Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas memories

Well it’s another damned Christmas and this little Cub is nauseated with the commercial assault of the holiday. Don’t get me wrong. I like Christmas –in fact I LOVE it. There are many happy memories associated with the holiday for me. I just can’t stand when it is quite often the case, that someone’s love for you is valued in the gift that they got you for Christmas. There’s one commercial in particular that I find very offensive on E-Bay. This Mid-West blonde yahoo is bitching about how he got a home-made gift from his elderly relative. It was a hand knit something or other. He suggested that a Snow Board on E-Bay was by far a better and more thoughtful gift. What …..a Jerk ! As an advocate for Bay Area Elders I am incensed that the cretins who chose this advertising for E-bay and got away with it. Don’t they realize we are in a recession and like a bazillion Americans are out of work? Don’t they realize that many of the nation’s elderly lost their retirement income in the last big stock market disaster? Complete IRA’s shriveled like a penis exposed to a thirty below wind chill….brrrrrr  Christmas is about time together and my other favorite reason to celebrate –incredibly delicious food.

Of course ….I wasn’t always this understanding as my mother continually brings up. When I was a child, all the commercialism of the season had thoroughly brainwashed me into thinking, “He who has the most toys wins!! Every year I very carefully mined the Sears Catalogue and writing every toy down on a list for Santa. I simply wrote down each toy without really considering whether I would like it or not. There were very few boys’ toys that I liked, unless it exploded so I could scare people, or if it flashed colors and produced an interesting smoke or smell -or it was GI Joe …that was the extent of my interest in boy toys… I liked pretty shiny things and anything that required creativity. I liked dolls but only if they had lots of outfits to wear. Baby Dolls bored me so I guess I wasn’t the nurturing type. So I made this massive list to Santa which invariably sent my older brother (by 5 years) into huge angry temper tantrums. He yelled, “Look at him MOM!!! He CAN’T ask for ALL that stuff!!!  He Can’t!!! Santa won’t give it all to him.”

“Yes he will.” I smugly said. This made him howl all the much more which to be frank, kind of delighted me.

“You’re GREEDY!!” He hissed at me. Well maybe he was right. It wasn’t uncommon for me to march into my house after visiting my friend Tracy next door, and announce that Santa needed to do better for me. You see - Tracy was 6 or 7 years older than me, but we exchanged Christmas gifts every year. I always got to open Tracy’s gift on Christmas Eve because my mother couldn’t handle the incessant pleading in my big blue eyes. I would go over on Dec 23rd   to her house and exchange our gifts. I had been informed, or overheard at one point that Tracy was ADOPTED. At the tender age of 8, ADOPTED meant something unfortunate, although I wasn’t really quite clear on what was so unfortunate about it. Tracy looked like she had it pretty good to me.

Tracy would bring me into the living room and look for the gift she got for me among an obscene pile of gifts that partially obliterated the heavily decorated tree. She would hand the gift to me and I would give her the one I brought to her. I squinted down at the tree and saw that nearly every gift was tagged TO TRACY.  I looked at her and asked, “How many presents did you get?” She swung her long straight chest nut hair ala Cher and replied simply, “78” I sucked in my breath. I knew if I were lucky I’d get 12 or 15 but 78!!!! Holey Moley!!!

My mother jumped as I slammed the backdoor. “Tracy Sanders has 78 presents!!!” I caterwauled at her. “Help Mom!!! There’s no time for a letter to the North Pole. I need Santa’s Phone number NOW!!” I clung to her skirt in desperation digging my little fingernails into her thigh “I’ll be a disgrace on Vine Street if Tracy Sanders gets more presents than I do. Call him!” I barked “Call him now and tell him what a good boy I am. Tell him I am the best boy in the whole world. For the love of God-. DO IT NOW WOMAN!!!!”  

The following year when I was 9, my mother and I went Christmas shopping for Tracy’s gift. Mom bought her a bottle of hair conditioner for her long straight beautiful hair for $2.99.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Bearlesque Contest

Contest Day Nov 12th

I was trying like heck to to keep my composure. Everything was ready for my contestant cubs to strut and sing at The Powerhouse on it’s infamous Underwear Party. My husbear-to-be came down early and used two of his vacation days, just to give me much needed support. My good friend Marie donated funds for parting gifts carefully purchased at the Dollar Store. I had made certificates for my contestants with their names on them, thanking them for helping me raise money for The Lemonade Fund.

I had shot off an e-mail to my Bearlesque team to ask for their ideas on possible ways to generate more funds for The Lemonade fund, because I had short-sightedly only relied on the take at the door. A “victory lap dance” was suggested where whoever the judges thought was the winner ,would come out to wriggle for dollars. At this stage of the game -I didn’t want to put any more pressure on these guys. I decided to learn from my mistakes and just deal with whatever was brought in. I was certain that we wouldn’t make more than $125 but I comforted myself with the thought that it was $125 more that TLF didn’t have the day before. I took a breath- a DEEP one. It wouldn’t do any good to my contestants or my boyfriend to have a bitchy whiney cub stamping about the bar.

I had made arrangements with The Powerhouse to have two of my guest star performing judges, and any contestant who was interested, to run their numbers with the mic and sound earlier that evening. Orlando and I arrived at the bar around 7pm with rockstar parking. I had mistakenly thought that the bar would be quiet and we could discreetly play with the sound and such. I say mistakenly because ...IT WAS BUSY.  I tried to politely ask the bartender on duty for things required for the evening but I felt so damned guilty interrupting his unexpected rush. He introduced himself gruffly and barked at me the orders on how the evening was to go. His instructions were for me to talk as little as possible during the contest which I promptly dismissed in my mind as I nodded and smiled at him. (That was of course an impossibility with this type of event, but I could tell right away that it was useless to educate him at the present.) He could yell at me later I decided.

As I had mentioned to you- I had TWO performing judges. My trusty talented friend George Scott ,who helped me scope out the situation the week before and Rick Padre. Rick seems to know every bear and or cub on the planet. I had heard him sing on line and asked him to join us for the event. He’s the cutest little Panda you ever did see and does a mean hula.

As I had predicted-2 contestants had dropped out on the DAY OF THE CONTEST. Each of them claimed they couldn’t find the correct music on CD. The same thing had happened to two of my other contestants, and they asked if they could just sing a capella. Fine with me!  At least it showed me the guys who WANTED to be in the Bearlesque show. So I had three contestants. I could work with that. I calculated quickly in my head: three songs, with commentary by five judges, two guest star performers, and 3 strip routines with commentary by five judges all rounded out to a nice 50 minutes in my calculations. Bueno!

Contestant Number one was the sweet and unassuming Johnny Aguilar. He showed up perfectly dressed and dapper in a sweater vest and tie and dress pants. Just like he had come home from work. I had asked contestants to show up as clothed as possible so they wouldn’t give anything away. You could see he was a little nervous, but that made him 20 times more endearing. He began singing tentatively Michael Buble’s “Home”.  I think someone hollered out “Sing out Louise” - How appropriate! He began to simply undress. Just like he had come home and was singing to his boyfriend before they hop into bed. Then the music stopped while his shirt and tie dangled over his sexy chest. I rushed back to the DJ booth and asked Fabulous Freddy what had happened to the music. He was mystified. I asked him to run it again. So the song started again and whammo! It stopped at the same point. Johnny looked at me and said, “ It’s okay P.A. I’ll just sing without it.” So he did but while he did something kinda cool happened. Fabulous Freddy selected some dance track that seemed to be in the key of the song and slid in perfectly with Johnny’s singing. I was VERY impressed with Freddy’s quick thinking and Johnny’s ability to go with the flow- as were the judges.

My judges consisted of George, (who opened the show with a fabulous number from Moulin Rouge that encompassed what I wanted my show to be) Rick Padre (who sang Maybe This Time from Cabaret to open the stripping part of my show) and Greg Burger, ( who will be my sidekick co-host in Bearlesque and manages to pull off cantankerous and sexy at the same time) Jon Wai-Keung Lowe ( my production director who has a dripping acid wit delivered in honey) and one of the quite well -known Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and established columnist,  Beloved Sister Roma Roma.

Next contestant was Erik R Green who was the picture of calm and confidence. He sang “If I Were Gay.” by Steven Lynch and netted quite a few chuckles. He sold it and owned it and his professionalism was impressive. I think if my judges could’ve flipped cards, he would’ve gotten a lot of 10s.

Last to sing was Jaden Perry-my wild card. He had a fluorescent close cropped red buzz cut with matching beard and had smeared himself with a glitter gel so that he sparkled whenever he moved. He belted out the Red Hot Chili Peppers number “Otherside” He was thinking about “ House of the Rising Sun” that I had on my dinky little Karaoke machine, but changed to that in a last minute inspiration. He had power and that rock and roll style that I want to permeate my Bearlesque show with. He blanked on a word but some judge or bar member sang out the song to him. Didn’t I mention how supportive the bar patrons were? We had a support cub team out there and I was very glad to see them all.

After a brief break and a song from adorable Rick, we got down to business with the stripping part of the contest. I had selected FOUR awesome songs for the boys to strip to yet the same issue occurred where we couldn’t get the CD’s to play. Freddy the DJ not only saved the day with his alternate selections, he stayed late to help us. God Bless Fabulous Freddy. Johnny opted for a slower sensual strip and got hung up on shoe removal. Loafers are best for stripping. Erik netted money which he donated to TLF. Hmmmm maybe he should do the victory lap dance? Jaden raised eyebrows when he switched underwear with a willing “slave/overzealous fan”  from the crowd of patrons.   I think my favorite line from the judges was when Sister Roma quipped, “Ah the old switch the underwear bit.”

