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