We're just back from the protest at City Hall. It was a balmy morning -- mid to high 70's (it's 76 in our back yard right now), with nothing to be seen in the sky except a couple of news helicopters.
The band (the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band) gathered to play music before the rally ("California Here I Come," "San Francisco," "Wedding March/Chapel Of Love" medley, that kind of stuff). For some reason, they escorted the band into the secured area, just outside of the area reserved for media, seniors and disabled.
So for about the first hour, I had a prime spot for taking pictures of the people speaking, (up to the point where Mark Leno started speaking). We had to shift around so they could enlarge the area for seniors and disabled, so I couldn't see anymore after that. Then they turned the speaker away from the steps so the sound would carry farther down Polk Street.
That was just that little bit too much. I mean, the sound system was loud enough as it was, but having it pointed directly at us was just deafening and intolerable. And just as they turned the speaker, the sprinklers came on and started drenching everyone's feet (and my trombone, and my jacket, and Phil's trombone, and the bass drum....). So we pushed through the crowd back down the sidewalk to the corner of Polk and Grove, where we played music for another fifteen minutes or so and then came home.
I think Penny Nixon might have been one of the better speakers that I heard. If you don't know of Penny Nixon, she used to be the pastor of the MCC in the Castro until it closed a few years ago. She and her partner have a daughter that she spoke of a great deal, describing how she took her daughter with her to vote, and how she hasn't yet found the right way to explain to the six-year-old what Prop 8 is or why it passed. But her strongest point was her affirmation that she's staying in the church to prove that being gay and being religious don't have to be mutually exclusive.
Not that any form of organized religion is anything that I would choose for myself, but I applaud her for standing firmly for what she believes in and for her hope and optimism.
As always, Tom Ammiano was both funny and rousing, in turn.
I have to say that the day was surprisingly similar to the filming of the post-parade rally for "Milk." The rally was in the same spot (though there was no stage this time), the crowd seemed of a similar size, though today's crowd was probably larger today -- they stretched about as far from the left of the stage to the right of the stage, but the crowd today could stretch farther back. The band was standing (and I was standing) in almost exactly the same spot. It really was quite a deja vu moment -- the only thing missing was Sean Penn.
So, anyway, I had to get up early to make it in time. I've been sick for the last week and a half, and I'm still getting over it. I'm tired, but I can't go back to bed because I've got to go to work now. At least one of the news helicopters made a couple of passes over the Castro, just to check that no one's rioting, I suppose.
I tell you, I really don't want choppers over Castro to become the rule and not the exception. They've been here (1) Halloween, (2) election night, (3) the night of the march into Dolores Park, and (4) today. So that makes four times in two weeks. As I said before, if I wanted to listen to helicopters all the time, I'd move to Los Angeles.
(Note: All photos are 936X1248. Click to enlarge.)