Monday, June 25, 2007

Gay Parade 2007 or

The Reincarnation of Peter Pride.

Yesterday I went to my first pride parade in over a decade. Here’s the rundown and some random thoughts by the hours.

8:00 – woke up and immediately noticed I had a zit the size of Nebraska right in the middle of my forehead, which in effect pretty much negated any possible chance of any enchanted evening with a stranger seeing me across a crowded room. Unless he was a dermatologist and wanted to set up an appointment.

9:00- Paul came by and we met Gary and had breakfast at Over Easy. A great place for breakfast, but this morning everyone and their ‘sister’ was there. They sat us a the world’s smallest table and the waitress decided to see just how many plates and condiments she could fit on it.

11:00 – Finally at the parade route, we passed a group of bearded men standing on the corner of Clark and Belmont praying for our souls; further up a larger group had signs that said repent, and gay sex = sin. They were soundly boo’ed by everyone walking by them. I don’t really get the whole poster thing; do they really think that a sign that says “Repent” at the gay pride parade will actually get someone thinking, ‘hmm, I should try that repenting thing’. But by the time the parade started this group disappeared among the throng of people.

11:30 – A cute girl came up to Paul and me and asked if we would fill out a survey in exchange for $10. Sure! The survey was straight out of MySpace, and concerned self-body image. Do you think you are fat? Do you think other people think you are fat? When is the last time someone whistled at you while you were walking down the street? Did this make you feel: positive about yourself, angry, or did you ignore it…That sort of stuff. Luckily there was nothing about zits or I would have broken down right then and there.

12:00- Finally, the parade started. We got a spot right by
Steamworks behind some lesbians. The opening of the parade is for politicians to ride by and wave. Most of them I didn’t know. However, it great that the Cook County State’s Attorney Dick Devine was at the parade. It must take a lot of courage to go to the gay pride parade with a name like Dick Devine; there and the urologist.

1:00- A toady looking guy came up to me and push me aside and said “I have to get through here…” I thought he was with the lesbians in front of us, so I let him through. I thought he was a lesbian at first. But he just felt like he deserved to be in front of everyone. What is up with people today, there is such a feeling of entitlement and that people have to get their way regardless ? I’d never have the nerve to push my way in front of someone. It's a culture of rudeness.

To make things worse he was woo-woo’ing over everything. Granted I’m not much of woo-woo’er and if you are going to woo-woo then the gay pride parade is the place to do it, but I swear he was screaming over everything. He was on automatic woo-woo. At one point there was a big lull between floats and he keep on woo-wooing. The lesbian in front of him finally told him to stop screaming in her ear.

1:30 – Beads and advertisements: In this situation your self worth is totally based on if you can get one of the parade participates to throw you some beads. But this there was this green haired girl by me who was taking it as a personal affront that she didn’t get anything. At one point when she missed getting a flier to some hair salon I believe she actually started to cry. I became extremely aware of the floats throwing things because I didn’t want to get hit in the zit with a flying ad for some power drink. Maybe if the Christian people had attached their Gay Sex = Sin message to a string of beads they might have gotten more people to pay attention.

2:00 – A seemingly endless parade of floats featuring everything from Capt Crunch to Caribou Coffee. I’m glad that corporate America was supporting the parade, but after two and a half hours of watching drag queens and dancing boys, the ComEd float fell a little flat.

2:30 – Yet another pushy person came and pushed us out of the way to get in front of us. She seemed a little trashed and I didn't have the energy to push back, so I thought it was best to get out of the crowd. We went to Spin and had a beer, it tasted fabulous!

3:00- The parade was over. And Halsted Street was now a throng of people and trash. I hadn’t tripped over that many wine and beer bottles since my days at Medusa’s Juice Bar. And so the revelry began. It was the first time that I actually felt sorry for the policemen who were given the gay pride parade beat. They had this look on their faces like angry parents whose teenager's yard party had gone out of control. I mean they couldn’t arrest anyone for being drunk because everyone was drunk, they couldn’t arrest anyone for peeing in alleys because people were peeing everywhere.

