CSD 2012

Christopher Street Day in Berlin.
Welcome to Berlin...
It all started in the late 60’s when a few pissed off people finally said “no more” as the police stormed into the local gay bar, New York City’s Stonewall Inn, for their weekly shake down.

Some said that the patrons were mourning the death of Judy Garland and just started to fight back in anger when the police came in. Of course no one really knows what was so different about this night, but the gay men in that bar weren’t having any of it, not any more. 

They pushed back when the police came in, and eventually they trapped several police officers IN the bar itself as the patrons left, and locked the doors. That will show you what a few pissed off drag queens can do.
More and more people filed into the streets of Greenwich Village that night in an angry and violent mood. The police had lost all control. 

The next evening another, even bigger crowd gathered in the streets and sparred with an even larger police force, but once again, the police lost control of the situation.  A few days later, once again more people filled the streets and generally let it be known that the archaic rules placed on American gays and lesbians was no longer to be countenanced. 
After seeing this general outpouring of anger, gay community leaders began to get together and form groups to do something with their new found power.  

These events are commonly referred to as the beginning of the Gay Rights Movement in America. Just like the other groups of people in America who insisted on their civil rights, gays were ready to stand up and proclaim that the American Constitution guarantees equal rights for ALL men. Ask any gay person living in New York at that time and
they will tell you that they were AT those riots. It is a common joke
that EVERYONE was at Stonewall. 
A year later a memorial parade was planned. As the Stonewall Inn (owned by the mafia and by this time closed down) had been on Christopher street, they decided to start the parade at that location and call it the Christopher Street Liberation Day. This was the first American Gay Pride Parade, and is the namesake for the Berlin Pride Parade, as well as some others throughout Europe. 

Which brings us to today. I’m quite certain that the parade attended by hundreds of thousands of people (gay and straight) yesterday was quite a bit different than that first parade in the Village. For one thing it is all quite commercial, the next is the “let it all hang out” attitude which can be a bit shocking to first timers. 

But in general it is good, safe fun and an enjoyable time with some of the best mobile sound systems to be had. This year’s route took it past a cute little park at the corner of Dorotheenstraße and Neustädtiche Kirchstraße. What a PERFECT place for the trucks to stop and have an impromptu dance session. Wonderful!

Enjoy some pics
Squeeze
Need to rest...
Dance it UP!
WHAT is that round thingie?
There she is... Miss America
Next year I plan to check out the Transgenialer which is the alternative Gay Pride held in Kreuzberg. They say it is less commercial. Perhaps that is where I belong, even though I must admit that I LOVE dancing behind the BIG trucks with their chest thumping beats.

Some would say that in these times when gay people are getting more and more rights, do we really still need gay pride? I say yes. It is a time for us to take to the streets and show the world who we are and that we are proud of it. All of my CSD pics can be found here

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World Cat Day 2011 Disappointment

Hello to my faithful readers. You may or may not know that my humans went on holiday for a week to someplace in the mountains. I have no idea why they would do that when they could go to one of those beach places and enjoy playing in a huge kitty toilet. But they never ask my opinion. Silly humans.

Speaking about silly humans. August 8th should be a day burned into the little brains of every human. It is World Cat Day! Don’t shake your head and say you didn’t know, of course you know, it is the most important day there is! I really didn’t find it humourous that none of my humans acknowledged this fantastic day. I mean, it is like birthday and Christmas all wrapped up in one. How could they forget? No, being on holiday is no exception. Oh well, they will soon find that lovely little surprise I left under their bed. Maybe next year they will work harder to make it a special day for me. 

I wanted to write to you earlier, but as I was staying at my holiday home I couldn’t seem to figure out the mouse on Opa’s computer. I’ve always considered my paws to be superior to human hands, but I guess not having thumbs holds me back while doing people things. Also I’m not as young as I used to be, so I just don’t have patience for these matters. In the end I had to wait until my main humans got back so I could use human B’s laptop, the ironically named mouse pad is easier for my superior paws.

Oma and Opa were very excited for me to visit, so I graced them with my presence, allowing them to cater to my every whim since it seems to make them so happy.

