Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mortified's Naked Nation

You know that dream you have about being back in high school and having to read aloud an essay to your class... but for some reason you forgot your clothes?

Well, this is the reverse. And whether it's a dream or nightmare is up to you.

Recently, we held a secret Mortified show in NYC. It was a private event held in the upstairs room of a respected restaurant. And it had one twist. Everyone in the audience was going to be eating, drinking, laughing... and buck naked.

The event was hosted by Clothing Optional Dinner, a humble nudist society that hosts social gatherings at bars, cafes and clubs around Manhattan. We were both surprised and flattered to be invited to participate.

Given that Mortified explores the notion of exposing oneself, we naturally found the premise of doing an event before an unclothed audience to be a fascinating psychological experiment. We'd be emotionally naked on stage... while our audience would be physically naked at tables. Turns out, the show was a big hit with both performers (Law Tarello, Brandy Barber, Giulia Rozzi, and Anne Altman) and audience members alike.

For those who're curious, when we asked Clothing Optional Dinner if we needed to strip to our skivvies in order to perform, too, they said we had to be either fully dressed or fully nude. No wishy-washy people in bras or boxer shorts. Needless to say, we not only wore clothes, we got all dolled up for the occasion. A truly strange and wonderful night.

Was there a scientific result? Yes. Whether you're male or female, dressed or undressed, being naked in public shows the world you've got balls.

On a strangely related-but-not-related note, NewTeeVee covered the recent outbreak of naked vloggers spreading (pun?) across YouTube.

Which re-ignites a question that Mortified is frequently asked. In an era of populist media, where is the line between positive self-expression vs. icky exhibitionism? We go to great lengths to protect Mortified from veering into the latter category (it's the main reason we're adamant about vetting all material) and hopefully we succeed.

Regardless, the air in the naked nation is getting a wee bit nipply.