Sunday, June 21, 2009

Syracuse Gay Pride 2009

Yesterday was my 11th time in a row going to the Pride Parade and Festival in Syracuse. Last year was the only time I can recall that it didn't rain. Usually, it rains for a little while and then the sun comes out and we're treated to an auspicious rainbow. But this year it poured all day. It literally put a damper on the festivities. This didn't stop some people from walking around the festival shirtless.

Despite the weather, the event still had a great turnout. It is wonderful to reunite with people you don't get to see often. I usually say that it is "like a big, gay family reunion." It is also fun to people-watch. There are all kinds of interesting, colorful people having a great time. Many people dress up for the occasion, and I've seen some pretty creative get-ups.

The event began at City Hall with a speech from Syracuse Common Councilor and Mayoral Candidate Stephanie Miner, followed by the raising of the rainbow flag. The parade traveled along a lavender line painted in the road, ending at the festival at the Everson Plaza. Festivities continued throughout the day, concluding with after-parties at various bars. I didn't go out to the bars. I just wanted to get out of the rain.

Stephanie Miner speaking at City Hall

The legendary Fagbug, promoting "activism on wheels"

The Trexx float at the parade

Nikki Fenmore talking to the driver of the Budweiser van. What could she be up to?

The one and only protester at the event

The parade

Friday, June 5, 2009

St. Peter's Church and El Diablo

As I was walking home last night, I walked past St. Peter's Church on James St. The church has been closed for some time, and there are For Sale signs on the property. I always thought it was such a shame that that little church closed. It was a nice Italian church (one of many churches on James St.). There has been little activity around the church since it closed, save for the birds that still sing in the pine and birch trees in front.

As I walked by, I happened to notice that a light was on. I thought that I should take a look, although I almost second guessed myself. What if people should see me? They might think I'm breaking in. My curiosity got the best of me, so I cautiously walked up the steps and looked in the front door.

No one was in sight. I could see the altar and the crucifix above, and a few rows of pews. It was so beautiful. Finding such beauty in simplicity is humbling. It touches the core of one's soul in a unique, profound way.

I then remembered that I was listening to music on my MP3 player as I was walking, and I realized what I was listening to and how ironic it was. "El Diablo" by Grace Slick. Music has a funny way of coinciding with all events of my life. In light of the fact that I was standing in front of a church and just stumbled across something special, I respectfully changed the song, even though it is an incredible song. I opted instead for "Gypsy" and "Sara" by Fleetwood Mac, back to back, and continued walking, feeling a little bit better about myself. Nothing like church to make one feel uplifted and refreshed.

I hope the lights are on again next time I walk past. I'd like to take a picture.