Brett Rants

Gay Pride Parade

Sex on Parade
and/or
Gay for the Day

A Roman Type Statue put through a colorful prismatic filter, his leg is up, and if one wishes to pretend, one can easily see up his jerkin
Soul (Photographic) Survivor

I find that taking photographs of an event often adds to my experience and understanding of said event. In this particular case, I took some five hundred raw photos, of which ninety-two are vaguely interesting and/or informative from my point of view. However, even of those ninety-two, few are fit for publication, even fewer hold any long term interest, and only one (the above) will be published with this essay: a sort of text based description of an event's typical photographic first cut. The event in question being a Gay Pride Parade. Make of this what you will.

{At some point, I think it makes sense to note that although most of the text for this project was written within months of the event, the final edit took place well over three years later. And at this (or that) remove, I like to think I've obfuscated my obfuscation, if you know what I mean.}

Check Point Charlie: The first photo I took on the day was of security: a girl's purse being looked over by a security guard. I always find the activities of any law enforcement personnel to be of interest... like say, the weapon sniffing dog at the train station that I failed to photograph. Of course, the dog could have been sniffing for drugs; but then, I like to believe the air would have been a bit more, um, smoke-free, if that had been the case.

Want to make a deal, human?
Drop that stick of beef jerky, like now!
And I won't narc you out.

Clouds on a Sunny Day: I still hadn't gotten into the swing of (the event and/or) taking pictures (of the event or anything else), which means, I still did not know where I would be going with any project (although, it is likely I did know that I would be going for some sort of project: written, photographic, and/or otherwise). Whatever the case, when I snapped this shot, I likely only expected to take a few dozen photos over the course of the day... rather than the hundreds I eventually shot. I tend to get carried away once I get going, like there is some sort of critical moment (call it a tipping point) at which point (gads, I hate repeating words) I say to myself, 'One more (aside, interjection, and/or photograph) can't possibly hurt.' And from there, all bets are off ('but I rolled a seven'). Also, it's not unusual for me to take up to ten shots of the same thing (truthfully, anywhere from two to twenty) just in case one is blurry, of which the second dozen so often are (odd how often it turns out that the first image I take is the keeper). And then, people's face change pretty quickly... as do other things (especially folks walking by in the background and/or my desire to go on and on with endless tangential commentary).

Check Point: I am back at the checkpoint. I camped out in this vicinity for a while, maybe a half hour... or was it fifteen minutes? Time fades. Either way, it was actually the second or third location at which I'd camped out. The first was a gas station (full of folks waiting for the parade to start). And for whatever reason, I had elected not to take a single photograph while there. Maybe it simply did not feel like Open Season on Photographing Other People had begun, quite yet.

Aliens: I was standing by the entrance to a club and a man with a cool multi-colored shirt walked inside. He could have been Zaphod Bebelbrox (if that's how his name is spelled) from The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (if that's the name of the book). In hindsight, there is very little utility for the image... or even anything compelling about it (other than it reminds me of the moment). Hence, it's deletion... and my continued amazement about the idiotic things I sometimes (so often) photograph. I should also mention that along with culling the photos, I am now on the third rewrite of this text (two more edits to go before I format it for the web {along with a few more reads after that}). And thus, meanings, (innuendos {preferred punctuations}, and so on) are likely to change. In the end, I care far more about the flow of a story (or narrative in this particular case) than the Truth. Truth can suck it.

Zaphod Take Two: Why did I keep two versions of what is essentially the same image? Well, one reason is that the sign in the window in this particular version of the photograph is easier to read.

No Guest List
Re-Entry Only

And the second is the that man who was standing nearby (watching the parade, which was going by at this point) happens to be wrapped in the banner of the day (call it a flag), trying to keep warm, perhaps, as he had little else on.

'Hubba! Hubba!

Police Raid: As I was standing there (right by the door --> please note, parenthetical comments are more likely to have been added in later edits {and this sort later still, oddly both levels of additional inclusion} being a major reason for edits in the first place {as I like the effect and believe they add depth}), a police task force descended upon the club (bar, restaurant, whatever it was). Anyway, there must have been a full dozen uniformed police officers who walked through the door; so many, in fact, one might wonder (as I did at first) whether they were on the guest list or this was a special event for police officers. My best guess in the end? Parade Day was as good a day as any to make sure everyone's licenses were up to snuff. I saw this same group later in the day, walking down the back alley from whence they had come. I assume in-between my two sightings, they had stopped by every bar and restaurant on the strip.

