Sunday we marched in San Francisco Gay Pride Parade with a group from Stanford University. The Stanford Marching Band was “marching” with us. “Marching” is in quotes because they don’t really march, they scatter. The band runs from one spot to the next and then plays a quick song. They are either running or playing. When they are playing they are loud and rocking. Crowds love them. Groups marching in units in front and behind us loved them too. There was love and music everywhere except in the cold, harden heart of the woman parade monitor. She did not like that the band could not stay contained as a unit in one box like group. She gave the band three warnings and then they were out. (She must be a UC Berkeley graduate.) Police were called in. The band had “marched” less then half of the parade route. A dozen police and security people barricaded the street in front of the band. Nobody was allowed to proceed until the Stanford Band was forced off onto a side street and out of the parade. If the band refuses to leave they were told that they would be arrested. After a brief standoff, the band yielded. The parade route was now safe for the Pride march to continue.
This was so absurd and bizarre. The band has a history of being controversial, outrageous, and sometime offensive. But they weren’t that at the Pride Parade. They were just being exuberant and enthusiastic.