This is the true story of seven team members and twelve interns picked to sleep on the floor and have their lives photographed, cartooned, tweeted, blogged, facebooked and autostraddled. Find out what happens when lesbians [and interns who claim to not be lesbians] stop being polite and start getting real drunk queer!
I learned this on the Rosie Cruise, didn’t I? How you don’t realize just how rarely you’re surrounded by like-minded people until the moment when you actually are. I blogged about it. The interns have blogged about it and their blogs made our hearts split right open and bleed gradient rainbows.
In honor of New York City Pride 2009, our Intern Army rallied like only an intern army can and came to NYC from Belgium, Canada, California, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Pittsburgh, and various suburbs of New York City. By the end of the weekend we were all completely in love with each other in the best, proudest, gayest, most self-accepting way ever.
July 27 – Saturday – WordPress Workshop Fail
I thought we’d begin this fine weekend with an educational afternoon where I’d teach the interns how to use wordpress, therefore enabling the intern army to perform a whole new set of menial tasks that we don’t have time to do ourselves.
Unfortunately, we also didn’t have time to verify if wireless internet access was actually possible from Brooke’s week-long sublet (Brooke is our Manager of Serious Things who came up from Miami for Pride/the pleasure of our company) and because we all live in small overpriced hovels, in New Jersey, or with our parents (cough*Alex*), our well-intended workshop was foiled.
Also this “workshop” is the first time that most of us met most of the rest of us. The Team already knew Lex, Jess, Nicole and Katrina, ’cause they’re local. Personally, I’d already run into Daphne Duck on the street by my apartment on Friday morning when I’d innocently strolled to my corner store unshowered sporting my morning faux-hawk, winter boots, gym shorts and the dirty t-shirt I’d worn to bed (and giant sunglasses, obvs) the night before, figuring no-one would see me, let alone Intern Amazing herself.
But most of us were strangers so we all got naked and made out. And by that I mean that everyone split up for the Dyke March and the L Word DVD making party (we were going to make a sex scenes compilation to play at our party), but instead … well, I was having really serious fibromyalgia and because interns work in magic ways, I’d been herbally cured by this point. Oh we never made the DVD, but we gave it a good solid try.
In other news, Daphne Duck was wearing an Elmo party hat, a rainbow lei, an inflatable pink flamingo and carrying a megaphone.
Intern Emily: I feel happy. Very, very happy. I want to come out to my parents and tell them about autostraddle because it’s too amazing not to share with the world. Meeting everyone reminded me that there are some really cool, smart, beautiful, respectable lesbians who aren’t on tv [riese sidenote: YET!], who are just normal (“normal”) like me, trying to get through the day. That’s something I need to see every once in a while because sometimes I feel like an alien. This weekend reminded me that I’m not alone, and everything is going to be okay because we’ve got all these incredible people trying to make the world better.
Saturday Night – Intern Dinner in Little Italy
Remember when you went out to dinner with a bunch of lesbos & otherwise inclined ladies and even though you were underage, you still were permitted to partake in copious drinking activities? Possibly not … luckily, we took photos!
Saturday Night – Stonewall Dance Party
What better way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Stonewall than to go to Stonewall and dance to bad music with a bunch of dudes?
By Intern KC Danger:
gaygrounding (n) – a common punishment for teenagers of the homosexual persuasion, where the subject in question is not forbidden from leaving her home, but from leaving her home to…do gay shit. This may include Pride events, hanging out with that girl with the short hair from down the block, or secretly running downstairs to watch Logo every time the parents leave. This last part, of course, still continues, as that is the point of secretly running downstairs. Gay grounding is usually highly ineffective and tends to promote increased homosexual behavior, but with a sexy, vindictive edge.
Many of our interns were staying together … in the same hotel room …
Intern Heidi: Well I think it would getting drunk every night and allowing Daphne to sleep in my bed. I believe she tried to “auto straddle”(which is what she kept saying over and over) me. I don’t think she sleeps or eats must be a Belgium thing? …
P.S.. To Daph – don’t worry … I may have enjoyed it.
Intern Elizabeth: Let’s talk about the Pillow Fort & Beer Intern Army Ninja Pirates Pre-Party that happened Saturday! Eight interns, one hotel room, one bed, one couch, one chaise! Smuggled Belgian beer & cactus liquor. There wasn’t an actual pillow fort as the hotel was reluctant to bring extra bedding. Many people were already drunkish. We managed to open a window & crawl out on the ‘balcony’ where we sat & bonded over randomness & music. There was some discussion over the pleasure pack in the mini-bar prompting Katrina to inform us that tasting flavored lube out of context isn’t good & does not replace food. Also some flavors are bad because then all you think is ‘why do you taste like cake?’ Eventually we had to sleep- Intern Tetris time! Daphne & Heidi took the bedroom- the door didn’t block any noise. Katrina/Emily took the couch because they equal one person. Tirna & Asher can apparently sleep anywhere because they took a sheet & pillow each & passed out on the floor. I took the chaise & Laura made a nest on the floor. Not much actual sleep occurred. But it was so much fun! Like summer camp! I miss it!
Sunday 11:30 AM – Pride Parade with the NYC Bloggers & Digital Activists
Called upon to represent vaginas in the NYC Blogger group, Team Autostraddle showed up in our rag-tag interpretations of the official uniform we’d made with Hanes & Iron-Ons (obvs could not afford cafe-press).
Alex: Apparently, when you’re at the back of the New York City gay pride parade (because you’re gay?) you’ll have a lot of waiting to do… and so we did! I was very impressed with the Intern Army – they modeled through this challenge and they were still in the running towards becoming Autostraddle’s Next Top Intern.
3. Group Photos
5. Inspirational Pride Flag Dancing
Intern Lola: The Pride Parade was truly a test of endurance. After arriving (somewhat) promptly to join the group of marching bloggers, our troops waited dutifully for the parade to begin. And waited. And waited. After hours stood behind a group of male nudists, and our numbers only slightly dwindled, we finally began to move. It was a glorious dozen steps, until we stopped for another prolonged period of time. We kept ourselves entertained through numerous trips to street vendors, Intern Katrina’s rapping, lots of whining, and my own feeble attempts at reinvigorating our excitement through constant “wooo!”-ing.
Fact: I can’t stand people on the streets of New York who try giving me flyers to anything, so I was not all that keen on doing it myself. Therefore, to not be as annoying as those people on the street, I took a much more strategic approach with some one-liners, etc. to get their attention. I like to think it worked, people laughed, and I like making people laugh so that is a plus. Maybe they came to the party, that would mean it really worked. I also got to talk up Autostraddle a lot, which I enjoy. Met some interesting folks (including some who were already Autostraddle readers. hi guys!) at places I’d probably never go to otherwise.
In the end I got a strawberry ring pop, so obviously all the long subway rides, and other inconvienences were all worth it.
Oh, and this one time at a certain lesbian bar, I ended up giving a flyer to a certain actress from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. The one who is not from Gossip Girl, Ugly Betty or Gilmore Girls. That was interesting and unexpected.
6. Strip Poker
7. More Team Photos
We were temporarily positioned behind a group of gay male nudists. This was a life scarring experience apparently as it has been artistically rendered by not one, but TWO of our fine army.
So, some of the team headed downtown to flier while the rest of us waited for the parade to start …
Stef: While Carly and Robin headed down to West 4th St to hit the heavy crowds gathering there, Asher and I walked from midtown all the way down to the West Village, handing flyers out to hot girls ONLY. This meant that we were responsible for spotting fine homosexual women from behind, which is a challenge of top model proportions. We squeezed through the crowd to talk to lots of pretty fauxhawked girls who climbed on top of mailboxes for a better view, keeping our eyes peeled for any telltale signs – wifebeaters, alternative lifestyle haircuts, tattoos of Tegan and Sara’s autographs. At one point I tapped a cute girl on the shoulder and began my well-practiced pitch: “Hey, we’re having a party tonight! You should..” and then she turned around and I noticed it was a FUCKING LITTLE BOY and not a lesbian at all. By then it was too late to stop, so I sucked up my dignity and invited a pair of 13-year-old boys to our party. They didn’t show.
Also, to the girl who approached a pair of women who were cuddling outside a storefront and asked them in all wide-eyed honesty: “ARE YOU GUYS LOVERS?!?? CAN I GET A PICTURE OF YOU?!” – really, dude? In New York in 2009?
Robin: DJ Carlytron and I went down to the West Village during the Pride Parade and walked by this bar patio where this group of clever ladies had a sign up covering the drink specials chalk board made with Pencil on Napkin that said “Girls R Us Pride Party. No Cover.” So we decided to stop by their “party” and invite them to ours. In all honesty, I initially agreed to join them because I thought the bar was the same establishment that was selling pizza next door… sadly it was not. But I had a Corona with them and they ended up helping us promote!
Alex: Having stood on Christopher St. two years ago to watch the gay pride parade for the first time, I can say that being IN the parade was obviously the best way to witness this awesome celebration. We started on 54th Street and made our way down 5th Avenue, only making it to 17th street by 5pm which is the time we had to bizounce. Which means we didn’t ultimately reach the mecca of the gays – the Village, Stonewall, etc.
But that’s okay! Cause one of the best things about this parade experience (besides marching behind a float of fabulously toned and tanned dancing-to-‘Billie Jean‘ gay boys) was seeing the support from the mixed crowd on the sidelines. It was not only the gays who were dancing and celebrating on the streets for pride, that’s for sure! And that’s surely awesome.
