Talk Description to Me

Episode 57 - Pride!

June 26, 2021 Christine Malec and JJ Hunt Season 2 Episode 57
Talk Description to Me
Episode 57 - Pride!
Chapters
3:21
First Impressions of Pride
6:39
Nudity!
9:04
The Description tent
14:57
Live Describing Justin Trudeau
17:33
BLM protest
22:06
Parade Participants
29:43
The Signs
35:13
The After Party
Talk Description to Me
Episode 57 - Pride!
Jun 26, 2021 Season 2 Episode 57
Christine Malec and JJ Hunt

There's nothing quite like the delightful, exuberant, emotional, titillating, joyful, emboldening, dramatic, euphoric, dance-tastic pleasure of being at a Pride parade. To celebrate Pride month, Christine and JJ do their best to conjure the glorious vibe of Pride with description-rich tales of Toronto's legendary parade.

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/TalkDescriptionToMe)

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

There's nothing quite like the delightful, exuberant, emotional, titillating, joyful, emboldening, dramatic, euphoric, dance-tastic pleasure of being at a Pride parade. To celebrate Pride month, Christine and JJ do their best to conjure the glorious vibe of Pride with description-rich tales of Toronto's legendary parade.

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/TalkDescriptionToMe)

JJ Hunt:

Talk description to me with Christine Malec and JJ Hunt.

Christine Malec:

Hi, I'm Christine Malec.

JJ Hunt:

And I'm JJ Hunt. This is talk description to where the visuals of current events and the world around us get hashed-out in description rich conversations.

Christine Malec:

So it's time to grab your feather boa and put on your sequined boxers, because we're going to talk pride. It is Pride Month Pride Week, it's pride day, every day of the year. So this is a month when pride parades happen. Well in the real, you know, pre pandemic times when when pride parades were happening. And JJ and I have a quite a lovely history together about this. And so in this episode, we are going to talk about what pride looks like and specifically pride parades, and even more specifically pride parades in Toronto. And when we talked about this beforehand, we talked about, you know, should we cover from different places. And the truth is, there's a certain sameness, which is absolutely delightful about pride parades. And so we thought we'd stick with what we know and what we've experienced. And so our experience together. Pride is with JJ has done live describing of the parade. And we're going to be drawing from from that. And I've been a spectator in the accessibility tent enjoying the live description. So we've had some some lively and memorable times there. And some of some of that will come up in our conversation too. But I think it's really helpful to set some context, if you've never been to a pride event or a pride parade. I was blown away The first time I went, I've never experienced anything so joyful and celebratory and inclusive. And it's not to say that there are not serious issues at play. And sometimes it for sure each time I've been to a pride event, there'll be a sign or a group or some vignettes that will make me tear up. And sometimes there are there are serious, systemic things being referenced in in the signs on the floats. And so it's not that it's just jubilation back to front. But it mostly is. And it's very, very, in your face jubilation if, if that makes any sense. And it feels like a place where there is space for everybody. And it's it's a party. And it's a celebration of of sexuality, and of just human. Just human exuberance. JJ, what were your first impressions when you first started attending pride parades.

JJ Hunt:

So I started going to pride parades in my university days, I had some friends who had a condo right on the parade route. And so we would go, it was wonderful because we could go into their condo and have a few drinks cool down in their air conditioning, and then go down to the parade where they were throngs of people, massive parties, huge celebrations. And then when it started to get overwhelming again, we'd go back up to the condo, take a breather, and there's a really sweet, but let me my impressions of it were just like you're talking about that, that joy, that that incredible feeling of all of these different groups of people getting together and celebrating and that was, you know, probably close to 15 years ago, maybe 20 years ago that I was doing that. And it has grown even broader since like the number of different groups that are participating that are that are marching as as a community in and of itself. The number of those groups have really expanded the the definition You know, they're a few more letters put on that acronym [initialism]. the LGBTQ community has grown and grown and, and the parade has grown with it. It's just, it's just such a fantastic warm event. I love it and I miss it so dearly.

