Saturday, June 30, 2012

Chicago Gay Pride Parade - Post 4 - Signs of the Times (gamma) - 6.24.12

More signs.  I think there are three more posts worth of signs.  And then one of t-shirts.  And then I go to the next big folder.

I really love that balloon sign.  Actually I loved most of the balloon art, but this just struck me as the kind of thing that should be on a book cover or DVD cover of the parade.

 Even in a subculture, there are subcultures.  This is just one of them.
 I liked the visual here.  It was the back of a jewelry shop float.  I don't think I've seen an *actual* wedding car with tin cans on it in years, but I kind of love that theses guys painted the cans to just make them part of the decoration.  Very cute!
 I mentioned yesterday that there's been some reclaiming of words and expressions that have typically been viewed as offensive.  I kind of love the twist on that idea used here.
And to leave off with today... there was this weird thing from an anti-Romney group.  The sign says "Free haircuts from Romney".  I think I missed a joke somewhere.  I'd get it if it were a John Edwards joke, but what's the connection between Romney and haircuts?

I do get what they're doing with the guy in the cage on top of the car.  It's a bit... odd... to play it out with a human who isn't even dressed like a dog, but there it is.  I love the safety precaution of the guy wearing a bike helmet.

It's a theater group's presentation, but I'm not sure it really says anything to me about their acting or their shows... it just tells me they don't like Romney.  Which, you know, cool... but also?  A but weird.

More signs tomorrow.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Chicago Gay Pride Parade - Post 3 - Signs of the Times (beta) - 6.24.12

I'm still working on the signs.  There are... many.  So I'll toss up a few more before I go to bed tonight.  The heat in Chicago this week has been ridiculous.  It was 101 yesterday - our first actual 100+ degree day in 7 years.  They were talking about heat indexes around 114.

So when they say tomorrow will be a high of 87 it doesn't sound quite so bad.  So I'll probably go out early and hike the Magic Hedge... and get even further and further behind in my posting of things recent, but my break from work is very short and I do want to get in as much shooting as I can before I have very, very little time.


This one confused me a bit.  Clearly the comma is important - the sign is in the comma shape.  But a comma means, "I'm going to say something more in just a second"... but they don't.  Or God doesn't or... something.

And were they thinking there was a group somewhere who had decided God was done talking?  Like forever?

Like I said, I didn't quite follow.
This is very sweet.  I have no idea who Dawn is or what happened to her, but the sign is a nice sentiment.  (If you can't blow the shot up for whatever reason, his sign says, "Dear Dawn, We wish you a speedy recovery. Feel better soon!")
The Green Party's group.

Now, I have no idea if this girl was actually, like, elected as some sort of representative or if there was a pageant or if she just crowned herself, but she's apparently the Green Queen.

So... they're the party that says neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are liberal enough... yet she thinks a monarch is a good symbol for a more representative government?
"Car chalk" was a bit of thing this year.  I'll show more of this entry later, but this was a van from a cat rescue/rehoming operation called The Tree House.  They do awesome work.  And I found this car hysterical.  Some of the commentary is a little grown up, but that's okay.  I'm over 21.  :)  I find it hysterical that someone colored the door with the "Nyan Cat" running joke.  If you've never heard of Nyan Cat, google it.  It's... weird.  Harmless and inoffensive from everything I've seen, but weird.  He's part Pop-Tart, part cat.  So... yeah, whatever.  Anyway, there's Nyan Cat and then every 'pussy' joke they could think of.  "You'll love our pussies,"  "Best pussy in town"...  You get their drift.

I work in an area where there's frequently discussions of 'reclaiming' certain offensive terms.  I hadn't realized that that attitude had moved into the LGBT community until I saw this sign.

Okay, that's five.  Tomorrow I should have more time to do more sorting and editing so that I get back to posting on a more regular basis.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Chicago Gay Pride Parade - Post 2 - Signs of the Times (alpha) - 6.24.12

I took over 1500 pictures at the parade.  Fifteen. Hundred.  Eight gigs worth. 

