Bears with Bananas and Bubbles in their Boxers

Bears with Bananas and Bubbles in their Boxers

Lee Campbell / United Kingdom / 2022 / 5 min

….’very sexy. But thought provoking as well. I’m interested in bringing the sanctuary the sanctity back to our sexual energies. I view our work as kin because it appears to me you understand this in ways. Self-love, exploration of kink. No shame just empowerment. To heal to be a better part of our community.’ A BOY NAMED PONY

This short poetry film explores body acceptance and gay male body shaming. Gay men can exclude, leave you outside in the cold as quick as they can include and convivially welcome. The gay male community is even more controlling about what you should look like and how you should behave – in a very nasty way. This very inclusive environment which is very coercive of itself and quite damaging.

It features The Kings Arms pub in Soho, London where I first discovered that bears and cubs don’t just live in the forest. As a gay man in the early 2000s in London, I felt at home here amongst men who looked like me, whose bodies were like mine. I found men with this body type very attractive sexually and very desirable and likewise I wanted men to find my body sexy and desirable. I was putting myself on sale. I wanted to get myself ‘sold’. But I soon learned that there were power relations and antagonisms, processes of inclusion and exclusion; gay men can exclude, leave you outside in the cold as quick as they can include and convivially welcome. I was told I was too slim to be a ‘bear’ and too fat to be a ‘cub’. So where do I go? Like I say, ‘cruising you, will you cruise me back? men bruising me like I’m the wrong kind of fat’. Defying the antagonists, I would continue to socialise and drink in that pub regardless and desire and be desired.


DIRECTOR BIOGRAPHY –  Lee Campbell

Dr. Lee Campbell is an artist, performance poet, experimental filmmaker, writer, Senior Lecturer at University of the Arts London, and curator/founder of Homo Humour, the first of its kind project on contemporary queer male film and moving image practices that explore humour and LGBTQ+ storytelling and has screened all over the world since 2020. He is gay and lives and works in London.

His experimental performance poetry films have been selected for many international film festivals since 2019. Lee had his first solo exhibition in North America of his poetry films, See Me: Performance Poetry Films at Fountain Street, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A in July 2022 and a solo exhibition of poetry film, Bona Polari! at The Margate School, Margate and Wimbledon College of Arts Library, UAL in February 2022. Recent film screenings include CINEM’aMOSTr, Teatro Municipal de Vila do Conde, Porto, Portugal, (de)construction,, Kino Club Helsinki, Finland, Living with Buildings III, Coventry,SF Queer Film Festival, San Francisco, FilmPride Brighton & Hove Pride’s official LGBTQ+ film festival, Brighton, Feminist Border Arts Film Festival, New Mexico State University, Splice Film Festival 2022, Brooklyn, TRANÅS AT THE FRINGE – International Screening of Experimental Films and Videopoems, Sweden, Post Pxrn Film Festival, Warsaw, REELpoetry/HoustonTX 2022 International Poetry Film Festival and The Football Art Prize, UK-touring exhibition to Touchstones Rochdale, Millennium Gallery, Sheffield  and Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens.

Lee has been interviewed numerously about his current film/performance work including interviews on BBC Radio Sussex and Surrey with Kathy Caton for Out with Kathy, KMTV (local Kent-based TV station) interview feature about Bona Polari! solo exhibition, interview with Jane Glennie, Moving Poems Magazine in July 2022, Daniel Hess for To Tony Productions, Tim Kirk, Matt Skallerud for I Love Gay Today/PinkMedia LGBT, Hamish Downie’s Five Questions With – Lee Campbell (March 2021) BBC Radio Kent- Interview with Dominic King for The Dominic King Show January 2021. His film work has received critical acclaim with recent review features of his film work by Francesca de Luca in Cut Frame Magazine and James Clark in Lost Creatives. In 2008, he was interview ed by Libby Purves for BBC Radio 4 where he discussed his solo performance for Whitstable Biennale that year.

Lee has a long history of curating performance and fine art exhibitions internationally. For example, between 2005-2008, he curated All for Show, an internationally touring film showreel of emerging and established British moving image artists whose work exposed the banalities of everyday life through humour, self-introspection, and serious play. In 2020, Lee curated Radical Ventriloquism at Kelder, London. His most recent curation is Homo Humour which has screened at Metal, Southend-on-Sea, Open Eye Liverpool and FRISE, Hamburg, Germany in 2022 and forthcoming at Centre for Comedy Studies Research (CCSR), Brunel University in February 2023 .In January 2021, he curated a set of queer poetry evenings for BBC Radio.