Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Colors of Pride

File under: There's Always Room

Tina made these for our post-parade festivities. Aren't they pretty? They were potent, too!

Pride Parade 2009

File Under: Out and Proud

Sunday June 28 was the Pride Parade and it could not have been a more perfect day in Chicago. Some changes to the parade route had been made, and as a result, we decided that we would start out early, seek out a spot and enjoy our day. Luis sent a message to all of us early Sunday morning, it read “if you want breakfast, come early.” Well, you don’t have to ask me twice.

I arrived at the house at about 9:30. Luis had been a busy man in the kitchen. Before long, we were all feasting on delicious egg dishes and a French toast type dish made with Hawaiian bread. As Luis put it, it was just something he threw together. He’s a good man.

The group for this outing included Dan and Luis, Polo, David, Tina and Denise. Dan so thoughtfully kept us hydrated, providing us with cold beverages, made up of lemonade, raspberry liquor and vodka. He too, is a good man.

We arrived at our post, settled in and waited. It was about 78 degrees, breezy and not a cloud in the sky. We had about a 45 minute wait before the festivities began.

The new rules put into place prohibited attendees from crossing the street during the parade. To keep order, metal barricades had been placed along the entire route. While in the beginning we were not pleased with this idea, it turned out to be a good thing. It kept the parade path at a consistent width, allowing it to move in an orderly fashion and without interruption.

With that said, the parade was still over 2 hours long. Over 200 floats and participants marched past, many very colorful and flamboyant. It really was a fun to watch everybody expressing themselves freely and openly and celebrating the day.

After the parade, we went back to Dan and Luis’ home. We were invited back for a cookout. Dan took over grilling duties for the afternoon. The rest of us were invited to just relax. I don’t have to be told twice.

The food was delicious as were the festive Jell-O shots that Tina made for us and the brownies baked for us by Denise. Ozzie provided entertainment as he defended us against the evil hula hoop. By the time he was done with it, there was no hula remaining in the hoop.

All of the fun takes its toll on even the heartiest of party people. We were all worn out from all of the fun and the party wrapped up at about 8.

Please enjoy these photos from the day.

Thanks to Dan and Luis for being such wonderful hosts on a very fun-filled day.

Waiting patiently, staying hydrated. David, Luis, Polo.

Nettlehorst School. A grammar school in the middle of Lakeview. They marched in the parade for the first time. The kids had a blast and the spectators loved seeing them in it.

Hockey...just not tonsil hockey

Yay Sheriff!

Our State Treasurer and probably candidate for Governor.

Rugby team

Suburbs, represented

Illinois State Lottery float. No we didn't get to see his Lotto balls.

Denise doesn't like to have her picture taken, says she's not photogenic. I think otherwise. Don't you agree?

Broadway in Chicago.

A popsicle?

A friend on a float! Hi Patrick!


The crowd

Leather daddies


David, waiting to spank someone happy!

Back at the house...a festive Jell-O shot, complements of Tina.

Ozzie, about to finish off the hula hoop

Pride in Chicago

File Under: Bursting With Pride

June is Pride month in Chicago and it all culminates in a big celebration weekend, beginning with Pride Fest, a street festival in the Lakeview neighborhood. This year marked the 4th year that Pride Fest took place, and it was the first year that the festival was two days long.

I attended Pride Fest on Saturday, the second day of the fest. It’s not much different than any of the other area street festivals. There are food booths, booze vendors, merchants selling clothing, jewelry, accessories and piles upon piles of useless crap. There are stages and numerous performances took place both days. Saturday’s big name entertainment was Thelma Houston, Crystal Waters and Deborah (DEBBIE) Gibson, as well as local favorites The Joans (a Joan Crawford Tribute band) and 16 Candles. The Joans were a hot trannie mess, they were fun and I’ll happily see them again. Deborah (Debbie) Gibson was a major disappointment. Perhaps it was the sound mix, or perhaps it was a 40 year old woman singing songs that were cute when she was 16. Back in the 80’s when she worbled about heartbreak and lost love it was cute and sweet, now it’s kind of sad.

