If you missed Gay Pride last weekend, don't worry. Every single person there videotaped it. To recreate the experience in your own home, turn off your A/C, replace your shirt with a leather vest, plop down on the couch in front of your TV, get drunk on Coors Light, and start watching a borrowed video. Just to be clear, by TV I mean television, not transvestite. Although if you have a transvestite handy, it can only enhance the experience.
Bi the way, it's not actually called Gay Pride. The official name is Atlanta Pride. That way, it's inclusive of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons. They could have called it Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Pride, but that would be a bit of a mouthful, if not for the participants, then certainly everyone else. They also could have just used an abbreviation, but the problem with that is that GLBT sounds like an unwieldy sandwich.
Other than the musical acts (this year's headliner was CeCe Peniston, owner of the most snicker-worthy celebrity last name since the late Agnes Moorehead), the big event of the festival was Sunday's parade. By 1 p.m., a large crowd lined Peachtree to see it go by. Among the crowd was a large contingent of Jews For Jesus handing out flyers stating that gay men in search of the perfect man need not look any farther than Jesus. So, Jesus, if you were wondering why a bunch of gay guys keep calling you, now you know.
Religion played a prominent role in the actual parade, too. Churches willing to overlook Leviticus seemingly took up one quarter of the parade. Campaigning politicians also were prominent. The ones I saw were welcomed by the crowd, except for Rep. Cynthia McKinney, who at times elicited boos.
Corporations also played a big part. Bank of America hawkers paraded with signs reminding festival-goers that they offer domestic partner benefits. That's wonderful. Now if only they'd stay open during convenient hours and quit charging $3 to see a teller, they might impress me.
Believe it or not, there was still room for actual G's, L's, B's and T's. My favorites were the gay veterans and their drill sergeant whose combination gay/Georgia accent turned "Left, left, left-right-left" into a 14-syllable phrase. I also enjoyed seeing the large leather-loving contingent. There were enough of them to have their own festival. Leather supposedly breathes, but nevertheless they should probably wait until the weather cools a bit.
I eventually made it to Piedmont Park, where the festival became pretty much like every other festival in Piedmont Park. I say "pretty much" because there were some differences. For example, I doubt that a lot of men remove all of their body hair and tint themselves with fake tan lotion for the Dogwood Festival. It's also a lot friendlier than most festivals, with a lot more people striking up chats with strangers than is typical of other get-togethers. Walking the village of tents in front of the music stage, a few people actually invited me to hang out, which was very nice. Atlanta Pride is gay in both senses of the word.
If you don't believe me, just watch the video.
Straight Pride: The sponsors of The Rock Boat held a happy hour last Saturday at Madison Grill to promote -- surprise surprise -- The Rock Boat, their Labor Day weekend cruise featuring such unlikely to actually rock a boat musicians as Sister Hazel and Edwin McCain. Performing at the happy hour was Mimi Holland, who in addition to being a talented singer also looks a hell of a lot like my guilty fantasy/pointless celebrity crush Kylie Minogue. I just can't get her out of my head.
In addition to music and the chance to beat Edwin McCain at shuffleboard, the cruise is also a fine opportunity to meet women. According to Christopher Kappy, The Rock Boat's self-proclaimed Julie McCoy, the cruise is about 60 percent women. If you don't count Isaac, Gopher and the Dr. Adam Bricker, it's closer to 70 percent. My highly scientific survey of Madison Grill that night supports the "mostly female" claims. Gentlemen, before you bombard me with e-mails, it's www.therockboat.com.
Straight Shame: You know, late Saturday evening I was sitting around thinking, "Gee, if only there was a retail promotion to fit my contemporary adult lifestyle, I could sure have fun tonight." Before I could even finish my thought, I remembered that Bacardi's Bar Silver was stopping at Loca Luna in order to promote Bacardi Silver in a way that, according to their promotional literature, "fits today's contemporary adult lifestyle." Crazy coincidence or what?
Bar Silver is a Bacardi Silver-themed, mobile, space age, see-through lounge. Lounging in it is as crisp and refreshing as Bacardi Silver itself. Pretty crisp and refreshing! Part of the promotion included a dating game. Booze-laden participants stood across a table and flirted with one another for two minutes before moving on to the next person. After flirting with everyone, the pairs that picked each other via secret ballots then went to another "private bar" to flirt some more. My date and I tried to participate, but they only had room for women, so instead of working my "Hey, baby. I write for Creative Loafing. Would you like to see my column?" routine, I instead watched my date flirtily toss her hair back for every single one of the men in the game. She swears that it wasn't flirting, but a reaction to the stifling heat. It was hot, but I'm still suspicious. You never know with a contemporary adult.
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I miss Stefan's Vintage Clothing!