Orlando's annual St. Patrick's Day charade, er, parade always promises a polite glimpse at what the apocalypse might look like in a small-town, big-livered, green fiberglass petri dish. Literally, it's "War of the Worlds"-lite, as the stroller-and-sundress set huddle along the pre-Livingston end of Orange Avenue and descend gradually (and bleakly) into the dilated pupils of Orlando's far more interesting rock crowd straddling Wall Street. No matter -- everybody pours lawlessly into the unblocked thoroughfare, and eventually, even the "Stepford" children seem drunk. Hang on to your tax bracket, baby. It's going to be a wild ride.
Or is it?
Two float-cars into the green-beer splash, and everything comes to a halt, as people begin to speculate whether or not the flashing red sirens on the shiny fire trucks up the road are for show (er, showing tits) or not. Two beers later, and I don't really care. After all, I'm standing like a loyal subject at the feet of a high-chaired Jim Faherty, peering up into his leather lederhosen and fearing the worst. I'm not leaving here without a leprechaun of my own.;;
Hunting for shamrocks;;
Appropriately, some pair of aggro-pectorals walks out of Sapphire singing a refrain about parades "sucking cock."
"If I was working," offers Orlando Sentinel towering informo Tyler Gray, "that would be my lead quote. Only, I'm not even allowed to imply ‘cock.'"
I'm not allowed not to -- not by myself anyway.
As if on cue, Faherty unleashes his stringy green goo (um, Crazy String) all over the back of my head, prompting the obvious slew of comments and getting my own imaginary lederhosen -- my panties, per chance -- all in a bind.
The pause drifts through requisite hems and haws from onlookers, and everybody has something to say. (Of course they do. They're drunk.) Then it's the ever-present rental busses and flatbeds of radio's futile extroversion.
Last year, the kind folk of The City Beautiful thought it wise to include a look-alike of Ricky Martin somewhere near the look-a-dyke of Glenda Hood, both to resounding jeers and exasperation. This year, it's the far more timely and safe choice of a chuffy Austin "Yeah, baby" Powers try-to-be, mouthing his tedious catch phrases to relative non-notice.
In fact, nothing proves truly noticeable as the parade carries on, and eventually everybody is looking back at the buildings and toward their next libation.
I choose this time to have a series of photos taken of myself sucking the various teets of Orlando's rock gristle -- oh, and Tyler Gray -- while nervous onlookers question my sexual proclivities.
"As far as gay people go," offers Seven Mary Three's Jason Ross, "you're pretty hot."
I guess as far as straight people go, he's pretty gay.;;
End of the rainbow;;
So, after a few more nervous suckles, I continue my own futile extroversion up on Sapphire's still-not-open-to-the-public roof. Last year at this time, they said the roof would be converted into an open-aired speakeasy in no time.
This year, it's still a caution-taped, Pat Benatar video-avoiding trespass. I, however, seek trespass (just like I imply cock) and make the slippery balance beam climb across the back-alley entrance (ahem) to find myself among the confetti-throwing scruffs of Sapphire's usual in crowd. Before I can even utter a witty, "I'm up with the 'in' crowd" type of overstatement, cute soccer boys start throwing beads at me from the street shuffle. Forget leprechauns, I'm not leaving here without the soccer team. Get me a baton!
The view from on high is not much better than the view of the back of Tyler Gray's shoulders down below, as the higher-end, sponsoring-radio folk start tooling their lowest common denominators down the lower end of Orange. Meaning, I'm throwing confetti to block my own view.
Real Radio 104.1 features a whole string of pointless entries, slipping in football cocks The Orlando Rage -- y'know, for contractual reasons -- but really hitting the right taste button with Jim Philips' float. Seems they surrounded Philips with white-faced, fat black men in tribal garb -- obviously some fit of oblique racial harmony ... or something. Nobody looks amused, as Philips shakes his ass where he ought to be burned at the stake. Or it least he looks like he's going to be.
And all we have left to wash the taste out is the Family Auto Mart man. I can't say enough about this guy. OK, I can't say anything.
But I can imply cock, right?