Pride memories:(all photos ~ 8 to 12 KB in size.) The API Wellness booth, buffeted by direct sun, a stiff breeze and hordes of people milling along Polk Street. API staffer women’s program supervisor Vinh Vu, seated on a translucent blue inflatable couch. Two women, associate director of care services Rachel Matillano on the left hollering and associate director of community services Denise Tang on the right, getting ready to fall in beside us. A toss-the-gel-filled-condom game, whose degree of difficulty increased as the afternoon went on and the wind picked up. “Tita Aida” aka community events specialist Nikki Calma (in black) and Noel Alumit, the “American Flip,” talking up passersby. My eye is distracted briefly by AQU25A program coordinator Jaedon Cariaso, but I turn back to Tang, who was instrumental in getting the band down to play. One couple walking by stopped to listen as the pride of Vancouver, B.C., the “Taiko Electric” trio itself, Loud draws a crowd of people wondering whether drummer Eileen Kage, taiko player Leslie Komori and guitar player Elaine Stef could make a joyful noise, which they did. Ankita had scored a lovely shirt earlier in the week. A Sawatdee Thai duo carved sinuous figures in the air, using traditional dance moves. I got a hug from community planning trainer Javid Syed. The Metamorphosis Girls put on a show, with one young lady whirling and transgender health educator Tamika Gonzales tearing up the stage. After them came a 3-member incarnation of the Rice Girls. Then Tita Aida and Noel Alumit got Denise and Chinese treatment manager Christina Wang on stage to give an oral HIV test in Cantonese. Then the GAPA dancers put on a kicky dance routine. Yvette sang while the cops folded their arms and hoped no one would mistake them for leather daddies. (Oh, how I love a man in a uniform … joking!) I saw a funny street sign as we took a stroll over near Nectar, the women’s stage. After a while, we just sat on a curb and watched the intersection bubble with pride and occasional lust type-thangs. Three men in cowboy hats, goatees, black tank tops and flaming sarongs certainly stood out, as did a pair of women for other reasons and a fabulous drag queen for self-evident ones.

Leave a Reply