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.”

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.

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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.

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Another nature’s wonder was a mini-tornado coming to us from the playa –

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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.

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The schedule of our activities was put daily on the blackboard.

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Our first event included two running races – a 100-yard sprint

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and a longer, approx. 1.8 km run from our camp to the Man and back.

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

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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.

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Each match started with ceremonial wide steps, and then opponents tried to push each other

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until one of them stepped outside the ring;

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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.

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But perhaps the most effective approach is simply carrying the opponent outside the ring, preferably keeping him upside down! 😀

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For each pair, the victory was decided in 2 wins out of 3 matches.

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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

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and were well matched –

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so their sparring was very intense and captivating.

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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.

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

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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!

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.

trail running race at Sunny Rest, PA

naturist 0006 Sunny Rest Resort, Pennsylvania, USA

A couple of weeks ago, I participated in a trail race that has now become a yearly tradition for me – 4th time at the  ‘Bouncing Buns’ race at Sunny Rest, PA, with the 5th result overall out of about 130 participants. Most of my naked runner fellows couldn’t join me this time, including Casey, who came first last year but had an injury this June. My result  (30:51) has improved by a lot compared to the previous, but it wasn’t as good as in 2013 (even though I was 7th) and 2012 (when I was 3rd). But it doesn’t really make sense to compare the results here rigorously, as the track and length of the race varies from year to year. This time the trail was a bit easier in terms of lack of very steep uphills/downhills and extended parts where you had to run over wet rocks and roots, like last year, but there was more running through the tunnels of rhododendron bush and a pretty long uphill part towards the end of the race (where some of the frontrunners almost stopped). In other words, it was still lots of fun 😉

Here is a recap video for you that we made with Peter, so you get an idea of what it was like. It was the first time I used my GoPro camera in this way, so next time it’ll be better (I have some ideas for free-running/chasing vids, stay tuned!)

Maybe you also remember that “floating bed” in the woods at Sunny Rest 2 years ago. Well, now it’s gone (pretty much entirely rotten), and the only thing left are the ropes hanging on the trees. We thought it was fun to climb walk up the trees using those 🙂

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We weren’t the only ones around to climb trees

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or hang from them either…

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(Some trees were actually full of these caterpillars – what’s happening this year? Not enough birds to eat them?)

As we went on a hike, we saw a very old rusty car in the middle of the woods,

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which by now is impossible to guess how it got there, being completely surrounded by trees. It reminded me of the abandoned settlement of several houses, also in the woods of Pennsylvania, that we discovered 3 years ago, and where a car with bullet holes also rusted… But here, it was just this one car with nothing else around…

If you go to the edge of the forest, you may get some picturesque views of the fields.

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But I don’t think you’re allowed to venture out [naked] onto those fields. The forest itself is quite picturesque too; here is a “field” of ferns.

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(Seemingly even bigger than the ‘sea of ferns’ at Lake Como resort in Florida.)

This time we witnessed the beginning of rhododendron blooming season,

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as this majestic bush was adorned with flowers of

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fifty (???)

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shades of pink.

rhododendron 0001 Sunny Rest Resort, Pennsylvania, USA

I hope to get back to ‘Bouncing Buns’ race next year with a bigger team again, but I’ll be back to Sunny Rest Resort even sooner – the weekend of 25-26 July is SunnyBowl, a pretty big volleyball tournament there that promises to be fun! See you there?

FreeForm Festival – first experience as a theme camp

naturist 0000 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

FreeForm Festival really lives up to its name, and after I had so much fun there last year, I was determined to come back, and even more excitingly, together with our theme camp Gymnasium. FreeForm brings together a very diverse crowd, and although you wouldn’t see many naked participants, it is officially a clothing-optional event. Our camp was the only one where nudity was at its core, but there were some occasional fellow nudies here and there, e.g. two naked fire-spinners at the effigy burn (to which I unfortunately forgot to bring my camera).  So, we saw it as our opportunity to reach out to many people who don’t have experience in naturism (or simply said, those who are not used to hang out naked) and show them the great fun that comes with nude recreation. This was also a good test for us before launching our project of Gymnasium on a much larger scale at Burning Man later this summer. We got lots of encouragement and ideas for collaboration, and here are just some highlights.

