Arts & Culture News

Some Women Will Get Naked and Read Fairy Tales in Deep Ellum Next Week

Yes. It's true. Next Friday, August 17, a group of Dallas women will sit proud in front of an audience and read passages from their favorite stories, completely in the nude. It's a literary trend appropriately titled Naked Girls Reading, and now, after a two year hiatus, it's returned to Dallas.

The concept was hatched in Chicago by a couple of burlesque performers. They just thought it would be fun. It wound up becoming a phenomenon. Brainy babes lined up, contributing both their original works and also their favorite short stories, poems and passages to the events. They were passionate. Thoughtful. Naked.

Soon installments of Naked Girls Reading started popping up all over the country, then it hopped an ocean, showing up in the UK. Dallas got its own eyeful, as NGR got a solid, but short-lived run. Now it's been ressurected by a former reader who goes by her burlesque handle, Black Mariah. She was sad when the series faded away a few years back. She missed it. So she she called up its former organizers -- locally and nationally -- and got permission for a relaunch. Everyone was thrilled. And now, it's totally happening.

For a performance where women read unclothed, it's been met with very little controversy. Critics have said that the women, and the hardcover books they hold -- often in candlelight -- create an exciting, soothing "living painting." Paul Constants of The Stranger had this to say about his experience seeing it in Seattle:

Despite the beauty of the five naked women, the titillation part of the evening ended fairly quickly. There was no dancing, twirling, or bending over backward; legs remained primly crossed or tucked together. Unless you're a 13-year-old boy (with remarkable facial hair and a really good fake ID), you're not going to be aroused by the mere proximity of naked women sitting in front of a coffee table covered with Star Wars paraphernalia. Which means that the reading itself has to be good, or else you're going to get pretty fucking bored pretty fucking quickly.

From there he goes on to explain that the women were, in fact, tremendous readers with exceptional source material. Also, that it was interesting to see a naked human read a book, that you notice how excited or involved she is in every quiver of her skin. Black Mariah thinks it gets even deeper than the dermis. "For a woman to be so vulnerable and open, and strip everything else away just gives the content new meaning."

The reading itself delves into the unconventional as well. The strip-readers are taking stabs at those tales of morality you grew up with by presenting "Fairy Tails," a collection of the raw, early model stories that Disney based its feel-goods on. But the gals are also digging out work from modern writers who flip the tables on fables, like Caroline author Neil Gaiman and local erotica novelist (and guest reader) Vanessa Vaughn, who will present under the name The Dirty Blonde.

It won't be all serious delivery, according to Black Mariah. "It's a little cheeky, and definitely salty," she warns. And when asked the obvious question: "Why must women be naked to read?" She just laughed and responded "Well, who's going to pay to see women read with their clothes on?"

This event is 18 and up, and absolutely no photography is allowed (that includes your phone). The 90-minute show is being held at the Quixotic World, 2824 Main Street in Deep Ellum. Tickets cost $15 and can be purchased here. Seating is limited to 150, and the event is BYOB for the 21 and up sector.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jamie Laughlin
Contact: Jamie Laughlin