Whooo, Tuesday morning and I'm still a bit bleary from all the weekend's activities: passing out on Friday night from too much champagne on an empty stomach at Kitty's birthday party; up till 6AM on Sunday morning with Comfort and Joy at the Afterglow party, showing up at Faerie Freedom Village so Lord Kook could spin at 1, then my turn came at 5; and finally, some quality time with the boyfriend in Golden Gate Park on Monday, when we got to chill and go through a good system's re-boot.
Afterglow was the main event of the weekend for the boyfriend and myself since we not only had to set up and manage the gear, but also play a set each. The evening started out slightly difficult as we had two CDJ-800s in road cases, along with a folding keyboard stand, that we had to get over to the party right at that point when none of the cab companies were answering the telephone. After some frantic attempts to find other transportation I finally got a City Carshare car for the night, but the consequence was that I would have to drive us home after the night's festivities. After that bit of hassle, however, the party itself was a rollicking, smashing success, with an almost full dancefloor in the first hour. DJ Neco D got the mood up and carried through until the show started (again, late, and, again, overly long, but we were prepared for that on this occasion); by that time the room was completely packed, so I didn't see any of the performances, but when Lord Kook came on afterwards it all busted loose - at one point there was a shirtless, sweaty, writhing crowd up on the stage chanting "More! More! More! More!", and a group of happy lesbians were puddled together in the clawfoot bathtub in the restroom - it was like a scene from a Frameline movie, I swear. I went on around 3.30 and had it in mind to crank up the knarzy techno, but two songs in I was told that the cops had come by, so I took it down fairly deep and chill for the duration of my rather short set. Then DJ Pee Play and Ken Vulsion, aka The Honey Sound System, came on and absolutely ripped the roof off the place. We didn't get to stay for much of their set, as I had to have the car back by 6AM, and needed to put myself into a bed for a couple hours as well, but I heard that the cops came back again, and that there were still folks hanging out at noon the next day. Now that's a party, people.
Faerie Village was the calm in the midst of the Pride whirlwind that it always is. Aaron Neonbunny was the producer this year and went for a more low-key set-up, just two tents and sound systems on either side of the plaza, one for acoustic performances, one for DJ music. The idea had been to keep the sound pretty chill, but after about three songs Lord Kook had a small dancefloor rolling and decided to keep the energy up. DJ Mak, who can be heard at the W Hotel on Friday evenings, came on with some great Eurolounge after him, followed by trance stalwart KJ spinning worldbeat downtempo grooves, and then Mr. Neonbunny hisself demonstrated his command of the electro vocabularly. I got my shot to close out the village after Aaron, and though there were some odd technical difficulties (I've never had to adjust the tracking on a tone-arm to keep it following the record groove before), I was thrilled to play some sunny day techno for an appreciative crowd that included Marke B. of the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
Monday the boyfriend and I really needed some down time together, so we got together with an old friend I hadn't hung out with in years and went to Golden Gate Park. We walked from the Stanyan entrance all the way to Ocean Beach, had an amusing bus ride back to Laguna, hung out, went for a walk to enjoy a beautiful evening, watched Yellow Submarine, and reflected on an awesome Pride weekend.
It's easy enough to be cynical about Pride, especially when you live in the bubble of San Francisco, where the lack of repression felt by the LGBT community in the rest of the world tends to make us lazy, complacent, precious, and prone to in-fighting. But when you see guys walking hand-in-hand down Castro street like it's the most fantastic thing they've every done together, when you have the opportunity to meet up with friends you haven't seen in weeks or months, when you get to take part in events that you know have created special moments for others, then in those situations you do begin to appreciate what Pride does for us, both as individuals and members of a community.