This gogo bear has arrived, henny… Mr. Fire Island Bear 2017 and a Best Gogo Boy nominee from this past GLAM Awards presentation is becoming an event producer in his own right! Thotyssey hangs in the Man Cave of Dan Jiménez!
Thotyssey: Hey Dan! I know you must be busy getting ready for this summer’s Mr. Fire Island Bear contest… going through all the potential contestants’ applications, for one thing.
Dan Jiménez: It’s a busy job, but I’m super excited for this competition and to crown my successor. These applicant emails have shown that this will be an amazing show.
Yes, you were last years’ winner! What was that experience like for you?
The competition was extremely fun. Between meeting the other contestants, the Q & A and doing whatever the judges asked us to do. It’ll definitely be a memorable moment in my life.
And now you’ll be hosting the ceremony this summer… have you ever done something like that on such a big scale before?
I’ve been a judge for two other competitions during my reign, but never hosted. Let alone being anointed as director of the competition.
It should be amazing, congrats!
Yeah I’m really excited to bring new stuff to the table for this year’s competition.
I see you have an action figure designed after yourself in your Mr. FI Bear gear!
I always wanted an action figure of myself! It was a gift from my close friend Elliot Calavera. He designs dolls, mostly of drag queens. And he surprised me with one of me! I then spoke to my friend Kip Silva, the creator / designer of KStraps, to make him a little sash to match mine, so I can travel with him when I judge other competitions! He recently made himself as an action figure, and I suggested they have an Onlyfans page together for shits and giggles, lol!
You’ve been in this scene for a minute now. Where are you from?
I’m from the Bronx, born and raised on Castle Hill. I’m the youngest of three from Puerto Rican parents.
Boogie down! The Bronx seems like a fascinating place to grow up–what was your experience?
It was good. Despite the bullying I went through at school up until junior high, I had a great childhood. I also lived in Puerto Rico for three years and did sixth through eighth grades there, which was also nice.
When did you discover nightlife?
I was a late bloomer. Most of my friends went to clubs in their teens. Being that I was actually an introvert as a teen, I didn’t really go to the clubs or even a rave up until i was about 21. And then loved every thing about it! I became a raverboy in my early 20s.
And how did you break into gogo dancing?
I had always wanted to be a gogo or a stripper since I was a kid. All thanks to Flashdance and Showgirls! But I never thought I’d even be considered, being that I am a bear.
I started out by doing an occasional flyer for Rockbar–then I came to a dance party night at Rockbar and saw [gogo bear / personality] John-John Punki. Seeing how loved he was by the public and his success put the bug in me to really wanna try.
About a year or two later, the Batman Vs Superman movie came out. Chris Reed the creator of the Beefcake parties knew I did a slutty Batman (or as I named myself “BatDan”) and he asked me if I’d like to dance for his BvS movie release party as BatDan. The rest is pretty much history!
You’re certainly one of the most popular dancers in the NYC bear scene now. What goes through your mind when your dancing: are you always in the moment, or are you sometimes like “hmm, gotta remember to pick up the dry cleaning tomorrow?”
Lol! It varies. Most of the time I’m in the moment and thinking in my mind, “Miss Vanjie.. Miss Vanjie…” Lol, I’m kidding. I just think about what moves will make me look sexy–what I should do to make someone smile, or give me a “YAAASSS BETCH!” I’m all about entertaining and making sure people have a good time and feel welcome at whatever event I work.
What was your first leather / bear / etc. contest?
I had only done one other competition. I had competed for Mr. Rockbear a few months before Fire Island.
It’s more expensive then people think to participate in one of those contests. That gear ain’t cheap.
The gear is expensive–but it lasts long so you do get your money’s worth. I have a harness that’s like, 5-6 years old, and I still throw it on for shows or bar nights when I’m out with friends.
Congratulations on being a GLAM-nominated gogo boy this year! That’s a great nod to dancers in the bear scene who don’t always get the same respect as the muscleboys in the biz!
I know. I was blindsided by that!! I never in my wildest dreams could’ve imagined that happening. It’s like “people really noticed me? And I’m a bear!?”
When i chatted with [GLAM creator] Cherry, she said I was the first bear ever nominated. Which was even more pressure in my mind. But hey! I’m making a statement that we’re all equal, and we all deserve a chance. I hope next year even more bears are nominated for the best gogo boy award!
Shane Tate, a promoter and producer of bear events and the guy behind Fire Island Bear Weekend, was also nominated as Best Party Promoter that year–and it was a first for that category as well.
I know! I’ve been working with Shane for over a year, even before Fire Island. That man has incredible knowledge of the bear scene and what bears like… me! (lol, kidding.)
Bears are taking ovuh! Why is the scene so popular now all of the sudden?
The scene has boomed tremendously since I first discovered it. Having people like Shane, Chris Reed, John-John, and even myself, as well as venues like Rockbar and parties geared toward bears, have really helped in bringing bears together, and created a welcoming environment for us all to be in. So, those bears who were stuck with their skinny friends at bars or venues that didn’t feel comfortable at an establishment that made them feel like an outsider have a place to feel accepted (because I was that friend once upon a time).
I plead the fifth, Lol!
OMG! Long time dream come true. I’ve always wanted to host my own rock party. And thanks to Jason Romas at Rockbar, I finally get to do it! No one really knows it, but I am a low key metalhead.
It’ll be a mix of classic, current and even foreign. Being that my rock fandom ranges from Marilyn Mason to Rammstein. I wanna cover all bases! I also am lucky to have
Viva Vidalia, who’s gonna give me a fierce rock number performance. And a super cute gogo pup working the party, who may just dance. You’ll just have to come and see!
What else is on the horizon for you?
I am considering competing for Mr. North American Bear 2019 in February. Also planning going back to LA soon to work Megawoof again, which was an amazing time! And just continue to be a positive role model for the community and future generations.
Good luck with everything! Last question: who is the hottest living bear?
The hottest living bear is my fiancé. Have you seen Steve Alb!?
Indeed! Thanks Dan!