He said, he said. Two gays recall Pride Sunday.
Gay and Lesbian editor Jason Heidemann and I both enjoyed two very different sides of Pride. For the first time, I marched in the parade while my colleague photographed it from the sidelines. Here are our takes:
Mitch Montoya's Pride Sunday
7am Haven't been up this early in months, but being the dedicated intern I am, I have agreed to march with TOC and Le Passage's float and pass out copies of Time Out Chicago's Pride issue to the throngs of giddy, drunken people at the parade. I'm equal parts nervous and thrilled.
9:45am At the float organizer's pad, I witness the absolute madness that ensues when 30 people attempt to crowd into a studio apartment for hair, makeup and float prep. It's like a glitter bomb exploded.
11:32am Another TOC intern and I lug nine boxes of magazines to Halsted and Wrightwood (the starting point for the Le Passage float) through the rain, and my makeup is running down my face. I look like a train wreck compared to the drag queen, in high heels, who just did a cartwheel in front of me.
1:38pm The glorious sun is shining and the Glitter crew is jamming to some amazing tunes courtesy of the float's DJ. People are running up and down Halsted to get a glimpse of the floats before they head down the parade route.
2:17pm Finally, we are moving! I was originally wearing shorts and a T-shirt, but my scantily clad float mates have convinced me I must match their futuristic, metallic bathing suits. So I stripped down to underwear, slapped on some Time Out Chicago stickers and a boa, and marched. You only live once, right?
2:45pm Just hit the heart of Boystown (Halsted and Roscoe), and the energy is exhilarating. Music is pumping and the boisterous crowd, at least eight rows deep, is going wild.
3:40pm Entering Lincoln Park and my quads are on fire. Also, my underwear is soaked after getting hit by a water gun. And two girls just showed me their boobs. I love this parade!
4:20pm A bittersweet end to an unforgettable experience. We danced for four hours in the blazing sun and just collapsed in the grass in Lincoln Park. We look as if we got hit by a bus. Bruises, cuts and bleeding makeup galore.
7:42pm After a quick rest, now back to Boystown, which looks somewhat apocalyptic. Half-naked people running through the streets so drunk I'm fairly certain they don't know their own names. Now waiting in the insane line to get into Sidetrack.
9:34pm It's amazing how many guys know every word to the "No More Wire Hangers" show-tune remix blaring in the main bar. It's like an extremely inebriated version of the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus.
11:27pm Having just received an extensive Broadway musical education, my friends and I decide we need something grittier, so we head over to the Roscoe's dance floor, where we are sure some boys are getting dirty.
12:15am Sure enough, the dance floor is jammed, and people are doing things to each other I don't think I can share in this post. The notoriously strong Absolut Lemonade is flowing like water and folks are getting sloppy.
1:45am Probably shouldn't be having this last drink at Buck's, but hey, I'm only five hours away from being up for 24 hours. My friends think this is a goal I need to achieve.
2:15am Didn't make it to 24, but I feel great after this marathon day. I must be looking a little rough, however, because my cab driver asks, "What happened to you?" when I get inside the car. My reply: "Sir, I don't think I have enough money nor do you have enough time to hear that story." Read Jason's Pride story after the jump
Jason Heidemann's Pride Sunday
10:22am Wake up in a haze. Should not have stayed out at the Closet until 4:30am looking for trouble.
11:35am At a pre-Parade party a few blocks from the route, imbibing and affixing temporary tattoos and Hello Kitty stickers.
12:08pm At the intersection of Roscoe and Halsted. It's a complete nightmare. The parade is already in full swing, but the crowd is about ten people thick.
12:45pm Relocated to the intersection of Broadway and Buckingham. It's much saner here, and I'm now standing against the rail with my Canon Rebel in tow, anticipating the start of the parade.
2:30pm In full shutterbug mode. The parade has an ecstatic energy. The clouds have parted, and the crowds are out and swooning over recently traded Blackhawk Brent Sopel. PFLAG always makes me tear up, while the boys in Speedos remind me that I need to hit the gym harder. I'm sharing the rail with several lesbians who kindly supply me with sunscreen.
2:48pm A twinky young thing in a royal blue bikini and glitter on his face passes out in the folding chair next to me. I decide it will make a nice photograph. As I ready my camera, he shoots up a geyser of vomit (while totally unconscious). Several concerned lesbians signal for the police and relocate him.
3:45pm Post-parade chaos. Thousands make a beeline for the bars and assorted after-parties. I head home to West Lakeview for a catnap.
6:01pm Back in B-town. Girlblast is thumping, Berlin is charging a $15 cover, and the line outside Sidetrack is a nightmare. I bump into a group of friends and we head to the beer garden at Buck's. It's a wise choice. There's brilliant eye candy and slightly more elbow room than elsewhere on the strip.
7pm The queue outside Trax is bearable, so I give it another shot. As Xanadu blasts over multiple screens, a friend and I make our way to the rooftop. It's packed. Everyone is drunk and happy and many are making out.
7:46pm I cross the street to check out Dirty Sanchez Tequila, the new saloon from the minibar guys that opened several days ago and is advertising burgers and tacos in the near future. The place looks like a cross between Coyote Ugly and Big Star taco with a gay twist. I'll be back.
11pm At Glitter at Le Passage. It's a bust. No more than 50–60 people make it out. Hosts CT, Precious Jewels and Aurora Sexton are all there alongside Ronnie Kroell from Playgirl and Ellen is rumored to make an appearance, but my friends and I call it quits at 1am.
2:15am Another great Pride, but for now, sleepytime.