I missed the SF Gay Pride Parade this year, and don't care. I gave Up Your Alley a pass, and don't care. I haven't written off Folsom, however, probably because, unlike Pride, it doesn't try all that hard at being inclusive. Folsom remains a festishist event, and a chance to meet kindred spirits, old friends and make new ones. But we'll see; a lot depends on who's appearing on the entertainment program. In years past, I've enjoyed Varla Jean Merman singing for real, an outrageously awful but still fabulous Dirty Sanchez, Heklina's ass eating antics and Kimo's hilarious '20 Years of Madonna in 20 Minutes'. Uhm, that would be 30 Years now, but that's what it takes, I guess. I checked the website and couldn't find the schedule.
As for Gay Pride and any related excitement, the Parade has become the victim of its own success: this is not really bad, but it is different and it shows how far we've come from drag queens lounging in limousines and go go boys (porn stars, barbacks) doing their thing on flatbed trucks. Now we have 500 Yahoo types marching followed by 500 guys from Google and 500 more guys from Salesforce, going on and on; last year the Parade went on for about four hours and I'm assuming the same for this year's. Lost, among all of this, are a dozen (or so, one does lose interest) so-called grand marshals, their impact enfeebled by the magnitude of the event. When I was a youngin, my next door neighbor enlisted my attendance at a local parade where John Wayne was to be the grand marshal, and he was!
He sat on the back of a Cadillac (a big car, anyway) convertible and shook the hands of all the parade goers who approached the car while the marchers fumbled on. He was gracious and fulfilled what a grand marshal should be: the exclamation point to a parade's relevance. At the San Francisco event, I've observed Cyndi Lauper and Chaz Bono, among others, living out their grand marshal-ness, squeezed into tiny sportscars idling down Market Street and having no impact whatsoever. A grand marshal, like the beauty queen or Santa Claus, should come at the end of the parade and preferably on a big float: this is IT folks, this is the end of the Gay Pride Parade,a big deal. I'd like to be able to say, 'Remember, that was the year, it was Chaz Bono!"