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The Tulip Queen And Joan Jett
Some pretty good photos of the Tulip Festival, 2007
Absolutely gorgeous weather, sunshine, not too hot or cold or
too windy. I think that there were about four billion people at
this year’s Tulip Festival in Washington Park on Mother’s
Day weekend. The old joke about how rain always falls on the Tulip
Festival simply did not apply this year.
I spent all day Saturday in the park and took some photos worth
sharing. My little camera can’t do panoramas too well, as
with this attempt to catch the crowds around Moses. And of course
I didn’t bother to snap any photos of tulips, which were,
for once, about as close to perfect as they can get. The boys and
girls at the Hearst Times Union weren’t able to do their standard “The
tulips are looking bad this year” article. Instead they barely
mentioned the festival, but hordes of people came anyway.
We checked out the Tulip Queen parade and competition. Mayor Jerry
Jennings rode in a horse drawn carriage with the outgoing 2006
Tulip Queen, Amanda Benincasa waving graciously. When His Majesty,
however, noticed who was snapping his picture, he made a sour face
and looked away.
The royal couple was preceded by the police pipers. You can see
them in the back, I wish I’d taken a photo of the horses.
They were unbelievably pretty.
There were five competitors for the title of 2007 Queen, each
got to ride in their own little convertible.
There seemed to be an awful lot of mean looking cops standing
around the pageant. When I ran out in the roadway to snap the above
picture they all looked like they wanted to tackle me and ship
me off to Gitmo. I mean, what’s that all about? Tulip terrorism?
Here’s the five finalists at the moment the winner was chosen,
Amisha Gomes, on the left.
The other four are hissing through clenched teeth, “Choke
on that bouquet, b---ch.” I marveled at how they kept their
toothy smiles steady right through to the end of the ceremony.
They must have been strictly instructed to do that. It looked like
What a lovely couple. Before all this pageantry, The Wife and I had to set up the Save
the Pine Bush display over in the Activist Ghetto. This is where
all the social action groups and churches lurch out at the festival
goers and try to get them to take pieces of paper explaining exactly
what is wrong with the world and what THEY can do about it.
Usually the Activist Ghetto is the least crowded area of the festival.
I really don’t understand why that is. It’s the most
amusing and interactive part of the Festival, a place where almost
everybody is dying to strike up a conversation with you. I like
to move from table to table early in the day when everybody is
fresh and full of enthusiasm for their causes.
Here’s the Save the Pine Bush display with the three panels
connected with hinges I made in our basement 15 or so years ago.
We are proud of our funky chic. Note the three weird sisters fussing
with “No Dump In The Pine Bush” t-shirts and hoodies
in the back to the left. The two pictures above were taken before
the Festival officially opened. By mid afternoon the Activist ghetto
was as crowded as the Food Alleys.
Up a ways from us, Melanie Trimble was setting up the New York
Civil Liberties (NYCLU) table. During a discussion wherein she
and I both got infuriated at what the politicians are doing to
our Bill of Rights, she shook a tent leg and showed us what she
would do to anybody who tried to take away our civil liberties.
Later, Melanie made up a petition and passed it around the Activist
Ghetto. She called for an end to the City of Albany’s recent
stringent rules that only allow accredited 501c3s to set up in
the Activist Ghetto, and for marginalizing all the worthy organizations
off to the edge of the Festival. Unfortunately, the first person
to sign was The Wife, so I can imagine The Mayor’s grimace
when he sees THAT petition.
Always in a better location is the Art Ghetto, where various artists
compete for prizes and sell their work. The quality ranges from
fine to schlock.
For the first time in a year or so I saw photographer Bradford
Smith, who looked a bit older but otherwise okay. It seems he’d
been traveling to Florida, California and Oklahoma. Mr. Smith is
a retired studio and fashion photographer, with a vast archive
of negatives going back to the 1940s. He takes some new photos,
but most of his wares are recently developed from those old negatives.
He always hides his artistic nudes because he thinks that they
are not appropriate for display in public. "I don’t
want to upset the little kids or their parents,” he always
tells me. But I think his stuff is fine art.
Whenever he sees me
coming he calls out, “I’ve got some new ones for you,” meaning
his hidden stash of nudes. Indeed, he had one I hadn’t seen
before, which I promptly purchased. I present it here, I hope that viewing such
salacious material on my website doesn’t turn some innocent youngster into
a crack addict.
But the real high point of the day was the performance by Joan
Jett on the main stage. I did not believe that she would be that
good. What a voice on her, and what a tight, competent no-nonsense
rock and roll band, just the kind of rock music I like. She could play
anything and it sounded great, including the theme song from the
Mary Tyler Moore show. She made that drippy insipid tune sound
like a power anthem.
The crowd was far and away the largest I’ve ever seen for
a performer at the Tulip Festival. The audience was all ages, including little kids on their parent's shoulders happily presenting the two horned devil hand symbol at Ms. Jett. That, of course, is the universal heavy metal salute. I wormed my way forward in the
crowd until I got some good pictures during the last number.
The woman is closing in on 50 years of age. I believe she’s
been wearing the same tight leather outfit since she was in The
Runaways back in the 1970s.
At one point she rasped at the audience, “It’s the
Tulip Festival... but where’s the tulips?”
Hundreds of arms, including mine, shot up into the air and pointed
to the left, back toward the Moses statue.
“Oh yeah?” she said. “Over there? Huh.” then
she launched into her next number. I wonder if she took the time
later on to smell the tulips.
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