Brother Flaming Sword of Moderation (johno) wrote,
Brother Flaming Sword of Moderation
johno

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Expect this to be a bit disjointed. I've got 4 panels of a large napkin full of notes. Even with the notes, the day is turning into a blur as there was so much going on and my job had me focusing more on the viewers then the contingents.

Corrections and additional information accepted and encouraged.

Feel free to link this post to any community that may be interested is seeing my view.



First off the EgoSearch, Folks we knew at the parade:

TomW, He recruited us for Pride and is the ConJose co-chair.
B, An ex-coworker from Brightmail.
lysana
shadopanther
Another B Who I know from cons.
dryadgrl
misdev, Who had lost her companions.
GodMomma, From the User Friendly community.
And a couple of others that I can't remember their names, and alas, now even their faces have faded.

I was informed that there were several other folks I knew there, but never caught up with them.

If I missed you, I'm sorry.

It was very warm to hot, depending on your rating. Which meant there was lots of skin on display. I saw only 1 fully nude person, though many folks (male and female) were topfree. Some were flashing their bits though. I called out to one lady who was flashing the crowd "How shocking, you keep covering yourself."

We planned ahead and wore wide brimmed hats and lots of sunscreen. I only burned my forearms, because I forgot to reapply after a bio-break and cool down splashing of my face and arms.

Our initial assignment was the 8th/Market corner and block (the end of the parade), but our team had been reassigned at the last minute to work 8th/Mission disbursement zone (where the contingents are... well... dispersed). Instead of directing traffic, chriso and I were assigned to crowd control over the entire length of the block. Basically we walked a beat up and down the block, telling folks that there no sitting on the barricades, no crossing the parade route, no climbing the taller fence sections, watching for obnoxious behavior in the crowd, etc, etc, etc.

Walking my "beat" I got the repeat the following phrases over and over:

This is a parade route, not a crosswalk.
No swimming upstream.
You can cross down at mission or go up to market, down the BART, cross, up the BART.
The parade ends when it ends.
No the parade is not over, the end of the route gets huge gaps.

The only real problems was the Holiday Inn releasing cars from it's parking garage into the parade. One time a car tried to drive through the Leather boys contingent. ?!?!?! About 2/3rds of the way through the parade, they changed shift for the doorman and the new guy was intelligent and even started calling S.M.s over to help with crowd control and guiding the cars out.

Women's Motorcycle Contingent (fka Dykes on Bikes)

From Classic Bikes to Vespas and even a motorized bicycle. The paper said 1000 participants in the WMC alone. Lots of ladies were topfree on their bikes.

Bay Area Bisexual Network:
(is there a URL for it?)

Saw and gave hugs to B (ex-coworker from Brightmail) and lysana. Missed mactavish, shadopanther, sinboy and another B who I know from cons (How did I miss HER??? ;) in the group. Met up with shadopanther and dryadgrl when they were reassigned as Safety Monitors on my block. (Thanks to mactavish and this post which helped me to connect their LJ names with their faces.)

By the time we finished the parade, checked out, hobbled over to pickup our tote bag from the Safety Daddy (located behind the BABN table), mactavish had already left. Thanks to shadopanther and her younger feet, since she went over to check for me. We still hobbled over as GodMomma was still there.

Misc comments

Lots of cool floats and groups, too many to report on. They have formed a very pretty blur of colors and images in my memory.

About 2pm we got some additional help S.M.ing the block, as contingent monitors were reassigned to be Safety Monitors. I made a set of rounds introducing myself to the new folks and letting them know what the regular issues were and how we had been dealing with them. I walked up to one and started my spiel, then did a double take as I recognized shadopanther.

We were only able to pass through the Festival briefly as our feet and legs were killing us. We got a little food, a PFLAG T-Shirt and met B in the crowd.

She caused my brain to be a little confused for a few minutes. I've always found her to be very attractive and sexy, and consider her a flirt friend. As is common at the Pride Parade and Celebration, she was top free. Thus my confusion. On one hand, my nudist tendencies were telling my eyes "Only look at her face.", on the other hand, my hormones were saying "Look at the titties.", on the gripping hand, my Political Correctness was saying "What's to look at? She has the same rights as the guys." Since she was giving me no flirt signals, I settled on the Nudist/PC reaction. But I found my own reaction to be interesting and as you can tell, have spent a bit of time self analyzing.

Religious Groups

chriso was pleased to see all the different religious groups showing their support. Including the ones not usually associated with supporting Gay Rights, like the Catholic and Lutheran churches (C's religion of choice.)

A Protest received a large Police response:

I was in the middle of it and I'm not sure what happened.

At the end of one my block walks, I heard music and saw signs on the far side of the crowd. I peaked up over the crowd, saw some signs about homelessness not being a crime and another that featured a Ronald McDonald face with the word "McPride" written across it. But they just seemed to playing music and waving signs.

I reported what I saw to the nearest other S.M. asking him to relay to his Team Lead when he returned (I had seen some issues on my block to check out.) As I was talking to the other S.M., I saw a pair of Police Officers looking over the crowd with a "Noted, but not dangerous" look. So I figured it was really nothing to worry about.

Finishing a loop, I saw a couch in the roadway (?!?!?) and several Police Officers looking over the crowd. Figuring to stay out of the way, I turned around started back down my block. Then I heard the scrape of barrier being moved. (this sound usually meant a viewer was trying to cross the parade route.) I spun around to see the Police pulling a barrier out and several of them rushing in the hole. Followed by several S.M.s to do crowd control.

The S.M. supervisor for the area waved me over and told to grab a couple more S.M.s and form a second line to make a corridor to the EMTs that were now rushing up the street. Somehow I ended up on point of the corridor, explaining the crowd that I didn't know what was going on either, that I was just making a hole for the Emergency Personnel. Someone in the crowd went off on rant about the Cops and the parade, blah, blah, blah. I just put on my crowd control smile and tuned his words out.

After a bit, the EMTs and Police came back out, and told us to close up the hole. We put the barricades back in place and I went back to walking my block.

I *heard* later the protesters had tossed the couch over the crowd and barricade, which set the cops off to rushing into the crowd. That some folks were hurt when it happened, so the EMTs were there too.

The music kept going through the rest of the parade, so it may not have been part of the protest.

We didn't watch the News Sunday night, so we don't know if was even reported on.

The couch did come in handy, as the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence used it as handy resting and posing spot.

TV Coverage

We have only watched the first hour of our tape, but already we can tell the coverage was below par.

Lord Martin was actually kind of boring. He was fashionably dressed, but wasn't flamboyant at all. His interview style was also much quieter then in years past.

They were interviewing sponsors as they were people of "importance" or had "real" information to discuss. Reps from some salons got more air time then Sir Ian or Sharon Gless.

White Rat's (Experimental) Morris and Straights for Gay Rights appeared on screen, but didn't get any coverage.

The Rats also didn't make it the end, but Morris dancing down the entire length of Market St would be tough.

For the BABN section of the tape, I kept backing up and rewatching the segment going: "I know her.", "I know him", "I know her" and so on.

Next Year

Our feet and legs were very sore (see the remarks about hobbling around above) and I going to get my knee fixed tomorrow by Dr Jane.

Yet we'll probably do it again, but we'll make sure we volunteer for a position that doesn't require as much walking. Probably the 5th/Market area, where the Furries and other heat/distance intolerant folks take a break/leave the route. With our masquerade and RenFaire experience we should be able to help out there.
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