Dan, Luis, Polo and David, our friend from DC, joined me at the festival later in the day. We wandered a while then found a cool corner of a bar where we sucked down a bunch of drinks. Then, it was time to see 16 Candles. It began to rain but we managed to dodge a major storm, we enjoyed the show regardless of the weather. What I didn’t enjoy was the full glass of beer that was spilled down my right leg and collected in my shoe. I took my shoe off and poured a bunch of it out. I should have offered to pour it back into the glass from where it came.

After the show I met up with my friends John and Vince briefly. We chatted a few minutes but I was tired, sweaty and beer soaked, so I really needed to go home.

Below are some pictures from the day.

The Joans

Debbie Gibson

Boys having drinks

16 Candles

The crowd enjoying 16 Candles

Polo, Dan and I

Check Engine

File Under: Cars

I have a 2004 Honda Civic. I love my little car. I got it on June 29, 2004. So yesterday was our 5 year anniversary.

Today, my Check Engine light came on. I hate the Check Engine light.

Friday, June 26, 2009

RIP Farrah and Michael

Yesterday was truly a sad day in the entertainment world. Two pop icons passed. One death was expected, the other was a complete shock.

Farrah Fawcett passed away from cancer at age 62. She fought it courageously and with dignity.

Farrah's passing affected me. While it was no surprise, given her recent documentary detailing her journey through this illness, hearing early yesterday morning that she was in grave condition caused me to stop and think about what she represented for me.

Charlie's Angels was the first television show that I can remember calling my favorite show. I know I watched television before 1976, but I can't name one single show that I watched with regularity. Every Monday night I would glue myself to the floor in front of my TV and for that hour I was captivated by those three crime fighting women. I admired their strength and inginuity, and their hair. I loved Farrah on the show, I had a t-shirt with the famous poster image on it. While she was only on the show for one season, she left a lasting impression on this young boy.

She left to seek opportunities in film. She acted in a few, but eventually earned praise for her role in "The Burning Bed," a film about a battered woman who seeks revenge on her husband.

She worked sporatically, while at the same time creating a stir in Hollywood with her long-time relationship with Ryan O'Neal. They never married, but had a son together.

Farrah definitely could be seen as a bit eccentric. She posed for Playboy at 50, her layout featured her painting with her body. A famous appearance on the David Letterman Show depicted her as incoherent and perhaps under the influence.

Whatever she did in life, she gained attention. Even up until the last few months of her life, her signature long blond hair was present.

The documentary that was filmed during her illness depicted her as determined to fight, yet grounded. She cared about her fans, she displayed such a love for her family and her friends and they loved her.

Now, she is at peace, no more suffering, no more pain. If there is a heaven, I hope she will be an Angel, again.

The OH MY GOD news of the day was the death of Michael Jackson. I was at the gym, and I saw a news story on CNN that he had been taken to UCLA Medical Center because of an apparent Cardiac Arrest. While driving home, news reports were not sounding very good, TMZ was the first to report that he had died. Shortly after arriving home, more news outlets were reporting that he was in fact dead. At about 5:30 Chicago time, the three networks had all received confirmation that he was dead. CNN finally reported it just after 6 pm.

I was never a big Michael Jackson fan. I knew about the Jackson 5 when I was young, I think I even had one of their records (there's a term from the past!) which I played on my little portable record player. I didn't think much about him until the album "Off The Wall" was released. My sister Georgette, 7 years older than me, loved music and spent her allowance buying albums. "Off The Wall" was one of those record albums and as a result I heard it and I liked it. I listened to it on occasion (even though I wasn't supposed to touch Georgette's stereo or her records - guess I just confessed!).

