Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Introducing Bear Singer of our Bearlesque Cast, Paul Brown

 Big Paul Brown and I met at the Lazy Bear Run in Guerneville last summer. He camped in the tent next to Lando and I, at the Outback Campground. He is generous with smiles and laughter and has a lovely voice that I could listen to all day. If you want a massage by a big strong bear who has a sensitive touch -look him up. He specializes in clients with pain management problems.

Where did you grow up and if not in SF what brought you here?
I'm originally from Sacramento, after a stint in the Navy from 88-93, came back home for work.  In 97, the lure of the dot-com explosion brought me to San Francisco, and except for a brief stint back in Sac, I've been here ever since!

What are you passionate about these days?
My business as a massage therapist takes up a lot of my passion and energy - it's very rewarding to help people feel better and be pain free.  Also, I'm the president of Foggy City Dancers, an LGBT square dancing club, which takes up a lot of time and is great fun to do.

Where do you think you fit in to the Bear Community?
That's always the question, isn't it?  Where do you fit in?  I'm not really sure that there's a satisfactory answer to that.  I used to worry a lot more about where I fit in here in San Francisco, but as I've gotten older, I care much less about fitting in and much more about caring about myself and others, and worrying less about where and whether I fit in.  I just do my own thing: I'm not much of a bar-goer, don't obsess over the gym.  So, with those two things out of the way, where do I fit in?  In my square dance club, I work really hard to create a space where everyone feels welcome.  Helping people feel like they belong to the community is my contribution to it.

What do you think the Bear Community should be focusing on as a whole these days?
The big thing for me is to not take itself so seriously.  Lighten up and have fun!

But also, realizing that there are healthy choices that we can make with regards to diet and exercise and building community.  Encourage our brothers and sister to make healthier choices without preaching or guilting them into it.  We all worry about HIV and AIDS, but forget about diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, prostate cancer.  This is especially important as the first generation of the bear community grows into middle age and beyond.  We have to take care of each other.

How would an ideal date for you go?

The ideal date for me is one where we are both feeling good and connected, no matter what we are doing.  I like adventure and spontaneity, so what we are doing isn't as important as being together and enjoying each other's presence.

But a nice meal never hurt!

Do you have a fetish? If so what is it?

I like lycra. And BDSM, but beyond that, you'll have to ask me privately.

What made you decide to get involved in my show?

Well, remember during Lazy Bear last year when we were camping neighbors, and I built the fires at night and you and Lando and I would sit around the fire and talk?  That's what made me decide.  Not the appeal to charity, or the desire to perform, but simply because you are a good person and I like you.

Aww ! Thank you ! Anything you want to say to all the Bears and Cubs out there?

We're going to have a lot of fun, so come see the show!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Introducing Peter Svensson, P.A. Cooley's Bearlesque Cub Cadet

  Where were you born and how did you end up here?

  Well PA, I was born in sunny Rio de Janeiro but moved to the South Bay at the tender age of one. I continue to live in the South Bay, giving me one wicked commute to rehearsals! There's been two points in  my life where I've hung my hat outside of the San Jose region. I went to UC San Diego for my bachelors, and I spent several months living in Noe Valley while saving up cash to attend UC San Diego. I'm no stranger to the city, I've spent a good deal of time here and do love. But while I didn't leave my heart in San Francisco, I do know the way to San Jose.

 What are you passionate about these days?
My boyfriend. Theatre, a few weeks ago I was involved in a 24-hour theatre project with the Bindlepunks, which performed at Dragon After Hours. I actually got to use that darn degree I spent way too much money on! Comics, I'm a professional comic book journalist and will be at Wonder Con taking pictures of all the little stormtroopers and Supermen. And combining my love of theatre with my geekiness, I run a live action roleplaying game Friday nights in Campbell, where I and about a dozen or so other geeks walk around in gothic attire pretending to be vampires. I can surrender any chance I ever had of being considered cool now.

 Where do you think you fit in to the Bear Community? 
The fringes? I'll attend a Bear event once in a blue moon, and I'm pretty firmly in the Cub category, but for the most part I'm not active in the community. Despite having a roaring love for it, don't get me wrong. But I'm not living in SF, and that complicates matters.

 What do you think the Bear Community should be focusing on as a whole these days?

Being open and inviting to new folks. I'm not suggesting going out and holding recruitment events, mind you, (though those would be fun to watch!) but at times it feels like a private club where if you don't already know someone with a membership, you stand no chance of ever getting in. We want more bears. Let's make it easier for new ones to be born. (Made?)

 How would an ideal date for you go?

I'm pretty easy to please. Dinner and a movie will put me in heaven for the most part.

Do you have a fetish? If so what is it?
I like me some big guys who are comfortable in their own skin. Geeks also get me going. Big redhead geeks with decent facial hair will send me into ecstasy.

 What made you decide to get involved in my show?

So, as a member of the Bay Area Theatre Bums I received an audition notice in my e-mail. And I mulled over it for a week, seriously weighing whether I'd have time for it, if the commute would be worth the effort, if I'd even meet your standards... I mean, on the surface it seemed like the perfect show. I love Bears. I love live theatre. I love New Conservatory Theatre Company. But the logistics scared me, as did the possibility of rejection. But then I realized something. This would be the only time in my adult life where I would be cast purely on my dancing skill. Given that I no longer have the svelte dancer's body I did as a teen, the thought amused me enough to go for it.

Anything you want to say to all the Bears and Cubs out there?
Have fun. Life is too short to worry about what others think.
Here here

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bearlesque Guest Performer Erik Green

 Erik Green has the dubious honor of being the first winner in my talent search last November at The Powerhouse. He is a busy busy boy and exemplifies the type of persona I wanted to contribute to this project. His avid interest in music singing and playing the bass are a nice addition to the troupe. He is always up for fun and fond of the Daddies. So here's his interview - be sure to come see his act in the show. I can't predict just how uninhibited he may become on fasten those audience seat belts

Where did you grow up and if not in SF what brought you here?

I was born in Detroit and grew up in the suburbs, then moved to East
Lansing for school (BA and MA at Michigan State University).  After
graduating, I decided there was no future for me in Michigan, so I
packed up my car and drove across the country to the gay mecca I had
fallen in love with during Spring Break visits.  I have family who
live in Oakland, so I crashed with them while getting established in
the Bay Area.

What are you passionate about these days?

The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus.  I auditioned for the chorus my
first week in California - even before I had a job or an apartment!
The chorus was an instant family of 200 amazing men (and women!) and
has been my support network and my passion for the past three years.
I'm now on the Board of Directors and also preparing to be the opera
diva for our "Rockaria!" concert on April 22 at Davies.

