camp Gymnasium at Burning Man 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vitruvian Man

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

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

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

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

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

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

and they were creative with poses.

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

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

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

and  the flat playa surface was perfect to roll it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

so we had a few sessions at the camp

naturist acro-yoga camp Gymnasium 0003 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

and also played a bit on the playa.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

naturist camp Gymnasium 0006 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

naturist camp Gymnasium 0007 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

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

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

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

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0006 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

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

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0008 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Our entertainers led the show,

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

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0043 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

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

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0023 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

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

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and only their feet were allowed to touch the ground.

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There was a great deal of pushing

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and lifting,

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or even carrying the opponent outside the rink.

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Though pushing was certainly the favorite technique,

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

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But some matches looked a lot more elegant,

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almost like a dance.

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

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

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

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We had some well matched participants,

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so their matches were intense

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and unpredictable.

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

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

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You could tell the finalists took the competition seriously,

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

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

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we awarded them at our ‘temple’.

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And the winners awarded us with their glorious smiles🙂

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0009 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Besides giving the golden laurel wreath,

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

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

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

 

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.)

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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 –

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to our own and guests’ entertainment.

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

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

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

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

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or arms.

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Then we posed with the Man himself –

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can you spot him here?

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And how could we forget ‘the Woman’?

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(This statue is actually called R-Evolution.)

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

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Here is a composition with three men again.

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

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laughing and causing laughter in viewers alike.

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

naked skateboarding at Burning Man 2015

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

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

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

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

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,

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exploring the playa and its installations.

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

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

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Another view of the R-Evolution statue.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

fun naturist events this spring in the USA

Sorry for having been quiet the entire month of March, but I was busy getting new material in Florida🙂 While it’s not ready to be published yet, I’d like to announce a few events that sound like fun and well in the spirit of αctive naturists.

In a little more than a week, from 9-12 AprilFlorida Young Naturists will hold their 7th Naked Spring Bash. Joe and I visited their event in 2011 and had great time! And I must say, this year’s schedule looks even better, so it’s a shame I can’t return to the Sunshine State soon again. I like their emphasis on dance workshops this time.

On the 18th of April, Travasuns will have their monthly Indoor Pool Party in Long Island, NY, which will be my last, and unfortunately only second, this season. I usually go to their events throughout winter, but this yeah I’ve had schedule conflicts. It’s a low-key event at a rented gym with saunas, hang-out pool, pizza and wallyball.

Austin Naked Yoga will host Naked Yoga Camp for men on 7-10 May at Lotus Ranch in Wimberley, Texas. My friend Eddy will teach a movement workshop there, say hi if you attend it!

YNOTU (Young Nudists of Texas United) will host their second Nude Games on Memorial Weekend,  22-25 May, at a campground near Dallas. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend again, but the program looks like fun: flag football, tug of war, a few varieties of volleyball among other things. However, it seems to me, they downplayed the athletic component this year. If any of you go there, I’ll be happy to hear your thoughts!

some upcoming events in NYC area

Thanks to Travasuns group, even in the cold time of the year we can gather for social naked activities at a monthly Winter Pool Party in Long Island. The next one is this Saturday, March 1 . I’ve been to a few of their events, and it was always fun. It’s a low-key event at a rented gym. They offer saunas, hang-out pool, pizza and even volleyball, which is often unofficially dubbed as naturists’ favorite sport. Given that volleyball is indoors and surrounded by walls, we can also play it as wallyball.

For someone not ready to take it all off at once, there is a perfect opportunity on Friday night: my favorite night club in New York, Pacha, has a No-Pants party with DJ Michael Woods, who is one of the best producers of progressive house and trance music around. From their press release:

Yup, you heard right. Pacha Has Woods! And when you’ve got Woods, the last thing you need is your pants. Pacha is pleased to invite you to take them off – take them all off. A staple of the modern clubbing era, the No Pants Party is quickly becoming the stuff of legend. Rock out with your everything out all night to the waist-down sounds of our brand new resident: Michael Woods!#PACHAHASWOODS FREE ADMISSION TIL 2AM WHEN YOU CHECK YOUR PANTS AT THE DOOR!

