By | 2012/06/18

Southern Hibearnation 2011 was a fairly peripheral event for us; we’d only just arrived in Melbourne, and were preoccupied by a plethora of other events, including a death in the family and job loss. We knew, all along, that we’d have more headspace for Hibearnation 2012 than we had at the time for 2011.

So this year we dug a lot deeper into Hibearnation. We still left the dance parties out – we’re just not into dance parties and loud music; they just don’t appeal to us, and we’re not going to push ourselves beyond reason. That others went to the full dance parties like Fur and Roundup and had an excellent time is good enough.


Of the Hibearnation events, we felt we did a comfortable number – if anything, we realised towards the end of the week that we’d probably overcommitted, and it’ll be a lesson for next year. Ironically, with neither of us having had time off for ages, we both ended up in that situation of becoming a little unwell during the event. Darren had one of his periodic tonsillitis bouts hit earlier in the week, and in the latter half, long days and less sleep than normal caught up with me, landing me with a cold, which I’m still shaking off.

So we went to Den night – supposedly the biggest of the year, but I’d say it was a tie with the Midsumma Den, and of course, Underbear. Despite wanting to go to the quiz night, we had to skip Cockout to get Darren into a doctor for antibiotics, wherein I was exposed to ten minutes of that fetid pile of shit known as “Being Lara Bingle”. I guess it was just as well that they were playing it in a doctor’s surgery. I’d never seen any show filled with such narcissistically vacuous and pedestrian bogans – but then again, I haven’t seen the Kardashians, so I’m sure there are worse people out there.

We went to Bearaoke, briefly, but my dislike for karaoke plus the weather saw us leave early. One of my personality quirks is that I just can’t watch someone doing anything that I would find myself personally embarrassed if I were in their place. I think next year we’ll just skip that one entirely. Complete kudos to the contestants though, willing to get up and give their all, either seriously or just for the sheer entertainment value of others less sensitive than I.

It was a lot of fun getting to participate in some daytime events too – Bear Soup was uninteresting to us both by premises and purpose, so we gave that a miss. However, the Wine^H^H^H^HBeer Tour , Zoo Tour and Furry Films events were great social situations. (Note to self: while the food was lovely, I’ll avoid a certain dry cider encountered on the trip; I’ve never encountered a cider that literally tasted like piss going down – until then.) Best moment of the Wine Tour, I think, was our host at Goona Warra exclaiming, “Why have you all got beards?” (Oh, and here’s a handy lesson for you: If you want to tame 50+ bears on a bus, put on Hairspray. It was, as the youngun’s say, “totes adorbs”.)

Mr Bear Australasia we actually missed this year – by the time Bearlesque rolled around on Friday night, I was tired and frayed enough (and as it turned out, starting to come down with a cold) that the size of the crowd in the small foyer at the Comedy Lounge in North Melbourne did my head in. Skipping the huge crowd that accompanies Mr Bear Australasia wasn’t a statement about the event, it was self preservation on my part.

The Zoo tour was excellent; we’ll definitely be going back, with our cameras, and an entire day to spend wandering around the environs. We might take a week day off for it though, outside of school holidays, so there’s less ankle biters around. Ironically, not so much because of the ankle biters themselves, but the the parental selfishness that tends to orbit the littleuns.

The Furry Films movie afternoon was one I hope VicBears repeats next year. The second movie in the session was Prometheus, which I found to be an excellent prequel to Alien, even 30+ years after the original. However, we first got to see Christopher Banks’ film, “Men Like Us” – a feature length documentary detailing the lives of 9 gay men brave and honest enough to tell their stories. (Check out Number 8 Films for more of Christopher’s work.) Chris is a great friend whom we met on last year’s Hibearnation, and it was joyful to be able to watch the world premier of one of his movies.

For us, Southern Hibearnation 2012 ended with Yum Cha at the Kum Den in Chinatown. (Ironically enough, there’s both a Kum Den andNew Kum Den in Chinatown.) Despite the giggles over the name, the food was excellent, and was the perfect wrap-up for us.


One of our reservations going into Hibearnation was the talk of it being a bit of a sex fest – particularly Underbear; we’re not prudes by any stretch of the imagination – we just tend to not mix social and sex. Though we’re told Underbear was restrained on that front this year, one thing that became abundantly clear to us is that you can choose to enjoy Southern Hibearnation purely for the social side of things.

Having talked to both current and former VicBears committee members, the one final thing that has to be acknowledged is their tireless work on the whole event. Of course, not all events are going to be to the liking of all people, and it would seem to me that there’s merit for an informal wrap-up discussion as part of say, a Lazy Bears lunch, in addition to surveys and so on – but regardless of that, it’s clear the committee members give their all, often at personal expense, and deserve a big thanks for that.

All up, it was a great experience, and exactly the sort of thing we moved to Melbourne for – to enjoy and immerse ourselves in a community of friendly, like minded people all wanting the same basic things. Bring on Southern Hibearnation 2013, I say – and the next Underbear.