Monday, January 18, 2010

To "Drag" or not to "Drag"?

busy busy busy bearcub.
The Talent Search is beginning to show a life of it's own. My contestants are enthusiastic high energy men who are perfectly suited to this project. I like happy people. They make me happy and all four of these men are very good-natured bears. We have the stylish, handsome Evan Kaminsky, the high energy, adorable Marco Middlesex, the easy going, good looking Paul Brown and the affable, knock out Bo Hoshaw.  I am doing last minute prep and imagine that Saturday will be a fairly long day. The event coordinator for The Edge and I have been playing phone tag but since all my contestants don't require a Karaoke machine, I am skipping the whole tv monitor karaoke set up because the stage is too small and the contestants all know their lyrics. The theme is rock because of intent to have the Bearlesque show in April be all leather and denim manly man music.

At least -that was the intent. Ideas for the impending April Bearlesque show  are beginning to flow in my head. The Bear Community seems to celebrate all things masculine and quite own masculine moments are few and far between. When I discuss this with other bears and cubs it appears to be that the more enlightened scoff at the idea that the Bears are totally butch 24/7. They may find the aesthetic of a big thick bearded truck driving man who chops his own wood and pisses where ever he wants appealing -but they also enjoy a broadway musical and pretty sparkly things.

I have met men who are the physical personification of your woofiest butchest fantasies and the minute they opened their mouths a purse fell out. I was often delighted when this happened by the way. I love contradiction. At any rate -you can see my dilemma. I am making a show developed for Bears, but what will they find entertaining? Do I go all Bruce Springsteen and construction hats and chains? Or is there room for some Cage aux Folles?  Recently I was voted "Bear Performer of the Year" through a poll done here on The Complete Bear. I was very excited and honored that I was chosen considering that my competition was a group of well established musicians within the Bear Community. Some have even released a CD or two. I figured that -since I DID win this contest and I made my fame by performing all those smart alecky queens in local SF theater, that it might be just fine to throw in a drag queen or two in the show.  I might even consider showing off a few of my own diva super queen snaps in some of my favorite past comedy sketches. I don't think I have ever witnessed a big burly hunk utter a witty turn of phrase quite the way a queen can. What I have seen is a BUNCH of big furry burly hunks laugh their asses off WATCHING Drag queens perform. Case in point: The 4 girls who perform the Golden Girls episodes here in SF. The Bears flock to their shows. Wait..Bears don't flock they...lumber..roam? oh well you know what I mean. At any rate - my goal is to create a good time on stage with Sexy dancers AND a few laughs.

As I begin the development of my show and think of songs and sketch comedy scripts, I certainly can tell you what I DON'T want it to be. Last September I went up North to see Lando and he took me to a Christmas review being recorded for out troops in the Middle East. A gal by the name of Linda Regan Botts was the woman who spear-headed this project and was also the star and host. She called it "Martinis with Santa" and the WHOLE town of Redding got involved. Linda used to sing with a group in the early 70s that called themselves "The Gold Diggers." They sang with Dean Martin. So of course I was eager to see how she did HER show. The similarities between us were too numerous to mention. We are both attractive middle-aged performers who cling to our youth and past by wearing clothes that are simply too young for us to wear and we are both living legends about 10 people. She had some cute ideas, and she was an ok singer but everything seemed hopelessly last minute and pasted together badly. Interminable scene changes and disastrous lighting cues had Lando and I running out of the theater at intermission. So can be a big influence in you community and still create a crappy show.  I have been there and put on a variety show with the best of intentions only to create an evening that the audience politely tolerated because they were there to support my cause. It is my intent -along with Director Jon Wai-Keung Lowe that my show run seamlessly and be one of the BEST Bear evenings ever. It takes a village to create a decent show and if you want to to be a towns person -PLEASE let me know.

In the meantime -take a look at these handsome four contestants. They are truly great guys and I -along with The Lemonade Fund  ( thank them for their participation.  See you Jan 23 at The Edge here in San Francisco.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Fashion Cub

It's rapidly turning in to one of the busiest months ever. Keeping a clear head and identifying priority tasks has been my M.O. for weeks. Part of me wants to just snuggle up to the Lando Bear and forget all these self-imposed obligations but there is a part of me that can't do that.

International Bear Rendezvous begins the second week in February and what a weekend that promises to be. I am running for International Bear Cub. That's right. There is no formal California Cub or Mr. Cub America, it goes from Bay Area to International -BAM! The Competition is a demanding one, at least to my 45 year old self it seems demanding. Probably a 23 year old would breeze through the competition with plenty of wind left over in his sails but I imagine I will collapse when all is said and done. It involves a LOT of socialization -which is great because I love meeting new people, but it is also meeting new people every few minutes for like 10 hours straight. Dancing, drinking and kissing and hugging and shaking hands with lots and lots of Bears from all over. Most importantly -looking sexy and desirable while doing it.  I like modeling but the face to face catwalk stuff is daunting. It's easy when I am in front of a camera -especially if I have a good relationship with the photographer. We stop and powder and adjust and spray and change light angles and simply delete or retouch the non-sexy moments. I have tallied up the number of times I have to change clothes in a 48 hour period and I picked out 8 times. No rule book SAYS contestants have to change their outfits every's kind of expected. Either that or someone is playing a colossal trick on me but hell -while they point and laugh I will look pretty damned smokin. I am basing that from judging what my 3 sponsors are putting me in. Don't worry - you will see the pics I promise. More on my IBR prep next blog.

Great NEWS! My Bearlesque contest is shaping up. I have some pretty wonderful contestants and The Edge has been super helpful. They have hired an event coordinator recently and he will be my " HELP! IT'S NOT WORKING guy. You know what I mean - mics break or the music screws up. I will give you a full contestant run down in next week's blog,complete with photos. So what did you say? WHEN is the Talent Search? Oh Come on -I can't believe you asked that! It's Jan 23 at 3pm right here in San Francisco at the Edge! AND -it's not too late to apply for a singing spot. All proceeds go to The Mary Mason Lemonade Fund which offers needed money to theater artists with life threatening illnesses. I know 2 people who have benefited from this organization and I urge you to come and support their cause. I would love to see you there. E-mail me at for any further info. I will be promoting all this weekend with my Lando Bear.

Lando is headed East with me to celebrate my 46th Birthday with my family. It will be "the first" meeting but he is such a likable human being that I am not too nervous. A little nervous? Yes. For all intents and purposes I am bringing home my fiance -at least he will be if the California courts don't let us down. There will be snow and it will be cold. Not an issue for me since I am part Polar Bear but he is Puerto Rican and has been up living in the hot mountain/desert heat of North State for over 20 years. My friends on Face Book are yelling at me, " What the hell are you doing? Freezing him to death? " I tell them to relax because he grew up in Jersey. However he has warned me that he will undergo a severe negative personality change if his feet are cold..Yikes -I'd better buy more thermal sox! Did I tell you WHERE back East? Why Vermont of course! A state that seems to treat Gays and Lesbians who want to get married like human beings instead of the sub human treatment Cali puts us through.

My last blog was a little personal and as some of you know I write this blog for The Complete Bear as well. I wanted to ask those readers in particular about how they felt about the last blog. Was it the sort of thing you'd rather not read? Do you want to just see pics of sexy Bears and Cubs? Or do you want something a little more introspective that deals with life-the good and the bad? Let me know your thoughts. Much appreciated.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

An Actor Cub takes some time to say Good Bye

As my new beef rosemary broth starts it’s 5 day simmer and the smoke from my home made  burnt ginger syrup clears my little inlaw, I am reflecting on 2009. The year fled far more quickly than I had ever imagined it would. It marked a year of healing and change and love for me. It also represented a re-invention of sorts. I start the first month of 2010 by beginning my 46th year of life on this planet and while I feel I have a grasp on so many things, I am finding life more mysterious than ever. There have been so many changes this past year for me.

I began my first SERIOUS long term relationship, ( Aquarians are late bloomers), and learned it was ok not to be the Perfect Couple. In the past,  I was stuck in an absurd futile loop where it was important that my relationship be a goal for all others to achieve.I was quite wrong. I set myself up for failure this way. It’s about our goals and what’s right for us. It is about falling in love with my new best friend. It’s about letting it breathe. Taking our time. Respecting each other and learning not to sweat the small stuff AND MOST IMPORTANTLY-not giving a SHIT what other people think and simply allowing ourselves to laugh and love each other while making the world disappear. Farting in bed is not grounds to break up!

The Bay Area Cub competition opened a new segment to the Bear World to me.I proved age was indeed simply a number. I became a sash queen. Some would say they aren’t surprised, but those that remember the kid that was scared shitless to take his shirt off in high school were definitely surprised  I attended my first Lazy Bear with Orlando and made dozens of great new friends. I think some of these cubs are gonna stick around. I still have so much to understand about this faction that I have aligned myself with. What is it to be a Cub? a Bear? Is it simply fur and a decent Paul Bunyan imitation or is it about acceptance?-Does the waistline count?  Being comfortable in your own skin?Being a sexual man and LOVING being a man seems to be the common thread. Freedom. Is the increasing diversity of sizes and shapes within the Bear Community a good thing? Should we be wary of change? Do I belong as I thought I did? Am I Butch enough? Does it matter? I want to continue to explore these ideas and bring them to light with my writing and performance. Yes this year marks great change for me. I have crossed some big hurdles but there are more to go.

The most positive aspect of 2009 to me is that I feel I have truly begun recovery of my grief from the death of a friend who I was once close to. He died amidst an unresolved nasty bit of business that became too stupid and ugly to rehash now to you. It was a disastrous bit of tough love that ruined everything for me. That’s another story for another day and I assure you that you will hear every pained detail, but not now. I recovered from that pain in 09 and it was NO easy task. Time does indeed heal some wounds. It amazes me that I was beyond grief and despair a mere year ago numbing my life with painkillers and burying memories of him with more than a few pills supplied by “helpful” co-workers. The real healing began with Orlando and my best friend Drew. They helped me in ways I didn’t think anyone would ever help me. I had an unusual and close relationship with the deceased but it was unique to us. Hell-  He was a unique, exciting reckless individual. I don’t think I ever met someone that loved life so dearly but had a habit of complicating it more than anyone I’ve met.His death had as profound a change on my life as my brother’s death did over 30 years ago. Everything I understood and believed in completely changed, and it is hard to focus on the happier times as a result. 

