Fitting in the Festivals and Fun (Or Should We Call It Gay?)
This is the busiest time of year in Paris and all of France, period. There are so many events and festivals in which to take part, that you might as well shut down anything called “work” and simply call it “mandatory play time.” Of course, the June-July happenings don’t stop the French from enjoying their long weekends in May (Labor Day, Victory Day, Ascension and Pentecost) or their one-month-long holiday in August (sometimes taken in July).
We are barely recuperating from Fête de la Musique, and now Gay Pride is on its heels with the annual parade taking place this coming Saturday.
This year’s parade supports the slogan: “2012, equality is waiting!” starting at 2 p.m. at Boulevard du Montparnasse, then passing down Port Royal, boulevard St-Michel, boulevard Saint-Germain, the Pont de Sully and finally the boulevard Henri IV to reach Place de la Bastille. At 4:30 p.m., the procession will observe three minutes of silence to show support for the fight against AIDS. At Place de la Bastille, a large stage will be erected and from 4 to 8 p.m., there will be a free concert.
It’s an event I loathe to miss — because no matter what your sexual leanings or prejudices, it’s simply hilariously fun!
You will see EVERYTHING and ANYTHING you never saw before…and every sort of EVERYONE. You will not believe how some men will torture themselves on platform shoes a mile high just to show off their transvestitistic (is that a word?) talents. As a woman who can’t possibly wear heels higher than three centimeters, I am always amazed by such stamina to walk the length of the parade on such stilts.
The makeup and costuming (as well as lack of costuming — nudity) puts Mardi Gras to shame. Outrageous behavior is the norm, but good spirited and fun-seeking. This is a day when the sexually straight community could feel like the exception rather than the rule, like a clothed person might feel being on a nude beach. And it can be a shock to realize just how many people don’t fit in the “norm” of sexuality — or what we heterosexuals think is the norm. Don’t be surprised if you run into a colleague in the parade you never dreamed would be there!
Every year I stake out a spot late afternoon in a café at Place de la Bastille with friends and wait for the parade to land and disperse. That’s when we take out our trusty cameras and head into the parade, walking against it so as to see it all at our own pace. It’s one photo op after another.
By the time we reach Pont Sully, the 86 or more floats and marching groups (see the order of the parade) have landed and the ‘little green men’ from the city’s “propreté” with their big trucks, have come after, swept it all clean leaving no trace that it was ever there at all.
But watch out, Le Marais will be WILD all evening long…so the fun won’t end until the wee hours of the morn.
Coming soon: July 4th American Independence Day (yes, we Americans celebrate), July 13th Bals des Pompiers, July 14th Bastille Day…hope you can fit them all into your busy schedules! Stay tuned for next week’s Parler Paris Nouvellettre® to learn more.
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
P.S. For New York friends of Parler Paris: With the opening of the group show “Sex Cells, Uncensored,” Erica Simone announces that several works from her collection “Nue York: Self-Portraits of a Bare Urban Citizen” will be exhibited at the Emmanuel Fremin Gallery alongside the talented Reka Nyari, Cynthia K. Cortes, as well as five other photographers, from June 28th through July 28th, 2012, to coincide with the opening event on June 28th from 6 to 8pm.
Emmanuel Fremin Gallery, 547 West 27th Street, suite 508, +1.212.279.8555. (Since the Nue York solo show last April, Erica Simone has added approximately twenty-five new images to the collection, which have never been released before nor are available online. They are now being represented by Emmanuel Fremin and are finally available for viewing and purchase, upon request to the gallery.) For more information visit Erica Simone or Emmanuel Fremin Gallery