Logs:It’s All About Feeling, Passion and Possibility This Month
|It’s All About Feeling, Passion and Possibility This Month|
Stonewall 50th Anniversary celebrations.
wednesday. 26 june. 4:30 pm. barclays center.
Soon enough, it will be completely packed in here. It's bustling enough already, a hectic but organized rush of glitz and glitter, balloons and confetti waiting to come down, sound systems getting set up, sets and props getting checked and re-checked. Though there are rainbows in plenty trailing around the arena, most of the actual people working at the moment don't look particularly festive. Just harried in drab black, clipboards or tablets in hand, headsets on their heads. Right now one of them, a lean black-and-pink haired man with two nose rings and a wealth of extremely colorful whimsically styled tattoos is looking particularly put upon. Maybe a little guilty. "Look, Jax, if it were up to me --"
"It's literally up to you, Bran, you pulled our permit!" Jax doesn't bother to hide the frustration in his voice. "We're four days out. If you were going to throw us under the bus like this -- you know how hard we've worked. It's Pride for us too, you know." His fingers scrub through his hair as he turns to go.
"You can't see my inbox. The complaints -- look, I did you a favor. If your kind of people were out in the park, the attention it would draw -- is that really a celebration?" Bran is looking up with wider eyes and a sudden stiffening of posture. "Wait, you're not going? You said you'd help with the effects!"
Jax pivots, wide eyed, but doesn't slow. Just calls back innocently as he leaves. "Oh, gosh, if my kinda people are out here, s'it really a celebration?"
thursday. 27 june. 10:15pm. chimaera arts.
This is not an official Pride event, but you wouldn't know it by the decor or the turnout. Even with the sitting area of the warehouse entirely cleared, the space is jam packed--mostly with feminine-looking people. Though the organizers did not restrict attendance by gender, the show is billed as "Sappho & Friends Burlesque presents 'Woman Up!: a Riotous Stonewall Tribute'".
At the moment, there isn't a lot of stripping or dancing going on. It's intermission and the portions of audience who are not lining up for the restrooms are busy mingling. Desi is tucked against one of the warehouse's brightly painted walls, wearing a strapless green-and-purple ruched satin tube top and a handkerchief skirt comprised of many layers of green and purple mesh. The cuttoff denim overalls-clad butch chatting with her sounds hopeful for a bit more than merely mingling.
"I was thinking of hitting up one of the dance parties after this," she's saying, earnestly, "do you want to come?"
Desi's smile is demure but pleased. "Oh! I do so love dancing, as do some of the friends I'm here with. I'll go if my ride wants to go--" She nods at B. "--and would be welcome."
"You look splendid, darling," Desi assures her, smile unfaded as she looks back to the person who had invited her. "Which party--or parties--were you considering?"
"Oh um..." the butch frowns, looking down at B, mouth pulling to one side in annoyance. "The one I was thinking of is women-only, so I'm not sure..."
Desi raises one eyebrow, then the other. "Well, then. I'm sure we would find one that is sure."
friday. 28 june. 7:45pm. congregation beit simchat torah.
The ma'ariv service has only recently concluded, with a good deal of stomping, handclapping, exuberant singing. The room is packed tonight, far moreso than usual, and it's a little bit of a chaotic shuffle in the transition from liturgy to kiddush. It takes some time for the small cups of wine and grape juice to get poured out, to get disseminated throughout the congregation. Natalie, slightly dressier than usual in a green and white striped button-down shirt paired with her -- jeans and boots, a small Magen David necklace nestled silver at the hollow of her throat, is in no rush to get hers. She's still quietly humming L'chah Dodi under her breath while she waits, only stopping once the cantor calls everyone's attention, beginning to lead them in the blessings. Today, though, starting with a few less-traditional ones before they actually get to blessing the bread and wine.
Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, zocheir ha-brit u-m'shaneh ha-briyot.
Baruch ata Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, she-asani Yisrael.
Baruch ata Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, she-asani bar chorin.
The sheets of paper that have been passed around offer the translations for those not versed in Hebrew. Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, for remembering Your covenant of the rainbow, our symbol of diversity and life. Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, for blessing our struggle for liberation. Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, for including us in the community of Israel.
Beside Natalie, holding a little blue plastic cup (the other colors of the rainbow are scattered throughout the congregation), Scramble is slightly more dressed up: an emerald blouse beneath a sharply tailored black-and-gold kente cloth vest, airy black wrap pants edged in gold, and gold rope sandals. She wears a simple gold ankh on a black cord around her neck, a single gold bangle around her left wrist, and small gold hoops in her ears.
