Bearquake 2011 tips the Richter scaleGear Up! Thursday, October 20th, 2011
Social Chaos: Gear Up!
Tough Bears, Sissy Bears, Bears from round the block. Muscle Bears, Teddy Bears, even Bears who like to shop. The Bears we love to love.
Last weekend, San Diego played host to Bears as San Diego presented BearQuake 2011. And this year’s theme was “Bearlesque.” The weekend kicked-off with a social, a snack, a few sips, and “Baraka” at the Redwing. My favorite was a newcomer to San Diego, Eli. Baraka was hosted by Ricky AKA “Regina Styles.” Throughout the contest I noted the support of local community organizations such as the Imperial Court de San Diego; Duncan, was a judge and Roxy Bleau was the Mistress of Ceremony; and they were both dressed to the nines. Nicole Murray Ramirez, The Emperor Alan, Ashley O’Day and others all played integral parts in helping Jeff Breeze; who by the way is the current membership and social chairman of Bears San Diego, was a judge, and recipient of the Board of Directors Award. The other judges were San Diego Mr. Leather 2011, Kirk Wendelborg; a very handsome Terry Leftgoff; Mr. So Cal Bear/cub 2011 of L.A, and to round out the judging panel with a little bit of flare was the last judge, but certainly not least, Sister Kali Vagilistic X.P. Aladocious of the The Asylum of the Tortured Heart of San Diego.
On Friday night there was standing room only inside at Pecs Bar. The bar staff was very busy. The weekend was getting off to a great start. It was so busy a lined to get into Pecs formed outside to get in the bar. Yes, “The Bears” had descended on San Diego in packs. The was contest supported by a cast of community and National sponsors like Redwing, BarenJaeger/Jaegermeister, Brian’s American Eatery, Baja Betty’s, CCBC Resort of Cathedral City and Pleasures and Treasures just to name a few. BarenJaeger/Jaegermeister even had real bear mascot. There were members selling shots to benefit this year’s chosen charity; Special Delivery, an organization that feeds members of the community affected by HIV and AIDS. The contestants were down on their knees all night selling raffle tickets to help raise donations for Special Delivery. Those who didn’t want to stand in line at Pecs spilled over into the San Diego Eagle, which promoted a festive environment. All I have to say is there were a lot shots floating around; ironically, they were Jaeger shots. That night all the bars closed down with the crowds being ushered out the door. That was okay because the next day, what would a Bear weekend be without a pool party… It was a “private” party, of course with donations going to the weekend’s charity Special Delivery. And of course there was food. It just would not be right to have a Bear party without food and beverage. I snapped a view photos, but I had to make sure I aimed my camera lens up. Needless to say the pool was filled with those frisky, furry friends of mine, “Da Bears.” A good time was had by all. I took along a few guests who were pleasantly surprised. The Bears lounged around for most of the afternoon and then poured themselves out into the shuttle and headed back to the Lafayette Hotel, home of Bear Quake.
Our MC, Ms. Roxy Bleau graced the crowd as she always does with wit and tit. But it was the Bears that we came to see. Rich’s was filled with about 150 Bears and Bear lovers. The winners of this contest have an option to go on and run for Texas Bear Round-up (TBRU) held in Dallas, International Mr. Leather (IML), or Bear Pride which is held during the same weekend in Chicago as IML. Bears San Diego started back in 1994. Bear Quake is combination of the Bears San Diego and Bears Los Angeles which why the title is Mr. So Cal Bear/Cub.
To get things started, Sister Nora Torious bestowed a blessing upon the contest, then she performed an opening Bearlesque number with Mark Flores, Mike Ferguson, Bill Fike and Jovani Martinez; all donned in top hats. The audience was also entertained by very unique group called Studio Revolution, made up of Travis Spackman, Jesse De La Cruz, Cheetah Platt and Tom Wall. They performed a combination of dance, Zumba, yoga and aerial yoga. They performed six times that evening; at the contest and during the L.L. Bear Dance. One of dancers was very hot, but not because he danced with fire, but he did… He was warm to the touch.
Once we got past the technical difficulties, the show went on non-stop from there. But I’m sure the folks who were running late were glad there was a delay in the program. If not for the technical difficulties, those late comers would have missed a very entertaining contest. During these brief moments, Roxy’s dialogue turned educational. She gave the definition of burlesque, and then gave a few examples like Beth Midler and the likes. Her goal was to trigger some memories in those of us who knew who Beth Midler is, but instead, she was met with a few blank stares. That’s because, the bears are getting younger, and yet just as handsome as those who has paved the way for them. I was glad to see the youngsters in the crowd. If they didn’t get anything physical to take home on Saturday night, they received some gay man’s knowledge from not only an entertainer, but an educator. That’s my Roxy.
The three handsome contestants were, Esteban Nunez of LA; Dave Bendixen of San Diego; and Ron Brundige of Temecula. After their introductions the contestants returned to entertain us with their fantasies. The ranged from, the hot neighbor who locked himself and knocked on Esteban’s door and asked if he could shower, to Dave’s fantasizing about being manhandled by trucker, then on to Ron who performed to a hot tune called “Knight in Black Leather.” Then he had a wardrobe malfunction, but he held on to it.
Charity begins at home. And Bears San Diego worked hard. Their efforts were obviously aimed at giving back to the community. Marvin from Special Delivery received a donation, and the Trevor Project, whose goal is to end suicide among Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender (LGBT) youth by providing life-saving and life-affirming resources nationwide will also receive a donation. To benchmark on the Trevor Project a video was shown with a culmination of community members and leaders reaffirming today’s gay youth that, “It does get better.”
At time the question arises, why have a contest? Why do groups like the Sisters, Imperial Court; Leather, Levi and Bear groups have these events? Most of time it’s for charity; to take care of members in the LGBT community, not just to have a contest. The contest is to entertain the audience while a more worthwhile cause is running the background. These events also provide a place for the young men and women to meet other like-minded individuals. I spoke with a young Bear this weekend at the pool party. He said he heard about Bear Quake and decided that at ripe age of 24 it was time for him to step away from the wall and blossom into whatever flower he’ll become. This was his first Bear event, and he was having a great time. He actually went up to someone, introduced himself, and now he has a date. Go forth and prosper young bear. It’s because of organizations like The Trevor Project that he and others like him will grow and become the leaders of tomorrow; tackling new challenges.
Speaking of challenges, the Bears awarded Nick, Manager of Rich’s, the Jerry Colinard Memorial Award. Nick throughout the evening was faced with challenges, and tackled each with a zealous attack. He single-handedly hung a new screen on stage during the contest so that we could all watch The Trevor Project videos. This just a one night glimpse of what Nick has been doing for the community all the time. He deserves the award.
After the break and the silent auctions closed, it was time to announce the winners. Roxy returned in a stunning, very beautiful shinny blue gown. The Bears San Diego Board of Directors addressed the audience and was on hand to announce Mr. Ron Brundige as Mr. So Cal Bear 2011, and Dave Bendixen as So Cal Cub 2011.
There were a number of folks working behind the scene, but I do remember seeing some names that I have not mentioned like Donald Riggs, and Jeff Rosenfeld. I remember them because I saw them all weekend. I look forward to attending Bear Quake 2012, and so should you.
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