Tag Archives: nudity

Lame Adventure 264: Don’t Mind the Nude Guy

JetBlue Snooze Kit

I ventured my way East via the JetBlue red eye out of Oakland, not my preferred flight, but it was at my preferred price: cheap.  The midnight hour flight boarded and took off on time.  The crew was the usual, pleasant and professional.  There were not any whiny toddlers or crying babies.  All was looking great.

I was sitting in the aisle seat.  There was an empty seat between me and the other passenger in my three-seat row.  He was a guy around 30 give or take five years.  His was the window seat.  He was a handsome, buff, well-groomed, coffee color chap with an elaborate sleeve tattoo on at least one of his arms.  I only like men for their minds, so I don’t look that closely at guys.  It’s possible that both of his arms could have been tatted.  He was taking forever to shove his carry-on crap in three of the overhead bins. I found that annoying. He seemed oblivious to blocking the aisle for a million waiting passengers.

Me:  Are you ready to sit down yet?

He sat.

Also, he was reeking of pot, but that doesn’t faze me.  He did have the munchies.  Typical.

As the plane takes off, he keeps grabbing his tee shirt and fanning it like he’s a blast furnace.  I ignore his antics.  After the captain gives the okay to reactivate electronic devices, he plays with his iPad.  He had every iGadget going — the MacBook Air, the iPhone.  It’s late. I’m tired.  The crew shut off the cabin lights so we’re flying in the dark.  I close my eyes.  When I open them I notice that he’s stripped down to just his tighty whities.

I think:  What the hell is this about?

I say nothing.  There are no small fry running around or are there any kids on this flight, but Jesus H. Christ, no way would I exhibit myself on a commercial flight.  I don’t even like my Special Someone to look at me when we get horizontal, upright, sideways, on the ceiling, etc.  So, is Mr. Natural intentionally trying to freak me out because he assumes I’m a demure middle age woman?  Is he blind to my motorcycle boots, the telltale sign that I’m not quite yet the Little Old Lady from Pasadena?  I do what I always do when I encounter some idiot clamoring for attention.

I ignore him.

When the flight attendants hand out snacks and beverages, they can fully see this guy is practically naked.  When one asks him what he wants, Mr. Natural chirps:

Mr. Natural:  Cookies!

I used to eat Cap’n Crunch when I got stoned.  The attendants, three women, act like everything’s cool with this nearly naked guy in our presence.  Do they know something I don’t?  Is he our Air Marshall?  Part of me think that by keeping cool about this situation it might be for the best.  Do I want JetBlue to land the plane in Wyoming to place Mr. Natural under arrest and then I don’t get home until five in the afternoon instead of nine in the morning?  Next, I wonder:

Me:  Am I being punked?

Yet, Ashton Kutcher seems to have other things going on.  I also wonder if Mr. Natural looked like Sydney Greenstreet, would his being nearly nude then be an issue?

Sydney Greetstreet aka "The Fat Man".

After a while, I need to pee.  When I return to my seat, Mr. Natural’s in his clothes again.  Great, this aberrant episode is behind us.  He needs to get up, so he does.  He returns with two fistfuls of more cookies.  I close my eyes and drift off to sleep.  When I open them and stir, I see on my TV screen showing our route that we’re leaving Iowa and entering Illinois.  And, oh yeah, Mr. Natural’s now napping STARK NAKED with his mitts covering the sausage.

Inside my head, I’m screaming:

Me (screaming):  What the fuck is going on here?

I long to take a picture of Mr. Natural for Lame Adventures, but I’m too intimidated.  He’s clearly a gym rat with biceps the size of cantaloupes.  If he hit me he’d probably knock me straight through my seat and through the seats of all the passengers sitting behind me.  Plus, the lighting is too low.  I know I’ll need to use my flash, and that could wake him if he really is asleep.  In addition, this guy is possibly just messing with my head.  What do I do here along side a naked man sitting next to me on a commercial jet?

I resume doing nothing.

Actually, I drift back off to sleep.  When I wake, we’re exiting Pennsylvania, and he’s clothed again.  I’m now wondering if I’ve made this all up in my mind?  My shoulder was hurting before I boarded, and I considered popping an Aleve, but I was concerned that it might make me feel loopy at 35,000 feet in the air.  I’m completely drug-free and I doubt I had any contact high from the pot field Mr. Natural surely smoked before boarding.  Later, when I encounter him again standing several feet away from me at the luggage carousel, he’s staring at me.  Even though I feel his stare, I act like he’s not there.  I get my bag first and split.

When I return home, I share this tale with my buddy Coco.  She’s super straight so I figure if anyone can explain to me what was going on here with Mr. Natural, she’s the source:

Coco: Who gets naked on a plane?!?!?!!! Who strips to their underwear!??!!! How are the stewardess’s ok with this? I have never heard of anything more inappropriate! Gross! Bare ass cheeks on the seat!!!!  Maybe he was a stripper. He obviously smoked some excellent pot because he did not give a rat’s ass about anything …. except for cookies.  This is total LA!!!! That is insane! I am speechless.