Even once I tossed them in my iPad and got rid of the utter crap, I still had 900 shots that had value of some sort.  Now some of them are marker shots for me.  The picture of the group sign so that when I go to post the picture that I actually want I can reference the right group, things like that.  But still, sorting and labeling and cropping and color adjusting... it's gonna take a while to get through all this. :)

And then I had to find a starting place. I'm not keen on just going chronologically.  If people wanted that they could just go to the parade (or watch it on the news/Youtube/whatever if Chicago isn't geographically convenient).

So I had to sort into thematic groups.  Then decide which theme went first... anyway, an event like this gets a little time intensive when trying to blog it.

I've decided that my first theme will be signs.  If for no other reason than it's a theme I have for so many of the non-nature events I seem to cover.  

 I love the color in this one.  I mean, sure, the sentiments are awesome, but speaking photographically, the colors in these signs really pop.
 If you can't read this one, it says, "1975 - AT&T adopts a non-discrimination policy towards sexual orientation."  AT&T also had one about how early they offered same sex partner benefits, but I didn't get a good shot of it. :(  Anyway, 1975 is pretty impressive.  That's only 6 years after the Stonewall Riots.  Amazingly, in the US, there are still companies and organizations that still don't include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination language. :( - again.
 Legalizing gay marriage in Illinois was a big theme this year.  Last year everyone was celebrating the very recent legislation in New York and this year we had the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and Civil Unions in Illinois, but that just spurs people into wanting *full* equality.
 Another ACLU sign.
And this sign from Office Max.  It's cute... I just know that it is, unfortunately, still not the world's greatest idea with some employers.

On the flipside, I did love their balloon art.  the big balls are their signature rubber band ball.  The balloon Pride Flag I put up on yesterday's post was theirs too.

Okay, tomorrow (probably several 'tomorrow's) will be more signs.  I'm actually still doing a lot of the sorting and editing, but there were buckets and buckets of signs that caught my interest.  :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Chicago Gay Pride Parade - Post 1 - 6.24.12

So today was Chicago's Gay Pride Parade.  It's the second largest parade we have all year.  Due to that (850,000 people watching!) they rearranged the route this year, starting it out in Uptown.  More or less just up the block from me.  So, of course, I grabbed my camera, packed a cooler and headed out. :)

Now like the Zombie March, I feel I should give a mild 'warning' to the regular readers of my blog.  The Chicago Gay Pride Parade celebrates all forms of sexuality, all forms of sex and embraces all body types.  To that end there are very frank signs about sex/sexuality, sexually explicit gestures and posters and many of the parade participants are not at all ashamed of their bodies and wear very little.  This can include topless women.

So if you or someone likely to look over your shoulder is sensitive to this sort of thing, you may wish to look away.  I'll try to make sure that at least the first image in each post would make it past the U.S. censors for network prime time, but after that...   That said, this is a family event.  People bring their kids of all ages and the event is broadcast on t.v. so it isn't *that* 'adult'.

The first set of images I've pulled are pretty random, but a lot of fun.  Starting tomorrow, things will get grouped in their regular collections for each post.

 With all the millions of rainbow flags I saw today, these balloon flags were probably my favorite.  They were part of (I think) the Office Max group.  I just love the density of the color and the not perfect straightness of the lines.
Speaking of flags, I really wish this had come out a little sharper.  The two flags and the tons of bubbles?  Very, very fun image.

 And, of course, there had to be a few characters we'd recognize.  For the non-locals, this is Benny the Bull.  He's the mascot for Chicago's NBA Basketball Team.  He was dancing in that outfit, on top of the bus, in the 91 degree heat.  Ouch.  He was really working the rainbow flag cape, though. :)
The little androgynous Android dudes holding hands is always adorable.  Google's been there every year I have, but the little Android guys have only been there the last few.  I love that they're okay with people possibly thinking their little character might be gay.

 This is hard to see, unfortunately.  This is a middle aged woman, twirling a baton as part of one of the (many, many) politicians' groups.  If you make the shot bigger (or squint), you'll see the baton in midair.
 This is one of my favorite groups every year.  The Chicago Cowboys.  They always seem to be having such an amazingly good time!
 Now, we all know I'm not one for portraits, but I really do love this shot.  She was (if I recall correctly) part of one of the first ACTIVE duty military gay/lesbian groups.  I think she's adorable and seems to be having such a good time.
There will be a whole post on the amazing costumes of the samba group, but I really loved the surprised expression on this girl's face.

