like it’s… Bacchanalia! Well, not only, but you’ll have fun learning ancient and modern folk dances from Greece. You’ll learn the distinction between the calm and lyrical Apollonian dance and the passionate, “orgasmic” Dionysian dance.
    • Saturday, 3 Sep, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
  • Nude Yoga + Wine Nude yoga and acro-yoga – for a better flow and connection 🙂 We’ll end the session with drinking wine in your favorite poses, as Ancient Greeks sometimes drank wine in acrobatic poses at their symposiums. Then you could stay for our philosophical discussions sessions. Free your body, free your mind!
    • Monday, 29 Aug, 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
    • Thursday, 1 Sep, 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
    • Sunday, 4 Sep, 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
  • Naked Philosophy Nudity has the power to surprise and shock, yet why, on reflection, can something as mundane as the naked body inspire simultaneously so much passion and revulsion? To be naked in 21st century western society demands intense self-examination, the questioning and reappraisal of conventional conventions and morality. In this sense, naturism, as the cultural and political movement of nudism is often known, is an inherently philosophical practice. And what better way to do philosophy than naked? We’re sure your college seminars would have been much more fun nude. Come and join us for lively discussions, debates and story-telling. We’ll be discussing naturism, body image, sharing experiences, debating body modification, if and how laws should be changed – really everything related to the human body.
    • Monday, 29 Aug, 5:30 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
    • Thursday, 1 Sep, 5:30 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
    • Sunday, 4 Sep, 5:30 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.

 

Hope to see many of you there!

tennis in the buff (in breaks between volleyball)

In my previous blogpost, I wrote about naturist volleyball tournaments throughout the US which I visit a couple of times a year, and last weekend it was the SunnyBowl at Sunny Rest Resort. Though it is the smallest one of its kind that I’ve been to, I could see many familiar faces from the naturist volleyball community. There were hardly enough people to make two teams in the novice division, where I’ve been playing so far, but then two of us joined the more advanced B-level teams. Let’s see where we’ll end up at the major naked volleyball Super Bowl in September! And when we were not playing volleyball or chilling by the pool, we played tennis. Well, or at least tried to – it was my first time actually! I love it when I try a new activity, and right away in the buff… as long as I don’t get fined for that, as was the case with acro-yoga! Well, this certainly wouldn’t happen at Sunny Rest, being a naturist resort. Their tennis courts are in great condition with rackets and balls provided for free. Enjoy these photos from our tennis match!

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Sorry for not having any imagery from the volleyball tournament itself, but you can (re)watch the videos in my previous blogpost, though they were shot at another resort. It seems like SunnyBowl is good at providing photo and video materials other than volleyball, as I shot a hypnotizing session of fire-spinning last year. By the way, I’m surprised that there is no big naturist tennis movement, although most naturist resorts are equipped with tennis courts. Maybe Sunny Rest should change that, and add ‘Sunny Open’ to its curriculum!

volleyball in the nude… as never captured before?

Sports in the buff is fun, and volleyball is probably the favorite game among naturists – perhaps because it is also a perfect beach sport? There are numerous naked volleyball tournaments, with more and more appearing every year, and the major ones in North America are listed at nudistvolleyball.com. This weekend we have SunnyBowl at Sunny Rest Resort, where I’ve been many times for the 7k trail race. I’m going with my friends Casey, the winner of the trail race in 2014, and Dan, another contributor to this blog, but I’m also looking forward to seeing my numerous  friends from the naturist volleyball community. And although the uniting theme is volleyball, some participants contribute with other activities, such as DJing or fire-spinning, as I filmed at SunnyBowl last year. What is really nice about naturist volleyball events is that there are players of all levels of experience, from complete novice to professional, so you’ll surely find a team where you can fit well! The biggest naturist tournament in volleyball is held at White Thorn Lodge in Pennsylvania,  and when I visited it for the first time 2 years ago, the level of games simply blew my mind! But I also found it strange that none of that was photographed and filmed. I thought that awesomeness was too good not to be shared with the rest of the world, and dreamt to change that. Here is our first attempt: a friendly match of Tiki-Tomba teammates at the Banana Rum Cup in White Tail resort, Virginia. Hopefully you’ll get to see their finals someday too! Meanwhile enjoy our two videos: a one-minute promo (above), and a five-minute footage that should give you an impression of the full match (below).