Where do you think you fit in to the Bear Community?

I love telling people that I identify as a raccoon - I'm not really
big or furry enough to be a cub, but not quite sleek enough to be an
otter.  So instead I'm stuck in the middle as a cute, pudgy raccoon,
relying on my good looks and mischievous attitude to net my men!  I do
have otter aspirations, but I enjoy the fact that it's mostly
semantics with the Bears - you can be whatever label you want (or none
at all) and still just enjoy a nice afternoon in the back of the

What do you think the Bear Community should be focusing on as a whole these

Becoming politically organized.  I was so impressed this past year
when the MovieBears - a purely social organization - decided they had
to take a stand against CineMark and the owner's contributions to Prop
8.  Their boycott proved that as a community we really do have some
political clout, and when we organize together for something beyond
drinking beer or watching movies, we can accomplish a lot!  I see this
mentality somewhat reflected in the beneficiaries of the beer busts
and the charities at IBR, but I'd love to see more of this reflected
within the community.  The "gay community" on a political field always
seems to be the twinky white politicians - bears need to take a stand
and show we're just as politically active as anyone else.

How would an ideal date for you go?

I'm a huge romantic, so I trend very traditional when it comes to
ideas of "ideal".  I'd like to go out with someone I've known for at
least a little while - someone I've talked with and who can hold my
interest.  An afternoon spent walking the city, holding hands and just
window shopping - or perhaps a walk along Golden Gate Park down to the
beach.  Dinner someplace non-American (I love Mediterranean, Indian,
Japanese...)  Great conversation and banter, leading to some dancing
at a club.  Afterwards he'd take me home, make sure we have our
schedules clear for the next day, and spend the next twelve hours
sleeping, talking, cuddling, and making love.

Do you have a fetish? If so what is it?

I wouldn't call it a fetish per se, but I have a thing for older guys.
Salt and pepper beards and laugh lines are a huge turn-on for me!  I
love those physically signs of someone mature who's laughed and smiled
a lot in their life.

What made you decide to get involved in my show?

Well, I was drunk at a beer bust and you had sign-up sheets for some
sort of bear talent competition.  Being the diva that I am, I agreed
to help you out in my buzzed haze.  After realizing just what exactly
I signed up for I said I'd be glad to help someone else with their
fundraising efforts - especially since I'm such an exhibitionist and
happy to strip to my skivvies at a moment's notice!

Anything you want to say to all the Bears and Cubs out there?

Come to the show!  And bring dollars!  Oh - and can anyone tell me if
there are any bear events in Santa Cruz?  I'm moving down there to
start a PhD in the fall, and I'm worried I may have to drive back home
to San Francisco for my fix of big furry men!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Evan Kaminsky -Bearlesque Performer and Beauty Guru

In my preparation for my misadventures for my IBR Beauty Pageant, I knew I needed a little "Bear Care" which as luck would have it, Evan Kaminsky is an expert. Evan won the last Bearlesque Talent Search and is in the show with my Bear quartet. He is a funny, talented individual. He has a business called " Oui Three Queens". In between making brides exquisite and prepping actresses for photo-shoots, he takes care of bears. He butched up this little cub with some unusual beard tinting techniques that were interestingly effective. I also had several fantastic scented lotions and cleansers and masks applied to my face to tighten pores and give me a glow that gave me that freshly f*#@d look sans penetration. The shoulder and upper back massage were DIVINE! It was all done in a quiet sweet smelling little area near the Potrero Hill industrial area. If you want to treat yourself -Evan is the Bear for the job. Here is a little interview. Enjoy! Oh and an appointment just don't let it interfere with

Where did you grow up and if not in SF what brought you here?

Born and raised in Palm Springs, CA, I did the opposite of many gay men. I
moved from the gay retirement capitol to the city by the gay in 1994. I
wasn't out of the closet yet, nor realized I was gay, but I was drawn to San
Francisco without ever visiting. At the time I had a passion for acting and
singing, but was encouraged to have a career to fall back on. I had worked
in hotels and restaurants throughout high school and decided to go for Hotel
Restaurant management and attended Golden Gate University. San Francisco was
the best place for me to persue that career as well as a career in
performance. In less than one year, San Francisco's magic cast its spell and
I not only did I come out, but I also left GGU to go to San Francisco State
University and study Theater.

What are you passionate about these days?

I've always been passionate about performance, and on my journey I
discovered a talent for makeup artistry and later for skin care and
grooming. In 2001 I opened Oui, Three Queens Productions
( where I established myself as on of San Francisco's
independent makeup specialists. A few years later I attended beauty school
and became licensed as an esthetician. I've expanded my practice to include
skin care and grooming for the hirsuit man called Bear Care! I am very
passionate about my work in the beauty and grooming industry and I'm glad
that it has now enabled me to return to the stage to continue my true love
of performance and entertainment.

Where do you think you fit in to the Bear Community?

I used to think that bears were one of two things:

A)Circuit party twinks who stopped doing drugs, shaving their chests, and
gained weight.
B)Drag Queens who stopped doing drugs, shaving their chests and gained

I was never much of a circuit queen, but I was a fabulous drag queen in my
day. And yes, I did stop shaving my face and chest, and I did gain weight,
but that didn't make me a bear...that made me a fat hairy ex drag queen.
The bear community to me, is really a group of gay men that don't quite fit
into the typical stereotypes and scenes in the gay community. It's a place
for those that either are not effeminant, or prefer the masculine look (cus
face it, some bears are masculine looking and very sexy, then open their
mouths and their purse falls out), but the beauty of the bear community for
me is that it encompasses all of that. In nature,bears come in all shapes
and sizes, and I think it's the same in the Bear community. If the bear
community were a dog pile, I'd be right in the middle.

What do you think the Bear Community should be focusing on as a whole these

The key word is Community. There will always be those who are insecure, or
over confident, or bitchy, or butchy, femme or fat and any combination, but
the important thing is that we all get along and support one another for
being the individuals we are. It is important to me to continue to have a
community that is accepting, supportive, relaxed and enjoy their lives and
their sexuality. Attitudes and assumptions should stay at the door.

How would an ideal date for you go?

For me, an ideal date would include effortless good conversation, lots of
laughter, even more flirting, and of course I have to make sure he's a good
kisser...(otherwise we might as well be friends). If those elements are
there, it really doesn't matter where we go or what we do. I definitely
enjoy it when someone I'm into pursues me (without being creepy) and it is
always nice to be asked out...

