Reading event showcases advanced literature … and genitals

Jaime Farfan reads on the Naked Boys Reading at Live on Elgin on July 15, 2019.

Zac Emery / jpg

A packed room at Live on Elgin sat silently Monday night as readers recited among the largest names in literature. It might be the scene of any well-liked e book membership if it wasn’t for the nudity.

Naked Boys Reading is a month-to-month session held at Live on Elgin with totally different themes, however two constants: literature and bare males. The guidelines are easy. A curator picks an inventory of readings, the readers select from that checklist, the reader takes off his garments and does the studying utterly bare on stage whereas an viewers — clothed — watches.

The majority learn alone, however there are some duets, referred to as “double dicks” by organizer Rick Telfer. Last Monday was the all-star event and eight of the 9 readers have been voted in by their 70 friends. (One reader was referred to as in after one other dropped out.)

Naked Boys Reading began within the United Kingdom roughly seven years in the past and Telfer introduced it to Ottawa two years in the past. After receiving approval from the originators, Telfer, a former burlesque performer, started reaching out to folks he knew could be comfy within the nude.

“So I knew a bunch of guys who were involved in the local Ottawa burlesque scene and I figured they’re pretty used to being in a G-string on stage … probably won’t mind being totally being naked,” Telfer mentioned.

Thirty-four-year-old Jamie Farfan was amongst these recruited by Telfer. Now a fan favorite and veteran reader, Farfan admits he was “apprehensive” at first.

“The first time I stepped on the stage, I was like, ‘Oh my God. Everyone is just studying me right now’,” Farfan mentioned. “It was just so raw. You have nothing to hide behind … you have a mic stand.”

However, Farfan says the concern can be what retains him coming again.

“I was physically sick right before I got on the stage. I’m not shy by nature, but, again, it was so out of my comfort zone, and that’s why I keep coming back,” he mentioned.

Zac Emery reads from Salman Rushdie’s Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights on the Naked Boys Reading event at Live on Elgin on July 15.


Zac Emery, 30, one other reader — and the photographer for the event — mentioned the expertise might be horrifying, however there’s additionally nothing else fairly prefer it.

“I think the payoff of how empowering the feeling is more than outweighs the fear going into it,” Emery mentioned. “I think that’s why a lot of us keep coming back and doing it.”

Telfer describes the event as efficiency artwork, with the nudity serving as an added inventive part.

“When you’re up there, within like 60 seconds of standing there, you kind of forget (the reader is naked),” Telfer mentioned. “It’s not a sexual show.”

Last Monday’s present was bought out, with roughly 70 folks in attendance, one thing Telfer mentioned was a daily incidence for Naked Boys Reading occasions. As for why it’s so well-liked, Telfer mentioned the event served as a “dick trick,” encouraging visitors to come back for the nudity the primary time, however to return for the academic readings.

“I can’t quite explain it,” he mentioned with fun. “I name it the final word dick trick as a result of folks see bare boys studying … in order that they present up.

“The repeat prospects, they arrive for literature, and the nudity provides one thing to the efficiency of the studying.”

The readings are picked by a curator and Monday’s checklist included huge names equivalent to Sue Grafton, James Joyce, Salman Rushdie, Maya Angelou and Fred Schwed.

Karla Turkowsky, an attendee of Monday’s event and curator for earlier reveals, mentioned there have been a number of issues to contemplate when selecting readings for bare males.

“Because they’re naked on stage,” she mentioned, “the crowd is really more part of the experience.”

Jennifer Morin, a repeat attendee, mentioned she loved the literary part, but in addition loved the message of physique positivity.

“It’s not as lewd as you’d think it would be. It’s very body positive,” she mentioned.

This was one thing 5 of the 9 readers agreed was their favorite a part of the event.

“It’s an incredibly vulnerable experience,” Emery mentioned. “I have throughout with my life struggled with a lot of body image issues. And there is something incredibly rewarding about going up there in the most vulnerable form that I can.”

The subsequent Naked Boys Reading is scheduled for Aug. 19.


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