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Bears in the frame at Urge art exhibition

Fri 9 Nov 2007 In: Events View at Wayback View at NDHA

Renowned French artist Christophe Jannin is bringing his drawings to Auckland's most masculine gay space - just in time for the bar's 10th Anniversary. A BEAR'S LIFE The exhibition A Bear's Life at Urge is a first chance look at Jannin's drawings, most of them realized in New Zealand and never shown in public in this country before. Masculine figures of men, most of them bearded and hairy representing the "bear" community of the gay world, are a feature of the work with heavy influences from the world of literature, as well as Maori culture. The art looks into a world rarely represented in the gay world and although the figures hint at sexuality, they are not burdened by them. As Christophe says: "Sometimes it's more interesting to find the sensuality than the sexuality. You have to guess more, it's not being served to you it on a silver plate." The work was recently exhibited in Paris, where some pieces were sold for over 600 Euros (NZ$1,150). All the drawings are original, realized with a blue pencil, and are the start of drawing process. The coloured versions can be found on his official website. Christophe started drawing early in his life as a hobby, influenced by a variety of artists from the old masters to the Japanese manga through the European comics. He went to a high school of art in the city of Reims in the east of France, but grew frustrated by the course, eventually gaining a masters degree in medieval architecture. Christophe became a museum manager and in 1999 moved to Paris as being gay in a city like Reims was not easy and could sometimes be dangerous. The move to Paris opened up a new chapter in his life and in his art as he became part of the burgeoning bear community, drawing gay features for the first time ever. For six years he had two exhibitions a year, produced work for book covers and adverts in France, Europe and the USA. In 2004 he met his Kiwi partner and a year later decided to leave France for New Zealand. He is now enjoying the quiet life far from the Parisian scene and thanks to the bear community in Auckland he has started a new series of drawings which will be on show at Urge on Wednesday, 14 November at 7.30pm. TEN YEARS OF URGINGS The daddy of Auckland's gay bar scene is celebrating its 10th birthday at the end of November and the Urge boys will throw a massive weekend worth of parties for their customers and friends. Started back in 1997 by Larry Quickenden and Peter Taylor (now the owner of Ponsonby Road's Dorothy's Sister), the bar has been firmly established as New Zealand's top masculine gay men's space. Alan Granville and Paul Heard took over the running of Urge two years ago and the bar has continued to go from strength to strength. The regular Underware Parties continue to be a sell-out, while thousands of dollars have been raised for various charities thanks to the success of nights like Mr Urge Bear, Woof! And a fun Slave Auction. "It's incredible for any bar to reach a decade, but more especially for a gay bar!" says co-owner Alan. "So many have come and gone in the last 10 years but Urge is still pulling in the crowds." To celebrate the milestone, the bar is hosting a weekend of festivities starting with a free Kiwi barbie and $2 keg beers night on Friday 23 November. Proceeds from the night will go to Prostate Cancer as part of our collection for Mo-vember. Then on Saturday 24 November, Urge is hosting a massive party to celebrate 10 years of fun. Surprise presents will be given out during the night. "It should be a fantastic night. We hope to pack the place out with old and new friends - We have quite a few flying in from Australia and parts of New Zealand just for the weekend, to celebrate with us" said Paul. "We want to thank everyone who has come to the bar, or worked here in the last decade, but special thanks to DJ Mauri and Simon Stockley, who produces our posters, as they have been part of Urge from the very beginning." A special invite-only party will round out the weekend on Sunday 25 November. More news from Auckland's bear bar can be found on the newly-revamped Urge website.   

Credit: & Urge

First published: Friday, 9th November 2007 - 12:29pm

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