Everybody Furrlesque!

May 18, 2011

See this is why I love bears: they're so comfortable in their own skin and like the beloved Honey Badger, they don't give a shit. A new bear burlesque-style show out of Chicago is proving just that, taking a troupe of 14 bears, cubs, otters and wolves and dancing about through the nightlife scene. "Furrlesque" has set out to encourage the all inclusive sentiment that the bear community is so well known for, all under the guise of dance moves, sex appeal, and the infamous burlesque tease. You'll find some really insightful quotes from the group here and a bit more about how they got started.

With such focus on body image in the gay community, I applaud anyone who tries to subvert the oft excepted notion that we need a six-pack to be sexy. Especially people taking it on in such a fun way. The truth is, there a million different things that make a man sexy, and then a million other things that make a body sexy. Most of all it's the confidence in knowing who you are and and what you've got that carries it all. Bears are better than anyone at this, and I think it mostly because of the environment they surround themselves with. Like most behavior in the gay community, its learned. I only wish that our entire community would be more willing to disassociate itself with judgement and embrace the open, excepting, and supportive nature our bear brethren abide by.

And that's all I have to say about that...today.

If you're in the Chicago area be sure to check out these performances of "FurrLesque" and send us a sexy report!

Upcoming “FurrLesque” performances:
May 20: Chicago History Museum Gala
May 21: Chicago History Museum “Out in Chicago”
May 30: BearBQ at Sidetrack
June 12: Milwaukee PrideFest (Dance Pavilion)

Image from a "FurrLesque" promotional poster.

Tags: bears, chicago, fur
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Post written by RobHeartsDH (View Author Profile)
About this author: Rob lives in Manhattan with his black pug Riley. When he’s not thinking about daddies, he enjoys writing, eating burritos, watching copious amounts of television, and thinking about his next meal.
View all posts by RobHeartsDH


That is a wonderful idea and the scene taking place in the photograph is obviously fun and in good taste, no pun intended! But... should those fellas be considered BEARS?

In addition, as a true (jaded??) New Yorker myself, I've been quite put off by the attitude encountered out there in public by some of the "bears". It's almost as if they've forgotten how thay had been treated in the past by other social cliques. How often did any one of us bears feel shunned at a party or any other gathering for our appearance (or views)... Imagine my surprise when I see the same behaviour being repeated by the "bear" community.

I'm inclined to start a new group... the RACCOONS! Anyone up for early evenings action in dark alleys, and sleeping all day? MUST be able to beg for food and look cute in the process...

I think our furry friends in the forests would be appalled by our behavior!

Those don't look like bears to me. But I can say of all the groups I've encountered I find bears to be the friendliest. A shy guy like myself as I have been since I came out into the gay world, they've been the most accepting of me and I find most of my friends sit in that particular group. I do have to agree with Mantikcore that there have been some pretty sour attitudes popping up in the community though. I hope this doesn't become a mainstream thing because I have been really enjoying the bear community.

I always thought that, to be a bear, you just had to be hairy. Then I moved to California and discovered that many men who were heavy but not hairy at all were considered bears. And the hairy guys in good shape were called muscle bears. Personally, I think we've gotten too hung up on labels because they make it easier to search for partners, whether in specialized bars or online. I would be much happier if the gay community were inclined to be more inclusive and less focused on the labels that divide us.

Respect@muzyqman. Labels have gone too far and we have forgotten we are people first and foremost.

People do naturally form groups and alliances based on everything from politics to cultural preferences as it seems the melting pot experiment in the United States is not the success that was hoped due to human nature and people naturally feel better when relaxing with their own type as can be seen equally on a golf course, in a pub, in a cocktail lounge or at a bear event where there is yet another commonality among the group. The wolf pack instinct lives on in many varieties with a wide range of unofficial wardrobe requirements (bears, leather, coffee shop cult, Daddys n boi's, pride marchers, etc) but most of the time the difference is not noticeable at all when everyone is out shopping and getting on with routines and not looking anything like images seen on TV or the Internet. Everyone is pretty similar in terms of every day general daily type stuff apart from the entertainment and more private relaxation aspects of socializing for sure.

Ok the labels are maybe too much and the guy with the honey is pretty trim for a "bear" but the eater has a belly onhim if he is not prone. Damn lets not take any of this too serious. Most of us tent to l ike people who are like us, interests, work, and yes body shape. Labels help but certainly not the end all be all. Have fun with it and then meet a great guy.

Just goes to show how many of you actually READ the article and went straight for the pretty pictures!

RobHeartsDH said in his original post "A new bear burlesque-style show out of Chicago is proving just that, taking a troupe of 14 bears, cubs, otters and wolves and dancing about through the nightlife scene."

So you see they may not look like bears cause, there are cubs, otters, & wolves also included.

I READ the article, which was about an entertainment meant to subvert or expand upon notions of what is perceived to be sexy in the gay community.

I think folks are commenting on the picture in that it is pretty generic in terms of gay male beauty and subverts or expands very little...

Underneath the outer appearance there is the same person underneath that is vulnerable and needing bonding in various forms and the one he bonds with may not even dress the same at all. Eventually there will be social advancement when the ancient scrolls containing lots of severe language are just tossed away and are no longer what is pulling the strings and pushing the buttons of many cultures which stagnates the actual advancement that some claim to be about. Whatever is done between consensual adults is all good regardless of what anyone outside the consenting relationship thinks. We will always be drawn to things based on inner instincts to a certain degree because even a court room can't order the inner naughty beastie to conform. If everyone conformed to a perceived idea of the norm then we could all walk around in white suits of compliance with numbers instead of names. Then we could be sedated till there is a total lack of character, personality and individualism. Lots of public service messages can entertain us till the eyes glaze over. WHATEVER WORKS between 2 guys is simply fine indeed. I guess toleration and acceptance is a better idea than being in "zero tolerance" mode for sure.

Conventional wisdom is that, when the bear community first developed, it was open, accepting, and supportive. Yes, one does not have to have a six pack to be sexy in the bear community.

But I see a different prevailing asethetic on bear websites--the insistence on masculinity and its trappings. Having a beard, having a hairy chest, being large in size and the "blue collar" look is what is passing for sexy on these bear websites. In my view, the gender stereotyping (what one expects a man to be) is quite rigid in the bear community.

So what if a six-pack isn't what is sexy to bears? Is it any more accepting, or open that, to be sexy as a bear, you need to have facial hair, a hairy chest, and be "masculine"?

Love a bear.It is true that having a six pack and in shape is considered hot. Now it is true that a man who looks good like that is hot but there are other body types that are hot.