I saw the recent travel theme and the word “gaudy” came up. I decided to share, but not because I have an adversity to the gaudy, but a secret admiration for it. Particularly with what I am going to share with you. I think it takes a lot of cojones to be “gaudy”.
In Chicago, there are two major events that I believe, specifically, call for the gaudiest costumes of them all. The annual Pride parade celebrates diversity, particularly in the Boystown neighborhood, and for which has become the unofficial gay and lesbian yearly hurrah of Chicago. Pride is also about being proud of who you are or who your friends are. People all over the city, gay, straight, etc. all come to the parade to support themselves or friends or both. Why people dress up so obnoxiously, I’m not entirely sure. I think it is fun, radical, and like Bonnie Raitt says, “Let’s give ‘em something to talk about.” People are going to talk regardless — especially regarding homosexuality. Why not make it worth everyone’s while, right?
The second event is the annual Halloween Parade (hosted in the same neighborhood). It is the same elaborate, “gaudy” garb but 30-40 degree cooler than the July Pride Parade. I have on several occasions heard people start planning for the next year before the event is even over. If you can come up with a creative get-up, not only are you in the running for best costume, but people from all over the world (this being Chicago and all) want to take pictures of you and with you. It is a rush if you can cross that threshold.
To give you an idea of what these parades look like, here are some of my favorite snapshots: