Reality Bites: Naked Vegas

There are a million reality shows on the naked television. We're going to watch them all, one at a time.

Our celebration of unscripted nudity continues with SyFy's Naked Vegas, in which we join the crew at the eponymous Las Vegas body painting company as they create "amazing displays of artwork" on nekkid men and women.

If those of us in what bi-coastal pricks refer to as "flyover country" are familiar with body painting, it's probably from 80s music videos and recent installments of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue (I'll pause for a few minutes while you peruse that) ... However, in places like Vegas and Los Angeles and Gomorrah, it's also quite stylish to have painted human beings gracing your soiree.

Personally, I'd have the same visceral reaction to that as I do to food being served in a strip club. But never mind that, onward.

Do you suppose there's any conflict between body painters and tattoo artists? Do the latter snicker at the painters and their inability to create anything permanent? Do the body painters mock tattoo aficionados for their occasionally foolish choices and elevated risk of hepatitis C? So many questions from one whose only experience with body modification was drawing evil eyebrows with a Sharpie for Halloween, 1981.

Through the course of the show, we're introduced to the Naked Vegas team. First is Kelly Belmonte, AKA "Red" (presumably because she's Irish) owns the company and is predictably shown calling most of the shots. She's joined by: heavily inked Wiser Oner, the airbrush virtuoso; Nicholas Herrera, AKA "Nix (presumably because he was allowed to choose his own nickname) - who was a contestant on Face Off, which much to my disappointment does not involve following John Travolta and Nicolas Cage around on their daily routines - and Heather Aguilera, a hippie who seems to have lucked into steady employment.

I kid, she's really the nicest of the lot.

The Episode I Watched involved painting Playboy Playmate Claire Sinclair and friends up for a burlesque gig. Call me crazy, but this may be one of SyFy's highest rated shows not called Sharknado. I mean, it's nice to hear each of the artists describe their inspirations (lots of Barbarella, Galaxina, and Taarna from Heavy Metal fans in this company) and processes. And some of the costumes are quite inspired, relying on elaborate yet intricate arrangements to present the illusion of, among other things, weightlessness..

And also boobs.

Just so I'm clear: I can watch a guy's head get blown clean off on Sons of Anarchy, but America will immediately descend into chaos and atheism if I'm allowed to see a nipple on basic cable? I don't even understand what the FCC is trying to protect us against anymore, because aside from the bare (heh) amount of pixilation here (areolae and pubis), we're still allowed to see full naked breasts and - as described in (gluteus) maximum detail last week - butts.

Sinclair and friends certainly aren't lacking in the pulchritude department, so forgive me if I dismiised most of Wiser's descritpions of his airbrush technique. There aren't a lot of Good Times Vans on display in the Louvre, dude.

The show, amazingly, goes off without a hitch. Because nearly nude females cavorting onstage is so often met with hostility by Sin City drunks. Not having access to SyFy's audience demographics, I'm guessing the audience for Naked Vegas comes out to: 30 percent body art aficionados interested in the craft, 70 percent adolescent males who can't figure out how to defeat the parental controls on their parents' laptops. But far be it from me to denigrate the entertainment industry's eternal struggle to push the envelope WRT televised ta-tas. Fight the power.

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