Words by Ashley Harrell, Photos by Fernando Orlandi
An estimated 400 people, including an abundance of gays, straights, attorneys, comedians and clowns, descended upon Broadway Studios last night for a performance and bacchanalia in the name of marriage equality.
The star of the evening without question was Margaret Cho, dressed in form-fitting red gown and beloved saucy attitude. "I fucking hate Sara Palin," she told the audience straight away, and went on to explain that any women who votes McCain just because there's a woman on his ticket is "a dumb cunt." Hatred aside, Cho sort of wants to fuck Palin, or at least fingerbang some sense into her, she said.
She had the audience cackling, and probably feeling a little bit better about the $40 (or $100 for those who opted for VIP) they coughed up for the event. That money is sorely needed, though, because as many attendants were aware, the No on 8 campaign is trailing in money raised and also in the polls. This combined with a personal dedication to the cause prompted photographer Margot Duane (pictured below) to quickly organize Equalipalooza. It's slogan: "Love not 8."
For their Benjamins, VIP guests had access to an open bar, face-painting, and platters of cheese, tortellini, dim sum and Caesar salad. In addition to Cho, the entertainment included the self-proclaimed fat, Muslim comedian Ali Mafi, city attorney Dennis Herrera, deputy city attorney Therese Stewart and her wife, dubious magician Johnny Steele, comedienne Heather Gold (a bagel-loving combination of Sarah Silverman and Woody Allen), San Francisco's poet Laureate Janice Mirikitani, and a bunch of burlesque dancers, clowns and hula-hoopers.
Between performances, frank discussion about Prop 8 and its bat-shit crazy supporters proliferated. "What the fuck," I overheard one woman saying. "This is an equality issue." Others voiced questions about why Christians cared whether or not gays married, and expressed opinions on whether No on 8 was running a good campaign. A woman in a pink wig and what looked like a Rainbow Bright costume said she didn't mind that no gay people had been featured in the ads. "If you push too hard, you freak people out," she said. A homosexual couple in matching birthstone earrings disagreed, and said they found that a little dehumanizing.
Though it seemed unlikely that anybody in attendance might be in favor of Prop 8, one of the burlesque dancers, who was dressed as a "Viking Barbarian" admitted privately that she thought gay marriage was a radical idea. "Just call it something else," she suggested with a shrug.