Bear Card

In collaboration with the Urbana Parks District, the Krannert Center for Performing Arts, and the Station Theatre, we're starting BEAR, the fourth performance in The Unreliable Bestiary, a life-long project. During BEAR's Fall Chapter Unreliable Bestiary Park Rangers will lead groups of 12 through local wild land on walking tours of six stations (one for each month the bear is awake, each station built with recycled material), culminating with a tale told in a close, dark den.

For BEAR's Winter Chapter six videos, one for each month the bear is underground, will be released online. Each video will have embedded information, guiding people to sites in local park land. With their Bear Field Guide in hand, the physical sites will offer clues to further investigation.

Set in Urbana's Station Theatre, BEAR's final Spring Chapter will bring Fall and Winter together with live musicians and two intertwining tales: a bear becoming a human, a human becoming a bear.

Is this show appropriate for children? See below.

Bear Sign

BEAR and other Unreliable Bestiary performances are not designed for children, but generally the work is probably appropriate for 4th grade and up. Of course it depends on the kid and the parent. BEAR's Fall Chapter includes some coarse language and quiet focus. BEAR's Spring Chapter includes uncomfortable, violent, and sexual imagery. It is not appropriate for children under 14.

Bear Plate

Transformation is usually at the center of all the stories, myths, and rituals we human beings have dreamed up around bears. So, I've been transforming. On January 1st, 2016 I shaved my head and face. I've been taking a picture of myself every day, and every day I post the picture, along with a fact about bears, on Instagram. On the Spring Equinox, the Summer Solstice, the Fall Equinox, and the Winter Solstice I'm posting video animations showing the transformation of my face and head. Here's the Summer Solstice animation:

Solstice 2016: Beard Animation from Deke Weaver on Vimeo.


Abrams, David. The Spell of the Sensuous. New York: Vintage Books, 1996.

Bass, Rick. The Lost Grizzlies: A Search for Survivors in the Wilderness of Colorado. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1995.

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Brown, Gary. The Great Bear Almanac. New York: Lyons Press, 1993.

Camus, Albert. The Stranger. New York: Vintage Books, 1942.

Caras, Roger. Monarch of Deadman Bay: The Life and Death of a Kodiak Bear. Boston, Toronto: Little, Brown and Company, 1969.

Carver, Raymond. Where I'm Calling From. New York: Vintage Contemporaries, 1989.

Diamond, Jared. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. New York: Penguin Books, 2011.

Durner, George M.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Fishbach, Anthony S. "Habitat Characteristics of Polar Bear Terrestrial Maternal Den Sites in Northern Alaska," Arctic, Vol. 56, No. 1 (Mar 2003), p. 55-62.

Feazel, Charles. White Bear: Encounters With the Master of the Arctic Ice. New York: H. Holt, 1990.

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Guerra, Ciro. Embrace of the Serpent (film). Colombia, 2015.

Hallowell, A. Irving. "Bear Ceremonialism in the Northern Hemisphere," American Anthropologist, Vol. 28, No. 1 (Jan-Mar 1926), p. 1-175.

Hine, Dougald; Kingsnorth, Paul. Uncivilisation: The Dark Mountain Manifesto. United Kingdom, Dark Mountain Project, 2009/2014.

Justice, Daniel Heath. Badger. London: Reaktion Books, 2015.

Lopez, Barry. Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape. New York: Bantam Books, 1986.

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Messier, Francois. "Malcolm Alexander Ramsay (1949-2000)," Arctic, Vol. 53, No. 3 (Sept. 2000), p. 332-333

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Polar Bear Eraser
Doug Peacock
Dave Stalling: From The Wild Side

Great Bear Foundation
North American Bear Center
Vital Ground: Grizzly Bear Habitat
Yellowstone Association: The Institute
Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative
More links here.

BEAR: The Fourth Performance in
Deke Weaver's The Unreliable Bestiary

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In a reflection of the hibernation cycle,
BEAR has 3 chapters: Fall, Winter, Spring

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BEAR Spring Chapter

2 weeks only
February 16-19, 22-25 2017
Station Theatre, Urbana, Illinois

Reservations available online at or by phone at 217-384-4000.

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BEAR Winter Chapter

6 online videos between Dec 2016 and Feb 2017.

Each video includes instructions on where to go and what to do - a walk in the park. For each walk you take, make sure you bring your BEAR Field Guide and a pencil. If you don't have a Field Guide, download this, print it (full scale, 8.5"x11" landscape), and bring it with you. Each video will point you to a destination in the AMK Habitat Corridor. Each destination will have information. The information will accumulate.

December 21: Winter BEAR Video 01

WATCH Video 02 & 03 together
January 14: Winter BEAR Video 02
January 14: Winter BEAR Video 03

IMPORTANT! The puzzle piece from Winter BEAR Video 03 has been taken. So, here's Puzzle Piece #3 as a PDF.

Winter BEAR Video 04
January 23: Winter BEAR Video 04

WATCH Video 05 & 06 together
February 14: Winter BEAR Video 05
February 14: Winter BEAR Video 06

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2016 Beard Growth Timelapse

Check this page for updates.

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BEAR Fall Chapter

BEAR's Fall Chapter took place Sept 21-Oct 2, 2016
Tours of 10-16 people left each night at 4pm, 4:45pm, 5:30pm, 6:15pm, 7pm, and 7:45pm

Free but tickets were required. Starting Sept 14th at 10am tickets and Bear Field Guides were available on a first-come-first-served-in-the-flesh basis at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts Box Office. The Bear Field Guide instructed participants where their group would meet.

Participants were instructed to dress for the weather and to wear comfortable shoes. We walked (on dirt, and sometimes muddy, trails). The walk was about 1.25 miles long (longer than WOLF's walk). There was some crawling on a clean, dry, soft surface. The tours lasted approximately 90-110 minutes.

For those with claustrophobic tendencies: there was a story (about 25 minutes long) told in close quarters.

Tickets and field guides were not be available on site.

Late arrivals were not accommodated.

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-Urbana Parks District
-Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
-The School of Art & Design
-The Center for Advanced Study
-The Guggenheim Foundation
-The Campus Research Board
-The City of Urbana Arts Program
-The MacDowell Colony
-The Ucross Foundation
-Taft-Nicholson Environmental Humanities Center
-Friends, Family, Magnificently Refined Individuals

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BEAR Performance Description

Is BEAR Appropriate For Kids?

BEAR/BEARD animation

BEAR Bibliography

Links to BEAR Info

BEAR Artists, Designers & Performers