Talk was of how many people had turned out for the opening of Colour In The Streets, the photography exhibition by Chris Robson at Garter Lane Arts Centre. The sun chased people into the gallery where Kieran Rose officially opened Waterford Pride 1999. As more than seventy pairs of eyes danced across the walls of the gallery they then had to compete with a charming delivery from Alan Brett, Waterford Pride, as he River Danced his welcome to the gathering as he stepped forward with a sentence and then backwards with another sentence and so on until he accelerated to end of his speech, ignoring his nerves as best he could. Poor thing.
After the third speech and third tedious round of applause the temporary occupants of the space were treated to another delivery, this time from Mary Donnelly (Waterford), who informed the guests of the opening of Waterford's first gay pub. One nearly had to fight to breath in the room as gasp after gasp created a vacuum which was followed by a roar as the air exited seventy pairs of lungs via seventy vocal cords interspersed with the demented clapping of seventy pairs of hands. They were very happy with this news.
To be known as INN BETWEEN, the pub is expected to open it's doors to the community and it's friends sometime in September. We were advised that further details will be announced in the coming months.
After the free plonk was consumed (or fermented, whichever) we adjourned to the theatre space where we were entertained by the imaginative electronic sounds of Dublin lesbian band ZRAZY who in their blurb described their sound as kinda pagan funk with a sprinkling of jazz. Yeah, right. The crowd loved them though and I expect we shall be seeing them in Waterford again sometime. Maybe in that new pub?
Then 2EXtreme (another boy band with a mildly clever name and spelling dynamic) marched in single file to the stage under the watchful eye of Cork based manager Denis Desmond. The music started, the boys genuflected, and jumped up singing a boppy ditty. We've heard it all before. But to be honest these guys weren't terrible. They are very young and have little experience but they do have a spark. Perhaps with more creative dance routines and a better set I reckon these kids could cream the pants of boys and girls all over the place.
And so at the end of the set they marched in single file back to their dressing room to the vocal appreciation of the crowd and DJ ALAN thanked the bands and the audience for a wonderful night - and that there were t-shirts for sale.
Workshops were the order of Saturday. Youth group was well attended, as was the TV / TG support workshop. Videos of Queer as Folk and a huge menu of other titles were also available for viewing throughout the afternoon. But hardly anyone showed. Other workshops were cancelled for the same reason. The weather had a lot to do with it. The sun scorched Waterford City for the entire weekend. Maybe workshops aren't really necessary on these weekends? Perhaps people just want to party full stop? I'm sure the pride committee will be digesting similar thoughts over the coming weeks.
Later on Saturday was what appeared to be the highlight of the weekend, the River Cruise. Almost eighty gays & lesbians of various shapes and sizes boarded the St Brendan with one thing in mind. Let's get pissed. And they did. One idiot, who no doubt was attempting humour, slung a ceramic bowl of chicken wings (of all things) overboard much to the annoyance of an otherwise very nice and tolerant elderly captain. But in true style the incident was put behind everyone the boat kept going, as did the endless supply of those bloody chicken wings.
Later in Garter Lane the first port of call by the majority was the bar. Oooh. Surprise. The first discovery by the pride committee was that the DJ had not shown up. Ooops. So DJ ALAN again bravely jumped behind the sound desk and brought everyone to the floor - dancing that is.
Next discovery was the lack of MAJELLA, singer/songwriter, who was to be first on stage to entertain. Apparently she hadn't shown either! Ooops again. But I have to say the organisers pulled something out of their very big hat and presented us with LADY AROMA (who apparently only had less than an hour's notice). Out she arrived in a frock of reds, gold's and pinks.
Announcing that Majella had unfortunately not shown, suggesting that she was fingering herself at the back of a bus some where, the quite eccentric Lady Aroma pressed on and attempted to have the crowd break the record for the most kisses given to one person in one minute. GAYTIME TV holds the current record of seventy. It got off to rather difficult start with a bewildered audience looking on.
Two attempts were made but still the best they could do was fifty-four. Perhaps they can do better next year. In any case Lady Aroma did the job she was supposed to do and filled what could have been a boring and long gap between bands. One person did ask the question why couldn't the DJ just play through until the next band arrived? Well that's because the venue can't be seen to provide for dancing. There must be a live act that makes up the majority of the evening. Daft, but there you go.
As lady Aroma left she had everyone out on the floor to the sounds of DJ ALAN as the next act, the KERENSKY QUARTET, filled the stage with their gear. At 12.30am the boys exploded into action with a fantastic collection of the best covers set I've heard in a long time. The crowd adored them and I certainly hope they come out to entertain the gays again sometime soon!
And they brought us to the close of Saturday evening of Waterford Pride 1999. Again the voice of DJ ALAN was heard over the PA thanking the entertainers and the crowd for supporting Pride and that there were still t-shirts left for sale.
Sunday was Gay Beach Party day. Nearly sixty gays spread out on the beach with their collection of rainbow flags and turned what was normally a quiet family beach into a scene from Key West. Boys swam and played in the water as proximity talks were ongoing up at the Saratoga pub trying to get agreement to partnerships and the possibility of various shags to be potentially had over the remainder of the weekend.
The lesbians, thankfully, were much more restrained and mature and brought an air of sophistication to the proceedings.
So after togs had been removed, bodies dried (and cruised) everybody either set off home or came back to Waterford for the ULTRA CAMP TABLE QUIZ held in Locky's Wine Bar, located in Waterford's trendy Scotch Quays area. Hosted by the delicious Jolene and first time Drag performance by Miss Gloria Access. And she did very well - considering. It was a rowdy but hilarious affair.
I have to say that the lesbians had the monopoly on the wise cracks. Two memorable questions and answers were:
IN OR OUT, Lesbians fighting on the dance floor? One girl came back with the retort "that's not fighting, it's foreplay!!" And the cosy little wine bar erupted into a volcano of laughter including the uncontrollable giggle's of the owner himself. Bless him.
What is Broadbottom? A guy came back with "The result of a good f**k!!" More eruptions. It was a runaway success with some fabulously tacky prizes including blow-up sheep, books and handcuffs.
And for the last time ALAN BRETT stood up in front of the now weary but contented gathering and announced his and the committee's delight at the success of the weekend festival. He thanked all involved in helping out including sponsors and the usual array of background people and for the last time the that there were still some t-shirts for sale if anyone wanted one. "Please. Go on, take one. We need the money!" More applause and suddenly Waterford Pride 1999 was all over.
The salsa class teachers arrived and the gays left. I suppose the thought of expending any more energy was just too much. A few lingered by the riverfront sipping wine and remembered or regretted parts of the weekend.
The lesbians went to the pub.
Dublin Mardi Gras
Pride 1999 & WIT GLAM Society