Do you have a fetish? If so what is it?


If you wanna know my kinks, you gotta find out first hand!

What made you decide to get involved in my show?

It is time that Evan Kaminsky is known in this city for his acting, singing
and comedy without having to put on a wig and a dress...besides , You gotta
love getting half naked for those that really appreciate it!

Anything you want to say to all the Bears and Cubs out there?

Not only am I blessed with a full beard, a furry chest, stomach and ass, and
a great smile, but I'm also blessed to be surrounded by so many great
people, bears and cubs alike, who entertain, comfort and of course turn my

Evan Kaminsky, Beauty Guru

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Introducing Marco Middlesex -Bearlesque Cub Cadet

In the next few weeks you will se some interviews of the performers in Bearlesque. First up the spunky Marco Middlesex!
Where did you grow up and if not in SF what brought you here?

“I grew up most of my childhood in England, just outside of London, my father is a retired US Navy chief petty officer, and I attended boarding schools for almost all of my education, while him and my family went on tours of duty in Europe & the Middle East, I was in a Catholic (no comment needed!) run boarding school for military dependent children, and being left to my own devices for all intents and purposes, I used to sneak out on the weekends of course and go to London town, where I of course 'came out' at the age of 16 must to the chagrin of my parents, and sad to say it's still grist for the mill even today!
I came to San Francisco in 1994, moving from PA (as in Penn NOT Cooley!) with a friend who offered to pay for my way out here, he knew no-one out here and I happily agreed to be his roomie, went through the usual retail hell career path, went back to school, got my degree, and went into Accounting & Bookkeeping (no really!) and decided to make a career change about a year ago, and needless to say a huge pay cut and work for a non-profit organization that rescues, fosters and finds adoptive loving people & families for them, specializing in small breed dogs!”

What are you passionate about these days?

“Aside form my work with A Leg Up Rescue, I am to quote an old Deanna Durbin film title 'Mad About Music!' and am also an avid film watcher, and after we wrap 'P.A. Cooley's Bearlesque' am going to be starting a screenplay treatment for an short film concept I've been developing, a parody of the hit movie Paranormal Activity, the working title is going to be 'Bearanormal Proclivity!”

Where do you think you fit in to the Bear Community?

Honestly, I don't think I really belong in any one specific sub-genre of the bear community, I mean I feel that I'm too old to be a cub (I'm 47 and yes you can print that!) and not big & tall enough to be a bear, and I don't have the slenderness of an otter for sure! So I guess that makes me, as so dubbed by you of course, a self-proclaimed Cougar Cub!

What do you think the Bear Community should be focusing on as a whole these days?

Aside from the continual supporting various charities and organizations, I think that a stronger focus also needs to be also on camaraderie  and not to be so pre-occupied with 'fitting in' a particular sub-genre of the bear community. I always believe that to show solidarity shows one's strength, commitment and courage to, without sounding like a cliche (oops too late!) 'fight the good fight'!!

How would an ideal date for you go?

Well, the perfect date for me would be to be  picked up a handsome gentleman caller, go for an exotic dinner at a restaurant I have never been before, then afterwards go to get a chocolaty dessert from a local bakery, and weather permitting, drive up to the top of Twin Peaks, eat our dessert, then admire the beautiful view, and the cityscape also!!

Do you have a fetish? If so what is it?

Without a doubt, I like me some leather, and some good old school rock n' roll, yea I go me a penchant for those Sons Of Anarchy!!
Oh yea, and experimenting with foods during foreplay!!!

What made you decide to get involved in my show?

Aside from my usual karaoke turns @ The Mint and other places, and singing/performing for friend's parties and events here and there, I have wanted to get back into theater performance and also singing to a larger audience, and would eventually like to establish myself as a local performer. And I saw your ad on Facebook, I took a chance and replied and the rest as the story goes, is history! And being as it's been almost a decade since I have been in a theater production, I am so proud and excited to be a part of your vision!!

Anything you want to say to all the Bears and Cubs out there?

Your love and support of local performers is nothing short of amazing, and I am privileged and honored to be doing what I'm doing, as long as there is a cause and concern to raise money for, support and nurture then as long as I have an audience to sing and perform to, this is where I will be! I feel so proud and inspired by all that I have worked, and will work with in the future, and I see an incredible future for our community!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Diary Of a Cub Contestant Finale

The One Armed Bandit
Jd Leggett Mr. International Bear
International Grizzly George Hains
International Daddy Bear Paul Cain
International Cub Javier Lorente
The whole gang
The big show was later that evening and I still had to find some way to regain my footing  from the “deposition” that the judges put me through. BOSF members were assembling a stage for us to parade on. It was a wood and plastic old timey saloon. One of my “secret”  IBR coaches was putting together the set and leaned over to me, “ How’d it go?” referring to my judges interview. I made a sad face. He said, “ Cheer up -everyone thinks they did badly afterwards.” Dominick Zurlo was reviewing each of the contestants Bear Minimum segment. He would call us up on to the stage one by one and review our “personal ads” that we had written while we walk the catwalk. At the time we were wearing our clothes and not the few patches of cloth that we would later don for this particular section. My costume for this was a good one. I had a gold robbers mask and my arm was in a gold sling. I had rip away pants and a rip away shirt and underneath I wore a tank top with three cherries on it. My black brief underwear had a huge gold codpiece filled with gold plastic coins that I ripped away at just the right time. This of course involved making sure that the other contestants wouldn’t trip on my gold coins and that I picked up all my clothes I had ripped off. I used lots of Slot Machine metaphors. “ If you give this one armed bandit the right yank, he’ll deliver a full payload” etc etc. I tried to work with Dominick, but he cut me off a few times and went on about what I should do as opposed to what I wanted to do. I simply gave in to whatever he wanted. Lucky for him he was cute. I figured that night I would do it as I had envisioned it and hope it coincides with how Dominick read it. I was in no mood to inform him of my experience on a stage-but more importantly he wasn’t in a listening frame of mind. In retrospect I can be more sympathetic because after all -it was his show.

