Naked Girls Read Spooky Tales To A Crowd on Saturday Night At Kettle Art Gallery.
You won't find five naked women reading out loud to an audience in the back of an art gallery all too often in Dallas. And yet that's exactly and precisely what went down on Saturday night in Deep Ellum as Naked Girls Reading, an event originally founded in Chicago, hosted its latest Dallas showcase, with various burlesque performers reading literature in the nude in back of Kettle Art Gallery.
The space was packed with 100 or so people who happily took in what was ultimately a sort of bizarre affair that would send the most childish of us into a giggling fit of death. Or perhaps, even in trouble from competitors looking for a quarrel. (If nothing else, consider our lesson learned. Hence the crude illustrations — and not photographs — of the affair included here.)
On its face, Naked Girls Reading is only sort of titillating. We're all adults here; we've seen breasts and perhaps a vagina or two. We're mature enough to get past that fact. No, that really isn't the point of this. Plus, these are burlesque performers up there, so this isn't some exercise in being comfortable in one's own skin, either. These women have already obliterated that battle that scares most of us to death. (But hey: When you assume, you make a bare “ass” out of “u and me.”)
This event is an exercise in literature, wit and some sexuality thrown in for good measure. As with each Naked Girls Reading event, this one had a theme: Fang Fiction and Scarytales in the Dark.
Naturally, since it's Halloween season, the evening's readers — Vivienne Vermuth, Angi B'Lovely, Courtney Crave, The Dirty Blonde and Black Mariah — all read from an array of slightly spooky literature and some campy prose alike. Courtney Crave read from The Haunting of Hill House and Let The Right One In. Vivienne Vermuth read from a book about “vampirates” and about haunted Dallas venues. Angi B'Lovely read from the The Lovely Bones — all the while praising the book and vehemently discouraging viewings of the movie. The Dirty Blonde read a passage from Twilight that was played as a hilarious euphemism for Edward's penis — blue veins and all — while two of the ladies held and stroked bedazzled dildos for a nice visual. To close off the reading, Black Mariah read a very strange Craigslist M4W posting in which the author meticulously described how he'd basically fuck the devil out of some (poor? lucky?) woman.
Goosebumps, Ann Rice and Stephen King all made their expected appearances at one point, too.
I've been to tons of readings over the years. The sad truth is that literary readings are more or less boring. I've nodded off or full-on slept during at least three I've attended. In live settings, even the most high-minded of literature, no matter how beautiful the prose is on the page, comes off like shoving high dosage Ambien down your throat. When a bespectacled dork with a high-pitched, at times shrill, voice reads for more than five minutes, you're bound to get tired. The main reason most authors become authors is because they have stories to tell — and ones that are best told in ways that don't involve them being in front of a room full of people. At least like 67 percent of authors are this way.
These are just the facts. Don't question the facts.
Naked Girls Reading, even though the girls are indeed naked, isn't really about that. It's about a fun time and wit. Reading aloud naked has a bit of a performance art aspect to it, sure. And it's certainly brave. But, for a few hours, just reading naked with nothing added is an exercise in emptiness. What else can you offer?
Well, the Naked Girls Dallas chapter at least brings charisma into play with a smart selection of readings. They're masterminds — literally sitting there naked, and forcing you to become keenly aware of everything else taking place.
Maybe the kitschy premise is what gets folks in seats, but the good times being had are what keeps 'em coming back for more.