Christine Malec:

I know it's so painful this time this year. And so when you talk about it being hot, that's one thing I associate because it's always at the end of June and baking, you know It's always a steaming hot. And it's wall to wall people. You know, the parade route is is car free. So there's just people wall to wall on the sidewalks and everybody's joyful. Everyone's a real party mood.

JJ Hunt:

It really is massive. Toronto's Pride Parade has grown to be almost a million people attend the parade. Now and, and the route is two kilometers long. And it can take up to five hours for the for the parade to pass any one spot because there are hundreds of floats, groups, organizations, corporations that are participating. And yes, as you said, there's lots and lots of sexy partying, right water guns, loud dance, music, glitter cannons, all of that is, is front and center that conventional beautiful bodies on display outrageous costumes. But like you said, there are also other people, other groups, other ideas, other versions of love and beauty that are on display. And you can find some really sweet moments. There are some really lovely sentiments that are on display. And I mean that like literal sentiments on signs and banners, but also, some interactions of the participants are you know, can be really sweet. And like you said, the protests are also there. It is a political March at heart. So protest, anger, defiance, that's always part of pride as well.

Christine Malec:

Very much so very much. So lots of the signage and the groups there are about change, social change, political change. And before we dive into the specifics of some of that stuff, I kind of want to start big, let's talk nudity.

JJ Hunt:

Ha ha!

Christine Malec:

So you see a lot of flamboyance at pride. But you also see just a lot of plain, plain old fashioned skin.

JJ Hunt:

Yeah, there's everything from people in in full ball gowns and outrageous giant costumes to people who are wearing nothing at all. So there are some people who March or ride bicycles, in nothing, some people who use body paint, to adorn or cover parts of their body. And then some people who are wearing outfits that are revealing, right, maybe these are leather outfits and straps and some whips and chains. Sometimes that's out sometimes, you know, a topless men and women. Really, it's all over the place. Just a quick story. When I started doing this, my kids were quite a bit younger. And I remember one year I went to the parade, and I had a wonderful time. And my wife took the kids. And they were running one was like a baby. And the other one was, you know, my now teenager was then just barely older than the toddler. And there's a family section to the, to the Pride Parade. And you know, so they've been running around and playing the kids games and doing all of that had a great time. And then after the parade a couple days later, I was just wanting to relive it a little bit. And so I went online, and I was calling up some photos on the Internet of the parade. And my, my now teenager was sitting on my lap bouncing up and down looking at all the pictures. And there were groups of people going by in these pictures completely naked, or you know, wearing leather gear. And this little kid hadn't said a word about any of that, hadn't noticed any of it. As a participant, as a kid, they were just interested in the games and the in the candy and whatever. They hadn't noticed any of the nudity! But then seeing these photos they were like, "Hold on, Dad, you didn't tell me I didn't need to wear my pants."

Christine Malec:

Oh ha ha ha!

JJ Hunt:

"I could have been naked the whole time?" I'm like "Yeah, no, not really. Not really cool."

Christine Malec:

Not so much. I never thought about navigating that whole experience. I didn't know there was a family section. That's really, that's really cool. Um, so why don't we try imagining we're in one spot and just, you know, parades as such are sometimes a bit mysterious. And so any parade, the logistics may be a bit unclear. So give us a sense of what what was what is happening if you're one spot in the parade route.

JJ Hunt:

So if you were at our spot, the accessibility tent that is specifically set up for audio description, so there are half a dozen different accessibility spots along the route and they you know, there are different focuses and one there'll be ASL interpreters. In another there will be ramps that lead to higher platform so that if you are seated, if you're in a wheelchair, you have a better vantage point. So there are different places along the route to see the parade, the accessibility tent that that you and I have been to before the the audio description tent, it is right up against the fence. So there are fences that line young Street, young street being a main downtown Street, four lanes wide. And there are fences, you know, waist high metal barriers that keep the crowd back and the crowd packs up against them. So our accessibility tent, we fence off a little area with, with a covering in a tent over top, but open sides so that we can pack in a lot of chairs, people can, you know, pull up in a wheelchair, or mobility scooter, if that's what they desire. And then I lean over the fence with a microphone, usually they remember to set up a microphone for me. And there are speakers that are pointed at inside of our tent. So the participants don't have headphones or anything, there are speakers, which means there's a bit of audio bleed. So some of the people around the accessibility tent, the description tent, they're getting the audio to, and then from all of the buildings, because this is a big Street, there are condos and hotels and in restaurants with apartments over top, there are people leaning out of balconies and you know, with having their own parties and condos all around. So there are glitter cannons going off from up there, and people with water guns in the you know, in their hotel rooms squirting into the crowd, and it's big and loud. And once when the parade starts, there are so many floats that have audio elements like DJs on floats, that the soundscape can be massive. And occasionally, you'll get a break between floats because, you know, one group has stopped to dance or party or get they've got some kind of routine worked out. And so there'll be a gap. But mostly, it's one big float with loud music followed by a smaller group of people followed by a medium sized group with party, you know, whatever, it's one group after another. And that's how we're physically arranged to take in this this event.

Christine Malec:

There's so much going on. I feel like you're I would be exhausted in the first 30 seconds. Is that is that a challenge for you?

JJ Hunt:

Yeah, it really is. I have to be when I'm working the parade, just open really open, I've got to take it all in. And you know, there are those gaps, like I said, between floats. And so those are the opportunities to describe what's going on in the buildings across the street and what the police look like who are standing guard and you know, following the following the parade. And then when a group is coming, I kind of have to try and time my description of whatever it is that's happening with the gap in the music. So I might describe "Okay, so coming up is going to be this..." because by the time it gets there, there's no chance to describe it. The music is just so loud and pounding. And then the other thing that we really have to look out for in the accessibility tent is there are lots of people handing out, you know, whatever, swag, stickers and fans and beaded necklaces. They're handing this out all up and down the route. But with the accessibility tent, I find that there's there's an extra desire to be inclusive and people come right over and come into the tent or spray with their squirt guns into the tent. And you've got to let people know that in the description tent!

Christine Malec:

Ha ha ha!

JJ Hunt:

There's a lot of people who are blind and low vision, so it's like "Squirt gun coming!"

Christine Malec:

Ha ha. I appreciated those warnings. I really did.

JJ Hunt:

Now how did, how do you feel about the attention that you get? Like, did people come up and like want to put necklaces around you and hand you swag? How do you feel about that attention?

Christine Malec:

Yeah, that was a little weird there. There's an anonymity that you get in a crowd. But in that instance, there was definitely no anonymity. And so in a way, it was uncomfortable from time to time, but it was so beautiful. Like it was just part of the big vibe of inclusivity and big heartedness. And so there would be times when blind and low vision people who I was there with, we you just sort of stick your hand out on people as they would go by they just like slap your hand on the way by right and it's like a fun, a funny way to connect with people going by or even. I think I remember once I had my hand I just brushed by some sequined gown or was going by so it's it's it's a mixed bag. But for the most part, it's it's quite amazing really to have a seat right up against the fence. I mean, that's Primo right? People would get their hours or hours hours early just for that and just have a seat is a you know, a treat and to be so close. There was definitely, you know, worth being a part of us but everyone's there's the sense in which everyone's there to be a spectacle like you. It's hard to be there as a passive observer. I mean, I guess people do but there's a way in which once you're there, you're you're there like you can't pretend you're not there. So I wonder for you about what's it like To live describe people as they're going by,

JJ Hunt:

It can be a bit unnerving. And you know, there have been some times when the, you know, over the course of the event, someone in the crowd jostles one of the the speakers, which is standing on a big post or something, and the speakers will get turned more and more toward the street. So not only are the spectators hearing the description, but participants are hearing the description. And that's kind of the worst, to have to describe people to people, especially when there are frankly, there are issues with pronouns, there's issues with gender. It can be really challenging. I'm - we're - trying to describe what we see. But sometimes it's like, am I describing this person who's walking down the parade route as a man in a dress, or a drag queen? Or is this a woman? How does this person identify? It can be a little bit challenging on the political side. I've never had anyone give me any trouble. And in fact, I've had some lovely moments where you start describing someone, and they're like, "Oh, it's my moment!" right?

