Urban Nudists TV Segment on Tracks Arte With English Translation
It’s 2017, and we’re starting the year off right with a TV segment about nudism that just aired in France over the weekend! Watch it here: http://tracks.arte.tv/fr/naked-brunch
In the fall of 2015, we were contacted about taking part in a short documentary about nudism for Tracks, a program that’s part of European TV Arte. It was described to us as a show that covers “the latest trends, new lifestyles and avant-garde movements from all over the world.” They explore music, art, cinema, communities, activism, new technology and more.
So last winter we set up to film with one of the journalists who works for this network / program. She interviewed Jordan and I (Felicity), and we arranged a little movie party at our apartment that she attended.
We use a projector at home instead of a TV screen, and of course the night of the party, it decided to break down for the first time! So we couldn’t do what we had planned (to watch a movie, specifically The Goonies.) So in the video, this is why you see someone on a ladder looking at the projector and then you hear our friend briefly explaining the technical issue at hand.
I found it funny how it came out in the segment, though, and the party went well anyway.
The 10 minute documentary also features the organizer of a NYC naked comedy show (The Naked Show) Alison Klemp and other participating comedians, plus artist Andy Golub and a few of his models. And there’s some history and commentary thrown in by the narrator.
It’s pretty simplistic in how it covers everything, but it is limited by its length. Overall we thought it was a good piece and was broadcasted on a well-regarded and widely viewed platform. It’s uncensored, too!
The video is all in French (or you can watch it in German), and most of the English is dubbed over. So we have an English translation below, thanks to our friend Stéphane Deschênes, owner of Bare Oaks Naturist Park who translated it for us! (And the text has some small edits made by me.)
As a side note, I’m not really sure why the subtitle is “Naked Brunch.” If someone else has figured that out, let me know.
Translated English Text for “Urban Nudists” on Tracks Arte (Aired December 31st 2016)
[UP] = Unknown person
Off-Camera Reporter: Don’t hold it against me. I’m asking purely for journalistic reasons.
Alison Klemp: OK
Off-Camera Reporter: Do you think you could undress for this interview?
AK: Uhhh I guess I could…
Off-Camera Reporter: You can have me undress too.
AK: [laughs] Uh yeah sure that’s fine, that’s fine.
Narrator: To have some or not to have some is a question as old as the world. For the activist nudist clothing is hell on earth and getting dressed is cheating. Ask them to drop their pants and they will. Object of a debate stressed out like a string bikini on a beach in Nice, nudity on canvas makes the censors crazy and on the shores, the birkini is replacing topless. Cautious, the nudist activists express themselves in private places. But ultimately, those who want to get rid of ironing, want the right to be nude on the subway, at work and to sleep. [This may seem odd but the three words rhymes in French — métro, boulot, dodo — so it sounds cute.]
[UP]: People think that nudism is shocking. But that’s what we all are. We are all nude but we cover up.
[UP]: Religion has made nudity something bad. But it should not make you afraid. It is neither hurtful nor shameful. It’s just nudity.
[UP]: If you have shoes, you can put your things there. Or in your hair. You have to be creative.
[UP]: If I don’t need pockets, I get naked.
Narrator: For nudist activist, everything has gone wrong since Adam bit into the apple. By coincidence, the big apple is, with its 8 million inhabitants, the epicenter of this movement that wants to get rid of dry cleaners. This November evening, about 20 nude people have gathered in this overheated loft for a movie evening.
[UP]: The problem is that we are not managing to send the projector’s signal to the DVD player. So we can’t see The Goonies.
Narrator: Founded in 2010, the Young Naturists America association has more than 500 members that get together once per month. Unlike traditional naturists that rhyme nudity with nature, these activists fight to live nude in urban environments.
[UP – off camera]: Don’t put your breasts in the hummus.
Nick Gilronan: In 2013, I participated in the contest for the smallest penis in Brooklyn. And I won. The next day it was everywhere in the newspapers. I got a whole bunch of messages. One man said I was an inspiration for him. He was really worried about the size of his penis and he thanked me for what I did. He felt better about himself. I had a few messages like that. I’m very happy to know that I’m helping people.
Felicity: We believe that it goes against the naturist philosophy to discriminate against people based on gender or sexual orientation. Or anything makes them who they are. And there are clubs that discriminate that way.