Let’s see how far we can go with rocking out with our everything out, and if Michael Woods himself joins the craze!

Two weeks later, on Thursday, March 13, we’ll have “New York Naked Painting Party – World Tour Kick Off!”  at the Highline loft. RSVP@SocialExposureNYC.com, get tickets here. The title speaks for itself, and I’ve already posted about their previous events at Gallery Bar. Their next event will be in Mexico at Hidden Beach Resort in the end of March.

I would also like to mention the film called ‘Stranger By The Lake’ (L’inconnu du lac). I heard about it a few months ago from a friend in Paris, and now it made it to a couple of cinemas in New York. It’s set at a nudist beach and cruising area by a lake in French countryside. It is a very powerful psychological drama about reckless passion, friendship, loneliness… It is very realistic and has no music soundtrack, and yet it’s also beautifully shot. Given that I don’t want cruising culture to be associated with nudism, I need to point out right away that, curiously, cruising itself was done clothed, while most conversations and other interactions were done in the nude. I wonder if this fact made the film so emotionally powerful, as there are studies showing that people are more compassionate and empathic when they see images of naked people as opposed to clothed people. I’ll say no more, I don’t want to spoil it for those who hasn’t seen the film yet.

‘Naked holidays’ in New York

Maybe you assumed from my last blogpost that the naturist season is over in New York area, but it isn’t at all! Besides the ongoing naked yoga classes with my friends (and there are even more options, e.g. Zensual yoga), I’m planning to attend two events in the next days.

Tonight, I’m going to an off-Broadway show with naked performers – Naked Holidays, right by Times Square!

I went to their performance last year with a colleague whose friend is playing there, and we are going together again. It is a fun show, and it’ll definitely put me in a more festive mood, as I usually notice arrival of winter holidays with a sort of surprise.

This will be the second year that NYC is left out of what seemed to become a traditional Nude Year’s Eve:-/

But thanks to Travasuns, we have an ‘early Nude Year’s Eve’ – this Saturday, December 28. I was at the previous event, and it was a lot of fun. Although Travasuns has a fame of bringing mostly ‘older’ crowd,  there was no shortage of activities and I saw many familiar faces from events of YNA, Vita Nuda, or local beaches. Judging by the calendar, they might be as well the most active nudist group in winter season. They offer saunas, hang-out pool, pizza, but what’s especially cool is that they manage to provide volleyball in winter, which is often unofficially dubbed as naturists’ favourite sport. First, I was quite sceptical about indoors volleyball, but in the end my friends Yassin, for whom it was the first naked event btw, Sergei, Liza and I just couldn’t stop playing and were the last ones to leave the field…

Looking forward to these events! Stay tuned for reviews🙂

Harlem Shake… [in the buff, of course]

So, it seems that just after I moved from Harlem, it started shaking! Well, if you are a part of any online social network, you know what I mean – the whole internet has been shaken by this meme. (If not, here is the Wikipedia’s entry on the “Harlem Shake” video craze.)

It’s been a subject of controversy, but if you don’t take it too seriously, I think it’s fun. And of course there must have appeared a naked version! Here’s a few of those.

This one is the most naked but in the same time it is probably one the least ‘offensive’ of ‘Harlem Shakes’ – pure fun and fooling around.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xxpxic_naked-harlem-shake_fun#.UTAhAqVH3Tb

The following is closer to the original in its over-the-top rakishness.

And although majority of ‘Harlem Shake’ videos have been produced by guys, here is a pretty well staged version with a girl team.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xxmfnr_harlem-shake-naked-girls-edition-hd-uncensored-true_sexy

By the way, I’m probably going to the upcoming naked pool party of Travasuns in Long Island. It is organised at a regular gym with its typical amenities (as I described previously)… which makes it perfect for making another (better!) version of ‘Harlem Shake’. Or would it be too controversial?

[naked] Burning Man

naked 0119 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Finally, I am getting to write about one of the brightest events of the last year and my whole life so far – Burning Man, a festival that I had wanted to attend for years! And it is just on time before the tickets for 2013 go on sale already next Wednesday, for which you need to pre-register by this coming Sunday, 12:00 Pacific Time!

