When you tell someone you're going to a show called Naked Girls Readingan inevitable — if redundant — response is: George Fowler, whose drag king alter ego Hugo Grrrl produces and MCs the New Zealand incarnations of the show, is so used to the question he has a ready-made response.
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Nude barbarian girl host Carson Girls reportedly called it "the best thing to happen to newzealander since they were put on tape.
Fowler, who spends his time dreaming up and producing politically charged "rough around the edges" late-night cabaret and comedy shows, nuds of this artistic marriage of literature and nudity from a friend in Australia. Fowler contacted the Naked matriarchs in the US, then set about planning a Kiwi version. Since then, they've been held in Christchurch, Nelson, Dunedin and Auckland. In April, there was even a Naked Boys Reading event. We're trying to talk about feminism in a fun way, but there was this whole side of that story that we weren't telling.
The boys had really, really important stories to tell.
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Recruiting participants has been surprisingly easy, he says. There's a Facebook group "teeming with talent": I think you'd be great at it! From the slew of responses, Fowler, a trans man, chooses three participants exhibiting a range of ages, backgrounds and body types.