Published in
Features

Date With Death Bear

This bear doesn't do hugs. He's not even cuddly. But, Death Bear does promise to take your pain away, which is way more than any Care Bear can say.

Nate Hill, the man who brought us Free Bouncy Rides and Candy Crack Delivery, now makes free house calls as part of his latest performance art project. "Death Bear is like a fantasy for me," he says. "It's like an invented world."

Dressed in a black jumpsuit and a hard, sinister-looking bear head, Hill goes door-to-door, removing items that trigger sad memories. Death Bear will "absorb your pain into his cave," at least according to his website.

Lost souls and the broken-hearted summon Death Bear to their apartments via text message. Death Bear walks in at the appointed time, and gets to work. He doesn't talk much. A typical appointment lasts about five minutes.

Naturally, Death Bear gets a lot of relationship-related left-overs: pictures, jewelry, books, clothes and toothbrushes.  But there's random junk in the mix as well: potato chips, bills and candy bars, to name a few.

Hill says he thinks of myself more as a moving man than a therapist.

"I don't know if I'm helping people. It's a symbolic gesture," he says. "They can do with it what they can."

Each visit varies in tone, but Hill says it can get pretty raw. "I've had some people who have almost cried and you can tell they are flustered. You can tell there is real emotion," says Hill. "That's why I started taking the piece very seriously from the beginning."

Death Bear plans to make the rounds again February 12-14. Just in time for the emotional cocktail of Valentine's Day.