Of course, given this blog’s theme, I’ll focus on the naked aspect of the [Burning] Man, which is just a small portion of what I have experienced there. Nudity is a commonplace in Black Rock City (geographic alias of Burning Man), but only a fraction of people opt for it.  This gives you a realistic feeling of what it could be like if full nudity in public was legalised in Western society and some people would start make use of this freedom.

naturist 0130 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

By the way, it is thanks to this blog that I found a wonderful companion, Andre, to join me at the festival, as I had to sell a ticket originally planned for another friend who had to cancel. We planned all logistics together, and it worked out just fine, and we became good friends. The whole planning thing seemed quite complicated at first, as we had to organise a self-reliable camp out in the desert in Nevada with unpredictable weather AND visit and see as many interesting things as possible during the festival. The official website and mailing list contains all necessary information, but I’m going to give just a few words of advice re logistics (of course, this is just from our personal experience, and may be totally different for you).

1) There are now buses from some of the major cities in the area, but the price doesn’t seem to be competitive with car rental as long as you are more than one person.

2) Even a small tent can be totally fine as long as you have a good shading structure. You are not going to sleep much and spend time ‘indoors’. But it’s essential to have protection from dusty winds (sometimes) and blazing sun around noon (every day).

3) What the official booklet advised re water (up to 4 gallons per day per person) was absolutely over the top for us. I understand that they want you to stay on the safe side, but we took only half of the recommended amount and then had to give out at least a third of water.

4) Don’t bring booze, unless you want a very specific type or your camp theme is some sort of bar. There is plenty of alcohol everywhere, and don’t forget, everything is free at Burning Man once you get there!

5) Vinegar turned out to be really useful to clean skin, especially feet, from alkaline playa dust. I sometimes poured it in my ‘barefoot’ Bikram shoes; skin moisturisers are great too. On the other hand, I didn’t feel it was necessary to have more sun protection than, say, on a sunny beach day, as some sources claimed and urged to bring sunscreens of SPF100 etc. But then again, I was already tanned by the end of the summer, and also I suspect that dust might actually help against the sun. I used SPF15 or 30 on my shoulders and never got burnt.

6) Melons! They actually did well even in that heat for several days and we wished we brought more than 3.

7) Last but not least, it was a great decision to join a pretty big theme camp, Playa Bike Transportation in our case. They gave us a lot of advice and provided the kitchen, solar camp shower, and most importantly the shading structure.

So, construction of the shading structure was the first thing we took care of when we found our camp. This way we also got to know several camp-mates.

naturist 0021 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

It wasn’t too complicated, and I even found a minute to pose as the Vitruvian Man of Leonardo da Vinci🙂

naturist 0022 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

The only difficult part was hammering rebar into the hard playa ground. But I had no idea that it would be much more difficult to get it out afterwards! (That’s when we used some of our extra water, as it was easier to pull out rebar from wet ground.)

naturist 0023 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Playa Bike Transportation camp turned out to be an excellent choice for me in many respects. Burning Man is built on the idea of everyone contributing something to ‘the community’ – “no spectators, only participants” is the motto. Being a part of a bike camp, it was easy to find a way to help people – by repairing their bicycles.

naturist 0003 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Black Rock City is quite a big town without public transportation and cars (unless they are ‘mutated’), so most people rely on bicycles to go long distances. But with all that dust, bikes break easily (it makes sense to have a playa-dedicated bike if you are a regular, or rent one from a camp like ours). So, our camp was always busy with people lining up for self-service or help from our professional mechanics or amateurs like me.

naturist 0006 Playa Bike Transportation/ Repair, Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

While on duty, we got approached all the time, but the good thing was that it allowed us to get to know a lot of people!

naturist 0007 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

It is worth noting, that Playa Bike Transportation (this year, Playa Bike Repair) is not a nudist camp per se. I knew there were camps that were more related to nudity, but my idea was to try to live as if birthday suit was as ‘normal’ as any other outfit and just do regular stuff in the buff… like repairing bikes. I did not want to stay in any kind of nudist colony, and I think this was the best thing I could do to show that there is nothing wrong with nakedness. Before joining the camp, I discussed the nakedness issue with the leader and he seemed to be convinced, although Andre and I were going to be its first naked members (pun not intended). It worked out just great, nobody seemed to have issues with that and a couple of our campmates got naked too on various occasions.

