By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Are twinks gradually becoming the world's most endangered species since the kangaroo rat? Sure, their trim forms, asymmetrical hairstyles, and piercing squeals whenever a Lady Gaga song comes on are as adorable as ever, but it seems it's bears that are currently rising with a fiercer bullet in the hierarchy of gay body types. Bears are trumping chicken!
The chubby, hairy gays are way better organized as a community and, as gym fascism wanes a bit, they've ratcheted up their acceptance as available sexual objects (which is good news for my own trajectory, especially if I gain just five more pounds and a hint of taint stubble). They're more in tune with the earthier, less narcissistic era we're apparently entering (though their occasional distaste for effeminacy makes me fear for just the kind of internal LGBT oppression they're supposedly running from). And now, they're heading toward the big screen in BearCity, a fictional feature co-written by entertainment journalist Lawrence Ferber and director Douglas Langway, who are shooting everywhere from the Ramrod to the Eagle.
Ferber's known for his shorts Birthday Time and Cruise Control, while Langway did the lavender action film Raising Heroes, in which a gay kicked some serious mobster ass. Sensing that most bears are far from grizzly, they pitched BearCity to TLA as a series of beefy webisodes about the romantic adventures of a pack of abs-less friends, with the tagline: "Romance can be hairy." TLA felt it seemed more panda-licious as a feature film, so here it comes—a sort of full-length Sex and the City with body fur instead of the other kind.
The cinematic bear-backers submitted to my (bi-)polar line of questioning just the other day:
Me: Hi, guys. Why are bears so sizzling right now? Why is ursa so major?
Doug: The gay community is looking for a more natural look, and, as we become more accepted, it feels like it's more mainstream. We're building a new generation of gay people who have options to look any way they want, whether that be drag queen or muscle bear. I think beards and hair and masculinity are becoming more powerful than sleek and slender and smooth. The bear sensibility allows gays to not have to act as anything but themselves.
Me: Speak for yourself! What's the funniest and/or wildest thing that has happened on the set so far?
Doug: The boom operator let his pants come down during booming, and nobody is sure if it's because he wanted to get some attention or they were loose. They dropped, and he almost got a mauling! The bear scene has found a new pick-up joint, and that's the set of BearCity! Numbers are being exchanged!
Me: Booming, indeed!
Lawrence: Another time, we were shooting inside an apartment in Hell's Kitchen, and a veritable VIP party seemed to be taking place outside. I'm told over a dozen celebrities walked by, including Anderson Cooper and Justin Kirk. I asked the production assistants to chloroform the next celeb to walk by so we could get a "cameo" from them. Drag them upstairs to the camera, and prod them to say, "Bear!" as they wake up, and we'd use that for a dream sequence or something.
Me: I bet Anderson would have done that without prodding.
Lawrence: Other than that, it seems like everyone's cuddling all the time. I can't imagine a film about circuit queens being so full of cuddling between takes. And funny to me is how many chasers are hidden among our cast and crew—even the females!
Me: I guess it brings out the Goldilocks in them. Does the movie have lots of hairy nudity and sex?
Lawrence: Yes! But it's Sex and the City–style, so we have "modesty patches" for the actors—they're flesh-colored patches that you pack your junk into. But that doesn't mean everyone has been using theirs!
Me: Girl, I'm heading to the set right now!
Where The Wild Things Are
Since other body options are OK, too, I checked out Too Ugly for TV, the monthly drag revue at the Christopher Street bar Pieces, hosted by salty Vodka Stinger and vampy Tallulah DeBayous, both accessorized with stiff hair and stiffer cocktails. Last week, the show was highlighted by a lovely performance of "The Rose," accompanied by an autoharp, an audience game of "Are You Stupider Than a Straight Girl?" (it ended up as a tie), and Tallulah announcing, "It's been a year since I was beaten by a colored person and called 'faggot' by the police. Applause!" Most of the crowd obliged, but avant-garde theater legend Everett Quinton promptly sashayed to the exit. If you can appall him, you're pretty special.
The week's other holes were filled with the Fringe Festival's exercises in oddball entertainment, like How Now, Dow Jones, a game enough revival of an extremely so-so '60s musical. The plot—a false report of a Wall Street boom spurs economic chaos—is extra relevant, as witnessed by the fact that this production has only eight performers and a piano player. But the show is most notable for the occasional dark touches, like a suicidal wacko singing about the girl he impregnated: "You're no lady/You're a dirty trick." So much for modesty patches.