The CP sent Jared Trent Stonesifer to cover Pride. In this article, he discussed the evening block party (Pride in the Streets), the Awareness March, the Pride Theatrer Festival and the Warhol exhibit on queer black life in the 30's and 40's.
Notice anything missing?
Yep, he forgot to cover the actual festival (PrideFest). The space filler between the march and the block party. Big stage, dozens of vendors, throngs of people numbering in the thousands. People with kids making crafts. People with lovers making out. Gay people EVERYWHERE.
Granted, I myself said it was a nice event, but relatively uneventful. Still, I did mention it. Not so much Mr. Stonesifer. What's up with that?
Here's a great example of why focusing on the block party alone does not do justice to our community. You get folks like this:
Partners Keith Parker and Bob Paraschak called Pittsburgh's gay community “horrible and unorganized,” a label that people like Schneck are trying to get rid of by hosting larger and more organized events like Pride in the Street. “It's a 'don't ask, don't tell' mentality in Pittsburgh,” Paraschak said. “It's not that people here aren't open; they just don't participate.”
Wow. Keith and Bob are pretty harsh. Even I don't go that far. And it is patently not true. PrideFest is a huge event and very well organized, primarily because it is coordinated by the Gay & Lesbian Community Center. An organization much lacking in horribleness. Then there's the film festival, the assorted sports leagues, the health providers, the queer arts scene … the list of well-organized, cool events is pretty lengthy. Last time I checked, lots of people were participating in those events. So my quibble here is with Keith and Bob.
Mack feels that a close-minded attitude is still prevalent in Pittsburgh, but events like Pride in the Street are providing a brighter future for the gay community in the city.
“Pittsburgh pride grew up tonight,” Mack said. “Parties like this stimulate people to come out of their closet and celebrate. This is a great party, and hopefully it will get better every year.”
That's really sad. A block party provides a brighter future? What about PrideFest? What about … ah, shucks. Why bother? People quoted in this article aren't attending Steel City Stonewall Meetings. They aren't volunteering with GLENDA. They aren't bowling or square dancing. They go to bars. So a giant bar in the middle of Liberty Avenue complete with Bruce Villance in the middle square is their idea of progress. Sigh. It is too sad to even get worked up about any longer.
It was a lackluster article. I miss Marty Levine.
ps: the article does quote this blog. It doesn't really make sense since I wrote specifically about the festival and the article didn't mention the festival, but what can you do …