As a wise man once said, "There's a fine line between art and pornography." I think the line he was referring to is the one that runs between the calendar and classified sections of our paper. In the case of "Art Underneath," presented by the Newport Beach Film Festival, it's a $50 line ($40 presale), and it forms right outside the door.
To be fair, it would be difficult to classify "Art Underneath" as pornography even without the hefty cover charge. There is no depiction or simulation of sexual acts. Models showcase their "art" in a "photo-gallery setting," standing behind oversized frames (think: Pageant of the Masters meets Animal House). But, it would be equally difficult to classify "Art Underneath" as art. Spin it any way you'd like; attendees are paying to see some really beautiful people wearing only slightly more than what they were born with. Add the fact they promise a DJ, hors d'oeuvres and a hosted bar (thanks to Level Vodka and Karl Strauss), and you'll have to agree "Art Underneath" is the one art show you'll be able to get your boyfriend to attend without the promise of any "favors." Plus, I have to point out: you can't spell "party" without A-R-T!
If you can get past the misnomer (and, I swear, I just about have!), "Art Underneath" really does help to support the Newport Beach Film Festival. And some well-known, honest-to-goodness art really has come out of there (see: Crash, Sexy Beast, and Dogtown and Z-Boys). So if you need to justify it to yourself (or your significant other), you really can say, "It's for a good cause" with a nearly straight face. I, however, will be proudly attending while wearing my hat that holds two cans of beer and my "I'm With Stupid" T-shirt because I may not know a thing about art, but I know what I like.
"Art Underneath" at the Vic Huber Studio and Gallery, 1731 Reynolds Ave., Irvine, (949) 253-2880. Sat., 7:30 p.m. $40-$50. 21+. No photography allowed.