Police: It is what the back of their uniforms say. As previously indicated, I find the workings of the Law Enforcement Community to be supremely interesting. It is in these still images that one (meaning I) has the luxury of deconstructing the formal from the informal: the water bottle sticking out of one officer's back pocket, another who is more interest in their cell phone than anything going on around them, an indication that there were way too many personnel in attendance for all of them to have a meaningful function... or for the numbers to be anything more than a show of force. Also, they carry yellow (stun?) guns these days. Whether I noticed this last (at first) in person or in a photograph, I no longer know.

Purse: At the feet of the police lay a purse: either long forgotten or from someone standing close by. It lay there for a long time and was still there, left unclaimed, when I departed the area.

Humanity Deconstructed: Here we have the first image of a couple. It would be difficult to tell what captured my interest in the moment. It shall soon be scrap. Part of the fun is in looking at the details. He is wearing socks. She is not.

View from the Top: Some of the balconies lining the way were well used... and others nearly empty. This was the first time during the day that I noticed the balconies lining the way. But it was hardly the best image, so the image is serious scrap material. And at this point, I wonder why it made the first pass. Ah, yes. I did a voice over commentary {quietly to myself} as I went through the images the first time around. And if I found something to comment upon (having decided to do this sort of project by that point), I kept it. So, four hundred pictures were either duplicates... or simply had nothing to say for themselves... much like many of the people in the crowd. I want to stand out of the crowd, but not look like that's what I'm trying to do. I wonder how many others showed up with the same intent.

FBI: The Constitution is a lie. Your Civil Rights mean nothing. Or maybe they do. Three policemen (one wearing an FBI shirt, the other two in military greens) were interviewing a young gentleman (with one of the paramilitary guys holding the young gentleman close, arms held tightly around, like they were long lost friend, buds even). Thus, our young interloper was not going anywhere fast. In other words, he was being detained. But I doubt anyone had appraised him of his rights (as in, 'anything you say will become the reason for your further detainment'). In time, he was released and went his own way. Of course, I did not see the entire exchange. After all, it could be that he had been let off easy. But I presume, it is far more likely, he was questioned without cause. But once again, I heard no words and was not present for the precipitating actions. Yet (notice the back and forth, I am quite ambivalent on the proper course of action here), as an impartial observer (if one assumes this is even possible), I felt that one of the policemen seemed a bit too... um, gung ho... a bit too, in his face... as if he was taking the entire exchange a bit too seriously, a bit too personally, as if anything the young man might say or do would not only be used against him in a court of law, but would also be interpreted as an affront to the police officer's masculinity. Yeah, me and a lot of other folks watched this exchange. And then, they let the young gentleman go. He walked this way, then that, before returning to claim a front row seat for the parade. I have three images of this altercation (for which this comment shall stand in for all), showing the policeman's hand movements, the jut of his lip, and the other bystanders watching... or walking on by not giving a bloody damn.

DEO: I know not what it means, but someone had spray painted this on the sidewalk, likely a repair crew... from the UFO's that I'd see later in the day, no doubt... or city utilities. But let's face it, that whole UFO thing is so much more fun to imagine. And trust me, when interstellar travel becomes a thing, I am headed off to Sirius Six for their annual Dog Days Debauchery each and every year.

I took a break from this project for a month and a half at this point. Memories fade...

And after I came back three months later, I took another break for three more months. Some projects are more difficult (and/or time consuming) than others (and at fifty pages of written word, as I count it, it's no wonder; what a time suck). But then, a lot of the utility in a project such as this is in it's temporal displacement. I no longer have any emotion tied to the previously reported law enforcement intervention. And of the dozens of images to follow, I only remember a handful... fewer in any detail; thus, making it ever easier to delete the scrap.

Balloon Pride: this is an image that would never make it into the final cut. Itís fun. It captures some of the spirit of the day. But if my target for a web page is ten or so images, this one will never make the cut. Spectators look on from a roof top as a contingent with inflated balloons walks on by.

Balloon Clowns: actually, now that I view the image on a bigger screen it has a lot more life to it than I had at first supposed, as if the random array of balloons has decided to take on the persona of a ballerina, arching his (or her) back as they enjoy the wind and the sun. This one (the second image in the series) might just be a keeper... or the edited-down filtered version of it might just be a keeper. {Beyond the one posted, I kept five pictures from the day... plus whatever I might have used in the interim elsewhere for other projects.}

Inflatable Toys: i.e. more balloons. The balloons are fun and all, but I think I would cut these pictures PDQ (Pretty Darn Quickly) at this point.

Note: I actually decided what images to keep during the second and third edits. {And even that is a lie, as I overruled my tentative selections in the next to last edit, killing all but the aforementioned one, which leads the page.}

Suitcase in the Crowd: ah, here we have a fun little detail, a man carrying a suitcase through the crowd. His shirt looks nice and clean (almost new) and I do not recall him giving off a homeless vibe. Meaning, many a tourist has been know to carry their luggage around before catching the next train out of town. But in the end, one never knows.

Make Way! Make Way! Suitcase Coming Through: is another image that will never make the final cut. And after all these months, I cannot recall why it made the first cut, perhaps because this project has been more about what I take pictures of rather than what I keep pictures of. And this is a perfect example of the former. And if it had been a better shot, perhaps a perfect example of the latter, as well. More importantly, with a still image, I have the luxury of revisiting the moment. The suitcase is clean, as are the man's fingernails and shirt. Don't ask me what brought him down this street? Why bring a suitcase to a parade? And, of course, if I were paramilitary, he just might have caught my attention, if you know what I mean. After all, I'm not really sure how one constructs a Weapon of Mass Destruction out of dirty underwear, but I'm pretty sure it's possible.

'Oh, the humanity!'

Glimpse Through the Crowd: definitely a cutter, as there is nothing here of interest. At hip level in the crowd, Iím just being nosy: four people with two phones in sight. Not that I am one to talk. I shot this image with a phone.

Privacy No More: it turns out, someone is texting. It can be very humanizing to look at faces in the crowd at a later date, seeing what they are up to. Itís always boring stuff. Some girl texting. Some dude taking pictures of strangers. Another unscrewing the top from a bottle of water...

Faces in the Crowd: he stands out more than she, so I wonder why that is. Or put another way, who, what, where, when, and why? My eyes scan with a certain priority. Assuming I wish to have that priority in otherís eyes, what must I do? What must I wear? And, of course, to what purpose? I wonder if I would have more fun (when the love of my life is busy), to find some male friend, with whom to enjoy these (Gay Pride) events (and on other occasions, of course). But then, even if parades are wonderful places to find grist for the story mill, they are most definitely not the place to meet a writing, programming, and/or art project partner.

{As a matter of historical interest, with a comment like the above, I find it hard to believe I had yet to meet Mescal. Seriously, as a (semi-retired) drug running mule, he would have been right at home. And he likes to shake his belly in the sun as well as the next mule, if you know what I mean.}

Not Even Faces: as the camera tilts up, the reason for the picture and center of focus is lost, faces in a crowd, bodies. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Devil in the Details: here we have a detail, a close up... of mundanity, itself, causing me to wonder why I even bother. Ah, yes. To transcend the mundane... until only the humanity of what is remains. And then, of course, sometimes, these shots are misfires. Why did I take this shot? Turns out I didn't. I mean, who really wants a cross-angled, blurry shot of the shoes of the person who just happens to be standing directly in front of them?

Price of Progress: garbage often catches my eye. The image I captured is not a very good example. But for a photo essay, I often want to juxtapose the good with the bad, the fun times with the half filled cups and other detritus that has been cast aside. So in that vein, there is the press of the crowd that slowly builds to overpowering, as whatever need drew me to the crowd in the first place, quickly fades away.

Back Ways: very quickly, I got sick of the main drag... or at least, I wanted a break from it. And found the street (or alley, really) one block away to be much more inviting. Plenty of other folks had the same idea.

Shadow Lands: same alley, a little ways up, as I pointed the camera in a new direction, where no one is about. Though, the real reason for this image was the shadow that a utility pole cast on the ground. I think its an artsy shot. Oh, it could be better. But in the end, it's likely good enough.

A Thousand Words: is often better than the picture itself. The back of this building had a nice wooden staircase. But as it's the same color as the bricks, it all but disappears in the end; and so, I think it makes a sort of crappy shot. It would make the nice setting for a story, though... or place to drink a beer. The frat looking guy walking by in the foreground, adding to that 'I could use a beer right now' sort of vibe.

Eh: same staircase, different guy. The first image is better. Both will get cut. And so, in the second (or is it third) viewing, I wonder why the first image is obviously better. In the first, the guy is a bit older and fatter with more of a beer belly, but is wearing a better shirt and knows how to wear his hat (i.e. the hat doesn't own him). Oddly, my preference might simply come down to age... or that the one is looking away. (And since I no longer have the images to look at, I wonder if it was better because he was looking away... probably.)