... And now for a couple of shots that those with certain sensitivities might want to pass by...

 This girl was with a vegetarian protest group.  She has on no shirt.  She is painted.  Someone painted an elephant right on her skin.  It takes looking at her for a second (or from the back) to realize that it's not a bodice or corset, that it's just body paint.
And then this last one gets the award for the most 'head-scratchy' costume.

Look carefully.  His 'skirt' doesn't wrap all the way around him.  There's a gap on his left leg (right side of the picture).  Which means it has to be held up with something like strong tape or spirit gum.  I've used spirit gum in theater.  It is *never* fun to pull off your skin. 

Let me just say, I hope that manscaping goes at least a few more inches south or pulling off that gum is going to take hair and *that* would be really, really, really unpleasant!

Okay, so there's ten to start us off with.  Tomorrow we'll start with things in proper groups. :)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Zombie March Chicago 2012 - Post 7 - Random Zombies - June 16, 2012

Last Zombie Post!  Okay, for the most part, I like the zombies to have a schtick or fit into a theme or something, but sometimes a random zombie is just a cool random zombie.

 Hippy zombies.  I suppose their motto would be "make blood not war... wait, no... war is fine.  Carry on"?
 I'm not even going to try to guess why he's wearing Spongebob arm floaties, but I have to give a shout out to my alma matar zombie.  Go Redbirds. ;)
 All I could think of when I saw this guy was, "OMG, did you not check the weather?"  He's wearing a mask, a wig and a full coverall with boots... and it was 95 degrees out the day of the march.  And he stayed in that entire outfit the entire time.  I cannot imagine how he didn't either pull it off or pass out.

But I'll give him this... it is creepy.
 She was actually the first zombie I featured back on post number one for this year.  This is her whole outfit.  And she had a 'twin'.  Or at least someone else dressed very similarly, clearly meant to be a zombie of the same species.

Want to play a game of "Where's Waldo"?  Can you find the photographer (me) in this picture?  I'm in it.
 Are you my mummy?

Another suitably creepy costume that I cannot imagine how the guy stayed in it in 95 degree weather for three hours.
And of course, you gotta love the zombie who takes the time to make a random kid smile.

Okay, that's it for the zombies.  Next up: tomorrow's parade!

Zombie March Chicago 2012 - Post 6 - Zombie Crashers - June 16, 2012

So this post is called "Zombie Crashers".  Weirdly enough I don't mean "a nice normal event crashed by a few zombies".  Instead I mean "a zombie event crashed by a few normal people"!

You might remember last year that there was the wedding (Quinceanera?) that did "Thriller" for the Zombies.

Unfortunately for us, this year there wasn't anything quite that interesting.  On the flip side... there were a lot of people coordinating things in groups at The Bean while the Zombies congregated.

 This was apparently an actual, regular, Flash Mob.  A group called "Move It" came up to The Bean and did a dance to "Move It" from Madagascar.  They didn't seem to have been overly prepared or rehearsed, since everyone seemed to be following the two girls on the right in sunglasses and not really moving as a choreographed group.  It apparently had something to do with getting up off the couch and exercising, but honestly, they never really did explain who they were or what their point was.  It's possible that the amassing of 2000 zombies had them slightly stunned.

 Then there was this guy as we came up Michigan Avenue.  Now, I'm all for public protest and the First Amendment and all that, but I tend to think it works better when you know you're reaching the people who are making the decision you're objecting to.  So I have no idea how this is going to get him visitation with his kid.

The other pretty annoying thing?  He was standing in the middle of the sidewalk as we crossed Michigan and he refused to move.  So we've got this mass of humanity trying to beat the light so we can stay together and we had to bob and weave around this guy.
 Do Quinceaneras have 'bridesmaids'?  I saw several groups with a girl in what was very much (to me) either a Disney Princess dress or an 80's-ish Prom Dress, who had several similarly-dressed attendants.  And they had what looked like a groom's party too.  Guys in similar tuxes.  Very weird to me.

<----- And then there was this.  I'm assuming some kind of wardrobe malfunction, but I can't imagine what it is that needed to be fixed right there in the middle of the plaza, like that.  It looks... a tad odd.