Our first event attracted about a dozen people, but only our camp members were naked. Well, we thought it was still a success, as to bring across the idea of social nudity, people should get comfortable with others being naked, and then maybe it will not be too long until they feel comfortable in their own skin too.

naturist 0001 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

And our event required quite a bit of collaboration, often between ‘skins and shirts’, as it was a race that combined a piggy-back ride

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and a barrel run.

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It was pure fun,

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but to add a bit of competitive spirit and even more fun, we arranged a final race for the first 4 pairs from the initial run;

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for the final, the leading person had to wear a horse (or pig, in one case) mask, which partially obscured vision.

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Thus, besides making it more fun for the spectators, these masks were supposed to encourage communication between riders and horses.

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At the turn from piggy-back ride to barrel-run, riders and horses had to swap, so the participants in each pair experienced both roles, though in different versions.

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Just seeing these photos, it looks like barrel run in the mask was a bit more difficult to control,

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but everybody made it till the end 🙂

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My pair won, and is it was the only one where both participants were naked, let me conclude (admittedly, in an anecdotal manner) that  communication and collaboration work best between naked people 🙂

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And the horse sort of became our camp’s mascot (we hung our program with historical references at the entrance to the camp).

Later in the day, we went to the temple area, played wind gongs

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and climbed trees (because why not? This won’t be an option at Burning Man :-))

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Then it was time for our nude dance workshop aka NuDance, for which we collaborated with our neighbors, ‘Priority 5’ camp – they provided the soundtrack. Thanks again, guys, in case you read this! We were really lucky to have them as our neighbors, as they had some of the best music around (probably among my 2 favorite music camps along with ‘Echo’).

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But here is a sad side note about music at FreeForm: apparently, some outdoors after-hours music sessions that were not supposed to take place kept some locals in the neighboring village awake to the extent that they filed a complaint and now FreeForm has to find a new home 😦 Hopefully, it won’t be difficult for the organizers.

Then there was another event that triggered some joyful nudity – a crossover from Holi festival, where participants splash each other with brightly-colored powders. I missed it, as I was getting massage at that time, but luckily other campmates brought some extra powders, so we had our own naked celebration of colors.

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And our colorful rabbit with a powerful jump deserves an extra credit 🙂

naturist 0013 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

We continued with Indian-inspired activities by doing yoga that turned into a symposium (as you may know from our theme camp description, this idea of drinking wine in different poses was also inspired by depictions of symposiums from Ancient Greek vases).

naturist 0015 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

We discussed a bit how to increase attendance of our events next year, and one solution was obvious – we should apply for workshops at the lawn by the main stage to increase visibility and traffic.

But then our last event was very successful indeed. Perhaps because people started packing and bringing down their tents, so our camp became more visible, or simply because many liked the idea, we had a very good attendance at our oil wrestling match. Even the founder of FreeForm Festival stopped by; he liked the idea of our camp, being both very interactive and educational, and advised to get some Greek-themed decorations such as columns (which we’re already planning for Burning Man).

oiling
oiling

Quite a few people showed for our wrestling match, and then more were joining from passers by. It was a good idea to use oil for participants (and we used a good quality Greek olive oil), as this encouraged them to get naked (and all did except for one who kept his underwear, because his girlfriend was strict about that allegedly :-))

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Here are just a few highlights,

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so you get an impression of how our matches went.naturist wrestling 0076 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

We used sumo wrestling rules, which are the simplest of all wrestling styles, i.e. only the soles of the feet are allowed to touch the ground and you have to stay within the ring.

