Monday, June 30, 2014

Taking it all off

It's the middle of winter in Tasmania, I'm talking frosty mornings, dull grey skies and sitting inside watching your breath turn white while your fingernails turn blue.
So, not the best time to be getting naked, in public, while reading or swimming.
But let's not let the cold get in the way of gratuitous nudity.

MONA took care not to offend the sensibilities of the Sunday dog walkers
Reading at NGR- Naked Girls Rock
Photo by CezB photography

Naked Girl's Reading was started in March 2009 by Michelle L'Amour and Frankie Vivid in Chicago. The Tasmanian chapter has been taken on by local burlesque performers Scarlett Jezebel and Velvet Sway. The theme was rock 'n' roll and I was reading two excerpts from The Real Frank Zappa Book.

Backstage with NGR producer Scarlett Jezebel
Picturing your audience naked doesn't seem prudent when you're reading, out loud, naked.
Instead, after settling on my tummy (I thought the audience needed some butt time) I focused on the excerpt I was reading, trying to remember to talk slowly and make the story come alive- Frank Zappa is not without humour and I was reading about groupies giving blow jobs and making plaster casts of band members... members.

Sitting up for the second reading
My copy of Zappa is dog eared and creased because, as I told Richard from Cracked and Spineless during the Q and A section, "I really do like Zappa." Turns out Richard does too but his girlfriend not so much. I told her to persevere, it's an acquired taste like coffee. Maybe.

Q and A session
My ex, Kier who introduced me to Zappa got too many mentions as in the Q and A I got too many questions. Kier also introduced me to ZZ Top, Kier likes all the good music. Happily all my past boyfriends have had good taste in music, I'm yet to date someone who likes crap like Eiffel 65.

Hobart at 6:50... You can just see the lights of Rafael Lazano- Hemmer's articulated Intersect on the right

After the reading came the swimming, the MONA Nude Solstice swim, part of Dark MOFO Winter festival. On Sunday morning 700 nude dickheads in 700 swimming caps took a swim at Sandy Bay's Long Beach- I don't know if the caps were for warmth or to make us more of a homogeneous mass of bottoms.

I had promised to do the swim with my friends Phoebe and Anita, Phoebe is a mate from Melbourne, Phoebe had forgotten how cold it is in Tasmania. I don't think she'll ever forget.

So many of us turned up to swim that we were divided into two groups (those who turned up before 7:20 and those who didn't) the second group stood in a long line, scouring the faces of the first lot looking for hints of pain and shock.
At 7:42am smoke rose, drums steadily beat and the beach was strewn with white towels as the first wave ran into the water. Five minutes later they were out again, gathering at drums of fire placed along the sand.

20 minutes later it was our turn, we marched to a changing room and stripped, men and women, young and old, in my group there seemed to be more young than old, we held our towels around us, more for warmth than modesty and gathered on the beach in front of a crowd of curious onlookers. We didn't have to wait long, the drums started to beat, the flares expelled plumes of orange smoke, I grabbed Phoebe's hand, she grabbed Anita's and screaming like banshees we plunged into the water.

Photo by Bec Fitzgibbon MONA

It was very very cold, we waded out to hip height, once the water was over our hips I plunged my body in, keeping my head out of the water, it was shocking, the kind of shock that makes you wonder how you're still breathing. I struck out to the pontoon, fixated on ignoring the stabbing cold that was eating away at my vagina. After the first minute, the water was bearable except for there! Phoebe and Anita followed suit and shortly after we made it to the buoys, about 50 metres off shore, the signal came to get out again.

Getting out was slower and more difficult than striking out to the buoys but once back on shore we raced to grab a sandy trodden towels and join the huddles at the fire drums.

Getting dressed was also harder but done in double quick time when I realised I had some cash on me for coffee. We gathered to watch the sun rise and talk over the experience, "exhilarating, fucking freezing, let's do it again next year."

Post swim coffee!
Can't mention Dark MOFO without mentioning the laser cats at Faux Mo. I didn't get naked at Afterlife but I figure everyone deserves to know the wonder of Laser cats.


Winter Feast and Ferris Wheel of Death

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