I was hard pressed to make a decision because these boys all had something to offer the show. I had judges to decide the winner. It was important to me that we all remember this was for charity and I was specifically looking for amateurs. Erik was declared the winner by four of the judges and he was awarded a generous round of applause and a goody bag. But...I liked Johnny’s gentle guy next door vibe and Jaden’s glam rock flash too, so I decided all three were winners in the contest. With my clever judges and heartfelt performers, the evening was a success-Oh and Guess what? Scott ended up donating the entire door proceeds to The Lemonade Fund. It was a surprising donation of over $500.00!!! I had a blast hosting the Wet Underwear contest later. It was a tie by the way. Remember the bar patrons cast their vote by cheering for the winner? I was deafened - twice! The men were unbearably beautiful. I looked over at the bartenders in desperation as to what to do and they mimed tearing the $100 bill in half-which -don’t worry- I didn’t do it. They each got $50.00.

So are you ready to enter the next talent search? Let me know.....

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bearlesque Contest part one

 held my first talent search for my Bearlesque Show last week at The Powerhouse on Folsom, but prior to that there was much planning involved. The week before the contest, I decided to head down to the Powerhouse on a Thursday night to see what it was like on wet-underwear-contest-night and to possibly drum up a few more contestants. I had five contestants at the time, but I had a sneaky feeling that two of them would bail. It’s the New England side of me. Where I come from, we see the half filled glass of milk.. and say that it’s half empty.. and we’d better drink it quick before someone comes along and knocks it over. Yet through ALLL  this we say how glad we are that there was at least a half  glass of milk.

I brought my trusty friend and creative production team member, George Scott along for the investigation. George is one of those guys who could take a table cloth and turn it into a formal ball gown. I am hoping he can make me a cashmere G-string. We arrived at 10:00PM. You see.. In the real world I go to sleep at 11:00 especially  on a work night but wet-underwear-contests prohibit that... so I compromised and drank a Red Bull. I met one suitable candidate who was an adorable little muscle cub. I schmoozed and cajoled him only to find that he was a real talker. He talked and talked and talked. He was one of those guys that could talk ad infinitum about ANYTHING: Snow in California, killer bees, waxing surfboards -and he made NONE of it interesting. In the end I discovered that his on again off again mysterious career wouldn’t allow him to do the show next spring so what was the point in competing to be in a show that he couldn’t do? I understood and tried to figure out a way to get him to use a breath mint. DAMN why did he have to use the letter “h” so much? 

I usually went to the Powerhouse at this time of the night on a Friday or Saturday. I’d never really been there this late on a Thursday. I noticed fewer patrons this particular evening and most everyone was interested in hooking up. The vibe fairly pulsed in the air. After all...we were all standing around in our underwear. My choice may not have been the best. They were these navy very short jersey drawstring shorts...and a little saggy. I was trying to come off irresponsibly sexy, but I think I just looked dumpy. There was a very appealing cross section of attractive men. Unfortunately they didn’t fit the Bear or Cub look. George and I moved forward undaunted. Some were drunkenly enthused and it was clear that within 10 minutes they would  have zero recollection of ever chatting with us. Others simply stared at us baffled. “A contest? where you win a chance to strip and sing in a theater...for charity...? Really?”

“That’s it!” I gushed. “ And did I mention that you get your picture in all the papers..well at least The Bay Times and maybe the B.A.R.- plus you get your picture taken by one of the best photographers in the porn industry today!!” I made a mental note to tell this bit of added duties to the aforementioned “photographer”  the next day.

Finally George and I gave up and just chose to promote the contest instead. We chatted it up with as many people as we could up. My friend Mike kept the vodka flowing so my tongue would be flowing with persuasive witty things. I don’t know if I was but after a while it didn’t matter. 

George and I stayed to watch the wet underwear contest. I was beginning to worry that I had chosen this venue in haste as my eyes searched in vain for a big ole Bear. The manager Scott came out of his office and suddenly boys swarmed everywhere. Where did they all come from? Hmmm? ( writer cub taps mouth looking up at the ceiling). The crowd responded enthusiastically by spraying Scott’s crotch with spray bottles that had been filled with very warm water-presumably to avoid shrinkage. (Scott looked good by the way.) He took it all in stride and started to bring the contestants one by one up on the stage. Each contestant was gleefully squirted by the crowd, which caused the fabric on their underwear to cling in the most appealing manner. George decided to join the fray of contestants. He was motivated by the $100 cash prize. “A girls gotta do what a girls gotta do!” he quipped-in-his -Jackee-from -227 -voice. Then his face fell as we both saw the inevitable winner strip to his undees on our immediate left. The gentleman in question obviously enjoyed strenuous athletic activity. His nipples were artfully adorned with small silver piercings. The clincher was his underwear. It was a very brief bikini brief in a sheer white material. It seemed designed just for this contest! Scott called each drenched contestant to the stage for the audience chosen winner. We were instructed to applaud and cheer for our selection. Mr Brief Bikini Brief won by a landslide. George looked a tad dejected but fortunately he resumed his Happy-go-lucky attitude.

PAWS (Pets are wonderful support) was the recipient of the take from the door that night. Mentally I tabulated patrons at $5 a head. Maybe some folks had left? I also knew that Mr. Brief Bikini Brief was the recipient of the door. How much did PAWS make I wonder? $100? 200?  I began to chastise myself for not thinking this talent contest through. Why didn’t I come up with an additional fund raiser like a raffle or selling boys for dates or SOMETHING?! I had visions of presenting a check to the Lemonade Fund for $35 dollars. I was feeling like a total and complete idiot when George and I left the bar. George cheered me up -or tried valiantly. I had a week left. That was plenty of time to come up with another gimmick -or was it? tick tick tick

Monday, October 26, 2009

A cub remembers a shake up

At 5:04pm , the Lone Star promptly observed the anniversary of the 89 Earthquake by playing the Earthquake scene from the old Jeanette MacDonald flick of the 1906 quake. The sound track roared to deafening decibels and the bartenders crashed a few glasses and swung the lamps in the bar. It was quite a racket! It didn’t exactly send me into a sense memory of that October in 89 but I got a little shiver. I had only been in San Francisco 3 days back during the Loma Prieta and my best friend and I were lying through our teeth to get a cool apartment in the Ingleside. We were patting ourselves on our backs, as we trotted down Haight street, complimenting each other on our perfectly performed mendacity of our so -called financial successes in front of our potential new land lady. As we walked passed a bar –appropriately called El Quake-O, a sodden young blond sitting facing outside of the bar squeaked, “ Uh Oh Quakey!” I think she was responding to the rattling of the liquor bottles inside. Then it happened. Mostly car alarms and dogs started the din. I stood there dumbfounded thinking that I didn’t realize that a railroad station was by the Haight.  My friend grabbed me and pulled me away from a large shop window that was breathing in and out of the store threatening to explode shards of glass in my back. I fell in the middle of the street on my stomach and watched the biggest earthquake I had ever encountered take Haight street, and snap it like a giant rug. The street rolled like waves from the wake of a large boat. Tiny windows of the tops of the Victorians burst out on to the street. It was brief but at the same time interminable. Later we both huddled by a bottle of Jack Daniels on the doorstep of the house we were staying at. The glow of the fires from the Marina filled the sky as well as 2 or 3 buzzing helicopters. I don’t mind telling you …I was calculating how the hell I was going to get back to Vermont at that moment. The papers exaggerated a death toll of 500. In reality it wasn’t even 80 but still….people did indeed die as a result of that quake. Later my new found San Francisco friends dubbed me a SF native because I didn’t turn tail and run. I stuck around and lemme tell you –it’s been quite a 20 year ride. Why do I feel the best is yet to come?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Cub is overwhelmed

I wonder if it all will get done. I worry -I am a world class hand wringer. It's times like these that I see the appeal of being a Hobo - hopping a box car and heating up a can of beans for dinner over an open fire. Then I realize that my creature comforts mean too much to me.

One evening -about a month or so ago, I met Ray Middling, a Leather Daddy title holder,  at The Lone Star for a little confab session. I wanted to know if he wanted to help me with a photo shoot and guide me a little with my reign as Bay Area Cub 2010. His clearest advice-which I am having a devil of a time adhering to-was that I should "attend the opening of an envelope". That essentially means I should be at almost every event there is Leather, Court and most importantly Bear. He knew of nearly every leather event and invited me to a few which I could not attend because of boyfriend obligations. As the 11 readers who follow me can tell you, Orlando and I have been dating 8 months -over actually. This is a record for me, and I truly do NOT want to fuck this one up. I don't even WANT the term "sash widow" to be uttered by anyone's lips. (Reminder to the uninitiated: A Sash widow is partner who spends alot of time alone because his title holder partner is off to this or that event being a celeBEARtante. We have them in the theater world too. They are called Show widows)

Maybe you know full well the demands of a relationship, but this little cub is navigating in new waters. Boyfriends need attention! Don't even begin to think I don't enjoy giving my honey bear attention, but it is a new aspect to my life that I have very little experience with. He smiles a lot more when I touch him, and I need to remember that.  It used to be simpler when I was single. An average day would be: Wake, Work, Eat, Rehearse/Perform, Sleep -Repeat.

