Promoting a dance party, one pile of naked students at a time

Sex Power God, a dance sponsored every fall by the Queer Alliance, has long been known for its risqué ads. This year is no different, with one exception – while previous years’ ads have featured professional models, the stars of this year’s ads are Brown students baring it all.

One ad, used on the party’s Web site, promotional posters and table-slips in University dining halls, features 16 students, only one of whom is clothed and all of whom are intertwined in various poses and embraces. Although it evokes a scene from “Eyes Wide Shut,” the ad is for the most part PG-13 – no full frontal nudity here.

Another ad shows a male student dressed in women’s lingerie gazing intently at a female student dressed in a black top hat and sport coat.

Gabe Heywood ’08 attended a five-hour photo shoot on Saturday in the Faunce House Memorial Room for the ads. Heywood, who is pictured leaning backward over a maroon leather couch with a man’s head resting on his stomach, decided to participate because “I thought it would be a cool idea to have Brown students, since they didn’t do that last year.” He called the experience “liberating – there was no awkwardness at all. It was really interesting to be treated as a model, to be put in these incredibly awkward positions.”

Two Rhode Island School of Design students took the photographs, Heywood said.

Annie Banducci ’08 also took part in the shoot. The only clothed student in the scene, she is pictured in a flowery pink robe and is also the only student looking directly at the camera.

“I had a few friends who were doing it, and I had done nude modeling for the ‘Vagina Monologues’ ads last year, and I had a lot of fun with that,” she said. “I knew about 75 percent of the people that were there, so it wasn’t that awkward.”

Chase Huneke ’08, who is pictured kneeling behind the couch with his head on Heywood’s shoulder, said he learned about the photo shoot in a weekly e-mail sent out by the leaders of Queer Alliance. Beforehand, Huneke tried to find out who else would be attending the shoot, but Joshua Teitelbaum ’08, the co-head chair of Queer Alliance, would not tell him, Huneke said. He said he feared that he would be more self-conscious if he did not know the other people.

Nevertheless, Huneke said he is glad that he went through with the experience.

“As soon as I took off my clothes, my inhibitions went away,” he said. Huneke said his father laughed when he learned about the ad, although “I’m sure if he saw the pictures he would feel differently.”

Teitelbaum wrote in an e-mail to The Herald that the Queer Alliance executive board had decided “not to comment at this time” about the ads, though he declined to give a reason why.

Student reaction to the ads was mixed. “I wouldn’t do it myself, but I don’t care if other people do,” said Tarika Thareja ’09, who recognized two familiar faces in the group photo, “although it is kind of weird seeing people you know naked.”

Peter Dentone ’09 was not so enthusiastic about the Sex Power God publicity blitz. “I think ‘creepy’ or ‘weird’ is a good adjective to describe the ads,” he said.

Sam Reiter ’09 was surprised that this was the first year in recent memory the ads featured students. “Students organize the party, so why shouldn’t they be in the ads for the party?” he asked.