June has come and gone, and this year’s extra special pride month has passed. I don’t usually relish the crowds and the omnipresent corporate noise that characterize the modern Pride Parade (next year, it’s the Dyke March or nothing); this year, however, I felt compelled to attend—partly because my husband and I relocated to Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood at the end of last year, and now live only blocks from the parade route; and in part because it’s the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
Crowds and logos did abound, and the weather was increasingly ominous. After narrowly missing the promenade of this year’s Grand Marshal, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot—our newly elected black lesbian leader. We set up camp in some bushes near the confluence of Broadway and Sheridan in Buena Park, and I brought out the camera. I tried to crop out most of the branding to capture a experience of the diverse characters on the floats, and the real sentiments on logo-less signs. The result is colorful, voyeuristic, and somewhat unsettled.
The rain gods decided to come out to join the fun, rapidly advancing a stern cloud front upon the celebrations, a strange gray ribbon at its vanguard. Fifteen minutes later, an intense deluge ended the parade prematurely.