Small town Vermont Street Culture would make Cleveland more interesting

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Tue, 09/05/2006 - 18:22.

An interesting street culture gaining popularity in small-town Brattleboro, Vermont (population 15,000) may have some potential for NEO... teens are taking their clothes off and hanging out naked in public. The town officials call it a form of rebellion. This would offer a nice change from the sagging pants urban street culture and the exposed butt-crack fat plumber suburban  culture popular in NEO today, and public nudity would certainly increase tourism and make more people want to live here. In fact, the Spencer Tunick Naked NEO shoot (below) brought around 10,000 (correction, 3,000) people together in Cleveland (on a freezing morning) to get naked and real about our communiity, so I know this concept has potential. What do you think, PD?

More on the latest street culture in Vermont below... this from the the Boston Globe:

Kristen Podsiedlik (left) and Hannah Phillips said they feel strongly about having the freedom to go unclothed, while Andrew Wdowiak, who works at Everyone’s Books, said he’s grown tired of the display of public nudity by local teenagers this summer.

Kristen Podsiedlik (left) and Hannah Phillips said they feel strongly about having the freedom to go unclothed, while Andrew Wdowiak, who works at Everyone’s Books, said he’s grown tired of the display of public nudity by local teenagers this summer. (Photos by Dominic Chavez/ Globe Staff)

Law of nature prevails in Vermont Boston Globe BRATTLEBORO -- Here on the banks of the Connecticut River, in the busiest parking area of a downtown peppered with bookstores and coffee shops, more is meeting the eye than some people want. Brian MacQuarrie August 23, 2006 -->

Law of nature prevails in Vermont

Brattleboro teens shed clothes with impunity

BRATTLEBORO -- Here on the banks of the Connecticut River, in the busiest parking area of a downtown peppered with bookstores and coffee shops, more is meeting the eye than some people want.

A politely rebellious collection of teenagers passing time in the Harmony Parking Lot this summer has taken to disrobing. Seemingly on a whim, they shed clothes and soak up the sun, nude.

What began as a lark or an ode to youthful exuberance has now turned into a municipal quandary, because public nudity is permissible in Brattleboro.

In the words of Town Manager Jerry Remillard, if you're naked in public, and you're minding your business, you're legal.

``We're quite a bit different than a lot of places," Remillard said.

Spurred by complaints, the town's Select Board will consider changing that, although no changes are expected soon. In the meantime, some pedestrians avert their eyes. Some youths cheer on their naked friends, and a few adults are so offended that they become nearly hysterical.

If the two-dozen or so youths, 16 to 19 years old, are seeking to make a social statement, the manifesto needs some work.

``We just thought it'd be a little fun," said Charles Corry, 19, who said he stripped to nature's own Friday and hung out for about 45 minutes with five like-minded friends as shoppers, diners, and walkers made their bemused way through the lot. ``I don't see it as a serious statement."

Serious or not, the teenagers have made nudity something that can show its pale or sun-burned self with no warning. Rachel Brooks, who works at Everyone's Books, sees some of the action on the sidewalk outside the shop's rear door.

``Personally, if I wanted to be naked, I wouldn't sit around in a dirty parking lot," said Brooks, 22. ``I wouldn't want to get cigarette butts on my butt."

The nudity began in earnest this year, Brooks said, when one young woman decided she wanted to bare her chest in public, just like her male friends.

Since then, the no-clothes fashion has gained popularity and has expanded to include group bike rides, skateboarding, hula-hoop contests, and a grass-roots music event that the group dubbed the Brat Fest.

One girl even sat partially nude on a newspaper vending box in the middle of downtown.

``I think most of Vermont wants Vermont to be nude," said Hannah Phillips, 15, who added that she has not disrobed. ``People have a basic human right to be naked if they want to."

Nearby, older teenagers sat on the sidewalk, fully clothed, their backs propped against a brick wall, munching on a pizza they found in its box. A car belonging to one of the group was parked nearby, a skull-and-crossbones on its hood and the words, ``Chaos Infiltration Squad," on a side door. On the opposite side of the lot, the Back Side Cafe looked down on the scene.

Although members of the group said they don't intend to offend anyone, one woman has filed a complaint with the Select Board.

But the wheels of legislation grind methodically here, and the board must hold two public meetings, followed by a waiting period of nearly a month before a ban on public nudity can be implemented and enforced.

