Having never been to Create or Die before, I got to enjoy the full impact of seeing the place, enhanced by the absence of expectations. Murals danced across the soaring walls, in a variety of styles and sizes. Quartered in a warehouse, the sprawling floor plan allowed for all the accoutrement of a creative collective without it getting crowded or cluttered.
The evening, as well as the space, was designed for comfort. The dimmed lights and heaters helped melt away the last of everyone’s reserves as, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, we all disrobed and moved to the dinner table. We were served delicious vegan fare for dinner, including creamy hummus and a spot on sweet potato shepherd's pie. I turned up to the event solo, which I found more nerve wracking than the prospect of being naked, but I wasn’t the only one and the membranes of the cliques almost instantly dissolved. The dinner conversation was comfortable and lively, including a comical exchange of what we all called our ‘naughty bits’ when we were children.
The first speaker of the evening was Kitty Hawkins, a current criminology lecturer at Macquarie University with a sketchy past as a leftie dirtbag. Currently completing her PhD in feminist cultural studies, she delivered an impressively thorough, dramatically entertaining history of feminist thought, starting way back with Aristotle and working her way through the Enlightenment to now. She explored nudity and feminism and concepts of the body, dressed in nothing but her beautiful tattoos and some sharp velvet boots.
Trays of mango sorbet topped with nuts and apricot were brought out through the enthusiastic applause as Kitty retook her seat. The 20-odd of us sat around the table or stood under the heaters chatting and spooning the sorbet into our mouths for a while, before the next speaker took to the mic.
Rose Cooper is an actor, performance artist, freelance writer and satirist, and has crossed off every box in hormonal bingo. Having no daughters of her own, she’s passionate about spreading sex and body positivity to younger woman. A comfortable and animated speaker, Rose spoke about her experiences as a women through the various periods (pun intended) of life. She had our hearts aching with sympathy for the teenager, relating to the power and confusion of young womanhood, cheering at the sexiness of pregnancy, and looking forward to the rest.
It was with regret that I eventually reassumed my attire. I left the evening feeling inspired, empowered, and safe. I cannot recommend checking out Create or Die enough (both the physical space and the organisation as a whole) — if not for a nude event, for something else. The place is a haven for connection and creativity.
– Liv S.
Liv S. is a creature of warm weather and negronis. Her interests include nudity, trying new things, and triple utterances. Follow her frolics on @callmememphisjones.
Disclaimer: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Create or Die.
Photo credit: Create or Die.