Besides Playa Bike Transportation, Andre (mostly) and I volunteered at the neighbouring Post Office camp. Yes, Black Rock City may be a short-living settlement but it’s got its own functional Post Office with a proper stamp! I tried my best to be the least friendly possible mocking the stereotype of a USPS worker, but Andre was much better at it and soon became known as an ‘angry postman’.

naturist 0142 Post Office, Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Again, we surprised our customers by our attire, but everyone seemed to love it!

naturist 0077 Post Office, Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Our coworkers were cool about it too.

naturist 0078 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Thus, I think our biggest contribution to the Burning Man festival was spreading the idea that nakedness is just fine and there is nothing shocking about it by doing regular jobs in the buff and interacting with large numbers of people every day. Burning Man is all about expanding your views and comfort zone, and hopefully we’ve triggered this at least in some of our “customers” and campmates.

Besides acquiring new friends, I also knew some old buddies were coming as well. One of them was Miguel, a devoted naturist traveller.

naturist 0000 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

He stayed at colourful Comfort and Joy camp.

naturist 0100 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

When I ventured out to search of Miguel’s camp, I saw El Pulpo Mecanico, one of the hundreds of art cars, or mutant vehicles on the playa.

naturist 0097 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

And I think it remained to be my favourite till the end. It looked fantastic in daylight and at night too, with all its moving tentacles emitting fire.

naturist  0000 Pulpo Mecanico, Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Some mutant vehicles were huge and impressed with their design and mere size.

naturist 0139 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

There were also a lot of spectacular structures and constructions, big and small, that made the landscape absolutely surreal.

naturist 0107 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

This pirate ship sinking in sand was definitely one of the highlights.

naturist 0190 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Some structures were interactive, like these phone booths.

naturist 0001 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

By the way, as you can see on this photo, there was a night when it was warm enough to walk around naked. When we played with my LED-lit frisbee, it was even too hot. But most of the nights were quite chilly, so we had to wear something. Andre and I had a minimalist ‘caveman’ outfit made of fake sheep fur rugs (you can see me on the left of the night el Pulpo Mecanico picture).

The main structure was of course the Man himself, seen from all over the city thanks to its geometrical plan (and provided clear weather, usually in early mornings) – on this photo from 9 o’clock plaza, where our camp was located,

naturist 0131 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

or from Center Camp, here.

naturist 0144 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

At night, it is lit up, as almost everything (and everybody) else.

naturist 0109 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

The Man structure was also a gathering point for some events like Black Rock City’s own issue of the World Naked Bike Ride, aka World Naked Pub Crawl. With bikes being such a crucial part of life during the festival, and its idea to promote self-reliance and sustainability, WNBR seems to fit perfectly into the concept of Burning Man; and with those phallic structures around the Man, which I guess had to do with 2012’s theme, Fertility, the naked aspect of the ride seemed only more appropriate.

naturist 0008 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Before the ride, naked people took over the Man,

naturist 0012 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

filling the whole structure

naturist 0013 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

and climbing everywhere possible.

naturist 0014 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Nice view from the Man😉

naturist 0009 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Most of the participants were on regular bikes, but it wouldn’t be Burning Man without some amusing riders, who decorated their naked bodies,

naturist 0024 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

fancy tandem bikes, or this guy on a unicycle.

naturist 0010 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Amazeballs! [I know, the term use is somewhat controversial, but it suits here more than anywhere else😉 ]

Several “pubs” welcomed naked bike riders. The Duck Pond was probably the most fun, as it had a 150-foot-long slip-n-slide.

naturist 0036 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

At least one guy made it almost all the way till the end of it!

naturist 00366 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

I went a bit sideways and didn’t reach that far.

naturist 0067 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Next stop was spontaneous, as some riders simply took over trampolines of another camp.

naturist trampoline 0015 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USAnaturist trampoline 0020 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Needless to say, it was a lot of fun and some were really good at tumbling!

naturist trampoline 0037 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USAnaturist trampoline 0071 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Next bar, Barbie Death Camp, saw a naked pianist performance.

naturist 0011 Barbie Death Camp, Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Party Naked Tiki Bar, is a probably the most known naked hang out place at the playa, and it was a part of the World Naked Pub Crawl too, of course.

naturist Tiki Bar 0196 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Besides those, I would also like to mention Scarbutts Cafe, where we got our late morning coffee

naturist 0140 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

for a couple of good spanks😀

naturist 0076 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Center Camp is a great hang out spot too, and it wasn’t left without some naked activities either.