While for the entire service (and certainly for this Special Pride Blessing she has never heard before) she has been staring a lot at her siddur or cheat sheet, struggling along gamely in rough Heblish, she suddenly seems to know what to do again when the actual kiddush begins, though she still mumbles most of the blessing until it arrives at:
"Barukh ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam, borei peri hagafen."
She lifts her 1/6-of-a-rainbow shot glass, makes sidelong eye contact with her girlfriend over a warm smile, and downs the blessed wine.
saturday. 29 june. 4:20 pm. summerstage, central park.
DJ Nhandi is spinning on stage and the weather is perfect for dancing. The vibe in this part of the festivities has been a fairly relaxed one; very strictly no alcohol in this particular dance party but plenty of kids blowing bubbles, snapping selfies, showing off their carefully chosen Pride attire or carefully practiced moves. K.C. doesn't look quite as well styled as some of the teenagers here, just dressed in baggy jean shorts and a Princess Tiana tee shirt. Maybe she was dancing recently but just now, she's frowning uncertainly at a chatty girl with a pair of rainbow angel wings on her back and a face full of bright glitter makeup, Pepsi bottle in hand and a confused expression on her face. "-- okay but, I'm not saying she -- he -- she -- I'm not saying you don't belong here!! Everyone belongs here I think it's great, those spots are gorgeous, I'm just saying, like, how? Like can you be gay if you're, um, if you're just, you know, cat?"
K.C.'s fingers are tapping against the side of her leg, her brows creasing deeper. "They belong everywhere," she's explaining, very intently. "All the gay spaces. No gender means queer by default. Every queer. You think the spots are gorgeous that is extra queer."
Marinov wears a black backless top with rainbow stripes down the front, split into two columns, and a pair of black shorts with a half skirt hanging behind. Three small enamel pins are attached to their right shoulder, one a yellow square with a purple circle enclosed, one with a yellow, white, purple and black stripe and the third pink, yellow and blue. They're drinking from their water bottle, expression both thoughtful and annoyed at the questioning. The end of their tail flicks lightly, but their stance relaxes a bit as K.C. is explaining. "Well. I will say I'm the queerest cat around," they offer neutrally, before saying to K.C. more excitedly, ears perked and almost bouncing with latent energy, "Hey, let's get back out there, plenty more dancing to do!"
saturday. 29 june. 10:50 pm. somewhere in bed-stuy.
The strips of colorful coded wristbands wrapped around Dusk's wrist are not consent, but they are an invitation. He's been enthusiastically taken up on it, as he is any time he comes to this particular party. The delirious buzz singing through his head only heightens the thrill of the claws that skim, first lightly and then a good deal harder, up along his sides. Of the tail, cool and lined with supple-smooth scales, that winds itself against his leg. "You good?" murmurs a husky-deep voice in his ear, "tell me if it's too much,"
-- and in truth, he's not entirely sure which direction this question is coming from. To cover his bases he offers a somewhat breathless affirmation to both his partners, head tipping back to nuzzle where it's buried in one soft grey-furred lap; wing curling up around the scaled back of the woman burying herself between his legs to pull her deeper. Around the room there's a symphony of noises -- breathless moans, negotiating boundaries, warm conversations, exhilarated laughter -- and the deep purring rumble in Dusk's chest blends seamlessly with it all. "No. This is perfect."
saturday. 29 june. 10:50 pm. somewhere in bed-stuy.
Not far from the three-way, Isra has draped herself across a generously sized chaise longue, though her digitgrade legs still stick out from the end and one of her immense wings is arched lazily over the back of the chair. She's holding a rainbow colored Solo cup half full of something pink and bubbly. The color of her skin is its usual gray, but liberally dusted with drifts of black, purple, and silver, highlighting the inhuman angles and ridges of her body rather than diminishing them. Her talons and horns are glossy black, and her immense wings are painted in four distinctive bands of color: black, gray, white, and purple from top to bottom. She wears a low-back sundress, the bodice black and the dramatically flared panels beneath it alternating black with blue-green clockwork, the slinky fabric hugs the harsh contours of her body to dramatic effect. She wears only two wristbands--the one that confirms she is, in fact, supposed to be here, and one indicating she is not interested in being solicited for sex.
A willowy person with fine, faintly iridescent green feathers over much of their body where it isn't covered by their holographic rainbow unitard comes up to her with a broad smile. "Hey there!" they say brightly. "Sorry to interrupt, but since you're a new face and all by yourself, I just wanted to say hi and check in, see if you're doing alright."