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The most common winning strategy was pushing the opponent outside the ring, sometimes quite vigorously,

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but even then all matches ended in a peaceful manner

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and the whole atmosphere was very friendly.

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Another strategy was lifting the opponent and bringing him, or her as in this case, down… Though it didn’t work for me, as my opponent clung to me, and I had to extend my arm to the ground not to fall.

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Lifting the opponent and carrying him outside the ring worked well too.

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And some more selected moments for you:

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I really like these pictures,

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as they show interaction between people,

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many of whom are complete strangers to each other,

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while some are close friends,

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but in either case, it is both very physical and social.

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At times it looked almost like a fist fight,

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and then more like a dance,

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but keeping it balanced was the key to maintain the fun,

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even when the opponents were of quite different size.

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Which by the way wasn’t often a good predictor of who would win:

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our match showed that size doesn’t matter, but skillfulness does! 😉

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Admittedly, the matches between more similarly skilled and sized opponents

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were the most exciting to watch

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and lasted longest.

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And I guess you’ve been wondering – yes, we did have an all female match too!

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And I’ll just finish here quoting a comment from one of them, which makes me think that our mission was accomplished: “thanks for making me feel so comfortable naked and learning how much I love how it feels!”

PS I actually love these photos so much, and I think they quite grasp the essence of the whole idea of Active Naturists and our theme camp, so here is a gallery with an extended selection for your enjoyment.

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volleyball and more at SuperBowl South, Lake Como resort, Florida

After participating in the Naked Volleyball Superbowl last year, I got the volley bug and now want to visit as many such events as possible. Before I get to the report from Volleyball Super Bowl South, I’d like to announce a few other naked volleyball tournaments in which my friends and I are going to partake this year:

Banana Rum Cup on the weekend of 20-21 June at White Tail Resort in Virginia (this one I personally will skip, because I don’t want to miss a trail race that’s become a yearly tradition);

Sunny Bowl on the weekend of 25-26 July at Sunny Rest Resort in Pennsylvania;

– and again The Original Naked Volleyball Superbowl on 10-13 September at White Thorn Lodge.

For a fuller list of naked volleyball tournaments in North America refer to Nudist Volleyball website (and if anyone knows of similar lists for other parts of the world, let me know!)

As to my report from Volleyball Super Bowl South, I have to disappoint right away that there won’t be any pictures or videos from the volleyball tournament itself, as photography is not allowed at this event, just like at White Thorn. You can see what I think about such no-photo policies at naturist resorts in my previous post, but I still hope that one day I’ll be able to produce a complete reportage with video footage from one of these volleyball tournaments, just like you would expect from any other sport event. The picture below is the only photo with volleyball you will see in this post, and it’s not even used for playing 😀

naturist 0008 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

Super Bowl South takes place mid-March at Lake Como naturist resort near Tampa, Florida, and attracts a couple of hundreds participants – a lot fewer than the event at White Thorn but still an impressive number. And I guess I can’t help but compare these two events. I saw many familiar faces, and perhaps because of a smaller crowd and less busy program, there was more opportunity to socialize and get to know other participants.  But if at White Thorn I had an impression that the entire resort, including the residents, was involved in the Super Bowl in some way, it seemed like most Lake Como residents were rather detached from it. It still very well organized, however, and there even was a small fair on the weekend.

Most players camped at two lawns at the front of the resort.

naturist 0000 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

The grass was very nice and soft, and there was also enough shade from cypress trees covered in Spanish moss.

