‘Tis Hamlet’s character. “Naked!” – see it for yourself at a performance in NYC parks!

There have been countless interpretations of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, but this summer Torn Out Theater has presented perhaps the boldest version and at the same time also the truest to the character. After all, Hamlet himself wrote to Claudius: “High and mighty, You shall know I am set naked on your kingdom”, – to which he confirmed: “‘Tis Hamlet’s character. ‘Naked!'” You may argue that there is no need for such literal interpretation, but through this production, Torn Out Theater aims to draw attention to “fraught, complex world of male body image”.

Jake Austin Robertson as Hamlet; photo by Marjolaine Gallet.

The cast is all male, which is actually in accord with the theatrical tradition in Shakespearian times. In this respect, last year’s performance of ‘The Tempest‘ with an all-female cast was even more revolutionary. If the Tempest was played by amateurs (mostly from the Outdoor Co-ed Topless Pulp fiction Appreciation Society), this year’s production features professional actors. Jake Austin Robertson did amazing job playing Hamlet, in my opinion (and I heard the same from other spectators), and as he reveled in the press release at Pix11, nudity might have helped: “It’s a means of discovering his own truth and figuring out who he is regardless of whatever everyone else wants him to be”. However, not all actors in the play were naked, and those who were – for various periods of time. It seemed like nakedness was used as a tool to show that the character revealed his true colors, especially in emotional moments. This may be a pretty good theatrical tool to keep the audience engaged, given that there are studies showing that people are more compassionate and empathic when they see images of naked people compared to clothed people (not to mention saving money on costumes). Actors, on the other hand, get an additional way to express themselves – with the body language (and probably even without realizing it) – as such features as tension of the muscles or subtle changes in the posture would usually be concealed by costume. All this certainly worked for [spoiler alert! but you probably know the storyline to some extent anyway] the brilliantly choreographed fight scene between Hamlet and Laertes, or the final scene of Hamlet dying in the arms of Horatio.

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So, you could (should!) see it all for yourself this weekend in Prospect Park in Brooklyn or in the beginning of September in Central Park. While the more known Public Theater features Hamlet “running around in his underpants“, our advice is to check out Torn Out Theater that goes all the way! Moreover, the performance is also free of charge (but donations are encouraged). Arrive earlier to get better seating; only limited amount of chairs is available for rent – but the atmosphere has a nice picnic vibe to it, so seating on the grass is what most people opt for. Overall, it is a great idea to have this performance in the parks out in the open, which makes this theater truly public. Compared to the famous ‘Shakespeare in the Park’, this is a much more intimate, immersive show… and who knows, maybe at some point there will be a show where the audience can be naked too. This is what is going to happen during the rock musical ‘Hair’ in London.

It would be good to hear opinions of people involved in theater professionally, so feel free to leave comments here. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure there will be some coverage form a couple of major outlets soon.

skinny-dipping in the Adirondacks

naturist 0001 Potholers, Adirondacks, New York, USA

The Adirondacks are great for hiking and kayaking, but even relaxing by a creek may turn out very special there, as it happened to us at the so-called Potholers on the East Canada Creek. One of the reasons was that it was secluded enough to have the spot to ourselves most of the time, so we stayed comfortably naked.

naturist 0000 Potholers, Adirondacks, New York, USA

Upstream from where we stayed, the creek was deep enough for swimming.

naturist 0010 Potholers, Adirondacks, New York, USA

Downstream were the rocks, flat and comfortable – you can’t ask for a better way of relaxation than chilling outdoors with the sound of running water.

naturist 0011 Potholers, Adirondacks, New York, USA

Well, maybe if you get in that running water for a shoulder massage!

naturist 0004 Potholers, Adirondacks, New York, USA

Some of the “potholes” create perfect natural bathtubs, where you could sit with the water flowing over your shoulders and massaging you! And the temperature of the water was (in July) just perfect – refreshing but not chilling.

naturist 0007 Potholers, Adirondacks, New York, USA

It was also nice to go behind that water wall and close yourself from the outer world for a moment.

naturist 0003 Potholers, Adirondacks, New York, USA

Of course you could still see through, even though quite distorted. But there were some very peculiar things to observe indeed!

Check out this video:

We are pretty sure this behavior has never been seen (or at least recorded) before, and we still don’t know its meaning. What is it?

Maybe that is what happens when naturists become naturalists and artists at the some time 🙂

On that trip, we also visited the G-lake. It was great for swimming, but while bushwalking around it, one of us got stung by wild bees!

naturist view 0000 G Lake, Adirondacks, New York, USA

And not to make you completely against the idea of visiting this lake, we also saw a leech there. But it was actually a pretty sight, because it swam gracefully at the surface and was brightly colored – green with orange spots; so I actually regretted I didn’t have my camera at that moment. Well, but at least we were lucky to record the elusive Homo tritonii at the Potholers!