This guy was really good at playing with the sock ball.

naturist sock ball 0000 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

And I was really happy that my Burning Man didn’t go without some capoeira games.

naturist capoeira 0100 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

There was a martial arts theme camp, Black Rock Kwoon and Dojo, with classes on different martial arts including capoeira, but there were daily games (rodas) at the Center Camp too.

naturist capoeira 0076 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USAnaturist capoeira 0077 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

And I was even happier when one more naked guy joined the game, as well as a topless girl (not on the photos, though).

For a moment, the Center Camp turned into an Ancient Greek gymnasium🙂

naturist capoeira 0050 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USAnaturist capoeira 0105 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USAnaturist capoeira 0106 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USAnaturist capoeira 0107 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Too bad it was the last evening already, but that was a definitive “yes” – Black Rock City rocks!!!

naturist capoeira 0019 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Those were sad and happy two last nights when major structures were burnt, but that is also a part of beauty of Burning Man, highlighting the idea that one must live in the moment.

naturist 0185 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

And it ends, as everything, only to give a new beginning… Already on the way back, my new friends and I were discussing our ideas for the next year! (Though I am still to decide whether I am going in 2013.)

naturist 0195 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Oh wait, I’ve also compiled a video with some of the brightest moments at Burning Man. No video is capable to show what that festival of festivals really is, but hopefully it can give you some idea and inspiration.

‘Naked holidays’ and ‘Unscheduled Early Nude Year’s Eve’ in New York

Who would have thought, that it would be a colleague of mine who would recommend me an apparently famous off-Broadway show with naked performers – Naked Holidays, right by Times Square!

I haven’t heard of it on any naturist/nudist websites, but it is already their 6th year and they still get sold out! Not quite as long as the Naked Boys Singing, but still impressive. So, of course I am going to check it out, on their last show this season.

It sounds like a fun holiday season show, and if you’re interested, I’ve found a website that sells tickets for half the price, follow the link.

On another note, it looks like this year NYC is left out of what seemed to become a traditional Nude Year’s Eve:-/

But thanks to Travasuns, we have an ‘unscheduled early Nude Year’s Eve’ – this Saturday, December 29. I was at the previous event, and it was a lot of fun. Although Travasuns has a fame of bringing mostly ‘older’ crowd,  there was no shortage of activities and I saw many familiar faces from events of YNA, Vita Nuda, or local beaches. Judging by the calendar, they might be as well the most active nudist group in winter season. They offer saunas, hang-out pool, pizza, but what’s especially cool is that they manage to provide volleyball in winter, which is often unofficially dubbed as naturists’ favourite sport. First, I was quite sceptical about indoors volleyball, but in the end my friends Yassin, for whom it was the first naked event btw, Sergei, Liza and I just couldn’t stop playing and were the last ones to leave the field…

Looking forward to these events! Stay tuned for reviews🙂

Body painting again and again :-)

Body painting seems to be a nudist party activity du jour. Almost every nudist party provides body paint as a part of their program, and there are some that are dedicated to it specifically. I went to one of the events organised by Social Exposure Media in NYC a month ago, and as always body painting proved to be a great tool for socialising and exposing [love to] our bodies.

Unlike previous parties that I’ve been to, this event provided paint that glowed in the dark! in black light, that is. Body art is not difficult to make intriguing and entertaining, it’s just fun to decorate bodies, but glow-in-the-dark effect makes it surreal!

Maybe this video will be able to show the atmosphere.

Now, there is body paint event on Halloween at SoHo Gallery for Digital Art. That might solve your costume problem! I just hope the city will be fine after Frankenstorm. And I guess people will be even more eager to go out and party! Just sign up, show up and show off! It is a ‘bare as you dare’ event.

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!