A gay marching band made me late to a film festival

Twice last week my volunteer efforts at the Portland Horror Film Festival were almost derailed by public transportation problems. Thursday, shortly before I was scheduled to arrive at the festival venue, Oregon Live blew up (no pun intended) with news that a possible explosive device was being investigated at Hollywood Transit Center, because I guess that particular MAX stop hasn’t been the backdrop of enough awful, pointless bloodshed in the last two weeks. Or maybe, the cynical part of my brain (i.e. my whole brain) suggested, it was a false flag and the PPB was looking for an easy way to earn back some cred after a weekend spent fist-bumping neo-Nazis in the park.

Just as an aside, if you’re the type of person who plants bombs in heavily trafficked public areas and yours blows up while I’m around, you better hope I’m in the center of the blast zone and I fucking die, because if I decide against my better judgment to heave my carcass out of my climate-controlled tomb of an apartment and brave the day star’s assault on my pasty hide, and instead I wind up in the ER having shrapnel tweezed out of my face, I will Google Earth your compound and key the shit out of your van.

Friday, instead of bomb threats, the MAX train I was on got stuck downtown behind what I mistakenly thought was the Pride parade. As a general rule I loathe parades for the way they snarl traffic and quadruple the length of my bus ride to anywhere, and for the additional hazard they pose while traveling on foot. Last year during the Starlight Parade I had to dodge an oncoming drumline like Frogger just to cross the goddamn street, and my life flashed before my eyes, and it was both chilling and aggressively boring in equal measure. Also, I don’t understand what allure anybody older than five sees in spending a relentless summer day sitting in a collapsible lawn chair on the sidewalk, being pelted with rock-hard, individually wrapped pieces of candy hurled from floats at the velocity of a pitching machine, but that’s just me.

Pride is a little different, though, since there’s more at stake than who could eat the most flowers or whatever actually happens during the Grand Floral Parade. The Westboro Baptist cult still shows up every year to preach fire and brimstone and wave their lurid signs, in effect supplying an instructional pageant about why Pride exists in the first place. So I may not participate in the festivities directly, but I also don’t begrudge the tradition or anyone for whom it’s a special occasion. That’s why, when my train stalled in front of a marching band outfitted in rainbow tie-dye playing a brass arrangement of The Village People’s “YMCA,” I didn’t feel my usual slow burn of anti-parade choler. I also recognized that I wasn’t in a position to pass judgment on anything since I was fully clad in a Batman onesie with detachable cape and mask in observance of Adam West’s death that morning.

When I eventually got to the movie theater, I found the event coordinator to apologize for my lateness and explained that I got stuck behind the Pride parade. A nearby drag queen piped up to tell me he was almost certain Pride wasn’t until next week, and some further investigation showed that he was right. So I have no idea what I crossed paths with on Saturday. It may have been just a roving gay marching band. Who knows.

The rest of the film festival was a blast and some of my favorite selections were recognized during the awards ceremony. Here’s one of them, Atlas World by Morgana McKenzie, which I’ve linked to only because WordPress won’t let me embed anything.


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