Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Super Heroes! Montreal Pride Parade 2010

- Quote from Wikipedia."Pride parades for the LGBT community (also known as gay pride parades, pride events and pride festivals) are events celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) culture. The events also at times serve as demonstrations for legal rights such as same-sex marriage. Most pride events occur annually and many take place around June to commemorate the Stonewall riots, a pivotal moment in the modern LGBT rights movement." 

Brief history of the Stonewall Riots:
"Early on the morning of Saturday, 28 June 1969, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning persons rioted following a police raid on the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City.[1] The Stonewall Inn was a gay bar which catered to an assortment of patrons, but which was popular with the most marginalized people in the gay community: transvestites, transgender people, effeminate young men, hustlers, and homeless youth. The Stonewall riots are generally considered to be the beginning of the modern gay rights movement, as it was the first time in modern history that a significant body of LGBT people resisted arrest." - quote from Wikipedia.

Pride is a parade that happens in almost every country in the world including: Canada, USA, Oceania, Australia, Turkey, Spain, Slovenia, Serbia, Russia, Poland, Netherlands, Lithuania, Latvia, Bulgaria, England, Taiwan, Philippines, Israel,  India and South Africa. What I found unique and exciting about Montreal's cultural diversity is that pretty much all of these countries were represented in our parade.

This is the float for Gayradiobec.
Sunday just past, I worked the Montreal Pride Parade. It was my first time and alot of fun. The parade this year started very close to my house, over at St.Marc, along Rene Levesque. I thought this was a great idea since it I think it will help heterosexual society have more acceptance of the LGBT community. 

On a side note, something I find interesting is that the 1st Nations Communities traditionally consider LGBT individuals to be "two feathered" which translates to "twice blessed". It is considered that these individuals have extra blessings to be special in this way and so it is traditionally honored, most modern native people still feel this way (at least based on my experiences from the periods in my life when I was much closer to the native communities then I am here in Montreal). 

Cantelli's back, painted by artist, Elissa Baltzer.
For Pride 2010, I worked with Gayradiobec.com.  We painted DJ Marc Landreville & a performing artist by the name of Cantelli, who would be in the parade as a part of the Gayradiobec float. 

The theme for this year's parade was “super heroes”. I couldn't do all the work by myself for the time we had to do it in, so I enlisted the help of my artist friend  Elissa Baltzer. This was Elissa's first full body painting, although she has alot of experience as a face painter & fine artist. Our 2 superheroes were to be “radio men”.
Artist Elissa Baltzer with performer Cantelli during the parade.

Originally Elissa and I wanted to work mutually on both pieces so that our styles and skills would merge and we could equally say both pieces were ours, but just due to time constraints, we ended up not being able to paint in everything we wanted to from our original concept, as well as we ended up focusing more on just one piece. I focused on Marc and Elissa focused Cantelli, my fiancée Ziggy assisted both of us with base coats and a few touch ups. Despite anyways in which we wanted to add more to the art, we were still happy with the results.

Marc from Gayradiobec, with an old fashioned microphone as his emblem.

The parade itself was so light, full of really happy and excited people. The people on the side lines were also very receptive, fun loving and excited, many viewers came out to the parade who were from the heterosexual population; it was great to see so many supporters! I look forward to participating in next year's pride!  

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