Bear Lee There, burlesque performer extraordinaire and one of the co-founders of this site, give us an insight into some of the questions they can asked all the time as a performer.
As a gay, male, bear burlesque performer I get asked so many questions about performing and getting naked infront of so many people. So here are a few of those questions answered.
How did you get started?
I had a burlesque friend who I helped out as a human prop. This is when a performer needs a body on stage to play a small part in their act. I played a bumble bee to their large poppy. I didn’t strip I just buzzed around dressed in fun fur. (A kink for some).
I was then encouraged to create a character and burlesque myself. I loved the idea of being on the stage and working out acts and costume so Bear Lee There was born.
I didn’t know there was a burlesque scene in Ireland let alone men doing it.
The scene in Ireland is pretty big for the size of the island and has been for a good few years now. As for men there are less than there should be and more than most think there are. About a dozen current male performers of different shapes and styles.
Do you get totally naked?
Not in Ireland no. There are rules set depending on the laws per country. Ireland doesn’t let male or female performers to get fully naked on stage and girls have to keep nipples covered. Other countries around the world let you take it all off and I’ve been asked to take part in a show in Scotland which encourages live sex acts as part of the performance. Sadly Ireland is a bit behind the idea of nudity let alone sex. Clutch pearls!
It sounds really glamorous! Is it?
For those 5 to 10 minutes you are on stage and receiving your applause it’s all Glamour. Back stage is another matter.
I’ve had to strip off and get ready behind a busted partition screen on a garden patio with no roof, tiny unused toilets with 10 other performers squeezed in, a purpose built back stage area with shower and mini bar and a luxury bar which usually seats 100 people.
Dashing in between acts to change and be ready to go back on stage while other performers are trying to put makeup on, asking you to help put their nipple tassles on, no heating, broke air con, flickering lights and blocked toilets. So it’s totally Glam but part of the fun of being a performer.
Have you had anything go wrong?
Well yeah you are lucky if you never had anything go wrong.
Music not loud enough so you miss beats and lose track of where you should be in the act is a big one.
Recently doing a fan dance my two fans some how got stuck together so became one fan.
A crochet jockstrap for a Christmas act that looked perfect and was no issue until flash photography made it semi see through.
The arse strap on a jock snapping from the waist band.
Spinning too fast and becoming dizzy and almost falling off the stage
So yeah things go wrong and fingers crossed its not to bad and you can carry on.
Have you had fun with another performer?
No. Not yet lol lol [Lets change that! – Hunter]
Are all male burlesque performers gay?
No not at all. There are all different guys from different life styles, sizes and sexual orientation. But you don’t ask as that’s not what’s important to the performer or how good they maybe unless the perfomer wants that part of their life to be a big part of their character or act. I’m a gay bear and I do acts that are gay or pride based but I don’t hold that as an important part of my character it’s just part of me.
So you mainly perform at gay venues?
I’ve actually never performed at a typical gay venue. I’ve been booked for Pride events but most shows are put on at what ever venues have a stage and some sort of changing area and will be brave enough to put on a show. Sadly there are less and less of these venues.
Does it give you a sexual kick.
Bear Lee There is the outrageous one who strips to a jockstrap and shake his arse at an audience and Mark his day persona would never do that and neither of them sees themselves as sexy on stage. Often told they are as sexy as hell and had straight men question their life choices. The story telling and performance is more important to me than feeling sexy or overtly trying to be sexy on stage. If it comes across as sexy on stage thats a bonus.
Can you speak with my boyfriend/husband/ friend about being so body positive on stage and tell them big is beautiful?
Hell yes send them my way.
At 6ft 2 and bigger than I want to stand on the scales and announce to the world I will talk to anyone who is worried about their size and not feeling that they are the right size, not perfect, not sexy etc.
No one is perfect even with a six pack stomach. Find that inner confidence, even create a persona like Bear Lee There who is a little braver than you are right now but can open your eyes to what you really are and can be.
Go on give it a go!
The beary stripper of Ireland. From lands of honey and chocolate this bear growls but doesn’t bite unless asked to.