NuDance class promo sale!

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

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

 

Olympics at Sandy Hook beach near NYC on the 20th of August

I thought that this month it’d be very appropriate to organize a sports competition, mini-Olympics of a kind – in the nude, of course – to remind about the origins of the Olympic games in Ancient Greece,

and very much in spirit of Active Naturists and our Gymnasium project.

 

We’ll  have a few events throughout the day on Saturday, 20 Aug (raincheck Sunday) at my favorite Gunnison beach on Sandy Hook peninsula (just across the bay from New York City) :

  • long jump around noon;
  • wrestling around 2pm
  • running and swimming races during low tide time – to run on wet sand/swim in shallower water – between 3pm and 5pm; 100m and 500m;
  • discus throw (frisbee) at 6pm;
  • + there are always volleyball games going on at Sandy Hook;
  • and maybe we can even have some gymnastics and capoeira!

Look out for our Gymnasium banner on the right hand side of the beach (looking at the ocean). See you!

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

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

our Gymnasium project at festivals and beyond

The preparations for our second time at Burning Man with our theme camp Gymnasium are in full swing. If you’re new to this blog, you can read about the idea behind our project on its webpage, and make sure to check out the blogpost about our amazing first experience last year! Our schedule for 2016 will be available soon, and we already know our new location: 8:15 & D.

We also went as Gymnasium camp to FreeForm Festival a month ago, but unfortunately we had to cancel our famous naked oil wrestling – big success last year – due to terrible weather. A chilly drizzle lasted almost the whole last day of the festival… We still had lots of fun the day and night before though.

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But we’ll go on with this project beyond the festivals, and on this coming Monday, the US Independence Day, we are hosting a wrestling session at our favorite beach in NYC area – Gunnison on Sandy Hook peninsula. We shall have a workshop on different wrestling styles and then a fun match in the afternoon. Look for us on the right side of the beach, with an orange banner that says ΓΥΜΝΆΣΙΟΝ (Gymnasium). The workshop starts at 3pm.

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

Fifteen shades of tan… on Sandy Hook beach

naturist 0002 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

Finally, summer weather has come to New York and it’s time to open beach season here! My favorite beach around is Gunnison on Sandy Hook peninsula in New Jersey. I’ve written about it on multiple occasions already (just make a search on the site for other blogposts), but I have some nice photos to share from last year – in anticipation of yet another great beach time this summer!

The best way to get to Sandy Hook from New York City is by Seastreak ferry.

view 0003 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

I used to post the discount coupons for it, but it seems there’s no need for it anymore. According to the ferry website, starting this year, with fist departure of the day, you always get a $30 return ticket to the beach (regular is $45). A sad news is that there is no late departure from the beach anymore – the last ferry to the city is at 5:45pm, while it used to be 7:45pm – no more sunsets on the ferry? However, there is a shuttle to the late ferry departing from the town nearby. Update: the late ferry is back on the schedule!

The ocean water is probably still too cold to swim properly this weekend, but there are plenty of other activities to do on the beach! Volleyball is very popular at Gunnison beach, as expected from a naturist location.

naturist acro-yoga 0017 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USAnaturist acro-yoga 0016 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

But our favorite pastime last summer was acro-yoga.

naturist acro-yoga 0012 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USAnaturist acro-yoga 0013 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

It was great to see how engaging it was, as a few strangers joined,

naturist acro-yoga 0015 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

while I was practicing acro-yoga with my friends David, Eddy, Antony and others. (Remember our spontaneous handstand class 3 years ago?)

naturist acro-yoga 0014 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

Acro-yoga creates a great connection between the ‘flyer’ and the ‘base’,

naturist acro-yoga 0004 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

and it’s even greater when done in the nude.

naturist acro-yoga 0003 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

It’s quite an amazing experience,

naturist acro-yoga 0002 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

if you  do it in the open air, especially in a place like this beautiful beach

view 0001 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

with Manhattan skyline in the background.

view 0002 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

But we also experimented with a log as the base –

naturist acro-yoga 0007 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

floating in the air yoga?

naturist acro-yoga 0010 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

Probably the most entertaining acro-yoga pose is ‘the laughing dragon’ (you might remember some more pics of it from last year’s Burning Man post).

naturist acro-yoga 0018 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

Well, the more participants the merrier!

naturist acro-yoga 0000 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

So, Sandy Hook is a perfect place for socializing and getting your all-over tan!

naturist 0001 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

PS Sandy Hook is also good for watching airplanes coming to NYC airports. Who can spot an airplane on one of the photos in this post? Where does it seem to be landing? 😉

PPS If you like to bring a lot of stuff with you to the beach, which can be difficult while walking on sand, you should support this campaign for funding of the extension of the matted walkway!

[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!

NuView from NuDance

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

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

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?