Personal blog--Knoxville Pridefest happened yesterday, and here's how it went from my perspective.
This was my first ever Pride festival. I didn't know there was one in Knoxville until this year, but I was so happy that I got to go. I've always wanted to see massive grouping of gay people all in one place, just to feel the atmosphere of it. I could not be like anything I'd ever experienced before. I know it wouldn't compare to a Pride in NYC or LA, where thousands upon thousands come out, but it's still big for lil' ol' me.
I worked all day with my UT organization, the Lambda Student Union. I painted faces for the event as a way to bring people over to our table and get them to see that the Lambda name was out there. We didn't charge for it because I knew that we would get way less customers if we did (especially since another booth was also painting faces--but not nearly as well, if I may say so myself), but I put a tip jar out that cleverly asked for tips for "a poor, gay, college student" instead of an organization, and we ended getting a bunch of tips out of it because people kept saying they wanted to tip the cute boy for his services. Hehe, it was so much fun.
Several positives came out of painting faces, all of which I expected and was very pleased about. Foremostly, I got to experiment with my artistic ability. I've painted faces before, but never a bunch of rainbows, and let me tell you it was difficult. I cant do an outline on someone's face, so I have to envision the work of art while painting it multicolored. Some symbols, like the double gender signs for men and women, were quite to figure out at first, but I managed to even make them a little artsy in the way I did the colors. Success!
Secondly, painting faces, since I get so obscenely close to people whilst painting them, gives me a chance to do a bit of socialilizing with people. I get to talk to the many gays of Knoxville, both young and old, and it's really exciting to get to see some of the different perspectives and how they live their lives in the same city I do. There are some intersting characters here, needless to say. One particular group of high schoolers (all gay and cool with it, btws) made sure that I painted all of their faces multiple times, even their arms. They were all so chatty and fun though, I didn't mind at all. They all developed this hilarious idea of getting the pot leaf painted in rainbow on their bodies, and that trend quickly picked up, even outside their little group. I daresay I painted more rainbow pot leaves than hearts yesterday.
Kind of relating to the last point, getting all up on people to paint them let me get extra close to some cute guys. Not that I'm looking at all (I'm madly in love with Danny and would never consider leaving him), getting to see pretty boys isn't a sin, and they have brains too for good conversation, just like everyone else.
I didn't get to do much else that day because I was literally painting faces the entire time. I had to even get a friend to go with my debit card and buy dinner for me; I couldn't take a dinner break because people kept wanting their faces painted. Not that I was mad at all about this; it makes me so happy to see people glance at someone's rainbow design on their face and want for themselves. Like my work is actually good or something. That put a smile on my face. And it make the time go faster, which is a much needed positive since I was out there the greater part of the day.
Overall, I really enjoyed Pride and think it was a great success. There was a lot going on, with all the different and exotic booths, people out there to support it from the organizations (even gay-friendly churches came out!), and there were so so so many people (I heard it was the biggest turn out ever). I can't wait til next year, when we do it so much bigger and better!