Reported by Trixie Delicious
Your Gal About Town
June 6, 2007
Photo: Bug Man in all his green insect glory at Carnaval San Francisco
You might have imagined that you’d landed inadvertently in the middle of a lingerie pageant (perhaps I should’ve packed my teddy after all). And a very exciting diversion for the average cliché-ridden life it was, I must say. Mon dieu, what a show!
So you see a middle-aged, probably college-educated professional male wearing brightly sequined short-shorts, gold boots and peacock feathers and twirling a baton – what else could it be but a Carnaval participant?
And then there was Bug Man who energetically worked the crowd in his bright green suit with wings and Mad Hatter headgear alongside Octopus Man and several male mermaids (complete with uni-sex fins), each a one-man festival in his own right. Part Elton John theatrics, part Salvador Dali-inspired couture-cum-cabaret, this bunch (Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts) shrieked for attention. Bug Man was so gloriously decked out, I exhausted my camera battery trying to shoot him from every angle (he even sported florescent green spandex opera gloves and a lime-green feather boa! Where can I get those?).
The women refused to be outdone. Ranging from the sexy Hot Pink Feathers (they call themselves “the world’s premiere samba burlesque dance troupe”) prancing along in tiny red string bikinis and feathers, to hot-samba mamas and, quite literally mothers, I was impressed with the sampling of humanity not to mention tiny outfits on sometimes largish women.
The parade included every age range: infants were pushed in strollers by their prancing parents, small children waved from atop floats or marched alongside them in costumes, teenagers were in every drum corps and the more daring (read: exhibitionist-inclined) among them strutted in feathered Aztec or other minimal costumes. Most groups sported middle-aged and older folks, too. Some dressed age appropriately while others didn’t. Poking a sharp stick in the eye of convention, some elderly women decked themselves out in bikinis and threads that would have been racy even on a teenager. For this, I applaud them. I saw women over 50 as full of zest as their much younger counter-parts, if not more so. Men were well-represented too, a few oldsters in peculiar costumes (let’s not forget San Francisco has a large gay population) but this wasn’t nearly as striking as the women. It’s far more taboo for a plus-sized woman past child-bearing age with plenty of stretch marks around her equator to strut around in a bikini than it is for a male, even in San Francisco. I love this uprising. A pox on all the programming that tells a woman if she can’t squeeze into a size 6, she’s fat. Ha!
The Norcal Waste Systems entry had me scratching my head. In a parade? A city garbage truck was accompanied by a troop of friendly “sanitation engineers” in bright shirts with shiny new garbage cans on wheels. On cue, they did a little dance with their garbage cans and then dashed 200 yards up the street, all in perfect formation with the grace of synchronized swimmers and the power of a ninja death squad. Where can I get trash pick-up service like that?
The beats shook me to my booties, as most of the floats sported live, loud and excellent bands, hailing from the best jungle-rhythm territories in the world. I was exhausted after the parade, absolutely worn to a shred, when I realized that several of the other judges and I had been boogying spontaneously on the grandstand almost the entire time (it’s a mercy we didn’t cause it to collapse). What fun! I recommend it (spontaneous boogying at parades).
My only complaint was this: why is Carnaval held on Memorial Day weekend with no mention WHATSOEVER of Memorial Day? If we truly celebrate and embrace other cultures, the essence of Carnaval, to NOT include American culture is wrong. Memorial Day should have been acknowledged. It bothered me to celebrate every culture except our own, which was conspicuously absent. Are we not Americans first? Or does that just seem too dangerously nationalistic for everyone?
Trixie was delighted to be in attendance and to score the lot of them. She votes for Bug Man and Octopus Man’s group (Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts) and for SambAsia, an organization which brings together the best of the South American and Asian cultures. Are we a melting pot here or what?
I press your paws and bid you adieu!
For our new readers:
Our intrepid reporter and Gal About Town, Trixie Delicious, has oft maintained that you can tell more about a record company’s fortunes from its parties than its press releases. She selflessly and tirelessly submits herself again and again to test this theory (it holds up well). Trixie does the honors and goes where few men dare to venture (and with good reason). Sporting among her credentials perhaps the most sexy and progressive shoe collection in the galaxy, your Trixie leaves no wicked turn unstoned, no party unattended, no scandal unheralded. Frequently forced to don an array of disguises to escape detection, Trixie knows how to get to the bottom of it all. Enjoy the show, mon cher!