I ran into Stumpy and Mr. Bear in Somerville’s Union Square taking in the sites, hitting the pubs and doing what they do to get ready for their hit radio show The Secret Lives of Stuffed Animals. They allowed me to tag along, take a few shots and ask a couple of questions. Heck, I even got to be a guest on their radio show (listen to it by clicking here: Radio Show of March 27, 2012). Enjoy!
Art Life: You are both stuffed animals but unique in that you lead creative lives. How do you do this?
Stumpy: It just comes naturally.
Mr. Bear: We also have especially understanding owners who let us do our thing. And Boston Free Radio is unique in offering stuffed animals a public voice. The folks at SCATV [Somerville Community Access TV] have been awfully welcoming to us. We like to say it’s where speech is free, even for stuffed animals!
Art Life: Animals have always been second-rate to humans. Stuffed animals even more so. What is your message to the other animals of earth?
Stumpy: It’s really a matter of opinion this first-rate, second-rate thing. Being stuffed animals, or regular animals, will always be up against the human opinion.
Mr. Bear: Yeah, we have our own opinion of humans — and live animals. But we encourage solidarity with all animals, even humans.
Art Life: As radio talk show hosts what do you like to talk about most? Least?
Mr. Bear: Beer.
Mr. Bear: And poetry and Roald Dahl. And the Sweet Valley Oracle, which you’ll have to tune in to hear. It’s indescribable. Plus, we have special guests — local poets, musicians, other stuffed animals. And our listeners can call in. We love to hear from them.
Stumpy: And there’s nothing we like least to talk about since we don’t have to talk about anything. That’s kind of the secret of The Secret Lives of Stuffed Animals; no topic’s off limits. And we do whatever we want.
Art Life: Do you feel there is any prejudice against you because you’re stuffed?
Mr. Bear: Yes.
Mr. Bear: People think we’re just full of stuffing. But we’re full of feelings too. And human secrets. I like to think of us as secret-holding love machines.
Stumpy: We’re full of beer sometimes too. And laughs. Kids get us at least.
Art Life: Your show is called The Secret Lives of Stuffed Animals. What’s so secret about it? Can you reveal one?
Stumpy: We’re trying to fight prejudice by revealing our secrets and what we have in common with humans. It’s kind of like the Stuffed Civil Rights Movement. We listen to Elvis, Snoop Dogg , Gillian Welch; raid the liquor cabinet; eat chips in bed; read poetry; feel our owners’ joy and pain. … We’re not as inanimate as we are made out to be.
Mr. Bear: Exactly. Humans can learn we’re not so different from them and maybe they shouldn’t just stuff us in a corner and neglect us, or leave us for the family dog or cat to maul. And stuffed animals can take comfort in knowing there are others like them out there in the same situation, and there’s hope. And of course we reveal some of our owners’ secrets too.
Stumpy: Yeah, we like to dish out the dirt on them. … And it’s not much of a secret, but I’m a chick magnet.
Mr. Bear: Yeah, he is.
Art Life: How can beings of all walks of life live together and create together peacefully?
Mr. Bear: Join our peaceful stuffed animal revolution. And kazoo marching band. How can you not get along if you’re blowing a kazoo together?
Stumpy: We’re also accepting applications for our Department of Stuffedmanities. Part of our admissions process is having potential faculty as guests on the show to try them out. Candidates can be in touch via our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/secret.lives.of.stuffed.animals or email us at email@example.com.
Mr. Bear: We are strongly committed to a policy of equal opportunity and affirmative action; we do not discriminate against humans. Of course, we don’t pay them either.
Tune in to The Secret Lives of Stuffed Animals live, Tuesday nights 8-9, on Boston Free Radio.
Podcasts are (slowly) available at http://secretlives.podbean.com/ or through iTunes.
To view the entire gallery of pictures go to Secret Lives Photoshoot.