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! 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 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 ( . 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.) 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.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Lazy Bear -part one

Last Wednesday morning my beloved Lando drove me to Guerneville for my first in a long long time -(like maybe 10 years) adult vacation. We were going to set up camp in The Outback Campground located just before you enter downtown Guerneville nestled in the trees behind a defunct and melancholy amusement park. (Everytime I looked at the broken rollercoaster and ferris wheel it always made me feel a little blue.) When we walked into the campground I felt like I had entered a fairytale looking little forest with winding dusty little trails woven through it and a cute little cabin and welcome station. Orlando had registered us sometime ago, but I still had to pony up my share which was $30 a night for five nights. We had originally thought it was simply $150.00 for the both of us but that wasn't the case. I did some quick mental restructuring of my budget and felt I could handle it. $300 for the both of us seemed a little pricy for a stinky porta-potty and two showers that roughly over 10 dozen men had to share but it WAS our six month anniversary as a couple so-stinky-porta-potty -and -waiting- in- line- in- the-shower-with-a-suspect-propane-tank, HERE I COME!

I have to say it really was beautiful with the sun shining down through the green leaves. And the men at the campsite...all big and burly bearded fellows with these shy, but amiable folksy smiles, were walking on the pathways and greeted Lando and I with a warm hello. Not a single one seemed stand offish and appeared to be here to relax and have a good time. That would be the essence of Lazy Bear I guess. Of course there were the guys that had waited allllll year for Lazy Bear. These men lived in relatively rural parts of Northern California and didn't get the 'ahem' opportunities we citified gents from SF and Sacramento when it came to discreet anonymous encounters. They were about to unleash themselves from torturous cases of blue balls. These men all had a hungry glint in their eye and whenever they looked up and saw my impossibly handsome husbear I would quickly grab his hand or give him a kiss letting them know that...well... that it would be polite if they asked me first. That's all I'm sayin...

These rather happy hippies were the owners of the Out Back and they were a mixed lot. The females gave off a cheery mother earth quality with their untamed breasts and boisterous whiskey soaked voices. The men employed there looked like they ranged from sexy fresh-from-prison reprobates to those homicidal hill billies that cook up careless white families who's cars break down and the Mom and Dad end up as sausage meat while the brother gets flayed alive and hung up to dry but the beautiful blonde daughter escapes to tell the tale....sorry I digress. So the latter type of guy showed Lando and I the camping spot options available to us. He was quiet and made me a little nervous when I saw these long sharp claws he had for nails. However - it turned out he was just a little shy..he had a sweet little smile when you looked directly at him and thanked him. I got the impression that he didn't get many people actually saying "Thank you" or "I appreciate it" -both of which Orlando and I had said to him.

Then I mixed drinks while Lando set up the tent. Hey! Don't give me that look. I did some hauling and toting too and I told him where to put everything. After it was all up -we snuggled inside the tent and listened to the other campers busily setting up their own temporary homes and the wind rustled the leaves outside. Peaceful really....and then "YEE HAW!" reverberated through the campground and I jumped a little in Lando's arms. I looked bewildered. He chuckled, "Good thing you packed your earplugs, you're gonna need them. " Apparently the Bears were in heat. The men who bellowed out a YEE HAW like a champion rodeo king is named Hank Williams. I kid you not! At least that's what he told us his name was-but more on Hank later-The camp was largely made up of other volunteers for the event. Lazy Bear is a massive group effort. Its far more than just a bunch of furry men drinking, screwing, and dancing ...well I'd like to think it is anyway. A gentleman by the name of Harry Lit AKA Castrobear is the King of this party. The entire town of Guerneville becomes a FUNdraising party with a chunk of the proceeds going to HIV research and other AIDS related groups. That's really what Bears do -according to Harry-is raise money for those in need of it. Let me tell you -with Bear Tags (like a dog tag) going at $125 a pop and roughly 6000 men descending on one town to go to all these events, there was a whole lotta FUNds generated. I began to slowly meet the movers and the shakers of the Bear world-particularly the Sacramento group. -Orlando and I were volunteering two days of manning the registration booth to earn our Bear tags.( These tags would allow us to attend all the pool parties and give us discounts.) It was Orlando's idea to do registration. He felt it was a great way for The Bay Area Cub 2010 (C'est Moi) to meet who I could corral into MY cause -which is saving struggling non-profit theaters. Network Network Network.