My day job is fairly demanding . I need to keep a cool head being diplomatic with oversensitive healthcare workers and family members and multitask my brains out. I work with the elderly. Some of the elderly I work with have been diagnosed with dementia. Trying to recreate 1932 in my little office, or having a serious discussion about handguns and hamburgers covered in cheese can take a lot of concentration. In the middle of that I have to get a newsletter out and laminate 32 name tags by 3pm. I need to know Quark, Word, Power Point and Excel -and to be honest I only know a smattering of each.  Did I mention I need to change the face of Eldercare in our society? I have to teach all of America to be more compassionate and attentive to our Older people. So do you by the way.

Speaking of older people, I have a friend. I used to have scads of friends but it's dwindled to just one feeble best friend who constantly requires my firm instruction and gallons of alcohol just to get him to think a clear cohesive thought about all the suggestions I have for him and how he can improve his life. This takes TIME people!!

How can I possibly save the fate of non-profit theater in the midst of all these demands? Because -let's be clear about this. I did not run for Bay Area Cub for the attention.. and the cute vest.. and the attention the cute vest gets me. I became a title holder to save the world I owe so dearly. (Grabs-his navy-hanky-that-he's-wearing -in -his- left- pocket- tonight- and -dabs- a- tear- at- his- eye) A world that can transport you to an imaginary place when the curtain parts. A place where every voyeuristic shiver is FULFILLED. I am talking about THE WORLD OF THEATER! .....and let me tell you -I'M EXHAUSTED.  I was thinking all these cubs and bears would jump in my bandwagon and say, "Sure PA -We'd love to help you." Unfortunately - that hasn't happened. I have some pretty darned impressive people from the theater world on board with my vision, but I need sexy bears and cubs to REALIZE that vision. So send me an e-mail guys. If you like to sing and wear next to nothing while you do it then be SURE to ask me for a contestant form for the contest at The Power House here in San Francisco happening November 12. It's a word document that you can fill in the answers and save it and email it right back to me. Easy Peasey E-mail me at bayareacub2010@att.net for the Entry form.
Mean time
My wish list
A Karaoke machine and a guy who knows how to run it
10 to 6 sexy bears and or cubs who sing and may be nudists
A  generous grant to cover the costs of a Burlesque show
Help...please and yes ...if you want ...I'll put that navy hanky on the right side just for you...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom!

So while the rest of San Francisco -along with my boyfriend, was enjoying the Folsom Street Fair, I was in the pre-autumnal splendor of Vermont. I, along with my brother and his girlfriend, flew East to wish my Mother a happy 78th Birthday. Why 78 you ask? Why not! I have been feeling increasingly of late, that life is brutally short. and we need to grab the I-love-you moments and hold them tight as they occur. In an effort to show my mother how much I loved her I asked 36 of her friends to join us at a magnificent Inn ( and horse farm) in Randolph Vermont called The Three Stallion Inn. As I perused the grounds on that rainy Sunday I envisioned Orlando and I having a ceremony of 300 or so of our closest friends and then I realized ...neither of us had enough friends to get to 300, and none of them had enough money to fly to Vermont for a wedding.

You are probably wondering how a man of my meager means could host an event of that magnitude at such a fancy place? You are right -I couldn't "host" it in the monetary sense. I ended up organizing a "no host" Birthday dinner. This involved asking a bunch of people over 75 years old to pony up $50 a plate for my beloved Mother. I was told by the Inn  if I got over 25 people then I would get a rate of $36 per person. This calculated with tip and tax came to $49. However when I called the Inn to confirm the total tax/and gratuity with them, I didn't have my original gal that I worked with and I was quoted $47 per person by some other gal- and I shot off the mass -email asking for THAT amount. I should have, in retrospect told them to honor the mis-quoted price but they were already lowering the cost for the conference room rental significantly for me.  It was uncharacteristic of me, but I chose not to make waves. As time approached my 25 invitees were dwindling to 20- which meant no buffet deal. I figured the average Senior Citizen would appreciate a buffet so I didn't opt for everyone ordering thier own meal. I put a shout out to any all who we may have been omitted in my original invite. BIG MISTAKE!

My inbox groaned with the weight of suggestions for people who were "overlooked". There was a tone that I clearly didn't understand the financial situation of many of the people I had invited and I clarified with an explanation of my financial situation. I'M POOR DAMMIT!  I was inches away from scrapping the whole dinner and was thinking of  just doing something with immediate family. I had bungled on a number of points when it came to organizing this thing. The most egregious I felt was selecting to have the event on a Sunday instead of a Saturday. I was thinking it would be a room for of retirees ,but my sister-in-law is a high school teacher and she and my brother and nephew all lived in Amherst Massachusetts! Big ooops! Let me tell you, my sister-in-law is a SUCCESSFUL  highschool teacher and you DO NOT want to raise her ire. Luckily she's intelligent which means she can be reasoned with, and she appeared genuinely glad to see me and my brother. I imagined it was because her husband-my brother- is the guy that is ALWAYS there for Mom and Dad while Pete and I are 3000 miles away.

My cousin Sara, who is a REAL writer for Conde Nast, as opposed to the dreck I serve up weekly, suggested that everyone write a little memory of Mom or why we appreciated her because Mom had greatly enjoyed hearing the readings of her sisters-in-laws at the last family reunion on my father's side. I decided to keep it as short as possible and asked a few people who weren't confidant enough with thier writing skills and ended up declining. I figured -what the hell? I'll ask the professional and went ahead and asked Sara to contribute something. I decided I would contribute a few words of my own as well. I figured after Sara and I spoke if anyone felt like saying a few words they may. (YET another flub because my Aunt and one of my Mom's former colleagues made clear their displeasure at not being asked to prepare something that night. sigh!)  -A quick side note: My parents are divorced but remain amicable...sort of. Sara is from my Dad's side of the family and my Mom has established herself as THE reigning colorful creative Aunt in all her nieces and nephews eyes. She's been a favorite because she doesn't hold back and expresses herself freely unlike the infrequently taciturn Cooleys. This is ironic because one of the reasons I love my Aunts on my Dad's side of the family is thier sharp observations of truthful behaviour.

It was through this observation that I realized why I am the way I am. I am my Mother. I can rarely hold back from giving my opinion and I greatly enjoy getting attention. Straight men become thier fathers and Gay men , become thier Mothers! I decided THAT would be my speech. I would show all the ways that I am a product of Lois because of me sexual orientation. IT IS the mothers fault! I stayed up the night before perfecting my speech and creating comparisons between her and I. Our mutual love of Torch Songs and Jazz, our impeccable timing on stage, ( She's an actress of course)  and our sense of all things grand. We once spent a freebie weekend at a place called The Webb Estate in Shelburne Vermont. I was 17. As she drove the Chevy Vega hatch back up the long drive way with a full summer moon in the sky and Rachmaninoff playing on the car's radio, she said, "We're home Heathcliff."  My Aunt (her little sister), says it's her superiority complex. I say...it's the actress in her. I concluded the speech with telling the folks that she had formed her own PFLAG group and toured Vermont highschools to see what they were doing for thier Gay teens in the 1990s. Yep she is -without a doubt a pretty special lady. The crowd was amused and ultimately the evening was a success. Sara's speech went beautifully and it inspired the "snubbed" speakers to say a few words.  I wasn't subjected to a massive bill  for Guests who cancelled last minute, because the add ons mysteriously never made it to the list ! Very odd and fortuitous. Everyone who attended the event paid for it with the exception of two family members who sent me the money this week. Relief!!!

I spent the remainder of my time in Vermont taking pictures with a camera I am considering purchasing. I was soothed by the oranges and reds trying to burst forth from the trees. As we gathered on Monday evening my mother, father, brother Peter and his girlfriend Megan were engaged in a conversation regarding Gay Marriage. My family of course is on the pro-marriage-for-all-side. I was suddenly caught off guard by something my mother had said. She seemed thoughtful and wondered aloud about what people had thought about what I had said during my speech at her party. This of course generated a "What do you mean?" by me and she explained that since my speech was so "out", she wondered if I had offended anyone and furthermore would anyone mention it to her if they were? I was frayed and I should be honest -I was a little reactionary. I sniffed, " So what? It's thier problem isn't it?" I was a tad sensitive because I couldn't quite let go a comment she had made about my blogging being so "open" earlier at dinner. The woman who had advocated for schools to pay more attention to their Gay teens was seemingly going back in the closet. At least that was MY perception. After I had reflected on it... I realized she may be simply concerned for me, or she has simply become more fearful as she has gotten older. Maybe she was worried I had alienated one of her friends?  One of the unfortunate things I have inherited from her was always being concerned with what other people think of me. This is what she was experiencing I am sure. I looked back on my blogs and what I had said in her speech. What had I said that would generate some negative feedback? I determined that my general mouthy-ness couldn't warrant any severe judgement. I didn't advocate drug use or unsafe sex. I am not a pedophile. I DO talk about sex and sexy things -yes -and the things I discuss were not mentioned 30 and 50 years ago-heck barely 20 years ago! I have to say all in all the old lady did good by me. She needs to relax and quit worrying about what others think. I am not going to fault her for being concerned about her circle of friends because I know, the friends that really love her will always love her no matter what -just like she has done for me the last 45 years.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Cub gets his leather on

So I recently got fitted for my new chaps at Off Ramp Leathers by Leather artist Paul Johnson. I didn't need to buy Chaps -I just WANTED them. I originally went there to get measured for my title vest which John Caldera had plunked down a deposit for.  Mr. Caldera submits the design and Paul makes it happen! When I had shopped for a new leather outfit for various functions, I was daunted by the price that some of our local leather vendors have. As a title holder it needs to fit like a second skin. There's also the issue of Jeans or without Jeans. I wore Jeans thinking I was going to wear them in places where I didn't want my lily white bootie hanging out. My butt is okay but to be frank, I'd like to put it through some serious squats and bun developers before I start showing it to the world. My boyfriend says it's delightful and he enjoys it immensely. However -until I can decipher whether those are dimples back there or cellulite -I will rely on photoshop to adjust it for general viewing. I wish I had "back" but there is no denying that I am a little white guy. My ass is small and compact and it's difficult to find a pair of jeans that make my buns look tantalizing.

