Architecture and Design

Chris Bale and Travis Smith on Modern Design, Modern Bears, and Their Appearance this Friday at Metro Retro

If you ever find yourself struck by an idea while sitting poolside at the Arizona Biltmore, chances are you should pursue it. It worked for Irving Berlin, who composed "White Christmas" next to the pool, and it worked for Chris Bale and Travis Smith, who were on vacation when they dreamed up a business that could become the next Martha Stewart empire -- if Martha were a Bear, that is.

Launched on a Facebook page, Modern Bear is Smith and Bale's lifestyle media company that combines their two passions: the gay bear community and mid-century modern design.

The duo just released Modern Bear's first book, Guide for the Modern Bear, a cheeky handbook to navigating bear life. The book explores bear hangouts across the country and identifies the subculture's various characters and body types.

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Jessica Testa