A good game starts with a good serve,

naturist volleyball 0008 Banana Rum Cup, White Tail Resort, Virginia, USA

and when the players are nude, you can see how the whole body is engaged right away.

naturist volleyball 0009 Banana Rum Cup, White Tail Resort, Virginia, USA

Here, the volleyball classics meets the Ancient Greek athlete classics.

naturist volleyball 0006 Banana Rum Cup, White Tail Resort, Virginia, USA

It is equally impressive that after such powerful serves, the opposite team is able to respond!

naturist volleyball 0002 Banana Rum Cup, White Tail Resort, Virginia, USA

And in this photo below, you can get a glimpse of how we shot the video.

naturist volleyball 0003 Banana Rum Cup, White Tail Resort, Virginia, USA

This is how it went:

And just a few words about White Tail resort: it’s a large nudist community with permanent residents and a motorhome park, but also with a lot of space for campers coming for an event like Banana Rum Cup. Their party hall is probably the biggest I’ve seen at a naturist resort. There is a big L-shaped outdoor pool, a hot tub, and a pretty big heated pool with glass walls and ceiling – perfect for chilling in bad weather. We actually got pretty unlucky with the weather, as on the day of the finals it was unseasonably cold, but that pool area allowed us hanging out in the buff in comfort even while there was chilling rain outside…

In the other related news, my friend Josh and I installed the second volleyball net at our local Sandy Hook beach. There used to be two nets until the hurricane Sandy destroyed one them, and often enough it was hard to get on the one and only court to play volleyball when the beach would get busy during summer weekends. We played a bit with  a portable net, but it wasn’t very stable; and it’s quite a hassle to put it up and down every time… So, Josh and I independently had been thinking about setting up a more stable net, but when we talked about it, there was no reason to delay any longer, and just a week later we had everything ready.

naturist volleyball 0003 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, New Jersey, USA

As soon as we made the measurements and started digging a hole for the first pole, we got a couple more helpers = new friends.

naturist volleyball 0002 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, New Jersey, USA

And there it was –

naturist volleyball 0001 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, New Jersey, USA

just ready before the nightfall! Having two nets will surely make it easier for Sandy Hook beachgoers to get engaged with volleyball.

naturist volleyball 0004 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, New Jersey, USA

So, whether you are at a nudist resort or beach, keep calm and play naked!

naturist KEEP CALM & PLAY NAKED

Russian and Turkish baths in NYC

When it is cold and gloomy, one of the best things you can do is to go to a bathhouse – as I did yesterday, while the cold spell is back to the US Northeast. New York City has several options. The biggest one is probably the Spa Castle with Korean saunas in Queens, but if you prefer a more central location, Russian & Turkish Baths in the East Village is a good choice. Some friends of mine don’t like its dated look, but I actually find that low key style appealing; the room of Russian sauna (banya) looks as if it has not been renovated since the opening of the bathhouse in 1892.

Although the bathhouse is called Russian & Turkish Baths, it has also two Finnish saunas (dry and hot), in addition to two hammams (Turkish steam room, relatively mild temperature), and a bigger banya (Russian sauna, very hot but with humid air, sort of a mix between Turkish and Finnish ones). There are also massage rooms with treatments (e.g. mud scrub). But my favorite treatment there is actually performed right in the Russian sauna room. It’s a traditional Russian banya massage (aka platza, a yiddish term). It is a whole body massage that includes soap wash and whipping with oak branches. It may look a little rough, but in fact it feels very relaxing. As they claim, “the oak leaves contain a natural astringent, which will open your pours, remove toxins, and actually take off layers of dead skin”. And it does feel so. Platza is finished with a dip in the cold water pool, which is supposed to train your vascular system. Yesterday, I used the birch broom which I brought from the Ivanovskie Bani in Kiev. I first massaged two Brazilian friends of mine, and then one of them massaged me. But if you don’t have such a broom and don’t know how to do platza, you can ask local masseurs – they are really good!

On a side note, coming to the US after Germany, I have to mention that saunas here are clothing-optional only in single-sex setting. (This is also increasingly common in Ukraine and Russia.) So unfortunately for heterosexual couples or mixed-gender groups, they will have to walk around in shorts soaked in sweat… If you want to hang out naked, Russian & Turkish Baths offer one women-only and two men-only time slots.

