Saturday, June 7, 2008


This weekend is the 38th annual L.A. Pride. I was actually at the first one in 1970! I was just a baby, my parents and Uncle went somewhere to eat on Hollywood Blvd and L.A.'s first ever gay parade (dubbed Christopher Street West) was in full swing. The first pride I have memories of is 1986. My best friend Robert Pavlick (R.I.P.) drove us down to West Hollywood in his Peugeot (I think a 505). On Sunset, he was driving pretty wild as usual and going way too fast on the way to a red light when the car next to us crossed into our lane and cut us off and Robert slammed on the brakes and threw us into a complete 360 spin! We survived the drive and walked up and down Santa Monica Blvd watching the parade. Afterwards we went to the festival, then an open, free event. I remember they even had carnival rides (like the Scrambler). While everyone was dressed casual summer, I recall being way overdressed in my new wave finery - a nice dress shirt (brown and black - some sort of animal print) buttoned up to the chin, black culottes, and my funky mod styled black and white clubbing shoes.

A couple of days ago I received a copy of the book "When I Knew" by Robert Trachtenberg - a compilation of coming out (to others and to oneself) anecdotes. HBO sent me a copy and a screener of the documentary directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato (from World of Wonder) based on the Trachtenberg's book. They're screening it in honor of Pride Month (actually I think their affiliate Cinemax is the one screening it). I haven't watched the film yet, but I did read the entire book on Thursday. I love the concept and it shows that most people's memories of their queerness goes back to early childhood with plenty of stories recalling ages 5-8. Many of the stories are funny, a few are sad, and some are downright poignant like this one:

1971, Abilene, Texas by Stephen Orr:
"My father was tossing a football with my brothers in the front yard. Seeing me sitting alone on the steps, my mother took my dad aside, "Dub," she said, calling my dad by his nickname, "I think Steve is feeling a little left out. Why don't you ask him if he'd like to play too?" So my dad walked over. "Wanna throw the football some?" he asked. "I'd really rather go pick flowes," I replied. And we did. My father, a former football coach, spent the rest of the afternoon picking flowers with me in a nearby field.

My only issue with the book is that within 120 pages, only about 10 stories are from women. Hopefully the documentary is a bit more balanced.

In honor of L.A. PRIDE weekend, here are some of my shots from a few of the last Pride events.

Everybody's favorite "Momma"

The grand dame - "Madame"

My Aunt Lisa always took me to this library when I was a kid.

West Hollywood "The Creative City"

Now that's one gay Pinto ;-)

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