Saturday, August 2, 2008

Rose Saturday

Today was Rose Saturday: Gay Pride Amsterdam.

Pink is the 'gay support color' here.  I think this likely has connections to the Holocaust and Nazi occupation, when homosexuals were forced to wear an identifying pink triangle.  Rainbows, however, are universal.

The celebrations, and the decorative banners, have been up all week.  Today everything culminated in a huge parade through the Prinsengracht canal.  Fabulous!

Louise and I have been planning on attending the Gay Pride Parade since early July, when we found out the date of the parade.  We packed a small picnic.  Well, not really a picnic, as it consisted solely of guacamole, chips, cherries, and a bottle of wine.  The music started playing around noon, and by 1:30 we were down by the canal, blanket on the ground, in a prime spot.  The parade started shortly after.  We were joined in our picnic by another Jessica, an intern at the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem.

The best part of the Gay Pride Parade is that you are encouraged to dance too, and WUDPAC 2009 loves to dance!  The float participants are dancing too, and love it when spectators dance and make eye contact with you and you all have a moment together.  I love moments.

I saw a man dressed as a near-pants-less, feathered-leg-warmer-wearing mermaid, floating down a canal in Amsterdam.  My life is complete.  

Adorable really is not a word I would have previously used to describe anything I would have assumed to be in a Gay Pride Parade, but it very much accurately describes there two floats.  The first was a bunch of young people, teens mostly, probably some sort of social group in Amsterdam.  Their boat was decorated in banners that read, "Young and Out!"

The boat behind them was full of adults who were the parents of the kids in the previous boat!  Their boat was covered in signs that said, "We love our kids!" and "Gay is Okay!"  The parents were dancing and waving signs and flags.  One dad was very funny... he was a terrible dancer and he kept awkwardly waving his rainbow umbrella, but it was so sweet because you knew he was there in all his awkward glory to support his kid.

There was some more 'typical' Gay Pride Parade stuff.  Several floats were just mobile dance parties.  The best involved feathers, sequins, confetti, and ensemble dance numbers.  I love a good ensemble dance number!  After all, an effect is not an effect unless it is done together.

The Gay Pride Parade is way better than any July 4th Parade I've ever encountered.  

There was a small "Gay from the USA" float - really lame, a bunch of middle aged guys just chilling.  Lou and I saw them and started cheering really loud.  The guys heard us (of course) and loved it, and cheered right back.  Later on, there was a larger float representing the States.

There was a good representation for both men and women.  Oddly enough, three of the lesbian floats had the participants drumming.  Lesbians apparently really like drums.  Who knew?

Several floats were sponsored by companies or institutions in Amsterdam/Netherlands.  This one, was sponsored by TNT, the postal service.  Other sponsors included ING and IBM.  Louise and I wanted the Amsterdam Museums to sponsor floats.  The participants could act out Caravaggio paintings and Warhol films - though those films are not PG.

You may think, Gay Pride Parade = Assless Chaps.  Not so, my friend.  The City of Amsterdam recently made some rules for the participants of the parade, and one of the rules is no assless-chaps.  This, and the other rules, is intended to make the parade more family-friendly.  There were actually quite a few kids present, so I can understand the regulations.  

Some things were still a little raunchy though.  But kid-friendly, you know.

I am, in fact, a genius, and I made a video from some of the floats in the parade.  Turn the sound up too, I'm that much of a genius.  Cameo by Saint Nicholas - he loves all unconditionally.


Mum said...

Wow! What can I say after that video! It almost made me feel like I was there and it sure looked like a lot more fun than the 4th of July parade we have. Fire trucks, tractors, tractor trailers, the Zem Zem cars, and even the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdale team can't compete with Gay floats that really float through the city. I enjoyed it. Actually I couldn't take my eyes off of it. I loved seeing St. Nicholas represented too. It was great!

Anonymous said...

That certainly beats the Olde Fashion Fourth parade. I love the boats on parade. Sounds like a really fun day.

mamamia4859 said...

Great video! I agree with your mom, it almost made me feel like I was there. Our parades are so lame. We have to throw candy in order to engage the onlooker. No need for that there!

mark711777 said...

I'm so happy to see this! I experienced my first Gay Pride in Chicago this summer, and it looks quite similar to the Dutch version! I mean, who doesn't love ripped guys in impossibly tight, metallic speedos dancing to techno music? That's family fun in my book! The Chicago parade included:
1. A guard. Yes. A gay guard with a rifle routine. It was fab.
2. "Dykes on bikes." Yes. Literally. Apparently lesbians like drums AND motorcycles!
3. A gay republicans float. It was boring. Go figure.

frannie said...

your video = FABULOUS.