Christine Malec:

Huck huck huck!

JJ Hunt:

So they start posing, and they do a little bit of voguing or whatever. And I've had a couple of really nice like, Justin Trudeau, our Prime Minister has participated. He was the first the first prime minister to participate in the Pride Parade. And he's been going I think, every year since he took office, and I, I've had the experience of having Justin Trudeau walking toward me, like the first year that he went, I guess it was 2016. And he comes marching down, and I decided to have a little bit of fun with it. Because the crowds started going wild. There'd been rumors like "I hear the Prime Minister is going to come out!" "The Prime Minister is going to come!" So there was some excitement. As the Prime Minister is approaching the crowd's going a little bit crazy. And so I decided to have some fun and go "Okay, so there's a, there's a very handsome man approaching."

Christine Malec:

Ha ha ha!

JJ Hunt:

"He's tall, he's fit. He's got dark curly hair, beaming with a very, very bright smile, salmon colored linen color shirt, white jeans. He's soaked with the water from squirt guns, he's interactercting with - ladies and gentlemen! Oh my goodness, can you believe it? It's the Prime Minister!" You know, just have a little bit of fun with it.

Christine Malec:

Ya, ya.

JJ Hunt:

And then while I'm doing that description, he caught me. So he made eye contact with me while I was describing him and I thought, well, this doesn't happen every day.

Christine Malec:

Not for him either!

JJ Hunt:

No, I guess not.

Christine Malec:

Now it wasn't until quite a bit later, that, JJ, you told me a bit more content about the Prime Minister's appearance that didn't make it into your live description. And I was hugely entertained. And it was a provocative story too. Very thought provoking. So can you can you explain what else was going on that you didn't describe on the speaker's?

JJ Hunt:

Yeah, that year 2016, the first year that the prime minister was there was also the year that the Black Lives Matter group was the honored group. So every year, there's an honored group honored guests, and they lead the parade. And so black lives matter was leading the parade, Justin Trudeau was coming. So there was a, there was a lot of excitement and a bit of tension about some of these things. And so the Black Lives Matter group, they were the first. They marched down the parade first as the honored group. And it, you know, thinking back, I'm remembering that they were all people of color dressed in black, marching in formation. So a lot of people are just like participating in the parade. These folks were marching! And they had their fists held in the air, for a while they all had smoke canisters. So all the members of the group had smoke canisters with different colored smoke, and marching down. Really very, very, very strong. So I describe that group, they go down past us, and then there's a bit of a gap. And then the gap gets longer and longer and nothing's happening. And people in the tent are starting to wonder what's going on. People in the crowd are asking "What? Why? This parade seems to have stopped." And then someone, the rumor starts to spread that there's a protest, there's a protest. And what the rumors were was that Black Lives Matter had, a few blocks down from where we were, stopped the parade right when it was getting started. And they plunked themselves down in the middle of a major intersection and refused to move and they had a list of demands. And this was the rumor that people are starting to check their phones and everyone's asking me "Can you tell us what's going on? Tell us what's going on." But I can't see anything from where I am. So someone pulled up photos on their phone. They handed that to me and I described what was going on. That the protesters were sitting in the street from Black Lives Matter, the smoke cannons had covered the intersection with smoke -- smoke canisters. And this went on and on. 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, and I've described every building in the neighborhood, I've described everything I could, but nothing's moving forward. And then I noticed, on top of the buildings across the street, on top of some of the taller buildings, there were police officers in full black uniforms, with black helmets. And I'm thinking, Oh, my goodness, there are snipers on the rooftops. And my general policy is, if it's

