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Monday, June 26, 2006

The Pinkest Day of the Year

Posted by on June 26 at 10:19 AM

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.

CommentsRSS icon

Seattle Center is indeed a wonderful place for the pride festival. Years ago, when I was young and naive and wililng to volunteer, I remember a particularly tense last-minute standoff because someone had neglected to get vans for disabled people to be taken from the entrance of Volunteer Park to the actual festival. It was a legitimate concern, albeit with a dramatically overblown reaction, complete with lesbians threating to "pull their support" and gay men throwing diva fits and speaking way before thinking.

Seattle Center's facilities take away most of that sort of drama, as (most) everything is accessible and convenient to boot.

As far as the intermingling goes, that's one of the great things about Seattle Center, regardless of the events. If some budding gays, lesbians, transgenders, bisexuals, etc (We haven't added any more groups, have we? I don't get out much anymore) was able to get a glimpse of us and see that we are somewhat "normal", all the better.

Besides, we pay taxes to support that thing too. It's time we got some use out of it, other than Storm Games and taking relatives to the Needle. :-)

Cool. Pink is great.

I thought it was great. I marched with my martial arts school, and I was thinking about all the worries that the crowd would be too thin, since the route was longer, but it was more packed than Broadway and the energy was fucking high. I thought it was great and just regretted that I couldn't stay for the festival.

Damn. :-( I am so sorry I was stuck down here in San Diego (which was cooler than Seattle :-) ) working on a brief. But our pride celebration in Balboa Park is coming up. It's not as good as Seattle's -- too many right-wing nuts down here screw up the works -- but it should be fun nonetheless.

i completely agree - it was an unqualified success, and a lot of fun. what a change from b'way/volunteer park!

I loved it. It was abosolutely amazing. They should've done it 10 years ago!

I was truly inspired.

This was my 16th annual Seattle Pride parade, I have made a point to attend each and every one since i was a new and amazed 18 yo queer seattle transplant.

While always nice to have one day out of the year to feel like a majority rather than minority, the novelty (and spectacle- where are the freaks -+- floats?) has worn off and broadway has gone way down hill IMO, I am glad to say that this one WAS THE BEST!

I remeber Dan Savage proposing a downtown move over a decade ago and always thought it was a great idea, being that i work downtown and "the Center" is a favorite part of the city to me!

I loved it, even the annoying false-christian preaching, the nearly unbearable heat, and the of course typical diva-house, all of us somewhat older and slightly jaded queers were dancing in the fountain with huge smiles on our faces!

Can't wait for next year, where do i volunteer for the entertainment commitee? Let's DO IT!

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