Majority of younger people were a part of Tiki-Tombas group and camped near the entrance to the lake. I joined their team from Novice+ division. Besides a few volleyball matches during daytime, we had lots of fun playing silly games by the fire at night. The rest of the time we spent mostly hanging out at the pool and hot tubs, and a bit of hiking. By Saturday, we had to have the teams formed more or less, and played several matches to determine teams’ levels. Our team did very well, winning 4 out of 6 games, so we were all hyped for the main game on Sunday. Between the dinner at the local restaurant (it was pretty good, but typically for a naturist resort, without too much of a healthy selection) and relaxing in a hot tub, I went back to the court to practice serving with my glow-in-the-dark ball, I just couldn’t get enough! However, on Sunday our team didn’t do so well, losing almost all matches. That’s when you start saying that you participate in such events to have fun and not necessarily to win 😀 Well, fun was certainly had, irrespectively of results! After novice league was done, we enjoyed watching the pros of A and AA level, and thankfully they kept on playing well into the early evening.

Even though I don’t have any volleyball-related imagery to share, there is still a couple of photos from Lake Como resort in line with Active Naturists’ credo.

naturist 0002 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

At the outskirts of the resort, next to the pine woods, there was a couple of apparatuses for calisthenics. I hadn’t done calisthenics outdoors since October, so I was happy to do it out in the open, and even more so naked! I shared my routine with Peter, and he gladly did some exercises too.

naturist 0006 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

The trail around that pine grove is adorned with wooden statues, mostly of animals.

naturist 0001 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

Some were more naturalistic than the others,

view 0002 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

and some were clearly made to be photographed with 🙂

naturist 0005 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

Besides wooden animals,

view 0003 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

we saw some real ones too.

falcon 0000 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

This falcon favored one of the volleyball fields as its hunting ground.

falcon 0001 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

(Again, ironically, the only imagery of a volleyball field from this report on volleyball tournament has nothing to do with the game…)

falcon 0002 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

I wasn’t sure if the falcon’s hunting efforts were successful, but I was glad to be able to shoot it (with a camera!) in the nice late afternoon light.

falcon 0003 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

This was also a fruiting season for loquat, which we ate plenty.

naturist 0003 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

There were various fruiting citrus trees as well, but only one of the mandarins had a couple of ripe fruit at the time.

cinnamon fern 0000 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

Cinnamon fern, despite the name, was among the plants that we could only enjoy visually, so as this aroid below,

plants 0000 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

and huge Spanish moss “beards” swaying in the wind.

view 0001 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

We were puzzled by some fist-sized round fruit that lied on the ground in many places without any sign of a plant that could produce them… until we finally saw one dried exemplar.

plants 0001 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

This bromeliad found a perfect spot to grow, looking as if planted there by someone on purpose.

plants 0003 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

Thus, there is a couple of short but quite diverse trails at the premises of Lake Como, providing an opportunity to get in touch with a bit of Florida’s nature while being naked, as [hot Florida’s] nature intended 😉

plants 0005 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

One of the trails is called ‘Sea of Ferns’ for obvious reasons.

And in addition to plants, here are two more pretty specimens from the trail: a lichen,

lichen 0000 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

and a mushroom.

mushroom 0000 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

Another branch of the trail is called ‘Sunset trail’, also for obvious reasons;

view 0004 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

there you get a nice view of the resort from distance.

view 0005 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

That’s about it, and if you want to hear more about Lake Como resort itself, check out the recent review from Young Naturists America.

As we were about to leave, I noticed another bird of prey right above our campsite. It made that disturbing high-pitch and quite human-like call, about whose origin many campers had been wondering, and not necessarily out of pure curiosity, as it often came about at dawn… Well, still I would shoot this bird only with my camera 😉

falcon 0004 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

I hope I’ll be back to Lake Como next year again, to play volleyball in the buff with friends and strangers, and be ‘welcomed’ by this screaming bird 🙂

theme camp application submitted for Burning Man 2015

Last week, we submitted our theme camp placement application for Burning Man, and if we get approved, we should get a nice location for better traffic and attendance. Our program is quite extensive, so we hope our guests and we ourselves will have a fun and productive experience at the Gymnasium camp. If you are going to Burning Man this year and would like to participate in any way, please e-mail us or leave a comment here! New members are also welcome! Here are some excerpts from our application (with illustrations of our inspirations as well).