There was a regular wedding.  I didn't get any regular shots - there were too many tall people in front of me.  But I could see them all in The Bean.  See all the girls in black dresses with big yellow bouquets of flowers?  Yeah... wedding group.  You can see the bride in the middle of the line, slightly forward.

So... yeah.  A lot of interesting events crashing the zombie crashing. ;)

Almost done!  Which is good, because tomorrow is the Chicago Gay Pride parade.  I'm sure I'll have few thousand photos to share after that! :)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Zombie March Chicago 2012 - Post 5- The Signs of The Apocolypse (beta) - June 16, 2012

First... the reminder: NOTE to the regular readers who are used to cute, fluffy squirrels and happy little song birds...  These zombie posts contain exactly what you'd think of when you hear "zombie".  A lot of stage make-up gray faces and latex flesh wounds and currant-juice fake blood.  If this is not what you signed on for, please feel free to look away now.  Personally, I found it all to be a lot of "Hey look someone in make up", but some people on the street were legitimately startled by some of the participants.

 So there were just a few more signs I wanted to share.

 So I heard this thing long before I saw it.  I don't think mufflers were required in... I don't know, 1922 or whatever.

Anyway, I see this sign on an old car.  I honestly thought it was a coincidence since the walk was more than three-quarters done, so I didn't think it had anything to do with us.
 Then I saw the side.  I swear I've seen this car before.  I can't remember where - maybe just toodling around Chicago somewhere - bit it looked really familiar.  So I'm staring and staring, trying to remember where I've seen it when I realize... this thing has no driver!
Then the car pulled up a little more and I could see the guy inside.  And his friend.  I guess they were with us after all. :)

 And then there was this...

Not exactly what you'd expect from a brain-munching zombie. :)

Okay, a few more pics of just random bits and pieces are up next!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Zombie March Chicago 2012 - Post 4 - The Signs of The Apocolypse (alpha) - June 16, 2012

So... I got a bit of interesting feedback on my second Zombie March post for this year.  I made the comment that I wasn't sure if it wasn't 'too soon' for Zombie Amy Winehouse, given that she died less than a year ago.  Someone kindly pointed out that Zombie AW had actually originated back in 2007, long before she actually died.  Which just got me to thinking... I was a little ponderous about the AW zombie, because it seemed to me, that on some level, it was making a statement about a real person who was actually dead.

And yet I had no second thoughts about Obama-zombie.  I guess because unlike Amy Winehouse, he doesn't show self-destructive tendencies that would result in a real death at a young age.  I think.  I'm not sure.  I'm suddenly very introspective about how the kind of zombie you dress as says something about a person.

The same person said they found this sign more disturbing than the Amy Winehouse zombie because it was much more recent.
Now, to be fair, it was a good half-an-hour after I first saw this sign that the joke registered for me.

I make bath salts.  You know, scented epsom salts or sea salt that you toss into your actual bathtub.

I have never been a part of, or even had a high interest in, the illegal drug culture.

So it took me a while to remember that there is a mind/mood-altering substance out there called 'bath salts' that have nothing to do with actually cleaning your skin.  And that the use of them has caused some 'real zombie attacks' in the past couple months.  Apparently in a few cases, people who have gotten high on the stuff have killed others and then literally eaten a part of that person.

Pretty gross, right?

So now I *get* the joke, but I think because I was only peripherally aware of these cases as 15-second news bits, they don't have a lasting impact on me.  Maybe people with a lot more interest in zombie legend and cosplay have a greater interest and identification with these stories.  Because once I got the joke I was like, "Oh!  I get it.  Yeah, that makes sense now.  Next!"

So... it's interesting.  I mean, zombies are supposed to be, on some level, disturbing.  But to actually contemplate why some zombies are more disturbing or 'problematic' for some people is just *not* something I ever saw myself putting a lot of brain power into.  And yet...

Anyway!  There were signs!  Zombies with signs.  I always find the signs people carry at any parade/march/protest interesting.  I took many hundreds of pictures of signs at the John Stewert/Stephen Colbert rally in Washington D.C. a few years ago.