Christine Malec:

It's true. I was stunned. And I still think happening, if I can see it, I'm going to describe it. But I'm now the man with the microphone. And the speakers are, they're pointed out to the crowd. Can I be the guy who announces to this parade route, that there are snipers on the roof tops?! I didn't see any weapons, there was no moment of actual genuine concern. But it felt a bit like yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater. And I had to make a decision. It was the only time I've ever had to do this as a describer. I had to make a decision to not describe something that I saw, because I thought it would be dangerous. I thought it would, it could cause chaos. And I might have made a different decision had participants had headphones. So I could say to the small group of maybe 25 or 30 people, "Hey, folks, just to let you know, nothing to be alarmed about. But visually, here's something. Here's here's something that's going on in our environment." But I couldn't possibly, I just couldn't do it with the with the speakers pointed at the crowd. And so ultimately, the protest moved on, the parade continued. The snipers disappeared. And, you know, a few minutes later, or whatever, an hour later the Prime Minister came marching by. But it was, it was quite a moment. Yeah, I think it was years after that you and I talked about that. I finally told you that that had actually happened because I kept it kind of quiet for a while. I didn't know what to do with that. about it. And I feel like there's a whole course to be taught in the audio description school about that incident. Because, you know, I don't know what the right i think you probably did the right thing. But it's, it's it's fraught. It's very fraught. Let's talk about some of the groups and the signs that go by because this is the one of the most delightful things and maybe one of the most challenging things for describing because there's just so much but the in the description, you get this rapid fire of just bang, bang, bang, bang, and all of these, like, funny or touching or quirky signs that go by and groups. So can we just kind of do a blow by of some of the things you you have seen and that have been in the parade.

JJ Hunt:

There are so many groups like hundreds, literally hundreds of groups, social groups, businesses, community organizations, political outfits, activists, anyone is invited to participate. You know, you have to register in advance there are, you know, their fees and whatnot. But there are so many different groups of people. And they're there. They're all different, right? So you've like one of the first groups that usually comes by the dykes on bikes. These are women on motorcycles like sports bikes, Harley's Vespas, side cars, and the motorcycles are adorned with rainbow flags and boas and they usually stop every once in a while rev their bikes and get often, you know, they'll share a few kisses with the crowd and they'll wave and do whatever is that's the dykes on bikes then they go by, and then there are like the nude cyclists, and they are exactly like it sounds, people of all body types, some wearing nothing at all. Some wearing body paint, some wearing, you know, some kind of undergarment just for comfort reasons. But the nude cyclists go by ringing the bells a crowd always digs those folks. Another example of like a, here's a group I wasn't expecting they showed up a few years ago. Kerfluffle. So these are pride furries. People dressed in

Christine Malec:

Titter. animal heads, like the kind of animal head you would wear if you were like a sports mascot or something. And often they have matching paws and feet. But they're otherwise generally bare chested, or maybe wearing like athletic spandex. And these are just people who enjoy dressing up in these. as furries. There are people who enjoy dressing up in these mascot like costumes. So they've got a group that goes by and sometimes they dance and have performance. Sometimes there are a few sports teams like there's like a men's rugby team, and they will have a couple of set plays worked out so along the parade route, the rugby team will stop and they'll, you know, have a little play that's sorted out and someone throws the ball and whatever the there's a water polo team does the same thing. And they're speedos they're always there well like and then they're like these groups that coalesce around ideas of culture or nationality, right so people from various communities gather and March as those groups so indigenous to spirited groups, the South Asian pride groups, the queer Asian Youth groups like this. And here you get really interesting and dramatic performers and participants wearing glamorous costumes that meld the kind of traditional garb of whatever their, their cultural nationality has, and kind of gay glamour. So you get these really interesting performers and participants, and trying to describe that live can be really difficult, because I don't know what's the traditional Filipino dress that is being mashed together with a ball gown from a pageant or something. It's really wild. And then there are church groups that participate. So the proud Anglicans, the proud Catholics, there are civic institutions like school boards, firefighters, Union City Hall, and everyone shows up so LGBTQ employees, their families, their allies, they all marched together, they wave to the crowd. And these groups tend to have like big families, right? People pushing strollers, people zipping back and forth from side to side and their mobility scooters, and they're handing out the swag. And then there were the corporate floats, right? These are the big flatbed trucks. And on the backs of the trucks are our parties. They're just moving parties. And there are people wearing sponsored shirts, usually. So you know, whatever the group is, whatever the corporation is, they've handed out shirts to all of their employees and people who are marching in the parade. And then maybe some people take those shirts and they cut them into tank tops, and they tie them under their breasts or they snip the bottom along the hem to create like a fringe on this corporate shirt. Sometimes there's a theme to the float. But like generally, these floats are not elaborate or character driven or theme driven like floats in a Thanksgiving parade or a Santa Claus parade. Not quite like that. Usually, it's more like, there's a DJ and there are banks of speakers. And then there are sexy people in the colors of the company who are up on top of the float dancing with squirt guns and whatnot. Maybe there's a miked up drag queen and an outrageous gown who's hosting this kind of roving party from atop the float maybe there's a local celebrity waving from a convertible lead car or partying with the dancers on the truck. So like a classic example would be TD Bank. TD Bank is always at the Toronto Pride Parade. So they'll have hunks and very lean women dancing on the float wearing bright green speedos, bikinis, and hot pants, green being the color of the bank. And the truck might be bedecked in green balloons, and like maybe green balloons and a rainbow. And, and maybe their logo will be featured on the front of the truck in glitter, green glitter. And maybe they're gonna have a corporate slogan on all of the shirts that says something like, I don't know, "TD - the future is equal" or "TD - Love knows no limits", whatever. And then all around the float are dozens and dozens of employees, friends and family. They're wearing the corporate t shirts. And they're the ones who are hanging out handing out the swag to everyone. Now, here's something that never actually occurred to me because I was thinking about that right before you described it, how even the corporate floats are like the tdsb there'd be people dancing on a flatbed, like naked or topless or something. And I was thinking about that, that vibe where anything goes. But the descriptions are always so quick that I never had time to wonder, the really good looking people you allude to say on the TD float? Are they paid talent? Or are they just bank employees who happen to be really attractive?

JJ Hunt:

Heh heh heh. I think a lot of those folks are inviteed. Whether they're paid or not, or whether they're just like, you know, pulled out of the dance clubs or whatnot. It tends to be for a lot of the corporate floats that people who are on the float are. That's that's more organized and you are invited to be on that float. People who are around that's where you tend to get friends, employees and whatnot. I mean, I don't know if that's always the case with the tdsb the Toronto District School Board, they have they invite students to come up with students who build the float, actually good friend of ours, built the float a few years back had a giant pencil down the middle of the flatbed truck and all around the outside where were kids were students. My kids have been on that float before.

Christine Malec:

Hasn't Lois been on that float?

JJ Hunt:

Yeah, Lois was on the float with her pigtails in her rainbow colored elastics and baubles.

Christine Malec:

You were describing when she went by! I remember!

JJ Hunt:

Yeah! It was really it was really sweet to be you know, describing and then you know, there goes the lovely Lois on the school board float. It's really so much fun. It really is

Christine Malec:

It's hard to convey that sense of love. Like so nice and sweet. I don't want to be cheesy, but there's such a sense of love. It's a seller I mean, I said it's a celebration of sexuality. And it is. But it's also a celebration of love in this really getting misty eyed now remembering how that vibe of like just everybody is there to be happy about people loving each other. That's really what the theme is. And it's the vibe like, you feel that, you really do.

