Where was I for Pride weekend? Why, at the parade, of course! Huddling under an umbrella, cheering Fenty’s smart car, and applauding PFLAG along with everyone else. The rain put a, er, damper on things, but as usual it was a gay time, in both the new and old meanings of the word.
But the highlight, oh the glorious great part of Pride weekend for me was a showing of Straight Jacket , starring the silver screen diva herself, Joan Crawford, outdoors on the lawn of the Hillwood Estate & Museum as part of their LGBT "Divas of the Screen" series.
Second of all, the Hillwood Estate is an absolutely gorgeous place to watch a movie outdoors. Far less crowded than the Mall, and much smaller so that you can really see well no matter where you sit. If you can locate and arrive at the place (which I had a lot of difficulty doing…it is near the Czech embassy, but not quite its neighbor) you are treated to a pristine lawn, old growth trees, an expansive view of the sky, and ample manicured gardens with fountains and koi fish and small bridges that lead over ponds.
Third of all, they supply you with FREE (!) bug spray. So long, West Nile Virus!
Of course, the best part is that you get to watch a movie with 300 of your closest gay girlfriends. There was a contest for the best picnic spread, judged before dark, so the spreads were queer-eyed-out. We're talking candelabra, floral arrangements, cake plates with decorated cupcakes, and enough gourmet cheeses to open up a specialty shop. In comparison, our spread of chickpea salad, tatziki and grapes was downright sad. There was also a Joan Crawford lookalike contest, which was won by a rather skeletal version of the lady. And, if things weren't gay enough for you yet, there was a proposal, on the lawn in front of the crowd, with one man down on one knee asking for the other's hand in marriage! A perfect, picturesque setting for a declaration of love, including plastic axes in the background as an homage to the flick we were about to see.
And what a movie! Joan Crawford, in all her glory, is an ax wielding murderess! The heads pop off like champagne corks! She makes an entrance, and the crowd goes wild! (And not a few shout "No! Wire! Hangers!"). The plot, in a nutshell, is that Joan Crawford murdered her husband and his mistress in a really gruesome/campy ax murderer/diva way, and then 20 years later is released from the asylum to rejoin her daughter who is living a wholesome life on a farm in California. Hilarity/horror ensues, and even though it is one of the campier movies I've ever seen, I did at one point whisper to my companion "I understand this movie is terrible, but darn it, I'm nervous! Don't go in there!" and then inevitably, the good natured doctor would walk into a dark room and the door would close and the glint of the ax would shine.
The other movies in the series were great too, How to Marry a Millionaire and Funny Face. Keep an eye out for this series next summer, and have yourself a gay old time.
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