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Minneapolis man says naked swim was art

MINNEAPOLIS, March 31 (UPI) -- A jury must decide whether a Minneapolis man's nude swim at a city beach was performance art or a misdemeanor, officials say.

Patrick Scully, 58, a locally known performance artist who founded Patrick's Cabaret, says he's fighting the ticket he received July 10 at Sweeney Beach on Twin Lake because he thinks society is too repressive. Police say he just broke the law requiring proper attire in city parks, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Saturday. A six-person Hennepin County jury will take up the case May 30.

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"I believe that you have to be the change that you want to see in the world," said Scully, a 6-foot-7 dancer known to perform naked on stage and who also is a gay rights activist. "I'd like to live in a world in which our relationship to our bodies is much more relaxed and much less fearful."

Scully, who also teaches English as a second language at the University of Minnesota, said he was careful to pick a location where he was unlikely to offend anyone. Sweeney Beach is known as a gathering spot for gays, and he said the only comments he heard were from other men advising him it would be risky to drop his bathing suit.

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"I replied that it was riskier to live one's life in fear of what the police might do," Scully said.

A city spokesman declined comment, noting the case is still pending.

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