Vermont does not forbid public nudity, as Massachusetts does, but some liberal communities in the state have banned it. Remillard said that outsiders should not begin to think of Brattleboro as a haven for the behavior. It's just that Brattleboro never had cause to ban nudity before.

``I would suspect that if it were OK, you'd see it in Boston," he said.

Andrew Wdowiak, who works at Everyone's Books, said that he's not put off by the nudity, but that the act has become a little tired. ``I think it was more for the shock value," he said. ``They weren't flagrant about it."

But last week, when about a half-dozen naked teenagers congregated outside the store, ``it was like they were baking a cake, and they really frosted it," Wdowiak said. ``All the men were naked, and the women were topless. I needed about three drinks to erase that vision."

One patron of the bookstore let loose with hysterics of Academy Award proportions, he added.

If the town passes an ordinance this year, cool weather will have begun to settle in this slice of the North Country.

But Remillard, for one, doesn't think the bracing air will accomplish what Brattleboro's laws have been so far unable to do.

``That isn't necessarily going to bother this group of people," he said of the cold.


Vermont Street Culture and Spencer Tunick

I was one of the one's participating with Spencer two years ago, but we were only nearly 3,000. His record currently is 7,000 in Barcelona. Still Cleveland was the largest installation in North America

I am sure that Cleveland, and the surrounding suburbs would find something to charge one for even if one wasn't doing anything but walking about. Disorderly conduct? Public nuisance? Cleveland Heights didn't even have the nude scene in "Hair" at Cain Park.

  At any rate it will be too chilly in Cleveland soon for wandering about in the nude. Though it was only 57 that June morn, and I have posed for Spencer in cooler :-)


BTW on a more serious note if someone has an idea for a location for a Spencer shoot for a single or small number of participants or if anyone is inerested drop me an email.

I am co admin for and would appreciate your contact.














People should not be afraid of their government, governments should be afraid of their people.

120,000 + hits

  Nude this the record for REALNEO?




nudity is popular

Went to school in Vermont...nudist beach invitations inspired...

me to come back to Ohio where folks wear their clothes! Smiles...too bad most are so superficial in their humanity to even want to see them "naked!" 

Vermont folks are really cool, laid back, and earthy... I can respect these concepts about nudity...

I posed too, and it was cool - how about the Flats

Thanks for correcting me on the body count... I posed too and loved it.! We need to be challenging the establishment here more and healthy naturalism is a great way to go - they just arrested peace protesters at the Cleveland Air Show, so I'm sure you are right about the dangers to nudists. Spencer's shoot in Cleveland was one of the most effective community building events and definitely the strongest arts community building event in the history of this region and I'd definitely participate again and help push for 10,000. There is all this talk about the local government taking over the Flats by eminent domain... I propose the people take over the Flats for a Tunick shoot next summer. In preparation, and for a smaller shoot, there is a great smaller park site along the Cuyahoga River with a great sculpture that could be very visually exciting and historically important... see Tribute to Hart Crane... of course, the Free Stamp would be visually strong, too.  Post if you think Spencer would consider doing more shooting in Cleveland and I'll work on locations... we need it here now more than ever.

As for other places, I'd suggest New Orleans and can think of many powerful, poignant sites and have friends and family there who would help... also, Millennium Park, in Chicago, and I can get the help of Art Institute of Chicago... I have some thoughts for Toronto and know the arts scene there too. Let me know if there is a serious possibility of more Tunick shooting anywhere around here and I'll be glad to help.

Disrupt IT

More nudity might be healthy for Americans

I think there is a need to distinguish between what Spencer Tunic does, making art, and what the kids in Vermont are doing, being natural, uninhibited humans -- and don't worry, I support both.

I think there is a more urgent need to support the average person's right to be nude. One of the reasons so many Americans are so obese and unhealthy is because everything related to the human body in America has become so perverse and unnatural. Dress, eating, physical fitness, childbirth, and approaches to aging have all deviated so greatly from what is natural for our species. You should'nt have to be making art to be permitted by your government to go without clothes. If the weather's warm being nude can be more comfortable than wearing clothes and being nude does'nt make you any more sexual or immoral than a person wearing clothes.

Although I did'nt pose for Spencer Tunic when he was in Cleveland (if its under 80 degrees I'll be wearing a sweater) I love his work and thought the Cleveland photos were great. I'm glad he chose the site he did --especially since it included the Steamship Mather Museum. I hope the weathers warm next time he is here.

