Every year we get psyched for Pride -- and every year when it's
over, we think, Twelve more months before we do it again? So the
best thing to do is relive it, reprise it, replay it all again.
Here's how it went for us.
Friday night: The Cockettes. The movie. A swell documentary about
the San Francisco troupe which fell flat on their faces when they
arrived in New York. A perfect reminder of how crazy people were in
the late Sixties, and the perfect push to remind us all how to
celebrate who we are now.
Saturday: Yoga -- to loosen up. Then Victor at two a.m. Unlike last
year, there was no line out in front of the Hammerstein. Glad they
took care of that little prob. Instead, they channelled us up to the
second floor (rather than the fourth floor) where we looked down on
the crowd. Green lasers. Blue and black. Silver. Is that Victor in
the booth? Are we staring at the right person? Are our masks too
tight, inhibiting blood flow? About half the crowd was wearing
masks, some elaborate, some the basic black eye/nose thingie.
Already masks were underfoot. We started to count them. We stopped
when we got to eleven. Oh, yeah, it is Victor. We knew that. Danced
for a while. Air flow was excellent. Smiles from people, smiles at
my mask. It's not that big a deal, but it's nice to get the looks.
The crowd seems behaved. Happy to be there. The start of the
weekend. Glad they bought the ticket. Happy to be on Victor's ride.
He's smooth, and sexy. He's hypnotic. He moves you without you
thinking about it. You just sink into what he's giving you; you go
with his flow. We wander downstairs. Empty our bladders. Sit in the
lounge, dish with some friends. Bf looks around and says,
"Everyone's holding back." No messes as of yet. Back upstairs. Dance
on the balcony, just above Victor. His vibe coming up beneath our
feet. We didn't plan on dancing there; it just happens. And behind
us, against the wall, a very cute black/white couple getting it on.
No restraint. Go for it, kids. Later, we ditch the masks. Bf tosses
his in the garbage. The freedom to dance without something across
your face. And, incidentally, where was Victor's mask? Then curtain
rises, orchestra is there. Crowd cheers, Lamya sings. "Bring me
men." It works for me. I love the image. Her banging those drums.
That hair out to here. The orchestra accompanying. It's the first
I've heard the song. I want to hear Victor's mix. I can almost hear
it already. Crowd cheers when the orchestra ends. Loud cheers, but
maybe not as loud as what we think we remember from last year. Maybe
it's not possible for the impact to be as great as it was last year.
How could it be, once you've seen it before? Who cares, though,
about last year, when it's this year now? We dance until we're ready
to leave. Grapes on the way out. Fresh, seedless red grapes. Just
what we need. It's six-forty-one a.m. by the clock. Home to bed
Sunday: The Parade. We get to 28th Street just before two p.m. The
moment of silence. We think about the ones who should be standing
nearby. We cheer. We wave. We walk hand-in-hand, down Fifth Avenue.
Along the sidewalk, holding hands. Sneakng kisses. On a Sunday in
June in New York City. Isn't that the best? Who wouldn't love a day
like this? We watch those marching in the street. I get lumps in the
throat when I see a guy in a truck on the verge of tears. He's
staring at all the people, cheering him on. It's a little thing, but
a big thing too. The floats. Candis Cayne as Wonder Woman. The XL
bartenders, flirting with message cards. Lots of swag: lube and
plastic handcuffs and strings of pearls and cheerleader pompoms. Our
pockets jammed, we walk Christopher, and eat at Good, happy to sit
for a while before heading to the Pier.
The Pier. It is what it is. It's never been about dancing, not for
us. Dancing on macadam doesn't do it for my feet. Still, it's
Junior, so we wanted to testify. Recognize. Whatever. It's so
packed, though. Way too packed, maybe. We have to wait to find a
spot on the fence to lean against. We wave to the Sea Queens. We
dance under the stage, just because it's "Rapture." Then we head for
the bleachers, dance on the top row. Aluminum gives more than
macadam. Junior's playing day songs. It's more about the day itself.
Not what you'd want to hear when you hear Junior at Earth. Then it's
dark. Then it's Kevin on the stage. Two girls behind us groan, "Not
her again." We cheer as loud as we can. Yeah, it's him/her again.
And why not? It's Pride Day, and Junior has a family, and it's his
time to show them off. So the same with Kristine W. We cheer for her
(though maybe we liked her better at White Party two years ago). The
fireworks. We watch from the West Side highway. Pier 54 looks like
the Land of Lost Boys or the fairground where Pinocchio goes.
Alegria: We hold back until two a.m., we muster up all our last bits
of energy. We want to be primed. And as soon as we enter, without a
line, with pleasant employees, we're hit by a blast of energy. Off
and running. The place is packed, shirtless everywhere. Abel's beat
from below. It never stops; it's so consistent. It's so propulsive.
We haven't heard him since Winterparty in February. We can't wait to
get down there -- but wait, oh, my God, the heat. The water rolling
off the boys. We can't go down there yet. It's a
sauna, a steamroom, the desert, the bowels of hell. So upstairs to
dance on the fourth floor. But no, it's not the same. It's fine, but
it's not Abel, and that's why we there. So we collect our wits and
head down, and there's a space over by the stage, off to the right,
and if it's not cool, then it's not as bad as we thought. And Abel's
beat takes us there and we dance. That's why we're there.
The whole place is red and yellow, circus colors, and harlequins and
acrobats and cotton candy and popcorn, and those two guys come on
(is that Adam Killian?) and do their thing, and they're doing it in
even less space than they did last year at Caligula and you have to
marvel at their body control. The crowd laps it up and the party is
everything it should be for the end of the weekend. It's
high-energy, very high-energy. No holding back anymore. All systems
go. The boys are pumped.
And some too much. Over where we are, there's one that's falling
out. Falling down. And another picks him up and dances with him,
holds him close, the way you would a straw dummy, or the scarecrow,
and it's clear that something's not right, and it doesn't look good,
and the bunch of us are wondering, is enough being done, and then
the two disappear, and for a while, I wonder if he's all right, and
truthfully, it's a bit of a buzz kill because I don't want to worry
about someone else, and yet, how can I not? And then there's another
who sips from the same bottle, and a look comes over his face, and
in another three minutes, he's gripping the stage railing, and then
sliding down, and from there, some people take him to the banquette
and lay him down, and for a while, I see a crowd there, and after a
long while, when we're ready for a break, we head back upstairs, and
he's still there, shaking and quivering, flat on his back.
And then, there's another, being led out by security. His eyes wild
as he looks over his shoulder.
Frankly, these are not the images I want replayed in my head when I
think about this party. So we're back upstairs. We're resting; we're
talking it out. What's the point of such excess? Why?
And later, back on the floor, dancing again, there he is, the first
one we saw fall out. But now he's smiling and happy. Huggy and kissy.
And he even pinches me as we stroll by. And I smile, but I want to
say, "What's wrong with you? Why did you put us all through that
These are exceptions, however. The party was not, in my opinion, a
mass of falling out. It was, as it has been with other Alegria
parties, a well-orchestrated affair. The management and the
producers and the deejays at this party seem to work together as a
team. They give those of us who love the music and the dance what we
want. I loved what Abel was doing; I loved the beat I locked into; I
loved being at this party and celebrating Pride with so many good
people. We were there until seven a.m.
And I'm glad to know that Junior turned it out too. And that Susan
gave it up. It's great to know that all around this city, people
were celebrating with Pride.
Can't wait for next year, but that's always the way.