Literary vices: there’s a naked book reading tonight at the Gladstone
“Naked Girls Reading” sounds like someone’s half-serious suggestion for getting people hooked on literature again, but that’s the name of the event kicking off the Toronto Burlesque Festival tonight at the Gladstone. The scholarly salon, which has a sci-fi theme this year, will spotlight women reading works by such authors as Kurt Vonnegut and Ray Bradbury in nothing but their birthday suits—and maybe a space-age accessory or two. The Globe even wondered whether it might be “the most provocative literary series in the world.”
But pure provocation isn’t what the bookish beauties are after: in fact, they seem to be taking the whole thing almost painfully seriously. One performer explains that they all have “an emotional connection to the pieces,” with another qualifying, “In burlesque, we unveil our bodies. In Naked Girls Reading, we unveil our souls.” Their souls, of course, are a main draw for the audience. “They’ve already seen us naked, so that’s routine for them,” insists Sauci Calla Hora. “They come to hang on every word.” Oh, honey—who are you kidding?