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Bearing Our Bodies, Minds and Souls

 

70985Bearing Our Bodies, Minds & Souls

by Freddy Freeman   

As first published in the December 2013 issue of Bear World Magazine

 

 

Freddy-TubCropBear Runs are a fun. As the organizer of Bearapalooza, I have been to quite a few of them, and they are always a blast. I love socializing, dancing, having a few cocktails, and maybe getting laid, but my experience in the bear community has also been about learning new ways to look at my body, my masculinity and my identity. My music and Bearapalooza have always been a reflection of that. It has been my way of helping myself and others feel more confident and more connected.  I have been on a journey of self-discovery, and I found myself wanting to share those things with other men in the community, so I wondered how I could offer guys a different experience.  I got my chance when Kendall Kelly got us a gig at Easton Mountain in upstate NY. Easton is a community, retreat center, and sanctuary created by gay men as a gift to the worldMy experiences there lined right up with everything I wanted to create in the world, so now I am a resident at Easton, and I have expanded that initial bear weekend into an annual event.

Bear Your Soul has all of the stuff you would want from a bear run. Food, music, clothing optional sauna and hot tub, time to connect and play, but more! Bear Your Soul is a chance to connect with men of all shapes and sizes in a fun; comfortable and welcoming environment. We hope to help guys of all body types feel comfortable in their own skin. It’s a small intimate event, creating a community for three days, and offering the men a chance to open up about body issues, explore masculinity and connect with other men about their passions. Like most guys, I love sex, but I also believe sex is better when we let go of shame, and are truly open, authentic and vulnerable. When we connect as whole, multilayered men, we were are truly intimate and sex can be explosive.   1401365_10201842837365774_2118308499_o

Last year was my first time facilitating a workshop I called “Loving Our Bear Bodies”. I wanted to do something that would help men appreciate one another regardless of type. I was amazed as I gently led the guys in giving each other touch and affirmation, removing our clothes and our defenses. It was truly inspiring and touched many of the men on a deep level, so I will be doing it again and expanding on it!

Kendall Kelly is known for his Bears video & crazy costumes, but for the past year he’s been touring the country, living in his car, doing intimate nude concerts. When he asked me to do one with him, I thought it would be shallow and juvenile, but it actually gave us a chance to connect with the audience on a deeper level. His show "Clothes Get In The Way" explores body image, nudity, masculinity, identity, and more with music, spoken word, video and a jump rope. I asked if he could make it even more interactive and turn it into a workshop, so his work will be a part of this year’s program.

311578_416757745029382_1490961795_nA couple of years ago I met Xavier Shadowancer, who is a Bear Belly Dancer. At first I thought he was kidding, but I invited him to an event and I was blown away. He is serious about belly dance! I was amazed at how graceful and beautiful, yet masculine it was, and to see a big man own his body and sensuality with no shame was an inspiration. He is returning to Bear Your Soul this year with a simplified class that will teach the guys to love the way their bodies move! It’s really sexy!

Being naughty can be healing, so this year I am adding a couple workshops to let the guys explore their kinky sides. We will also have a cuddle party, a healthy bear workshop with Justin Birdsong, body image photography, music workshops with Martin Swinger, a talent show, the Big Bear Dance, and lots more that we are still working on!

puppy-pile1Rates include all the workshops, activities, concerts, accommodations, and food. Staying at Easton is not like staying at a hotel. We are in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains of upstate NY, on beautiful private land that is gorgeous in winter. We are just a 40 minute drive from Albany NY, so it’s easy to get a plane, train, or bus, or drive. (We can make arrangements for a volunteer to pick you up in Albany). Coming to Easton for a program is a shared communal experience filled with warmth and fellowship. This is the kind of weekend that will make lasting a lasting impact on your life, so don’t be afraid to Bear Your Soul!

To register and for additional information go to: http://eastonmountain.org/bear-2014

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On the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

LadyofGuadalupe On the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe I am moved by the plight of immigrants, refugees and those who are held in poverty by the global structures which favor a rich minority over a poor majority.

The struggle of immigrants is a story I know well from the tales and legends of my grandparents. And has been made more real by my friends who cannot be with their spouses or who live in fear of being deported by the agents of a nation which promotes war and corporate interests far more than the dignity of human beings.  So today with Mary my soul rejoices in God our Savior. I am confident that the almighty, will do great things for us; holy is his name. His mercy is from generation unto generation. He will scatter the proud in their conceit. He will put down the mighty from their thrones, and will exalt the humble. He will fill the hungry with good things; and the rich he will send empty away. And he will always, always show mercy.

