News blog for Seattle's Fremont neighborhood

 

‘Beyond Naked’ Follows Those Who Dare To Go Bare In Fremont Solstice Parade

April 13th, 2011 by master

When discussing the Fremont Solstice Parade with a group of people, the conversation will eventually veer towards a specific question.

Would you?

Would you get naked, slather yourself in paint, hop on a bike and ride publicly through town as thousands of onlookers cheered you on?

There’s a new documentary in the works right now that follows four intrepid individuals who answered “Yes.”

Beyond Naked Trailer from Dan McComb on Vimeo.

Beyond Naked explores what happens when four first-time participants accept a challenge to ride naked in the 2011 Fremont Solstice Parade, Seattleā€™s annual celebration of summer and self-expression. The film will also explore our deep-rooted fear (and awkward fascination with) nakedness and what we can learn about ourselves when we dare to drop trou.

I chatted with the film’s director, Dan McComb, about the project, how it’s being filmed and what he’s hoping to get out of the experience.

FremU: What is Beyond Naked about and where did the idea come from?

DM: If you ask someone on the street whether they’ve heard of the Fremont Solstice Parade, the frequent reply is: “You mean the naked bikers?” How is it that a rogue group of loosely organized, unpaid individuals have managed to become synonymous with the parade? And why here, when cities like San Diego have blocked rides from starting by threatening participants with arrest?

As the title implies, we hope this film (in addition to being a lighthearted adventure) can shift the conversation about artistic nudity from one focused on whether people should be allowed to be naked in public, to a deeper exploration of self-expression, artistic license and personal freedom.

I became fascinated with the Fremont Solstice Cyclists in 2003, when, after much arm-twisting from my friends, I accepted a challenge to ride naked in the parade with a group of about 60 other cyclists. It was a scary, exhilarating and transformative experience that made a lasting impression on me. Last year, an estimated 650 cyclists rode, and if the weather’s good this year, some organizers predict as many as 1,000 cyclists.

I attended Werner Herzog’s Rogue Film School last year, where the legendary director told me: “if something fascinates you, you must do it.” I gave myself two additional requirements for finding an idea for my first feature-length film: It had to be about something I have a personal connection to. And it had to be reachable within walking distance of my house in Fremont. As I watched last year’s Solstice Parade with Herzog’s words ringing in my ears, I realized this was my story.

Jeff Hedgepeth is one of the brave souls featured in Beyond Naked.

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