3:15 – We walked over to Broadway where the parade was still passing by. On the way there we passed a Honda with two very confused Asian girls and a backseat filled with bags heading up Roscoe to Halsted, the ground-zero of the parade festivities. Had they picked this day to move into their apartment? They were driving right for the part of the area that we’d just left with throngs of people still walking in circles trying to find friends, make friends or find a drink. Poor lost souls; how did they not know this wasn’t happening? What if you had picked this day to move into your new condo in Lakeview? Talk about a nightmare.

4:00 – With the parade wrapping up on Broadway, Paul and I ran into a lovely site. Frat boys and their frat girl throwing freeze pops out the window in exchange for people who would pull down their pants. They weren’t getting many takers, so they proceeded to give the crowd a show. As Paul said: Out the window today, on a blog tomorrow.

Really Not Safe for Work. Picture One, Picture Two, Picture Three

5:00- Paul and I met up with friends, Gary, Dan and David. We walked out of the general Halsted Street area and thought it was time to get something to eat. Also, it was around this time that I realized that I was starting to burn and burn fast; I could feel it was going to be bad. My forehead was bright red and my poor little bald spot on the crown of my head felt like it was starting to prickle like I had fire ants walking on it.

Note to self: Sunscreen stupid!

5:15 – I made the horrible suggestion of going for Mexican food; Mainly because I wanted a margarita. We went to Caesars’ and although it was crowded and there was a half hour wait, we just chatted around the bar. The bad part came when they brought us to our table in the basement. The basement is usually the bar/night club area. Although people were eating and chatting, the management thought because it was pride weekend and we were all homosexuals that we would expect that the music would need to be at ear shattering levels; I mean how else would we enjoy our dinner. After several trips to the DJ booth and a visit from the manager we got the music down to a reasonable level that we could all scream over. To make this scene even more irritating, there was a TV set embedded in the wall and it was tuned into the Jimmy Swaggart Program ‘close-captioned’ for the enjoyment of the diners. Had the poster board carrying crowd come up with this diabolical scheme?

“Hey Josh, so after the parade we’ll set it up so that Swaggart will be preaching the word of God in all the restaurants. After several free Tequila shots, they’ll be repenting all over the place.”

“That plan is downright devilish, Tod.”

6:30 – From there Gary and I braved the Halsted crowd and went to Sidetracks. The scene had calmed down considerable since earlier in the afternoon. (Kudos to the city for cleaning up that mess so quickly.) After two (or was it three) fruity, slushy, girly drinks, my forehead now at least one color of the rainbow; and my energy level completely sunk; I was just staring out at one of the TV sets with Judy or Barbra or Bea or Cher on them lost in my own musical comedy world when this guy came up to me and said ‘Smile! You should be happy and filled with pride.’ “Woo-Woo” I yelled. And he seemed satisfied and walked away. And I had my fill of being prideful for another year. I took my sun dried zit and went home.


Anonymous said...

Great post, Johnny. Sounds like you had a gay ole time. I loved the 'Nancy' girls and the stilt people, too.
I, happily, watched the parade from an airconditioned, sparsely attended party over looking Halsted.
My mind usually starts taking a walk along memory lane (surprise!)
back to my first parades I went to in the 80's. Back then you could actually sit on the curb on Broadway with your friends and say hello to the people walking by. I've been to almost every one since 85, and I am happy to be there.
My and my friend Scott's favorite after parade activity is hanging out on Halsted after dark, and watching all the lover's spats. Last year I think we counted 5!

Anonymous said...

Johnny! It almost sounds like you didn't have a good time, but I know you did, cuz I was there with you.... I see you've IGNORED my suggestion that you write an alternate post talking about how fun it was, but perhaps you're right, it's more fun to read about it from the critcal perspective. :-)

Gary Airedale

David said...

I'm with you on the parade John. The rude and gross people just make it a rude and gross experience. It's fun when your youngers. Try marching in it and having every icky person in the world try to touch you.

Erik said...

I feel so sad for the green haired girl.