We broke for lunch. As we were all munching pizza, I was told of my Diva Name. The boys had a little fun by renaming us into our alter ego Diva names. I was dubbed “Cher” due to my constant costume changes, and I was....well.. a little older. I enjoyed that, but I felt myself pulling away from the group. I was disheartened and found myself rehashing the judges table over and over. I tried to shake it and enjoy hanging out with everyone but I had trouble. As an actor that has gone through hundreds of technical rehearsals, this experience wasn’t exactly new to me. I wanted to be with Orlando badly and tell him how I felt so, he would rub my head and call me cuddle cub. The worst of it was I was having regrets. After I had learned that there was a faction of the Bear Community that looked down on Pageants, I noticed that I might feel the same way. Oh I know what you are thinking. P.A. loves to be told how cute he is and the Diva demands the spotlight-and you’d be right! That aside-I am not so sure the Bear Community should engage in this one bear being prettier than another bear thing. Then again-it did a lot of good. If it created great fundraisers and eloquent speakers for the community then that was a good thing right? I began to doubt my place. What was a Cub anyway? Everything seemed subjective and it rendered some of my beliefs temporarily invalid. Hey -it’s not like I was going to win. I based this on my interview with Judges. I was sure there was no way -no how that they were gonna crown me anything. Why was I doing this anyway?

Why would anyone do it? “Mommie Dearest” popped in my head briefly as I envisioned Diana Scarwid bellowing “Why Did You ADOPT ME???!!!” and Faye Dunaway lets it slip, “ I did it for the publicity!” and within seconds withdraws it with a little breathy “ No that’s not true!”.....(Watching Mommie Dearest always cheers me up-along with Soap Dish and Death Becomes Her) Despite the varying degrees of self-esteem among this motley little group of contestants, I am pretty sure we all did it to “be somebody” I sincerely believe anyone who says they entered the contest it to help the community is full of it.  It’s kind of like a Gay couple that claims that they have been monogamous for 25 years. Right up there with the Loch Ness Monster. A lot of people have heard of it but even more have never seen one. The trick is when you enter a pageant of some sort is to display a sincere modesty and humility while letting everyone know how great you are. There was NO WAY I was going to pull this off. While I truly believe in being civil and polite, I think modesty is highly overrated and only allows other people to use you. Just another reminder that the world is full of mean people and you must be on your guard at all times. This is imperative if you choose to call attention to yourself and step into the spotlight.

When we were done that afternoon we had a few hours to ourselves before the big awards dinner. My Lando met me at the hotel and we took BART and Muni back up to my house. As we were waiting for the 36 Teresita to bring me to my door, I wrapped my arms around him.
“What if?....”  I asked
“yes?..” He prompted
“Well it is Valentine’s Day.” I explained, “and you are the first guy I have ever dated more than a I think that deserves some sort of special celebration.”
“What did you have in mind Cuddle Cub?”
“Well..” I took a deep breath...” What if I just blew off the contest?”
His eyebrows shot up for a second and then he flatly said, “ No way”
“ No way Mr.Cooley! Not after all the time and money and effort that went into this contest. I will not allow it”
The Big Puerto Rican Bear had spoken. I was round-eyed this time.
He softened, “ Just get up there and have a good time. It will all be over tonight and pretty soon you won’t think twice about those judges because you’ll be so involved with Bearlesque. So give them the best little one-armed bandit routine you can and then we will go have a strong drink to celebrate getting through it all” That’s pretty much what we did too.

I was horribly nervous when we entered the Awards dinner but I did everything to mask it. I wore a spangly t-shirt (again with the Sin Fire Gold thing). Photographer Ken Slater murmured a friendly “Diva” as I passed him. ( Damn that man is fine! ) I replied with a cool, “ Did you expect anything different?” I couldn’t eat too much due to nerves. Just because I knew I was going to lose didn’t mean I wasn’t nervous about performing. I talked to one of the contestants and let him know what had happened at the Judge’s table and he told me that he was glad I had said something... because he thought maybe he was being a tad too sensitive. I asked why. It turned out the same two judges that had given me a hard time had done the same to him. One of the other contestants said that it wasn’t his experience at all. He told me how nice they had been to him. I  should also note that this particular contestant wanted a title very badly.  You could see how pleased he was now that he knew he had interviewed without incident and that two others had a rough go of it.

I went over to the contestant table next to me and chatted briefly with two others It was casual but one of them divulged that it wasn’t Tony and Eduardo but two other judges that were hard on him. What? Really? What exactly was going on here?  He suggested that it was part of the interview process. Kind of a Good Judge bad judge thing. Now what purpose would that serve? I suppose it had a certain sadistic element that they may have enjoyed- but really? I mean it’s not like a million dollar contract was at the end of this Bear rainbow. I couldn’t accept it but hey- if Tony and Edaurdo wanted to get their jollies making me feel like crap then I was NOT going to allow that. I resolved then and there to have some fucking fun.

There were comic moments a plenty. George who is like 6 2 and weighs well...a lot, needed help adjusting the banana that covered the crack of his butt. He asked me to adjust it accordingly. It was in a gun holster riding in back while a black cowboy hat “covered” his crotch. Quite a sight! My one armed bandit went well despite it’s clumsy execution. I don’t think people knew why I was in a sling,but when the “Gold” coins spilled from my crotch it got a roar of laughter.When I had to change into the cruise wear section prior to my impromptu question session, I had some trouble attaching my massive Western Belt Buckle. There was plenty of panic  backstage as  Marcus and Jason took a stab at trying to put it on for me. Eventually I shucked off a piece of the $45 belt that was preventing the $25 buckle from attaching and made it on stage just barely. Dominick looked over at me and our love was rekindled. He obviously liked cowboys. In fact I was  feeling the love waves from Dominick so strongly that I was momentarily distracted as Jason asked me the question. I had to tear myself away from DZ’s hypnotic stare. It had to do with what attributes I had to bring to the bear community. I tried to make a vanity joke which fell flat and answered honestly that it was my ability to think on my feet. ha!

Decision time -The judges announced the big winners after we gathered on stage. First was International Cub. That went quite unexpectedly to Javier from Spain. You could almost feel the entire 13 contestants go “Huh?” after he won. We all naturally assumed he would win the big International Bear title. Then the affable charming nudist Paul Cain won Daddy Bear and the substantial and memorable George Hains won International Grizzly! He let out a triumphant roar that had us all applauding. I was completely stumped who would win International Bear-as were the rest of the contestants. Then they announced it. Jd Leggett! I jumped and screamed as if they had said my name because it was such a terrific choice. Jd and I had a lot in common and moreover- Jd wanted it. Jd was in total shock. His hand quivered and the tears spilled forth with all the joyful drama worthy of Miss America. This delighted the audience. I was particularly delighted  because Jd...the little cub -not so butch -not so classically perfect looking actor who had his own Burlesque show won the biggest title of the contest. This boded nothing but good things for future contestants. When you read his Mission and what he wants to do, you see why he won and more importantly -why he deserved to win. Orlando and I had that drink and afterwards we did what all Cubs and Bears do who love each other very much...I’ll be uncharacteristically discreet about that. Instead - why don’t I introduce you to International Bear Mr. Jd Leggett. Here he is in his own words. Care to help him?