Mr. Johnson was a gentleman. (Oh well)  He was thorough and nailed the correct amount of tightness. A comfortable firmness that wasn't restrictive. This was fitting number 2. There is one final one where he completes the length. It's all done there in the store with his sale's associate Dave entertaining the troupes. By that I mean my best gal pal and impromptu photographer, Auntie Drew! He managed to have Drew look like one of the Village People at one point. It was very fetching!  Dave was also very persuasive and managed to convince me to try on a pair of jeans/w leather on them that reminded me of my high school days. I used to lay down on my bed and squeeeeeeeze my 13 year old body into these Jordache Jeans that were like GOLD to me. Those with a pair of my Frye Boots made me the sexiest little tween you ever did see...from the waist down. From the neck up there was a chronic acne condition that was the BANE of my existence. Luckily there was this magical drug called Accutane that put that to rest. I used it dutifully until it had changed my physiology so dramatically that my nasal membranes gave way on a casual sneeze and gave me a bloody nose that horrified me and my friends. I stopped taking it immediately. Now the same drug is linked to seizures!!!

We shall see what design Mr. Caldera has devised for my vest-Stay tuned. I next will be shopping for jock straps and G- strings. Anyone know where I can score a football uniform? I'd be very grateful!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

On my last Kayak trip with Orlando -I nearly SANK!!! Okay so I exaggerate. Some how my little inflatable Kayak got a little soft. We couldn't find the leak anywhere but the vision of Orlando towing me to shore was ...pretty sexy. My boyfriend has some serious back muscles. I was moments from turning into a taco as the bow of my craft started to go upward..Quite comical. And yes ...I can swim. Hey -I had no choice! The thieves that broke into Lando's car stole the life jacket. We've tallied the cost of the break in to $700.00! Here I thought that my neighborhood was safe..think again.

I have noticed as Orlando and I become more of a couple we get fatter. No kidding ! He's slammed on a record 15 lbs in seven months and I have gained two inches -in my waist. I don't wanna know the pounds but it's getting harder and harder to hide my 7 month pregnancy. Lando is pretty hardcore about the exercise thing. He plays racket ball and sports a colorful array of contusions from being whacked by the ball. He also is a fan of the PX90 work out series. He has all the tapes and did them religiously until he started dating me. I'm a bad influence. I whine "nooooo don't gooooo -stay in bed just a few more minutes..." then nuzzling ensues totally throwing off his schedule. You'd think with all this amorous activity that it would count for some significant calorie burning but no -dammit. We both really enjoy eating. He's not a fan of certain fruits and vegetables that I consider important. He's all meat and potatoes. When I tease him about being the big burly manly man that he is, he translates that into thinking I am calling him an unsophisticated troglodyte. He amazed me recently, by making this simple but elegant Brie with sauteed shallots for my best friend's cocktail Birthday party. My best friend said it was so good it was like God coming in your mouth. He still
gets a little touchy with me when my eyes widen in surprise if he shows an interest in things like artichokes or Pomegranate vinaigrette. I figure one of these days I will surprise him by getting us tickets to the symphony or opera. It's more fun to think of him as a donut eating grease monkey though. I digress- Between the both of us, we have pretty healthy eating habits, but we'd also feel a little better if we were a little lighter. We both have some fitness goals. There are some pants that I paid a lot of money for that I'd like to wear again and he just wants to return to his size that he was 7 months ago.

Fitness is essential here. After all,I am going to dance in my new Bearlesque Show and it makes me nervous that I start to breathe hard after two flights of stairs. Something had to change. Orlando began to cool it on eating so much bread and I went BACK to Gold's Gym! They were offering a pretty good deal for returning members. I am striving for health here not creating a muscle cub. To be honest I don't have 4 hours a day to devote to working out. In order to get that muscle cub mass...it takes WORK!! So don't be surprised if you see me pumping iron or trying to figure out how to use the elliptical machine. In fact make a point of saying hi. I could use a friend or two in the environment.

So if you haven't heard- THERE IS GREAT NEWS! My contest-SO YOU THINK YOU'VE GOT FUR?- to be a performer in my troupe is happening Nov 12 at the Power House. YAY!! Scott has graciously agreed to join my event with his underwear night. Proceeds from the event will go to The Lemonade Fund as I had mentioned in my last blog. E-mail me for details on how to enter the contest at bayareacub2010@att.net. If you are a sexy bear or cub with all the moves and a great singing voice, this is the thing for you! If you have been struggling with what to do with your free time, I suggest you look no further. There's plenty of people already involved in chorus, rugby and softball. Tell your honey you have stripper rehearsal. There will be two shows definitely scheduled for late March and early June. All the money we raise from our shows will go to support ailing non-profit theaters.

ALWAYS looking for people for my production team too. We could use some tech sound design artistes! Hope all is well with you and yours...

Friday, September 4, 2009

An Actor remembers being Single

So I feel the inevitable sloughing of my former self as I evolve into my new self. Normally this happens every 7 years but life changes have accelerated the process. I am so comfortable in my partnered state that it appears I had forgotten what it was like to be single! I am ashamed and embarrassed to admit that- because trust me I was QUITE the playah in my day. Orlando and I have only been together 7 months and we have become this two-headed monster couple. The same kind of couple that I would lift my chin up and look down my nose at. Seven months is quite a big deal if you realized just how short lived every relationship I had ever had has been.

I vaguely recall the zeal and thrill of hunting for my boyfriend du soir. My heart would race and I felt a little livelier and intense as I approached my selection. I had a friend watch me in action as any dark and lovely fellow entered whatever waterhole we were at. He said it was like watching the Cheetah chase across the Serengeti plain and bring the gazelle down to the ground. Not nice! I had a phase when I turned 40 where I dated men significantly younger than myself to insure their brevity. Last Thursday night was quite the wake up call for me and a vivid reminder of my past transgressions.

I am searching for a SOMA venue where I may hold my singing stripper cub contest. If you haven't been following, I am holding a contest and the lucky winners will wind up being cast members of my Bearlesque Show that I will hold in the spring and early summer months at a needy theater. I don't anticipate that I will find all my cast but hoping that the contest will also bring in some revenue for The Lemonade Fund. This is an organization dedicated to aiding critically ill theater workers. It is VERY important to make sure that there aren't more than one fund raising event going on at the same time so I chose a Thursday Night somewhere within the first two weeks of November. I also wanted contestants to be comfortable shedding their garments so I picked an enclosed Bar. Until I get a thumbs up from the owner/manager I won't divulge the name of the establishment I am wooing, but luckily one of the bartenders is a friend of mine. We did a One-Act for the Eastenders 100 years of Queer Theater last November and performed in our birthday suits for the play. It was undoubtedly an experience I will never forget. My penis frequently got stage fright but his was quite comfortable on stage.... He's quite clever and God has blessed him with good looks. These are very handy tools to have as a Bartender. His shift didn't begin until 10PM which meant ...it was going to be a long night for me. I often fall asleep at 11:00! Hey -I'm 45! You see -he was going to introduce me to his boss and hopefully all would go smoothly and his boss would say. "Sure! I'd love to do your singing stripper cub contest here." It didn't go exactly like that.

Mike (my friend the actor/bartender), mixed me a concoction that I feel is specifically designed for me, but that's my ego talking. He always mixes me a vodka fruity thingie that is refreshing and reminiscent of those Island Cocktails that you suck down because there is no discernible alcohol burn-and then you stand up and nearly hit the floor. It has no name and he doesn't do the same ingredients all the time. Mike informed me that his boss would be in ....maybe..as in possibly...My stomach sank! My Friday work day was gonna be a real bitch because I like to get my 8 hours in. It didn't appear that I would get 8 hours tonight and I didn't want my sleep sacrifice to be all for naught. Well Mike's Birthday was tomorrow so I felt -even if I couldn't book this place for my contest, I could help him celebrate his Birthday eve. As I mentioned, Mike is charming and intelligent and more than just a little attractive. He is a hit at his job and his customers LOVE him. I watched him work the entire somewhat busy bar and appear to have fun doing it. It was kinda like watching a show. He decided he wanted all the people he knew to be at one end of the bar and moved me near the opposite end of the bar. This Bar is ...well kinda dirty -as in naughty dirty-and like a cross between some one's garage and an old saloon...painted black. There was vintage soft core porn playing on the screens and then a number of tv screens are actually installed on the ceiling! No lie. Look up and see large muscly furry men trying to insert their penises into each other. I thought the place was perfect for a singing stripper contest. I was hoping Mike's boss felt the same way. I sat patiently and watched the parade of men wishing Mike a Happy Birthday.

