Mr. Skin may specialize in finding breasts in films, but he can appreciate finding irony in bookstores as well. The film-nudity mogul, whose recently released book “Mr. Skin’s Skintastic Video Guide” reveals his 500 favorite movies for nudie-viewing pleasure, can’t help but grin when people inside Barbara’s Bookstore start to notice that the children’s book section is bordering the room where his people have set up a video screen. Any little one intently reading “What Color is Your Underwear, Mr. Moo?” could look up to actually see Shannon Elizabeth only wearing underwear. Luckily, there’s no one under 18 even in the store, otherwise there would be hell to pay for the open can of Budweiser literally four inches from Mother Goose.
“We were hoping for a better turnout,” one of Mr. Skin’s associates says, looking at about thirty people sitting patiently. “We were hoping it’d be filled with children,” says Mr. Skin, decked out in a black blazer and his own Web site’s t-shirt with his dark hair slicked back to imitate his trademark “Mr. Skin” logo. Next to the video screen there are three podiums with microphones and across the room there’s the “Wheel of Skin,” a multi-colored Wheel Of Fortune-like spinner with various prizes. To fully complete the game-show vibe, Mr. Skin is announced to the “The Price is Right” theme by a man wearing a tacky golden jacket and who bears an uncanny resemblance to Dashboard Confessional frontman Chris Carraba.
“Doing a game show isn’t as easy as running a nude Web site,” Mr. Skin says, explaining that there may be some technical gaffes during the game, which begins with “The Bare Minute,” where three randomly selected audience members attempt to pinpoint the exact minute when the famous leg-cross scene occurred in “Basic Instinct” (answer: twenty-seven). The winner must then play “Real or No Real,” which presents on screen three pairs of boobs and asks the contestant what’s real and what’s fake. But how does Mr. Skin even figure it out?
“Well, at the Mr. Skin labs we of course look scientifically at the breasts, study them long and hard, and are always sure when they are real or not real,” Mr. Skin says before unveiling Alyssa Milano’s breasts in “Embrace of the Vampire,” which he calls the “‘Citizen Kane’ of celeb nude horror vampire movies.”
The game show’s big winner: a college-aged kid with a black, tilted hat and a dirty mustache who calls himself “Droid.” The decisive trivia question for Droid: has “Weezie” from the Jeffersons ever been nude? “I would like to say yes because I would love to see her naked but I’d have to say no,” Droid says, and he’s correct. It’s a triumphant moment for Droid as he is presented an enormous certificate (not unlike those huge novelty checks) awarding him free membership to the Mr. Skin Web site.
“Who do you want to thank?” Droid is asked, and there is no hesitation: “My mom.” (Andy Seifert)