It’s noon on a Saturday and I’m upstairs at the Eagle, New York City’s cruisiest leather bar. The air still smells faintly of stale beer and armpits, but the lights inside are uncharacteristically bright, exposing the space’s pitch-black concrete floors and pressed tin ceilings, and the people milling about are shockingly sober. No, I didn’t just wake up in a graffitied bathroom stall after passing out drunk the night before — that’s a mistake you don’t make twice. I’m visiting the set of BearCity, a sexy romantic comedy that unfurls within the gay bear scene, cowritten by Lawrence Ferber and director Douglas Langway.
The mood on set is as warm and fuzzy as one would expect considering it’s August 29, the final day of an intense two-week-plus shoot. In the scene currently being filmed, a ponderous character named Michael (Gregory Gunter) asks a burly bartender, “Can I please taste your dirty jock?”
Pretty hot, right? Oh, relax: The dirty jocks in question are actually shots made of vodka, club soda, olive juice, and a single olive — mini martinis the filmmakers hope will be served at future viewing parties. After said shots are slammed, Michael, convinced he’s not getting a job because he’s too fat, tells his concerned friends he’s contemplating gastric bypass surgery, much to the horror of his lover, a hard-core chub chaser.
Unfortunately, I’ve missed out on all the steamy sex scenes featuring hirsute muscle daddies like Broadway stud Sebastian LaCause, but after only a few takes of the quippy barroom exchange I find myself sucked into the everyday dramas of this ragtag group of bears and their admirers. Though this ursine story of love and friendship was originally conceived as a series of webisodes, TLA Releasing, which will distribute the film next year, encouraged Ferber and Langway to create a furry full-length feature.