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Friday, March 20, 1998 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Air Head

The Goddess Kring Grins And Bares It

Seattle Times Staff Columnist

Welcome to the Air Head column, a place to discover all things weird and wonderful on cable's fringe. From the subtle wisdom of "South Park" to the allure of the "Antiques Road Show," we'll chat about it all - and answer some of your deepest, darkest questions about cable programming along the way. Look for it every Friday in Scene.

Seattle's public access channel - that's Channel 29 for the uninitiated - is a controversial entry on the cable landscape. A visual demonstration of free speech in action, this is the channel that lets anyone with a camera and a dream get on the air. There are bong-hit championships. Talk shows with no particular topic. You can see your neighbor's garage band, or watch zealots scream until the veins pop out of their foreheads. Late at night, if you're lucky - or unlucky, depending on the show you come across - you might find some naked people cavorting about.

Which brings us to the happiest naked person on cable, the Goddess Kring, whose show airs Sundays at midnight. I first discovered Kringdom as I sat channel-surfing late one night. I skidded to a stop on the image of a woman painted all the colors of a Pucci scarf, smiling benevolently as soothing music played. Wearing nothing but a shiny bra, she stood and wiggled her bountiful stomach in front of the camera.

There are plenty of unusual cable shows to ponder: You can watch poodle marriages on Animal Planet or famous disembodied heads on Discovery Channel. Or learn about the wonders of mulch on Home & Garden Television. We'll contemplate these and more in the coming months. But the Goddess Kring, who has won over countless believers during her two years on the air, may take the cake for originality. This Rubenesque temptress lip-syncs to her favorite songs or dances in her birthday suit to the delight of her adoring public. Rock bands have written songs for her, and poetry has been unleashed in her honor. Internet Web sites sing her praises to the technoverse.

When the Kring is not mesmerizing the masses, she roams the Earth as 29-year-old Shannon Nicole Kringen, art-school model and performance artist. Catch her live show at any number of bars around the city, and you might be initiated into the cult of Kring.

And what a conversion process! "Stand naked in front of a mirror with a candle, some paints," she advises. "Just loosen up and realize that life is serious but funny at the same time." In an interview at Cafe Paradiso in Seattle, she held audience in an inconspicuous corner, seated on a velvety green throne.

Wearing a T-shirt, her red mane casually framing a kindly face, the Goddess seemed surprisingly, well, human. And she didn't even know the secret to enlightenment. Sheesh! But she did reveal that you don't have to be in some special society to be a goddess.

"Everyone has within them a goddess," she explained. "For me being a goddess . . . is an exaggeration of certain parts of myself. A more fearless part of me."

And if you're wondering what to bring to her temple: "I don't know. A Eurail pass? Money?"

I had to admit, I was skeptical. Still, the Goddess was kind enough to share these words of wisdom with potential worshippers: "They would learn to accept their natural body types, whether it's thin or curvy, whether they shave or not or whether they wear makeup or not," she said. "Do things that excite you and take risks."

Melanie McFarland enjoys watching the Goddess Kring while eating frozen sticks of butter dipped in caramel. She can be reached at 206-464-2256 or by e-mail at mmcf-new@seatimes.com

Copyright (c) 1998 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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