One of the fellows was a fast talking, Mohawk-wearing, scrawny urban hipster with flashing brown beady eyes. He sat down next to me and Mike did the introductions. He said hi and hit me with an unfortunate case of halitosis. I tried to lean back but of course the music was loud and my hearing is not so good. He called me something -can't really recall but it was something like "famous actor" or was it " show person" -sorry,as I said, the music was loud and there was no way I was going to lean in and ask him what he said. I think it was something based on my Bearlesque show that I eagerly told him all the details of. There was a moment where he paused and looked at me. I thought he was going to say something else but his look had something that I couldn't quite define. Then he squeezed my thigh and said something about going out for a smoke. What on earth was that pause about? I shook my head bewildered. Bad Breath is one of my biggest pet peeves. I am frequently teased by nearly all who know me well about my obsession with breath mints. They are my addiction.

Still Mike's boss didn't show and I was getting anxious. What if I couldn't book this contest here? Gol darn it - this was frustrating. I snapped out of my funk as Mike poured me another drink. The evening could get hazardous at this rate. I offered to buy Mike a shot and he said, -"only if I get to buy you one back!" We struggling actors stick together. Another fellow was standing in line waiting to get a drink and looked up at me. He seemed kind of scruffy and perhaps in his early 50s. He flashed a quick warm smile and he winked at me. He looked like someone's Uncle Jim who was out on the town unbeknown to loving Aunt Barb. I smiled politely and looked down. I thought this was a pretty clear subtext " Thank-you-but-I'm-unavailable at the moment." I never want to completely reject someone-after all -I AM a title holder. Well I guess he didn't see that because he plunked down next to me and started to discuss...the weather. Interesting -I mean - no not interesting at all! He offered to buy me a drink and I politely declined saying it was a school night. I nodded as he chatted about... nothing and I tried to appear distracted. I looked at Mike and he noticed that other patrons were buying him a Birthday shot. Make that shots! Turns out his birthday was good business for the bar! Then thanks and praise the heavens, Mikes boss showed up. I excused myself from the fellow and shook hands with Mike's boss and explained how I wanted to do a singing stripper contest at his bar. I completely forgot to say it was for plus-sized boys but judging from the smattering of bears and cubs frequenting this waterhole I doubted it would be an issue. Besides he knew I was The Bay Area Cub so I am sure he knew who I was going to invite. He looked interested but couldn't commit until he saw a calendar and right now there were so many patrons at the bar that he needed to help Mike out. I took this as a good sign and heaved a sigh of relief.I felt I was 50% there with securing the venue for the Contest. The other thing I HAD to be sure of was that I wasn't competing with another Bear event. That was a real "no-no" in our community. I had pretty much been assured at The Lone Star by the manager, that there was nothing going on with the two possible dates I had selected in November. The Lone Star was actually gonna be my first choice but I would need the stage and that is out doors...not an environment conducive to stripping -especially in November. I figured my cast would be well rehearsed by next Pride and we could do a Lone Star mini show on the stage in June. Most shows would take place in whatever theater we were doing the benefit for. I wouldn't need to worry about performance space rental because of that. Any theater that wanted to use my show for a fundraiser could. -Now rehearsal space was a different problem all together. Anyone have a heated garage?

Then Scooby showed up. His real name isn't Scooby, but I will call him that to protect him. Years ago -When I met Scooby I was trying to recover from a break up that definitely did a number on my heart. At the time I was going to marry a guy and even though we had only been together months -everyone thought we were perfect for each other. Long story short -we weren't ,but I didn't know that the night he broke up with me. I was angry and wanted to hurt him and Scooby assisted me by conveniently calling me while I was in the middle of being dumped. Scooby was an online flirtation that I had never been able to completely let go. I knew my ex and I were on the outs so I had slipped Scooby my number earlier that day. My ex said, "We had to talk." I knew what was up. I remember taking the call from Scooby as I gazed with a cold baleful glare at my soon-to-be-ex, and held the conversation with Scooby, stating loud enough for anyone within a 10 foot radius, that I was suddenly free that night to meet him. Scooby and I had great rebound sex that evening -which isn't surprising because I was in the mood to do anything to feel better. We awoke that next morning and he flipped out because he saw the time. He scrambled for his cell phone and called...his Mom to pick him up and drive him to wrestling practice!!!!! I nearly put my 42 year old heart on cardiac arrest but he assured me he was 18. Jesus ! Too Much- that's our Scooby Doo! And here he was at the bar -and looking as luscious and adorable as the first time I met him 3 years ago. He leaned in and informed me. " I am still in love with yo ass" ! It was tough to figure out if he actually meant my butt or me in the ebonic figurative use of 'ass'. The vibe felt it was me. It didn't matter because Scooby would say some derivation of that to 3 other guys later that evening. I had known waaaaay early on that he couldn't give me what I needed, but sometimes when he pulled his pants down and bent over and modeled his new red jock strap...I would temporarily forget that. I was strong and maintained -that is until Mike decided to play the devil and plunked another little dark and lovely in the empty seat next to me. Mike knows my proclivities for DARK and handsome and this sweet little South African fella was definitely that.

"Sami" as I will call him, was polite and eager to learn about me.I LOVED the accent. Tres sexy! He puckered his mouth in disgust as Scooby tried to rub all over me like a cat in heat.Sami's expression implied that he was definitely above that. He and I chatted about the singing stripper contest and we exchanged what we did for a living. Mike looked over at us and said, "I knew moving him next to you was a good choice." I glared at Mike. Mike knows my boyfriend and just was getting me in a little trouble. I didn't want to hurt Sami too much so I decided to clue him in as he offered to buy me a drink. Alas he looked crestfallen and said that Orlando was a lucky guy. (Oh..I think he knows that-but I think I'M the real lucky one) I hugged him and ran out onto Folsum to hunt down a cab to drive me home before it became one in the morning!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

P.A. Cooley -bares all to save art

So as many of you know , title winners go on to do good deeds in the community by raising funds for charity. In most situations you can do with your title what you want as long as you represent the community who bestowed the title on you in a good light. This point could be of course debated. Most of these titles represent areas of the Gay Community that celebrate sexual expression. Feel free to contradict me but I think the three big pageant holders are the Drag Community, the Leather Community and The Bear Community. I am not 100% sure but maybe the Leather Community has some title winners that may infrequently misbehave? I am meeting with a Leather Daddy title holder on Friday so maybe he'll spill to me some secrets. The Court system is rather high profile with many title holders continuing in philanthropy and Gay Rights. I am sure there are some fake nails scratched and wigs snatched, behind the scenes there...I mean come on! Drag queens in a pageant! THINK ABOUT IT! However there are some ladies out there who have kept their heads above all the drama. Look at all the good things and good press Ms Donna Sachet has accomplished through the years. Her reign as empress is long over but she continues to be a respected and in -demand fund raiser for many functions. She's virtually a SF media darling. She's someone to look up to in all this title holder stuff. When I become a full grown cub I want to be Donna Sachet! Well not exactly but I certainly wouldn't mind her philanthropic career. If I am on the "R" list (see previous blog) then she is definitely on the "L" list!

I have for sometime been trying to come up a gimmick for all this fund raising fun!. I need a brand that typifies who I am and want I want to do with my title. This could prove to be difficult because I actually have a public persona of a sort. I am not a complete stranger to the local press since I have performed at Theater Rhinoceros and New Conservatory Theater for nearly 20 years. I have -until recently -been playing the same droll haughty best friend bitch. It's varying degrees of Jack and sometimes varying degrees of Karen. I'm truly amazed that I can play someone with entitlement issues so well since basically I am a pretty thoughtful guy. I can't tell you why I find truly self-involved people very amusing but I do! Julia Louis-Dreyfuss is fabulous in The New Adventures of Old Christine. Patsy and Edina from Ab fab, Frasier! All very funny roles! Somehow I can proficiently display the characteristics if an-all-about-me human which is truly ironic given the fact that I am one of the most insecure people you will ever meet. The "self-involved P.A." has been a staple in my comedy stage work for years professionally and privately. This has been an issue for me and gotten me into more than a few misunderstandings. (Some of those misunderstandings have been catastrophic and life changing for me but more on that in a future blog.) There are naive people out there -heck there are people who are fucking stupid. Unfortunately it's a simple case of people not knowing me well. I have actually met people that are pretty sure that my own beliefs and practices are similar-if not identical to the characters I play. It amazes me when it happens and thoroughly galls me when it's another actor. Luckily a few directors see me getting bored with this character and have chosen to challenge me in other roles. I even get offers to play heterosexuals once in a while-which sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. I do well with the sexually neuter straight but a womanizing cad is a touch beyond my abilities as an actor-or is it? At any rate I want to try something new. I think I am going to be a stripper...for Charity.

Before I go into that let me go back a bit. So it's 2009 and I am the Bay Area Cub 2010 busting open the glass ceiling of ageism and ready to do my duty as little cubby ambassador for the Bear community. It's great I won the title and all but what do I want to put out there? The Bear Community prefers to defy definition. What does the Bear Community represent to me? When I begun to learn about them...I didn't know I was one. I had been working in a play by Ronnie Larsen called "A Few Gay Men". I portrayed an orthodox Jew who had an obsession with water sports and scat-oh and he also was married and had 4 sons! I grew a full beard for the role, somehow ignorantly thinking it would make me seem more Jewish. I also tipped the scales at 220-I am less than 5 foot 8. I never felt so ...unlovable and unsexy as I did then. I had a drinking buddy in the cast who loved to buy me drinks. Every time I used the restroom I'd return and find a new drink waiting for me at the bar.The show was being produced at the now defunct Venue 9 on 9th near Folsom. We would both waddle over to the Lone Star and have a few after the show. Sometimes MORE than a few. We became very close at that time and it wasn't unusual that we would make friends there. It amazed me when ever I got hit on. The Bears were hot, the cubs were hot, the admirers were hot...in short -I learned that the way I looked definitely appealed to others-even turned them on! I was always making a "new friend" and it felt very good. Very good indeed. So what if I had a few extra pounds -sexy is a state of mind AND most importantly -there is someone for everyone out there!

