Time to watch the fur fly

TBRU turns 21 with a Mardi Gras party, and gay Dallas is getting in on the act

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OTTERS AND GRIZZLIES AND CHASERS, OH MY! | TBRU weekend includes Aussie hottie DJ Matt Effect spinning at Fur Ball.

There’s something magical about turning 21. You can drink legally, just eight years after you first started. You’re considered an adult for all purposes except car rental and paying back your student loans. You feel mature, but are still young enough to turn heads.

It must be the same for the Texas Bear Round Up, the annual post-hibernation gathering of fleshy and hirsute gay men (and their followers), which the Dallas Bears has been putting on now for two decades. For the 21st annual event — which takes place this weekend at two host hotels, as well as various venues throughout the gayborhood — organizers have chosen a Mardi Gras theme. And why not? Mardi Gras is the epitome of reckless abandon, a carnival atmosphere where the pleasures of the flesh in this world outrank better judgment. Which is exactly what turning 21 feels like.

There are a variety of formal events scheduled for the weekend. In addition to games at Love Field Hotel and Suites and pool parties and the vendors market at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, plus Saturday night’s Mr. TBRU contest, there will be excursions across Dallas: Friday night’s BearDance at Station 4 features a guest appearance from Willam Belli of RuPaul’s Drag Race; the Dallas Eagle, Round-Up Saloon and Cedar Springs Tap House will each host events; and Club Dallas and Midtowne Spa will serve as day trips for attendees.

There are non-official events as well, with New York promoter Joe Fiore bringing his FurBall to Marty’s Live on Saturday, with Sydney’s DJ Matt Effect headlining and Dallas’ DJ Prince P opening. And the Hidden Door is once again home of the traditional “church” outing for Sunday.

Below is a schedule of major planned events. You can also find more at TBRU.org.

 — Arnold Wayne Jones

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Willam Belli performs at BearDance on Saturday, March 12.

Friday, March 11

• At the host hotels
Noon — Pool Party (indoor pool!) at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
Noon — Cards Against Humanity; Bear-aoke at Love Field Hotel.
2:30 p.m. — Bear Family Feud at Love Field Hotel.
4:30 p.m. — Bear Bingo with Sister Helen Holy at Love Field Hotel.

• Excursions (all buses leave from Crowne Plaza)
11 a.m. — Perot Museum of Nature and Science.
11 a.m. — Bishop Arts Food Tour.
2 p.m. — Spa trip to Club Dallas.
5:30 p.m. — Cigar trip to Blue Smoke.
8 p.m. — BearDance at Station 4 with DJ Roke Cabrera and DJ Chris Spear, plus a performance from Drag Racer Willam Belli in the Rose Room, with Rick and Joe from Where the Bears Are taking photos and doing a meet-and-greet.

Saturday, March 12

• At the host hotels

Noon — Pool party at Crowne Plaza.
Noon — Bear Trivia at Love Field Hotel.
2:30 p.m. — Naughty Bear Bingo at Love Field Hotel.
8:30 p.m. — Mr. TBRU Contest at the Crowne Plaza.
11 p.m. — Underwear auction at the Crowne Plaza.

• Excursions
11 a.m. — Noble Rey Brewery tour.
11:30 a.m. — Spa trip to Midtowne Spa.
5:30 p.m. — Family Dinner at The Ranch.

• Also featured
9 p.m. — FurBall at Marty’s Live with DJ Matt Effect.
Sunday, March 13

• Excursions
11:40 a.m. — Shuttles begin to leave for TBRU Texas Barbecue at the Round-Up Saloon.
3 p.m. — “Church” at the Hidden Door.
4 p.m. Spa trip to Club Dallas.
5 p.m. — Official TBRU After-Party: Trash Disco at Dallas Eagle with DJ Blaine Soileau.
6 p.m. — Cigar Party at Cedar Springs Tap House.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 11, 2016.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

New Dallas Bears president has his paws in many honeypots

gauge-xavierThe last few months have been a whirlwind for Gauge Xavier.

Last summer, he was named Bear of the Year by the Dallas Bears, while simultaneously rising to the position of vice president. Then in November, the president, Ray Farias — who also happens to be Xavier’s best friend — had to step down from his duties for health reasons. Suddenly, Xavier was president of the group.

“I had no plans on being president,” Xavier admits. “I’m trying to respect what Ray started, but also leave my own mark.”

There are big shoes to fill in any case. Before Farias, Wayne Davis had served as president of the Dallas Bears for six years; Farias had been groomed to take over when Davis stepped down. Now Xavier has to take over those duties with little preparation.

