The W Hotels of New York were the official hotel of Gay Pride N.Y.C. As a part of the W Hotel's support for Pride and diversity they had a float in the parade this past weekend. I was asked to drive the aloft Jeep and tow the float. I had heard the Pride parade was the best in New York so I was excited about the opportunity.
So I showed up at the cite to get the float and start the parade early Sunday morning. We were hanging out, checking out the other floats, and killing time a bit. We decided to get out the bracelets we were going to throw to the crowd and noticed a problem. The bracelets were all individually wrapped! There were 10,000 individually wrapped bracelets. We were no longer killing time. We spent the next few hours frantically unwrapping the bracelets. It was really pretty funny. Everyone was helping out, even the dancers. We got them done in time and they were a huge hit.
This was my first Pride parade and will be a hard one to follow. It was a great day. The parade path cut all the way down Manhattan and ended in the West Village. It was so neat to see the huge turnout. Over a million people came out to see the parade. Everyone was just there to have fun and enjoy the day.
Thought I hate to do this, I guess I am obligated. I was caught and have been posted to You Tube. Here's all the shamefully footage:
The main staple of Coney Island is the Cyclone, an old wooden roller coaster. I decided to take the ride and try to get a video for the blog. Great idea... right? I have not been on a roller coaster in a while and didn't remember how rough they really are. I spent the whole ride clinching my camera and sunglasses while trying not to fall out of the darn thing. It was so fast and rough! To make the experience a bit more surreal I had heard rumors of the ride closing at the end of the year due to safety concerns. Man, the things I do for this blog!
Every summer thousands of people make the trek to a giant plot of dirt outside Manchester, Tennessee. This year, I was lucky enough to be one of those people. I went to the Bonnaroo Music Festival.
Bonnaroo was unlike anything I have ever seen. I once went to Willie Nelson's 4th of July Picnic in central Texas. It was so hot there the plastic arms on my chair completely melted in the sun. Bonnaroo was hotter with twice the humidity.
I pulled into the Bonnaroo field late in the evening after a long few days of driving from Austin. I remembered seeing on the ticket that no glass would be allowed into the area. I must admit most all of my display contains glass. I knew all 80,000 tickets had been sold to the event so I thought they would only have the time to search coolers for glass bottles. Never did I think glass vases wrapped in bubble paper in a box in the back of an Airstream would be an issue. It was.
So I didn't make it in that night. That was probably for the better as I had no idea what I was in for. A good night's sleep in a hotel was what I needed to gear up for this endeavor. As I drove into Bonnaroo I was immediately inundated with the dust, it's everywhere on this 700 acre plot of fun. Festival live is a little bit different than outside. People do what they want, wear what they want, and act how they want. People were respectful of each other and mostly everyone was quite nice.
The festival was amazing and the concerts were great. Police played to a packed house and Flaming Lips put on one of the best shows I've ever seen. Lots of people came by to see the gogo which was located in Bonnaroo ville at the dirt road conjuncture of Broadway and 9th St. Here are some of the folks who came by:
In the spirit of the festival here are some random photo's from the weekend. These are some good people, new friends and old.
Austin Blues in the Green is an event which takes place in Zikler Park weekly during the summer. It's a great opportunity to get out and enjoy the summer nights and a free concert. I got to take the gogo there as Starwood is a sponsor of the event.
Ruthie Foster played this week and put on an amazing show. You can find more information on her at www.ruthiefoster.com. Here's what the show looked like:
Here is one of my favorite songs she played:
Here are some snapshots of the folks who stopped by:
It's been a quick trip to Austin but a great one. There is something special about this town, after all the main town slogan is "Keep Austin Weird." It's true what they say, this really is the live music capital of the country. There are great bands everywhere, and I mean everywhere. The live music enhances the quirky vibe of this city. As the state capital and a major college town this city was destined for an interesting dynamic. It's really hot here. As I was setting up for the Blues on the Green event I was sweating like a dog in heat. I was dripping all over everything. On the upside, I think I lost a pound or two I had gained from all the chili con queso I've eaten while here. I have not been to a restaurant yet which doesn't have queso on the menu. Really, this place is kind of a heaven for me. Back to the story. So I was sweating like a dog and finished setting up quite early. I had heard of this great place which was close by called Barton Spring. I thought what the heck, I'll take a quick dip. So I head over to the area wich is known for the spring water which comes to surface and created an oasis on a 100 degree summer day. I was so glad I went. It was a great spot. I recommend this as a great place to cool off and relax. Here's what it looks like:
If you come to Austin be sure to visit 6th street and 4th street downtown. This is where many of the fun bars and restaurants are located. A good place to get some TexMex is the Iron Cactus. Also the "Drag" as they call it is a fun strip of shops, bars, and restaurants near west campus. Cane and Ables is a great "frat-tastic" spot to soak up the local flavor. Wednesday nights are the best there. One other hot area is South Congress. They have the best costume shop I have ever seen and it's pretty well priced. I also found a western store over there which is going to make me a belt with my name on the back. How much cooler can I get? Lookout NYC- I'm going to rock it BIG time!
Along this trip it is easy for me to get highway tunnel vision. I get tired of the road and focus on the destination. I am passing by some pretty cool spots but I tell myself I will see these places later. I try to avoid this mentality. With a 10 hour day of driving who wants to take a 2 hour detour for something that might be totally lame? Well, I do, or at least, I am going to make myself.
I stepped of the beaten path a little the other day and took a venture on Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park. It was beautiful, it really was worth the time. In the short few hours I was there I saw two Black Bears.
Here's a cool panoramic. This is my new favorite feature of my camera so expect to see a lot of them in the events to come.
I wanted to give you an idea of what the drive was like. I took a video from my dashboard. Now that I watch it, it's a little ire. Can you say "Deliverance?"
The music for this video was provided by George Gaytan, a great musician who plays regularly at the Westin San Antonio.
Here I am in the park. Notice the Taco Bell kicking in! Maybe I should have taken the time for a hike or two.
Since I lived in the mountains of Colorado I have not been a huge professional sports fan. When in that part of the country I was consumed by actually doing the sports. Things have changed, I'm in the big city now. As a part of that, I can enjoy professional sports again.
I was invited to go to a Mets game last week. I knew of the rivalry which exists between Mets and Yankees but wow, it's intense. We were wearing Mets clothes as to try and look like real fans. My friends let me borrow a button. It might have been the first button I've worn since I was 7 years old. On the way to the game it was amazing to experience the response from people. We got a lot of "Go Mets," and obviously some less enthusiastic comments from Yankees fans. The Mets were playing the Diamondbacks and we were able to buy tickets for 10 bucks when we got there.
We had a great time at the game. I need to go to a Yankees game now to establish where my loyalties will lie.