JJ Hunt:

And that's where a lot of the signs come in, right? Because these are people who are saying what they feel, and sometimes what they're what they want to, you know, share is his love for everyone else. Sometimes what they want to share is protest, right? Sometimes they want to make a joke, right? Whatever it is, they say it in the signs. And you know, we've talked about this with audio description, in general and in other conversations, but when you say things out loud, sometimes it has a greater impact than if you just read it in your head, right? If you hear it said out loud, and frankly, as the person who's doing the describing and actually saying these things, one after the other after the other. It's profound. So I didn't, I was thinking back and I remembered a few of my favorites. Like, you know, the, the, I can't remember what the group was, but there was a woman holding a sign that said, "Oy vey! My son is gay!" There are a few that I always remember, but I wasn't gonna have enough just based on my memory alone. So what I did was I went online and I, I googled, you know, pride signs from around North America. So here's a list of some favorites that I found online. Some of these you'll find in the Toronto Pride Parade. Some of them will be in whatever LA or New York or whatever. So I'll just run through a whole bunch. So I found one sign that said my FBI agent knows I'm gay. I like that one for a guy dressed like white Jesus. So long brown hair, a beard and wearing like a toga light garment, and he's got a sign that says, I'm cool with it. One sign that's labeled the gay agenda, and the sign is laid out like a weekly calendar. So it says Monday be gay. Tuesday, tacos Wednesday and Thursday, be gay Friday and Saturday, super gay. Sunday, March for our rights. I really like that one. A woman and a teenager standing side by side holding signs. And the woman's holding a sign that reads I heart my trans son, and the teen is holding a sign that reads I heart My Cis mom. How can you not read that and like oh, you know, get choked up. A man wearing outrageous spiked heels like ridiculous spiked heels and his sign said I get high with a little help from my shoes. Another sign says being gay is like glitter. It never goes away. A woman holding a sign that says queer and unapologetic. Just straightforward. Nothing, no glitter in that one just queer and unapologetic. A sign in the trans flag colors of blue, pink and white and a few of the words in her in this person's sign where were emojis and the sign reads, Mom, I'm an onion ring in your french fries. Unexpected but do you mind? That's awesome. Another sign that said a sexual pirate not interested in your booty are a woman wearing all black with a black rimmed glasses. She had a black leather sailor's cap with barbed wire wrapped around it. And on her bicycle on the front. She had a sign that said spank the patriarchy. Another sign saying I'm here. I'm queer. I have social anxiety. Please be nice. It was really sweet. One sign in made of cut out glittery letters of all the colors of the rainbow says resist. Now, brunch later. The big beefy muscle man and a bare chested guy in like these 1980s running shorts. And he had a sign that said I didn't choose to be gay. I just got lucky. And finally to beaming young women and they were together holding one sign that says love is a terrible thing to hate.

Christine Malec:

Oh, there's just so much love. And I remember that for me, the ones that really reached into my heart and crinkled it up were church groups or groups from cultures that are known to give a really hard time to their to their queer populations. And so the groups that had to make a conscious choice to step out of prejudices and traditions of hatred and oppression and those were what I found the most moving was like Catholics and United Church and Anglicans and Sikhs and you, you name it, there's representation from everybody, that's everybody and it's all there to say we just want to love each other for sure. So it's just it really it. I've never been to a pride event where I didn't cry because it's so touching and lovely.

JJ Hunt:

I spend so much time being on the edge of tears, describing, trying to hold it together. And then when it's all done, I go out and take my deep breath and I spend a few hours at the after party which is on Church Street.

Christine Malec:

Tell about the after party! I'm always too worn out for the after party. I go home and collapse, but what's the afterparty like?

JJ Hunt:

Well that's just it. I often just find a quiet corner -- ha! Quiet corner! There's no such thing as a corner! -- where I can just sit and and chill out and watch it all go by because you need to. It's so emotional. It really is.

