My friend Marc hosted drinks at his place before joining the Castro festivities. He lives in the heart of the Castro on Collingwood and 19th. I didn’t feel like wearing my costume, but I still wanted to get dressed up. I wore seventies garb. Getting around on Halloween night near the Castro is a nightmare so I cabbed as far as I could down Divisadero and walked the rest of the way to Marc’s apartment. The gays were there liquoring up and applying their Wet n’ Wild blue eyeshadow. They were the band Poison, declaring me as their groupie.
I skipped the Castro last year, but it’s an event I like to attend. It’s one of the city’s biggest parties next to the Bay to Breakers. They tried to scale back, marketing the celebration as ‘earlier, safer, saner.’ I especially liked this statement on their official web site: “we encourage individuals from outside San Francisco to make plans to attend clubs or entertainment venues in their areas.” That’s right. Go to your own Halloween parties and leave the Castro to the people who live here. This isn’t Mardi Gras, nor was it meant to be outrageous. I guess it’s like what happened to Halloween in Santa Barbara. Every event has its heyday, outsiders descend upon the scene, then it needs to tone down.
Overall, I thought it was great! Except the shooting part. We went from gay bar to gay club and back and forth all over the place. The bridge and tunnel people don’t go to the gay bars. I asked my friend for the time when we were getting ready to leave and she said, “Quarter to 11:00.” Police reports indicate the shooting took place at 10:42pm around the vicinity we were in. I had no idea. Nothing seemed awry. We didn’t hear any gun shots.
I was back home in time to post a few pictures before midnight. In the middle of the night, Marc left me a message. I didn’t retrieve it, thinking it was a drunk dial or him calling me to come back out again. Only after I passed the newspaper stands on my way to work did I realize that the shootings had occurred. Urgent email from Marc in the morning, “Please tell me you got home ok!!!”
It wasn’t as crazy as previous years. I did think it was mellow and there was a lot of security. A few bads seeds ruining it for the rest of us. I think I’ll take a break next year. My friend Conrado sent me pictures from Seattle’s big Halloween party called ‘The Bump’ which stands for Things that Go Bump in the Night. It’s a fundraiser at the Experience Music Project museum in Seattle.
Let’s all go bump next year!