Isra's ears swivel toward the person as they approach, but she only turns to actually look at them when they speak. "Good evening, and while I am quite alright, I do appreciate you being so conscientious. I came here with my boyfriend, Dusk, and I quite enjoy watching him play."
The feathers on the person's head and neck flare up a little. "Oh, you mean--" They trail off, obviously struggling to keep the incredulity out of their voice. Their eyes travels quickly down the length of her body. A frown gathers their brows as their gaze lingers on the colors of her wings. "You're Isra?"
sunday. 30 june. 12:15 pm. 26th and fifth.
There's a liberal festooning of American flags interspersed with the rainbow -- in some cases combined with the rainbow, in the case of the Pride flags done up with thirteen rainbow stripes and the fifty stars in the corner. Elliott is not on the ostentatious NYC Pride float; she walks in front of it in a lightweight light grey skirt suit, neatly tailored, and a lavender dress shirt. There's an American flag pin on her lapel, a little rainbow heart pinned opposite it. Her smile has been brilliant and fixed in place since the start of the parade, her wave practiced.
There's a sudden excited squeal from behind the barricades that wall off the parade. Metal gates notwithstanding, a small brown-skinned child with a trans flag draped over their shoulders has escaped their guardians and clambered past the barriers, bolting onto the parade route to bounce, excited, in front of Elliott. "Look look," they're calling back to someone on the sidelines -- tugging up their pant leg to gesticulate wildly between their rainbow-splattered prosthetic leg and Elliott's sleeker black one.
Her smile softens as she bends to talk to the child. "You have such great style. Maybe some day I'll get one as colorful as yours."
sunday. 30 june. 12:45 pm. 17th and 5th.
It's a riot of color down here, rainbow flags and rainbow glitter and rainbow outfits on so many of the hundreds of thousands of spectators thronging the parade route. It's hard to move along the congested sidewalks, between the exuberant masses of people clad in their vibrant best, festooned with buttons, waving signs, hollering encouragement as the floats go by. Plenty of lucky or athletic folks have secured themselves better watching positions -- the heavy scaffolding that lines the streets on both sides are packed with people standing and watching from above. Chloe is up here, in flowing rainbow-striped sundress, her thick dark curls hanging loose around her deep brown shoulders, a garland of pink and purple and blue flowers wreathed into her hair and strappy glimmering gold sandals on her feet. She cups her hands around her mouth, whoops and hollers loud as the cast of Pose rolls by, unsurprisingly Xtravagantly coiffed.
Strolling slowly through the throng, a pair of cops -- one taller, lean, white, the other a shorter latina woman, both sporting rainbow heart pins alongside their badges -- has been laughing and joking with the crowds as they pass under the packed scaffolding. Jake pauses when he gets near Chloe, looking up at her whoop. "Hey," he calls up to her, almost apologetic, his smile small and crooked, "I'm sorry but you can't really be up there. Safety risk. You're going to have to get down off the scaffolding."
Chloe looks down. Her brows raise, high. She looks at the cop, first. His rainbow pin second. Then over -- to one side of her, then the other, at the line of cheering people on the scaffolding the cops just walked past to reach her. Her mouth quirks.
Leaning against the support of the scaffolding down below in a plain red tank top and black shorts, black boots, a rainbow kerchief tied over her neat locs, Deanna just looks eminently unimpressed. She doesn't actually look to Jake. Just up at Chloe, offering one hand upward. "I got'chu, sugar. Come on." She pats her broad shoulders invitingly.
Chloe curls her hand into Deanna's. Primly steps down off her perch to settle herself instead, seated up on the other woman's shoulders, one arm draped around the bar she'd just been standing on. Her other hand lifts again to cup back around her mouth, her attention shifting smoothly back to the parade. "I see you in that red dress, sis! Damn!"
sunday. 30 june. 12:45 pm. 44th and park.
There are far fewer rainbows here than there have been at many other events all week, and certainly fewer than there will be at the main march later today, but still plenty scattered about the march. There are no barricades walling people off from joining the march, either. No corporations in the crowd, the banners not advertising anything; the slogans people carry have a decidedly different bent than in the larger parade. DECOLONIZE PRIDE. MAKE PRIDE A RIOT AGAIN. EAT ASS AND THE RICH. WORKING CLASS FAGGOT. BOTTOMS & TOPS BOTH HATE COPS. GENDERFUCK THE CISTEM.
