Saturday, June 25, 2016

Drag Marching with Lena, Murry, the Church Ladies, and the Invisible Committee ‪#‎dragmarch‬ ‪#‎dragmarchnyc‬

Marching with Lena and Murry and the Rev. Photo by savitri_d

Every year I go to the drag march. It’s a source of inspiration and creativity. For a night, the freaks own the streets, as movements from across the city converge in a mardi gras of gender bending subversive possibility. Two years ago, I went with number two, aka Murry Sparkles. She made her debut at the drag in 2014, dressed as a boy. This year, we went together again. We both got our outfits from a thrift store down the street. This year, she’d dress like a girl.

Each year, the drag march takes on and more of the feeling of a carnival.

Five years ago, we celebrated this gay marriage victory announcement during the march.

Thirteen days after the Orlando massacre, everyone was acutely aware that violence about queers and outsiders still lurked below the surface. Great Briton was exiting Europe where immigrants were entering and the rest of the world was trying to leave their xenophobia behind.

The drag march is always a spectacle of history, a place where the trees of Tompkins Square Park, which have witnessed riots and marches through the ages, welcome everyone. The line between the street and sidewalk blurs. And everyone joins the cavalcade.

So Murry Sparkles said hi to Randolphe Wicker and the Church Ladies, playing with Lena, the daughter of Bill Talen and Savitri D. We marched together from Tompkins Square Park to the Stonewall, talking with more and more rebel friends along the way.

Marching with friends through time. PHotos by diane greene lent photography

These friends welcome us, keeping us going as we march through time.

Brian Griffin, of the Church Ladies, explains: “As with an afternoon tea party my friend and activist compatriot Elizabeth Meixell threw after 9-11, being with loved ones, members of my "Logical" family and how that reminded me that life is a good thing, last night's Drag March reminded me that since Orlando I can breath again; that I am a part of an amazing community and even if I don't know most anyone by name, I have so much love for everyone. Goodness, I can believe how happy I am this morning. Thank You. ‪#‎dragmarch‬ ‪#‎dragmarchnyc‬.”

"Several hundred drag queens and kings kicked off Pride Weekend with a wild and fabulous march across downtown from Tompkins Square Park to the country's newest National Monument, the Stonewall Inn. — with Brian Griffin and Benjamin Heim Shepard at Tompkins Square Park" Photos by Minister Erik R. McGregor

This is a space where I have grown, written, wondered and hoped since my first drag march in 1999.

My first drag march.

We talked about Elizabeth who is leaving town and Kate whose girlfriend is gone. Randolfe Wicker and I talked about Sylvia and Marsha Friendships animate the drag march.

Luca and Elizabeth

As the Invisible Committee posits in their tome, To Our Friends:
“Writing is a vanity, unless its for the friend. Including the friend one doesn’t know yet.”

At the drag march, one encounters hundreds and hundreds of friends one does not know yet. And some one has known for years. Here we are all inspired to take part in an ever expanding experiment.
“Thinking, attacking, building – such is our fabulous agenda,” the Invisible Committee continue.

For a night, we are all revolutionaries. “To become a revolutionary is to assign oneself a difficult, but immediate, happiness,” the Invisible Committee conclude.

Danny and I talked about it. Joe and I posed without shirts. And we strolled as the sun went down, the kids played, marching bands jammed old Diana Ross tunes, we reflected on Orlando, the Brexit, and sang about a place over the rainbow where:

There's a land that I heard of once in a lullaby...

And we all made our way back to beloved Brooklyn.