JD (Damien-James) Leggett
Brooklyn, NY 11221
(617) 412 - 1695

Hey all, my name is JD (Damien) Leggett and I was recently titled Mr. International Bear 2010 at the IBR convention in San Francisco. I am writing thi letter to introduce myself to the world, and let you know the plans I have for my year.
I want to start by saying that this is not spam. I am one person (not a company) that found you in a bear magazine, looked up your website, found your contact info and got your email because I liked what I read about you, or your organization. I apologize now, for how long this is. I feel like I should explain who I am and where I come from, in order for you to understand my mission.
    I grew up in a very bad neighborhood, and in a family of dysfunction and chaos. I have a story that an after­-school special would love to expose. Don’t worry; I’m not detailing that junk. After getting through adolescence and becoming a man, I tried, on many occasions, to find true happiness. I constantly made drastic life changes in search of where I belong. Well, 2 years ago (at age 29) I realized that I needed to completely start over from scratch. I quit my job, quit the show I was directing and starring in, broke up with my lover and moved to NYC.
   After a month of living in NY, I discovered the Metrobears. I learned then what a bear was and that I was one of them. It was so liberating to find a place where I can be me, and be proud of me. I owe so much to the 1st night I went to what was once called “The Dugout”. I spent a year and a half visiting their bar nights, walking in the parade with them, and enjoying their events. So, I thought it would be cool to run for the Mr. Metrocub title for the year. It as such a shock when I won. After such a short time living here and discovering what a bear was….I was representing them!
    After much planning, raising money, selling raffle tickets, etc etc…. Both myself and Mr. Metrobear (George Hains, my hero), went to IBR 16. I went to represent my club, have a good time, and raise money for their charities. I thought it would be cool if I got the International Cub title, but not my reason for going. I was myself and doing what I came to do. On stage, when they called my name for the top title, I was at a loss. I never expected it, or even considered the possibility that I would be up for it. Then, right there, I knew I was somebody. I knew I had a mission on this planet. This title is going to give me the opportunity to do some good in the world.
So, here are my plans: For the year, I am going to give myself over to the bear community. I want to go anywhere that wants me, and learn about the bear community face to face from all over. I have the time and lifestyle that I can do this. I want to go to bear events, and volunteer to help. I also want to visit the local bear clubs, bars and people to get in idea of who they are and how they like/differ from the others, and maybe give ideas and help with publicity. While there I will need help finding Temp Work, and a cheap place /couch to sleep on. I would stay to check out the reg. every day bear scene, until the next event.
Along my travels, I will be keeping a log of everything I do, everywhere I go, everyone that helps me, all my sponsors, and anyone who helps me along the way. At the end, I hope to put this together as a social bear guide, and an advertisement for bear friendly organizations in each area.
I do hope that after my year. I will have some good experience to put on my resume and find good employment that will benefit the community after my reign as Mr. Int’l Bear is over.
I am going to list my interests, and dreams of how I can help the community and how you can help me as well. I do ask, please: If you know anyone out there that would be of any help, please forward this email out to them. Also, if you have access to a bear themed mailing list, please forward this there as well. I would so greatly appreciate it.

{ Bear Runs: I would like to go to as many as possible, please contact me if there is anything I can do to help at events, and if you have any clues on how I can get there for as cheap as possible.
{ Hotels: If there is any way I can work off, or do a review, or any way I can get some kind of deal. Please inform me. I would be happy to go out of my way to work my way through it.
{ Your couch: If I am in the area and have no hotel to put me up, I have no problem couch surfing my way through your town. Want to offer me couch space, maybe offer me a meal? Ill do your dishes in exchange.
{Employment: If I am in your area, I’d need help finding work. I will do office work through an agency, I will do personal work, and I have many skills and am very strong. I have worked in offices, costume designing, retail; I was a financial consultant for 7 years and am currently a trucker in junk removal.
{ Sponsors: This is going to be a huge project for the year. If there are any people or organizations that are interested in sponsoring me through this, I would love to talk to you about what we can do in exchange for each other.
{ Publicity: I love pictures. I would be more than happy to be in any photos, do any interviews, wear your swag and be part of anything like that. Please shoot me an email, call or text. I want to indulge myself into the bear world and let people know who I am.
{ Charities: This is really the base of my hopes. I want to help raise as much money for good causes, as I can. I want to help, not just discover, but do something about it. If there is something going on that I would be able to increase the success of, I would like to know ASAP as I am planning my year around things like this.
{ Movies: I am an actor, and I am very comfortable with who I am and what I look like. I would LOVE to be either in front of or behind the scenes to movies of all kinds. I hope to one day have that as my sole source of income.
{ Trainers, Dentists, fashion consultants: I want to work on my body and style over the year as well. I am bulky and strong and fuzzy. I would like to tone up more, fix my teeth, and look like a strong healthy bear. Can anyone help advise me?
{ Plane or Bus Tickets: I imagine this will be of the hardest things that I will need. If anyone has traveling secrets, please fill me in.
{ I’m open to so many subcultures of the bear community. Leather, Rubber, BDSM, and things of that like are a lot of fun. I would be more than happy to attend events of that nature as well. I also love to take off my top and dance, so if you need a go-go bear: you found one.
{ For those who believe they cannot help, you can: I need advise. People to talk me through this, and support me mentally along the way. I will answer any and all emails. I am also interested in collecting bear club swag (t-shirts, hats, stickers etc…). If you can send me anything like that, I promise it will be worn.

So, that’s my list, but I am not limited to just what’s here. There is so much out there I dream of doing and am very excited to have the opportunity to do it. My dreams for the year are very big, but I believe they are all possible. If I have to hitchhike everywhere I go, Ill do it. I will do everything in my power so make this year a success, and I look forward to meeting as many people as I can.
I anticipate your responses and completely appreciate those who took the time to read this long winded letter. I apologize if you get this email more than once.
JD Leggett
Mr. International Bear 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Diary Of a Cub Contestant Part 9 Judges Table

Paul McHugh and Jay Viescas
Terry Bryant
Eduardo Medeiros
That Contest rehearsal day was long and a bit tedious, but the other guys were such affable laid back dudes that the show got put together without anyone losing their cool. A majority of the work rested on Dominick Zurlo’s shoulders to keep the show rolling. Aside from having to wear a red union suit through the whole show, I was envious of his job. As we were reviewing our “Personal Ads” with Dominick to be read before the show, Jason Macario, the tall spectacled red-long bearded Judge Coordinator told me it was my time to be interviewed. I was bewildered by a sudden attack of nerves. What the hell was that about? I thought I would simply approach this interview with the attitude that it would be a friendly discussion, but now I was unexplainably anxious. Jason was very paternal and spoke in soothing tones to me as if he was trying to calm a mad dog. I admitted to him I was nervous and he put his arm around me in a comforting squeeze as we descended the stairs. I liked him. He gave off a good vibe and I was appreciating it but for some reason my nerves were raw.