So I wanted to show that said that so THIS little Bay Area Cub is gonna produce a BURLESQUE show! Everyone is sexy and I think that needs to be shown. I could simply throw a beer bust together with one of the local Bear bars (which by the way really isn't that simple) but I want to create MY brand and MY title's legacy. Voila P.A. Cooley's Bearlesque is born! In truth-it's not an original idea. There have been many "size inclusive" strippers out there. Check out The Dream Bears on You tube. They actually called themselves Bearlesque at one point but three cast members split off and became The Dream Bears -which proved to be a successful move. I am still figuring out all the particulars. What kind of guys? Can I find talented singers who don't mind taking off their clothes? Will I find a theater who will host us and then we can give them most of our proceeds? How difficult do I want the routines? What style of music? Where will we rehearse? How many shows will I actually do? Will I host the show or will I do The Full Monty for art's sake! Would you pay money to watch me take off my clothes? Would you? (E-mail The Complete Bear if the answer is yes-and e-mail me if you want to help with the show bayareacub2010@att.net)

I am having fun and yes -I would love talented singers singing contemporary rock and pop songs -I want sexy but fun costumes. I want this show to be a laugh riot while you are getting a hard on watching it! Because we are all sexy -in some way or another. That's what matters to me. That's what I want to get out there. You can be old and overweight and hair all white but there's a Santa Claus fetishist out there waiting to make you the love of his life! The Bear Community may be in vogue now but now-more than ever-I am preaching acceptance for all body types.This show will exemplify this. There's people to meet and places to be. Look for us - Cumming out of Hibernation this spring. I am speaking to directors and writers and PR people almost daily -This little cub will entertain you...with a little help from some new friends.

Oh I included some pics of my favorite Bear -My love -Lando when we went hiking up Whiskey Town Falls.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A cub's gotta eat

I hate the term "foodie". I feel it is an inaccurate description of a food lover. It doesn't seem to give enough value to how I actually feel about food. A foodie sounds like a cute but forgettable little mammal. Food is all to me. I love food, I think, almost more than anything. It excites me and seduces me and fills my life with joy and wonder. It also gives me a sense of contentment and accomplishment. I just saw Julie and Julia and these two women knew my feelings about food. Just so that I am not assuming here, let me give you the gist of the movie without ruining it too much for you. Julia is Julia Childs played by favorite actress Meryl Streep. Julie is this average every day writer gal played by an actress I like, Amy Adams. Julie's life has no meaning so she attempts to create meaning by cooking every recipe in Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" within a year-and she blogs about it. The blog becomes a huge success and she has 100s of followers. Meanwhile the Julia Child's plot is about the trials and tribulations she has in producing this culinary legendary tome. The movie turned out far better than the critics had told me it was going to be. It's really a simple tale but it was engaging to me on so many levels. My life while full of some fun (and definitely no fun at all) moments has always felt ordinary to me. Like Julie, I have always felt that my friends were zooming ahead with great success while I always struggled paycheck to paycheck. Recently I had lunch with a friend that pointed out another mutual friend of ours was being successful in New York City as an actress. "Man!" she exclaimed, " Out of all the people I know, SHE is the one who made it! She is out there and actually DOING it ya know?" Her husband echoed her by nodding and saying, "yup - she did it alright" My smile was kind of frozen and a soft, "Wow" came out of my mouth. Despite my resolution to be at peace with it, I still managed to feel discomfort at facing the fact that I indeed was on the Z list. Well not that bad. Maybe the R list?

Here I am using my R list celebrity to have a little fun and I am overwhelmed already.This Bay Area Cub thing was supposed to be fun and now it's become -well... serious. It has come to my attention that -in essence-it's a business! Granted it's a business that is literally non-profit, and designed only to make money for struggling local theaters ( in my case) but there is a significant cost that is slowly piling up. Why on earth did I agree to produce a show? Did I NOT get enough punishment from the P.A. Cooley Show in 2001?

In 1998 I whispered into multi-talented Sean Owen's ear that I wanted to do a sketch comedy/variety style show. He and I, along with Theater Rhinoceros, produced this daffy little Holiday situation comedy in the basement of Theater Rhino. (Theater Rhino by the way -doesn't have a basement OR a theater now due to the National economic crisis) I had set my sights waaaay too high but if anyone was gonna try to leap those hurdles Sean was the man to do it. The result was a wacky, made-with-much-love, ramshackle little Christmas show about a very self involved Gay host of a televised Sketch Comedy show. There was a touch of the old HBO series called The Gary Shandling Show mixed with The Carol Burnett Show- and maybe Laugh In. The result was kind of messy but most of the audiences were filled with people that knew my sense of comedy so they had a good time and as I said, there was a lot of love that went into that show and I have many fond memories of it. Apparently my toughest critics knew that too and they smiled and said things like "fun!" or "wow, that looked like a lot of work!" It's how those of us in theater show our love for one another. You focus on how beautiful they looked on stage or the "power" of their performance making SURE not to state how bad the actual play was. I still think the 1998 version was great fun!

My friend Matt Weimer thought it was great fun too. In fact he had gone so far as to pen a SEQUEL to the Christmas show. I was floored! -AND excited all over again. The fever started all over again. I asked him to write two more episodes. ( to his credit he didn't balk) We could do a different episode every 2 weeks. My brain DANCED at the possibilities! Matt and my best gal pal Drew formed a production team and we put together 3 episodes of The PA Cooley Show. "He's Baaaaaccck !" the promos proclaimed. "The P.A. Cooley Springtime Spectacular.", "The P.A. Cooley Fitness Fantasia" and "The P.A. Cooley Patriotic Pageant" Alas - The Patriotic Pageant didn't quite make it. The artistic director of Rhino ( a theater KNOWN for pushing the envelope) at the time couldn't quite handle me doing black face in it ( who knew?) and my budget couldn't handle 6 Civil War era Hoop Skirts. The Black face was as tastefully done as I could manage-besides I had told Matt that I REALLY wanted to do "In Living Color" instead of "The Carol Burnett Show" to keep up with the times. ah well-

Everything was bigger and better but still I was forced to do the basement at Rhino. They had graciously offered to co-produce it with me. The show was gonna be expensive! I had THREE fundraisers and garnered enough money to PAY for a director, costume designer, set designer, AND stage manager! (The actors got a cut of the door.) I solicited my butt off! Matt wrote until his hand was numb, and DREW got me on the page in the chronicle that tells you what to do on Thursday NIGHTS! There I was right up next to Seinfeld and The San Francisco Symphony...this was bound to be a HIT!

eh...not so much. The buzz was minimal and it was the second episode that everyone liked more than the first. You see everyone-including the press- saw the first one. Even though a lion and a lamb playfully nailed a black Jesus to a cross -it still failed to thrill. (I got hit with a pie in the face in the second one so I could see why everyone liked it better.) My performers had a blast though, and all the people that gave me money to do the show were impressed-of course none of them had ever seen live theater before but so what? In truth, the donors and my cast were truly spectacular and I will forever be indebted to them-and I MEAN IT. I was moved to tears by "The Village" of people in my life that made those shows possible. It was another great show of love and faith that I will never forget.

But it was tiring - I mean REALLY tiring. Yet here I am ready to open that vein again to The Bears and Cubs and Otters etc etc of the Bay Area. I am excited all over again.There are routines to be choreographed. Titillating costumes to find, rehearsal spaces, Theaters to perform in. Comedy to be written. Websites to be designed. Press to be wooed. It simply goes on and on and on. All of it requires $$$$$ -so here I go again.

Am I excited? You betcha! I will be producing a Spring Show and a Summer Show that will be done in SF Theaters. All the proceeds from each show will go directly to the theaters we perform them in. What IS the show you ask? Why it's a Burlesque show ! or rather a Bearlesque show. It will be fun and sexy -and hopefully you'll find someway to get involved with it. Great music and hot singing stripping Bears and cubs....what more do you need? - oops forgot ...me! or else this ain't gonna happen.

Keep your ears and eyes open for "So you think you got Fur?" This is a contest fundraiser I am hosting for the shameless exhibitionist that wants to be in my show. Kind of like a Idol except you gotta come to a Bar to watch them sing and take off their clothes. Sing a tune and do a little dance and who knows? You could become an elite member of P.A. Cooley's Bearlesque! Yes indeed -I think I am more than a little excited about this show. Did I mention that Julie does complete every Julia Child's recipe -including those dreadful aspics- and writes a best selling book that becomes fun movie starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams? Did I mention that? Gee-I wonder who will play me...? (Wanna Help with the show? E-mail me at bayareacub2010@att.net for details on how you can help.)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lazy Bear 2009 The Finale

As I may have mentioned, my husbear was a volunteer for this year's event and convinced the powers that be at Lazy Bear that I would make a good volunteer as well. One of the big movers and shakers of the volunteer coordination of the event was a gent named Ralph Jacks. Ralph is HIGHLY valued at Lazy Bear. He fed many of the volunteers at the event and I was particularly grateful that he had coffee available on those chilly mornings for the volunteers at The Outback Campground. Orlando and I were set to sacrifice our Friday and Saturday from 11 to 5 to work the registration desk at the fabulous Sonoma Nesting Company located just as you enter downtown Guerneville. It's a cool shop filled with antique and new items for the home and when you are in town -check it out. Dax and Smitty were gracious proprietors who allowed Lazy Bear to occupy their store. I bought a cute little pillow with a bunch of bears on it (the animals as opposed to the guys). We had a captain/manager type guy to supervise us and train us on the cash register. Bear tags were running $125 each and they allowed you to enter all the pool parties and get discounts on the big dance parties and other Lazy Bear events. It was actually Orlando's idea that I work the registration desk because it would be good for me as The Bay Area Cub to meet the hoards of other Bears, Cubs and their admirers that check in on Friday and Saturday.

