Bear Stew #14

Bear Stew #14
Tasty Manbytes Served Steaming Hot
by Ron Suresha

Daddybear Rocco and I headed north for a fun and somewhat wet late August weekend, joining about 125 fur fatale cinemaphiles attending the first Vermont Bear Film Festival at the pleasantly rustic Tree Frog Farm. Old friends and new gathered from all over the region to hang out in the hottub, play strip croquet, and buy bearwear etc from a traveling bookstore set up by NoHo’s Pride & Joy. Mostly, we watched some very funny and moving bearflicks, munching popcorn and snacks from Cubby’s Corner Concessions, and enjoying the camaraderie.
Screenings were held in the Organ Barn, which indeed features a rather prominent working organ played by master organist Joe Downing, wearing only a jock, boots and cowbear hat, while I presented a Bear Lust Story Hour. The weekend was hosted by the woolly and charming farm/retreat co-owner, Emmy-winning producer John Scagliotti, creator of the PBS series In the Life.
Headlining the 16+ presentations was A Bear’s Story, its writer and star Kevin Bowe in attendance, and premieres of The Hairy Underbelly of Portugal and Penis Cam. Two excellent parodies, Casey’s Dad (by Daddy Todd, based on the pop hit “Stacy’s Mom”) and Beautiful (from Bryan Horch, based on the Christina anthem), had the barn singing along and hooting. Well, me, at least.
“The Original Beatnik Bear,” a 1983 interview with gay bear poet and visionary Allen Ginsberg, briefly reveals a deeply sexual man with body issues – mainly, a hardon for Jack Kerouac – and ends with Allen reading his poem, “In Society.” A fifteen-minute ritual is enacted in “Goatboy and the Potato Chip Ritual,” by Harry Hay, the spiritual founder of the Radical Faeries and organizer of the first American gay-rights organization, Mattachine Society. Goatboy “craves potato chips and his journey to get them brings us some of the finest archival material ever recorded from the early days of the Radical Faeries. . . . Harry leads a circle of men who decide that Goat Boy must submit to the Mud Pit if he is to win his potato chips.”
The uncut version of Cachorro (Bear Cub) and two shorts by Vancouver filmmaker Clark Nikolai were also shown. Rocco reports that the jackoff sessions during bearfilms.com screenings in The Shed abruptly halted when the DVD stopped and the hapless cubs couldn’t figure out how to restart the movie!

Furtoons: as bears, wolves, otters, and other furry woodland critters are iconically familiar and relatively easy mammals to draw, bear cartoons have come to us from The Adventures of Hairy Chess through Tim Barela‘s sitcomic series, Leonard & Larry, somewhat languishing since his last book, How Real Men Do It, for which I penned the intro. Not soon enough to fill the void, it seems, a whole mess o’ fur-flesh has hit ink and brush in the form of cartoons and graphic stories.
Topping my list is the steamy eroticart mag, Sticky #1, penned by Dale Lazarov and inked by Canadian-in-Tokyo artist Steve Macisaac. The color graphic story develops a street fair hook-up between two built hotties into some of the most explosive mansex visual art that I’ve seen recently. The masculine play is versatile and safe and fiery as all hell. Order this and check out this bone-popper for yourself at eroscomix.com.
Becoming Blizzard is surely destined to become the first gay cartoon bear band on the run. Think Josie and the Pussycats devoured whole by four Berenstein Bears. Entrepreneur Michael West, deeply impressed upon seeing artist Rondall Carson‘s artwork of several Disneyesqe bear characters, enjoined Rondall to combine their talents and “bring his incredible bear characters to the world through a newly formed company called BTB MultiMedia Inc.” Check out their Website: these guys have 25+ strips going featuring four verrry cool, urban, twentysomething, gay, bi, and straight characters, Blizzard, Rufus, Jim, and BC. Rondall’s cover art for Woobie Bear Music‘s excellent new compilation or bear songsters, Bear Tracks 3, led to featuring the bear musical quartet singing one of their group’s new music currently running on BearRadio.Net. We’re talking endless marketing possibilities here for a Saturday morning kids’ show on Logo TV, folks.

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Finally, I am drawn to speak solemnly of hurricane Katrina, which devastated my beloved second home of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast scant days before Southern Decadence. Many of our brothers and sisters from the New Orleans Bear & Bear Trapper Organization were displaced, including Kajunbear and Dale and Dave from Sweet Olive B&B in the Faubourg-Marigny area. To our Big Easy bears – our friends, lovers, and family who are in need: know that AmBear readers, bears and bearlovers around the country and the world, send their best wishes and prayers to you. Know that we are sending help. Just hang on, and take very good care of yourselves and each other.


This column, Bear Stew #14, first appeared in the last American Bear magazine #70, in January 2006.

Author: Ron Suresha

Ron Jackson Suresha is an editor, anthologist, and writer. He is considered an authority on emergent queer masculinities, in particular the subcultures of gay and bi male Bears and of male bisexuality. For Ron's service to the bear community, he was named "Bear of the Year" 2008. Born in Detroit, Michigan, Suresha attended the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, 1976-8), where he studied creative writing, and Vista College (Berkeley, Cal., 1989-92), where he studied American Sign Language. For more than two decades, he has worked as a freelance proofreader for trade book publishers such as Shambhala Publications. He was married in October 2004 to Rocco Russo. He is also a licensed Justice of the Peace in Connecticut, an ordained minister, ULC, and a member of the New London Green Party. Nonfiction works include Bears on Bears: Interviews & Discussions; Bi Men: Coming Out (coeditor, with Pete Chvany); Bisexual Perspectives on the Life and Work of Alfred C. Kinsey (editor). His latest book is The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin: Stories, jests, and donkey tales of the beloved Persian folk hero, published by Lethe Press.