There were so many signs that I didn't even attempt to blog them all.  I made a music video out of a handful of my favorites, though.  I could have sworn I linked that here, but I can't find it if I did.  So just in case... here it is again.

Anyway, some of the zombies had signs!

This one was particularly noticable because there was very little lurching this year.  Apparently lurching takes more energy than walking and slows down the process.  Since it was about 93 degrees (F) during the march, no one was up for either wasting energy or going slower.
I like this one because of the hand silhouetted behind it.  It looks like someone's trying to claw through the sign to get away from the monsters.
Apparently "Zombie Rights" are a hot-button issue in the undead community right now.
And, of course, there has to be the Undead of the Occupy Movement represented.

I just hope she isn't implying that 99% of Chicago is zombies. :)

Okay, tomorrow will be one more quick post on signs. :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Zombie March Chicago 2012 - Post 3, The Zombie is in the Details - June 16, 2012

I missed more shots on this topic than I got, but one of the things I adore about the Zombie March is some people's attention to the details.

 So it's a Zombie in a hat... cute, right?  Then you read his shirt.  And crack up.  Well, at least I did.  Dude, you just got turned into a zombie... not so lucky, I'd say.  But no one asked me, right? :)
 A lot of people have plain t-shirts that they don't mind tearing and bloodying up so I didn't pay a lot of attention to the t-shirts until I happened to be walking behind this girl.  This as a zombie shirt is an awesome piece of cognitive dissonance.
Photo fail in a big way. :(

If you can't piece together what her shirt says under her hair, it's "LA [something] Work Release".  But the awesome detail is in her left hand.  She's got the hand of the person she was handcuffed to before she 'broke away from the chain gang'.

There were lots of awesome make up effects - I showed you Zipper Face in the first post and Snow White's eyes and Wraith Girl's eyes in the second and first post respectively, but sometimes it's just a little thing that you might not ever see unless you get behind the right Zombie.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Zombie March Chicago 2012 - Post 2, Zomb-ody You Might Recognize - June 16, 2012

NOTE to the regular readers who are used to cute, fluffy squirrels and happy little song birds...  These zombie posts contain exactly what you'd think of when you hear "zombie".  A lot of stage make-up gray faces and latex flesh wounds and currant-juice fake blood.  If this is not what you signed on for, please feel free to look away now.  Personally, I found it all to be a lot of "Hey look someone in make up", but some people on the street were legitimately startled by some of the participants.

One of the big schticks for Zombie March is to be a famous, infamous or at least recognizable zombie.  These were the ones that I could recognize.

 I posted this one the other night.  This is Amy Winehouse and her (apparent) husband, someone named Blake.

There was a tiny part of me that asked 'is it a bit too early for the dead Amy Winehouse bits', but I'm not sure what the etiquette is when deciding who's Zombie Fair Game.
 Then there was Zomb-ama.  This guy liked working the crowd.  And before you ask, I'm not 100% sure what the red thing at the split in his pants is supposed to be.
 The Scoobie-Doo Crew finally lost their battle with the guy in the mask!  Poor Scoobie *really* got the raw end of the deal.

This was pretty funny.  I mean, to go to the trouble to get coordinated but not matching t-shirts and the make the box and then bloody it.  I love that it's finger-smears across the 'face' and then there's a heart of blood on the zombie on the left.

 Then there was the Disney Zombie Crew.  Snow White, Pocahontas (I think) Rapunzel, Tinkerbell with Peter Pan behind her, Belle, Cinderella, the Prince from Little Mermaid and Ariel herself.

This crew did some nice details in the make up.  Like look how "Ariel" used make up to really accent her ribs and make her look all emaciated and sunken.

I isolated a few of them to make the details easier to see.  Snow White didn't carry an apple - she had a bloody brain.  And also contacts.  The contacts are still the one thing that will totally throw me when I don't expect to see weird eyes.

And while these aren't people whose names you would know, I'm sure we're all familiar with the ubiquitous Wal-Mart Greeter.

Well if you look closely (or click on to blow up) the little yellow tags under their names, you'll see that these are "Wal-Mart People Grrrrr-eaters."

Very, very clever!

Speaking of details, tomorrow I'll put up the post where the little things in a costume or make-up make all the difference.