“It’s been a challenge, but luckily Wayne and a lot of other legacy members are still involved.  I lean on them for a lot of support. I actually asked Wayne to step in and help run” the Texas Bear Round Up, the Dallas Bears’ big annual convention of hirsute and/or big-bellied men and their admirers. The event, which takes place every March, has grown exponentially in recent years.

“Last year we had 1,708 attendees,” Xavier says. “This year we hope for between 1,800 and 2,000. We’ve actually had to split it into a ‘day host hotel’ and a ‘night host hotel’” to accommodate all the guests.

If that was all Xavier had on his plate, it would still be a lot. But in addition, he recently founded Team Friendly DFW, a group dedicated to “giving a new face to HIV awareness and eliminate the stigma of HIV,” Xavier says. The process started this summer at the International LeatherSir convention in Dallas, when Xavier met with former Mr. Michigan Leather Dave Watt, who founded the Mr. Friendly Project in 2008. The Dallas chapter was established in September — a month or two before Xavier learned he’d also be president of the Bears. (All of these, by the way, are volunteer positions.)

83773703This Friday, Team Friendly DFW holds its inaugural fundraiser — an underwear auction at the Dallas Eagle called The Tug Party.

“We’re just getting started so we can file for our 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. We will start out will grass-roots training — re-teaching people how to approach and talk to people with AIDS and HIV,” Xavier says. “Our base [at first] will be bar outreach, but we want to be more of that. We reach out to the entire community — not just the gay community. We have meetings scheduled with LULAC because [infection] numbers are on the rise in the Hispanic community. We have partnered with the Resource Center to be our testing arm, and the Dallas Bears are already helping out.”

But first there’s Friday’s underwear auction (“we have 14 models, of all different shapes and sizes — even a straight man!”) and on Saturday, the Dallas Bears are hosting their first-ever Casserole Cook-Off at the Round-Up (a twist on the typical chili cook-off). Then it’s hunkering down for TBRU.

Just a typical week lately for Gauge Xavier.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

After 6 years, Dallas Bears pass the honey to new leadership

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Wayne Davis has been a member of the Dallas Bears for so long, he easily remembers when they could hold the annual membership meeting in a small room. And then they moved on to a restaurant. And another restaurant. And now, in a room inside the Crowne Plaza Market Center hotel, the same host hotel for the annual Texas Bear Round Up each spring. That’s an indication of growth.

And a lot of that growth took place under Davis, who first became president of the club in 2009 and was repeatedly re-elected — six times, in fact, until this year, when he finally stepped aside. (Davis will remain on the board, in his former position — treasurer.)

At the dinner last Saturday at the Crowne Plaza, at which approximately 100 bears attended, Davis voiced his emotional farewells, bestowed a few awards, gave away money, introduced the new board and— perhaps most predictably — teared up.

The Dallas Bears’ new president Ray Farias, took to the podium to share a few thoughts. the new vice president, Gauge Xavier, stood on the dais twice — once as a board member, and once when accepting the top award of the night: Bear of the Year.

The Dallas Bears have always been a nonprofit charitable group, and this year they gave away a record amount of money — a hair shy of $82,000, including donations to Resource Center ($37,000), the Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund, AIDS Outreach Center of Fort Worth ($18,500 each) and AIDS Services of Dallas.

This was the 20th annual Dallas Bears celebration; next year, its 21st TBRU event will have the theme Mardi Gras.

Here are some more photos from the event.

 

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

TBRU rocked Dallas

Posted on 17 Mar 2014 at 3:06pm
Photos by Chuck Marcelo  

WATCH: BearDance video spoofs Super Bowl ad

Screen shot 2014-02-03 at 10.00.42 AMThe call went out on social media last week: Bears were invited to show up in the gayborhood to film a video. Shorts and athletic shoes — no shirts — were all that was required. What was it for? Well, now we know.

The Texas Bear Round Up is about five weeks away, and its Friday night BearDance is gearing up to let bears and chasers know. And the group did so with this video, spoofing a GoDaddy.com. which ran during the Super Bowl. And it makes its point very well:

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Dallas Bears donate $69K to charities

$69K

On Saturday, the Dallas Bears held their annual anniversary dinner and celebration, as well as the installation of the new board of directors (which looks a lot like the previous board), at the Toby Keith Grill … and because they were bears, there was plenty to eat. But in addition to food, fellowship and fondling (well, just a little), they also formalized all their donations from the previous year’s events, including Texas Bear Round Up 18 and food and school supply drives. Among the funds awarded: $33,000 to Youth First Texas, a program of Resource Center Dallas; $16,500 to RCD’s nutrition program; $16,500 to the Sharon St. Cyr Fund (which aids the hearing impaired); and $3,000 in school supplies and food. Add all those up and … hmmmm … that’s $69,000. Repeat: Sixty-nine.