The first day was busy because all the folks that couldn't get the time off during the week were coming in for the weekend. Our Captain that day was more interested in trying to cop a feel off everyone as they came through the door. It was easy to see why because there were many gorgeous men arriving, but Orlando and I took our responsibilities seriously. We had schedules to give out and Bear Tags to sell, but we didn't know all the answers. We looked to Jack Sugrue, the sexy blue eyed financial officer for Lazy Bear, for the tough questions ie: "I lost my Bear tag can I get a replacement?" or "So and So left me 2 Bear Tags and he told me just to tell you about it" Jack was the personification of level headed. Regardless-the issues were few with Lazy Bear participants and when a crisis arose, Orlando and I would just smile and politely ask them to hang out while we verified this with Jack. All the Lazy Bear board members in charge were available by walky talky. It was quite easy to resolve an issue via that communication method. All the events were a hop skip and jump away from each other. If we ran out of schedules or Bear Tags -Jack came to the rescue. Harry Lit, (CEO of Lazy Bear), wasn't all that difficult to reach either. I have to say that I was genuinely impressed with everyone’s team work.

Many people asked us where the Lazy Bear funds went to and we learned that it was various AIDs Organizations. Since then I heard that the board designates a variety of worthy charities to be determined later and announced at a special event. Here’s who benefitted last year. Beneficiaries included AIDS Emergency Fund San Francisco, AIDS Emergency Fund Sonoma County, Breast Cancer Emergency Fund, Bay Positives, Food for Thought, The Variety Club, Positive
Resource Center, The Lambert House in Seattle, Camp Laurel in Southern California, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, The Russian River Senior Resource Center and more.

As we were closing up shop for the day I sensed that Orlando was anxious for Friday night to begin. He didn’t want to waste a second of Friday night so we hustled through dinner. You see Friday night was the Underbear party and my baby doesn’t miss a CHANCE to show off his thong. The party was to start at The Triple R and then moved on to Flashdance with tunes spun by DJ Rotten Robbie …. We sorted through appropriate underwear choices. He favors a Royal blue Thong and I sported some lycra camo trunks that kept riding up annoyingly on me. The participation at The Triple R was minimal because “BABY it was COLD outside” There were a maybe 6 guys who were only wearing their underwear out of the 30 attendees-one of them being Harry Lit. Orlando and hung around with Harry a bit and drank a few cocktails. One of the things I noticed was how amazingly long it took to get a drink at the Triple R. Blame it on the Slow Country Livin but if you kick your cocktails back fast, the Triple R may not be the place for you. It took a record 7 minutes just to pour a little Skyy Cape Cod! I guess I am spoiled by The Edge here in SF. Keith and the boys at the Edge could pour 4 drinks in less than 3 minutes. I’ve timed em!

Orlando and I LOVED Flashdance. He was soooo happy dancing away and singing all the songs at the top of his lungs! The Music was great and we danced for a long sweaty fun filled time. DJ Rotten Robbie knows how to make people move!

The next day at the Sonoma Nesting Company, registration was relatively quiet and we shut down shop early. We were trying to decide what to do for Saturday night. The big dance that night was aptly named “Sweat” but I was less enthused about attending. Tons of guys had asked us about pre-sale tickets and I knew it was going to be too packed for me. Orlando can dance until his feet fall off and I get kinda bored with it. The only real kick I get out of it is watching him have a blast which proves that I am indeed deeply in love. That night he showed how much he loved me by saying that we didn’t need to dance. Relief! I was much more excited to see “The Golden Girls” a live performance of the popular 80’s Sitcom.

It was performed by local drag queens artistes –three of whom I actually knew: The ubiquitous queen of the dead pan Heklina (Dorothy) and the multi-faceted actor/actress/singer/dancer Matthew Martin (Blanche). La Martin (as I call her) and I go way back. The last time we were on stage together was a souped up version of The Man Who Came to Dinner in which she upstaged me by playing 3 different roles to dazzling perfection, leaving my interpretation of Sheridan Whiteside in the dust. The GG cast was rounded out by an on target Sofia delivered by Cookie Dough and my new best friend, Pollo Del Mar playing Rose. Okay Okay so Ms Del Mar and I just met that night, but I felt a kinship with her that I felt needed to be acknowledged. We are both returning to the gym after a very long absence. She feels my pain. Last but certainly not least was another pal, Mike Finn who played Dorothy’s Lesbian friend who had a crush on Rose. Let me tell you, this man is one of the FUNNIEST guys I have ever seen. He’s also adorable.

There is nothing more romantic than a bonfire and the Outback Campground along with the talents of a man named “Pyro” (not kidding) threw a nice one on Saturday night. After the play we strolled down to the Bonfire and it was FULL of many bear lovers and bears. More bear lovers than bears I noted. My honey and I enjoyed the big camp fire a bit and then went back to our campsite. We chatted with Masseur Big Red Paul Brown (http://www.paulbrown.net) . He had set up his massage tent next to us and was relaxing by his own little fire. He has a basso profundo voice that sounds like a big warm embrace. He had offered both Orlando and I couple’s rate massage earlier in the day, but we had plans for our funds that involved more alcohol consumption. The three of us talked of found love and lost love and all manner of things as we gazed into the flames and warmed ourselves. I found him to be a wise and joyful soul. He was contemplating doing a pagan ceremony on the last night of Lazy Bear involving me as a sacrifice. No blood- this involved pie! Quite frankly it sounded like fun because I would’ve arrived in my birthday suit to the ceremony being carried by these handsome muscled hunks and then Paul would break a pie over my stomach and eaten it off my stomach. The pictures alone would have been great –alas, there was an issue involving the baking of the pies –no oven or no car to get the supplies-so Paul couldn’t properly perform this ritual. Sorry guys.

The following Sunday morning the entire camp was roused by Ralph Jack’s caterwaul announcing breakfast. It was a fantastic smorgasbord that he had assembled for the entire camp because many were leaving that night. The big party that day was at a place called, “The Estate” which was just that –a private estate used for private parties. DJ Rotten Robbie presided over the affair and everyone was wiggling to the music when we got there. I got to see many friends including Jim Bernstein who is a talented restoration artist and sexy beast in general. Orlando’s pal Mike Tufu who is this big hunka hot Samoan and I hit it off –in fact I’ll tell you all, I got a little crush on him. Orlando is amused. With the major exception of being baby smooth on his chest, Mike looks like a poster boy for bears. Again I noticed a plethora of sexy circuit boys and a dearth of furry heavy set men. It really was true. Everyone would rather be a Lazy Bear. O and I wound up concluding our sun and fun back at The Woods Resort just down the street. We stripped and swam and had fun watching all the other boys be naughty with each other.

Sunday evening concluded with a romantic anniversary dinner in Bodega Bay. (6 months y’all-I usually can barely last past 2 months) We headed off to a restaurant called The Tides Wharf and Restaurant. Let me tell you – the pretty view was NOT worth it. My honey bear shelled out a hefty chunk of change on a mediocre meal and he was MIGHTEE disappointed. The steak was awful and the lobster was rubbery. The waitress was sweet and efficient, but humorless. The cherry on top of that runny sundae was the Bartender. He relates a tale to the waitress –loud enough for all to hear as we’re eating -about Lazy Bear. They were having a chat about what was going on this weekend and he knew about Lazy Bear. He talked about what bank you could make as a waiter in Guerneville during Lazy Bear weekend except you had to put up with unwanted advances. “I was crossin the street once”, he booms, “and there was a crowd of cubs- that’s what they call the young ones-cubs. And this cub points to me and says, ‘YOU! –I want YOU!’ I said, “Not today buddy-not ever!”

I looked at Orlando and he looked back at me. Would I say something? He didn’t appear to want to stop me, but I could tell he hoped I wouldn’t make too much of a scene. A number of zingers whipped through my mind: “Jeez Dude he must’ve been wasted if he was coming on to YOU-I mean look at ya!” and then look like I had just ingested vinegar. Maybe I should simply point out that “the old ones” could be cubs too and introduce myself? I just settled for letting you all know our experience there. Got it? The Tides Wharf and Restaurant at 835 Highway One, Bodega Bay, gets HUGE thumbs down from PA Cooley Bay Area Cub 2010. Oh –and here’s their number 707-875-2777.