Jason ushered me into the Judge’s room. I was chanting my Bear History in my head. I was tired and the sudden attack of nerves was not something I could easily overcome. I thought briefly about shaking everyone’s hand but that felt too much like pandering and I wanted to appear confident and self-assured. I nodded to each judge politely and tried to give an engaging shy smile.  David McHugh the elfin judge who lived in London was to my left. The placid silent Jay Viescas was sitting next to him. The judge I remembered from Friday night, Terry Bryant, the big Daddy Bear from Canada was smiling almost sadly at me I thought. Huh?  He sat to my right. Sitting directly in front of me was the local guy Tony Hart and Eduardo Medeiros from Washington DC. Something was wrong. I didn’t know what and I didn’t know exactly why, but something was off. In school I read “Black Like Me” by John Howard Griffin. It was the story about a white man who had taken something to darken his skin and lived in the South as a Black Man. He refers to the “hate stare” that the bigots gave him. I suddenly knew what he was talking about. I am very perceptive-call it a gift from being so over-sensitive all these years. It was very clear that Tony and Eduardo radiated hostility at me. I took a breath... I began to distrust my instincts and blamed it on being tired. Perhaps I was mis-reading them?

They asked questions. My “ya know?”s got a little heavy as I prattled on and on about how the community is changing and how we need to change with it. Having a 46 year old be International Cub would be a great message to send out there ( ya know?)  since many of the young uns think a cub is supposed to be 20 (ya know?)  So I would in a way... personify the values of acceptance and tolerance...and uh... and since the Bear community defies description (ya Know?) I think I would be a great role model. I talked about Bearlesque and my dreams for that. I may have stumbled a bit. I wasn’t exactly “Joe Mannetti” brilliant. In fact I am quite sure that I came off exhausted. Which I was for Crissake! Hey you try being in a fundraising contest that operates nearly 18 hours a day and date a Puerto Rican and see how much sleep YOU get!  David appeared to be listening me and Terry gave off that sad basset hound look as if I was headed off to the gallows. Who knows what Jay was thinking? Tony would roll his eyes in with a flicker of exasperation as if I was talking too much. He even went so far as to cut me off a couple of times. I figured they were running short on time and that’s why he cut me off -impolitely and unceremoniously. Manners? Short supply here at the judges table I guess.

Eduardo suddenly and a little more loudly than any other question barked at me, “ Why didn’t you sell US any raffle tickets? “ All the answers that leapt to the front of my mind didn’t seem appropriately contestant-like behavior.
Oh? Were you there at the events?  -seemed dismissive
Who knows? -seemed apathetic
Because you are a dick and I only sell to friendly judges like Terry -seemed flat out wrong

All that came out was a look of confusion because the antagonism was glaringly apparent and I didn’t expect to find this kind of bad treatment at the judge’s table. I hemmed and hawed a bit and came out with a pathetic “ I’m really not sure.” I looked to Terry for support and he looked at his shoe. The truth was I don’t recall seeing ALL the judges at every event we sold raffle tickets at. Terry was really the only one I remembered. Eduardo and Tony bore down on me like McCarthy and J Edgar Hoover. There was an implication that I didn’t sell that many tickets, What?!! That’s not true, we sold as many as many of the other contestants. What did they want us to do? Were we supposed to yank wallets out and extract the money? I have already told you about the crappy attendance at these events. But no I just looked bewildered.

There was another implication that Orlando and I hung out and simply chatted with our friends. That was a load of bullshit too. O and I didn’t know hardly anyone at the events and we WERE SELLING RAFFLE TICKETS CONSTANTLY!!. The 2 0r 3 people that we DID know bought at least $100.00 worth of tickets from us. But no I just sat there and looked confused at the judges.

The last accusation left me spinning. Eduardo asked, “Did you only sell tickets to the attractive men?”  What the fuck?  This had to be a test of some sort! They must’ve missed the twisted little monster in the leather shorts that I measured an inseam for. He had an unusually tight dog collar and his tongue was darting in and out of his mouth like a spastic lizard. What about the craven soul in the Muu Muu that latched on to my boyfriend’s nipple like an infant craving it’s mother’s milk?  What the hell was going on here? Didn’t Tony come up to me smiling last night and purchase $3 worth of tickets? Was Eduardo really THAT upset by the salami incident? Who WERE these men and why were they being so harsh to me?  I had a choice. I could’ve gone off on them and told them to stick it where the sun don’t shine or I could keep my cool.

I carefully and as neutrally as I could, informed them of my raffle sales strategy. Due to lack of people to sell to, I chose to meet the ones that had already purchased tickets, (or already declined) from other contestants. I spent time and got to know them. Socialized and after the socialization I asked if they would support me by purchasing one ticket. Admittedly -alot of work for one dollar but I am willing to bet Orlando and I made a friend or two. Over half of them purchased 5 dollars worth from us. David Hughes latched on to that like a life preserver was tossed in to the water, “Oh! you were talking to them!”

He said it to Eduardo and Tony with a certain emphasis. As if “ See? he’s not the crappy contestant you think he is!” At least ...that’s how I perceived it. I think I fell a little in love with David right then and there. I can’t remember now, but I am not sure if I told the judges that George and Matt and I sold and bought tickets from each other. I was so whipped by them, I couldn’t remember anything. I came out of the room feeling like shit. I felt devalued and unappreciated- I know what you are going to say..blah blah blah we are in charge of our own reactions yeah yeah I know. I just did not expect in any way to be abused after working so hard to make IBR successful. What brought that on?  I was feeling too low to get angry as Jason wrapped his arm around me and we headed back to the rehearsal. It hit me that I wasn’t going to win anything. I considered letting Jason know all this, but I had been informed by others that he wouldn’t do anything about it anyway. He murmured comforting sounds to me as he lead me up the stairs and all I could think about was the Nurse who says, “There There...that didn’t hurt a bit did it?” -AFTER she had stuck a very large very sharp needle in you.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Diary Of a Cub Contestant Part 8 Contest Day

