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Naked July Festival in Uptown: Where Bare Is Beautiful

 The bare human body in all its various shapes, shades and sizes continues a fifth year as the object of artistic adulation at the  National Pasttime Theater 's  Naked July Festival .
Naked July Festival
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UPTOWN — The bare human body in all its various shapes, shades and sizes is the object of artistic affection at the National Pasttime Theater's fifth annual Naked July Festival.

The festival kicked off at the end of June and will run until July 27 at the National Pasttime Theater in its new home at the Preston Bradley Center, 941 W. Lawrence Ave.

Naked July features a recurring slate of weekend events that highlight the beauty of the naked human form via various forms of art. Theater founder and artistic director Laurence Bryan, after a handful of years running the festival, has an interesting perspective on how audience members react to seeing naked bodies.

"Going to see something naked goes from being kind of scared, and looking toward the eroticism or the sexiness of it, and then when you get there, you see after you relax in a few minutes that it's actually rather beautiful," Bryan said. "And then you realize how natural it is and that you're there in clothes and the people there on stage are not and you relax even more ... and then it goes to a point where we realize we're all the same and all beautiful, whether we're clothed or not."

Here are some remaining Naked July events:

Le Chat Noir offers audience members a hands on primer from a pro in nude figure drawing, complete with nude models, every Friday from 8-9 p.m. On Friday, George Shirmer, the artists who leads the sessions, will showcase his work in an art opening, "Naked People 2013," scheduled before that night's Le Chat Noir session.

"The Living Canvas," features a cast of performers frolicking around in the nude as intricate lighting patterns are projected onto their bodies Saturdays at 10 p.m. The event has been a festival favorite through the years but returns in 2013 with a twist: People who purchase tickets to the show can attend a workshop the morning of the event where they can go through the paces with the performers as they prepare the evening show, "and even join some veteran cast members as performers in some of the pieces," according to the festival website.

Pride Films and Plays, on Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m., present the play "Kill Your Boyfriends," a nod to poet Alex Dimitrov who wrote that, “You must kill your boyfriends ... You must kill what wants, like death, to keep you." The play centers on young lovers' reflections on sex, love and life — and of course, features some nudity (this is the Naked Festival, after all).

Burlesque troupe Vaudezilla brings its "Urban Jungle" cabaret show to the Naked July Festival every Friday at 10 p.m. The show, a mix of good old-fashioned burlesque and performance art, depicts "a variety of cabaret performers on a journey through missed connections, public transportation foibles, and what it’s like to be a starving artist in the big city," according to the festival site.

For tickets to the Naked July Festival, click here.