As Good As it Gets: Pride & MJ Weekend

or “Gay Pride + Michael Jackson Memorial Weekend & a few Thoughts on Joy”

(NOTE for non-SFers: It was Gay Pride Weekend here, a.k.a “Pride”, centered around the big Gay Pride parade on Sunday, as well as a huge party in the nearby Castro and numerous related events. It’s a big city festival for everyone – especially by & for the gays, but welcoming for straights as well.)

Yesterday on Facebook, I announced that the past 4 days have been the best four days of my life. Since I’m not given to hyperbole, it must be true :-D.

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(awesome picture courtesy of Marco Falcioni)

Seriously though, that is a strong claim, and I should probably just say that I can’t think of a better four days in a row*. So let’s just say the past four days have been amazing and stack up against any in my life (wow!). I’m actually a little exhausted from how good it has been. Lots of dancing, lots of laughing, lots of sharing great moments with great people and even a few tears and reflection thrown in. And the weather has been perfect.

Here’s the video (Instead of watching here, I highly recommend going to YouTube, Vimeo, or Facebook & watching it in HD or higher quality):

Click below for the full story behind the video…

Thursday: The surprise and tragedy of Michael Jackson’s death (and his tragic life) gave us the BEST FlashDance we’ve ever thrown, and that is saying something. More here. The bad news was that the Trikeasaurus sound system died, and three days before I was supposed to be in the big Pride parade.

Friday: I saw David Byrne in concert from 15 ft away. It wasn’t even the best DB show I’ve seen and it was still fantastic. Also, I resurrected the Trike sound system at great expense, realizing that the joy/$ ratio was a no-brainer. Unfortunately, dealing with the Trike and getting to DB precluded me making it to Critical Mass which would have been even more mega-fun.

Saturday:
– I made my sign for Trike for Pride (thanks for the inspiration, Chandra!). Here it is in the important constructed-but-tragicically-upside-down phase:

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Given how many people took pix of JUST the sign I’d say it was a big hit. It also got cited in the SF Chronicle’s coverage of Sunday’s pride parade πŸ™‚ Though unsurprisingly, they got their facts slightly wrong (unless it was a T-shirt too – look at the paragraph under “T-shirt weather.”)

– I went to see the Dyke March & play music for the marchers. I had figured that it wasn’t my place to be in the march and I should just hang on the outside and play music for the lesbians, but they loved the MJ and the Trike (& the sign) and I got sucked into the March as well. The tail end of the March became “Mobile MJ Dance Party with the Happy Lesbians”. SIMPLY AWESOME.

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(picture courtesy of Brian Kusler)

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(picture courtesy of David Baker)


– After the march, a small but perfect 3 and a half hour MJ FlashDance in the Castro ensued on a side street. Again awesome. Lots of friends showed up to join in the fun.

Sunday:

– At 12:30am, I led a procession one of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence had asked me to help with. What followed was 100 people marching down Market to Union Square for a “Joy Blessing” service. That ended at 2am.

– Got home at 4am & went to bed at 4:30. 4 hours sleep = not OK.

– Got up at 8:30 am, shoveled some peanut butter into my mouth, and saddled up the Trike. I had been invited to ride in the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s parade contingent “Byke Pride” and was super excited. Again SUPER AWESOME. Riding with my friends in front of thousands of cheering Bay Area folks was just so great. I played a little non-Michael stuff, but the crowd clearly wanted the MJ, so I obliged.

One particularly great moment for me was my little mini tribute to MJ, mid procession: During a pause in the parade, as we were halfway through the route, I played “Man In The Mirror” on the Trike, but stepped away from it so it was alone, with bikes gliding around it. It was kind of a “missing man” tribute. I don’t know if anyone got it, but it was a beautiful moment for me at least.

– After riding the parade twice (once again with our City Assessor (& friend) Phil Ting), I was out of gas (only four hours of sleep). I went home, plugged in the Trike and hit the bed for a 1.5 hour disco nap.

– At 2:30pm, Trike and I both recharged, I got up and zoomed back out to the post-parade festivities. I spent the day from their roaming around town booming the MJ tunes alongside Dan Nguyen-Tan’s 7-seater bike. We had our sound systems in sync playing the same music and brought the joy all over the city**. As always, Dan and his crew bring the fun in a similar but different style & we always have big fun together.

– At around 5:30pm, we then brought the music bikes into the post-parade party area at the Civic Center and rocked it out with a few more dance parties. Lots of random zany goodness. To wit, the lovely Alida Brandenburg & Jenny Yoshizawa showed up.

– 7pm after finally leaving the party, I finished it all off by a lovely dinner with Dan’s crew.

Tada.

So that was it. Simply fantastic. And I’m done. I have no energy for any more fun at the moment πŸ™‚ My Michael Jackson playlist is also done for the moment πŸ™‚ But I am still surprised and saddened that he is gone. Even now, the line near the end of “Man in The Mirror” – “You better get it right while you got the time” brings tears to my eyes and sounds like a call to action for all my failings and shortcomings as I get older. Did you get there, MJ?

But with the sadness, comes a clarity about my life and what I try to do. After watching crowds and crowds of people erupt into joy as I boomed Michael Jackson (& other assorted Jacksons/Jackson 5 songs), and dancing with so many people that were having a purely fantastic time to his music. It is clear that Michael channeled the joy into peoples lives, no matter his shortcomings (& they were perhaps vast). And Gay Pride is about JOY too, from the Sister’s “Joy Blessing”, to the parade’s celebration of liberation, to the dance parties with the happy lesbians, or watching Dan’s crew inviting strangers onto their group bike & “making their weekend”, to just watching Alida & Jenny getting their awesome on, I realize it is all about joy and channelling joy into the people around you. I’m pretty good at it in a small way, too. That makes me happy. I’m no MJ, and neither are you, but whatever you do to make people’s lives around you joyful, that is what it is all about. Get to it!

And again, thanks Mike, for all of it.

* Perhaps the first few days of some of my relationships, but those memories are colored by so much…. Maybe my safari in Africa back in 1996?

** Except for the one totally a@#*) cop who gave me a ticket. And note, giving me a ticket doesn’t make him a loser, but being mean about it and giving me attitude does. Grrrrrrr. I really *hate* dealing with Trikeasaurus tickets and the expense. Booooooo

Update: 6/24/10: Fixed typo: Africa safari was “1996”, not “2009”

2 thoughts on “As Good As it Gets: Pride & MJ Weekend

  1. “…but whatever you do to make people’s lives around you joyful, that is what it is all about.”

    You bring A LOT of joy to people around you Deep. You balance fun with a serious purpose to make the world just a little better.

    THANK YOU!

  2. I concur, with Dan, re: bringin’ the joy. I think you 2 sync’d your music & your abilities to bring JOY to the people, and took it all to a new height this Pride. I was so so happy to be a witness to it all. πŸ™‚

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