Bare Chest Calendar Men show a little skin for a good cause
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It's been a rough year for many. Housing, food and medical needs are but some of the issues many people are facing as the pandemic continues to devastate the economy. PRC is dedicated to helping HIV positive people, homeless people, low income or no income, and disabled San Franciscans weather the pandemic, though the organization has been doing its work long before the COVID-19 era began and will continue long after the pandemic is behind us. The annual Bare Chest Calendar has become one of the ways that PRC funds its work.
The calendar began in 1984. Beginning with its second year, the calendar served as a fundraiser for the AIDS Emergency Fund, which provided immediate, short term financial assistance to people affected by HIV/AIDS disability.
AEF eventually merged with PRC, continuing this important work which now includes legal representation for access to basic income and healthcare benefits, supportive housing, help for those at risk of transmission including people with mental health and substance issues, and employment training for longer term social rehabilitation.
Jeffrey Wayne, formerly Mr. December 2020, is one of the Bare Chest Calendar's current Den Daddies. Den Daddies do a lot of the behind the scenes organizing so that the calendar models can focus on fundraising, entertaining, and interfacing with the community. Den Daddies also plan for the future, looking for new fundraising opportunities and for new calendar men.
Wayne tells the Bay Area Reporter that the calendar had to get creative with the restrictions brought on by the pandemic.
"With the loss of in-person events and the closure of public spaces, our fundraising took a hit," Wayne said. "But our team worked incredibly hard to make up for it. We brought our Bare Chest Tuesday events, typically hosted at Moby Dick Bar in the Castro, online and have hosted them each month on our Facebook page.
"We created a few new events such as BCC: Behind the Scenes, a fun look at the men behind the calendar as we glimpse their everyday lives around San Francisco. We also created a new show on our Twitch channel called Clickbait, which features several of our men playing a TikTok version of Apples to Apples, with new themes each week."
Wayne feels that the 2021 calendar men should be proud of their accomplishments during such a difficult year.
"Our calendar men aren't just appearing on the calendar, they're also our best salespeople," he said. "In addition to marketing our calendars, they are marketers for the work PRC does. If you run into a Calendar Man, you'll know them by their distinct vests, they'll most likely have a calendar to sell you and they'll sign it for you too. If you don't run into a Calendar Man, you can order them on our website. Also, for the first time ever, you can order them in the Castro at Knobs and at AutoErotica."
Wayne points out that the Bare Chest Calendar is an all volunteer organization, with 100% of calendar and fundraising profits going to PRC. Calendar men are found at events such as Pride, and the Up Your Alley, Folsom and Castro Street Fairs. Events have also been held at bars in SoMa and the Castro, and they've even handed out business cards to people on the street or at Dolores Park.
"Our 2021 team is incredible," said Wayne. "This year we selected our largest team ever, 16 men were selected as Calendar titleholders, twelve months and four seasons. We want our calendar to reflect the Bay Area, so we strive to recruit men who represent the diversity of our community. This year's team is made up of incredibly talented, incredibly beautiful men inside and out, who come from all over the Bay, and the world, really, and represents so many different parts of our community."
Trans calendar man Byrd Brandon underscored the Bare Chest organization's commitment to diversity.
"As a trans man, I have become painfully familiar with what it feels like to be excluded from groups," Brandon, who is Mr. May, said. "But the Bare Chest Calendar has gone above and beyond in making me feel included. They have seen and valued me for what I have to offer to the community."
"The Bare Chest Calendar is an amazing organization that even during these trying times, continues to offer its support and services to the community," added Mr. October, Eric Panatta. "Having fundraised the regular way in the 2019 season and learning to adapt my fundraising efforts in 2020 was quite the roller coaster, but I always enjoy a challenge. I've gone from one brotherhood, USMC, into another amazing one, BCC."
Wayne said that 2021's fundraising total would be announced on February 25 during the preliminary competition occurring that night on the BCC Facebook and Twitch pages.
"We are always looking for future calendar men" said Wayne. "We welcome anyone who identifies as male, is over the age of 28, and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area to email us at ImNext@barechest.org
To purchase a calendar, please visit: www.barechest.org
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