Lola B: Eventually, we were able to proudly march through the streets, enjoying a primo spot between two dance floats. With hawk-like precision, we handed Rodeo Disco flyers to the hottest parade watchers in sight (and maybe a few unsuspecting elderly tourists who just really wanted free stuff from us). As the parade paused at frequent intervals, we found ourselves moonwalking, pop-and-locking, and bending one another over/thrusting in a new move we interns dubbed “the Autostaddle”. Eventually, with only a handful of us left and noticeably fewer hott bystanders left to flyer, our fearless army ducked out of the parade route early (if you can call 5 pm early) in order to prepare for our fantabulous party. While some might look to this as a failed test of endurance, I like to think we were just so much more efficient than the rest of the Pride Parade, that we beat them to the finish.
Sidenote: I need a photo of y’all doing the autostraddle. Like, STAT. I saw you do it, and I need to see it every day, as often as possible.
Saturday Night, 8pm: RODEO DISCO PRIDE PARTY
We had just enough time to rush home and change and get to Mason-Dixon for the party! Lickity-split, let’s do it! First the whole Team arrived and fought with each other, just like Gimme Sugar! From there on out, I’m not entirely sure what happened. I believe there was tequila involved, hugging, dancing, and love. Well it’s all on our blogs/hearts, yeah?
Q: Do you feel differently than you did before this weekend?
Intern Heidi: “Yes I do! And I feel so good about it. Friday morning I (and my whole family) questioned myself before I got on the plane: “ Heidi your flying five hours away to go meet numerous people you’ve never actually met from the internet?” But I can tell you that I am so happy I did. I feel so great about my outlook on life right now, I want to tell everyone about the magical weekend that happened and about autostraddle.com. Getting to experience this weekend in person has made me totally more secure and stable in my thoughts and who I really am and who I want to be. I really do miss everyone and the great times we had… when’s the next party?”
Intern Jess: What… a whirlwind. Mechanical bull riding competition. Vodka shots…Shooting games. “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5. Cute cowgirls. Lady Starlight.L Word episodes in the background (no Max, obvs). DJ Carlytron. Bandanas. Denim skirts. Disco jackets. Mason Dixon. Dancing to MJ. Boys and girls getting thrown off a mechanical bull. Tequila. Cowboy boots. Raising funds for the future of Autostraddle. OMG, hold up… did I win a raffle prize?!
Intern Katrina: What I’ve learned lately is that no night out for me is truly complete if I don’t get in some sort of trouble. Usually it’s like “Hey, we’re in a rush, stop smoking cigarettes with that homeless guy!” or “No flasks on the Metro!” or “Only four people in a cab!” The special first annual Autostraddle Rodeo Disco version of this, it was, “Quick, hide, the cowboy bartender is coming for you again!”
Listen, it’s hard being an under-21 intern in a 21+ world. And should I probably have left the first time I was politely asked to please exit the bar? Yes. But do I also kind of do that drunk thing where I keep repeating the same actions/phrases over and over again like no one’s going to notice? Yes. So apologies to everyone who had to deal with my less-than-stealthy ass running into the bar every time no one was looking.
But I have to admit, it did feel kind of epic being escorted outside time after time on the arm of a frustrated cowboy.
I had a good run though, and it was totally worth it. After finally being kicked out for the last time, I got to spend the remainder of my evening chatting up partygoers and getting some lovely one-on-one time with various members of Team Autostraddle. And by that I mean embarrassingly gushing about how much I love everyone.
So Mr. Cowboy Bartender, if you’re reading this, thanks for the giving me the opportunity to become better acquainted with such lovely ladies. Sorry for the trouble. Drinks on me next time, okay?
Q: How was this weekend different from your everyday life?
Intern Tirna: My daily life is pretty routine: wake up, go to work, come home, read the daily fix, go to bed. Repeat. Repeat the next day. It sounds dull & depressing … ’cause it is. This weekend was the complete opposite experience. It was my first Pride … ever. And it gave me a totally different perspective on life.
You can imagine — first of all, I’ve never been to a Dyke March and therefore I’ve never seen a topless woman strolling down the middle of the street adorned in only a hot pink, fishnet one piece.
I attended my first EVER Pride Parade and I smiled just being surrounded by so much color & love & happiness. It’s not ever day that I get to walk in a parade while thousands of people look on … and cheer! Enthusiastically!
Obvs Sunday night was the first Rodeo Disco I’ve EVER attended. I mean first of all I never go out on a Sunday night, and it’s absolutely not every day that I witness a mechanical bullriding competition.
It just felt great to be surrounded by people who share similar interests with me. I felt so comfortable … like I could really be myself. It’s not every day that I meet a bunch of young successful lesbians who are awesome and inspiring to be around. I wish my every day life was more like this past weekend.