Naked Girls Reading is Exactly What It Sounds Like.
In 2008, burlesque performer and entrepreneur Michelle L'amour was sitting around her Chicago home, reading in the nude.
Her husband, she says, stumbled upon her and found it to be a very inspiring image. That same day, he purchased a domain for a website called Naked Girls Reading. The couple planned to launch one or more virtual projects dedicated to the then-nebulous concept.
Over the next year, their idea evolved into a live show. The event was exactly what it professed to be — some naked girls, on a stage, reading. According to Miss L'amour, that first show was “unexpectedly magical.”
On Friday night at Quixotic World in Deep Ellum, the local Dallas chapter of the now-worldwide Naked Girls Reading franchise will put on its third-ever production of this same concept. Friday's event, called Southern Drawl, will feature various area burlesque performers reading three- or four-minute-long excepts from such Southern literary luminaries as Mark Twain, David Sedaris and even some Craigslist posters.
“This is sort of the cerebral side to stripping,” says burlesque performer Black Mariah, who also serves as Naked Girls Reading's Dallas producer and who argues that her event will offer more than just eye candy. “It's kind of a tongue-in-cheek take on all of it. Most of the women I work with are degreed. One of them is a published author. And all of them read. A lot.”
L'Amour, who now holds the working title of “Head Naked Girl,” backs that claim up. She says she's had more than one doctor, a lawyer and even a marketing executive shaking their stuff while reading in the nude for her Chicago-based troupe, The Chicago Starlets
“You're not going to make it very far in this [burlesque] business if you donâ€™t have something to offer besides your body,” L'Amour says. “We just wanted to have a sensual event with girls reading literature they are passionate about.”
And, she argues, despite its provocative name and concept, Naked Girls Reading is a rather no-frills event. With minimal visual gimmicks, the ladies just disrobe, sit down and put on a 90-minute show, reading the pieces they love.
Still, the event has already drawn a dedicated crowd: Longtime fan Paul Lewis drives all the way in from Shreveport just to catch Naked Girls Reading shows here in town.
“In one respect, it is what it is,” Lewis says. “It's a lot of fun. It's not dry. There is a lot of interplay, and a lot of humor.â€
Confirms L'Amour: “Naked Girls Reading sounds like what it is. It's beautiful women reading.”
Well, OK. But maybe it's a little more than that.
“Why would you pay to come see me read with my clothes on?” Mariah asks with a laugh.
Cover photo courtesy of Naked Girls Reading.