I could not have surmised this better myself.

Lame Adventure 250: They’re Taking It Off, They’re Taking It All Off!

My colleague, Rhonda, told me:

Rhonda: You have to check out the people playing strip poker in the window of that art gallery over on Walker Street.

These folks.

This reeked of Lame Adventures.

Me:  What gallery?  Where on Walker Street?

The gallery is Art in General at 79 Walker Street.  The exhibit, happening between 10:30 am and 6:00 pm (but when I saw it, it finished closer to 6:30) through Saturday, November 19th, is a performance piece created by Zefrey Throwell called I’ll Raise You One … A group of three men and four women sit in the window of the gallery facing the street and play strip poker.

Playing cards littering gallery floor.

Throwell in baseball cap.

If you stand outside the window long enough behind the cluster of predominantly very appreciative men enjoying this cheapest of thrills — the performance is free and by the game’s end everyone winds up stark naked.

Shirtless guy.

Shirtless woman.

Several games are played throughout the course of the day, so odds are good that one can walk by the gallery at anytime and see someone in a state of undress.

Skirtless woman.

Even if the spectators were not standing outside breathing heavily on the window, I’m confident that the predominantly male audience I watched it with after I left work would still be inclined to give it a standing O, and when they returned home, a sitting Wank.

Losing her shirt and almost everything else early on.

If Throwell’s name does not ring the Marina Abramovic gong inside anyone’s head, last summer he organized Ocularpation: Wall Street a site-specific street theater piece on Wall Street.  At 7 am on a seemingly ordinary Monday morning as the sleepy masses were coming into work, 50 average appearing people that seemed to blend in with everyone else, began to spontaneously strip.  For some artists their medium is paint, for others it’s sculpture, and apparently Throwell’s is nudity.  By 7:05 the NYPD had ended that show with an unnamed performance of their own, that I call Mass Arrests.  Throwell has been a participant in these performances himself; he was a hot dog vendor in Ocularpation and currently, one of the card players in I’ll Raise You One …  Last summer he explained the message in Ocularpation to Melena Ryzik of The New York Times:

“It was “an educational attempt,” he said, “to lend more transparency to Wall Street, a street which is so damn mysterious.” Drawing on the common fear of appearing in public naked, he hoped to create “an absurdist Freudian nightmare” of nude employment: “Wall Street, exposed,” as he put it.”

Hm.  Part of me thinks that this chap is a publicity seeker living out his voyeuristic fantasies and getting paid for it.  The rest of me thinks:

Me:  So what?  He’s not murdering anyone.

Although I was not wild about the leering members of the man-on-the-street audience that blatantly viewed the women as objects and barked at them to strip faster, there were many other people that were clearly surprised and/or amused by the novelty of the piece.  They tended to chuckle and move on.

Steam heaters.

Courtenay, a very helpful gallery worker overseeing the audience, the performance, and the possibility of a return engagement by the NYPD (two cops visited briefly but made no attempt to close the show), confided that this exhibit has repeat visitors “that have stood outside for a very long time.”  Earlier in the day, the crowd is less male.  Throwell also freely pimps out himself and the other men that have volunteered to sit at the table so who am I to judge or object?

Throwell in his birthday suit.

The players are pretty evenly divided by gender.  If you’re offended, walk away.  I wasn’t so I didn’t.

Growing audience outside gallery. Their next stop, the Met?

Courtenay added that everyone participating is a volunteer Throwell either invited or they were discovered through a casting call.

Fun times.

A total of 50 people are playing cards in a rotating cast.  He had to turn people away that were willing to play for payment in free lunch, snacks and beer.

Partial payment.

According to the gallery’s site:

“Transforming Art in General’s storefront Project Space into a stage, I’ll Raise You One… establishes a world of absurdity and purposelessness, allowing the casual onlooker to participate in a guilt-free voyeurism, while teasing out a different outlook on our personal interactions and day-to-day routines. In a world where money has taken supreme importance and all functions of life are commoditized, I’ll Raise You One… is a project where clothing, charisma and a good bluff are the only currency. Using the language of small stakes capitalism mixed with America’s favorite gambling pass-time, and the flirtatious teenage party game of strip poker, Throwell draws a fluxus parallel between what we consider winning and losing in the world today.”

At least no one looks like they're cold.

While watching the show and thinking about it afterward, this explanation did not occur to me at all.  At the end, after the players tossed the cards in the air for a final time, everyone appeared to be happy on both sides of the glass.

The top 2 players.

It seemed to me that this risqué band of exhibitionists simply served as a tonic to help the audience indulge in a silly escape from these troubling times for a few moments.  Hey, no harm in that.

The top 2 players minutes later. Game over!