Beefcake of the Week ~ Erik Byrne

Photo by David Dudar
Photo by David Dudar

Hi Erik,
What’s your idea of a perfect date?

“That’s easy… a day that starts at home having coffee together with our sweet dog on the sofa… then becomes brunch (either just us or with friends)…. a small shopping trip (for big boy toys)…. A good 3 to 4 hours locked away in the playroom…. an afternoon spent at the naked beach…. grab Thai take out on the way home… eat said take out while we’re happily back on the sofa with that wonderful dog. I guess my partner and I don’t really do “date night”. But we LOVE “date day”

Photo by David Dudar
Photo by David Dudar

What does the term “Bear” mean to you?

“I’ll say this… I’ve got friends in the bear community that represent each extreme end of the spectrum and everything in between. Some that don’t even necessarily have a “look” that would suggest “Bear”. But they feel it and they feel a part of a community that is familiar to them. This is where I realized that a sense of belonging, no matter how deep or how shallow it might seem to someone else, is really important to those who kinda never really did belong… I’ll say this, I had never noticed anyone “woofing” at me for the first 10 years of my “out” life. Then one day I moved to San Francisco, a couple of bears “woofed” my direction.. and when I “woofed” back… it was ON. And I’m so glad I did.”

Photo by David Dudar
Photo by David Dudar

How would you describe your personal interior design style?

“I had worked in the industry as a designer for 12 years before moving into the financial side of the business. I’d like to think that I developed a solid personal style I could stand by…. But really I think I simply acquired a tolerance level for a wide range of styles. I guess what I mean is that I’ll easily find comfort and beauty in almost any space so long as its creator(s) present it with confidence in what it’s supposed to represent…. Except, of course, for anything even slightly resembling “shabby chic”. Shabby Chic is disgusting.”

Photo by David Dudar
Photo by David Dudar

What kind of music do you listen to?

“I’m a country boy at heart and country music will always be my go-to. Beyond that, I’ll listed to anything and everything Top 40-ish. Pretty much anything that causes my DJ friends stomachs to turn…”

Location: San Francisco

Height: 5’9″

Hair: “Brown with some “salt” coming in and rapidly receding.”

Eyes: Blue-ish

Sign: Cancer

Erik and partner Scott
Erik and partner Scott. Photo by
Inked Kenny

Fitness Routine:
“I’m THE WORST about the gym. Never liked it, never felt comfortable in one since long ago in junior high school gym class. (insert personal gym locker room story here) But I get up and go as many times a week as I’m able (always before work). But really, if I look at all like I spend any amount of time committed to a rigorous work out… the credit goes to flagging. I flag whenever I have a few free minutes. In the back yard, head phones in, country music blasting, and my many straight neighbors staring at me through their azaleas… looking just a little bit worried.”

Photo by Rey Rey's Photography
Photo by Rey Rey’s Photography

Occupation: “Finance and Business Manager for SF Interior Design firm.”

Hobbies: “White Water Rafting, snowboarding, creating flower arrangements for our home. And, um… can you call Burning Man a “hobby”? Probably not, but I stand by it.”

Guilty Pleasure Snack: JIF Reduced Fat Creamy Peanut Butter and Cinnamon Life Cereal. Try it. I triple. dog. dare. you. And no, I do NOT try to “work it off” at the gym later. Just enjoy it.”

Photo by David Dudar
Photo by David Dudar

TV Faves: “I like, and will watch nearly anything I guess…. But my “can’t miss” shows would be The Daily Show, Chelsea Lately, and… The Soup. I refuse to get my news from a network. All the networks are complete dicks in their own way and it’s become boring and sad. I get my real news from the most logical source I can think of… My friends ranting on Facebook.”

Last good movie you saw: “Maleficent.’ Freakin loved it. I’m an unabashed mainstream consumer and this movie delivered.”

Currently Reading: “Listening to the ‘Tales of the City’ audiobooks on my commute each day. I’ve read all the at least twice so this is a completely different experience.”

Photo by David Dudar
Photo by David Dudar

Turn Ons: Body Hair (preferably not trimmed), confidence, experience, bedroom eyes, rough hands, silver daddies, and passion for what you do, knowing when to be a Gentleman and knowing when to be a Swine.”

Turn Offs: “Arrogance, intolerance, overcompensating, ignored insecurities… I guess these are things that we all exhibit in our own way, especially me.”

Personal Statement: “A sweet and wonderful lesbian friend once said to me (upon seeing and talking to me for the first time since growing up a little bit… beard and fur and such) ‘Honey, if you’re gonna be a Bear, then be a Grizzly.’ I believe what she meant was embrace your natural strength and do what you do well. Do it with integrity and love and power. Don’t look back too much and don’t ever look down on anyone else who’s having a rougher time than you are having with something. We all need a little help at one time or another. At least that’s what I believe anyway.”

Beefcake Erik Byrne

Contributing Photographers:
David Dudar
Inked Kenny
Rey Rey

Meet Performing/Recording Artist Mike MRF Flanagan

Modern Bear discovers there more to musician Mike Flanagan than fur and beefcake…

Musician Mike MRF Flanagan
Photo by Brian Doherty

Hi Mike,
When did you first know you were musically inclined?

“From the time I started on saxophone when I was 10, it felt pretty natural. Music always moved me and creating it myself just felt right.”

How many instruments do you play?

“Saxophone and piano, saxophone being my principle, are my main instruments and the only instruments I perform on professionally. I also play flute, clarinet, a little trumpet, a little bass, and a little percussion.”

Mike MRF Flanagan

Was your family supportive of you performing?

“Absolutely! My grandfather was my original inspiration/teacher. He started teaching me piano when I was 14 and he would help me practice saxophone before that. He played trumpet and sang and played great chords on piano so I got a ton of it from him.”

Tell us about MRF Mob Music?

“MRF is my initials and it just feels right with that representing me as my artist name. Mob Music is slightly more complex to explain. Mob Music started as a night in Boston at LGBT cornerstone, Club Cafe/Napoleon Room with myself and Lisa Bello. We took Thursday nights and made them our own and Mob Music, which started as a joke because we are both Italian, almost became our band name and really the power involved in our music and stage presence. Justin Waithe came in one night and started harmonizing with us and immediately Mob Music was complete. He was the piece that completed the vision. Sheree Dunwell also came in and everything became stacked with beautiful 3-part harmony. Mob Music is really our band name, but the album being my sophomore project, we decided to name the album that.”

MRF Mob Music

What’s next for your career?

“We will be releasing my next Music Video for my song “Trying”. Trying is the radio single from the Mob Music album and it’s on over 60 radio stations both nationally and internationally. I’m super excited about this Music Video as it features myself and another bear in a love and loss narrative. So excited about this one! I also just started working on my next project. We are at the very beginning stages but it will be out sometime in 2015.”

Musician Mike MRF Flanagan
Photo by Patrick Lentz

What does the term “Bear” mean to you?

“A community within a community that celebrates, desires, and finds immense beauty in physical features that the mainstream eye (and most of the straight world) happens to deem unattractive.”

What’s your idea of a perfect date?: “Scrabble and a Pixar movie.”

Musician Mike MRF Flanagan

How would you describe your personal interior design style?:

“I’m a little OCD, so everything is typically neat and organized, but inadvertently accented with Boxer and man fur.”

What kind of music do you listen to?: “Very tough question for a musician, but if it sounds good and has integrity, I dig it!”

Mike MRF Flanagan

Location: “Boston but moving to Los Angeles.”

Height: 6′

Hair: Dark Brown/Balding

Eyes: Brown

Sign: Libra

Fitness Routine: “4-5 days in the gym, 1 day of yoga and 2 days volleyball. Gym is a combination of different kinds of training I’ve done over the last 15 years. Lots of focus on proportion typically something like this – Day 1: Back (starting with deadlifts every other week) and bis, Day 2: Chest, Tris, Abs, Day 3: Legs – Day 4: Shoulders, traps, Day 5 – Arms, Abs. Sometimes I’ll break legs up to hit them twice a week.”

Musician Mike MRF Flanagan
Photo by Patrick Lentz

Occupation: Music: “Out Musician/Performing-Recording Artist/Educator.”

Hobbies: “Writing music/songs, dog park or beach with my boxer, volleyball, concerts, ASL-Meetups, eating.”

Guilty Pleasure Snack: “I will never stop eating banana bread. Ever!”

TV Faves: “Real Time with Bill Maher, Orange is the New Black, Modern Family, The Voice, Friends, Noah’s Ark, L Word, Big Bang Theory.”

Musician Mike MRF Flanagan

Last good movie you saw: “X-Men – just see it!”

Currently Reading: “Articles, articles, articles all the day.”

Turn Ons: “Confidence, self-love, humility, kindness, music fan, naturally big/thick/burly build, body hair, back hair!”

Turn Offs: “Shaving back hair, arrogance, lack of self-awareness, drugs, smoking, nose hair, ear hair.”

