Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pink Saturday in Peril

Pink Saturday is held on the night of the Dyke March before the big San Francisco Pride celebration. I never found the year Pink Saturday began, but it apparently originated in the early 1970s right along with the Parade. It was a big Gay Castro Block party back in the day. Now it has morphed into a different event marred with violence and mob mentality behavior. For the last few years, yours truly has noticed that the BIG GAY neighborhood party becomes ground zero for thousands of open-minded poorly behaved heterosexual adolescents to drink in the streets. They run up and hug us and slur how glad they are that we are Gay.  Some homosexuals and dykes, (who live outside of San Francisco) are mistaken and think that it is a party for Gays and Lesbians.  This year’s Pink Saturday convened and the intoxicated tweens and teens invaded en masse very early in the evening. They came in a giant swirl, like a crazed current in the ocean to ogle and party their brains out. Mature, Zaftig  male nudists didn’t disappoint the kids and gave them a show as they strutted down the streets being hugged and shrieked at. I observed this as I tensely waited in a very long line into the Castro movie theater.  Orlando and I had bought tickets to the movie Bear City, one of the Frameline GLBT offerings, this year. I was looking forward to the film but I remembered the last two Pink Saturdays and was regretting the location. Other than the enjoyable Dyke March, I had lost interest in Pink Saturday. However I noticed that Orlando seemed to be looking forward to it so I told him and my best gal pal Drew that we could participate in the festivities.
The  Dyke March by the way  has always been on Pink Saturday - the only time every lesbian in the city can be seen at one time.  Usually they are tough to find in large groups. In other parts of the world it’s different.  I remember in Vermont, you can find them in communes in the Northeast Kingdom and they would occasionally come out in the Spring to procreate with drunk heterosexual men to repopulate the commune. In San Francisco they are a lot harder to find. Being a Gay boy and getting into one of their parties is really a badge of honor for me but I was a pretty hardcore dyke-tyke back in the mid 90s so I knew how to wrangle it. You gotta be careful though. The angry looking baby dykes with the Justin Bieber haircuts can be real hazardous with their skewed sense of reality. They have terrible mood swings and rarely understand anything that’s being said to them and perceive almost all forms of communication as a threat. Try to avoid them at all costs.

As Orlando and I stood in line I marveled at all the straight little boys and girls screaming and dancing in the streets. Was this what we all wanted? I can’t imagine this is what we had in mind. Once Pink Saturdays were teeming with Lesbians and Gays all hugging and drinking and singing. I have fond memories of climbing a telephone pole on 18th and Market and singing Madonna’s “Celebration” at the top of my lungs while leaning down and playing tonsil hockey with a Nubian God freshly plucked from the throng below. ( I liked chocolate a lot.)  Another  Pink Saturday I remember doing the Macarena with roughly 200 other homosexuals. Those were the days. 
Eventually we got into the movie theater and I was in full Bay Area Cub mode. I was decked out in my vest and leather hat. It was wonderful to see the entire Castro theater filled with Bears and Cubs of all sizes and ages.  I waved to Bearlesque co-stars and BOSF members and settled in to watch the movie. The movie wasn’t perfect but knowing just how hard it is to put something like that together, I tried not to be too critical. Still I felt myself get irritated. It niggled me that the cute child like cub claimed to like big heavy hairy guys but ended up with a svelte muscle Daddy at the end. Another problem was that the heaviest character, an older movie/show queen , who was considering lap band weight reduction to lose weight and make him more desirable in the job market. He had a VERY hot Latin chaser boyfriend ( –no problem there…hehehe I assure you. ) However, his hot Latin boyfriend didn’t want him to get the lap band operation because he claimed the operation wasn’t necessary because it was onlyfor people whose weight issues affected their health. This bugged me for a number of reasons. Clearly the guy had some health issues due to his age and knee pain. It also sent the message that the Hot Latin loved him primarily for his size and not who he was.  Seems like an old Bear message that we don’t need to perpetuate. It’s kind of a reverse acceptance thing and comes off like Bears should be punished for making healthy choices. I’d hazard a guess that the character (relax.. NOT the actor) would’ve benefitted from the surgery. It certainly would’ve been a more interesting story if he HAD gone through the surgery and the Hot Latin guy came back to him regardless.  All in all there were some very funny moments and regardless of my bitchings, I would advise that you rent it. Much of it was enjoyable.  It did generate a lot of discussion and I turned to Drew and told him the issues I had with it-eager to dissect it. Drew’s eyes flew wide and hands went flat in the air. “Hey!” he indignantly huffed, “Don’t Blame me! It wasn’t my idea that you saw this!”  Oh boy…Here we go. The very thing I feared. Drew was in a highly sensitized state due to the end of festival funk. I somehow thought this would be different this year given his cheeriness of late.  I resisted the urge to clip him upside the head to avoid Armageddon. I shut my mouth and we started to head out the theater in into the melee.
There was a  mini-rave going on just outside the door. Oblivious and scantily clad 20 somethings wriggled to a deafening beat. Drew and Orlando and I tried to stay together by grabbing a section of each other’s coats. When we came through Drew clapped his hands like a happy little girl and said enthusiastically, “ Hooray! I just went to my first rave!”  I was relieved to see that his mood had improved but mine was souring by the minute. The street was wall to wall youth. I couldn’t see a middle-aged guy to save my life that is except the old fat naked guys reveling that they could walk among all these teenagers and not get arrested. Hell they were virtually celebrities! Finding a place to have a drink or two was impossible. The bars were sensibly seeing a huge cash opportunity and were providing tiny 4 oz drinks in plastic cups for 5 and 6 dollars. There was no room to hang out in any of them. It occurred to me that the Bar that was once called The Men’s Room near the 7/11 on 18th could sometimes net a drink in an actual glass and it’s actual price. We marched off squeezing through the kids down 18th street. We managed to squeeze in but there was constant pushing and shoving. Drew gamely strode in seemingly unaffected by the crowds. What the hell was going on? Drew hated crowds almost as much as I did. He will fairly glow with irritation if a straight couple started making out in a Gay Bar and he was being calm. We could barely hear each other as we chatted about small subjects. Drew’s eyes kept scanning the horizon not looking at us that much. Orlando was uncharacteristically tolerant of all the shoving going on around him. He looked vaguely irritated but seemed to be letting it slide. I was getting cruised to death by a guy I had met on line about 2 years ago. He was more than a little lit and couldn’t grasp my eye signals that “I WASN’T AVAILABLE …at least not at THAT moment” Then with some sudden flash of realization that it dawned on me he was GAY!!! There was another Gay man out here in this melee with us! Still…it would’ve complicated things if I gestured for him to come over, given my unfriendly mood so I kept clear of him. After a bit we found a seat at the bar which was miraculous. A pretty blonde Co-ed and her boyfriend elbowed their way next to Orlando and she cheerfully and drunkenly extended her salutations to Orlando. I watched with apprehension wondering what he would do. “Gimme High Five!” she cheered at him! Kind of like asking your dog to Gimme your Paw. Orlando offered her a pinky looking away at her and whatever common sense she had kicked in and she curbed herself  from pressing for more . She tried to satisfy herself with merely bumping her hand against his pinky. Smart move Girly ! She muttered to her boyfriend, “ Well at least he gave me his pinky..” Drew once again scanned an unseen horizon not catching what had happened. What the HELL was he looking for?  