Ivy: cable wires tacked to the side of a brick building covered in ivy. It's very soothing. It is a keeper. Notice how the vine travels along with the wire. I'm guessing the plant is some sort of bio-tech wiretap technology. But then, what do I know? Seriously, I mean, if I was going to develop some sort of newfangled science fiction technology to listen in on phone conversations and internet traffic, I'd probably go with digital ghosts and call it a day.

Ivy-Ivy Everywhere: more ivy. I like the first image better. It's more direct and to the point. In this image, I pulled back a little; and so, it includes two windows. Likely as not, I took this (and kept it through the first cut) as a point of reference for the first shot. I do that a lot: keep overview shots to set the scene in my mind until I've used the 'good' shot the way I want to use it. And of course, if I were going to make a story involving the aforementioned digital ghosts, the open windows with their flowering plants (all lies, not the ghosts mind you, but the windows being open and so forth) might give some clue as to the occupants; and therefore, the need to spy.

For Rent: I never did walk up the steps to see the asking price. I wonder what it would be like to live in a neighborhood like this: within a mile of the ballpark, close to a thriving bar area, and of course, ground zero for the gay pride parade. On the other hand, here we are a block away and it's almost a normal day, just a few old guys here and there snapping pictures, working their side gigs as Spectral Investigators, which sort of makes you wonder why it's always old guys...

Anyone Home: talk about a normal day. A package is waiting on someone's doorstep... and why would someone be ordering a Demonic Presence in what otherwise seems to be such a nice neighborhood. Oh, and asides like this, the trailing off into story land, are a sure sign I'm bored with the editing task at hand.

Sinister Back Alley's: a crumbly back alley behind an iron grating looks amazingly inviting to me. It belies the age of the buildings. But reveals their charm. It's really not a good shot. And I know not what to do with it. So, it will be cut at this point. But there is a calling to it. The surrounding architectural images are in many ways just a reminder of the 'feel' of this image. Wouldn't it be nice to live here? Own this? Yes, in some ways, it would be. In others, well, it's clear there is more to this neighborhood than meets the eye.

Four in a Row: which is how many crushed beer cans are lined up (all neat like) on the steps of this rental housing unit. I'm guessing college aged youngsters live here. So likely, there is some campus within easy walking distance. And before the parade, this is where one or more folks sat and had a few beers. So, what did they see that scared them away? Or are they simply possible eye witnesses for whatever story/game we wish to play? Meaning, if we knocked on the door, who would answer? Odd, how if I wish to include the inhabitants in a story, I double and triple the age (from when they were mere drinkers of beer on the sill).

But let us get back to the parade, shall we?

Fire Truck: actually, I almost always forget why I took this picture. There was a float or something that was blowing confetti into the air. I was half a block away; and so, only saw the confetti in the distance and not what caused it. And the truth is, in this image, the confetti all but disappears, leaving the fire truck in the foreground to steal the show. Before posting (assuming I'll post), I'll need to crop the picture to highlight the confetti better.

Storm Clouds Rising: it is a nice crowd scene, pleasant enough, but nothing to write home about. Folks are drinking in a little cafe set off to the side that is jammed packed, full. Months later and it's the clouds that capture my eye. I'll likely crop out all the humans. Nope. I simply deleted the image. But let me tell you, it was close.

Too Much: she's puking. Her friend is helping, holding her hair, comforting her, holding her purse.

Nothing to See Here: the bouncer is unfazed by the aforementioned scene of drunken debauchery. He's seen it all.

No Rush: I had plenty of time. The girl (busy being sick) wasn't going anywhere. So, this would be the establishing shot. Odd how the clouds are as interesting as anything else at this remove. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, they (girl puking, her friend, and the bouncer) are inside the area the bouncer is protecting. And believe it or not, this is part of the 'fun' of the entire experience for me. Two o'clock in the afternoon (judging from the photo's time stamp); and folks are so blasted, they're puking. Classic. Trust me, alcohol poisoning and the resultant voiding is not part of my day to day experience. I lead a sheltered life... or perhaps, as some would say, I have become a 'forty year old beer sipper'. But this just shows how little said stranger, who likely as not wasn't even talking to me, knows about me, the poor, stupid, misinformed stranger. Truth is: I've been known to gulp down, virtually chug, half a beer, before setting the rest aside for another night. Clearly, 'sipping of beers' is hardly my thing.

Dressed to Kill: more party goers.

Dumpster Diving: I walked back to the alley to get another breather, which is not to say this back alley wasn't a fun strip of real estate in and of itself. Plenty of other revelers were doing the same thing (taking a breather), so it was like a chill zone.