Musician Mike MRF Flanagan

Personal Statement: “My mission is to spread my music/sound as far as I can! Would love for everyone to check it out. Any and all sharing of videos, the album, Spotify page etc. is huge! All proceeds from downloads of my song ‘Be Strong (LGBT Youth)’ are donated to GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight, Educator, Network).

iTunes – MRF

Mike Flanagan Music on YouTube.

Follow Mike on Twitter

Follow Mike on Instagram

Follow MRF on Spotify

See more about Mike in this “bio reel” video!

Bearnamic Duo ~ George & Scott of Spathose

Meet our Bearnamic Duo, George and Scott! These two talented designers have melded a successful career and relationship together. We get the scoop from them on how they make it all work…

How did you guys meet?

“It was actually quite romantic, a bit like some sappy, romantic comedy movie… A frosty New England night, as snow drifted deeply with the strong December winds; It glistened like scattered diamonds amid the winter moon’s glow…George’s car was stuck in a snow bank, Scott happened by with his truck and the rest is history!”

How long have you been together?

“We are in our 25th year together! Most of that time (at least 20 years, has been spent working side by side ,day & night, 24/7, 365…well you get the idea!) We are the design team that make up the brand Spathose. Our work transcends the realm of ordinary style by forging fine art with fashion, thus conceiving more than an accessory; we have given rise to organic wearable sculpture with an industrial edge.”

Wearable Sculpture by Spathose

Wearable Sculpture by Spathose

Wearable Sculpture by Spathose

Was it love at first sight or did it take a few dates?

“There was definitely an immediate connection, but we both were a bit cautious in the beginning. After our third date though, we were inseparable!”

George & Scott, circa 1997
George & Scott, circa 1997.

If you are cohabiting, how long did you date before you lived together?

“It didn’t take long at all, within a month and we knew that we wanted to spend as much time with each other as possible. Since that time, we have not spent more than a few days apart! In the beginning, we both had regular jobs but soon realized that we wanted to work together at our own business.”

S&G Ninja 2014 (2)

What is it about your mate that attracted you so much?

George: “For me the eyes are truly that window into the soul, I looked deeply into his intense eyes and I immediately felt this attachment, I felt safe. Of course, it didn’t hurt that he was brutally good looking with an amazing body!”

George & Scott of Spathose

Scott: “The first time we met, I felt as though time stood still, I was captured in a moment that I never wanted to end. My heart started to race and felt as though it was being gripped by a vice on the verge of exploding… He captivated me is so many ways, his charming smile, adorable rosy cheeks that glistened from the snow, the bluest eyes that melted my heart, but what really clenched it all for me was beyond that physical attraction, it was his wit and ability to make me laugh…”

Do you have common interests?

“Our passion has always centered on the arts in some manner. Our first business together was faux finishing, back when we lived in the Philadelphia area. We also enjoyed home renovations and that quickly turned that into a business. Upon our move to Saint Petersburg FL 11 years ago, we decided to focus entirely on purchasing run down properties in blighted areas to remodel and turn them into income properties. Since the real estate crash, being ever resilient, we had to re-invent ourselves once again. That is how we started our present business and brand, Spathose.

S&G Flag City Hall2014 (2)

Do you each have an interest that the other has none in?

“That’s the dilemma of being business and life partners, it’s tricky to be able to have separate lives! This was a struggle early on as our identities were merged into one. We were never thought of as individuals, but as a single entity. Both having strong personalities, we found that challenging to be reduced to this homogenized, collective version of ourselves. Understandably, being part of a brand, it’s essential to promote as a team and since have found that delicate balance to insure our own distinctive personae are not swallowed by the whole!”

What’s the secret to your successful relationship?

“In this internet fueled, new, next, now, built for planned obsolescence era of today, it seems that relationships have become disposable. The famous quote “For anything worth having one must pay the price; and the price is always work, patience, love, self-sacrifice” might have very well been written specifically about human interactions. Not to say that every day has to be a struggle, but be prepared to truly live the word compromise! Something as wonderful and rewarding as a long term relationship is worth the hard work that goes with it! Communication is key! Also Laugh, laugh everyday…there is always love when there is laughter!”

S&G 2013 (2)

Any advice for a dating couple?

“Never define your relationship on someone else’s views, values, or morals; it can be destructive.
You are the only one that knows your true feelings.
Create a friendship bond that grows beyond the physicality and the bedroom.
Never try to stagnate the other person from their journey in life.

Scott & George, circa 1990
Scott & George, circa 1990.

Spathose Website

Photo credits:
BWL Photography
Thee Photo Ninja
Rossie Newson Photography
Downtown Carol Photography
Brentwood Photography
Creative Loafing