I was not having fun. We couldn’t hear each other. I didn’t want make friends with a sorority girl. I didn’t want to spend $35 to catch a buzz. I wanted to go home. I looked balefully at Drew and Orlando. Drew was “sipping” his drink and held out his drink with a faux imperious look indicating he was not finished. I mentally groused about how long it would take to get home given that cabs would be impossible around here and the public transportation would be a nightmare. Drew was infuriating me with his casual attitude. Orlando was doing this laid back air as well that was rankling me. Both of them had immersed themselves in an environment that neither of them particularly liked and it was annoyingly bewildering to me. My Pink Saturday was gone. Who were all these children and why were they here? I wanted to kick each little drunken brat as we headed back up to 18th and Castro. Drew informed us he was going to stay out a little longer. I was Aghast! “What the hell for?”  I yipped. He looked at me like I had asked why the sun sets at night. “Because…Its Pink Saturday.” I wanted to scream at him. Why the hell was he so content to hang out at this East LA  high school dance for Christ sake? Couldn’t he see that there wasn’t a homosexual for miles? After listening to Orlando belly ache about all the little girls who inhabit the Bar back in Redding why wasn’t he bitching about the teenybopper parade shrieking by us every 15 seconds??? The Lando Bear is at maximum contentment when surrounded by big furry masculine men by the 100s-not teenaged girls!  I felt my blood pressure rise. Couldn’t they see? Pink Saturday was DEAD! I stopped them and said, “You two are BOTH Hypocrites!!!” Both of their large eyes and large mouths flew open in a rather simultaneously comic fashion so that I briefly forgot my rage. I am not sure why I was in such a swivet but it could be that it was in the air. Just a few minutes ago around the corner from us this event occurred.
(6/27) — 19:34 PDT — SAN FRANCISCO — “A late night shooting in San Francisco’s Castro District during the city’s “Pink Saturday” celebration claimed the life of a 19-year-old man and left two others with non-life threatening injuries, police said.The dead man was identified Sunday morning as Stephen Powell, according to the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s Office. Two other victims, a male and a female, were struck by gunfire in the legs and are expected to survive their injuries. Authorities did not release their names.Witnesses who attended Pink Saturday celebrations in the Castro District described a scene of bedlam after the shooting. Police officers who raced to the sounds of the gunfire encountered a large crowd, some of whom began throwing bottles and other objects after the shooting.“I saw a massive wave of cops with their guns drawn coming to our area,” said Eric Gonzales, who said he was 25 feet away from the shooting suspect. “Then people started screaming and running away so I went back to the ground thinking ‘oh my god this is real.’”The gunman was arrested by police at the scene. The pistol he used was recovered as evidence.Authorities do not believe that the shooting was a hate crime or a random act of violence.”
Ray Tilton
And in other parts of the neighborhood –Ray Tilton-a former San Francisco Leather title holder, was allegedly (I have to say that but trust me he was beaten) by 3 or 4 young GAY men!!! What the hell is happening here? Gay Kids beating up Older Gay Adults??? I will interview Ray about this after the trial and proceedings but Ray has begun Red Saturday in response to the intrusive violence that has struck the Castro. I hope to assist him with his campaign. It’s not just during Pride weekend folks. We see this New Year’s Eve and Halloween too. Stupid Kids with Guns. Getting home was a nightmare as suspected. We had to sneak by a police barrier to board the Muni. They were doing crowd control and forcing everyone out of the Castro. My last vision of Pink Saturday was a dazed and confused teenaged boy standing in front of a slowly advancing police car. His friends pointed and laughed at him.
I propose we Queens move. All Gays everywhere in San Francisco. We have turned the Castro into a popular hang out –now let’s leave and create a NEW Mecca…hmmm I wonder if we can make Kansas City chic?
As a footnote…Orlando and Drew and I like heterosexual women just fine. We are not sexist or heterophobic. Hell -I have been working for straight women for years and apparently Drew has a few that are close friends –But the kids with guns are not welcome in our world and we will not tolerate any violence towards Gays and Lesbians. Imagine what might happen if Orlando and I strolled into the Hard Rock Café and started making out? What would the Good ole Boys do?

1 comment:

  1. This was SO true. Last year, though I am very crowd-phobic, I had a really nice time.

    This year it was just crowded with drunken kids. Though I was not witness to the shooting, I was caught in the aftermath, unable to get back to my hotel except through a very circuitous route, squeezing my way through the teens as they staggered down the street. To my amazement, my last view of the evening was a police line spanning the street, walking side by side with shields, forcing the crowd to leave Castro Street. It was a great disappointment and a very sad sight. And even though I am not a San Franciscan, I felt invaded and cheated out of our community’s tradition.