Castro’s Favorite Bear
Recently, we caught up with Harry Lit – you may know him as Castrobear or the man behind LazyBear. We just know him as Harry.
When did you first identify as a Bear?
It was some time in the mid 80′s in my hometown of Philadelphia. I was at a house party and noticed there were other large people like myself along with fit and trim guys that liked the way we were built. It was at one of these parties that I first heard the name Lurch, the Satyr Run and BEAR.
What brought you to the San Francisco?
My 3 vacations out here drew me to the Bay Area, I fell in love with San Francisco in the movies and in Armistead Maupin’s “Tale of the City” books. When I finally arrived, I knew I was home. My former partner needs to be given a lot of credit for our move as well as tracking down the locations identified in the books whether they were real or based on a real place; his passion for TALES as it became part of the SF experience was second to none. To see Armistead Maupin standing in line at the bank or going to the movies still boggles the mind!
How has your summer been going?
Been having a nice and peaceful summer – healing well from my hip replacement surgery. (I had so much success with the right hip, I’m going to do it all over again around Christmas for my left hip!) By the New Year, I will become another Bionic Bear! I am SO looking forward to rooting for my husband Allen Eggman in Cologne Germany when he competes in his fourth Gay Games in Track & Field. I’ve been married to this little stud muffin jock for 17 years coming up this December and without a doubt, he is the most important part of my life. In the world of party planning and event producer he is my human Valium and it’s not always as seamless as you may think it is! I absolutely love what I do but if you don’t have somebody to share it with, it really means nothing.
Turning the BIG 5-0 this year was very special. One of the attributes about growing and graying older in the Bear Community is that it’s OK to get older. We know where to go, where we are accepted and don’t have to conform to silly make-up or surgical procedures that prey off of Gays like snakes onto rodents. I’ve earned my gray, hair, my baldhead and I’m damn proud of it. The weight is under control and medication is a part of life. Yes, I need to take things a little slower, yes I need to tap into patrons ideas and suggestion more, I accept that…have done so through most of my 40’s. Recently I was taught from a best friend situation, I do need to take criticism a bit more constructively and recognize and not take for granite (and celebrate) those that assist you more. This life’s lesson has taught me that you CAN teach an old Bear new tricks!
Scott McGillivray is the designer behind all of Castrobear Presents graphics. It’s been an absolute joy to have had Scott in my life for more than 20 years. He’s been a wise, easy going force to work with and keep the art fresh and vibrant. His work can be seen on Facebook at Rustyspot Designs.
How did Lazy Bear come to be?
My husband Allen and I went to the Russian River to get away from the city (yes, the same city I dreamed of living in one day) for a weekend and we stayed at the Triple R; this was back in 1995. There was a bear “contest” going on that didn’t seem to have any “umpf” to it and was poorly attended. A local businessman who we were friends with suggested that I was a good promoter; why not throw a weekend party up here in Guerneville. I replied that I was too Lazy to put something like that together. Hence the name Lazy Bear Weekend came about.
So really, no Lazy Bear this year?
It’s true; we’re going to skip a year to show our support for the Gay Games in Cologne, Germany. Allen is a multi Gold winning track and field athlete and we have been to all the Gay Games for the past 16 years. There are also hundreds of Lazy Bears who patronize the Gay Games that we had to consider. Not wanting to go up against another international event such as Bears in Provincetown, myself and the board of directors decided to make the difficult decision of taking the summer off. This will not only give our army of volunteers some much needed summertime off (headed up by Sacramento’s amazing Ralph Jacks) but would also give the LB Fund board a chance to regroup and restructure one of the biggest and best summertime fundraisers for Bears and their admirers and friends. We have much support for this decision but we are also taking some lumps through this process. All I can say is that 14 years is a long time and due to space restrictions we constantly need to remap the program, this will give us more time and seed money to produce 2011′s event. The county of Sonoma (just in the past few years) has made it a challenge to get “permits” for our non-profit event; through the cooperation of the good people of Guerneville we hope the “permit process” will be less restrictive as well as less costly.
What happened with Big Bear Adventure?
