(click photos twice to enlarge)
My Pride weekend began Saturday afternoon dropping into the “Gays Against Guns” T-shirt making party in the back patio of Lucky’s in the East Village, a bustling vortex of artistic activism.
“Gays Against Guns” has galvanized the streak of action-oriented community spirit that drove ACT UP, Queer Nation, Occupy Wall Street, and other political demonstrations. It got me and lots of others out this year to participate in the full length of the Pride March. It was definitely more than a parade this year, feisty but also festive.
The Gays Against Guns contingent included a beautiful performance art piece called “49 Human Beings,” in which a collection of downtown performers dressed in white veils processed silently down Fifth Avenue representing those slain in the Orlando massacre.
Every 10 blocks or so, our group would fall to the pavement for a “die-in,” which at first felt a little corny but grew increasingly powerful as a visual image — this is what it looks like for people to be mowed down by deranged killers with guns that shouldn’t be on the market. “How many more have to die?” was one of the compelling chants. Someone had made up a few tricky new chants — “Trans straight bi gay/We’re gagging on the NRA” — but they didn’t catch on as readily as old reliables such as “Hey hey ho ho/NRA has got to go!” It was surprisingly invigorating to chant “Fuck the NRA!” And then there was the unimpeachably gay “NRA Sashay Away!”
In the Village, the streets were packed with the babies, the young’uns of every stripe for whom Gay Pride really matters.
While we were paused in front of the Stonewall Tavern (newly crowned a National Monument by President Obama), there was suddenly a flurry of police action, with the K-9 unit sniffing around. I wondered if there had been a bomb scare. Later we learned that, no, they were just securing the area for the appearance of Hillary Clinton, Andrew Cuomo, and Bill DeBlasio who marched a few blocks together. I didn’t see Hillary but I met this gal Kayla rocking a dress she’d made herself.
We were buying organic lemonade from this Village entrepreneur.
At the end of the route, the angels stepped out of their costumes, and I chatted up the gigantically tall person who’d led the procession carrying a disco ball on a pole 40 blocks for a couple of hours. It turned out to Machine Dazzle, the great downtown costume designer, who was happy to step out of his high heels and head to Cowgirl for some margaritas.
I landed at John Salvato and Nick Mazza’s annual post-Pride reception, conveniently located in Abingdon Square for taking a break, having refreshments, and sharing stories from the day. Liam Cunningham took this picture, showing me the Photoshop app on his iPhone.