Attendees of BEARLAND.MX, TBRU and MegaWoof have all been treated to the gogo stylings of the next gogo bear we want to highlight here at BWM, the wonderful Jeremy Morse, better known by his stage name- JMO-BEAR!
If you’ve seen him perform, then you know this man dances with JOY. He also serves a look like few others, often incorporating LED lights into his ensembles to compliment his often very tiny and very sexy underwear. Handsome, beefy and jovial, JMO-Bear is a welcome addition to any party and is one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet.
Get to know this talented and fun-loving bear through our conversation with him below!
John: When did you start gogo dancing? Why?
J-MO Bear: I came to gogo dancing in a very roundabout way… in May of 2016 I had a video clip that went viral, and in it I was dancing in a tight, shiny red speedo in front of our backyard pool to the Justin Timberlake song “Can’t Stop The Feeling” from the first Trolls movie. Justin Timberlake himself reposted a link to this video on his social media profiles and things took off from there, the clip started to get millions of views. I was dumbfounded by this. A couple weeks later in June of 2016, a DJ and party promoter from Los Angeles named Leonardo Abbate (DJ Glovibes) reached out and invited me to come to L.A. in July and recreate my choreography from the video clip as special entertainment at his bear dance party MegaWoof. After I finished performing that night he said he’d love it if I would stick around and dance with the other gogos (if I wanted to). I thought, “Why not?” and I discovered that it was a lot of fun!
Anyhow, I’ve continued to dance at MegaWoof (I’ll be in L.A. again in September), and thanks to that exposure, more doors opened for me, and I began to get bookings for other bear dance parties, such as FurrTrade, Hustle, Bearracuda, TBRU, BiggerVegas and Tidal Wave. It also led to me connecting with bear musician (and dear friend) Benjamin Koll, who hired me to dance in his first music video as a solo artist (“I’ll Be Good”), and then brought me back to collaborate with him on other videos (“Tell Me Why”, “Love Vibes”). He even allowed me to write the storyboard and choreograph the music video for my favorite song of his (“Beautiful Nothing”) the making of which was one of the best experiences of my entire life! I admire him very much, both as an artist and a close friend.
John: What is your dancing style and you have a signature move? What is your favorite music to dance to?
J-MO Bear: I’d call my style very old school ’80s (because I am old), so I often use a lot of the urban line dances I learned in my middle- and high-school years – stuff with names like The Cabbage Patch, The Rebop, The Window Wash, The Snake, The Robocop and The Whopp. I was also a break-dancer when I was much younger, so one of my ‘signature’ moves often involves incorporating some pop-locking, and body waves through my arms, down to my legs and back up to my arms and head. It would naturally follow that my favorite music to dance to is old school, I love to get hired for a throwback party that features stuff from the ’80s, ’90s and early aughts! And if I know the song, I will fully lip-sync the entire thing, I can’t help it, hearing those songs in a club setting makes me so happy, and that is a feeling that I love to communicate through dancing, it’s one of the reasons you will often find me grooving with a huge smile!
John: Do you have a gogo persona? Tell us about it.
J-MO Bear: I’m someone who is always fascinated by shiny things, bright colors, and anything that lights up.. so I’d have to say my gogo persona is all about being a chubby sparkly dancing light show! I am constantly on the lookout for new electronic gadgets to incorporate into my looks. I have a lot of harnesses and armbands from Breedwell, laser gloves off of eBay, and various other LED items I’ve gotten from Amazon. I know sometimes it might be a little much for some people, and I fully admit it is my go-to gimmick, but I just want to give the bears something interesting to look at when I’m out there in the dark.
John: Can you tell us a memorable event from one of your gigs? Biggest tip? Good or bad encounters with admirers?
J-MO Bear: I’m always happy to receive any kind of tip, and there have been a couple of times I’ve been lucky enough to get a hundred dollar bill! I always think it was a mistake, that the guy was probably a little buzzed and grabbed the wrong bill from his wallet, so if that was the case, I’m sorry buddy… but thank you just the same! (Laughs). Another time a guy tipped me about $200 over the course of an hour in Las Vegas and I was very grateful for such generosity.