Like many others, Jax is dressed in black and pink -- black shortalls with a pink fishnet shirt underneath, pink and black sneakers, sheer gold knee high tights with black fishnets over top. There are bold red crosses on his clothes and hip pack, a badge around his neck -- QUEER LIBERATION RALLY - VOLUNTEER, it says. NAME: JAX. PRONOUNS: he/him, CREW: MEDIC. On his back a bigger patch has a large red star of life with a raised fist in the center and a huge rat climbing up the arm. NEW YORK CITY ACTION MEDICAL, it says around the border. Do no harm! * Take no shit!
At the moment, he's stopped with an elderly black woman seated on the back bumper of an ambulance in glittering black dress trimmed in gold, pink wig, pink makeup, pink tights; her skin has been too red, too dry, but regaining some of its colour as she sips at the electrolyte drink he's given her. "You sure you don't want to go with them?" Jax has nodded to the paramedics who have been staffing the ambulance.
"Ha!" says the woman, tentatively standing, not resting much weight on the ankle Jax has just wrapped. "Child, I walked this route fifty years ago with the cops on my ass, you think a twisted ankle and some heat stroke gonna stop me now? Come on you look strapping enough. We're finishing this."
Jax's smile -- first to his medic buddy, then to the woman -- is wide. He stands, too, offering her his arm. "Yes'm, we sure are."
sunday. 30 june. 1:42 pm. central park
There are thousands gathered on the Great Lawn this sunny afternoon, some with banners and picket signs from the march, many with pride flags in a dizzying variety, and almost all colorfully dressed. There are hydration stations set up around the perimeter, a medic tent by the entrance, and at least one impromptu vogue session moving about the park. Up on the stage at the center of this massive convocation of queer people, a speaker from ACT UP has just concluded his piece to thunderous applause.
Steve has been slowly circling the lawn, slack-jawed with astonishment. He has clearly made an attempt to dress appropriately -- that pink-and-white striped seersucker shirt might be the most colorful clothing he owns, and the blue jeans are, well, blue jeans -- but he still looks like someone who has just accidentally wandered into the Queer Liberation Rally. "You were right," he says, even as his gaze seems to involuntarily follow a rainbow-clad stilt walker who struts by trailing ribbons and sashes, "I had no idea what to expect."
Ryan wears a strappy pink and gold-buckled chest harness under a sheer black mesh shirt, tight black jeans laced up the sides in pink ribbon, tall stompy gold-buckled boots, a dusting of shimmery gold in his dark hair. He's sipping from a thick milkshake through a rose-gold metal straw, and has to draw his eyes away from where he's very openly been ogling a nearby dancer, dark-skinned and fat and dressed in vibrant gold and pink, with pink and gold yarn twisted into their hair. "Bet we could still catch some of the bigger parade." He looks up at Steve from where he's been reclining in the grass, grinning around his straw as he gets to his feet. "Keep your eyes in your face, man, we have only just begun to gay."
sunday. 30 june. 8:45 pm. village lofts.
It doesn't sound so very loud, up here. It's a constant background clamor but at this distance, at this remove, it's almost possible to ignore. Almost possible to let it fade into the background of the city. This time of summer it's not quite fully dark even at this hour; in the fading twilight the park across the street glimmers. Glowsticks and lanterns, flashing rainbow hairpieces and twinkling lights summoned right out of thin air. The park fills up with the exuberant dancing crowd enjoying mutant Pride. Far above it, Flicker has just landed on the fire escape outside his apartment. Still in his khakis and button down from work, crisp and neat. He blinks into the apartment -- for just a second. Reappears back on the fire escape a moment later, stopping to fold his arms on the railing. Look down at the park, his head tilting slightly to catch the strains of music from below. A muscle twitches in the side of his jaw, and he vanishes inside again.
It's a good while before he returns. The city is dark, by now, but the celebration across the street still glitters, still thrums with music. Flicker has a bowl of leftover Thai food in hand, a glass of water in the other. He settles down with these on the fire escape stairs, bowing his head over the food. The laughter and music wash over him, mingling with the murmured words of his quiet prayer.
sunday. 30 june. 9:00 pm. tompkins square park.