BTW, they regularly offer special deals and discounts through Groupon, kgbdeals.com and savelocal.com, so keep your eyes open.

[almost] spontaneous NuDance at the House of Yes in NYC

Who’d argue that dancing naked is not fun? Sadly, there aren’t many opportunities to do that socially, even in New York City, famous for its nightlife. You can join our NuDance class, but how about parties where you could dance naked? The body-painting dance parties in NYC seem to be a thing of the past… However, we’ve discovered a monthly gig which welcomes freedom of expression, including dancing naked! It is called ‘Party at Ostbahnhof’.

The next event is this Friday! Check out the description of the party or the main DJ’s avatar on soundcloud, and you’ll see why we got an idea to try dancing naked there in the first place! The initial attempt wasn’t successful though – at their first gig we were even told by security to put our shirts on… we didn’t really listen, but it didn’t make us feel frisky enough to disrobe any further. Maybe the security took the name of the venue, Verboten (“forbidden” in German), too literally; even though the description of the party seemed to refer to a certain club in Berlin, the atmosphere didn’t feel like Berghain. I contacted the DJ of the gig – SPRKLBB, and he said the party was going to another venue which would be more supportive to alternative ideas including nude dancing. Indeed the ‘House of Yes’ turned out to be a lot more permissive, and three of us ended up dancing naked, and there also was a top-free girl.

We got quite a few smiles and thumbs up, with people saying this was like a true Berlin party. Well, not like a typical party in Berlin would have some naked people in the crowd, but it could certainly happen in the Techno temple Berghain and more so at the naturist-lead SchlagerNackt Party. Let’s bring some Freikörperkultur (FKK) – ‘free body culture’ – to NYC!

Active Naturists are going to Burning Man again with the theme camp Gymnasium

Many of you have been asking whether we are going back to Burning Man with our Gymnasium project, and the answer is definite YES! Thanks to our successful participation last year, we could secure tickets for the core members via Directed Group Sale, but you can still get yours through the main sale – and join our camp too? If you’d like to, please e-mail or leave a comment here!

You only have time until THIS Friday 12:00 (noon) PDT to create a Burner Profile AND register for ticket sale.

Read our blogposts about how this project came about:

– first experience at Burning Man in 2012

– freedom and creativity, just at a smaller scale at Free Form Festival 2014

– FreeForm Festival 2015: camp application approved!

– first experience as a theme camp at FreeForm Festival 2015

– Gymnasium theme camp will be at a prime location at Burning Man!

– Gymnasium schedule at Burning Man 2015

– camp Gymnasium at Burning Man 2015

Our camp’s theme is Gymnasium in its original Ancient Greek meaning, so you can go through ‘How it used to be’ sections of this website to get some inspiration for our camp, be it athletic activities 

or simply fun!

And let’s just reiterate this quote from Wikipedia:

“The gymnasium in ancient Greece functioned as a training facility for competitors in public games. It was also a place for socializing and engaging in intellectual pursuits. The name comes from the Ancient Greek term γυμνός [gymnós] meaning “naked”.

The word gymnasium is the latinisation of the Greek noun γυμνάσιον (gymnasion), “gymnastic school”, in pl. “bodily exercises” and generally “school” which in turn is derived from the common Greek adjective γυμνός (gymnos) meaning “naked”, by way of the related verb γυμνάζω (gymnazo), whose meaning is “to train naked”, “train in gymnastic exercise”, generally “to train, to exercise”. The verb had this meaning because one undressed for exercise. Historically, the gymnasium was used for exercise, communal bathing, and scholarly and philosophical pursuits. The English noun gymnast, first recorded in 1594, is formed from the Greek γυμναστής (gymnastēs), but in Greek this word means “trainer” not “gymnast”. The palaistra was the part of the gymnasium devoted to wrestling, boxing and ball games.”

Ivanovskie Bani (sauna) in Kiev

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On the recent visit to my homeland, I spent a few days in Kiev; pretty much the only option for a naturist experience in winter was to go to a sauna. My friend Sergey found a public sauna online that sounded particularly appealing, and we ventured there with two more mates.