Jd Legget
I awoke in a panic. I had stayed up late and crammed all sorts of Bear History facts in my head. All the topics were swimming in a giant pool in my brain. The Lone Star, the creator of the Bear Flag, what the colors stood for in the flag. Many Bear facts flew through my mind. "Some Bears place a lot of importance on a hypermasculine image" Then what the hell was I doing in this contest? Well it was obvious. Bears no longer were the gay sub group that maintained a distance from the rest of Gay society. We had become mainstream.  I noticed a funny thing about that mainstreaming: somehow someway it translates into a money making opportunity. The proliferation of bear identified products on the market is evidence of that. But what about the philosophy? Didn't the Bear movement start with some average furry nice guys who were more like plumbers, policemen and ranch hands then florists, fashion designers, and theater critics? Didn't these nice guys get together in each others apartments for a game of trivial pursuit and pin the tail on the Cubby? Then a Gay Biker bar opened and voila - there was a place to go other than each others apartments? As the movement grew this core group who felt so disenfranchised from the Gay community began to welcome all who came into the fray-particularly if they felt the same way. It made me think of my first trip to the Lone Star where I arrived with a full red beard to hide my double chin and at 5'7"- I was approximately 210lbs. I had a pretty high sex drive, but I had felt that until I started going to the gym and striving for six pack abs my sex drive was all for naught. I would just have a healthy relationship with my right hand. Well that idea was quickly squashed. I found that very young, very attractive slim men found me one hot Daddy. That -combined with my friends never ending ability to always keep me supplied in cocktails made for some great times at the ole Lone Star. Just like I had heard Mark Katzenburg say in a PBS documentary series about Bears-I felt like I had come home when I first arrived at the Lone Star.

It was interesting that Beauty Pageants erupted out of this movement. I mean think about it. Bikers? Dirty Greasy guys in Fu Man Chu moustaches strutting down the runway looking like aged rock stars in a thong? Who thought that up? Why would the Biker or  the 300lb overtly masculine blue collar worker submit to that kind of objectification? It didn't make sense. Didn't the Bear movement mean NOT worshiping an ideal beauty?  What DID make sense to me were their feminine counter parts taking place in a Beauty Contest. Yes - I know what I am saying. The pushy bottom was probably the first one who went, "I'm pretty dammit and I want to wear a crown and have a sash and show everybody how damn pretty I am! I am going to start organizing contests where me and the girls can strut our stuff. " Then their big gentle ben husbears went, "ok cubby, I'll grill the hot dogs and we will make a party of it. I think that's how it started.

I was trying very carefully to make sure I was clear about my goals as a title holder when it came time to talk with the judges. I didn't want to slip into my "ya know-itus" that plagued me whenever I had to speak publicly. (I always peppered my statements with an annoying "ya know?" which completely pissed the shit out of me whenever I heard it, because 9 times out of 10- I was completely unaware I had SAID it so many fucking times.) It seemed to me that all the smart bear columnists I had read spoke of inclusiveness and not shunning the little queen who wandered into their midst. These writers noted that we had to be careful now because we didn't want to become clique-y and exclusionary if we were to grow as an important part of the Gay community. Then there was the contrary idiots who espoused the value of knowing how to use a chainsaw, play football and hunt for deer. THAT was what was important. The Bear brotherhood should maintain the manly man aspect and keep it pure. Alrighty then..Here's the thing. I think we can do both and be Bears and not forget about why we like Bears. We are it baby. The Bear community are the cool kids in school. All of these things I was trying to practice and cram in my head like mad in my tiny in-law apartment.

The place was truly in shambles. My printer had spewed too many pages of my online research everywhere. The couch remained hidden with the extensive wardrobe I had purchased and borrowed to impress the judges. There was a giant mound of camoflage and denim. Leather cuffs and Bear pins were scattered everywhere. Leather -lots that I never even wore was draped over everything. I calculated what I had spent and flashed back to my last visit in Vermont where my Aunt shouted with joy when my Lando Bear told her he was a budget analyst. "Oh thank god!" she gasped " He'll finally get a grip on his finances" I just looked down at my snow boots and mumbled something about living in one of the most expensive cities in the world. Orlando was staring at me now with a How-the-hell-am-I-gonna-live-with-a-disorganized-slob-like-you-look on his face. I was probably a border-line hoarder. This was one of the many things I was working on to make our life a happier co-existence. I wasn't doing so hot right now. It was also another lightening bolt moment when I realized that I had inherited some characteristics of my father -other than this stunning set of baby blues. My Dad is a slob but he would never ever be compared to a spend thrift like me. Jack Benny perhaps... but not me. That was one of my Mom's rare gleeful moments where she enjoyed being divorced from him. She would tell of my father's miserly spending habits with great relish. -hey I guess it served him well because he has more money than me-and at the ripe old age of 84..or is it 86? Dammit I'll have to ask Orlando.

Back to Contest morning. Lando Bear was not getting enough attention due to my stress and the attention he was getting wasn't all that fun. I sniped. I sniped a lot. I entered this fucking contest to have fun and make friends and quite frankly-the fun part was in short supply. I was worn out from this extremely difficult raffle sales and I had probably fucked up my chances of impressing the judges because of my inability to kiss ass at that goddamed cocktail party. got the general idea of my state of mind. It was Valentine's Day for crissake and I should've been billing and cooing with my exceptional boyfriend all day. But No- I wanted to be International Cub. Me and my bright ideas. Orlando gave me a stunning see-ya-later-kiss when he dropped me off at the hotel that made me think, " Contest-what contest?" He understood that this sash-monster was not me. Somewhere in the back recesses of my mind, I was thinking that he was right. I am not an appropriate choice for title holder. Regardless- I shook it off. I had a Looong Day ahead of me.

The Day entailed a long tech dress rehearsal of sorts. Here's a rundown of how the show is supposed to play out.
1) Contestants enter in cute red long john union suits and hobby horses while host, Dominick Zurlo does his best Madeline Kahn imitation from Blazing Saddles.
2) The Bear Minimum segment: Dominick reads from a "personal ad" written by the contestants while we parade in as little as possible on stage one by one.
3) The Cruise Wear segment: We wear what we would wear if we were going to Beer Bust and trying to get laid while the judges are allowed to ask us one question. Previous year's contestants had a day to think out their answers and read them to the audience. Lucky US !! We got asked the questions right then and there without any knowledge what-so-ever of what they were going to ask us.
All this was supposed to take place in front of 200 bears later that night. During this tedious long rehearsal we were escorted one by one down to the judges to get interviewed.