Narrator: At 27 years old, Felicity Jones is the founder of the association. Born in the New Jersey countryside to naturist parents, she spent her childhood and weekends nude with her family but was not allowed to talk about it at school.
Narrator: Having moved to New York, she quits her job, 4 years ago, as a receptionist to devote her heart and soul to the nudist cause.
Felicity: People make jokes about cooking bacon nude because of the hot oil splashing onto the body.
Narrator: Among her fights, is the right to show herself topless in New York. An act that is allowed since 92 but which resulted in her arrest in 2011. Felicity also fights to be able to post female breasts on Facebook which prohibited breastfeeding images until recently.
Felicity: I’ve been completely naked in Times Square in New York City and people are like shocked and freaked out about that. But when you look up, there’s a billboard with this woman who is barely covered or wearing anything, and a camera zooms in on her butt cheeks. It’s totally sexualizing the image of this young woman but nobody blinks an eye at that. If you use nudity to sell something, if a woman’s body is used to sell, that’s allowed. It does not cause any problems. But when a woman decides to take off her clothes because she’s comfortable like that, everyone jumps on her. You’re a slut, it’s bad, it’s shameful. That’s how our warped culture deals with nudity.
Narrator: Adam and Eve can go and get dressed. Being nude is no longer a symbol of innocence but is now an ideological choice. At the end of the 19th century, the Germans of Freikörperkultur, the culture of the free body, make a return to nature and nude physical exercise as an antidote to the industrial revolution. But in the 1930’s, the movement is taken up by Nazi propaganda. Forbidden in the United States in the context of prohibition, presenting yourself nude comes out of the closet in the 1960’s thanks to hippies and becomes a symbol of protest. Since the arrival of photoshopped bodies, nudity has become common except when it is not retouched. For former Disney singer Miley Cyrus, it is an easy way to shock; she dreams of organizing a concert where the public will be nude.
Narrator: For Andy Golub, there’s no need to make a big deal of nudity. In these bags the New York artist does not carry dismembered bodies but his working tools – pillows to protect the rear end of his models.
Andy Golub: The only way for you to get closer is to turn your body in this direction and to bend your knees.
Narrator: Andy first paints canvases, furniture and then cars. In 2007 while he was exhibiting in a contemporary art gallery, a model next to him proposes that he paint her. It was a revelation. Since then, Andy is the Rembrandt of body painting.
AG: Believe it or not, I have no trouble finding models who not only accept to be painted nude but to do it in public. And that says a lot about the times, people are tired of being rushed everywhere. They don’t feel they can express who they are in their daily routine. And suddenly, they find this, which is a little extreme in itself, but it is a reflection of the extreme environment in which we live.
AG: Fantastic pose you guys, you can get up.
Narrator: Once per year, Andy and his models exhibits the work outside for Body Painting Day. Created in 2014 in New York, this event allows urban nudity in the context of an art project. Due of its success this year that brought 100 models and 70 artists together, Andy has decided to also organize it at Amsterdam, Brussels, and San Francisco.
Anthony Illiano: To walk around nude and to feel liberated without thinking ‘oh my god I am naked, I am naked’. But to live your body fully. It is something that helps people connect authentically with others. Because they don’t see you sexually but just as an individual.
Narrator: In New York, professional stand-up comics are participating this evening in the Naked Show, the only comedy show in Adam’s costume. Alison Klemp, the organizer, is the only one to have already performed completely nude. For the other 6 comics, it’s the big jump. No chance to change their mind.
Alison Klemp: On three, we are all nude.
AK: The first time I did it, I was terrified. The whole time leading up to it I was working out a lot, starving myself. I was under pressure to look really good. Plus I went up first on the show which was even more terrifying. But once on stage, it was just this really powerful surge of adrenaline. The same kind of feeling you get when you’re rock climbing or do other extreme sports.
Mike Lewis: What could go wrong? Nothing. I’m going to be fine. This is the most calm I’ve ever been before a show. It’s really weird.
Sarah Hartshorne: I’ve always told myself, if I was a guy, I would be so afraid to have an erection. And to lose it.
Ajai Raj: I have at least one joke about dicks. Who has dick tonight? Or possibly lots of dick.
[Alison Klemp and Mike Lewis speak on stage in English with French subtitles]
Ajai Raj: It reminds us that we are animals. In the end, we are just animals who tell each other jokes. That’s really what it comes down to.