Back to the Action: and here we are back in Puke Central at the Up Chuck Cafe. Now, I could be wrong... but I'm not. For the occasion (or because that's the way it always is), the proprietor of this cafe, bar, watering hole, family restaurant (actually, who knows what it is in the off season) lined the patio with ice machines. They are not running out of ice... or beer... or places to puke, during this here parade. If nothing else, I hope that is clear.

Backpack: it's interesting what other folks bring with them to such an event... or the accessories that make the man, woman, mother, or small child. Have Kangaroo Backpack, Will Travel!

Have Phone Will Travel: everybody has one. And in crowd scenes, it's amazing how many folks are using them... or just holding them. Staggering. I mean, I am not one to talk... or maybe I am. When out and about, I do endeavor to limit my screen time. But I make exceptions, which become the rule, so really, who am I to talk? I am an old man, twice your age, you young whippersnapper, and if I want to tell you about how life was better back in the day before the appearance of Digital Pacifiers, by gosh darn it, I will!

Girls! Girls! Girls!: in actuality, just the two, but they put more than a moment or two of thought into their matching costumes. And no, it's not what you are thinking... or what I would be thinking. Their outfits are well thought out, fun to look at, but do not cause me to want to get to know them better or do more than take a picture in passing. And sadly, I decided it would be impossible to capture the flavor of their outfits without de-anonymizing them {i.e. not anonymizing them; and therefore, revealing their identities}, so no scantily clad girls for you.

Nook: I found a little nook in a doorway. Two steps up, out of the way, and I had a great view of the flow of traffic. This image is little more than a view down the crowded street: of interest mainly due to the colorful flag waiving in the foreground.

Cranny: moments later, time passes, it's the same scene, only slightly different. There was a girl in the previous image that my eyes tend to focus upon. In this one, it's just a blur of faces. I could not tell you which is better. Neither are keepers: the girl steals the show in the previous {which was not the intent as I was photographing the flag} and this version of the scene just isn't that interesting.

Elvira: let's just assume she is a transgendered gentle... er, woman and move on. She had a presence about her... as did her traveling companion.

They came to get down!
They came to get down!
So, take off your shirts
And let those bellies bounce around!
Jump!  Jump!  Jump!

Or maybe, that is not how that particular song goes? And maybe, the pair were among the most elegantly dressed couples in attendance? Still, I bet you she knew how to dance and move that great big old body of hers!

Moving on...

Stoop Mates: I shared my stoop (that step-up into a closed storefront I mentioned previously) with a couple (and then others). This is an image of the man buying some ice cream, turning to ask his wife, girlfriend, sweetheart, or whatever, what flavor she'd like.

Watermelon: of course, the real reason I started taking shots of the ice cream transaction was because there was a watermelon lying on the ground inches away, cracked open. I like the juxtaposition... and the fact that there is not a chance {in this universe or the next} anyone is going to eat that there watermelon.

Smoke on the Crow-owd: and sunshine in the a-air. Folks were getting high. Lord knows what the police were looking for, certainly not drugs. Whatever. Who really cares? Fact is: there was so much smoke (as in Up in Smoke), it cast a pale of haze over the crowd on what was otherwise a fine sunny afternoon.

Marley: different strokes for different folks. Meaning, this chap caught my eye. He is having a conversation with another. They were a mere five feet away, but I could not hear them, so I know not about what... though, in my mind, I label him (Marley, if that is, indeed, his real name) as The Drug Dealer, so maybe I could guess what they were talking about.

Tequila: check. So, these guys (same guys as above plus or minus one or two) were fun to watch, as they passed the bottle around, Old Bob Marley, he was (or wanted to be). And as much as anything else, I like looking at these type of action shots: the guy smiling, the girl hesitantly reaching for the bottle, the fashions they wear, and even though the hard stuff is communal, I notice they all have a private chaser (a soft drink or the like) in their hand. Truth is, ounce for ounce, that Sports Drink probably cost more than the hooch.

Roll 'Em if You Got 'Em: um, er, yep. I do believe he is rolling up. I could not tell you if they were dealing or not. I mean, I would guess, but I never saw money change hands. I'm pretty sure other things changed hands, but I never witnessed that cupping of dollar bills that so often seems to go hand in hand with an illicit drug transaction.

Grab Bag: so, this is one of those keeper images. It's, like, the whole parade rolled up into one image: guys in red briefs on a float, surrounded by the swarming drunken masses, while from the safety of an old Victorian Mansion, the more refined members of the crowd look on. And months later, as I view the image, I can hear YMCA by the Village People playing in my head, which has nothing to do with the parade in the moment, but I think the association is clear.

