City The Pinkest Day of the Year
Due to my reliance on leisurely Sunday mornings at home, I didn’t make it to the downtown Pride Parade until nearly 2:00 p.m., when I got to watch the last bits of the parade funnel into Seattle Center for the festival. And while I can’t weigh in on the success of the (smartly) relocated parade, I can testify that having the post-parade festival land in Seattle Center is ten billion times better than having it land in Volunteer Park.
One li’l reason: Seattle Center is designed to accomodate huge crowds of people and festivals, and offers an array of environments for visitors to explore, whereas Volunteer Park offered only monolithic, overcrowded parkness, with all the rickety food stands and Honey Buckets that implies. And the Center’s array of environments put the festival’s wealth of gay (or at least gay-friendly) diversity on full display, from the dozens of gay families with babies taking breathers in the air-conditioned Center House to the shirtless revelers in the fountain to the alterna-queers enjoying the world-class people-watching from the Beer Garden. Add to this the baseline thrill of having the Pride Festival not in the gay ghetto but in Seattle fucking Center and you’ve got a fest even the most cynical, over-it queers can look forward to attending again.
Not only is Seattle Center big enough to hold a gazillion gay people comfortably, it’s big enough to simultaenously host other, non-gay events, such as KISS 106.1’s BFD Summer Bash, the kiddie-friendly pop extravaganza that took over Key Arena yesterday evening. On the roster were a whole bunch of young pop artists I either didn’t know or didn’t care about (Nick Lachey, Ashley Parker Angel, All-American Rejects) and one I love to death: Pink, who I slipped in to see on a fortuitously acquired press pass and who kicked fucking ass.
It was a most heartening end to a surprisingly effective Pride Day: Watching the pair of 12-year-olds to my left react to Pink’s ditz-bashing “Stupid Girls” like young hippies first hearing “Subterranean Homesick Blues” (or whatever song first explodes your notion of what a song can do) , then gawking in awe as Pink plopped herself down on a stool to serenade her teenyboopper audience with “Dear Mr. President,” her nouveau would-be update of “How Do You Sleep?,” only instead of John Lennon bitching about Paul McCartney, it’s a pop princess calling deep bullshit on the leader of the free world. To all those who diss the crudeness of Pink’s political expression: Duh. She’s not Camille Paglia, she’s a top 40 pop star (one that can totally deliver the goods live, no less), and she’s exposing her target audience to more grit and substance than all her peers combined. Plus, the bitch can sing—like, SING sing, the kind of singing you feel privileged to be in the same room with. By the time she got around to the “Dear Mr. President” couplet—”What kind of father would take his own daughter’s rights away?/And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay?,” eliciting roars of support from the teen-packed house—I was ready to nominate her to the Supreme Court.
All in all, the best Pride Day I’ve ever had in this town. Congrats and thanks to all the folks who made the dream of a non-ghetto parade a reality, and God bless you, Pink.