Ivanovskie Bani indeed fulfilled our desire for a traditional Russian sauna (banya) experience. It is located literally on the  Dnieper River, in a modified boat. It has a traditional ambience, and already in the locker you can smell “venik”, a special sauna broom, typically made of birch or oak branches, which is used for massaging. After the lockers, there is a room with showers and a massage table, and then a steam room. You can hire a local masseur to do the banya ritual for you, but we just bought “veniki” and did it ourselves. Though one of the fellow visitors thought that our massage technique was too rough and showed a milder, calmer version with softer and slower moves (but it felt like the heat penetrated even deeper).

Regardless of the kind of massage you prefer in the steam room, after absorbing all that heat, you are supposed to cool down, and this is where Ivanovkie Bani truly stand out: you can splash in the waters of the Dnieper River right outside its doors, and if you are not too shocked you can meanwhile enjoy the views of the river banks with such landmarks as Kiev Pechersk Lavra (Kiev Monastery of the Caves) and the Motherland monument.

Well, it could only get more striking in much colder weather, when the river would be frozen, as it happened when we went to a banya in Moscow a couple of years ago.

After repeating the ritual a couple of times, we felt both relaxed and energized. We had some tea before leaving in the cafe (they don’t serve any meals there, but you can bring food with you or order something more exotic, like crayfish, in advance).

Even though the location is central, it’s not easy to get there without a car (and if you call a taxi, it may take a while for them to arrive), but it’s totally worth it, especially if you want a relaxing break from the busy city life without leaving the city!

PS Keep in mind that most banyas are gender-segregated, and in this one the only women day is Wednesday.

Happy Nude Year! (after a somewhat pagan Xmas celebration)

naturist 0005 Harriman State Park, NY, USA

I rang in the New Year just as you’d expect me to do – in the nude! It was a fun Naked Comedy Show, and perhaps I’ll write about it in more detail later. But here’s a report from my Christmas day celebration, which came unexpected event to me – it was a naked hike in my beloved area of Pine Meadow Lake in Harriman State Park. With the current temperatures almost at their seasonal norm levels (cold!), it’s hard to imagine that we had those almost summer-warm days just a week ago. You might have heard that this December has seen record-high temperatures in NYC, so I decided to take advantage of the freak weather and get out for my first winter hike in Harriman park. I thought the previous post would be the last one about this place from 2015, but thanks to this winter adventure I can now say that it’s truly great any time of the year!

view 0001 Harriman State Park, NY, USA

Well, there were no blueberries or raspberries, but quite a lot of other small fruits decorates the bushes.

view 0002 Harriman State Park, NY, USA

Otherwise the forest appeared pretty dead… which felt even weirder because it was as warm as in late spring. Just a few trees kept the leaves, while almost all were naked – and we followed the case 😉

view 0003 Harriman State Park, NY, USA

It was actually nice that the trees were leafless, because the sun could go through – in summer almost all of this hike is in shade, but this time it was good to feel sun rays throughout the hike.

naturist 0001 Harriman State Park, NY, USA

The forest was very quiet and besides this friendly prehistoric crocodile that let me pose with him, we hardly saw or heard any animals.

view 0006 Harriman State Park, NY, USA

Maybe he also put this rock up like this?

view 0005 Harriman State Park, NY, USA

Mountain laurels were the only green bushes (besides coniferous), and they looked somewhat overoptimistic about the weather… Well, maybe they can keep their buds safe throughout the winter, but they looked like they were ready to open and grow.

We then noticed one tree had its tiny flowers open – most likely confused with the weather…

view 0008 Harriman State Park, NY, USA

Others were decorated with fruits that seemed to be more suited for winter.

view 0007 Harriman State Park, NY, USA

But once we got to the lake, we decided to decorate a small “Christmas tree” – with what we had: food, and berries from the plants around.

naturist Xmas tree 0002 Harriman State Park, NY, USA

Before you call our decoration blasphemous, you should know that it was approved by Jesus. And before you think I’m crazy, that’s a true name of my friend (too bad he didn’t want to appear on photos).