  What I really want to share with you is the  way that he has reached from wherever he is now in an attempt to “fix” what went wrong with us prior to his death. For example, I have emptied my house of any reminders of him, but failed to miss a series of cards that miraculously appeared this Christmas where he waxes poetically about the “magic” of our friendship. He was a writer and quite talented. I have his voice from a recording he did for me for one of my Variety shows  that accidentally downloaded on my ipod. In the recording he is apologizing to another actor in the show for saying an unkind remark as part of a running gag we created. I don’t know about you but I have never had my ipod play something and have it skip like a needle on a record that gets stuck. In fact, I think it is impossible. One day, on my commute to work I was staring out the BART train window in a fury as I rehashed our last communications with each other in my mind. It became part of my daily routine to be so angry that I was beset with headaches and incredible stretches of insomnia. I was listening to my Ipod and having an imaginary angry vent in my head about how incredibly unfair the whole situation was-and it happened. My ipod stuck at his voice three times saying, “I’m sorry honey” And people wonder why I am so fascinated with the afterlife. Auld Lang Syne

Twenny Ten Ya’ll -it’s my year. My friend can rest in peace now.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

An Actor Cub's plate is FULL

Forgive my ramblings this round. I had a three parter on the time I was 13 one Christmas and was threatened by the attention my brother’s girlfriend’s daughter was getting and plotted to murder her on a sledding adventure, but I am done with Christmas. When I finish Christmas I REALLY finish Christmas. You’ll have to wait until next year to hear about my Bad Seed years. Admittedly the tree is still up but in my family the tree was always up until January 2nd. It’s part tradition and part laziness. I come by it honestly because I recall one year my mother decorated her browned dessicated Christmas tree with paper hearts because was February 14th. So the tree is up for a bit longer and when I turn on the lights I think it’s a more forgiving light for my skin tone.

It was a good Christmas this year. I hosted dinner along with the new boyfriend for my two friends and I didn’t have my annual holiday meltdown! I come by that honestly too. The year my mother made 50 crab-salad stuffed popovers (HOMEMADE popovers mind you), and our beagle Murray ate them while she disco napped, she took to her bed for three days after nearly skinning our handsome but mischevious beagle. The scream heard on Vine Street that New Year’s eve in 1979 is still discussed by certain town elders.

When Orlando went to pick up my gimpy friend Drew, Drew inquired as to whether I had lost it yet. Orlando knew exactly what he meant and informed him that I was surprisingly together and quite calm. The food prep was hard work but worth it. O and I make a pretty good hosting team. He has some culinary skills and is excellent at the clean up. My clean up skills are severely lacking-as in non existent most days- but he was amazed at just how well I had tidied the apartment for his arrival. He looked at me and said, “ Who are you and what have you done with my boyfriend?” Trust me -I rather would have watched the Ghost Hunters marathon on Christmas Eve instead of cutting zucchini and peeling potatoes. We spent an insane amount of money on food for 4 people but’s the holidays and if I freeze and parcel just right I can stretch this food into February.

My holiday plate wasn’t the only thing filled up this year. I have a lot to be grateful for-really I do. The Bay Area Cub title has afforded a huge group of new friends. I am anxious and excited about my Bearlesque show that will open in April to benefit The New Conservatory Theater at 25 Van Ness right here in San Fran. I said anxious...sometimes I slip into freaked-right-the-fuck-out. I was thinking that this Bay Area Cub title would be the extent of my pageant I was wrong. 2010 is MY year literally! I have a vest that says Bay Area Cub 2010! I gots places to be seen and more scantily clad outfits to be photographed in!!! BUT NOT ONLY THAT- I entered the International Bear Rendezvous Competition. How the hell can I go from Bay Area Cub to International Cub is beyond me, but there it is. What’s next? Cub Universe? And then there are the former Cub contestants of IBR that -quite frankly- look AMAZING. Such beefy uber macho sexy men with these guns of steel that make me go weak in the knees...I AM NOTHING LIKE THEM. I will undoubtedly get lost in the shuffle but I hope to entertain the judges with my humor and my style. Hey - maybe you can show up and cheer me on? I’d like to have a few fans out there as I parade around in man panties.
Before I leave you -one more announcement. I am doing another Talent Search fund raiser for The Lemonade Fund at the Edge here in SF in the Castro. It takes place on Jan 23 at 3pm to 6pm and I need contestants. As many of you know-my 3 contestants at my fundraiser at The Powerhouse all got in the show last November, so your chances are pretty damned good...Let me know if you wanna come and sing a tune and shake your money maker. Would love to meet with you.