June 20, 2007 by
It’s Gay Pride Month in New York City and I don’t know if it’s a result of that premature spring ahead clock change thing that George did to save energy, but it seems awfully early this year. That is why it has been suggested that we just call it Gay Pride Era, claim the century and be done with it.
One of the traditional kick-offs of the week’s festivities here in New York is the Mayor declaring that he is no longer a Republican. Or at least that’s a new and cherished tradition. We hope every Republican mayor follows Mike Bloomberg’s lead. And the New York legislature got the gay marriage bill out of committee. It only took thirty years to pass a gay rights bill in New York, but we remain optimistic. What’s our option?
The other tradition of NY Pride is the LGBT Center’s Annual Garden Party. This year was number 24 and was held again on one of the Chelsea Piers. I had the honor of emceeing for the 18th time. My Staten Island posse, under the direction of my promo domo, Michele Karlsberg, was out in full force, getting names for the mailing list, handing out fliers of upcoming shows, finding all the free stuff and just being their usual fun schmooze operator selves.
I love our New York Center. It truly is the gay heart of Manhattan. Everyone loves it, so it’s jammed to the rafters. It’s time to expand. The $50 million capital campaign got a boost from Manhattan Borough President, Scott Stringer’s $1 million pledge and the $8 million pledge from Council Speaker and our favorite Irish lesbian, Christine Quinn. The grants were announced at the Garden Party and were a lovely testament to Richard Burns, the Center’s executive director, and his twenty years at his job.
It was a gorgeous night. We watched the sunset over New Jersey. We heard great entertainment – two-time Tony Award winner Tonya Pinkins, recording stars Chris Garneau and Kirsten Price, perennial favorite Lavender Light Gospel Choir and a hilarious, impromptu set from Michele Balan, last seen on The Last Comic Standing. And because the GP24 is sub-titled “A Taste of Pride”, the food was a smorgasboard of New York’s best, a dim sum of the divine. The people were proud and well-fed.
June 23, the night before the big Sunday gay pride march is The Dyke March. I can’t wait. It kicks off at 5p from Bryant Park and we don’t even get no stinkin permit. That’s what I’m talking about. We just march, dammit. Well not really march. It’s more of a mingle. It’s a sea of ex-lovers. And lesbian moms. And lesbian cheerleaders. And my favorite moment is when the young girls start peeling off their tank tops and climbing the streetlight poles. I don’t know who gives the signal, but this year I’m fixing to find out. And then I’m just going to give the signal in every city I visit. Happy LGBT Pride Era!