XXL Bear Pride takes over your bank holiday weekend with a fur-tastic roster of incredible events from Friday night. Bears and blokes, chunks and hunks can all socialise at special collaborations at Eagle London and the Two Brewers, while at super-club Pulse the UK’s biggest bear club brand hosts two massive parties featuring world-class DJs, cabaret and more. Here’s a rundown of what’s on offer at the biggest XXL Bear Pride of recent times.
Mark Ames Interview
Hi Mark, for many years you’ve wanted to work with other club brands when producing XXL Bear Pride, and this year it’s finally happened – how come?
I’m very happy about this. The bear scene, and the older scene on the whole, has taken a lot of knocks over the years and everyone has been affected – not just by HIV and the loss of clubs but to cancers, heart disease and a migration out of the city through retirement and recessions. It’s now more important than ever to create a scene that’s not just unified but fun. Who wants to go out and listen to moaning bar and club owners going on about their woes and knocking other clubs and promoters? Let’s celebrate and have fun!
So we reached out to a number of venues and promoters – most of them were very positive, but the Two Brewers and the Eagle really jumped on the opportunity and could see the importance of raising money for a really worthwhile cause. The Meat guys have been absolute gents to work with too.
On Saturday you welcome back Bear Pride and XXL drag veterans Sherry Vine, RuPaul’s Drag Race star Peppermint and Myra DuBois – why does their cabaret go down so well with the XXL crowd?
Some things have to be seen to be believed. These three are so acidic you’d need Sigourney Weaver to fight them, so dry you’d think you were in the Sahara and so dirty you’d think you were in the backroom! But all with the compassion of Mother Theresa and the diplomacy of Donald Trump.
Sunday sees the return of XXL Fusion too, with an all-bear-DJ line up plus Meat in room 2 – so it’ll feel quite different but in a good way to Saturday’s party, right?
I really should be DJing this party as it is my sound, but there was too much amazing talent out there from the European bear parties that we just had to have. But yes, on Sunday we will be going deeper, darker and dirtier for Fusion. The Meat men will be hosting room 2 and doing a back-to-back with Jon Pleased Wimmin and Mark Moore. It’s going to be a legendary night!
You’ve also worked with XXL resident Paul Morrell on a new XXL album (read more on the separate feature ) – how did you go about choosing the tracks for your ‘classics’ set?
People who know me will know that the tracks on there are those I would play. And for those who don’t there’s
a couple slightly harder but still commercial. Every track on my mix is a representation of the club generally, but I just wanted to bring back some memories for customers past and present. I’m hoping this album is going to be
the first of many.
Your XXL weekend – We hear from some of the people involved in the Bear Pride events.
MEN INC. at Eagle London: Friday 26 May, 9pm – late
Mark Oakley, Eagle London owner
“Eagle London and our big Friday weekly party Men Inc. are delighted to team up with the largest UK bears event, XXL Bear Pride, to help raise funds for the Albert Kennedy Trust.
“After discussing the opportunity with James and Mark from XXL we are delighted to be involved. Eagle London has hosted bear events for over 13 years, including Chunk and Tonker, with Men Inc. continuing our tradition of Friday night all-men socials. Here at Eagle we have a reputation for welcoming everyone, with bears, cubs, hunks and chunks regarding us as their favourite Friday night Vauxhall destination.
“This Friday (26 May) we’re offering a spectacular prize of £500 cash and VIP entry to all XXL Bear Pride events, as well as making a £500 donation to the Albert Kennedy Trust and collecting for them on the door. The night will be hosted by Roy Inc. and Louis Lennon, plus Men Inc. promoter Tareq will be on hand to provide a sexy soundtrack for this big furry party.
“Sunday will of course be Horse Meat Disco, where bears, hunks and cubs will be dancing the night away with guys, girls, drags and everyone in between at our legendary Sunday night discotheque.”
RUGGERCUB at the Two Brewers, 9pm – late
Jimmy Smith, Two Brewers manager
“Both Ruggercub and the Two Brewers are very excited to be part of Bear Pride this year – it’s great to be working with XXL and supporting the Albert Kennedy Trust. We’ll be bringing the camp as well as the sexy.”
XXL BEAR PRIDE at Pulse: Saturday 27 May, 9pm – 9am
DJ Bobby Blanco
“I always look forward to playing at XXL, and Bear Pride this weekend will be bigger and better than ever before. It’s a real family affair now, with everyone from the resident DJs, bar and door staff, and punters all with happy smiling faces. I can’t wait!”
XXL FUSION at Pulse (with MEAT in room 2): Sunday 28 May, 9pm – late
Adrian Lourie, Meat promoter
“This bank holiday Sunday we’re thrilled to be part of Bear Pride, to be making our XXL debut and to be playing alongside Jon Pleased Wimmin and Mark Moore. What with Meat, bears and a couple of legendary DJs, it’s going to be off the charts!”
HORSE MEAT DISCO at Eagle London, 8pm – 3am
Jim Stanton, Horse Meat Disco promoter
“Eagle London has a history of being a beary kind of venue throughout history with the previous incarnation being The Duke of Cambridge, or ‘Dukes’. It was the inspiration for us to start Horse Meat Disco nearly 14 years ago. So we’re happy to throw our arms out for a big hug on the dancefloor at the legendary Horse Meat Disco Bank Holiday Bonanza.”
XXL BEAR BBQ at Eagle London: Bank Holiday Monday 29 May, 6pm – late
Mark Oakley, Eagle London owner
“On Bank Holiday Monday we’re hosting a special XXL Bear Pride Bear BBQ from 6pm in our beautiful beer garden, with music from Tareq plus special guests. We will be collecting for the Albert Kennedy Trust all weekend, including at Debbie on Saturday night, where XXL members will be welcomed with free entry before they head off to the main XXL Bear Pride extravaganza.”
XXL Bear Pride is at Pulse, 1 Invicta Plaza, Blackfriars Bridge Road, London, SE1 9UF. Book tickets via xxl-london.com.