Keep in mind that I had a LOT of people rooting for me. I had three people who knew the contest inside and out advising me on how to play it. The costumes had to be related to the theme because the judges appreciated that kind of effort. My Cruise wear was a standard cowboy outfit with an impressive GOLD buckle (Sin Fire and Gold-remember?). I had this pair of jeans that had a tendency to accentuate the frontal area. I once actually wore these jeans to the Lone Star and a sexy man came up to me and said, " Well...I can see why you wore those jeans." and I asked why and he answered, " so the rest of us could know what religion you are" -You figure it out -because I couldn't. Jews get circumsized too... right? Orlando has asked me a couple of times to wear these jeans.

Our fearless leader Paul Almy
The minimum Bear wear segment I thought was rather clever. It was a brilliant out fit designed with the help of Eric Glaser from Hissy Fit Fashions. A secret advisor gave me the idea. I was a human slot machine. I slowly stripped and revealed a tank top with three cherries on it and a huge gold cod piece filled with...well I wont give it away. You'll have to read the next blog.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Diary of a Cub Contestant at IBR part 7

Joe takes in his fans
Friends Cody and Jack
Hottie from Spain -Javier
As I walked up to the Contestant holding room, I saw a familiar face conversing with everyone. He was familiar, despite the fact that I had never seen the face in the flesh. It was last year’s International Bear winner Mr. Joe Mannetti. Joe, in my opinion, is really what having a title all is about. He is one of the kindest, most inspirational giving men I have ever met. He has managed to be a part of just about every big Bear charity event there is, while being a major hottie to boot. We met online through Face book and we got to know each other a little better when The Complete Bear was doing it’s “Bear of the Year” Competition. He manages to be upbeat without being obsequious and he truly cares y’all! About everything and everyone! While my opinion has changed considerably about a Bear Beauty pageant, I can’t help but think if we get a Joe Mannetti out if it than it seems like a good idea. However, if it becomes about how we look instead of whom we are than that doesn’t seem like a good idea to me. Regardless- Joe is the whole package Beauty, Heart and Dedication. He has advised me on a number of things on how to best represent the community while being true to myself. When we saw each other it was like seeing a guy who you had an awesome one-night-stand-with –minus the unrequited love stuff that so often happens because we all equate awesome sex with love. He was a lot shorter than I thought because he has a HUGE…personality. When we greeted each other he gave me one of the best hugs I have ever had. If you get a chance then go ahead and take a look at the long list of things he’s done in the past year. This Bear is the Energizer Bunny! He made each contestant feel special and exuded such a fun, playful, positive energy that you couldn’t help smiling after 5 minutes of his company. I was very glad to see him there. He picked up my sagging spirits enough to play Bay Area Cub 2010 for the final round of raffle ticket sales.

There was a formal introduction of each contestant at The Hanky Dance that involved walking across this fairly sizable dance floor and waving to the crowd, while Dominick read something we had written. The “speech” we gave Dominick to read was about our goals and accomplishments within the Bear Community. This was the most pageant-y part of the whole competition to me, because it involved waving and smiling a bit longer than I could tolerate waving and smiling. It felt like I was on the cast of the Beverly Hillbillies during the end credits. My smile felt –and I am sure looked-insincere. I tried to replace the Beverly Hillbillies image with the Robert Altman movie “Smile” instead, as Dominick read to the audience. Wave and smile –walk walk Wave and Smile- walk walk . Of course the breathtaking Javier did it with the greatest of ease and exuded joy through the whole walk of fame. My “wave and walk “was one of the most surreal moments of the whole experience.

Then we did another quick but exhausting raffle race. Thankfully it was the last one. All my economic fluid connections were tapped out. Many attendees had purchased from us earlier that afternoon and there were roughly two attendees per contestant to sell to. I tried the Hello-My-Name-P.A.-schtick but the music was too loud to hold an intimate casual conversation. I couldn’t find a judge to save my life. My dedicated, handsome “Bag Bitch” Orlando held steady at my side but we were weary of the whole raffle thing –despite the nap. We paused to look out at the sea of twinks out on the dance floor clapping and twirling. They were good but where the hell did they come from? This was an unusual sight at a Bear Run. There was one sassy little spitfire who was totally getting all the attention with "her" fast paced spins. I could spot a couple of otters but by god it was Country-twink-city on the dance floor. Orlando pointed at the sassy one I saw earlier. He had overheard “her” say, “I could give a shit about this bear stuff –I came to two step!” If I had heard that then "little missy" would’ve quickly learned what my logo “woof with bite” meant. That would've been bad because I might've drawn blood and that -my friends is not very contestant-like behavior.

I was extremely tired by 9:45. Ridiculous I know, but I had only four hours of sleep under my belt so...go figure. A nice man came smiling and rushing up to me. In my blear I think it may have been IBR Contestant Judge Tony Hart. To be honest-I am not sure... but I remember thinking, "oh good! I sold some tickets to a judge!" He said, " I wanted to be sure that I bought tickets from every contestant." How nice! Orlando and I passed other contestants on the way to Paul Almy before calling it a night. My head was spinning with fatigue. Many of the contestants seemed to have a similar amount of raffle tickets left on their roll. That is - almost every contestant but the beautiful one  from Spain: Javier. He had a ring of tickets that was no bigger than a bracelet. I looked at Orlando with a dead pan that rivaled Jack Benny's. Orlando asked me, " C'mon. Are you surprised? Really?" I guessed that I really wasn't. I would be a fool to think that being hot didn't help in this sort of game. Lucky Javier.
The inimitable (sp?) Joe Mannetti
Before we called it a night, my ever-competitive Orlando Bear took one for the team. An elderly man who was sporting a Muu-muu of sorts and had enjoyed one too-many gin gimlets, became entranced with Orlando's nipples and simply had to have a taste. He said he would buy an inseam's worth if he could suck his left nipple. Clearly this wasn't my decision so I looked at my Lando Bear with a questioning expression. He took a deep breath, shut his eyes and went to the "far away place" in his brain while I knelt down and tried to find an inseam in a Muu- Muu. Try measuring THAT without touching something you'd rather not. We both paid for that one. After we had turned in the earnings to Paul, I disinfected Orlando's nipple and washed the hell outta my hands. Selling raffle tickets this way clearly had it's downside and quite frankly-I had determined that I would NEVER do it again. I needed my beauty sleep, so we headed home for a late night snack, while I studied my bear history. I didn't want to make a mistake with the judges. As it turned out, all of my studying wasn't going to count for anything. Two of the judges hated me before I even opened my mouth...but we will save that for the next blog.