SF Pride Parade report - Bette&TinaForever

“Say Hey if you’re gay!” – An incredibly true adventure of a straight girl in San Francisco

For me personally, the celebration began on Saturday when I attended the Annual Pride Brunch, hosted by Gary Virginia and Donna Sachet and Positive Resource Center.

The Positive Resource Center was created to benefit individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS and the Annual Pride brunch is one of the services that the center provides. Depending on the size of a donation you could be a guest or a host. The ‘host’ would have to pay more and receive a gift bag and a preferred sitting.

I’m a sucker for gifts so I paid more and it made me happy because among the little gifts I got a supply of lubricant that could last me a lifetime, unless I activate my gay side and find a right woman to share that lubricant with. Where’s Laurel Holloman when I need her because my middle name is ‘I’d-go-gay-for-Laurel’…or for Jennifer Beals.

Speaking of Jennifer…as a celebrity Grand Marshal she was invited to the brunch and since I clearly stated to Donna that I’m in San Francisco primarily to see JB, she was kind enough to offer to introduce us and even let me shake JB's hand. Imagine my excitement...I almost fainted. I couldn’t even eat their amazing brunch buffet, so I stuck with champagne with raspberries.

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I’ve never done anything like this before. I felt like a queen…being served, talked to, meeting new people and really enjoying my time. I introduced myself to one of the community Grand Marshals, Marion Abdullah who is a great activist for the rights of elderly and handicapped people.

After awhile two other celebrity Grand marshals appeared: Honey Labrador, and a winner of ‘Amazing Race’ and an advocate for the gay people in the military, Reichen Lehmkuhl.

All the community and Grand Marshals were such wonderful persons and I had a lot of fan mingling with people and learning about them and their causes. I even talked to Honey and got a picture with her.

Unfortunately, Jennifer Beals was filming season 4 until 3 am the previous night and she was still flying when the brunch was almost over. She would be the belle of the ball, the icing of the cake but as sad as I was that she wasn’t able to make it, I’m glad that I participated in this event because it was for a very good cause.

After the brunch, my friend, the fellow writer Teelufan, and I took Marion Abdullah to the Dyke March area. This was a scene to be seen. I have never seen so many women in one place in my entire life. I felt like Jenny in season 1, when the girls went to Dinah Shore weekend and she looked from the balcony at the sea of women and made a similar comment.

We watched some performances on the stage, including dancing, singers and a comedienne Karen Williams and after another hour spent at some local bar drinking Sangria and talking about the show, Teelufan and I marched with hundreds of women, who were great and proud to be themselves.

Later that night there was a huge dance at the Castro District but we were so exhausted and also needed a goodnight rest so we could get up bright and early and search for Jennifer Beals and our new friend Marion before the parade.

I was wearing a special t-shirt made for this glorious occasion by my friends from the mediablvd boards (made by PattyKake, designed by LyndaBeth): red shirt with words Bette and Tina - first, last & forever with a desperate fan screaming, "I want to believe." And don't forget a little rat on the right sleeve, saying to the fan, "Crazy romantic fool." (The relevance of the rat can only be understood and appreciated by the mediablvd visitors who post on the TiBette thread).

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some of you already saw it but i'm posting it again to brighten upmy report

After almost 2 hours of some leg work and interrogation technique that we perfected, Teelufan and I have found the number of JB's float (that turned out to be a nice convertible) and the spot where it was located and we rooted to that spot, unmovable, excited and ready to faint.

The car was surrounded by the police officers (mainly women) and after about 20 minutes of waiting Jennifer appeared out of nowhere with 4 bodyguards around her and got into the car with tinted (and no doubt, bulletproof) windows in front of the convertible. Since it was so unexpected, all I saw was her back.

We kept waiting and waiting and finally, there she was – as gorgeous and beautiful as ever, wearing the red jacket from season 2 finale, dark glasses and a straw hat, looking like a movie star…oh wait, she is a movie star. I’m so used to see her as Bette Porter on my TV screen or write about her in my stories that JB became Bette in my dysfunctional mind.

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Anyway, she got out of the car with Ilene in tow and they were stopped right away by some news channel and the guy asked her some questions that I couldn’t hear…neither her answers but I was busy taking pictures and drooling to pay attention to anything else. I wasn’t even listening to the bodyguard who was telling us to back up.

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not all the pictures are good but even unclear JB is beautiful

Then organizers began explaining to Jennifer and Ilene where to sit inside the car and since she was put on the left side of the convertible, we decided to stay on the same side of the street.

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Ilene forgot something in the tinted car and I used that opportunity to shake her hand (she didn’t have any bodyguards around her) and then I showed her my Bette&Tina t-shirt and told her to get Bette and Tina back together. What can I say? I’m a die-hard TiBette fan and I use every chance I get to say so. Of course, Ilene didn’t give me an answer in her ‘I-don’t-really-know-what-I’m-doing’ shrugging gesture but she smiled at least. I know she gets this every time from other TiBette fans, so I’m glad she wasn’t irritated at me.

Some people (2 to be exact) were able to stick their hands between the bodyguards and get Jennifer’s autographs. I didn’t have anything with me since I didn’t want to bother her on such a glorious day so I asked JB to sign my t-shirt. Unfortunately, the car began moving and it was moving fast so we had to run to keep up with that.

I kept running and walking throughout the rest of the parade route, taking pictures and short videos with my digital camera. On the way JB signed some stuff member’s shirt, so here you have – 3 lucky people (at least the ones I saw) got JB’s autographs, which is a hard thing to do since she rarely attends fan-based events. Jennifer Beals is so elusive and shy.

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My friend was able to get Ilene’s autograph on her season 1 DVD, which was nice. It really looked like Ilene was there just for the support and was totally keeping a low key, letting Jennifer shine and be admired.

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As I mentioned, I had followed JB’s car for the rest of the parade and when the route took a left turn, her car went straight through a special gates, heading for the Civic Center where she participated in the press-conference. Excerpts from the conference, parade and JB’s speech at the Civic Center can be found on the KRON 4 (The bay’s area News station)

During the press-conference she was mainly talking about unfairness towards gay people and this is one quote that I really liked: “To say that one person’s love is more valuable than another person’s love is absurd and ultimately really hurtful for generations in the future.”

After the parade was over we went to the Civic center and got the best spot right in front of the stage. After some waiting and then a number of musical and dancing performances, all the Grand Marshals were introduced and it was mentioned that Jennifer will arrive later.

We were entertained by two colorful personalities whose names I can’t even pronounced and finally Jennifer Beals showed up. First, Ilene was introduced as a creator of the series. She was met with a round of applause but as soon as JB was announced the screams and applauses went up higher and louder.

Jennifer was completely touched by the welcome and she began her speech with “Say Hey if you’re gay.” I screamed ‘Hey’ to be a part of the community but I would say anything in JB’s presence because I was completely mesmerized.

I don’t even remember her speech except for the beginning when she said: “What a glorious gorgeous gay gathering…what a celebration of pride and liberation and diversity and love…No one does Pride Parades better than San Francisco.” I was too busy recording, drooling and being hypnotized by her voice and her looks to remember the rest.

So, after 2 days of wandering the streets of San Francisco, running after Jennifer Beals during the parade and being exposed to the California sun, I got home completely exhausted, with a 3rd degree burns, heat stroke, empty fridge and my only thoughts were that I was truly blessed to see Jennifer Beals and participate in something so wonderful and glorious.

It was great to see a lot of gay families there who are fighting for their rights to have legal unions just like everyone else. If everybody could be free to be themselves and to be proud of who they are, this life would be much better and more enjoyable.

Thanks to B&TF for her wonderful report :)