When "Thriller" was released, I was in a different part of the music spectrum. I liked "new wave" and British influenced pop music. But, the nice thing about radio at that time was that everybody whow was making good music had a place on the same radio station so it was inevitible that I would hear songs off of Michael's latest album. Soon, that's all I was hearing on the radio, the album spanwned so many singles (another term from the past!), I think some of the b-sides (there's yet another term from the past!) became singles. (Wow, this is becoming a history lesson, too!) Still, I was not fully on board with Jackson mania. I appreciated what he accomplished, admired his artistry in his music videos and I enjoyed the fact that he recruited artists from other genres to record with him. Still, I never bought his albums.

Then he started to become weird. His appearance changed, he began doing things that one could not tell if they were for publicity, or if he was just so out of touch that he knew no better. He built an amusement park on his estate, and began hanging out with a chimpanzee named Bubbles. He palled around with Elizabeth Taylor. He married Lisa Marie Presley, and made out with her on stage at the MTV VMAs. He divorced her, married someone else, then had babies with her. He dangled one of those babies over a balcony. He was accused of child molestation but was eventually aquitted. He moved to Dubai.

I'm sad that he's dead, I understand the contributions he made to the music industry, and I know he had hundreds of millions of fans around the world. Yet, I'm not as moved by his death as I am by Farrah's. I do hope he is at peace now.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


File Under: Awful News Day

First we learned that Farrah Fawcett died this morning, of cancer. She fought a long battle and it was somewhat expected. Still, it's sad. I'm at a loss for words over her death.

THEN...this news item. Michael Jackson DIED! He suffered cardiac arrest, was rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead. He was bizarre through the mid-80's, he was a force to be reckoned with and produced some amazing music. He got weird towards the end of the decade, there was a child molestation scandal and he never regained his throne.

Sad day in news, indeed.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Stimulating the Economy

File Under: Can you feel it?

My mom's television has been dying a slow death. What pisses me off about that is the fact that the TV is maybe 5 years old. It wasn't top of the line but I expected it to last a bit longer. Anyway, it didn't and given that Z is retired and spends a lot of time at home watching TV, I can't have her without one, mainly because I don't need her hanging out in my room watching my TV when I'm not home. So instead of putting a lock on my bedroom door, I bought her a new TV tonight. I even set it up and it's working. She's now modern, she's got a 26" flat panel LCD HD television. What's funny is that it looks about the same size as the previous television and it was only 19". Needless to say she's thrilled and can't believe the picture quality.

Now I just have to haul the old one out of here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


File Under: In the Neighborhood

I like my neighborhood. I like most of my neighbors. I like to think that I'm pretty neighborly, most of the time.

Saturday afternoon, I was driving home from the gym. I had a couple hours to kill before I had to be at a birthday party, so I decided I would stroll to Starbucks, get a cool drink and relax. A couple blocks from home, I glanced down a street and there was, what appeared to be an attractive guy doing yard work on one of the newer homes. I decided to have a closer look, to see if this was the new owner or just the help. I parked my car at home and decided to walk over there. I was going on a walk anyway. I was wearing a pair of leather flip flops. I haven't worn them since last year, figured I would break them out since it was sunny and 82 degrees. I got about a block from home and realized why I don't wear them, they hurt my feet. They rub in different spots on the top of my feet. But, I was on a mission so I soldiered on.

I got to the street, and he was still there. I envisioned him being relieved to find a friendly neighbor, he would invite me in, I'd tell him that my shoes were bothering me and he would bring me adhesive bandages and a cool drink. Okay, no...not so much. He turned his leaf blower (which he was using to blow tree branches from his sidewalk, in an effort to clean up from the severe storms we had 24-hours prior) away so that he wouldn't blow debris on me, I said "Hi" and "thanks." He barely grunted and went about his business. Oh well, he wasn't very attractive anyway. Onward I limped. I took my shoe off to see what was happening to my foot and it wasn't pretty. I managed to hobble home, but at that point the damage was done, my foot was a mess and I was a sweaty pig. I cleaned up my foot, bandaged it, put on different shoes and went to Starbucks.

