Thursday, March 25, 2010

The GLBT EXPO, an Upside-down Pride Parade

by baad lamb
A fun and informative diversion this past weekend was had by anyone stopping by the GLBT EXPO at the Jacob Javits Convention Center on Sunday afternoon.

There were only 2 hours left before closing by the time I arrived, but there were still plenty of people roaming the aisles (including, it seems, QNY's own Darling!, who filed his report here. Hi, Darling!).

The expo is at its core a marketing event; a forum for companies who want to sell products and services to the GLBT community, or for organizations, community groups, sports teams, non-profits and social services to raise their profiles or reach out directly to a queer or queer-positive demographic.
Lots more, and video, after the jump....

This desire for gay dollars, displayed along side the collection of community activists means the spectrum-stretching variety of polar opposite participants can be head-scratching, ranging from our very own  Pride-Parade-promoting H.O.P, to the "hide"-promoting F.B.I; from the odd yet inevitable presence of health-impoverishing cigarette and alcohol vendors, to the life sustaining and health-improving GMHC and SAGE.

But mostly, it's a place for fun, and as I walk around, it feels almost like an inverted pride parade. At this upside-down pride parade, the ones usually marching and performing stake out an advantageous spot, park their float and hope a well-chosen location with an open view of the passing crowds gain them attention,  adoration, and maybe even dollars. Meanwhile, the audience parades all around the giant hall, stopping only at those booths that are of specific appeal to the individual attendee. As Darling! has previously proved, a bit of bare flesh gets your booth noticed, and, as I follow in his footsteps and reinforce here, more than a little bit gets your picture in a blog.

In the short time I was wandering, entertaining performances would break out wherever space permitted. Turn a corner and watch out for Cheer New York's flying cheerleaders, defying gravity, mounting and dismounting and pom-poming away with mylar abandon. Or dodge a leather-vested scooter boy, scooting forth and back and here and there, all the while promoting something (himself?), though even he wasn't quite sure what.

There was also a real stage with actual scheduled events. 

Local Long Island girl amberRose Marie performed an energetic set; I missed her singing her own hits, but caught covers of Melissa Etheridge (Come to My Window, Michael Jackson (Beat It) and Madonna (Music).

But the most fun for me was the truly spontaneous Capoeira sparring between one of the Brazil booth's boys and a member of Cheer New York. They don't have much room, and do have constant traffic flow interruptions; they enjoy the moment none the less, as did the rest of us.

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