From up here the crowd is loud, a constant background roar that Shane is largely ignoring. Letting their cheers fade into the background, together with the bright glimmer of the lively park; between the plethora of flashing rainbow accessories and the plethora of flashing red and blue lights from the cars ringing the park it could be quite a distraction. If he let it. Instead he lets his inner eyelids shutter, lets his attention sink fully into the instrument in his webbed hands. His violin's song rises to blend in smooth harmony with the voice of the other man on stage with him. "I'm guided by a signal in the heavens; I'm guided by this birthmark on my skin --"
Matt hasn't strayed far from his usual nerdbro uniform: a pale pink t-shirt with a heap of magnificently maned lions on the front, grooming each other sedately, black cargo shorts, athletic sandals. But he is, perhaps as a concession to WORLD PRIDE, wearing rainbow eyeshadow, shimmery pink lipstick, and a remarkable amount of prismatic glitter in his hair. He is half draped on Jax, one arm slung across the other man's shoulder, and singing along, neither of which would lead anyone to believe he is sober--though he is, at the moment. What he lacks in musical ability--and he lacks a great deal--he makes up for in exuberance, belting out, entirely off-key, "--I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons--"
Jax is unsurprisingly bright; tight metallic silvery short-shorts, rainbow fishnet knee-highs with wider mesh black fishnets layered over them, tall and very stompy black and rainbow-accented boots, his hair a glitter-dusted rainbow ombre and his makeup bold and glittery and rainbow as well. He may have had a shirt at some point, perhaps, but if he did it's long since gone; he is instead himself luminescent, his wealth of tattoos backlit like stained glass and, currently and perhaps unnervingly, shifting and morphing constantly in time with the music. He's been looking around the crowd, kind of tense, kind of excited, but his smile is bright as he leans back up against Matt. Looks back to the stage. "First we take Manhattan; then we take Berlin!"
At stage left, beside one of the stacks of speakers, with one foot propped on the steps to the stage, Alma has been scanning the crowd ceaseless since the show began. She's in light white linen pants and a short-sleeve lavender button-up beneath a white satin vest, a crocheted kippah in bright spiraling rainbow colors perched atop the knotwork bun of her dreadlocks. She glances up at the performers on stage, smiles, and returns her eyes to the crowd, singing softly under her breath though there's little chance of her being heard by anyone. "I'd really like to live beside you, baby..."
Marinov wears loose meshed top that shimmers in rainbow colours and a pair of white shorts with a spot for their tail to thread through, most of their fur markings easily visible with the small amount of opaque fabric covering them. They've found their way to some fellow physical mutants to hang out with in the crowd. Their energy is high, with plenty of enthusiastic bouncing, and this energy is not diminished as their voice raises to sing along, loud and clear: "I love your body and your spirit and your clothes--"
Kyinha has kept the edge of the crowd, as the halo of fiery radiance surrounding his jet black body makes it physically uncomfortable to stand too close to him on such a hot day. He wears only a light blue wrap skirt covered with abstract wave designs and rainbow body paint in a matching pattern. He lifts his high, clear tenor to join those singing along, "-- But you see that line there moving through the station?"
All the way up at the front, Skye is dancing with abandon. She's wearing a bi pride flag choker, blue-pink-purple mesh crop top with a black sports bra underneath, a black miniskirt with metallic pink sparkles, and rainbow socks scrunched down to the cuffs of her pink combat boots. She has not been singing before, but pipes up for, "I told you, I told you, told you, I was one of those!"
Isra towers above most of the audience, her ace pride flag colored wings mantled around herself. She's wearing a white asymmetrical sundress and has rainbow ribbons wrapped around from her gleaming black horns, their ends fluttering in the breeze. She sings with both voices, one alto and one bass, in eerie harmony, "You loved me as a loser, but now you're worried that I just might win--"
B is in a lightweight rainbow swirled halter dress and chunky black boots that likely add a considerable amount to her meagre weight. A proportionately considerable amount, anyway, which isn't saying all that much; she's still perched up on Isra's shoulder, one clawed hand curled around a ribboned horn and her huge black eyes watching the tiny blue violinist on stage. She's singing quietly, soft and breathy: "-- you know the way to stop me, but you don't have the discipline --"
Up at the front and to the side, Dusk is not singing. He is in dark jean shorts, a rainbow-trimmed black halter shirt; his enormous wings have been painted in a gradient of pink-purple-blue, though it's hard to see at the moment from where they're folded tight against his shoulders. Throughout Ryan's set he has been giving passionate life to the songs in sign and through this one he seems just as animated, just as expressive. 'How many nights I prayed for this, to let my work begin --'
If getting blown up and shot has impacted Ryan's drive to perform, it doesn't currently show. Onstage his presence is exhilarant, a fierce and tempestuous energy that ripples out to flow over and through the audience. Without his usual instruments to hand he just grips the microphone tight, looks out over the throng. Lets his eyes close enough to block out the fringe of police cars, protesters, that hover at the edges of the park, until only the ebullient dancers remain in view. Louder and brasher than before: "First we take Manhattan --"
He holds the microphone out toward the crowd, his smile bright at the energy that floods back over him as the line finishes in an enthusiastically militant communal roar.