The Merry Christmas Bells

During the Christmas Saloon, organised by the Amsterdam Stetsons, we did a little act as the Mary Christmas Belles, which got mangled to the Merry Christmas Bells – oh well.
The Mary Christmas Belles are (from left to right on the stage): Hans, Simon & Timon.

The music is The lord of the dance (Ronald Hardiman), Man, I feel like a woman (Shania Twain) and Christmas is here (Bearforce 1).

Easter in Berlin

Berlin HbfAs this was our third time in Berlin for Easter, I guess it’s a tradition now. While the weather in Amsterdam apparently was beautiful, we had slightly grey skies in Berlin. Except for Saturday, when we did some sight-seeing. We were there for culture, after all, not just merry-making. Two years ago we took a guided tour through the then still standing Palast der Republik, which the new Germany is now ‘deconstructing’ as it is – to them perhaps – a painful reminder of the DDR (German Democratic Republic, AKA East-Germany). We think it ought to have been preserved, warts and all (it wasn’t a very pretty building), as an illustration of an important part of German (and European, even world) history.

See some pictures here.

Lederkerle und Fummeltrienen

…or, leathermen and dragqueens. I don’t like to pigeonhole myself, but I think that – at least during Karneval – we don’t fall into the first category. As is witnessed by most of these pictures.

Just a taster:
Outside Zipps watching the parade

The Kostumball was fun, as usual. We didn’t win any prizes this time round again, but Frank and Mark did, dressed as a castle gate. The theme for the ball this year was ‘Geburtstagfest im Märchenschloss” or “Birthdayparty in the Fairytale castle”. We went as puss in boots. The boots being hip-waders, in our case. Maybe we were just a little bit more Lederkerl than Fummeltriene after all…

And suddenly we’re in Paris

Hank celebrated his 62nd birthday last saturday. He and Frits were originally going to have a quiet weekend together in Paris, but then they got tickets for the opera, and Wim and Nick asked to come along, and Terry and Mark were staying with Wim during that week, so they came as well, and then Jan realised it was Hank’s birthday and we decided to go as well – and so we ended up in Paris for the weekend.
Because it was such short notice, it was – literally – an unexpected pleasure. The weather was nice, we enjoyed dinner at Chartier, wandered through the Quartier Latin and celebrated Hank’s birthday in style in Le Petit Prince de Paris.

back home

Actually, we’ve been home for over a week now, but only now did I have (take) some time to organise the pictures. I’ve put a selection up on this website.

Pool Party

The trip, over 4000 km (2500 miles), took three weeks, and we travelled from Amsterdam to Sitges and back, stopping along the way of course. Sitges is a very popular destination, but you don’t generally go there for the peace and quiet. In hindsight, we could have stayed a little longer in France, and spent less time in Sitges. But then again, it was fun to see all our friends from all over in Spain.
Contrary to what they tell you in school, bears travel in herds. At least our kind does. So you meet the same people in all the same places: Amsterdam, Cologne, Berlin, Paris, Barcelona/Sitges… It kinda makes you feel at home in all those places.

We did do some culture as well – saw the cathedral in Reims, took the waters in Vichy, admired some of the prettiest villages in France, were amazed at the Citadel of Carcassonne (and appalled at the tourist traps inside), were awed by the Sagrade Familia in Barcelona, visited the former home of Gerard Reve…
It was an interesting trip.

Amsterdam Gay Pride 2006 (updated)

Today was the Amsterdam gay Pride highlight: the Canal Parade. You can probably find many pictures online (flickr, anyone?). I don’t have many of our boat, on account of being on it.

The offical theme for the Canal Parade was “Rembrandt 400”, we however didn’t really keep to that motto. Our motto was “Rembrandts Greek Period”, and we went as the Nana Mouskouri farewell tour. This was the poster on our boat:


Mouse-over for full effect.

Here’s one picture to give you an idea (Thomas as Nana Mouskouri):

Thomas as Nana
I’ll add more pictures later, when I get them. Now it’s off to the street party along the Amstel, and later to the Warmoesstraat…

update: Jörg and Erik posted their pictures on Flickr.

CSD Cologne 2006

CSD 2006 23Last weekend was Gay Pride (CSD, Christopher Street Day) in Cologne. Usually it’s the first weekend in July, this year – because of the Soccer World Championships taking place in Germany – it was moved to 14/15/16 July. The weather was excellent: sun, clear skies and high temperatures. A good time was had by all. You can see some pictures here.

No peace for the wicked…

We’ve just come back from a week in Portugal, and now we’re off again to CSD in Cologne. Never a dull moment. Unfortunately, Jan and I have to cut the weekend short and come back on Sunday, because my houseboat (for the Friendship BnB) has to go to the wharf for its three-yearly check-up and maintenance. So monday will be a busy day. But first some fun in Cologne. Film at eleven, or whenever I get around to it…

Gay Pride is on

Earlier this year the GBA (Gay Business Amsterdam) pulled the plug from their organising the Amsterdam Pride. After much discussion (and mudthrowing), another group stepped into the void: Pro Gay.

Amsterdam Gay Pride 2006So after a long time of uncertainty, it now seems that Amsterdam Gay Pride (and the Canal Parade) are now definitely going to happen this year. Originally we had planned to skip this year’s parade, but we decided to take part after all. So you can see the AYOR again this year, as it wends its way down he Prinsengracht and the Amstel. The theme for the parade is ‘Rembrandt’; whether we will stick to that theme exactly will be a surprise.
See you there!

Another Queensday is over

Another year, another Queensday… This year it was very cold on Queensday. The traditional pasta at our houseboat was more than welcome! But although it was cold, the sun was out for most of the time, so people still had a good time.

Queensday 2006

The next day, Sunday, Jan took a couple of guys for the first boattrip of the season. Again, it was cold, but everyone had a good time. Hopefully it will be the first of many trips this year.

First boattrip in 2006

Bütz mich!

..or ‘Kiss me!’. One of the features of Carneval in Cologne is Bützen. Which is kissing, but without sexual intent. Another feature is Schunkeln, which is moving to the music (and there’s music everywhere). Anyhow, bützen was appropriate for our costume for the Rosa Funken Ball: we went as Snow White and the seven dwarfs. And Show White was brought back to life by a kiss, of course. More on Karneval (in german)

Carneval was a lot of fun, of course. We seem to have come through it without losing our voices, or catching colds. But it’s only monday now, so we’ll have to see what develops.

Meanwhile, see some pictures here.

update: pictures of the Rosa Funken Ball are on the website for the Rosa Funken and photographers Viktor and Volker’s website.

Christmas 2005

As is now traditional, we celebrated Christmas with a bunch of our friends: this year there were 19 guests besides us. We had a 7 course dinner, where each course was prepared, served and cleared up by a different team. Jan and I, together with Thomas and some help from Henk, served the soup and the cold starter.

We had a good time, and a very enjoyable evening was had by all. I hope your Christmas was as much fun!

The Jonathan in a festive mood.


Last year I characterized the Bear-weekend in Cologne as ‘Augenweide‘ – this year we were described as ‘Augenschmaus’ – which equates to roughly the same thing. This year, Henk was a candidate in the Mr. Bear contest. And we helped him.

For his act, we performed the ‘Dance of the Little Swans’ from the ballet ‘Swan Lake’. I think we wowed the audience – but sadly Henk did not make it to the first three. But we tried!

On stage for Mr Bear 2006

Click the image for a (Quicktime) movie.

Oktobearfest 2005 in Munich

We just got back from Oktobearfest in Munich. It was certainly an experience. We were there from Friday until Monday, so it was a bit of a whirlwind visit. As with any bear-event (like this was) we saw a lot of familiar faces. Not so many from Amsterdam, but all the more from Germany and the Alpine countries. And the United States were very much there as well, not in the least in the person of David – always a welcome sight.
Ein Prosit, ein Prosit der GemutlichkeitThe weekend was mostly spent hanging out with the Munich Bears, so we didn’t have all that much time for sightseeing. But we did manage a short walk around the old town on Saturday. And after the beer bust at the Edelheiss, we (David, Thomas, Henk, Joachim, Jan and me) went for dinner at the Poulaner im Tal, where Franz works. And Franz gave us the royal treatment (definitely a meal fit for a queen – or even a bunch of queens). We ‘thanked’ him for his kindness by singing all the songs we know from Carneval in Cologne – much to Joachim’s embarrasment. But I think he enjoyed it. I know we did! But seriously, I’d like to say a BIG thankyou to Franz – I haven’t enjoyed myself so much for a long time.
And then on Sunday we went for the big event: the bears-gettogether in their Box in the Bräurosl (one of the beertents on the Wies’n, where the Oktoberfest is held). Jan unfortunately was not well, and couldn’t stand the combined smell of beer and cigars and roasted chicken, mingled with the noise and the crowds, so he left early. But he missed a fun afternoon.

See the pictures in my photoalbum, and a 30 sec. AVI-clip (5.8 Mb).

“Straight” Ahead

Straight Ahead was the motto for this year’s Amsterdam Pride Canal Parade. And so we did. The weather wasn’t as nearly as bad as the weather forecasters led us to believe it would be, so all in all it was a fine day. It started sunny, but by 10 am the rain was pouring down. Then 15 minutes later, it was dry again. So we could install the music installation, and the red carpet on the catwalk, and the giant syringe on the AYOR.

This year the theme for our boat was ‘old misses’, or ‘faded beauty queens’. We each had titles, most of which are puns on dutch words, so don’t translate very well, but there were a few english titles: Miss Take, Miss Behave and Miss Demeanor.

At the very last minute we decided to make the boat an homage to Connie Breukhoven, who – 25 years ago – used to be the singer Vanessa. Vanessa gave a come-back concert during Pride Weekend, so we thought it fitting to name the boat: Connie’s Botox Salon. She now makes her living running a beauty clinic where rich bitches get their lifts, nips & tucks.

Because boat nr. 1 never turned up, we – with boat number 2 – were at the head of the parade. We were right behind a very late addition to the parade, a boat nr. 0, an initiative of the organising committee. It was a very simple boat, completely covered with a white shroud, and a huge picture of the two boys that were recently executed in Iran for being gay. It was a chilling picture, and a very sobering sight. Literally, a tough boat to follow.

We tried to keep a certain distance between that boat and our boat, but that wasn’t always easy. Some people had trouble with readjusting to 15 bears in tight swimsuits and sashes. But most of the crowd seemed to like us. We had a couple of songs as our them music: Julie Andrews singing ‘I Feel Pretty’ from West Side Story; Shirley Bassey singing ‘Big Spender’; the ‘Stripper’ music used in the movie ‘the Full Monty’ and ‘Que Sera, Sera’ by Doris Day. The people along the canals loved it, and it got us a round of applause every time.

No prizes for us of course, as we are not a member of the GBA (organising committee). The prize for best boat went to the April-Exit-Soho boat, who had a huge blow-up dummy of a woman. I think I’ve seen that before on the Roxy-boat about 6 years ago, only that time it was a man.

All in all it was a fun weekend again.