Friday, August 15, 2014

Review : Gay Games 9 and The Indigo Girls

So, The Gay Games have come to Cleveland and Akron this year. When I found out about it about a year ago, I was pretty excited. Initially, I had wanted to run in the Games. Nevertheless, I couldn't organize the finances to do so. However, I figured it was possible to participate in some manner. I've been too busy to get it together to volunteer, but I have a few friends who were participating in some of the arts festival events. One friend was at the Festival Village and another friend was participating in Flair Fest. With those two events, I knew I'd have an opportunity to meet athletes and enjoy the festivities, but I wanted to do more. On Wednesday, I decided to go up to The Gay Games in Cleveland and check out a sport. The dance sport competition had a $25 ticket cost, so that was not an option. Instead, I settled on Synchronized Swimming and Festival Village.

I drove up to Cleveland, picked up my date, and headed to the Cleveland State University campus for parking. When I pulled up, there was a sign for "event parking" with a $10 fee. I was somewhat annoyed, seeing as this parking deck is part of the university, so charging for parking is just going into someone's pocket. But a split of $5 each for parking seemed reasonable. When we entered the recreation center, a security officer informed us that Synchronized Swimming was no longer a free event. I was SUPER pissed, but before I completely lost my temper, I decided to check the cost of tickets. As it turned out, some group called, Pink Flamingo, was performing. I knew that event was happening but didn't know it was happening instead of synchronized swimming and would cost $30 a ticket. If I'd known that, I might have splurged on the Dance Sport tickets. I was SUPER PISSED and had nothing nice to say. Luckily, my date had a cooler head and suggested we find some caches in the area, so our $10 for parking wasn't wasted.

It turns out the caches were pretty cool. They were part of a series highlighting churches in Cleveland. We also found an historical marker about the first woman ever to anchor a news broadcast, Dorothy Fuldheim. After that, we headed downtown to Festival Village.

My date and one of the churches behind us that has a cache!

Oh man, what a complete disappointment! It was one park with a ring of tents, mostly commercial, really crappy and not local food, and absolutely ridiculous drink prices. My friend was running her booth (where I was to work on Friday), and she was reporting absolutely no sales. She had another employee with her and we all shared similar views : The Gay Games were not well-promoted, there were not good crowds, Festival Village was overpriced and not representative of Cleveland Culture, and sales for her were just awful. None of us was happy. I left, thinking I'd write an immediate and poor review of the Games. (I tweeted to The Gay Games about the change in pricing at the last minute and the poor organization of their website...and received no response. They had responded the week before when I mentioned things to do in Akron, so this lack of reply seemed rather cowardly to me.)

The next day, I was slated to work Flair Fest with another friend. As it turns out, The Indigo Girls were also performing at the amphitheater right behind the festival grounds. Color me super excited! Most of Flair Fest was awesome. There were some issues with wind early in the day, but then everything settled and our booth had a very successful day. (The layout of the event was absolutely awful, which I saw immediately. I was not surprised as I've worked with the city before and the person in charge, Julie P., has her idiotic mind set on crappy layouts. More than half of the vendors had ok or crappy days. We had the best location for the crowd.) We had a fun day of laughter and meeting new people and talking about lesbian haircuts and face painting and general fun. Flair Fest was a wildly successful event in contrast to Festival Village, though still not as successful as it could've been if the entire event had been better promoted.

Later that evening, the Indigo Girls played, and I really enjoyed it. They are one of my favorite bands ever. After I helped everyone tear down and was walking to my car, I saw a very small crowd of people waiting for the girls to come out after the show. After an hour they did...and they completely ignored the crowd. They couldn't even be bothered to wave. They sent some guy out to make excuses that family was there and they just wanted to spend time with family. I mean, whatever. I thought it through a lot. Maybe they're introverts, maybe they're tired, maybe whatever. The bottom line is, eight people were standing on the sidewalk just wishing they'd take ten seconds to come out and say hi. Ten seconds to stand ten feet from them, address them in person, and say, "Thanks for coming to the show and for supporting us." Two of the girls had been waiting outside of venues for twenty years and had never been able to meet them. (I tweeted them about that.) But instead, whatever they had going on was more important than eight people.

I hope that if ever I'm famous enough for eight people to stand outside of a venue to wait to tell me how much they like my work, that I can manage to find the energy to spend ten seconds to address them like actual human beings and thank them.

Because the thing is, without those eight people, and the thousands of other people through the years, the Indigo Girls would not have a fancy bus to go to while they ignored their fans. They might not have tons of albums and greatest hits albums, they might not have several appearances in movies, they might not be the icons they are. They might not be making music. They might be playing at open mics in dive bars in their hometowns. Who knows? All I know is their success can be directly attributed to sales of albums and tickets and merchandise and to those eight people, waiting for the smallest sign that they give a shit about their fans who support them.

So you know what? The Indigo Girls can go fuck themselves. I'm going to delete their music from my hard drive and never listen to them again. Ungrateful assholes. I'm not interested in that kind of self-centeredness.

For me, The Gay Games have been a mixed bag, but the general tone has been overwhelmingly negative. In 2018, they're going to Paris, and I say good riddance! Maybe a large town like Paris will be better suited to the corporate bullshit I experienced this week.


  1. Wow, how disappointing. On a lighter note, I love that reflection photo of you and the dude!

    1. Yeah, it was disappointing. Thanks! I like that picture too!

  2. Yeah, there's no excuse for not acknowledging 8 effing people. When I saw Daniel Radcliffe in the Broadway production of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," he came out afterwards to a crowd of about 50+ people. I couldn't see him because I was in the back and he's short, but he stayed out there for like 15 minutes, signing autographs and posing for photos. He did that after EVERY show, after 2 &1/2 hours of singing and dancing around the stage like a spaz. That is how to be a celebrity. The Indigo Girls couldn't even wave to 8 people? Super disappointing and lame.