We came back to the Outback campsite and we were met by flashing Emergency vehicles. One of our own had a hernia attack and passed out. We watched him get carted away by the EMT. Paul told us- as we sat by his campfire (and digested the overpriced poorly made meal) the details of the event. I didn’t want to mitigate the medical emergency by rehashing our crappy dining experience-besides I was still feeling all lovey-dovey and bathing in the glow of a six month relationship. Like all good Gays we shelved our fearful feelings and changed into our dance togs-I wore camo cargo pants that were strategically unbuttoned almost too far but still stayed on- and matching hat. We arrived at the WOOF CLUB CLOSING EVENT DANCE and the heat from 100’s of shirtless testosterone filled men wafted out –in sharp contrast to the chilly night. We both peeled off our shirts immediately because of the flash heat wave. I ran into an old acting pal and we briefly embraced our sweaty torsos before commencing to sway to the beat. Mere minutes later, I broke out in a tiny angry red pin point rash all over my stomach and left shoulder. WTF? I was just dancing and feeling all sexy and I got a rash! What caused it? Who knows? At any rate –it wasn’t hideously uncomfortable and felt more like light sunburn. We chalked it up to the Lobster or the tons of SPF 70 I liberally sprayed on myself daily. I danced on with Lando and then we went back to our tent and REALLY celebrated our anniversary-rash and all. My doctor later diagnosed me with sensitive skin –jeez!

The next day, Monday, was kinda sad because it had this last-day-of-summer-camp-feel. All the boys were loading up their cars. Much hugging took place and business cards were exchanged. It really was one of the BEST vacations I have ever had. As my best Gal Pal Drew said it was probably the ONLY vacation I have ever had. Orlando and I had one of the slowly made drinks at the Triple R and made a few goodbyes there. I bought him lunch and then we trundled off to San Francisco. I made some new friends and gotten even closer to Orlando. There has been some speculation as to whether there will be another Lazy Bear due to economy woes or maybe Lazy Bear will happen somewhere else. No one had any definitive answers but I wouldn’t worry if I were you. Lazy Bear will definitely live on.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Lazy Bear part 2

I noticed at the Outback Campground, the staff was very courteous and helpful. They tried to keep the showers hot and the campground safe from intruders. Orlando and I had adjusted quickly to camp living, despite the lack of modern conveniences. He was used to it. Princess Cub here-not so much. The air mattress required filling with the electric pump as well as the hand pump we ended up buying, almost daily! For some reason the darn thing kept losing air....nudge nudge wink wink -. We both felt for the most part that it was pretty comfortable and every so often the air pressure would drop due to the cold night temperatures and he and I would roll on top of each other as we sank in the middle ...Good thing this trip was an anniversary celebration. Now I am a light sleeper so, I had enough presence of mind to realize I'd need earplugs to block out the night sounds, but Orlando did not wear any the first couple of nights. On Wednesday evening we were sufficiently anesthetized from our all day drinking that he slept soundly through the evening. Thursday we monitored ourselves a little more carefully and he didn't get much sleep that night, due to the occaisional YEEE HAAWWW reverberating through the forest, and the incredible cacaphony of snoring bears. But I get ahead of myself. It was Thursday and we had the whole day to ourselves. We planned on attending all the pool parties at all the various resorts that day since we didn't have any volunteer duties until Friday and Saturday.

We wanted to check out the Highlands first. It was not a far walk from downtown, but up on a steep hill. We weren't sure which street it was on and stopped to ask a local. He was a tall skinny long haired kid that looked vaguely like some singer of a rock band I had seen on TV. He seemed ill dressed for a warm sunny day-kind of ready to attend a movie premier in Hollywood with this kind of second-hand clothing chic slacker look. Too manner layers for a warm day. We asked him if the Highland Resort was up the hill he was traveling. He looked at us and and looked dazed and confused. "Um -I dunno Man about a Resort , I mean I've never seen one up here. ...I don't think...I mean I've lived here for like 15 years" Then he absently mindedly reached over on the side of the rode and picked some random vegetation and started nibbling on it. He kind of shifted his weight gazing at us munching on the plant. We said thanks and he loped off saying "No problem Dude" I hear tell that the mary jane ranches are proliferate up here in this neck of the woods which might explain his mellow disorientation. It turned out that the Highlands Resort turn off was approximately 10 yards from where we were standing. We hiked up the hill with nary a complaint because after Mount Lassen -all uphill walks were cake.

There was a marked difference in the atmosphere of the Highlands that we noticed right away. No Music! It was peaceful, and very quiet and much to my sweetie's delight-clothing optional! Except the folks around the pool in the nude weren't exactly the kind of guys you'd really WANT to see naked. Hence Orlando was a very popular new addition poolside. We settled into our chaise lounge chairs in a peaceful area where Orlando insisted we stay. The area had half shade for me and half sun for him. I was-yet again- sprayed down with SPF 70 to insure no burning or tanning to maintain my pasty complexion. We saw some new friends we had made in the distance by the pool and one of them had suffered a nasty sunburn already. His boyfriend was slathering him with sunblock. As I started to recline in the chaise lounge my chair started to tilt back, as did I! I thought that the back hadn't locked into place and it was simply going backward but that wasn't exactly the case...I kept going backward..with the entire chaise lounge. "Ass over teakettle" is the expression that comes to mind. As I sat there flat on my back and my legs AND the chair way up in the air I said, "Honey...a little help here." My sweetie had to take a moment to collect himself because he was laughing sooooo hard, tears sprang to his eyes. It seemed to delight our neighbors as well. After all the excitement of my spill we calmly enjoyed the peace and quiet of The Highlands and chatted with our Aussie neighbor about a number of things. He was on a LONG vacation of 2 months. He says that flying out of Australia is an ordeal anyway, so if he is going to leave, he always is sure that the trip out is worth it. At the moment he was visiting the natural wonders of California.

We went back to the campsite for lunch since we had every meal CAREfully planned out. I am a huge fan of Hebrew National Hot Dogs. The Jews make a damn fine dog! The only thing I wished we had done was get dry ice . We didn't, which meant we kept having to buy bags of ice daily.( We learned on our last night that Safeway carries Dry Ice. Arrrgh.) So the afternoon we noticed that tent city had indeed grown and there were more cars in downtown Guerneville. The boys were all coming to town. What I found interesting was that all the boys were not "bears" by definition. These guys were of all shapes and all sizes but very few heavy set fellows. There is a part of me that wanted to say NOT ENOUGH BEARS! That was my insecurity speaking. Noel Casale (pg 54 of the most recent Gloss) spoke very eloquently on why I need to be careful of those feelings. He says we shouldn't be exclusionary like our other Gay brothers. He goes on to say, " It's wonderful that gay men are 'bear identifying' much younger than before. Why would you want our community to consist of only 40 plus men? And if some 20 year old slightly effeminate, smooth boy would rather be ogling the fur at IBR than heading to Palm Springs for the White Party -that's a good thing! " What do you think?

After lunch we decided to head over to the Triple R. I knew it would be packed and there wouldn't be a comfy place to sit and enjoy the view, since we had barely squeezed ourselves in the previous day -and THAT was before everyone else had arrived. As it was -I was overwhelmed by the seeming endless collection of the buff and tan pornstar-pretty guys there. I saw maybe a few average joes but they were defintely the ultra minority. I looked over forlornly at Orlando and he sensed immediately that this was going to not be all that fun for me. That meant turning around and going to The Woods Resort just down the street. Fine with him because it was clothing optional. We arrived and there were a far more mixed group of body types there. The music was groovin and Orlando immediately shed his clothing. I left my swim trunks on and headed over to the bathroom. They were pushing samples of a "healthy" energy drink that was supposed to be less chemicals than stuff like Red Bull and Rock Star on a table nearby. It was called Verve. The can said it was "insanely healthy energy". I took a sip and noted it was loaded with high percentage of vitamins as well as some stuff I had seen in other health drinks. I wondered what the 10mg of Choline Chloride were supposed to do. I had had some shaky encounters already with Guarana Seed Extract and Taurine in previous energy drinks so I was careful not to drink a whole can.

When I got settled down by the edge of the pool, Lando was talking to a friend we knew. We had a brief chat and then Orlando hopped in the water. I am not sure why I did it . Perhaps I was freed by the nakedness all around me or maybe it was an attempt to show my nudist boyfriend that I didn't have as many hang ups as he had originally thought. Regardless of the reason, I greatly enjoyed the smile spreading across his face as I shucked my swim trunks and popped into the water with him. We proceeded to kiss in the warm water arms , encircled around one another. The Woods boasts a heated pool and a saline content as opposed to a chlorine content. Our friend noticed the amorous moment and discreetly slipped away to the other side of the pool. (Which surprised me because I thought he would JOIN us given his proclivities. It spared me having to reject him. I didn't want to hurt his feelings.) Well...as you can imagine ...kissing naked in warm salt water with your love can um...lead to certain physical reactions. People started looking over at us. I definitely felt "watched". Worse yet -the creature within me who DEMANDS to be on stage from time to time awoke at that VERY moment. That bitch of a showgirl wanted to be noticed and I MEAN NOTICED! I felt "her" invade my body as I gently and lovingly extricated from my husbear, I started to exit the pool. Lando said, "Whoa -wait...don't you think we should um ...settle down a bit before getting out of the water?" I arched my left eyebrow -or rather she did. "Why?" I asked mischeviously. Again Orlando smiled that wide enormously pleased grin I saw earlier. I stepped up and out of the pool casting a very different shadow then when I had gone in. Maybe a third of the men around the pool. stopped talking and looked over at me with a mixture of smirks and surprise and ...lust. No one seemed particularly offended -espescially when Orlando followed me in much the same state. He decided to enjoy the brazeness of it all. I felt like giggling but I knew that would spoil the moment. We toweled off ...slowly and kissed a few more times and went back to the campsite to retire to the privacy of our tent. We stayed in there for a while.