Young man!
There's a parade on today!
I said, Young man!
They'll be freaks on display!
So, if you go there...
You!  Will!  Be!  Hap'py!

It's fun to make Web Page's!
It's fun to make Web Page's!

Sung to tune of your choosing, but of course.

Back Pack: threading through the crowd, making time, some folks have their look down and can be quite mesmerizing: more of a Backpack Wearing Schoolgirl Goes to College than anything else. And if truth be told, I could not tell you if she dressed special for the occasion... or simply dresses special on every occasion.

Ice Cream: Haagen Dazs was giving away ice cream all day long, which explains all the Haagen Dazs garbage I kept coming across. Eventually, I got my free sample-size carton. So, thanks, guys. The image sucks... otherwise I might post it. Nah. The only reason to post such an image is to hope for the sponsorship. And that just feels like cheating, says the guy tapping out this web page on his very own NEW GAMING LAPTOP!

Garbage Pickers: actually, it's just an overflowing trash receptacle topped by one more ice cream container from yours truly. Now, here's the dilemma. Given that the trash can was overflowing and the area of containment was slowing spreading out (to cover every available surface within two to twenty blocks of the parade route), did it matter if I put my garbage on top of the pile? I don't know, but I did, because that's the type of guy I am... the kind of guy that can be bought off with a BRAND SPANKING NEW GAMING LAPTOP!

Side Streets: this guy had great hair. I like the way his hand weaves through the braids. It's wonderful. Anyhow, there's a bunch of action on this side street. But months later, and I still remember that guy's hair and want to include some version of this image in the final cut. 'Tell me. Are you often intrigued by other men's hair?'

And, Action: as gay as gay as gay can be. He was the band leader or something like that. And it was a true pleasure to watch him work up the crowd as he went strutting on by. He was what this parade was all about and what folks came to see. Fantastic! Amazing! And he wasn't even dressed very well, just regular street clothes. But the way he wears them. And the way he works them, it, the crowd. Oh, my! Also, I like the church in the background: the juxtaposition.

Park 1: there was a street park (small little thing). And it was filled with people, watching the parade, taking a break, or simply going about their day. It's a nice shot. And my first thought upon seeing this months later was 'She's high.'

Park 2: in the park, there were two girls and an older lady {among many others}. The lady sees me, then looks to the side. One of the girls looks back, to see what I am taking a picture of; and then, squishes up her face... thinking I am taking the picture of her... or worse, not taking it of her. Her friend just goes back to her phone.

Park 3: I could never deconstruct this scene in real time. Also, I'd probably never notice the guy in the background, playing on the jungle gym, wearing a skirt. Gay for a Day! It made for a pretty good costume. 'And the award for best school girl costume goes to...'

Treetop Tracers: further along at the edge of the park (it was basically a building's width wide, so a building that was demoed at some point in the past and instead of rebuilding, they put up a park), a man is sitting in a tree to get a better view of the parade. In these sort of celebrations, I find I am drawn to taking shots of tree perching onlookers. Originally, I was going to include this image (when I say this, it means the image was included through the first two edits of the text... or more). But eventually decided a filter would kill the soul of the image, so better to eliminate the image altogether.

Dog Mask: eh, I forget the name of this group, Leathermen or something. And they were all (or mostly... or at least, the focus of the gentlemen in this shot were) wearing leather dog masks. Fun, but store bought. Oh, I went to the Leather Festival in SF after this (sadly, no pictures). And there was a whole contingent of Dog Boys engaged in Pack Behavior. Maybe I'll tell you about it sometime...

Does doggy want to play catch?
Does doggy want his belly scratched?
Is doggy happy to see me?

Down doggy!
Bad doggy!

Bad!  Bad!  BDSM Doggy!

Leather Men: macho-macho men, perhaps says it all. Well, that and leather. I think every last one of them was wearing combat boots; and from there, a nice assortment of leather straps and accessories for all your fetish needs. And now that I've mentioned that other Leather Festival, let's just say, I'm rethinking my infatuation with leather boots... harnesses, halters, and chaps. I mean, now that I look at myself in the mirror, it does seem a bit gay.

'Do these boots make me look gay?'
'It's not the boots, darling...'
'Well, I'm not giving up my back-less chaps!'

Church Ladies: I did not know what to make of this. The church walk (handicapped access ramp that wound back and forth) was lined (well, maybe not lined, but there was a showing) of the faithful. But to what end? Maybe, simply to protect the property and keep others off. It would have been a great place to stand and view the parade (rising towards the heavens as the ramp did). But there were barricades. And though the church was into it (i.e being supportive), they weren't that into it... or, you know, they could have opened the church doors and had an open house... or am I the only one around here with Bondage Fantasies that involve Sacrificial Altars?

