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Ok, we cheated by starting our interview off with this photo of the sexy Mike Enders first. But we got your attention, right? You may have heard of this wholesomely handsome looking ginger popping up on social media sites everywhere. Mike’s commercial moniker, Accidental Bear is a popular website and facebook page devoted to “Art, Music, News, & Fringe Culture.” Mike’s bathtub interviews with artists, performers, and celebrities have created a cult following on his Accidental Bear channel on YouTube. Modern Bear had the pleasure of being interviewed by Mike last year in a hot tub!
MB: Mike, you are becoming known as a multimedia personality, what some industry peeps refer to as a social “Influencer.” Is this something you always had in mind to do?
M.E.: No not at all. It just kind of happened accidentally. When I started Accidental Bear I was in a place in my life where I had a lot of free time and my partner, (now husband) introduced me to online blogs. I hadn’t paid much attention to them in the past. I thought to myself… I can do this, and not to sound arrogant, but better! So, I taught myself WordPress, html coding, web design, graphic design, and on and on. Up until that point I could barely turn a computer on and off.
I started posting what I loved and people started taking notice and sending me messages saying that I was filling a spot in the queer community that is missing. One of my first goals was to post features of hairy men in a community that is dominated by smooth, chiseled, hairless creatures. To my surprise this was the same moment beards and hairy men exploded in popularity and everyone and their moms grew beards!
Secondly I wanted to create a space or platform to feature queer, up and coming artists and musicians who live their lives in the underground or on the fringe. Most gay sites won’t touch unknown artists and are just covered in pop/mainstream/pretty boys and drag queens. Don’t get me wrong I love all that shit too, but I wanted to include the stuff in life that I live for, and a much under represented culture of underground artists. The queer community has become somewhat watered down and polished. I want to put the spotlight on “my people,” freaks, artists, and the underbelly of society where I like to dwell.
Lastly, the Internet is so divided. If I want to look at porn I’ll go to one site, if I want art I’ll go to another site, music another site, drag queens another site, so on and so on. On Accidental Bear I like to fill it up with content that draws attention to everyone from butch queens to drag queens, jocks to fashionistas, bears to twinks, and lately I’ve been saying straight guys who are comfortable with their sexuality love Accidental Bear.
Oh, ANOTHER side note: August 22- 24 I am going to be at and covering the Luscious Queer Music Festival in the beautiful valley in Northern California’s Saratoga Springs. And Sept 12-14th I am going to be in Austin Texas at and covering the Stargayzer Queer Music Festival, which and I am stoked about! This will be my first time to Austin and I have heard nothing but great stuff about it! Ok, that was a mouth full.. next question lol.
MB: What are some of the jobs you have had in the past?
M.E.: I was working since beginning of high school. Ice Cream scooper, coffee shops, landscaping, 15 years of clothing retail in San Francisco, Licensed Massage Therapist, you name it.
MB: Did you do anything special to prepare yourself for the kind of career you have now?
M.E.: I really have to say no. I tend to throw myself into careers I know nothing about. I don’t suggest this for anybody else, but the way I learn best, is throwing myself into the fire and finding my way out.
MB: Mike, what is happening in your career now that excites you most?
M.E.: There are so many amazing things going on I could burst with excitement! That’s why it makes no sense that I have never been more broke in my life (Calling all who want to invest in Accidental Bear… Holla!) I am currently trying to get the attention of a TV network to help sponsor my Travel Show. I recently posted my pilot episode from my trip to the Big Island of Hawaii.
M.E.: Here are some teases that I haven’t announced yet. This coming November I am doing an Accidental Bear Mayan Cruise with Al and Chuck Travel, details coming soon! Also I am in the works of putting together a stage show of an all-male cast of Best Little Whore House in Texas, more details soon!
Just this past month I picked up the camera again for the first time in MANY years and started shooting original editorials for The Men of A/B and beyond. The response to my photographs has been incredible and I have a full schedule of upcoming shoots including photographing some fashion designer’s lookbook! I’m fucking thrilled about that. Wait, can I swear? I say fuck every other word in real life
In the meantime, I started a branch of Accidental Bear, AB PR Management & Casting, which is getting much traction. Through this side project I have started representing a few male models and helping with model casting for local San Francisco projects. Have I mentioned yet, that I am doing this all myself with no funding! Holla at me any of you rich gays out there that want to invest in something really special and growing exponentially!
