I don’t know how it happened, because it almost ended in complete disaster. I showed up at Piazza Dante at 3 PM like I said I would, wearing pink so I could be identified. I set up my guitar and started playing some songs, thinking that would also help people be able to find me. No one approached except a few passers by who wanted to hear me play guitar. Then, a man came over and identified himself as a journalist. He said that he had come from Yahoo.it to make a video about the event, which he’d seen an invite to on Facebook.
Four people had confirmed to join me and one even emailed me saying he’d definitely be there. But no one showed. So I waited for awhile, hemming and hawing. Should I do this alone? I thought to myself. What if I get arrested? What if people get mad and start throwing bibles at me? Eh, fuck it, I decided, and headed into the subway to depant. The journalist decided he’d join me which made me excited and also nervous. What if this became an international disaster? I pushed my fears down and looked at the bright side: at least I’d have someone present to translate for me in case I got arrested.
I went down into the subway and followed directions like they’d been outlined on Improv Everywhere. They said to enter the car and just take off your pants like nothing was wrong. So that’s what I did. I decided I’d take off my pants and play some songs. The people were so fun! They were clapping and laughing and some cute kids even came over and gave me change. But at the end of it all, I walked up the subway stairs to get confronted by two uniformed men. They started yelling at me at very close range in Italian. From their hand motions, I could tell they were asking me what the hell I thought I was doing.
Luckily, my journalist friend helped me translate. He would bicker with them for ten minutes at a time, and then turn to me and clue me in, with tidbits like, “They want to know if you take off your clothes for money”, or “They ask what your husband thinks about this”. The biggest, scariest looking one kept staring at me with giant DeNiro-y eyes and making a joined wrists motion at me, the international symbol for “You are going to jail”. I tried to stay calm and eventually, my journalist friend told me that we’d have to delete the footage. He went into the booth with them and it appeared he was deleting his footage. I was totally bummed about the experience. It left me feeling sad.
Once outside, the journalist made us promise that we wouldn’t share our version of the video, which Alex had on his camera, which was hidden, so the men never bothered him about it. He said that if we shared it he’d get in trouble and maybe we’d get arrested at the airport when we tried to leave. We promised we wouldn’t share any videos or photos.
Monday came and went, and the news was ablaze about No Pants Subway Ride. There were photos of all these people all over the news and internet, pantsless, having fun, and I was like, “Damn, I wish I had been in NYC, this would have been such a better scene.”
Then this morning, an Italian friend sent me a link. He said, “Looks like your hijinks made the news after all!” I clicked and was delighted to see the video made not just one site but so many, and the largest Italian papers.
Happy ending. I think. But now there’s the dilemma. How the hell did this footage get out? We kept our promise. Did the guy have a back up copy? Did he pretend it was erased so that Alex wouldn’t share his? Did the subway people leak it to the media. WHAT HAPPENED?
I also heard that yesterday it was in every newspaper. I looked around today for a copy but they had all been thrown away.
If any Italians happen to be reading this and have a copy of the paper with me in it, please let me know!
This ordeal was so much fun, I’m thinking when I get home of playing guitar with no pants on in Times Square, like the Naked Cowboy. I heard there’s a girl doing it though, is that true? Naked Cowgirl? Maybe I’ll do it in Tompkins Square Park or Astor Place instead…
Below, enjoy some of the videos and links: