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Observing Pride: A few thoughts after a night of Pride

<p>A 2012 Pride Parade participant dances as the parade makes its way up 4th Street in downtown Las Vegas. PHOTO: BILL HUGHES</p>

A 2012 Pride Parade participant dances as the parade makes its way up 4th Street in downtown Las Vegas. PHOTO: BILL HUGHES

After seeing Joan Rivers, Kathy Griffin and Maragret Cho spend all of five minutes on the Pride parade main stage Sept. 7, I now know how out-of-town starfuckers feel when they go to clubs to see their favorite celebrity “host the evening” and only get a two-minute hello and are-ya-havin’-fun-Vegas?! from them. Couldn’t Pride organizers spring for, like, another five minutes? That said, maybe it was just as well: The main-stage PA system projected poorly during their quickie, and the only things we really heard were Cho’s exhortations to vote. Well, at least the important shit got out there, but catching a joke — other than the length of their joint appearance — would have been nice.

Dear handsome men I’ve never seen before: Who are you, where in the city do you usually hide and why don’t you go to my favorite bars?

Las Vegas needs a Mardi Gras-type parade, where one has to earn their beaded necklaces. The only flashing I did involved a smile, and I came home with two colorful strings. I felt like I’d cheated.

Pride parades, here or anywhere else, have evolved into little more than one human advertisement after another. While it’s great to see companies like Wells Fargo and Zappos happily join the gays, celebrate diversity and publicly support their LGBT employees, let’s face it: They’re ultimately pining for our much-coveted disposable income. Gays and lesbians are renowned for their expressionism and creativity — why aren’t there more individuals or small groups unafilliated with companies marching in costume and really getting into the spirit of things? (Please don’t tell me it’s a pay-to-play deal.) Organizers would be wise to attend the come-one-come-all Las Vegas Halloween Parade and check out how to better incorporate individuals who don’t have a corporation or bar float to join — and who might offer a little more eye candy outside of the usual drag-queen and leather-daddy garb. (Plus, Pride could use some art cars and mutant vehicles to offset the motorcade of barely decorated flatbed trucks.)

Speaking of, and judging by the massive army of gays (and supporters) marching with its iconic stagecoach, it’s safe to say Wells Fargo is the gayest company ever.

Best performance of the night: Lady Bunny at the Drink & Drag stage. Her parody-filled exhibition was everything the usual Fremont Street Experience fare isn’t: irreverent, offensive and hilarious. Sample lyric, riffing off Ricky Martin: “Sucking his pinga loca/His cum like tapioca/That motherfucker will choke ya.”

Best gaying-up of a downtown business: Neonopolis.

Parading politicians should do a better job coralling their supporters to join them, so as to not appear pathetic. And in the case of Shelley Berkley, you should actually show up instead of just sending your car and campaign office.

Despite the Chicken Little cries from those bemoaning the Pride and First Friday overlap — and Las Vegas Boulevard turning into a parking lot between Bonneville and U.S. 95 — downtown seemed to deal quite capably with the estimated 45,000 people who ventured over. (We even scored a parking spot a mere two blocks away from the parade main stage without even trying.) And how refreshing it was to see so many people willing to walk distances they might not have attempted in the past, only to realize how walkable the area truly is. The energy all over felt invigorating, from the Arts District to Fremont East and everywhere between. A great night for downtown Las Vegas.