Mike in a recent appearance on the cult hit web series Where the Bears Are.
MB: Do you have a game plan for Accidental Bear?
M.E.: I have a direction I am plowing forward toward. I’d love to see my bank account out of the negative LOL It seems that what I love doesn’t pay that much but that will never stop me! But seriously, I will continue doing exactly what I’m doing, but will need to bring in a team soon to help in the growth of the website and PR company. Things will get bigger and better, turning up the notch and increasing the quality of site. But I will always highlight and root for the underdog.
MB: Where would you like to see yourself 10 years from now?
M.E.: Doing the exact same thing with a huge Accidental Bear team of writers, editors, photographers etc etc! Right now I am working from home and just the other day I was telling a friend how badly I want a cute office to meet clients at and a big comfy couch to nap on. Hey, I’m a simple guy! Did I mention there is an Accidental Bear clothing line in the works? I’ll have to save that for later.
MB: Any professional advice for your fans?
M.E.: Do what you love no mater what anyone else says. The more visible you become the louder the critics get. Thick skin is required in this business.
Namaste bitches (that’s what the kids are saying!)
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Bill, 54, aka “Grumpy Bear” is from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is a self-employed carpenter / handy man who also restores classic cars. Pictured is his 1965 Thunderbird, and his latest project is customizing a ’65 GMC Pickup truck.
When he’s not working on other people’s houses, he’s fine tuning the landscape outside or restoring a piece of furniture.
Martin, 49, is from South Texas, and teaches English full-time at a nearby community college. He also sings professionally in opera and musical theatre companies around the DFW area. He admits to being a political junkie, and is always mining on his iPad for analysis of current events.
Hi Bill & Martin!
How did you guys meet?
Bill: “The old fashioned way — in a bar. That’s the way men used to meet men in 1992.”
Martin: “The Dallas Eagle to be exact. Bill was wearing a California Highway Patrolman’s uniform. I was a bit intimidated, but I went in for a closer look. One look in his eyes and I knew he was a teddy bear.”
Do you have common interests?
“We laugh at this question because we are as different as night and day. Bill loves classic cars and power tools while Martin obsesses over Texas Rangers baseball and musical theatre. We both share a love of Dallas, hanging with the neighborhood bears, and watching a short list of must-see TV shows, including Survivor, Project Runway, and Game of Thrones.”
Do you each have an interest that the other has none in?
“Yes, Bill enjoys restoring classic cars and trucks and will spend hours walking junkyards for customizing parts. When he’s not doing that, he’s watching Car auction shows on cable. (Martin thinks that’s crazy.) Martin not only enjoys going to the opera; he also performs professionally in the chorus. (Bill would rather get a root canal than see another opera.) On the other hand, Martin likes the car shows and Bill doesn’t mind going to an occasional Broadway musical, sung in English!”
What’s your secret to a successful relationship?
“It hasn’t been easy because we are very different guys, but our relationship improved tremendously once we finally quit trying to change each other. We accept each other and love each other as we are — and it all seems to balance out. What one doesn’t bring to the relationship, the other does.”
What advice do you have for dating couples?
“Use your head, but trust your heart. Always play safe. If you think he’s the one, go for it. After 17+ years together, we’ve discovered that sticking by one guy for the rest of your life is not such a bad thing.”
Photo by Hank Henley Photography
We have a thing about vintage Corvairs from the 1960’s (yah, Ralph Nader can suck it), but especially the much rarer trucks!
Modern Bear’s design article for Bear World Magazine, September 2012.
In November of 2012 Bear World Magazine featured Modern Bear on their holiday issue and we were thrilled to have our first cover! It was accompanied by an article written by Scott McGillivray and featured photos by John Paschal of Snapshot Studios.
This article can also be viewed in the archived back issues at Bear World Magazine.
Set Decorator Amy Wells and Production Designer Dan Bishop have nailed the period perfectly from the show’s time span of early 60’s to 1969. Everything from furniture to distinctive props and wallpaper all come together to create “Mid Century Modern Porn” for us design addicts!