'It's just you, darling.'
'I thought I'd gagged you?'
'Mrmph!'

And this is where I shall break: to continue in a day, a week, a month, or who knows how long? {Hint: The correct answer is in the range of three years... from beginning to end, anyhow.}

Clouds: I can't remember why I wanted an image of the clouds. They are nice and fluffy. And with certain filters, the sky can look quite delightful: the mostly solid blue background coming through as a smooth gradient. But I think, maybe, at this point, I was getting a little bored with the entire procession.

UFO: this is, in many ways, the best image of the day. It's of a UFO. OK. Fine. It's an optical artifact from the camera lens, but that doesn't sound nearly as cool as, 'It's a UFO!' Now that I know where to point my camera, I've been finding more and more of these UFO thingies, as of late. Or maybe, I just need a BRAND NEW CAMERA!

Queen for a Day (or should that be Queer): the crowd, a float (full of bikini bottomed she-males... or whatever), and additional onlookers peering down from windows above is what was in this picture. It is the peering down from windows above that make this image worthwhile... not that it's a keeper. And here, I shall note, that rather than posting all of the images, from the start I was planning on being selective, keeping only text for the majority. First, this is for memory management reasons. I want to keep my computer memory footprint as small as reasonably possible (whatever that means, it tends to fluctuate). Second, there are logistical/legal aspects when it comes to other people's faces. And thirdly, although the purpose of this project is to share what a 'roll of film' of mine looks like, I really don't want to share that 'roll of film'. I mean, come on, let's keep a little mystery. And it's likely a lot more fun to guess what the guys on the float actually looked like; and therefore, why they caught my eye. Wait a second! Is that...

Hat: a man (in neck beard) with glasses (being of the designer sunglasses sort) wearing a burner hat (as in Burning Man style headgear, so steam punk'ish) is the focus of this shot. There's also a pride flag walking past in the parade. The man with the hat (no cat in sight) was a spectator. And despite the interesting surroundings, it really is just a picture of a hat (not even a man in a hat), if we are being honest.

Cracker Jack: a float went by throwing out large bags (not the small snack size bags, mind you) of Cracker Jack. I caught one. I am grateful. I wonder how many bloggers have mentioned Cracker Jack and Haagen Dazs by name based on the freebies? Perhaps several. I imagine its better advertising than anyone realizes. I caught my bag, took it home, and made Cracker Jack Sundaes (ice cream with Cracker Jack on top). Oh, and then I wrote about it on my website (picture excluded as it was quite an inane image: being a bag of Cracker Jack don't you know). Now that I mention it, though, I am getting hungry. Wonder what's in the cupboards to snack on? Oh, right! NOTHING! because I have no sponsor, which sucks.

Heart Song: the parade was dying down. And I was walking the course, on my way home, bouncing between the parade, the ambiance of the crowd, and my own little world (probably dying of heat prostration on account of not having a BEVERAGE SPONSOR! And in my delirium, I must have hallucinated and come to believe that a young child (or old child) had drawn a heart on the pavement in chalk. But you know that chalk is just going to wash away in the first rain that comes along. They should have used... well, you get the idea: INSERT LONG LASTING CHALK SPONSOR HERE!

Hole in My Heart: the same chalk outline with a shadow of yours truly standing over it. Maybe it will look good in a filter. Though, that gravelly texture is just going to come out as static, so I doubt it (to the extent I didn't even try).

Gra-Filthy: remember that float that was shooting confetti up into the air? Well, for one, my mind wanted to call it 'Graffiti' (a call back to the last entry, I'm sure); hence, the slaughterized name above. And two, this is the aftermath image that I am fond of including in my spreads. It reminds me of all those firecracker wrappers that filled the street after Chinese New Year. Also, I can vaguely remember some guy in the crowd showing off his pet at this point. The first pet was a pig, the second a whore of a lady, and both as happy as could be, getting to strut their stuff amongst so many well wishers.

Chalkers: Happy Pride (heart + peace = smiley face). At this remove, it's a garbage image through and through. But it might be filterable. So, um, if that wasn't clear, more chalk on pavement. Also, a game of Tic-Tac-Toe in the corner had been played to a draw... at which point, they gave up THE QUITTERS!