I especially enjoy what I call the balcony game. This is where I stand expectantly in front of the balcony door as though I wish to go outside, you know, for the fresh air. If no one gets up to assist me immediately I let out one of my best frustrated meows which usually gets one of them jumping.

Then of course I need to let them know I am not happy about the delay, so once the door is open, I hesitate, looking up at whoever opened the door as if to say “about time”. Usually I wait until they get annoyed and act like they are closing the door before I signal my intention that NOW I’m ready to go outside.

I get fresh moist food twice a day with dry food always available, thankfully Opa is not skimpy with that dry food. I really hate it the way human B lets that bowl get wayyyy too empty if you know what I mean. But Opa is great, I never see the bottom of the bowl when he’s around. It’s how I know that he loves me.

It is nice to know that they take their jobs seriously. Opa is always watching as I exit the cat box so he can immediately clean it. This is a service I wish I could get at home, but after 15 years of trying to train my human, I’ve given up.

Oma also knows exactly what makes me happy. She often slips me special goodies because she says I’m getting too thin. Before I come for my visit she stocks up with lots of fish and liverwurst. I’ve gotten to know lots of great German fishies, wursts and cheeses through her.

She even feeds me what she calls “German sushi”. This must be great stuff because years ago I heard Opa being upset that Oma was feeding me what he called herring rolls and that they were too expensive to feed a cat. I was mad at him for a while after that, let me tell you. So the next time I went to the toilet I let a little bit go outside of the box. It is one of the best kitty revenge possibilities.

If they do complain I never have to hear it, in fact I never have to hear anything again, especially that really annoying neighbor dog with his incessant barking. I mean, didn’t his bitch teach him anything?

It’s really convenient to be deaf. In the old days when I wanted to ignore the humans as they screamed that I shouldn’t be on the table, I had to work hard to control my ear movement so it wouldn’t betray me. Now I don’t worry about it at all.

Being deaf isn’t too bad, as you can see it has its advantages. In 2005, not long after I moved to Germany I got a kitty cold with a high fever. Eventually I got better, although my hearing didn’t.

Oma and Opa’s apartment is in the roof area of their building, so between the slightly warmer temperatures and the actual day of sun or two while my main humans were gone, my normally sleek coat decided to finally do the summer shedding. I couldn’t keep up with it and the fur flew! When human A came to pick me up after their holiday I proved my LOVE for her by sharing my beautiful beige fur with her dark blue shirt. I always think it looks so nice to have a bit of me on everything, and shedding season can really bring out the best.

The bad thing about shedding season is the brushing. They act like I can’t take control of the situation or something. Also they seem to have a problem with the regurgitated hair balls I leave throughout the apartment, so they do their best to keep me distracted while they brush me. On top of that, after five minutes of brushing they pull the vacuum cleaner out and go after me with that! Now don’t get me wrong, when I was younger – and could hear – I would have been under the nearest chair when that noisy thing came around. But without all of that racket to bother me, it isn’t a wholly uncomfortable experience to get a little fur sucking action.

The humans took a long time to adapt, longer than me even. At first I caught them a few times as they were testing me. Once they were shaking a key ring over my head when I wasn’t supposed to be looking. The silly humans didn’t even think about shadows, geeze, I knew they were doing something over my head when the outline of my lovely, velvety ears was overshadowed by that silly IQ fish on human A’s key ring. It took two whole years for them to figure out that vacuum thing for Sphynx’s sake.

After a while I didn’t really like to go outside for walks in my kitty harness and line the way I did when I was younger. The pretty blue harness that compliments my eyes so well has been hidden in the cabinet that smells like cat nip for at least three summers now.

These days my humans seem to be surprised that I know when they come home. Silly humans forget that they stink. Every morning they gross me out as they remove their furs to stand under the really fast special water dropping thing. After that they smell like soap, but by the time they get home after work, they stink. Especially human B who must run home or something, she always comes with special shoes that have metal on the bottom and sets her hard hat down in the hallway at my level. Let me tell you, I made the mistake of closer nose inspection of these things just once.

