Thursday, September 27, 2007

Vanilla Pride - The Ultimate Rebellion.

In a matter of hours, San Francisco will host its most irrelevant, boring, outdated event – the Folsom Street Fair. While we now have a viable alternative opportunity during Pride Week thanks to the increasingly popular Gay Shame, unfortunately there is not a local Folsom Street Fair alternate. We desperately need one. That’s why tomorrow night I’m puttin’ on my Dockers and heading to Kansas City for the fifth annual Blandfest, the nation’s definitive vanilla-appreciation event. This year promises to top 2006’s landmark event in Dubuque when they dedicated the glorious Mullet Wing at the Hairdo Hall of Fame and the Alberto VO5s put on a kick ass concert.

This year the event will include a reunion of Hootie and the Blowfish, an Up With People retrospective and two simultaneous cinematic galas – the Tom Hanks Film Festival in Country Club Plaza and the Sandra Bullock Film Festival at Crown Center.

The Alberto V05s rock the house at Blandfest 2006

As a true renegade and rebel, Junk Thief would much rather be at this edgy event in Kansas City instead of the tedious gathering in SOMA. I mean, how many times do you need to see a 68-year-old guy show off his pierced scrotum while a group of onlookers gape with the dogged orthodoxy of a bevy of elderly Rotarians from Toledo going through their weekly rituals? What’s that, oh right, that 68-year-old guy with the pierced scrotum actually is a Rotarian from Toledo.

So indulge me to once more give my take on the Folsom Street Fair. In 1962 it would have been fiercely renegade and shocking. By 1970 it would have reached a stage of still being mildly edgy but bordering on mainstream assimilation. By 1989 it had attained near retro relevance of paying homage to a long lost age. By 2002 and the post dot-com bust, it had attained the hollow pathos of a group of mourners continuing to put on a funeral years after the corpse was permanently planted six feet under. In 2007 it is, in a word, pathetic.

Mind you, I have no problems with sex, kink, innovation, freedom, self-expression and individualism, none of which will be on display at this event. It's just a bunch of technology and rituals. If I want that I'll head over to Best Buy and blow the one cute member of the Geek Squad. Perhaps it comes down to what I consider to be the major differences between creativity and sexual innovation in California and the East and Europe. As with many things, California seems to be obsessed with technology and not content or concept. As anyone can tell from the sloppy design of this site and inept editing of Junk Thief TV, I’m much more a concept and content sort of guy. Sure we all need our share of technology, but it’s not what I want curled up next to me at night.

So that’s why I’ll avoid the lame rituals on Folsom Street this weekend and opt for the Big Vanilla in Kansas City. It’s a good reminder that vanilla is too often misnamed as a non-flavor while the foul, fecal stuff called chocolate is revered as something holy. In its pure form, vanilla is neither bland nor white. And while an excess of chocolate will give you zits, a big gut and a headache, too much pure vanilla will give you a glorious, giddy high. But, of course, Vanilla Pride should not be repeated. As with any true, renegade act, it should be committed once and allowed to sear itself into our memory. To repeat it would turn it into ultimately banality, something the Folsom Street Fair organizers should have realized 25 years ago. And don't even get me started on body "art"!

UPDATE: News flash from Omaha, home of the Alberto V05s. The reason the above photo of the 5s has only four men is because Ralph Burnside, their counter tenor, has left the group and will be running a spanking booth at Folsom Street Fair. Obviously, this was horrifying for the group, but they've persevered and reformed as a quartet named the Blandies.

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At 7:54 AM, Blogger Salty Miss Jill said...

Yes, I prefer vanilla to chocolate, too. Vanilla is terribly underrated as a flavor.
Though I do also enjoy chocolate...there are few things worse than bad chocolate. With vanilla, it's hard to go wrong. Am I right?

At 11:03 AM, Blogger mrpeenee said...

omigosh, it's a movement. I, too, prefer the delicate purity of vanilla. Chocolate leaves a wierd taste on my tongue.

As for Folsom/Dore/Castro/Gay Pride, why do the very specimens who should not be parading their bits insist on doing so? It's the Curse of Viagra

At 11:18 AM, Blogger rich bachelor said...

Would Blandstock be having keynote speakers, such as Charlie Rose, I hope?

Ah, vanilla. The subtle person's mojito. Gotta say though, I prefer caramel to all the abovementioned.

At 11:27 AM, Blogger Junk Thief said...

Salty - When it comes to vanilla, I am reminded of my favorite line from "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf": "Never mix, never worry."

Mr. Peenee - A movement indeed.

Rich - Yes, Charlie's stint is a 2:37 Saturday afternoon, right after Steve Jobs recites his Ginsberg's "Howl" translated into binary code.

I did caramel (and get really pissed when people pronounce it as "carmel") but also want to put in a word for the glories of butterscotch. Yum.

At 12:08 PM, Blogger m00nchild said...

i'm going. but more as a sociologist. i don't really enjoy going to these events but i am a study of people in crowds. so i'll be watching the people the way people communicate their participation and enjoyment.. i have no attachment to these things -- they're like giant corporate culture hoovers.

maybe i should wear a sprig of vanilla in my lapel?

At 12:51 PM, Blogger Junk Thief said...

m00nchild - That sprig of vanilla would be so retrograde. I might show up just for the hell of it dressed in khakis, polo short and Rockport business casual shoes just to freak everybody out.

At 6:42 PM, Blogger jason said...

I'm more in the mood for pistachio.

At 11:38 PM, Blogger J. David Zacko-Smith said...

I have a friend who is so excited about Folsom - and I'm not sure why - I guess because he's never done anything like it before. MMMM.

At 7:20 AM, Blogger JOE * to * HELL said...

i love that there really is a gayshame!

we should franchise it all over the country.

and you shoudl write a festival guide - be a bestseller

At 12:16 PM, Blogger T$ said...

I'm so down with gay shame. Every year, I have to flee New York since my neighborhood becomes, well, too gay to function.

Whenever people say "happy pride!" through various booze, etc. filled hazes, I reply "I prefer gay shame."

At 7:15 AM, Blogger Eric said...

Definite vanilla person here (except when it comes to candy bars and ice cream)...but isn't it funny that Bill Donohue of the Catholic LEague and all those "christian" organizations still get their chastity belts (With built-in glory holes for the altar boys, natch) in a twist over the Folsom Street Fair?

At 9:20 AM, Blogger Ladron de Basura said...

Jason - I think Pistachio-fest is in Savannah this year.

JDZS - Oh, I'm sure it's his first time. It's worth doing once, and then it gets very dull.

Mr. Hell - I kinda like Faggot Panic as a theme too.

T$ - Shame has shaped me into the person that I am.

Eric - I'm with you on the poster, which is actually kind of cool this year. Luckily timed well with the cheesy Da Vinci exhibit at the Sony Metreon.


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