Let them be...  TOPFREE!

DISPATCH: 09.17.00
- The 9th Annual Nude and Breast Freedom Parade -
Berkeley, CA

Is it strange that I find myself buck naked on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in the center of Berkeley's "People's Park?"

Is it bizarre that I find myself joining the 'X-plicit Players' as they create a human, serpentine birth canal for each of us to worm our naked bodies through before becoming part of the whole? Is it unusual that I find myself all alone and surrounded by my people at the same time? No, no and no; for I am still on the playa even though I left Black Rock City and Burning Man 3 weeks ago. This just seems to be another few paragraphs concerning the odd road that I have chosen to travel.

The local Calendar of Events listed the '9th Annual Nude and Breast Freedom Parade' as such:

"Celebrate being exposed to each other's bare bodies in acts of friendship and naked abandon, in dance, song, frolic, rituals and street theater."

It was the frolic that drew me in with the rituals coming a close second. So it is that I find myself here, under the shade of a few trees, with less than a dozen men and half as many women, joining them today to spread the word... and today the word is birthdaysuit. The group, in various stages of undress, forms a circle and begins with appropriate earth rituals, honoring the beauty of our mother earth and the wonders of life. Positive, loving energy builds through stages of withdrawal and interaction between the group and the growing contingent of spectators. Some primitive musical instruments appear and songs commence, honoring the naked body and the free spirit. As the excitement builds, the group transforms itself into a fluid being that allows each of us to pass through the collective energy of the whole. We build strength and slowly prepare ourselves for our entrance into the outside world...We left People's Park as a gigantic, naked human chain, worming our way down Haste Street toward ground zero. I smiled and waved to the crowd with their cameras (hell, I had mine... and a sickened bystander pointed out how glad they were that at least I was wearing my Canon;)

Before I know it I find myself swept up in the excitement and sandwiched happily between a sweet young hippy girl wearing body paint and a sarong and a charming transvestite wearing a backpack and a smile. We cautiously made our way toward Telegraph Avenue, singing our theme, the "Breast Freedom Song," at the tops of our lungs (my favorite verse goes as such:)

'Truth will set breasts free.
Truly they are good to see.
Good to feel and feeling good.

Now all this parading around in the buff sure is fun and all but I finally had to call it quits and leave my newfound comrades on the corner of Haste and Telegraph, surrounded by a herd of super-8 spectators. I left them standing in a circle holding hands, swaying gently back and forth, singing... kind of like the Who's Down in Whoville on Christmas Day.... And by golly it was like Christmas Day! The X-plicit Players had given Berkeley a present today. An in-your-face reminder of days in its history when people would celebrate their freedom... and celebrate the beauty of life as well with seemingly random acts like a 'Nude & Breast Freedom Parade.'

So as I pulled up my pants and headed on up the street, hearing the final verse of "Naked & Free in Berkeley" rising triumphantly over the unsettled stares of onlookers behind me -

'We're all gonna be naked,
naked and free in every way.
We're gonna hold our honeys
and dance and touch 'em every day.
And nobody can take the free life
that we live and love away.'

I had to think to myself... Only in Berkeley:)


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