Otherwise I know they are home simply because I keep one kitty eyelid looking at the door at all times. I always lie down facing the door so I don’t get any nasty surprises. The only time I can really relax and sleep heavily is at night when human A provides her arm for my head. I know that if any danger should come, she would wake me up.

I’m a little tired now.
It’s time to paws and reflect.

When I’m not at my holiday home, I spend most of my time on the bed of my main human. It’s nice and warm there and it smells like the human I like to sleep with. I wish they would get a bed warmer thingie before winter. Surely I could figure out how to keep it turned on throughout the day to help keep these old bones warm.

Now I will wait for next year’s World Cat Day with great anticipation. Maybe some of you can help me figure out how to punish my humans for missing it this year? Ideas?

“You can keep a dog; but it is the cat who keeps people, because cats find humans useful domestic animals.”
– George Mikes from “How to be Decadent”

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Random Tuesday – No name version

Whoo hooo… It’s been a LOOONNNNNGGG time since I’ve been on the Random Tuesday Bandwagon. I’ve missed the ladies, and thought I would take a circle with them today and catch up on what kind of craziness Keely is up to… so, let’s go!

No and I bought a new blender/mixer thing after the Tchibo POS finally gave out. It has this weird glowy/blue/hologram thingy that kinda freaks me out when I walk into the kitchen. Nothing says “I’m home” like a making frozen margaritas (come on, you didn’t think we were going to make healthy smoothies or something) in a machine which looks as though it came directly off the set of Star Trek.

Last Friday the image you see to the left opened in a little Berlin gallery named Cozmic Photos.

It’s not my best work, but since it was an assignment (Reflections) and I HATE assignments, I don’t think it’s too bad. Click through to get more of the story.

Summer has made it to Berlin. The last few days were crazy hot. All of this in a place with very few air-conditioned buildings. Unfortunately this has brought back sooo many of my gripes with some of the Germans (thankfully a minority) and how they handle heat.

First off… um, there is this thing called soap… when used with water over your body it can help get rid of the severe STANK the rest of us around are getting from SOME Berliners. I’ve been taking upwards of three showers a day, I would hope that the dude I ran into last night on the underground was on his way home to one… WHEW!

My Dear Krauts. Air will not hurt you. I don’t mean super-chilled, flying out of the air conditioner air… I’m talking about opening a freaking window and allowing the BREEZE into the room/car/train/whatever. If it is hot enough to cause perspiration while simply sitting, hey… it is hot enough to OPEN a window. No, it doesn’t hurt your kidneys (where did that come from?) No, your back will not seize up. No, the dry mouth and sore throat you have didn’t come from the FAN, it came from mild dehydration because you’re sitting in a room that is 35 DEGREES!! (Celsius – 95F)

Football Fever has the Jerrys at a fevered pitch. The German National Team have been solidly beating all comers (except for Serbia – funny, that) the whole way through the World Cup. Next up is Spain on Wednesday which I’m sure will be a real knuckle-biter. We hope to watch it from the Berliner FanMeile with 350,000 of our good friends. (well, at least we’ll be in the area… we’ll get into the VIP area to enjoy the game a bit more safely.)

Bad news. My beloved Beelitz-Heilstätten is being closed by its owner. It is my favorite place in the world to take pictures. Some of you clicked through to those links and wonder why a place that looks like it is already falling down – is closing down. Well, the owner says that he will no longer abide the trespassers (like me) who love the place soooo very much. It seems that not all of us come with the idea of “Take only pictures, leave only footprints, kill only time”. The vandalism is getting out of hand, and I don’t blame the guy for trying to secure his property. But dammit, I want to be able to go play.

Speaking of playing. This time next week No and I will be playing in Paris, helping the French celebrate La Fête Nationale. Yes, I expect to see plenty of French flags and fireworks, eat lots of food smothered in butter, and finally taste a REAL French Baguette. Oh, and take THOUSANDS of pictures. OOOHHH! Check out this little gizmo showing Paris!!! One of my Frenchie buddies gave me the link while giving me clues of where we simply MUST GO while in La Ville-Lumière.