Hank Williams (remember? Yee haw?) has NEVER missed a single Lazy Bear. He wears his Beartags from 14 years with pride. He'll smile at you with a wide toothy tobacco plug stained grin and tell you about how he almost didn't make it last year. His eyes all glassy from the cocktails, he sat down and shared with Lando and I his tale. He has a cane now. Last year he couldn't even get out the slightest "Yee haw" but he was here none-the-less. He lugged around an Oxygen tank through the streets and campgrounds of Guerneville. Some quack of a Doctor nearly killed him with steroids which he says left him with one and quarter of his lung. Lando and I told him that it was remarkable indeed that he could get up to that sort of volume on One and a quarter lung. "Watch this." he barked. Then he nearly split our eardrums with the most piercing YEE HAAAAAAW! you ever heard. I could just see some testosterone loaded cowboy trying to break in a wild mustang as he bellowed it. Immediately from other parts of the camp we heard several other YEE HAWs in response. Yep Good thing I brought those earplugs. He tottered back to his campsite with his cane and we went off to the Triple R Resort pool party. First I had to mix a cocktail to go in our handy little canteens -afterall we had spend $150 to stay here. We had to cut costs somewhere!

To say that the men at the pool were hot would be an understatement..quite frankly-it made me want to drink more-and wonder how I could spend more time at the gym. With my pale pale bod Orlando was always careful to find a shady spot for me and a sunny spot for him. We had doused me with SPF 70 spray. It was an impermeable seal that would stay on me through water and sweat. First we tested the hot tub -and had it all to our selves surprisingly! It was very nice and away from the hubbub of the pool madness. We also had a nice view of the crowd. Orlando pointed out Harry Lit -the ringmaster of all things Lazy Bear. He was the large hairy man (surprised?) with a smile and a microphone, urging the pool siders to purchase cocktails and burgers inside. Orlando had met him at the volunteer party a month prior that I couldn't attend because I was performing that day. Lando had given Harry a ride to the train station and in the car ride had explained that I had just won the Bay Area Cub title. Harry didn't know what that was because it really wasn't part of his rather large Bear enterprise. "What's that? " he asked Orlando. I decided Harry should find out who the Bay Area Cub was. In an extremely rare moment of poor timing I introduced myself, " Hi Harry, I'm P.A. Cooley, Orlando's Boyfri-" Harry's hand went up to quickly dismiss me and so he could make another announcement in the mic about the week's festivities. Then he was surrounded by other people deciding that he should know who THEY were. I lifted my chin to hide my embarrassment and walked back to Orlando. " I was shot down."
Orlando assured me that since it was only Wednesday there would be plenty of other opportunities for me to meet Harry. Almost within minutes of him saying that Harry came up behind me. " I am sorry -that was rude of me. There's just so much information I have to get out there. How are you P.A. ? " We shook hands. " Hi Harry, I'm the Bay Area Cub you've never heard about" I tried to sound amused. He said, " Well we will have to do something about that. Don't worry babe, I'll promote you" Then he walked away as quickly as he had come. It dawned on me right then. What the hell about me was there to promote and dammit why didn't I have a mission statement all figured out? I was here to meet people just like Harry to help me...but how and with what specifically? I knew I wanted to form a performance group and I knew that we wanted to perform with all the proceeds going to support non profit theater but how would I present it to people like Harry. I looked over at Lando. "Why didn't I get business cards made before this trip?" I swallowed a drink from my canteen and we moseyed over to another resort called " The Woods" -a clothing optional resort. Orlando would be in heaven being the avowed nudist he is. Me? Not so much..but I enjoyed the view. Afterwards we went back to the tent and since it was his night to cook he made us turkey burgers that were very yummy and Most of all -filling because I was very hungry and then we did what two men do who are hopelessly in love with one another do and afterwards headed back to the Triple R for the Kick Off Party. I ran into a friend who I was delighted to see had made it back from a stint in the military. He was hosting a private cocktail party in his room with a small group at the resort. YAY free drinks! It was good to see him despite the fact that we had one of those acquaintance-type-friendships. I hoped he wouldn't go back in the near future. I also got to meet the adorable Mike Tufu. Mike is a big Samoan who could be the POSTER boy for all events Bear. He and Lando had become buddies when Mike used to live in Redding. Dozens of guys had crushes on him and I was just one more. Yes Virginia - you CAN have a crush on another guy and still be in love with someone else. I loved watching the male bonding taking place between Orlando and Mike. They both sink into this ebonic urban slang which is...well it's kinda hot...(those of you who know me would understand)

Then we wobbled over to the Rainbow Cattle Company which was hoppin! Grrrrs and Woofs were all around us. Another round of drinks was purchased and I had just a little trouble -as did Orlando -keeping my balance. We joked around a bit, but I couldn't finish my drink. We said goodnight to Mike Tufu and staggered through town back to our tents. WE had NO trouble sleeping that night. Which reminds me ...I need a drink -I'll tell you all about the misadventures of the rest of the week in future blogs. This might be a four parter! Btw -getting up at 3 in the morning to take a piss in a porta potty that's 20 yards away in the ice cold dark is NOT a viable option. It was Hella frigid out in them woods so ....don't eat the blackberries at The Outback Campsite -well don't eat the ones close to the ground that border the campground...