Other than that, there have been a few times when guys have crossed my boundaries and tried to violate my personal space – I found out that yes, you can get paper cuts in sensitive areas from a dollar bill – and that’s not such a good feeling. I want to be a good sport, and I don’t mind being touched while dancing, but people should still respect a gogo dancer’s body autonomy and not try to insert things into it. However, the vast majority of my interactions with people have been really heartwarming and sweet. I’m always very touched, and outright humbled, when someone recognizes me from my little video clip and wants to get a selfie together, that makes me feel really good.
John: Do you identify with the bear community? When/ how did you find it?
J-MO Bear: I do consider myself a bear now, but I wasn’t always. In my younger days during the ’90s I was a subscriber to the famous Bear Magazine, which featured a lot of handsome and hairy men… but the types of guys that I was (and am) really attracted to were much more along the lines of chubby fellas, so I guess I would have been considered a “chaser” (which is a term I always disliked and still do to this day). I feel like over time the bear community kind of enveloped and absorbed the chubby organizations and events, so now there seems to be a bit wider diversity of body types that can identify as a bear of various kinds, and that’s important to me. In my opinion, I believe it’s a little unfair for anyone to try and gatekeep who gets to call themselves a “bear” based on a certain amount of body hair or body fat… I think people should be able to identify as they wish!
John: Why do you dance specifically at bear events and parties?
J-MO Bear: I guess the obvious answer would be that it’s because the bear community is one that will appreciate a man of my size being a gogo dancer, whereas another kind of gay dance party might not find someone like me attractive, and that’s okay, we all have our likes and dislikes. Over the last seven years that I’ve been involved in gay nightlife, I’ve come to appreciate how much visibility still matters to people, especially people like me who are over age 50. It’s a cliché, but it’s true that so much of gay culture is youth-centric, and I am determined to send the message to my older brothers that they are still invited to the dance, that we still have a place at the party and we have every right to be seen as worthy, valuable and sexy… regardless of having silver hair or laugh lines on our faces. I also want to encourage other heavyset guys to get up and give in to that urge to dance… regardless of whether or not you have any skill, or moves, or even rhythm, the important thing is to get up and MOVE when the music takes you. Coincidentally, Benjamin Koll also believes in advocating for these same ideals.
John: Any upcoming gigs you want to plug or anything you want to mention that we haven’t covered?
J-MO Bear: The first time I saw a gogo dancer at a club, I remember sneering to my boyfriend that the guy up on that box wasn’t a real dancer, he had his thumb jammed into the side waistband of his underwear, yanking them a couple of inches down, and was barely even moving back and forth (granted, it was a really slow night, this guy had to be bored out of his mind, so his lack of energy should have been more understandable) and I kept that dismissive attitude towards gogos for a very long time. And then I became a gogo dancer and I discovered that it is a great deal more difficult than it looks, because it is physically very taxing. Imagine doing a cardio workout that lasts for two or three hours in one session! It isn’t easy to keep moving with high energy for 30 minutes at a time, five times a night, that takes a lot out of someone. I have also seen online prejudicial commentary that sometimes stereotypes gogo bears with a lot of negative personality traits and attitudes, and that is also pretty unfair. I can say after having worked with over a hundred other gogo bears, some of whom are very well known in the community, that the overwhelming majority of them are very kind and genuine men; especially if you take a little time to talk to them and get to know them outside of the club environment (and the same goes for me, too)! If you come to a bear dance and see me there, I hope you’ll come up and give me a tip, because I work haaaaard for that money. And even if you don’t, I still want you to have a good time and enjoy the dance, the joy of being able to move is one of the best feelings in the entire world.
Also, I just returned from a brand new bear event that took place in Guadalajara, Jalisco, México in mid-July called BEARLAND.MX. It was three days of club dance nights, pool parties and sauna gatherings, and it was a helluva good time (with sooooo many sexy Mexican Bears). What’s even better is that the weekend was a great success, and I’ve just learned that BEARLAND.MX will be coming to Mexico City the weekend of October 28th, so if you’re looking for a new event to check out, come on down and be a part of it!