Is BearWatch 9 expected to be the biggest and best gathering ever of hairy and hearty men (and the men who love them)? Does a bear poo in the woods? • Scheduled May 16–18, the Houston Area Bears-hosted annual weekend brings together that inter-community within the larger community of gay men who revere the image of the hirsute hunk built more for comfort than for speed. • What does it take to be a bear, besides hair and heft? • “It’s really a frame of mind,” says BearWatch 9 chairman, Patrick Gay (yes, that’s his real name) — pictured here with (l–r) Meynard Patacsil, Ray Priest, and Tony Stegal — at Tony’s Corner Pocket, home of the Bears’ monthly beer bust. “It’s not just for bears. It’s for anyone who wants to come and just have fun. Lots of people show up for our day at the beach.” • As many as 225 men are expected to join the furry fun this year, traveling from as far away as California, New York, Pennsylvania, and Florida. • With “Booty Call” as the military theme, BearWatch 9 (www.bearwatch.net) occurs in Galveston, with Groove as the host bar and Inn at the Waterpark as the host hotel. A wet boxers contest, an obstacle course, the beach party, and more round out the weekend. Proceeds in part benefit HATCH, the support group for GLBT and questioning youth. • “I believe it is incumbent on every community to give back to their community,” Gay adds. “Even small events like this can play a part in helping out other people.”
Photographed by Henry Yau
HURRAY FOR LOVE!
Every spring, Carl Han hosts his Love Party to celebrate the season and, well, love. This year, his event is also a fundraiser for HATCH, the invaluable support group for our younger generation. Han’s guest of honor and featured performer is Yna Nova (a.k.a. Noel Boada), pictured here. The 7:30–9:30 p.m. party at Meteor ($10 requested donation) also includes performances by two additional Houston divas, China Doll and Christina Lee, and the belly-dancing group Tribal Lillies. About two of his stars, Han explains, “Yna Nova and Christina Lee are two very popular Filipino drag performers in the Asian community. When Christina was young years ago, she belonged to a famous drag troupe in the Philippines.” At his event, Han, who is a filmmaker as well as a community advocate and blogger (www.carlsjourney.com), premieres two new videos, The Love Train and Hungry for Love.
Photographed by David Lewis