Gymnasium camp layout plan + name 3.0

The layout of our camp is very simple, as our main focus is organizing interactive events rather than creating mind-boggling constructions. We will have a square shade structure with open space in the middle – our gymnasium’s “palaestra”, where most of activity will happen. The entrance will be adorned with columns, while the internal court of palestra will feature a couple of [artificial] trees typical to Greek landscape such as cypress and  olive. The perimeter of the camp will be used a track for our races.

yoga wine drinking Ancient Greecewine drinking Ancient Greece

Unfortunately, we’ve ditched our idea with serving food and drinks to our participants so far, as this would require additional applications to state authorities, which might be too much for the first year while not really crucial for our theme.

But we shall certainly have several athletic activities, as we shall revive a few events from the authentic Olympic games with some modifications.

wrestling Ancient Greece

Greek-style wrestling, and as a variation, oil wrestling; we shall provide olive oil to participants; on the one hand, oil will make wrestling more slippery = difficult and fun at the same time, but on the other, we think participants will appreciate its soothing effect on their skin, being in the harsh arid environment.

oiling Ancient Greece

We had do think how go around prohibition of animals at Burning Man for our “equestrian” events

chariot race Ancient Greecehorse riding Ancient Greece

The solution is simple, our participants will play the roles of both riders and horses:

piggy back Ancient Greece

piggy-back and barrel-run races (possibly relay races, depending on the number of participants) will be our equivalent of equestrian events. We would like to hold these two during the Burning Man’s edition of the World Naked Bike Ride aka Naked Pub Crawl. We may offer participants to cover themselves in olive oil for these events as well, as a symbolic act for filling a car tank, to remind that the World Naked Bike Ride is a demonstration for oil-independency and for alternative energy sources and body-powered transportation (not to mention that the slippery aspect will make it more fun as well).

discus thrower Ancient Greece

A frisbee throw will be our equivalent of discus competition (this is one of the reasons why we would like our camp to be at the esplanade); we could have one frisbee event during day and another during night with LED-lit frisbee discs.

For athletic training, we would like to provide workshops on wrestling, yoga, acro-yoga, street-style dances (hip-hop, house, break etc.) and capoeira. Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art disguised as a dance and usually accompanied by music. In this aspect, it is similar to the way Ancient Greek athletes often trained, accompanied by live musicians.

music and jumps Ancient Greece

As for the artistic aspect of our theme, we plan to hold a poetry slam. In ancient Greece, literary events were an indispensable part of athletic festivals, including the Olympics. Also, champion athletes commissioned great poets to compose their victory odes, so we would like to combine one of our athletic events with a poetry competition and make the losers compose odes to the winners.

Similarly, to make our events even more interactive, we could introduce bets among contestants or their supporters: e.g. “If you win, I’ll give you a foot rub every night for three nights”.

Our camp has two certified and even more amateur masseurs, so we would like to provide massages to the winners and most active participants of our events.

To add another aspect of Ancient Greek culture – mythology and drama – we will reenact some famous duels between mythological figures.

For the philosophical aspect of our theme, we plan to hold discussions on various topics, and at the same time experiment with different forms of discussion: symposia, Socratic dialogues, debates, autobiographical explorations of themes related to the body. Our topics will include:

– body image and body acceptance across cultures and history; their roles in naturism, and what naturism may teach the rest of society about body acceptance;

– body modification (e.g. cosmetic surgery, piercing, tattoos, scarring, the practice of circumcision);

– the place of god(s) and humans in our modern worldview and in Ancient Greece;

– the concept of gymnasium, as training for the body and mind in equal measure; mind/body relationship; mediations of the body and athleticism of the mind.

thinker

Let us know what you think, and if you cannot participate directly but have an idea related to our theme, just comment here.

Bare Burro naked 5K run

When I wrote about fun and active naked events this spring across the US, I forgot to include a naked running race in Southern California that certainly meets the criteria: Bare Burro 5K Run at Olive Dell Ranch this Sunday, 19th! Now, that my friend Don has sent me a video he produced to promote the event, I’m racing to share it with you!