naturist Xmas tree 0000 Harriman State Park, NY, USA

In any case, the tradition of decorating trees has pagan roots, and our phallic theme referred to fertility and revival…

naturist Xmas tree 0001 Harriman State Park, NY, USA

Too bad there weren’t many fellow hikers to appreciate that, and we soon ate our decorations. There was a small group of hikers though, who seemed to be genuinely interested in why we were naked. We explained a little about naturism, and how we wanted to enjoy the rare occasion of being able to be naked outdoors in December in NYC area. I have a feeling I may see them hike naked next summer! Otherwise, our company was limited to squirrels, chipmunks and a woodpecker.

woodpecker 0000 Harriman State Park, NY, USAwoodpecker 0001 Harriman State Park, NY, USA

We walked around Pine Meadow Lake a little more, and discovered two interesting places. One seemed to be like a secret meeting point of a Stone Age tribe… or dwarves?) With stone chairs around a fire pit, it should be a great spot to camp out with a group!

naturist 0000 Harriman State Park, NY, USA

Then we saw a strange structure on the neighboring hill. This was particularly surprising, as it was in a part of Harriman State Park that I knew very well, having hiked through these woods many times. But only now, with the forest being naked, did we notice it. When we got closer, we started guessing what it could be.

view 0009 Harriman State Park, NY, USA

It was not an abandoned mansion, as we first thought, but rather a water tower.  Just to make sure it wasn’t some kind of giant sacrifice place, like mayan cenotes, we wanted to look inside.

naturist 0004 Harriman State Park, NY, USA

There was a fallen tree leaning against the wall, so we could actually climb it and have a look. No, it was a water tower after all…

view 0010 Harriman State Park, NY, USA

or a Phallus temple?

We soon had to leave as it was getting dark and cold, but we still hiked naked all the way back. I think it might have been my most memorable Christmas day so far! And having spent the New Year’s Eve at the naked comedy show, I am sure this year is bound to have lots of fun in the buff, which I also wish to all of you!

PS Of course we also skinny-dipped, and the water was shocking-cold, so it was literally a dip. I plan to go to Sandy Hook on Sunday for Polar Bare Plunge for a more social winter skinny-dip – is anyone else up for it?

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 –

view 0005 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

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.

naturist gymnasium 0018 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

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.

naturist gymnasium 0016 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

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

naturist gymnasium 0007 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

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;

naturist wrestling gymnasium 0025 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

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.

naturist wrestling gymnasium 0038 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

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.

naturist gymnasium 0021 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

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 –

naturist acro-yoga gymnasium 0019 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

to our own and guests’ entertainment.

naturist acro-yoga gymnasium 0000 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

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.

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

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

naturist acro-yoga gymnasium 0003 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

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

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

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

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

or arms.

naturist acro-yoga gymnasium 0007 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

Then we posed with the Man himself –

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

can you spot him here?

naturist acro-yoga gymnasium 0010 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

And how could we forget ‘the Woman’?

naturist acro-yoga gymnasium 0011 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

(This statue is actually called R-Evolution.)

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

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

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

Here is a composition with three men again.

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

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

naturist acro-yoga gymnasium 0016 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

laughing and causing laughter in viewers alike.

naturist acro-yoga gymnasium 0017 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

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,

naturist 0000 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

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

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

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

naturist naked pub crawl 0000 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

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

naturist naked pub crawl 0001 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

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,

naturist naked pub crawl 0003 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

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.

naturist naked pub crawl 0005 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

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

naturist naked pub crawl 0004 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

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 😀

naturist naked pub crawl 0006 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

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

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

exploring the playa and its installations.

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

naturist 0003 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

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

view 0002 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USAview 0003 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

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!)

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

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!

naturist gymnasium 0020 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

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

view 0006 Burning Man 2015, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

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.

Gymnasium schedule at Burning Man 2015

Next week,  our theme camp Gymnasium will finally come to life at the much anticipated Burning Man festival. If you read this and plan to be there, I’m pretty sure you’ll want to visit our camp. Have a look at the schedule of our events, but keep in mind that we plan to do even more than we have announced – so stop by our camp at 7:30 Portal, and almost certainly during day time you’ll find something fun to do and learn… all in the buff!

I’ll also list naturist (and naturist-ish) events from other camps below after our schedule… and what is mind-boggling is that it’s all just a tiny fraction of all the “craziness” that Burning Man is!