Thanks for playing Random Tuesday Thoughts, head on over to Keely at the UnMom for more randomness.

Now for a cool video.
World-renowned animated graffiti artist BLU returns following a ten-month hiatus with a stunning new production called “BIG BANG BIG BOOM: an unscientific point of view on the beginning and evolution of life … and how it could probably end.”

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=13085676&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1
BIG BAG BIG BOOM – the new wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.
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Gay Pride Berlin – 2010

I ran across this post in my editor and realized that it had never been “published”. Here you go… Snooker’s take on Gay Pride in Berlin!

Have I said it here? I don’t think so… I love Gay Pride Month.

In Berlin that means a month long celebration culminating in a street festival and then the CSD which is short for Christopher Street Day. The center of the city closes down for one of the world’s largest Gay Pride Parades and I simply love it!

I love the goofy rainbow crap all over everything. I completely dig (gawd, can we still use words like that?) the bomp-bomp-bomp music, even better if I can feel it in my bones. Really, I just love the gays! Every single year is a wild and crazy adventure in who can be the wildest, craziest, raunchiest, maddest hatter around. Someone (dammned if I can remember who) said that it is a “ridiculous sweaty carnival of queertasticness”. WOW! What a statement, and it is Sooo Frakking True!!

For me it is an affirmation of “my people”. I wouldn’t say “chosen family” since I didn’t choose these people to be my family any more than I chose my blood relatives. What I guess I would like to say is that for better or for worse, these people have probably all had many of the same feelings I’ve had. That desire to question ?What is the definition of “normal sexuality”? has linked us in some strange way.

Sometimes it’s good just to get together with “your people” and feel FAB-U-LOUS about yourselves. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that we’re all out there with a “We’re here, We’re Queer, Get Used to It” mentality.

Besides, I guess in the end I just like dancing my ass off!
And dance it off I did. Blogging Buddy Adam of “That Queer Expatriate” fame came up for the weekend to enjoy the non-stop party with me, and I hope I gave him some great pointers and as well as a good time.

He’s covered the event very well in his blog post, including the part about camera envy even if he didn’t get a good taste of vagina-envy. 🙂

Did you take copious amounts of pictures Snooker? OF COURSE I DID! Heck, I haven’t even had TIME to look at the last half of the 500 or so… let alone edit them down. The way things are going, I won’t get that done, either.

In the middle of the festivities I needed to go be a responsible adult and help Sweet No as she trained another set of scuba students. (I’m the official paparazzi. We give them a cool “this is what your training looked like DVD” when it is all over.) While that’s all cool and good, what it meant was no alcohol for me during the parade. Hmmmm… this was certainly a different experience for me, let’s just say.

After the diving I peeled off the neoprene (although something tells me I would have been OK showing up in it anyway) and took off to a ladies night CSD event.

How cool was that? Four dance floors, completely different music at each, probably 2,000 ladies there all for the purpose of havin’ a great time, me and my buddies dancing into the wee hours of the mornin’. AHHHH PRICELESS!

All of this is overshadowed by one little, niggling thought in the back of my head, “Is this really something to be proud of?”. My moment of indecision was helped along by a comment on one of my more “adult” images (at least of the ones I considered putting on Flickr). The commenter asks if I am proud of what is written on the Tshirt. Hmm… interesting query.

He’s right, I’m not really PROUD of what is written on the Tshirt. Let’s be frank… rarely are the antics of the wildest group seen at a Pride Parade something to be proud of. They are “in your face” with their sexuality, because that is what it is all about. Of course the cameras – mine included – are all pointing at the wildest examples of debauchery, it is our most basic instinct to be voyeurs. But for every wild and crazy person IN the parade, there were another 50 of the more “normal” variety along the sidelines.

Yeah, I’ve always been a big proponent of “Normal is a setting on my washing machine” thought process. But let’s face it, if you have a full body tattoo, a HUGE nose ring and ear expanders I can get my thumb through, I bet that you’re not working in an office 9 to 5. Which leads me to wonder what these people might be doing to help increase the GDP.

We’re here, we’re queer, and no one on the planet throws a better party than we do.

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