Good luck and have fun!

FreeForm Festival 2015: camp application submitted

This Wednesday, we submitted our theme-camp application for FreeForm Festival (which, in case you haven’t seen my previous post about it, is North-Eastern version of Burning Man, on a smaller scale and with grass). We’ll be a camp of a dozen people, many of whom will go to Burning Man as well, so it will be our chance to try some ideas regarding  our theme – Gymnasium.

Our camp is themed around gymnasium in its original Ancient Greek meaning: a place for physical training, socializing and engaging in intellectual pursuits. Nowadays, physical and intellectual activities are usually seen to belong to separate domains. We want to bring back the idea that they mix well together, and our activities will include both physical exercise and philosophical discussions.

The word ‘gymnasium’ comes from the Ancient Greek term γυμνός [gymnós] meaning “naked”, and our activities will be held in the nude. We believe that nudity will make physical activities more fun and at the same time will be important to bring across our message about body acceptance. We hope that all our participants will only feel more comfortable and confident in their own skin after our events.

FreeForm Festival will last 5 days this year (4-8 June), but we’ll probably just go for the weekend from Friday evening to Sunday night. Our program, as submitted, will include the following:

piggy back race (Sat, noon): an alternative to equestrian races in the original Olympics

street style dance workshop (Sat, 3pm): Urban dance workshop with a new twist – in the buff! Now you can’t cheat your moves 😉

yoga followed by some wine-drinking (Sat, 6pm): Ancient Greeks sometimes drank wine in acrobatic poses at their symposiums ;-)) Nude yoga – for a better flow 🙂 Free your body, free your mind! We’ll end the session with drinking wine in your favorite yoga poses.

… followed by  discussion on body image and body acceptance across cultures and history

capoeira workshop (Sun, noon): Capoeira is a unique martial art with elements of dance and is usually accompanied by music. Come to hear about its history, try some kicks and defense moves, and learn a capoeira song! To comply with our camp’s theme of body acceptance and make sure you do all the moves correctly, this workshop will be done in the nude 🙂

wrestling match (Sun, 3pm): Let’s wrestle like in the original Olympics – nude! Do you have any body image fears? It’s time to fight it too 😉

The most active participants and winners will be served Greek-style food and given massage!

Contact via e-mail or leave a comment here if you want to join us for FreeForm Festival or just share an idea for our activities.

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!

Gymnasium camp for Burning Man 2015: first ticketed participants!

The first update on our theme camp for Burning Man 2015:

We now have 8 confirmed ticketed participants, despite getting tickets was a sort of painful race against time. Somehow it worked out for many of us with a little bit of luck, but almost as many, if not more are still desperate to find tickets. As the official website says, you do “have a number of other opportunities to get tickets, including through the Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP), the OMG Sale in August and the Low Income Ticket Program (which is reserved for those who are in, and can demonstrate, actual financial need).” But probably the best way to find a ticket is to ask around among your burner friends.  A few of our campmates will apply for Low Income Program – let’s wish them best of luck!

If you are going this year and are interested in our theme – Gymnasium – please contact via e-mail or leave a comment here! I was happy to get a couple of requests already. I hope you have tickets though, as we don’t have any spare ones so far. And if you have a spare ticket that you’d like to sell to one of our eager campmates, please let us know too!

More details about our camp ideas and development will follow, and we’ll also be able to polish our program at Free Form Festival on the first weekend of June in Pennsylvania. Their 2015 website is not up yet, but you can read my report from last year. Some general info is available on their ticket sale webpage, and by the way tickets go on sale tomorrow! There won’t be as much craze as with Burning Man tickets, but the price goes up by a lot as the sale progresses – no reason to wait, if you know you want to be there. I highly recommend this festival for anyone who wants to explore their creative side!