So much for getting to know the neighbors.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Andersonville Midsommarfest 2009

File Under: City Fun

This past weekend was Andersonville's Midsommarfest. What started off as a cold, dreary day turned into a lovely day. By 2 pm on Saturday, I was out for day 1 of the festivities. For the first part of my adventure, I was joined by my friend Jim. We walked around and took in the sights. Here are a few early images from the festival. Please click on the cute little thumbnails for much larger images.

One of many food stands. Lots of tasty treats.

A rather sporty lad, obviously thirsty.

More food. Feel the clogging of the arteries.

Oooh, amusements. Looks like a space ship. What's with the tail end?

Oh my, that doesn't look right. Not at all...

Uh oh...

It's a BOY!

Time for lunch. Stopped for an empanada at Ole Ole. Here's me looking both big and gay!

My favorite bakers, the owners of Pasticceria Natalina.

Jim and I stopped to chat with my friend Lynn, whom I've known since grammar school. After a few minutes, Jim departed and as if the next shift was checking in, I ran into Dan, Luis, Denise and Polo. Tina could not join us this weekend, she was in Ohio. Thirsty and ready to explore, we got drinks. Then we walked.

Dan met THE Hamburger Mary! They became instant friends!!

The handsome Dan and Luis.

Shortly after, we met up with my coworker Andrea who was just taking in the sights and sounds on her own. She joined us, but Luis insisted she have bigger hair, so he practiced his teasing technique as Polo looks on.

He didn't have much success so we ate instead. Mmm...funnel cakes.

Taking in a concert. Luis and Polo are discussing something important. I'm sure of it.

Dancing? I'm not sure.
Day turned into night and we gathered at the other end of the fest to see the evening's main attraction, Sixteen Candles. They're a great band who perform the best songs from the 80's. They're fun to watch. I don't really remember seeing them, I think at this point I had consumed at least 6 drinks and everything was just starting to run together. Yet, I took a few pictures.
Luis, Dan and Denise, in the crowd.

My coworker Sonny joined us. She had some catching up to do. We quickly set her up with a couple mojitos. After downing those, she found the beer tent near the north stage.

Cheers, Sonny!

Andrea. I've decided this may be her new ID picture at work.

Polo, looking serious. Perhaps looking for a light, or for another beer.

"Seriously? Where's my beer?" or "What do you mean you're still sober?"
The crowd. Yes, Sixteen Candles is a very popular band.

Dan, with some random guys. Another beer, Dan?

This is where my camera's memory card was full and I was unable to continue snapping pictures. Here's what you missed. The concert ended, Andrea, Dan, Denise, Luis and Polo went home. Sonny and I decided we needed to find a bathroom, a drink and some food. We did all of the above. We ended up enjoying some Mediterranian grilled chicken from Reza's. The festival was beginning to wind down for the night but we weren't (even though we should have), so we went in search of an establishment at which to continue drinking.
Our first stop was Cattle Call, a new bar in the neighborhood. It was crowded so we didn't stay long. We each had a beer, then decided it was time to move on. We hopped in a cab and went to Jackhammer, my usual hangout. At that point, it became clear to both of us that we were running out of steam. We each had a drink, said goodnight to our bartender, and hailed cabs to go home.
For obvious reasons, Sunday was a much slower start. I made a feeble attempt at going to the gym. Finally at about 2, I felt human enough to head back out for day 2 of the festival. It was a warmer day than Saturday, sunny and close to 80 degrees.

Shortly after I arrived, I met up with my friend Steve, his partner Bill and a number of their friends. We hung out and watched local band Cat Fight. I stuck to drinking water as I didn't think I could stomach alcohol. I did manage to eat a corndog (food on a stick - YUM!), and later I enjoyed some thai food. Below are a couple more pictures from Sunday's festival.
Steve and I, standing in the crowd.

Cat Fight, entertaining a large crowd of people.

A view in the opposite direction, booths of food, and assorted street fest goods (jewelry, clothing, odd things for your home)

Alas, all good things must come to and end, and so does this post. It was a great weekend, lots of fun with great friends. Festival season is off to a great start!