  • Butt-Cheeky Run Come get your burn started – with the sun’s soft caresses on your butt cheeks! The Ancient Greeks always trained and competed naked – in fact the ’gym’ comes from the word ‘gymnos’, meaning ‘naked’ in Greek. Come experience the amazing freedom of running and jumping and exercising free of clothing! Or at least come and see what a great spectator sport it is 🙂 We’ll do a warm-up at the camp and then run wild in the ‘hood!
    • Monday, 31 Aug 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
  • Naked Philosophy Nudity has the power to surprise and shock, yet why, on reflection, can something as mundane as the naked body inspire simultaneously so much passion and revulsion? To be naked in 21st century western society demands intense self-examination, the questioning and reappraisal of conventional conventions and morality. In this sense, naturism, as the cultural and political movement of nudism is often known, is an inherently philosophical practice. And what better way to do philosophy than naked? We’re sure your college seminars would have been much more fun nude. Come and join us for lively discussions, debates and story-telling. We’ll be discussing naturism, body image, sharing experiences, debating body modification, if and how laws should be changed – really everything related to the human body.
    • Monday, 31 Aug 5:30 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
    • Sunday, 6 Sep 5:30 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
  • Discus-ish Throw in the dark… and in the buff Discus (well, LED-lit frisbee) throw competition followed by ultimate frisbee game (or regular frisbee, depending on the mood). Bare your body, but wear lights! The Ancient Greeks always trained and competed naked – in fact the ’gym’ comes from the word ‘gymnos’, meaning ‘naked’ in Greek. Come experience the amazing freedom of running and jumping and exercising free of clothing! Or at least come and see what a great spectator sport it is 🙂 This is our only night event, but don’t worry about cold – movement will keep you warm!
    • Wednesday, 2 Sep 8 p.m. – 9 p.m.
  • Naked Oil Wrestling Wrestling is one of the most fun sports you can ever try. It’s also one of humanity’s oldest and was among the major events of the original Olympics. Long before we were kicking balls around we were rolling around in the dirt, putting each other in headlocks! It doesn’t matter if you’re a complete novice who’s never tried it in your life or an experienced fighter, come along and experience this amazing bonding experience in Gymnasium, Black Rock City’s Ancient Greek wrestling school (7:30 Portal). We will start warming up and a workshop on wrestling basics at 10:30. This will be followed by competitions starting at 11:30. Participants will be provided showers at another camp.
    • Thursday, 3 Sep 10:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
    • Friday, 4 Sep 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. – an additional match at another camp, location announced on the playa 😉
  • Naked Piggy-Back and Barrel-Run Race Bare with us for this fun athletic event! Bring your friends, but choose wisely, as you’ll have to bear them on your back, bareback… or vice versa. Great bonding experience guaranteed! The Ancient Greeks always trained and competed naked – in fact the ’gym’ comes from the word ‘gymnos’, meaning ‘naked’ in Greek. Come experience the amazing freedom of running and jumping and exercising free of clothing! Or at least come and see what a great spectator sport it is 🙂 PS In ancient Olympics this would have been an equestrian event, but BMORG wouldn’t let us bring horses…
    • Friday, 4 Sep 3 p.m. – 4 p.m.
  •  (Touch) Rugby in the Buff Rugby is a rough game, but it’s not only for buff dudes – just no touchy-feely please, even though it’s a touch rugby we’ll play. Join us if you please! Why naked? For a great bonding experience, plus it’s hot on the playa… and your costume would be destroyed in the game otherwise! The Ancient Greeks always trained and competed naked – in fact the ’gym’ comes from the word ‘gymnos’, meaning ‘naked’ in Greek. Come experience the amazing freedom of running and jumping and exercising free of clothing! Or at least come and see what a great spectator sport it is 🙂 Come to the playa around 7:30 Portal and look out for bouncing balls!
    • Saturday, 5 Sep 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

And here is the list of other events close to our theme:

Volleyball Fun At Sin City Volleyball Rec Center; daily; doesn’t say that it’s naked, but it’s the same camp that hosts “Tiki – Party Naked” bar
Wear Only A Smile Yoga; Tue afternoon
Naked Counseling; Tue 4:30pm
Naked skate session; Sat noon-2pm

Hope to see many of you there!