Most San Franciscans are Hetero. Many are Gay. Some are Bisexual. The rest are Miscellaneous. But that doesn’t apply today. On this day, 26 June 2013, all San Franciscans show the world that all of us have one thing in common.
All San Franciscans are Party.
The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued two critical rulings today in favor of gay rights as they relate to marriage. The issue is by no means settled; the second decision seemed rather wishy-washy to me. Furthermore, I expect conservative legislatures in many states will try to enact a variety of anti-gay laws this year (disguised as “pro-marriage”) that will inevitably receive challenges that will end up in front of SCOTUS next year. So the rather wishy-washy second decision will keep the judges a lot busier than they would have been had they handed down a more definitive ruling.
No matter. San Francisco won big today, and when we win big, we party big. Sadly, I failed to capture these two women recreating the legendary Eisenstadt World War II victory shot. Sigh.
Amazingly, the City and County of San Francisco threw together this Castro Street block party in a matter of hours. Thanks to years of experience and practice from the annual LGBT Pride Parade, San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl victories, and San Francisco Giants World Series triumphs, the city government knows to react to sudden bursts of joy. Since the electric 24-Divisadero buses couldn’t run down Castro, the San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority set up diesel shuttle buses to take people either to or around the festivities.
My bus showed the extent to which today was a celebration for all San Franciscans. The bus was jammed with couples, but aside from two lesbian couples, they were all boy-girl couplings. Ironically, if only one couple on the bus had children, it was one of the lesbian couples, discussing much too loudly the barfing and pooping habits of their precious rugrats. I heard them; couldn’t overheard them; they talked much—too—loudly. One of them had another baby on the way, but after hearing of the first child’s puking tendencies, I had to wonder why she wanted a second.
Cameras everywhere; I wonder how many of my fellow WordPressers attended. Anyone who didn’t want to become amateur photography immortality probably didn’t appear; as you can from these shots, everyone posed happily for the thousands of cameras in honor of the occasion.
More to the point, the people of San Francisco celebrated the occasion with an outpouring of love. The police did come out in force, but they all looked totally relaxed to me, as if knowing in advance that they would not have to work too hard to earn their overtime.
As usual at these events, single heterosexual women turned out in force. How do I know they were single heterosexual women? Because just as they do at the annual Pride Parade, they posed for pictures with the various nude men on the sidewalk (and no, I didn’t take any pictures; I’m trying to keep this blog PG-rated). I also heard electronica blasting from both of the mobile stages; “This Is What It Feels Like (Extended Mix)” by Armin van Buuren was an excellent choice for a celebration song.
Sadly, I have to apologize to you, my reader; the quality of my photography did not rise to the standard demanded by the occasion. Frankly, I felt too much excitement and jerked around my camera a lot, resulting in blurring most of the photos. Also, I wanted to capture the feel of the street photography that Garry Winogrand produced during his career. Turns out, he’s as tough to copy as Henri Cartier-Bresson. This one photograph, however, actually seemed to benefit a little from the poor ability of the photographer. Look at how your attention goes to the face of the woman on the left.
Cameras, cameras, everywhere, everywhere. I finish with a selection of shots. Needless to say, everything you see is 100% unprocessed, straight from the camera to your computer monitor. Once again, I must apologize for the rushed, blurry look of the pictures.
Now, as I sit and write, I can still hear the helicopters hovering over the Castro District, most of them representing the various radio, print and television media of the Bay Area. They captured a whole lotta luvin in San Francisco today. Some day, the world will look at the (much better) pictures of San Francisco’s latest great block party and wonder how so much love possibly could have engendered so much hate.
Vonn Scott Bair