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Joan Mitchell Foundation supports Arts in the Woods 2014

JMitchellFJoan Mitchell Foundation awards Arts in the Woods a Second Grant! Koko at the Joan Mitchell Foundation with Travis Laughlin and Allison Hawkins Just moments after getting the Fantastic news that Arts in the Woods has received a second JMF grant for the 2014 camp! Thank You!

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A Thankful Heart

Food_1On this Thanksgiving Day and all days, may you be surrounded by friends and loved ones, to brighten each and every day. Let them be a reminder that life's beauty is everywhere and bring the happy reassurance that there are those who care. May this day bring a Thankful heart, a special faith that never will grow old, and the warmest, dearest memories that any heart could hold. Happy Thanksgiving!

Adapted from "A Thanksgiving Prayer" by Rev. Ron (Liomsa) Latevola

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Friends of Easton - Rochester

1398559_10151856262868579_1711636119_oThanks to Greg for hosting a wonderful evening in Rochester. We spoke about the expanding young adult effort at Easton Mountain, raised some needed funds, made new friends, got the word out, and ate some amazing treats. A wonderful night. If you can host a party in the new year please let me know.

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Bearapalooza Founder Freddy Freeman returns to host the Second Annual "Bear Your Soul" at Easton Mountain

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Bearapalooza Founder Freddy Freeman returns to host the Second Annual "Bear Your Soul" at Easton Mountain

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freddy

Who is Freddy Freeman?
I'm a big man, a hairy man, a proud bear, and a sexy man, my name is Free-Man, don't forget my name" I'm a Free-Man, loving who I am nothing more and nothing less than a Free-Man, free from shame,  I  claim my name, my name is Free-Man! - from the song "Free Man"
Easton Mountain is thrilled that Easton resident and founder of the bear music festival Bearapalooza Freddy Freeman is back to host the second year of Bear Your Soul. Through Bearapalooza and other LGBT music events nationwide, Freddy has shared his eclectic, inspirational brand of rock and gospel-inspired songwriting with thousands, exploring issues of body image, masculinity and gender expression with sensitive lyricism and warm vocals.
 "Last year was my first time facilitating a workshop I called 'Loving Our Bear Bodies'," remembers Freddy. "I wanted to do something that would help men appreciate one another regardless of body type. I was amazed as I gently led the guys in giving each other touch and affirmation, removing our clothes and our defenses. It was truly inspiring and touched many of the men on a deep level, so I will be doing it again and expanding on it!"
 Freddy and his husband Jay have became residents at Easton Mountain in 2012, where Freddy has also helped grow Easton's music and arts programming, including the Out in the Woods LGBT Music Festival and Arts in the Woods camp for homeless LGBT youth. His latest album, Just Bear With Me, is available at CDBaby.com. Easton is proud to host the second annual Bear Your Soul event under Freddy's fine leadership.
 Bear Your Soul
Early registration rates available until Dec 8th!

BYS for FB

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Martin Foster Swinger - coming to "Bear Your Soul: More Than Your Average Bear Run!"

12-14-2013_MartinSwingerKidsShow  

Who is Martin Foster Swinger? Freeing your essence—your body, your masculinity, your connection to other men—starts with freeing your voice. The Godfather of Bear Music (so dubbed ten years ago by  Bearapalooza  founder and Bear Your Soul host  Freddy Freeman), Martin Swinger brings his cockeyed optimism and boundless energy as a singer/songwriter, educator, and facilitator back to  Easton Mountain. His music spans autism, oysters, dyslexic theology, Betty Boop, and Buddha with performance panache and ingenious songs which are surprising, intimate, outrageous, and true.  At Bear Your Soul, Martin returns to lead us in his edgy and exhilarating improvisational singing games and forms, designed to stimulate the spirit and uplift the voice. Martin builds skills in scat singing, duets, riffs, harmonics, soloing, finally leading to full group improvisation.  Martin is a founding member of the a cappella improv ensemble, ImproVox, and can be heard on numerous albums, including Bear Naked, available at CDBaby.com. Easton is proud to welcome Martin back to  Bear Your Soul

Bear Your Soul

Early registration rates  available  until Dec 8th!  

BYS for FB

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Tim Starkey

935568_10152027498692392_984615903_nToday our community lost a dear friend. Tim your many gifts to us will remain in our hearts. Rest in peace dear brother.

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