Wednesday, August 20, 2014

GG9

I had an incredibly great time last week. As I mentioned on my last post, Cleveland hosted the 9th edition of the Gay Games (GG9) - the world largest Gay oriented (and organized) athletic and cultural event in the world. The week-long event celebrated the triumphs of a community (peacefully) fighting for equality, and at the same time, it set the stage for an amazing display of civic engagement and city pride that many Clevelanders have described as unprecedented. I only saw three 1-person protests, and even they were peaceful. The games finished on a high note, with visitors praising the city and locals satisfied with the our hosting capacity.

Needless to say, I did not compete in any of the games. I did manage to attend at least one event per day to join the celebrations and to feed from that special atmosphere I've never experienced before. On my last post I already mentioned I attended the Horseshoe Casino for a GG9 Happy Hour on Sunday, and the first day of the water polo competition on Monday. Here's some of the stuff I did afterwards. 

Tuesday
I spent Tuesday watching wrestling. Don't judge me! It was fun, and I learned a lot from those guys, so be nice to me...


Wednesday
I took a break from wrestling, and went to see water polo again. Among the attendees there was this nomad group that moved as a cloud from event to event. At some point they couldn't help it, so they finally went into cheerleader mode.

video

I found out that Detox, a top 4 contestant on RuPaul's Drag Race season 5, was performing Downtown Cleveland at the "Festival Village" so I went to see the show...


Of course I had the date wrong so I saw Jenny Owen Youngs instead. I know some of her music via soundtracks (Buffy's musical episode anyone?), but I didn't realize it until the next day.



It was fun, but after a few songs I was kinda done, so I decided to go drinking instead. It took all my will power, but I resisted getting a bike-cab ride to East 4th Street.


My walk paid off, since I got to see great views of Terminal Tower lit up in rainbow colors.


I made it to East 4th St. and went "straight" into the Green House Tavern. They have amazing food there, but I was there for drinks instead. And why not? Not only their main floor is super cool, but their rooftop has amazing views of the neighborhood.


Thursday
I took my workload to a coffee house Downtown, so I decided to go and watch some swimming competitions during a break. But when I made it to Cleveland State University the competition was over (the story of my life!). The basketball competition though was in full swing. It was a really good game.


I made it back to the Festival Village to see Detox. This time I had the date right (and I was there on time). Pandora Boxx (5th place on RuPaul's Drag Race Season 2) was the host(ess) so she introduced Detox.



Of course Detox couldn't help it and had to taste someone else's beer...


The audience loved it!


During a costume change Pandora Boxx sneaked in and introduced us to her "newest single". She even made us "imagine" she had dancers... It was actually a fun song.


Friday
I took  Friday off, and stayed Downtown Cleveland. I discovered my new favorite coffee shop, my new favorite tea shop, and numerous other cool places at the East 5th Arcades. We even found these people posing for donations...



I eventually made it to the darts competition as well. I was surprised to see they had electronic boards with magnetic darts, with sensors and everything. They did, however, keep the true spirit of darts and had a bar set up, and they had sips of beer as they played (not in the picture).


Unrelated to the games, there was some photo shoot going on as well. I did my best and resisted the temptation to jump in...


Finally, I went to Happy Hour at the Renaissance Hotel. Of course, even though they had tons of nice and fancy drinks, I went for the $2 beer.


Saturday
I'm sad to say so, but I missed the closing ceremony. I went but I was too late, and people were leaving as I arrived...


I did manage to check the graffiti exhibit before they were taken out. Really cool stuff.


Instead of going to the official after-party, I went to this awesome (and really crowded) performance at the Renaissance Hotel. It was Lounge Kitty, a local, campy, cabaret-act, that was so much fun. The audience was so engaged, that Lounge Kitty had no trouble recruiting a couple of guys from the audience to join her for one of her acts.


And one of them was really into it...


And now, I'm back to normal. Work. Work. Work. Cook. Cook. Cook.  More food will be coming back soon! Stay tuned.




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