What better way to celebrate Valentine's Day than being read to by naked women at a club?
Anyway, that's the suggestion of the Madison chapter of Naked Girls Reading. The troupe will present "Love Stinks - Broken Hearts" to the literate and lovelorn on Sunday, Feb. 13, at the Inferno.
As for what it is, it's naked women.
From their favorite works of literature.
Arts aficionados might term the experience 21st-century Dadaism. Its presenters refuse any highbrow labels.
"There's definitely a degree of theater to it, but I don't know if I'd call it either spoken word or performance art," says "Cheeky Friday," one of the founding members. (They won't release their real names.) "We try to be hard to categorize."
Naked Girls Reading was created by a Chicago burlesque dancer, Michelle L'Amour. Since the spring of 2009, franchises have formed in nearly a dozen cities nationwide. Madison's began in November of that year.
Variations of the "Love Stinks" show will be performed this month in cities including Chicago, Seattle and Boston. Past Madison events include "Naked Girls Slumber Party," offered in December.
Cheeky Friday got involved with Naked Girls Reading after having an epiphany. "I didn't know if I had enough confidence in my body for that," she recalls. "Then I thought about it a little more. I decided I really do - I do have that much confidence in my body. I should celebrate by reading naked."
The cast prepares by rehearsing in a conventional manner. "I don't practice naked," says Friday. "You're not the first person to ask that. I don't speak for everybody, but one thing I think about when I do practice is not slumping. That's the only thing relative to the nudity."
Past reading themes have covered fairy tales, the classics and rock 'n' roll. For "Love Stinks," the cast will read tales of love gone wrong from writers including Margaret Atwood, Sylvia Plath and Madison author Lorrie Moore. Audience members are encouraged to bring along their own worst valentines or love stories for presentation by the troupe.
If moved, may the audience also disrobe?
"We would prefer that they do not," says Friday.