Those bears can even make charity gay.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Bear bar worker Brian Mooney needs your help to fight colon cancer

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Brian Mooney

One of the best things about my job is all the people I meet. But when you do it long enough, one of the worst things is seeing tragedy befall them.

That’s how I feel about Brian Mooney, whom I met about three years ago when he was our poster-boy for the 2010 Texas Bear Round-Up. I interviewed and did a photoshoot with Brian, and was immediately drawn to his personality and charisma.

Brian doesn’t look so good right now. He’s “40 and would like to see 41,” which is in danger due to his diagnosis of stage 4 colon cancer, the result of something called Lynch syndrome. The mischievous, friendly fellow needs $20,000 because he doesn’t have health insurance. It really is needed to save his life. (He’s raised about $6,000 so far.)

You may already know Brian from his job at Dallas Eagle, where he often would smile at you behind a thick beard while sporting a sexy singlet. We all wanna see this Navy veteran back there again, doing his thing. And with BearDance coming up this weekend, we’re thinking about him especially.

Click here to make a donation until May 31. Or you can come out the the Dallas Eagle on Sunday from 4 to 8 p.m. and support the barbecue and fundraiser sponsored by Brian’s friends to help him out. Do what you can.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Scenes from Texas Bear Round-Up 18

Photos by Chuck Marcelo (Dallas Voice/MarceloMedia)

—  C Marcelo

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

IMG_6871It would be difficult to conceive more events of interest to the gay community going on during a single week. Best of all, every taste is served.

Speaking of taste, Savor Dallas returns this weekend with the Friday wine stroll already sold out, but there are still tickets available for the International Grand Tasting at the Irving Convention Center Saturday night and the first-ever Savor at the Arboretum Sunday evening.

We know bears love to eat, but probably most of the gay bears in town this weekend will be on the prowl for fresh meat at the Texas Bear Round Up 18: Casino Bear Royale. The BearDance is on Friday with DJ John LePage, but there are plenty of other events spread out over three days.

You can still go to Bruce Wood Dance Project’s My Brother’s Keeper dance recital on Friday night and have time to make it to BearDance (it’s what I will be doing). A revised expansion of a piece Wood debuted last year, it runs Friday at 8 p.m. then again on Saturday.

On Sunday, the next exhibit of Cindy Sherman photographs opens at the Dallas Museum of Art. If you’ve never seen a Sherman photo — she’s the model in virtually all of them (pictured), as well as the photographer, conceiver, makeup artist, set decorator and location scout — you don’t want to miss this phenomenal show, which bends gender and identity in disturbing and hilarious ways.

Up in Addison, the Out of the Loop Fringe Festival continues at WaterTower Theatre. Among the offerings: Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays — a collection of nine 10-minute plays from eight different playwrights — is a hit-or-miss affair, but entirely worth Kristin Spires’ frantic performance as a beset GOP woman in Paul Rudnick’s The Gay Agenda and Todd Camp’s touching monologue about the loss of his partner of 36 years, London Mosquitoes by Moises Kaufman. You can catch that one on Sunday at 5 p.m. Before that, be sure to check out The Morning After Show (Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 5 p.m.), Ayala Hamilton’s riotous show.

And with the weather nice, it’s no better time to go out and enjoy Dallas Blooms at the Arboretum.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

In time for TBRU, a fun, true story

Mr-TBRU-entrants-and-winners-at-RU-copyWith Texas Bear Round Up starting today, I was thinking about this online exchange from a few weeks ago.

Iris McCallister, the wife of FT33 chef Matt McCallister, is a frequent LIKEr of my Facebook posts, and vice versa. A few weeks ago, Iris posted something like this on her Facebook page: “Just came from a beer tasting and never have I seen so many bearded men in flannel!”

Being the jokester I am, I said, “You should attend TBRU!”

Ha. Good one, I thought.

But Iris, being a straight married lady, didn’t get it.

“What’s TBRU?” she asked back. “Texas Bear Round Up,” I replied, figuring she’d finally get the joke.

But oh, no.

Next thing I know, Iris is inviting her girlfriends to attend. “Arnold Wayne Jones suggested we might want to check out the Texas BEER Round Up! Let’s go, should be fun!” she enthusiastically posted. Apparently, she read my post only fleetingly. Fortunately, one of her girlfriends was savvier.

“Ummm, Iris, I think you might want to take a look at this,” she posted, linking to the TBRU home page.

I could practically hear Iris shriek from miles away.

Personally, I think it would hilarious if Iris McCallister and her girlfriends showed up at the Crowne Plaza, all ready to taste artisinal beers and being met by fuzzy meatmen in Speedos. But it’s probably best she didn’t.

You can, though. See ya there. And if you see Iris, give her a big bear hug.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones