denver pridefest 2012

Before moving to Denver, PrideFest, Pride Month, Pride Parade were all concepts i had only ever heard of. Dreams within dreams that were usually only spoken of by disgruntled conservatives on the news or in right-wing, religious documentaries about the evils of secularism. I once heard a few older gays speak of Pride in San Francisco or New York. When they spoke of it, there was always a grin on their face and a twinkle in their eye. "You wouldn't believe the things you could see there" they would reminisce. But in Little Rock, Arkansas, Pride was something only spoken of... never done. I wondered what it would be like to be surrounded by people "just like me".

Four years ago I moved from Arkansas to Denver. Pridefest was three weeks after I arrived in Denver. I will still in the beginning stages of coming out to family. I didn't even think about going.

The next year, despite much sorrow and gnashing of teeth, i was scheduled to work all of PrideFest weekend. I begged and pleaded to have at least an hour or two to go see this wondrous sight that must be PrideFest. Instead, i was relegated to work my fingers to the bone while the great masses of happy, drunk homos came pouring into the shop for frappaccinos and iced coffee. I was wildly jealous of everyone in their rainbow socks and "I eat tacos" pins.

The year after that, my gf was still living in New York at the time. I missed her dreadfully and the roomie decided drag me to the parade and get me drunk. It was fantastic....if you call being intoxicated in blazing heat fantastic. i remember dancing and music and girls in bikinis. a guy in florescent pink underwear shook his junk in my face and the next thing i know i am holding on to a toilet for dear life (the world really was spinning away) apparently, shots of tequila don't land well on an empty stomach.

Last year, i had recently been dumped by the aforementioned gf. (see dating blues:the beginning) I was pretty sure my life was over. It was really quite pitiful. BUT, i was not deterred from heading down to PrideFest...even if i was completely alone. I donned my "Legalize Gay" t-shirt that i had just bought with the gf three weeks earlier and walked down to the festivities. I wandered around the booths and took in some of the Main Stage action. I kept running into acquaintances who asked "Where's your girlfriend?" and "are you here alone?" I bought a turkey leg and a beer and sat in the grass. I went home soon after feeling utterly shitty.

This year, however, was much, much different. As you may know, i decided to work PrideFest instead of partake in the activities. The GLBT Center organizes it every year. They have managed to produced the Third Largest Festival in the nation and the Seventh Largest Parade... and I had the opportunity too work on the production team. Civic Center Park in Denver (in between the Capitol and other government buildings) is divided into five sections. Each section getting a Quadrant Coordinator (QC) and a Volunteer Captain (VC). I was VC for one of the sections. Meaning: my QC would give me a set of projects and i would coordinate volunteers to accomplish said projects. I was a bit leery of this particular venture having no relevant experience. As it turns out, volunteer coordination is really no different than being a team lead or shift manager or any type of mid-level management. I was in my element. 

Friday, June 15th, the production team spent all day setting up the park for the festival. There must have been thirty to forty of us working together to put up tables, hang scrim, place banners and other general event set-up. I worked hard with my QC to make sure our section was set up appropriately. Over a span of about 15 hour i watched the park transform into a glittery, rainbow wonderland. There was a kid area where there would be a petting zoo, games for tots and other family oriented activities. There was also a country stage, a mechanical bull and a VIP section for the posh festival goers to drink and watch the main stage from on high. There was a youth section where the 12-21 population could hang out. There was a Latin Stage, a Dance World and beer pong. And course, there were the vendors. Every type of business you can think of was represented. The turkey leg vendors, the booze people, hat sellers, belt makers, lemonade stands (yummers). There was a bead stand and a native american jewelry booth. There were plenty of pot grower stands and quite the array of gay underwear sellers. Around 10:00 pm friday night we were all set up and ready to meet at 6:00 am the next morning the get the festival running.

Saturday, June 16th. Family Day: People began arriving around 9:30 am ...kids in tow. So many little gay families running around the park that day. Kids in rainbow stickers and "i love my two moms" tshirts. Dads with kids on their shoulders waving at the llamas in the petting zoo. Festival goers began pouring into the park; most with as little clothes on as possible. I began to feel quite elderly when i caught a "tsk, tsk" escaping my lips after seeing a group of girls in daisy dukes and electric tape covering their nipples. It was family day after all! I spent the majority of my day hauling boxes of water to our sponsors and beverage vendors, re-grommet-ing banners and traffic-ing drunk gaybees.

My favorite part of the day was the Dyke March. The march was led into the park by the Dykes on Bikes. I and a few other volunteers walked ahead of them into the crowd yelling for people to move out of the way. I almost died with excitement hearing the motorcycles behind me. Butches, gunning their motors, grinning proudly at their girls riding bitch. The raw power alone was enough to make my knees weak but the sight of so many handsome dykes on bikes nearly killed me. (i want to ride a motorcycle so badly!!) I noticed a cute salt and pepper butch riding solo...and was in the process of working up the nerve to ask for a ride around the park when i was called away some other task. ARG! The rest of the day went swimmingly...by about 5:00 pm my feet were hurting, my hands were dirty and there was sweat trickling down my back. By 10:30 pm i was dropping into bed already anxious for Sunday.

Sunday, June 17th. Main attraction: The Parade. From about 6:30 am till about 9:00 am my QC, my volunteers and I hauled barricade to get ready for the Parade. I( moved so much barricade my arms were a bit jello-y the next day.) Around 9:30 am we were ready for the parade to come down Colfax avenue enter the park and head north onto Broadway. I had my volunteers stationed for crowd control and directing traffic. I was positioned towards the end of the parade where cars and floats could unload people. I spent three hours bossing people around: screaming asking them politely to unload their people quickly so as not to block the entire parade. . At one point the parade was nearly at a halt with six floats trying to unload....it was almost mayhem but i reached deep inside to my inner angry lesbian, barked a few orders and looked pissed off (haha right). It seemed to work. The floats got rid of their cargo and headed on their merry way freeing up the road. It hit 98 degrees somewhere around 11 am. My scalped was definitely burning. The Parade was a huge success...around 100,000 homos came out to see...and then they all collapsed in the park, drinking beer and laying on the grass. I have to admit, the rest of the day is rather a blur. I know i helped fix (jerry rig) the rickety old Latin stage...pretty sure i moved more barricade and handed out Close-out procedures to all of the vendors in my section. By 6:30 pm vendors were loading up and heading home and by about 8:00 pm we had finished tearing down banners and had loaded up our own truck. I sat in the grass, every muscle in my body aching, absolutely filthy with a sunburned head and looked at my exhausted co-workers. Everybody was smiling and making jokes about the weekend. It seemed to have gone so smoothly. I mean, we had our fair share of obstinate vendors and incorrigible drunks....there was even a group of bible-thumping protesters...but none of it deterred us from throwing a great festival. There were about 300,000 thousand people total who showed up to get their gay on. A few of the festival goers that i was able to converse with seemed happy and pleased with their experience. We sat as our leader thanked us all for working so hard and soon we were all headed home with the satisfaction of a job well done.

It really was an amazing experience: there is just something about being involved in making the festival happen than heightens the sense of community that PrideFest can bring. My QC and his partner have been doing it for seven years now...and i can myself making it a yearly habit. I hope everyone else had a great Pride Month, that you were able to feel a part of a community bigger than yourself. And if you don't have a PrideFest in your area...you should come to Denver...We'll show you a good time :-)


a heat wave and the dollar shave club

oh   my   god

its hot. like 97 degrees hot. like desert hot. so hot the grass is brown and crackles under foot. so hot my uterus is sweating. 

SO HOT I had to have lost at least three pounds of water weight just walking to get coffee this morning. So hot people were already swimming at 10am. There they all were laughing and splashing in their bikinis. I hate am happy for them for having a pool. I think its about time to hook up the window unit and walk around in my skivvies. (TMI? Surely not!)


A few months a go i was browsing over at http://www.canihelpyousir.com/. I came across this rather amazing POST. I had been bemoaning the cost of razors/razor blades. It really is racket! I can't believe how expensive it is to get a good shave. I am tempted, when the barber takes a straight razor to my neck, to ask if they can just go ahead and do the rest of me. That's not too much to ask, is it? My shaving future was looking bleak. I could only see two outcomes. I would become completely broke and probably homeless spending all that money on the nice razor blades. Or! I would forever have a rash of red, ugly itchy bumps akin to a measles outbreak every time i shaved. This is never really a look that attracts the ladies by the way. When i ran across this glorious post i could see the clouds over my future part just a sliver. I immediately checked out the Dollar Shave Club website. Oh happy happy joy joy! It seemed like a an amazing deal and bought a three dollar plan directly. 

Apparently, the Dollar Shave Club was so popular i was put on back log for three months. And what a red, bumpy, itchy three months it was. I decided to not buy top brand while waiting for my new razor and instead bought a package of disposable pieces of shit. Damn and Blast...when was my razor ever going to arrive??

Two Fridays ago i received an email stating that my order had finally shipped. I danced a wee jig of joy

This morning i sleepily went to check the mail.  To my delight, there was my razor neatly concealed in a small cardboard box.

I used it right away.

I am pleased.

It shaves close without snatching the hairs out of their follicles. The lotion strip thingy doesn't start crumbling after one use and with good shaving gel and lotion red, itchy bumps are no more.

Thanks to G at http://www.canihelpyousir.com/ for the heads up and thanks to the Dollar Shave Club for such an agreeable product.

I am now a smooth, clean shaven boi.


butch in a cocktail dress??

this image depicts what i tend to wear on a daily basis at work. change the jeans to trousers and the tennis shoes to vintage wing tips, of course. On the weekends i can be found in jeans, chucks and either a beat up baseball cap or a dapper flat cap. so, you may imagine my confusion at the following conversation:

coworker 1: "are you going to 125th anniversary gala?"

me: "probably not...i can't afford a new 'black tie' outfit right now."

coworker 2: "OH EMMM GEEE!! I would love to dress you up. I bet you would look great in a cocktail dress!"

me: feels nauseous and turns red "um, coworker 2, i can't not even begin to remember the last time i wore a dress...' 

coworker 2: "Well, that doesn't mean you wouldn't look good in one...

me: mind goes blank; hears blood rushing in her ears "uh, um uh"

coworker 3: to the rescue "I think Harper is the tuxedo type.

me: PHEW! "Exactly! Thank You coworker 3! I think i would even add some suspenders..."

coworker 2: looks perplexed and worried that i don't understand what girls are really supposed to wear. says nothing

i guess i should appreciate the fact that coworker 2 hasn't stereotyped me...i guess...but in all honesty i was really kind of annoyed by this whole conversation. Its not the first time she has mentioned making me "more feminine". Its not malicious, just ignorant i suppose. It was a relief to head to my second to last PrideFest Production meeting. No one told me i should get a negligee to wear to bed tonight. what i look like isn't a subject of concern to anyone...except, maybe, the cute girl with glasses who made sure to say hi to me....

on that note: tomorrows wardrobe


dinner party

a friend sent out an invite: "we want to thank you for helping out with moving by inviting you to come have beer and wings at our new home."

i arrive late. traffic. introduce myself to some new peeps. make small talk

It is evident i hail from the isle of lesbos...the rest of the party...they hail from the straight and narrow.

Folks are not necessarily rude but are not super warm and inviting either. 

They are all friends/family of my friend...they all are teachers and and they all go to church. yikes

I steer away from family conversations and church related talk.

I stick to traveling and beer...subjects i am fairly well versed in.

There is a child with pink eye present. I continuously wash my hands. 

There is a child who likes to stick his hand up womens skirts. Yowzers

There is a baby with big blue eyes and rather odd looking dog.

The dog and the baby are more interesting than the people. ain't that a shame.

Beer is flowing, a bottle of scotch surfaces. the couples become a little looser. The conversation is not quite so stagnant. 

We talk about The Avengers. Scarlet Johannson is mentioned. I joke that she is my girlfriend. The men chuckle mightily...the women look uncomfortable. 

 A new group of people arrive...all single (yay) all boys (rats) however, they are much more fun that the rest of the crew so i talk to them for a while.

there is a boy named stu. stu is short. stu rather reminds me of a young joe pesci.

Stu is witty
I am clever
We make the folks around us laugh and clutch their stomachs. 

Stu disappears. i have a feeling he is slinking of to meet up with mary jane...i wish i had been invited.

At the table there is my friend, three other married with children gals and one husband. I am empathetic with the trials and tribulations of motherhood but have have no actual experience. I nod my head and look concerned. they bitch about their husbands...the conversation turns to sewing patterns.

My eyes glaze over. I am still nodding and looking concerned but am wishing for an out so i can go play cornhole with the guys. 

The husband gets up suddenly...his eyes a bit desperate. 

"are you going to go hang with the guys?"
"of course"
"i thought it was about time"

he looks at me...i look at him...

He walks outside

I want to follow but am in the middle of expressing my concern at my friends lack of sleep.

I feel like i have been pigeon holed

I have boobs, a vagina and am no longer considered youngish....i must want to hang out with the woman at all times. RIGHT?

I feel confused and frustrated. I am a woman who likes women.

I love talking to women...getting to know them...learning about what makes them who they are. 

They are beautiful, graceful, warm, kind and sometimes they smell amazing (some of them anyway)

But, i don't want to spend the entire time with them...i have other conversations i would like to have.

I am hearing yet another nursing horror story (oh dear god) when stu walks by...

he's standing by the door. mouthing something and making wild hand gestures

what the...?

His hand signals are an invitation to partake of his weed. 

I make a move to go the bathroom but slip out the front door instead.

the grass is so very fine...so very strong...so very wonderful

My muscles relax, i smile. we are lighting up under an aspen tree in the park across the street.

I wander back to the house, stu asks if i've ever played cornhole.

"oh sure"

Teams are made, sacks passed out. I play corn hole with the men. They assume i know the rules...i do not. I quickly learn. My aim is oddly on target even with the weed. 

We talk smack, give props when props are due. I am not treated differently than they...i am one of the guys. 

Its liberating. In a way. Comfortable. Familiar. 

and yet

One can only take so many penis jokes. I am annoyed when they call each other gay and talk in lisps when they miss a shot. and when a beautiful red head walks by and stu says "I wonder which of these guys will fuck her tonight" i feel uncomfortable.

I feel frustrated and confused. I am a masculine identifying woman.

I wear mens underwear. I can throw a baseball farther than a lot of men. Give me a pick up truck and some hard labor and i am one happy boi.

but i don't want to spend the entire time with the boys either.

I am stuck in the middle...just not fitting in society's construct of make and female.

i am female but not woman:boi but not male

A square peg being pounded into a round hole. 



things that make a boi smile

1. A pretty girl, hair blowing around her face, driving a manual open air jeep in her bare feet...at dusk. (actually saw this today!)
2. A puppy that misses you so much when you are at work she cries and nips at your clothes when you get home.
3. A fresh cup of coffee and a cigarette (yes i know...the cigarettes must go)
4. Hot and spicy Ethiopian food (vegetarian)
5. Deschutes Black Butte Stout
6. My favorite maroon knit tie
7. Pappa Hills Popcorn (seriously, Google it...buy it...you will be forever grateful)
8. Kurt Vonnegut
9. Running into old friends
10. Playing tag with a six yr old, four yr old, two yr old and one yr old (definitely got my exercise)
11. A '69 Chevy pickup truck
12. Salt and pepper hair
13. Hiking up Guanella Pass
14. Tickets to see Brandi Carlile with Gregory Allen Isokov and Ingrid Michaelson at Red Rocks.
15. Chamomile Tea and NPR before bed (do i sound like I'm 80?)


observations on a gay rooftop happy hour

I've been feeling quite stagnant...bored, lonely and tired. My horizons seem to be shrinking instead of broadening...in short, the saying, "same shit different day" is beginning to fit my life rather well. 

I've  moped about it for a while....but that is boring too....

In order me to grow out of this particular tangled mess of sameness, i think i need to step outside of my comfort zone. Now, i love meeting new people and doing new things. But there is a moment before the meeting and doing that is terrifying to me. I usually get a friend to try something new with me...but this time i'm taking action and i'm taking it alone.

I signed up to attend a volunteer orientation at  The Center, the local GLBT center. What an great place! Walking into The Center is like walking into a corner of heaven. Its so refreshing to be in  a non-judgmental space...an open, caring space. I walked into a room full of other GLBT peeps looking to be a part of their community. I was inspired by The Centers long standing presence in the community and the plethora of programs they offered. I had a conversation with the Volunteer Coordinator, discussing the many volunteer opportunities I was interested in. She was impressed with my work history and my current foray in the non-prof world and long story short i found myself agreeing to be one of five volunteer captains working at Denvers PrideFest. (the third largest in the nation) I've been to all of the PrideFest Production meetings and after everyone i ask myself "what the hell have you gotten yourself in to??" I always end up in some sort of leadership/management/coordinator position but this is a little outside of my realm. I'm a small team manager, an office supervisor, a disaster response planner...not a LARGE EVENT volunteer captain! I am nervous as hell but wildly excited. 

so, PrideFest is in three weeks (YIKES) but i wanted to get my feet wet in the whole volunteer world so decided to try my hand at a Rooftop Happy Hour. The Center hosts a couple of Rooftop Happy Hours during the summer...its gets the community together and raises funds for The Centers programs.

Friday May 18, 2012

I raced over from work, changing at stop lights. I arrived rather breathless and was thrown into a group of bar tenders from previous Center Happy Hours. Slowly but surely in came the gays; old and handsome, young and beautiful, loud and crazy, quiet and shy. There were men and women everywhere, every single one of the gay, lesbian, bi, transgender, queer or ally. You name it they were there....buying drinks and getting tipsy. At first i was simply barback. I ran trash, filled ice buckets and restocked the beer coolers. A storm was threatening to rain down on our little party...instead it rumbled and roared but only sprinkled. There was an air of excitement as people drank and laughed and watched the sky for lightening. Finally it was busy enough for me to start tending bar myself...i poured pre-made drinks and popped the tops off of so many beers i was seeing bottle caps in my dreams later. There were scads hot, sexy, beautiful women everywhere! I winked and flirted and smiled....caught a couple lingering glances...i was having a BLAST! I saw a few co workers. Met their partners and talked shop. The night wore on and alcohol began wearing away at peoples inhibitions. There was a group of "almost fifties" women that I became quite chummy with as i served them beer and sweet vodka drinks.

her lipstick was dark and thick, her hair twenty different shades of brown and sticking straight out all over her head. She was starting to slur just a mite.

"you are too cute...how old are you? nineteen?"

"Haha! Im serving alcohol so i have to be older than that..."

"Oh right!! hahaha arnt you smart! You must be so smart! Its your glasses. Are you smart?"

"Oh sure, i'm practically a rocket scientist."

"Oh! haha your funny too! Am i going to see you on youtube??"

"Sure, i'm all over youtube!"

Her eyes widened, "Really?!"

"No," i chuckled, "i have never put myself on youtube."

"HAHAHAHAHAH" she cackled merrily. "You are too much!"

I had already grabbed her a beer at this point and was in the process of handing off a few more when she decidesd to run her fingers through my hair....no joke.

"Oh your hair is just great! What kind of product do you use? Where do you get your hair done? oh i love short hair....you should go to Sallys Beauty Shop!" 

"Well, i guess i'll have to check it out..."

and she swooped away as quick as she came.

a few minutes later two more ladies came up to the bar....we were out of the beer they wanted so i coaxed them into something else....They propped themselves up at the bar and one asked, "See any pretty single women here?"

"well, i've seen plenty of pretty women but i have no idea if they are single...."

"yeah, so , are you single....??" she wiggled her eyebrows up and down.

"and then some" i said dryly

her friend asked, "well, what if i were younger would you go out with me?"

her eyes begged me to say yes even if i didn't mean it. 

"Of course!" they roared with laughter delighted with the idea.

the first one asked, "how bout now...would you date a 50 year old me now."

"well, i try not to discriminate..."

"oh!!!! ha-haha you are funny" and she ran her fingers through my hair. 

Apparently when one is drunk you don't have to ask permission to touch someone else's hair. I've never had so many women touch my head.

One gentle giant, with a silver flat top, came over for another beer. Her arms bulged out of her polo and she strutted around with confidence. I popped open a killians and handed it over. Her eyes were twinkling and her pal nudged her to say something. I leaned over expecting her to take liberty with my hair just like everyone else. Instead she said, in a deep scratchy voice,

"I don't want to sound like a jack ass but uh, you have a nice keister...."

First of all, first time ever to get a compliment on my ass....i was really rather flattered.

Second, KEISTER? haha i almost died laughing. I blushed and thanked her profusely, she walked away blushing just a tinge herself. I hate that i can't remember her name...maybe i'll see her again somewhere.

Last call came all too soon and those of us serving drinks switched in to clean up mode. We packed up cups and napkins, took down tents and chairs, wiped down tables. We watched as people filed downstairs and back out into the cool Denver night. Groups were heading to after parties and clubs, out to grab food or more drinks. I could see one of the "almost fifties" walking down Colfax with her group of buddies teetering on her heels and singing. My feet hurt and my eyes were heavy but my mind was racing. There is just something about being in the company of people just like you, having fun and being free. I had a blast and can't wait for the next happy hour.


awesomeness squared

Jane and Rachel

this may be one of the coolest vids ever...just thought i'd share on this lovely monday morning.

I hear that two lesbians talking politics can cure any case of the mondays!