Can You Love a Love Parade?

Berlin's legendary -- but embattled -- Love Parade makes a San Francisco debut. But will thousands dance to its beat?

Industrious organizers will no doubt put together events regardless of whether they're affiliated with the Love Parade. All the same, creating a true Love Week here would seem to require the Love Parade organizing board to extend hands across the electronic-music spectrum. "If somebody from the Love Parade committee did some outreach with me and sort of told me what's at stake, what's gonna happen, what their grand plan is, and how we can benefit from it," Tomás Palermo says, "I would look at it as a good opportunity."

But, he notes, the organizers should also realize that the parade will fall during a tense time: election season.

"The world is gonna be really crazy at that time, so they can't bank just on people's good will to come out for a brand-new event that they know nothing about," he says. "They're gonna have to really market it as San Francisco's Love Parade, and here's who's representing your city, and really bring it together."

Terrance Alan, chairman of the San Francisco Entertainment Commission, says that Love Parade S.F. representatives have introduced themselves to the commission but haven't presented a formal proposal or application for the permits that such an event would need. As a result, the Entertainment Commission has yet to endorse the event -- but in Alan's view, that's simply because parade organizers have yet to ask.

When they do, Alan says, he believes the commission will look favorably on a parade of this type. "We lack a new major cultural event in San Francisco, and this would be a perfect fit," he says.

Early indicators bode well for the success of Love Parade San Francisco. Joshua Smith happily reports receiving an overwhelming amount of positive e-mail, from locals who want to volunteer and from enthusiasts in Los Angeles and Seattle already planning their road trips to the city. And the board's insistence on musical diversity is earning respect even from scenesters who dread the thought of a replica of the Berlin parade happening here.

Of course, the San Francisco organizers realize that any attempt merely to copy Berlin's event would spell almost certain failure. They also know that San Francisco already has plenty of parades and opportunities to make merry in public.

But the spirit of abandon that makes someone scale a traffic signal and dance atop it, as if nothing else in the entire world matters, including staying alive and in one piece? That, perhaps, is something we might want to import.

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