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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Nifty swimming

N.I.F.T.Y. (or Naked Iconoclasts Fighting the Yoke) is another example of Canadians getting active in ways that let them stay true to themselves. Every month, the group rents out a Vancouver public pool, leaving their swimsuits at home and putting the breast in breaststroke. In a decision that is either Hunter S. Thompson-esque gonzo journalism, or Paris-and-Nicole stunt work, I decided to join them for a dip recently.

Once we're in, it's pretty much as normal as a nudist swim can be. In fact, there is much, much less perviness that a regular swim at a public pool (I am looking at you, creepy hot tub lurkers). Elianna will not be cajoled into a leap off the diving board or a go on the slide, but everyone else is going happily about their business, doing laps and cannonballs (ha!) and, yes, getting their heart rate up.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Naked bike protest celebrates individuality

On March 12 , cities in the southern hemisphere experienced the joy of the world's largest naked protest against oil dependency and car culture in the history of humanity.

According to the website, it is time to stop indecent exposure to automobile emissions and to celebrate the power and individuality of our bodies: Naked Bicycle People Power.

Sun Eden Naturist Resort, north of Pretoria, was the venue for the South African event of the World Naked Bike Ride, which was attended by more than 100 naturists.

In Australia, Melbourne, Newcastle, Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide, Canberra and Perth participated in the World Naked Bike Ride and in New Zealand, Golden Bay, Auckland and Lake Tekapo took part.

On June 10, the northern hemisphere cities will participate. Naturism is popular in Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Russia, Netherlands, Britain, Argentina, Brazil, the US and Canada.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Venezuelans pose nude in public for art

"The body represents beauty, love and peace. There was a lot of beauty and energy in the people today."

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- More than 1,500 Venezuelans shed their clothes on a main city avenue Sunday to pose for American photographer Spencer Tunick, forming a human mosaic in front of a national symbol: a statue of independence hero Simon Bolivar.

As Tunick shouted commands through a megaphone, nude people of every shape, size and skin tone gathered on the avenue and stairs in front of the statue just before dawn.

"There are some people over there with clothes; get them out of there!" said Tunick, an artist from Brooklyn, New York, who has been documenting groups of nude people in public places around the world since 1992.

For the volunteers, being part of Tunick's art meant letting go of inhibitions and enduring a two-hour series of sometimes uncomfortable positions on the pavement.

Harold Velasquez, a thin 23-year-old university student, said he was nervous before the 4:30 a.m. event -- but felt free while posing.

"I put the lightest clothes I had on this morning because I knew I wouldn't have them on for long," a smiling Velasquez said. "There were good vibrations, a good positive energy among all the people involved. I felt liberated."

The nude subjects posed standing, lying down and on their knees as the warm Caribbean sun emerged on the eastern horizon.

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Monday, March 13, 2006

Cyclists bare all for cause

One hundred cyclists of all ages and in various states of undress - some fully clothed, others naked - rode from Tarakohe to Pohara on Sunday for a cause they strongly believe in.

There was almost a carnival atmosphere at Golden Bay's third annual World Naked Bike Ride, as spectators lined part of the route, with many waving and cheering as the cyclists rode by.

The slogans painted on their bodies included "Burn fat not oil", "I'm safer on my broom" and "Blink (bike lanes nurture kids)".

Those opposed to the ride - 200 had signed a petition against it - stayed away, it seemed.

Patrons of the packed Penguin Cafe and Bar at Pohara raised their glasses to the riders. The police were present but no one was arrested.

At the start of the event, Sergeant Arthur Clarence of Takaka police told the cyclists to "have a good ride" but warned them that the police would deal with anyone not wearing a helmet.

The cyclists were from all walks of life and included musicians, artists, tourist accommodation operators, and Golden Bay Community Board chairman Joe Bell dressed as a white swan.

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