Bodily fictions

It was pure Hunter S. Thompson. The giant green lizard raised itself up and slithered across the stage towards me. It stopped just a metre or two away. Human eyes in the reptile’s visage fixed on me, and it bared its bright blue tongue menacingly.

I found myself last night at the NZ Body Art Awards 2008 in a catwalk-side seat — as a guest of a major sponsor and judge. The lizard went on to win the Best Model award as well as the supreme award for the make-up artist Carmel McCormick (who also won overall last year).

Of course, I had approached the show with some quiet misgivings, mostly due to my feminist-sympathising conscience asking whether this wasn’t just an attempt to make voyeurism acceptable. And from my seat there was no avoiding the, er, bareness of it all.

But in the end my feminist-leaning partner and I simply revelled in the often stunning spectacle as spectacle. Audacious, supremely. Bodacious, undeniably. Salacious? Hardly.

What a ripper night! High voltage entertainment — from the opening waiata of Big Belly Woman, through the fluro-tutus of Okareka (Taane Mete & Tairoa Royal) — and amazing creativity produced a spell-binding mix. All in a slick and professional production that was a marked step up from the first two years of the event, according to old hands at my table.

It wasn’t high-brow — Bob Harvey whooped that “this is sooo Westie! — but there was a great buzz the whole evening, and I doubt whether any of the crowd who almost filled the cavenous North Shore Event Centre would have gone away disappointed.

[Postscript: Some images of the models here (including lizard) and here.]

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5 Responses to “Bodily fictions”

  1. Sconehead Says:

    Body tart – sorry – art. Isn’t this where people, mostly slim young women, cover themselves with paint instead of clothes? And the rest of us get our imaginations going.

    If it included all kinds of people – young and old, slim and not so slim and, even if you can’t tell, brown, yellow and white – it would be quite a spectacle. A nice mixture of exhibitionism and voyeurism perhaps.

    An interesting evening out I suppose, especially if you’re sitting up front and can see the whites of their eyes, and certianly more fun than watching the telly.

    And it gets the comtemporary feminist’s nod. So it’s alright then.

    It sounds like a grown-up’s version of dress-ups.

  2. jafapete Says:

    Scone,

    You’ll be delighted to hear that the models included a number of podgy men of a certain age, one with a decided pot belly! And the thin models were outnumbered by their more rounded sisters, probably because there’s more to paint.

    In fact, models in previous years’ shows apparently complained that their bigger breasted competitors were favoured when it came to the judging, but I couldn’t see much evidence of bias one way or the other. A notable racial mix too, as far as one could tell.

    Doesn’t something that’s sooo Westie appeal?

  3. Sconehead Says:

    Of course it appeals.

    It reminds me of the assemblies we used to have at Massey High School.

  4. Levi Says:

    This year there were just as many men as women. There were children and people well into their 60’s.
    You’d see more nipple walking down the street on a cold day.

    Levi (the giant green lizard man)

  5. jafapete Says:

    Levi, You are so right. I was trying to get that across.

    And you are so cool. Thanks for dropping by. Looking forward to seeing you again next year.

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