Ever walked along a Texas beach and had the urge to get naked? Me neither. But some folks like the feeling of sunlight on their genitals, and they hang out on an isolated strip of sand about 80 miles from Houston. At McFaddin Beach, sunning and swimming are done as God intended -- at least until Eve started talking to that damned snake. You'll need an off-road vehicle to get there -- any SUV should do -- and you'll want to keep your eyes peeled for the law. McFaddin is at the eastern end of Bolivar Peninsula. Two groups, Pirates of the Sun and the Bolivar United Nudists Society (BUNS), started the nudie trend there about ten years ago.
Both groups have since disbanded, primarily because of run-ins with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. But there's still a happening nude scene at McFaddin on summer weekends and holidays. On Memorial Day weekend, about 50 naturists were soaking up all the sun they could get.
To get there, take Interstate 45 to Galveston. Continue down Broadway until you see the water. Take a left on Ferry Road and catch the free boat ride to Bolivar. Exit the ferry and continue down Highway 87 for about 20 miles. There's a sign directing traffic to the left to High Island. Don't go there. Keep going straight through the sign that says, "Road closed. Do not enter."
You're not doing anything illegal, yet. The sign is just a warning to motorists that portions of the beach road are washed out. The pavement ends after a mile or so. After two more miles of bad road and another mile of pavement, you should begin seeing naked people.
It's this isolation that makes the beach attractive to naturists. If the cops catch you au naturel, they will likely issue you a citation, but the geography of the peninsula makes it a pain in the ass for sheriff's deputies to patrol.
For information, visit 4nudistsclub.com. To see revealing photos of the action, click on Jenni Bare's Web site. She claims to have actually been born naked, a fact we were unable to verify by press time. -- Scott Nowell
Alafair Burke writes a novel of her own
Unorthodox Louisiana detective Dave Robicheaux has a daughter named Alafair in James Lee Burke's popular crime fiction series. Now the author's real-life daughter -- who not-so-coincidentally shares the name -- has written her own novel, Judgment Calls. "My father has been a huge influence on me," Alafair Burke recently said. "The Burkes are people who tell stories. But he's too cool to compete with."
The book follows Portland Deputy District Attorney Samantha Kincaid as she pieces together a case involving the attack, rape and near death of a 13-year-old girl. Having formerly held the same job, Burke clearly has followed the rule "write what you know." The author says criminal justice fiction "tends to tell the story from the defense perspective," adding, "I think the role of the prosecutor is fascinating and relatively unexplored." A second Kincaid book is already set for release.
So, do Burke and her protagonist have anything in common? "Samantha is taller, more diligent, and could beat me in a race without breaking a sweat," says Burke. "As for her more neurotic traits, I plead the Fifth." Spoken like someone with real courtroom experience. 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 14. Murder by the Book, 2342 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-524-8597 or visit www.murderbooks.com. Free. -- Bob Ruggiero
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(Everybody Was) Kung Fu Fighting
In the '70s and '80s, Saturday-afternoon TV was virtually saturated with the Hong Kong martial arts movies. Now, thanks to Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the genre is enjoying a revival in America. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is getting in the game with "Heroic Grace: The Chinese Martial Arts Film," a look at some of the most important and influential kung fu movies ever made. Leading off the series is Come Drink with Me, the 1966 film by legendary action director King Hu. It follows a beautiful warrior, Golden Swallow (Cheng Pei-pei, the villain Jade Fox in Crouching Tiger), who is dispatched to rescue the governor's son, held for ransom by a band of thugs. Asses are kicked. The movie ushered in a "new school" of martial arts films, elevating swordplay and allowing romance to emerge among its characters. Come Drink with Me screens at 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 12 and 13. MFAH, Brown Auditorium, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit www.mfah.org. $6. See repertory film listings for a complete series schedule. -- Troy Schulze
Tour the Town
If you've been wanting to visit Houston's small museums but haven't mustered the motivation, the Orange Show is here to help. This Sunday, all you have to do is show up and board a bus for the Small Museums Eyeopener Tour, and by the end of the day, you'll have explored the Museum of Printing History, the Houston Maritime Museum, the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum and the Museum of the WeirD. "So many wonderful new museum spaces have opened up in the last few years that we haven't visited before," says Christine West of the Orange Show, "so we wanted to introduce Houstonians to them." The "square footage-challenged" museums hold lots of treasures. Local artist Dolen Smith transformed his home into the Museum of the WeirD. Guests will see found objects and artworks inside and out, including a photo booth, a giant wasp nest and a creepy-sounding "Gazebo of Scars." 12:30 p.m. Sunday, July 13. The Orange Show, 2401 Munger. For information, call 713-926-6368 or visit orangeshow.org. $35 includes snacks, beer and wine on the bus. -- Cathy Matusow