Spencer Tunick - 'Mardi Gras:The Base', in Sidney

Over 5,000 participants taking part in the nude installation by New York based artist Spencer Tunick titled 'Mardi Gras:The Base' pose on the front steps of the Sydney Opera House.(AFP/Greg Wood)



He who laughs last didn't get the joke.

Bewitching Beautiful Bohemian Brattleboro

Just thought I'd chip in candid commentary regarding Brattleboro.  En route to a great conference held in the hallowed halls of Harvard on PhD programs in Management I insisted on visiting the Green Mountain State and soaking in beautiful and idyllic Brattleboro.  This was part of an important visit to SIT - the School for International Training - a fantastic and innovative school for global thought-and-change leaders.  I seriously and carefully considered participation in their programs and was recently informed of and invited to important events there.


I really loved the homey, familiar feel of the SIT campus - and the natural integration and inclination toward sustainable development and peacebuilding these internationally-representative fellows illustrate.  Wonderful folks gave me a thorough tour and luscious lunch as part of my visit.  Ultimately I decided to consider doctoral pursuits at my alma mater of Case - but I still feel a connection with the sexy scenery and lavish liberalism exuded by this bohemian Brat   :-)


My friend Timothy Ewing , doctoral student at Case Western (Weatherhead) in Organizational Behavior and faculty mentor for my coursework in Tavistock Group (Interpersonal Interaction) is an esteemed graduate of SIT and adjunct faculty member who inspired me to visit the Sleepy Hollow...  I will always be grateful to this definitively diversity-minded, bold, black Buddhist.  Thanks be to you, Timothy for enlightening me on a revolutionary school -  with its own Net Impact Chapter as well. 

Schools like SIT are known worldwide for not only peacebuilding efforts and sustainability focus but they are also remarkably ingeniuous and innovative as well.  It will be interesting to determine whether or not forward thinking ideas that might shape our sustainble future

Direct Link:

some of these appear to be taking hold and gaining acceptance by Congress currently will be embraced by change agents from schools like these and my own alma mater, Case Western.

We hope to pragmatically and practically showcase these locally at Ingenuity Festival thi s summer 2007 (July 19-22) here in Cleveland (lest funding shortfall issues manifest).   IF this happens we'll still incorporate my sustainability strategies to ensure a Green Ingenuity but hold off detailed graphics demonstration until the Bioneers conference in October.  More to come on these latest developments!


Aw HELL NO !!!

I clicked on this link because I thought there would be something about improving neighborhoods, or street planning or what not, but THIS ?!?!?!???

Sorry folks  ...  I can't go for that
No more than I can go for and am sick of looking at every other young, missguided young mans behind.
I ain't his mother, his girlfriend, his wife or his proctologists
This is just a further extreme of the same ...

It ain't flying, I'm sorry.

Forgetaboutit !!!

This would be just as much FORCING me, or anyone else for that matter, to "participate" in something that myself or others are not comfortable with.

The same as being FORCED to listen to some idiot stopped in front of my house waiting for his turn through the stop sign at the corner while he's BLASTING "F*ck that Bi*ch" repeatedly on their car stero.  Not everybody want to hear that crap.  Same note, note everybody want's to be accosted by the shock of seeing somebody strolling nude through town.  And frankly I think it has more to do with a kind of shock value need then any REAL expression of so called "freedom".

The social contract was suppose to be, I thought, about not FORCING people to be bombarded with things that puts them ill at ease, or uncomfortable, as it relates to their personal sense of self and personal value systems.  About coming to some kind of group concesses on that.  Open, public, free for all nudity is a forcing, and I'm 'bout sick of all the forcing going on already.

Besides, I don't care how you slice it, this is as much about our unresolved repressions, voyeurisms, and the like, finding an escape valve, as it is about "wouldn't it be healthier for American's to be nude." 

NO !!!  It will most certainly NOT cause people to want to move to Cleveland.

Put your energy in something else.



See Cleveland bodies in all their glory

Is this the most frequently visited post on RealNEO (over 50,000 hits)?  It looks like it--I am going to start linking to this post and the Dali post (over 17,000 hits).  Just kidding Norm.  I won't try to completely monopolize the sidebar, although I wish some other folks would chime in.

So here is my post:  we are fat and out-of-shape and wouldn't think to show ourselves in public!  Enjoy it!  As we go into the winter, I have my own recommendations for favorite places to go to pack meat on your bones--Sokolowski's University Inn, Sterle's Country Inn and Marie's.  Eat, be merry.