Tuesday, June 30, 2009
The End of the Rainbow: Pride Parade, Part Two
(As the day continued, more and more my attention waned from Barry's rant and to the fête on wheels.)
The song stylings of Prince blares across the street as half a dozen mostly naked men dance a top a story tall float. They are wearing chrome speedo's and chrome cartoonish top hats. Bellow them is a pastel neon portrait of the 16th President of the United States. Mr. Lincoln's beard is green and his eyes stare deeply into the crowd. His demeanor is of hidden bemusement, which seems to be his conduct in any portrait. The men above shake their muscles, proudly expressing their freedom to "Party like it's 1999".
A short asian woman dances on a float themed "Hero's". Along side her are a few non recognizable generic hero's who have obviously put no effort into their costumes. The asian woman has on a classic piece of comic book history. She dawns a perfectly fashioned Jean Gray costume. But not only that, it is Jean Gray as the cosmic entity know as "The Phoenix". The gold boots and gloves match perfectly with the hot green top. She is sexy without needing to compromise the integrity of the character to show her legs or chest. She moves in the costume like she has warn it her entire life. She smiles proudly, knowing that the few people who recognize the her will appreciate the effort she has gone to as a designer and as a true fan.
Gay cow boys square dance to a remix of "These boots were made for walking" and the crowd goes nuts.
Latino drag queens, dressed in Quinceañera white and red, smile in the sun. Their skin shines in the heat of the afternoon. Their hair, despite the wind barreling down the street off the lake, stands defiantly still.
The Illinois Lotto float slowly passes. It is a golden temple littered with sparkelling men, rippled with muscel. A fat queen sits behind on a thrown, quietly watching her subjects. As she passes the protesters, a smile as wide and bright as her float emerges on her face and she stands, blowing kisses to her "fans".
An silver ice cream truck slowly stops in the center of my view. On it's side are a signs for different flavored popsicles. The flavors are all sexual innuendo and puns; the kind that would be written out on a piece of paper in junior high and passed around the class while the substitute teach lecturing about fractions. Atop the roaming example of camp is a giant purple popsicle. A half naked man and woman unashamedly startle the shinny phallus. As the crowd shouts the man and woman raise their hands to the sky and the cheers are rewarded as the popsicles tip explodes with a gush of white steam. Smiles and laugher run rampant through the masses. The level of joy at the end of the rainbow continues and I wonder if the festivities are ever going to end, and if I care?
Walking along the sideway are five waiflike boys dressed as Dorothy, the Tin man, the Scarecrow, the Good witch and the Wicked witch. All are only wearing elements of the original costumes and are mostly naked, their heroin chic bodies on display. They all laugh and skip, singing songs from the land of Oz. Dorothy grabs the Wicked witch by the hand and the wicked witch turns and pulls Dorothy into her. The two passionately kiss, groping each other, Dorothy pulling the witches leg up to her hip and reaching across the black mini skirt to paw at her ass. The other three continue prancing around the lovers as Dorothy's heals click together rapidly. It is a surreal, phantasmagorical sequence that could have only been staged by the ghost of Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde.
It was then understandable that I was in a strange place when I saw that TV personality Billy Mays had been found dead in his Florida home. I don't know why the shock of his passing affected me the way it did, but I honestly shed a few tears behind my dark sunglasses. I then texted a few people, got on Facebook to see who knew(because what's the point of social media if not to see who follows current events and posts their reactions). I sat back, slightly numb, and watched the parade, as a large black pickup truck transporting three aging drag queens passed my view.
Having thought about the death a little, I can say that I was saddened by the loss of someone I had grown to trust. The recent slew of deaths in the realm of Hollywood had no emotional affect on my life. I felt sad because Billy Mays was a old style sales man, someone who had never lead my dollar astray by his endorsements. Yes, some of the product he put his face on were silly and mostly useless to the able bodied. In the rich and affluent '90 my family used OxiClean, and I can still look back on those softer, cleaner loads of laundry with sentimentality.
The demeanor and energy Billy Mays possessed made you believe that no matter what he sold you, it was going to work fantastically. In an age where quick and easy has lead to a global financial crisis, it was the voice of Mr. Mays that the cynical American consumer could trust. I hate to say this, but I'm almost glad to see him go. Much like the greatest minds of the modern era, those who have burnt brightest, and sadly shortest, leave an everlasting impression on us. Thank you Billy Mays for letting me believe that even a sales man could be trusted.
May your coffin be sealed with Magic Puddy, so if the gates of hell open, and the dead rise, I will never be forced to take an axe to your head.