Thursday, April 3, 2014

An Interview w/ Bear World Magazine's David Goodman!

Bear World Magazine is fantastic. Focusing exclusively on "bear culture," few magazines
are as well written, thorough, and absolutely in love with their subject matter. They strive endlessly to report on the all that's happening on the bear scene around the world, from Australia to California. You can find music and movie reviews, great interviews with  bear celebrities, and a fantastic world wide event calendar. Their coverage is astonishingly complete.  They are even offering a free three month trial digital subscription on any of your mobile platforms!

Thankfully, publisher David Goodman was kind enough to sit down with us and help unlock some of the mysteries of the bear world!

Q: How did you decide on publishing a magazine about Bears!
DG: Well, it was an accident! Truly, it was. I had just sold my share of a gay magazine in the UK and had nothing to do. So, I pitched a digital magazine at a bear website (now closed), and they loved it!  I created a test cover, and some plans and ideas, and they just stopped communicating with me. I think they had other worries. So I decided to do it all on my own, changed the name, and just ran with it and learnt very, very fast!!!

Q: I know this is a virtually impossible question to answer, but how would you explain the bear community to an outsider?
DG: Yes, it's virtually impossible, but I will try and give my own personal explanation. For me, the bear community is where the guys who don't feel they fit in in the mainstream gay community, as shown by the general gay media, can feel they belong. I know we are not perfect at this, but I think many “Bear” groups try and welcome non bears, who perhaps are not welcome anywhere else. And, of course, mostly you find big furry, beardy guys right at the heart of it all.

Q: Just so we can finally put this to rest, what is the difference between a Bear, Cub, Otter, and Wolf?
DG: I dont think we will ever lay this to rest, its ever changing! But, I will try and give my ideas. A bear is a larger man, with a hairy body and a beard. A cub is a larger guy same as a bear but younger. An otter is a hairy thinish guy. Wolf? Similar to an otter, but maybe older! So many people have their own ideas, and I love debating this too.

Q: Many young, thin, follic-ly challenged bear admirers often complain of being shut out by the very men they lust after. Any advice on bagging a bear?
DG: You are right and its a great shame, because the younger guys are the future. They are the guys that we need to encourage to join in as the next generation of bears. I think shutting anyone out, and I hear it from chasers who say that some bears say “Hey I don't fuck chasers” before anything else is even said, is wrong. It needs to be stopped. Bagging a bear? Bagging a bear – buy him dinner lots and lots of dinner!! HeHe!

Q: You recently got to meet and interview Armistead Maupin. How much of a dream come true was that?
DG: Well, I suppose it was not a dream come true because I never thought I would meet him. But, it was emotional. His Tales of the City books have influenced my life since I was 17. It was truly, truly the highlight of my career. He was a gentleman, but you could sense the twinkling naughtiness in him, and I wish we could have got drunk together. Hes a great hugger and loves that the bears love him. It's why he goes to P-town every year!

Q: Has there been anyone you met in the course of writing a story that you were excited to meet that turned out to be a major disappointment or downright jerk? You don’t have to name names.
DG: You so want some gossip!!But to be honest, no I have been very lucky. The potential "Divas" have been adorable. And I think I was truly worried that Armistead would perhaps be a "star" in person, but the really talented people don't have to be divas. I think they are usually just thrilled that you like their work.

Q: What are your personal favorite Bear events around the world?
DG: Well being based in the UK now, it's hard to get to all the ones I want to. I was lucky this year to have gotten to the new IBC Palm Springs, which was amazing. And also to Mr North American Bear where I was asked to be a guest judge! And, I am really looking forward to Chicago Bear Pride later in May and the new London Bear Fest! And, of course, Manchester in the UK, where I am based, has the Great British Bear Bash in early May. It's hard to pick a favourite as they are all so amazing in their own right. But, for me the sunshine of Palm Springs in February was so needed after a miserable UK Winter!!!!

Q: Any tips or resources you can suggest on balancing a big, beautiful body with a reasonable level of physical/aerobic fitness?
DG: You're joking, right?  I confess to not going to the gym, but always planning too. I think being big is amazing, because big men are fucking lovely! BUT. I think you have to be aware of your own body and its health. You can be healthy and fit being big, but it's so personal. If a bigger guy wants to go to the gym, it's so intimidating. Having a sister who is a personal trainer, who was a big girl once herself, I will share her advice ~ get in there and meet people. They probably had the same issues and would love to help you and not judge you.

Q: Last question. Where do you see bear culture headed in the future?
DG: Well, I think it will evolve. It has to. Younger guys who are hairy and want to belong will bring their ideas and energy, and we should embrace it, whilst still making sure the elders of our community are honoured too.- It's a hard balance, but I think we can do it as long as the core ideals of the Bear Community remains inclusion not exclusion.

-Matt Alber! Photo by Adrian Lourie

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