Protester: I liked the guy protesting the parade. 'Homo Leads to Hell' or something like is how his chorus went. Anyway, whenever he got to this bit in his tirade, the crowd said their bit: MAKE LOVE LOUDER! And it was. I think I have a recording of that somewhere. I've taken to recording sounds these days. Everyone takes photographs, so I'm trying to get a jump on the next (audio) wave. Also, as the guy does his thing, bashing on gays, two leather-masked dog-faced guys walk blithely by in the crowd without a care in the world.

At Parade's End: the parade had finished by the time I got to the protester, so I started walking down the middle of the road, which, if you ask me, the organizers should have planned for. Who brings up the rear of a parade like this? Why, the crowd, of course! 'Join the parade, you freak!' You know, that sort of thing. Anyhow, between the buildings (six stories plus, some of them are, so it's a highly urban locale) and, what, with the clouds in the distance (a filter waiting to happen, obviously), and two of the balloon boys (and/or girls) walking away, well, let's just say, although it will take heavy editing, the image (if not the photo) has potential.

Awe Inspiring: in Lincoln Park (we are in Chicago) or close enough, there is a statue of some Roman type guy with a falcon resting on his arm, while his leg rests on some boulder, which, with the clouds wafting by not to mention the hope that his jerkin falls away (or is simply shifted by the ever present breeze), could well be the poster child of this here day. Of course, that said, all I shall say further is 'It's a Mystery to me,' what's all up in there, blowing in the breeze.

Background Texture: is what this image is all about: pebbles in the sidewalk and mottled bits of grey are offset by splashes of blue and purple. It's the type of photo I can take dozens of on a day like this. Just yesterday, I was mesmerized by the fractal cracks in some safety glass, making it's puzzled pieces dance and sparkle in the outlining rays of sunlight. Well, this is something like that... only more subdued. Maybe a better title would have been 'A Meditation'.

Pink Flamingos: taken in Lincoln Park Zoo, so I'm no longer at the parade at all and on my way home. It's a garbage image. And I likely should have stopped the write up a few images back at the statue.

The City: there is a bridge in Lincoln Park (in the Zoo area) that overlooks a wonderful body of water (call it a lake or lagoon). And if one takes a picture from said bridge, which I did, the Chicago Skyline is beautifully displayed. I am sure this is a popular postcard image. And here's my version of it.

Detritus: the balloons having popped, this is all that remains of one of those balloon babe costumes.

Rabbit: I saw a rabbit uptown.

Rabbit: I took its picture.

Mannequin: I like working with images of mannequins as much as anything else... and this one reminded me of a character (inspired by a mannequin, no less) from times past. It amazes me sometimes how much of what I call 'beauty' is purchasable over the counter. Clearly, I have cross-linked meanings... but de-scrambling them is not the easiest thing to do. Yes, I like the market... and I like what it sells. But one cannot put a price tag on what is truly valuable. Sounds like something somebody famous must have said. Who knows, maybe me?

Summer Light: we are overlooking the Michigan Ave Bridge near the Wrigley Building and the light is fading... fast. I was in an art gallery yesterday (in SF, actually, so go figure {so therefore, I am referencing writing-time not parade time}) where one of the artists had utilized differential lighting in his city scapes: buildings lining a river, their tonal aspect alternating with the artist's mood, this one in afternoon sun, this one at midnight, this one in the morning light, and this one hiding in the shadows. It was a cool effect (to which my description is not doing justice). And this image does not come close. But I can see how this sort of late afternoon, twilight moment inspired the aforementioned artist.

Stop Right There: walking to the train, I passed by a parking ramp. And the warning light at the base caught my eye. In reality, this image is a study in foreground effects, as the background is as boring as crap. But my eyes never get there and just hunker down on the warning gate and caged light at bottom left.

Final Shot: looking back. A simple shot of buildings from the river. It's boring. Nothing to see here... but I'm still taking pictures, hoping for one last final hurrah to end it all on an up-note. But there is no doubt in my mind, that it will have to be one of the other photographs I took earlier: popped balloons or city in the distance over reflecting pool being my best guess.

And having gone through the images once, I will have to go through them once more (and then, again and again). Who knows what I will add? Or more importantly, take away in regards to both the images and the commentary they inspire...

One should not be so foolish, as to believe all the foregoing is true, complete, and/or accurate. But all in all, it is a faithful deconstruction of my day... and I will accept it as a passable interpretation of what I set out to do.


next Brett Rants entry

Home Brett Rants Index


In these Covid Times, I am really digging into my TODO Files. Let's clear the Desktop, shall we?


© copyright 2017-2020 Brett Paufler
paufler.net@gmail.com