Christine Malec:

I remember one of the most emotional pieces was one of the years there had been a shooting in a Florida nightclub a mass shooting which was hideous and it I'm thinking about this because of what you say about the power of speaking words and hearing them and there was a sign several signs that just listed every single name and you as a sighted person, you could look at that, and flu and shiver and sort of let your eyes slide away. But the describer which I'm pretty sure was you just read them just read every 18 or 19 people and and it was so powerful and I thought I'm I'm maybe having an experience here that sighted people aren't having because and that you were having it too that we didn't just go oh list of 19 as you read them all out loud and so there's intense moments of you know, reality checks in there too. But for the most part the the vibe is is so jubilant. What do you remember from some of the after party little vignettes that you saw.

JJ Hunt:

Oh the after parties are full of these moments. I mean... it's a crazy... so you've not been to the after party?

Christine Malec:

No, I'm limp and distraught by the time it's ll over. I need to go home a d have a sh

JJ Hunt:

It's packed! So the after party tends to be late afternoon into the evening and Church Street is jammed with people. So for over a kilometer, almost a full mile of the street, the entire street is as crowded as a nightclub dance floor. But what's interesting is it's not one uniform party. It's like a contiguous shifting mix of blended parties. So at the south end of the street, there are some official stages from the you know that brought to you by pride these takeover parking lots there are live acts and food trucks. And then as you move up the street north of that there are some pubs and their patios are just packed with people. And and there's often music from those patios it's blaring into the streets. And sometimes in those pubs and bars, at the front doors, or maybe standing in the windows, there are the drag queens are sexy models. Sometimes they're the very same folks that were in the parade on top of the floats. And they're kind of acting like Carnival Barkers to entice a particular kind of clientele. So the drag queen or the sexy model matches whoever the the Bar tends to cater to. And then you move further north on the street. And that's where you find the corporate party booths. These are like radio stations or brands that have a youthful party vibe. And they have set up booths, with dance floors in front of them. And these are not roped off spaces, right? These aren't separated, they're kind of delineated by the reach of their music. So as you're making your way up the street through this seemingly never ending crowd, you kind of have to pass through bubbles of music. So you'll pass through a bubble of EDM music where everyone's dancing to the beat of that music. And then that crowd just you keep going in the suddenly the bubble changes into pop music and then then you go through this bubble of classic rock music. And what's interesting is that the crowds do a fair bit of mixing, right so it doesn't feel like competing parties. It's more like taking like more like you've taken an outdoor Music Festival that's got a funk stage and a rock stage and an EDM stage. And you've crammed all of those different stages on the one street so that the crowds the partiers touch and even overlap. And that's the vibe on the street as you make your way through and again, everyone who is in the parade Not everyone, but all the types of people who were represented in the parade are now represented in the party. So you've got young, you've got old, you've got people in drag, you've got people wearing nothing at all and people having private quiet moments and people who are outrageously drunk and high and maybe have gone too far and are having a bit of a rough time in the corner and, and then you've got the Gawker's, the bros, who are like just running through with their horns and whistles and bells, and, you know, "Show us your --!" whatever.

Christine Malec:

Huck huck.

JJ Hunt:

And people are, you know, it's all everyone packed in. It's... Yeah. Not a moment for the for the shy or the timid. You kind of have to be ready to, to muck in if you're going to be at the after party. I remember one really lovely moment, two young women, and this is gonna sound sexier than it was. But these two young women were helping each other put on sunscreen and like, adjusting each other's nipple tassels, but not in a sexy way. They were like, you know, a couple of friends getting ready to go out to party together and they were just having a lovely moment. Like these are the kinds of sweet moments that are mixed with like wild sexy and outrageous and--

Christine Malec:

Thank you for that because we almost made it through the episode without using the words nipple tassle.

JJ Hunt:

Ha ha ha!

Christine Malec:

At the outset I said to myself, "we must must include the phrase nipple tassels!" and we hadn't gone to it. So thank you, I think I was gonna forget.

JJ Hunt:

Phew.

Christine Malec:

No pride episode would be complete without the words Nipple tassels.

JJ Hunt:

Nipple tassles. Ha ha ha.

Christine Malec:

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First Impressions of Pride
Nudity!
The Description tent
Live Describing Justin Trudeau
BLM protest
Parade Participants
The Signs
The After Party