NY- what better time than Pride Week to come out (literally) and be proud for all your efforts finally meeting approval in the courtroom. First, before we proceed – an epic congratulations is in order for this wonderful news and now let’s get down to the Pride Week festivities. We thought New Year’s Eve was the biggest party ever but after a full week of intense partying nothing takes the cake like the Pride Week events. After this weekend it’s an experience that will be remembered for a lifetime.
The lessons learned have expanded far beyond any ever encountered and are truly appreciated. In lieu of boring you to death with trying to sound like Socrates – that will be saved for the end of the article; for now let’s start from the beginning on Friday June 28 with the Rally.
A star studded event with your host Pandora Boxx, and performers like Vicci Martinez, JLine, the late Whitney Houston’s half sister – Alexis Houston, Shawnee She King and of course the one and only – Lady Gaga. Just a few months after her hip surgery, she opens the Rally with the National Anthem and delivers a phenomenal speech highlighting her continued support for the LGBT.
“When I was in high school and grade school and younger, I was considered to be an outcast and I just couldn’t find my place,” she said. “Where did I fit in? And I look back on that time and I remember feeling that I was cut from a different mold. There was a particular crowd who did accept me and who made room for me at their table, held me up when I felt I couldn’t, who loved me for exactly who I was. It was you. You saved me, my friends in the LGBT community, time and time again. And I saw God for the first real time in all of you.”
It’s June 29th as the events continue and we cordially you and your plus one to the famous Pride Saturday VIP Rooftop Party- an all day event held at the Hudson Terrace on the West Side. Three Dj’s including the legendary DJ Frankie “Knuckles” – the Godfather of House Music continually rocks the house down with insane beats that transports you to a whole new world. Plenty of drinks served, open Roof Top, fresh air, plenty of eye candy was the name of this game.
Simultaneously, on the same day is the Rapture on the River event- where mounds of people assemble to continue the same theme and mostly to enjoy life. As nighttime descends and the party winds down on the West end, and while walking towards the next destination to meet some friends, the Empire State Building is lit up- like a rainbow of course in honor of Pride Week. The next morning June 30, the excitement amplifies because this is the big Finale- first the March then the epic Fiestas – Dance on the Pier and Pride Poolside Party. Since this is the first insider access to this event, the anthem of the day was to go with the flow and have fun and it became more than that.
Earlier that morning, Harry Belafonte and the Grand Marshall Edie Windsor, and Earl Fowkles take the stage for some great speeches before we proceed. After that Ms. Edie Windsor is escorted to a red convertible and we get ready for the March. The Parade starts on midtown and makes it way through Fifth Ave down to the Village. Mayor Bloomberg walks through showcasing his support for Gay community. Close to two million spectators, over sixty floats, house music, gorgeous Drag Queens, and marching bands, it is time to make it down for the GRAND finale – Dance on the Pier- seriously it’s HUGE.
Masses of people arrive by the thousands, dressed up in great costumes and enough energy to light up a whole city descend upon the Pier. The DJ continually motivates everyone to dance anywhere there is space. Kim English, Deborah Cox assists in getting the crowd fired up and I think I’m ready to call it a night. Breaking news! this is the just the appetizer getting us warmed up for the main course- Cher; on second note perhaps we can continue this party a while longer.
Whoopi Goldberg makes her way into the stage and introduces Cher. The lights turn dark, the dancers make their way onto the stage and even louder cheers, people pushing their way on top of the dancing platform and gates just to catch one glimpse– it’s a frenzy.
Lights go on and voila! – there is Cher standing on stage.
She wastes no time with her performance while mini strobe lights flicker on/off from cameras. After she completes a short set she exits as if nothing happened.
Fireworks end the night and your writer couldn’t be even more anxious to get home and deliver the piece for you. If you want to check out amateur photography and listen to Cher’s performance,
This was an incredible experience and the lessons learned are quite simple – similar to Lady Gaga, we are built from different molds – that is true. We are all sharing this one way journey together and even though we may have our differences, we all are quite similar.
We are on a mission in life to be accepted, loved, and to be given the permission for self expression regardless of eye/hair color, race, gender categorization and or preference. Life is so much easier when you can find some room on your lunch table to include everyone and get to know them past the exterior. A quick thank you to all the incredible people that I met over the weekend and I look forward to building a great friendship with you- NY I couldn’t be prouder to be part of your magic.
By: Laura M Artis