Regarding Big Bear Adventure, I am VERY proud of our accomplishments last year with fellow producers Tony Marchese and Steve Harris, it really is a shame that things didn’t work out this year. I had my time when I vented and it’s time to move one….I sleep well and have a clear conscious. I am also very impressed with Tony’s marvelous TRIO restaurant in Palm Springs. The restaurant is thriving on and off season…it has the IT factor and stays community focused … a rare thing these days in our current economy.
What can we expect from Castrobear Presents?
Locally, I produce the new Hairy HUMP @ 440 CASTRO, a great after work mixer right in the neighborhood. Also I have a monthly party held the last Sunday of each month called Sunday FURRY Sunday. Allen and I along with Dan Howell travel (who we worked with on Lazy Bear’s OUT TO SEA) are producing a Cancun trip called BEACH COMBER BEAR (www.beachcomberbear.com). I must give Allen the credit here as he hatched the idea with Dan Howell and then I took the steering wheel once everything was agreed upon. Also, Palm Springs has been a terrific location for our annual Lazy Bear HOLIDAY and some other party weekends. The Castrobear website is not the most interactive but I try my best to post everything I produce or co-produce. Just like Guerneville, the businesses and local residents in Palm Springs and Cathedral City love putting out the red carpet for party/event planners that come to the desert which makes things easier, work wise.
We’re having the best time with our Sunday Furry Sunday party each month at 440 CASTRO. Rotten Robbie and special guest DJ’s have brought the Bears back to Castro on a day that traditionally has everybody flock to South of Market. It is the truest definition of healthy competition as The Lone Star continues to draw them in with terrific new owners at the helm. Simply put, The Lone Star was in trouble and if this “new blood” didn’t take it over a huge chunk of Bear and San Francisco history would have been gone for good. There has been growing pains for sure but not the kind where the legacy and good will of “Bear Bar USA” would be hurt. It is still “Bear Bar Mecca” in my eyes, that feeling is shared by many.
Speaking of The Lone Star, each month I produce SOMA BEEF & Co. party showcasing the music talent of new up and coming DJ’s from the Bay Area and beyond. Our them is “music for Men and Boys 21+.”
In October, we are embarking on our very first Mexican vacation for land lovers! Our partners at Dan Howell Travel and at BearCruise.com that launched two Lazy Bear OUT TO SEA cruises have produced the new beachcomberbear.com party in Cancun. It is a one price, all inclusive vacation that is limited to 200 hundred rooms, a private beach and awesome talent including RSVP’s Danny Williams, Amy & Freddy and Lazy Bear’s Rotten Robbie. Bookings have been great and I’m certain this will become an annual getaway.
Thanksgiving takes us down to sunny Palm Springs for our annual LAZY BEAR HOLIDAY FUNDraiser. We are currently mapping out our plans for our sixth anniversary in PS.
The last weekend of August, one week before Labor Day will be the unveiling of a new party at the Russian River town of Guerneville called River SPLASH. This is NOT LBW, I openly have promoted this as a for profit venture and I’m thrilled to be working with resorts, businesses and talent that have made Lazy Bear SO successful. It’s important to know that this is not meant to be a BIG deal. It’s right before Labor Day Weekend which many Bears and their friends head south for to Burning Man. Each party will have its own separate admission cost and we’re keeping it A-F-F-O-R-D-A-B-L-E. We have pool parties with Bear or Bear Friendly DJ’s such as Australian Matt Effect, James Torres, Rotten Robbie, newcomer Romann_T, Jimmy Strano, John Parker and DJ Loon eTech. The Golden Girls SF will be performing 2 shows Under the Stars at The Triple R, Sunday Furry Sunday will be happening at the Rainbow Cattle Co, SWEATea and other parties and a movie night will be on the dockets. If the party is a success and I go into the black I have pledged to donate money to Guerneville’s Food For Thought. I’m feeling very up about River SPLASH and the town of G-ville is also happy to be hosting another Bear party weekend.
We look forward to seeing all of our bear friends over the next few months. If you see us at the games, come up and say hello.
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