Ca-Bear-Gay! at Live Arts Bistro


Tea and Tolerance were invited to be an intervention at Live Arts Bistro in Leeds on good friday. Ca-bear-gay! It was a fabulous night of queer cabaret and performance featuring an exclusive scratch of Jamie Fletcher‘s new Dancing Bear Trilogy Show. It also included film screenings, disco dancing and a whole heap of live art/cabaret performances from some very special guests including Adam Young, Gareth Cutter Mysti Valentine and many more.

We decided to add costumes so that we might be more of a spectacle, to fit with the evening which had a focus on gender – so we borrowed Yorkshire Life Aquatic‘s Mermaid tail for the female, and brought pink satin shirt and high heels for the male. What was interesting was that we were still related to as normal humans much as we would be if wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Perhaps this is a testament to human beings ability to relate to the real person – you know how they are on the inside rather than their outward appearances. After all, whether cross dresser or mermaid, we’re still more similar than we are different. Then again, all the people we talked to were so open and lovely, maybe it says more about them in particular, rather than the entire human race. ( Though its a hope we can aim for.) What do you think?

We with these people, we had some very interesting conversations about love, difference and what it means to be safe and resilient. Here is some of the discussion as i remember it…

How does it feel to be vulnerable? First we talked about what ‘vulnerable’ means as it has different meanings in different contexts. Vulnerable to harsh weather as opposed, or one’s home is vulnerable, or i feel vulnerable alone on that dark street, or children are vulnerable to all sorts of things, as opposed to choosing to be ‘open’ and ‘vulnerable’. We thought about how it can be good to be open or porous to what is around us ( hence vulnerable) but only if we have the resilience and resources to cope with those vulnerabilities. Being vulnerable can break us down but that isn’t always a bad thing. It can lead to better and more honest lives that bring us more happiness or other rewards. It can move us forward or somewhere unexpected – again sometimes this is a great thing. One person wondered whether vulnerability is the only state to be in? Are we not all ‘vulnerable’ humans on some level? We decided it was about choice. if you choose to be vulnerable then that can be a great thing so long as you have the resources around you to deal with whatever happens, but if the state is thrust upon you it is less easy. You can still choose how you react though – and whether you go into a fearful or resourceful place in that situation.

Kindness or Intelligence? Both surely we thought. Kindness surely is intelligence. Of course sometimes people choose intellect and logic over being kind, but one doesn’t have to exclude the other. Every action we take surely is best coming from a place of kindness and compassion?

What stops you in your tracks? Great question we thought. Great kindnesses, beauty or wonder stops us in our tracks. Children asking you for love. It’s easy to ignore a small human when we are busy but when your daughter asks you for a hug in the supermarket thats fair play – just get down on your knees and hug her. Many other things stopped us in our tracks. Mainly extremes like… intense pleasure, pain, danger, anger, beauty and love.

Can you love someone when you don’t agree with their beliefs? Initial response was of course you can love someone you don’t agree with. Though we wondered whether it matters what the difference of belief is? We had a range of opinions about this question. Do we love different people in different ways? Is love two-fold? The people like family we love unconditionally, the people we choose to love and love we have of other humans and things that we encounter in life? One view was that unconditional love of family and so on, you disregard the beliefs you don’t agree with. Though we wondered were their limits or extreme tests to this? What if they actively participated in things you disagreed with? Do we then need to make it clear that we disagree with that particular belief? And how does that affect the relationship and love we share with that person? We agreed with people who are less close to us, we can have an array of beliefs we don’t agree on. Though do we agree to disagree or just never speak about those differences? With romantic love, do we tend to expect or need those major beliefs and values to match? Would we choose not to love someone or get to a point of loving someone who had beliefs we don’t agree with? if so, what happens if you already love someone and discover a belief mismatch?

It was an amazing evening that we thoroughly enjoyed being part of…well done to The Dancing Bear Trilogy. Balloon popping whilst hugging was a perfect end to the main proceedings followed by music, dancing and more socialising. We look forward to the next one.

If you would like to add to this conversation, or offer a question for discussion, please add to the comments box below or email