N.Y. Scene June 2011: The Pride Edition


N.Y. Scene is a monthly column that chronicles events of interest for lesbian and bi women in New York. Grace Chu has come out of lesbian scene retirement to navigate the vast and ever-evolving New York City scene, so you don’t have to.

Straight people have Mardi Gras. Gay people have Pride. What started out as a street protest over 40 years ago has blossomed into the biggest party in the world: New York City Pride. But Pride has an extra special place in our Sapphic hearts, because it is a magical time where the impossible happens: all lesbians are nice to one other.

Whether we’d like to admit it or not, often times large gatherings of lesbians resemble a cross between Lord of the Flies and the cafeteria scene in Mean Girls. Why? Here’s a non-Pride hypothetical. A and B are exes. They also both dated C, who is dating D, who hooked up with A, but B didn’t know about it until later. And there is also, E, F, G and the rest of the alphabet. They are all in the same group of friends, so they are all obligated to show up at their mutual friends’ housewarming party or else smell like failure. The housewarming party was brought to you by the letter O for “Oh hell no,” because two people had to be peeled off of one another for brawling, and two others left in tears. It happens. We’ve all busted out some popcorn and watched the spectacle of “Alphabet Spaghetti-Os: the lesbian edition” bubbling on an estrogen-fueled stovetop.

Now here’s a Pride hypothetical.

Let’s just say your drunk buddies decided, for the entire duration of [insert hypothetical pride event here], to plant themselves five feet away from your ex, the one who ripped your heart out, tossed it on a barbecue and ate it with a side of kimchi — and 20 of her closest friends — the rest of the Barnard College rugby team. The venue has five rooms and has a capacity of 2,500, but your buddies — and your ex’s buddies — just want the seats closest to the bar with the microbrews on tap, because being close to Dogfish Head in a keg is more important than your feelings. Her girlfriend is also there. She is a forward on the team, six inches taller than you, has the build of Serena Williams and really, really, really does not like you. Normally, every time you walk within 20 feet of her, she looks at you like you’re the next tennis ball to be smashed at Venus. Come to speak of it, the team captain resembles Venus Williams, who as we all know is equally stacked and threatening, and doesn’t like you either. 

On the plus side, your friends live in Queens and Brooklyn, yo. This sounds a lot more intimidating than anything below 125th Street in Manhattan. Unfortunately, they live in Astoria and Williamsburg, respectively, so they automatically look less thuggy than anyone in Manhattan, and definitely less intimidating than the rugger mafia, so they are basically useless if a situation arises. On any other day, things would not go well.

But it’s Pride. There will be no situation, because Pride is the magical time where the fantasy of kumbaya becomes a reality. Everyone is as happy as the Oompa Loompas singing in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. You and your ex smile and hug each other. Serena and Venus are glowing. The rest of the rugby team is also glowing. Or maybe it’s because you’ve had no sleep for the last few days from all the partying, and you’re so delirious you think they are emitting light. Did they wake up in a gayer and happier version Kafka’s Metamorphosis, where they aren’t icky bugs but are pretty little fireflies? Did they dare each other to swallow glowsticks in an act of team bonding? It doesn’t matter where the light is coming from or if it is a figment of your imagination. What matters is that the world is bright and beautiful, and baby you were born this way. The wisdom of the Pointer Sisters lives on: We are family, and I got all my sisters with me!

So, come on Oompa Loompas! Let’s take a tour of the magical factory known as NYC Pride! Every June, the city turns into the biggest taco stand in the world! Onwards!

Zuzies pop up @ Alias, June 6th

Did I just bring up a food reference? Now there’s a good idea. Before we launch ourselves into the liver-destroying mess that is Pride, perhaps we should grab a bite to eat. After all, drinking on an empty stomach never leads to good things.

The latest culinary trend in New York City is the pop up restaurant, temporary restaurants that have foodies playing a game of whack a mole. Hit it fast, or you’re out of luck. The New York Times picked up on the trend of pop up restaurants earlier this year. Instead of plowing money into expensive real estate and decor, chefs are opting for brief runs at temporary locations or renting out venues to throw occasional dinners, so they can avoid the crushingly burdensome overhead and hassle and concentrate on what is really important: the food.

Out chef Susan Burdian, who opened her gourmet comfort food restaurant Zuzies in foodie-haven Astoria, Queens last year to rave reviews has recently taken her culinary creation into Manhattan in the form of pop up restaurants. The first one was at Alias on June 6th, and there will be more coming soon. Let’s just say one thing: Once you have a Zuzies burger you can never go back to that overrated institution known as Shake Shack. And Californians, if you can catch a Zuzies stint, In-And-Out will be Out-And-Out. And let’s not forget the mushroom ravioli in truffle cream sauce and the pesto mac n cheese, both of which, if they were politicians, could usher in world peace and bring gay marriage to the entire Milky Way Galaxy. I’m serious, people. They’re that good. Check Zuzies’ Facebook page for more updates.

Chef Susan Burdian chatting with guests

GO Mag‘s Real L Word Pride Kickoff, June 15

Lesbian travel, entertainment and lifestyle magazine GO Mag held a pride kickoff at District 36 nightclub, and invited our favorite amateur soft core porn actresses reality show stars, the cast of The Real L Word, to act as emcees. Several participants of the most important anthropological study of queer women in the twenty-first century were present, including Claire, Francine, Romi, Sara with a D, Whitney and — oh look! — it’s Tracy, “The Normal One,” from Season 1. Preliminary results of this study indicate that if you are normal, you will not be invited back for a second season. Stay tuned for answers to other pressing questions raised in this groundbreaking study, such as “Will having sex on camera help your career as a special effects makeup artist?” and “Can you get hepatitis from dry humping?”

Look, it’s a bird! It’s a plane! Is it a lesbian superhero? Is it Batwoman? The vampire queen of Louisiana?

Oh, it’s just Reverend Mixter preaching about channeling the power of the clam, like a dreadlocked lesbian Oprah. I was hoping she’d give everyone new cars, but I doubt anyone on the cast is being paid enough to be on the show to give away anything — except hickeys and quickies. Get in line everyone. Bring your own creamed corn. Yee haw!

And there was dancing under blinking purple lights.

And there was more dancing under blinking purple lights.

I guess the blinking purple lights had a mesmerizing effect on everyone present. This is promoter Danielle Stanziale of Danielle Presents at the Stonewall Inn — and a million other lesbian events that won’t fit on this page — looking like she is about to break out into a loud and delightfully out of tune version of Irene Cara’s “What A Feeling,” which is always a sign that a party was full of win. Now bust out your legwarmers and sing along! “What a feeling! Bein’s believin’! I can have it all, now I’m dancin’ for my life! Take your passion and make it happen! Pictures come alive, now I’m dancing through my life!” While this Flashdance-related outburst has nothing to do with Pride month or the events covered in this column, listening to this song on your iPod is the best cure for the hump day blues aside from a surreptitious shot of bourbon in your Keurig brewed coffee at your day job. Happy Wednesday! You’re welcome.

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