Vegas was a blast...the trip there and back was wonderful, and there was only one meltdown relationship-wise that turned out to be blood sugar related. All was patched up before I left, which was a good thing.
I plan to post a picture of Roni, Val and I at the costume party Friday...it is absolutely priceless.
Roni was a bit humorless when I called to check up on her today: Apparently her boss took a bath on the chicken skewers he was going to sell at SF pride. To be fair, this wasn't specifically an issue with N's booth, as ALL the food vendors were equally screwed. Despite excellent attendance of the parade itself and a wonderfully sunny Sunday, the crowds didn't materialize at the Civic Center. At least N isn't out the 1500.00 bucks that the other booths had to shell out for booth space, thanks to the bizarre compromise he came up with to settle a dispute with the Queer Mafia running the parade.
I haven't written about this before, have I? Well, a bit of background: Roni's boss is the perfect affirmative action poster child in many ways. He's a Queer disabled minority veteran. Thanks to a program through the state, he runs a Cafe in the state building that borders the Civic Center square.
Now, the parade organizers have cut some sponsorship deals to make the parade financially viable. That would normally be a good thing. However, one of the clauses in those deals is that they limit the things that booths can sell, which is a dubious thing. One of the things that the booths can't sell is happens to be water.
That's right...WATER. That's because the sponsorships are with beer companies that would rather that everyone drink their product. Therefore, you could buy any form of food, and beer...but no water.
Now, N got this idea a few years back to raise money for charity by selling water, soda and/or fruit drinks from tables at the civic center. You're probably wondering how he could do this, considering what I've just told you.
Essentially, the Queer Mafia cut deals with the city giving them considerable control over the event as it is held on city grounds...but the state building is NOT a part of those grounds. Now simply set up tables on state property, where the event organizers have no rights whatsoever.
Of course, this didn't stop them from utilizing heavy handed tactics to shut the operation down. They tried the direct approach using their own security and city police, only to run headlong into the CHP and state officers who made it clear that they had no jurisdiction over Noes tables. They tried threatening to block off the entire state building using fencing or other barricades, only to be told they could not block access to a state building that way. Repeated attempts to reach some sort of compromise were met with the arrogance of people who had a lock on the power they had, even in the face of a situation that would get them crucified if it ever went public.
Think about it: They were trying to keep a blind gay ex-military man from selling water and soda for charity...and AIDS related one at that. He was never in it for the money, so greed is only an issue if you look at their side of the story.
By the way, this is also where, once and for all, I could never use the phrase "there's never a cop around when you need one" ever again. Two years ago at pride I was manning the table when a group of the aforementioned self appointed pricks came up to the table demanding that we shut down immediately. When I refused, they started to make the usual threats: This even after Roni's boss had attempted to make peace with them, complete with Faxes and letters assuring that there would be no repeats of the previous years confrontations.
I was facing down a particularly large dyke with a stick so far up her butt that the roof of her mouth must have had splinters in it, when who should appear but two CHP officers. I was never so happy to see those uniforms in my life...and, for once, I had a retort when one of the defeated gay gestapo had the nerve to tell me that "this isn't the last you've heard about this": "Actually, it is. Anything else you have to say, you'll say it to these gentleman. Have a nice day."
Since they had no legal recourse, they resorted to pressuring the governors office, who (in turn) asked N to try and come to some sort of a compromise. Which resulted in the "free" booth, which failed to take in a single dime for the charity. Roni's hoping that N will just skip the event altogether next year. Myself, I want to do anything I can to throw the water in the face of the parade committee again -- and, unlike chicken, water isn't perishable.
I'll talk about Vegas next post. Later!