I spent last weekend in San Luis Obispo at the West Coast Meet. It's the largest gay and lesbian car show in the world, and happens to be the spot I have spent the second Saturday in July for fifteen of the last eighteen years.
The first two times I attended, I was still living in the Midwest. Now it's in my figurative back yard. This is a time marker for me- a chance to reconnect with longtime friends, check out the cars, and see just how over the top the Queens can be. After all, this is a show where the prizes for Best Display and Best Color are as coveted as Best of Show. And who understands display better than we? Merchandising is everything, and no where more so than here. I love to see what the boys come up with. It's also the one show where the awards banquet most resembles a Broadway opening. Having starred in the musical numbers years back, I offer no criticism.
It's also a time to reflect on years past and those no longer able to join us with a physical presence. Speaking of presence, I was able to hook up with longtime friend Janine, the low carb evangelist herself, for a flourless and sugarless lunch. And truth be told. she ate most of my broccoli.
And speaking of reconnection, I ran into two old friends I did not expect to see- my good friend Phil from Indianapolis, whom I have known since the late eighties, and his Pioneere- a one-off custom 1956 Lincoln station wagon that I not only accidentally inspired him to build, but also drew the "dream car" fifties interior sketch that became design intent, complete with rear picnic tables. He even went with my Pearlescent White and Iridescent Copper color suggestion. So wonderful to see her in the flesh again after all those years, and still looking like new. Now if only I could cash in on my crazy ideas, but there's not much call for a fities dream car design consultant.
This years theme was the staple of middle class suburbia in the postwar decades, the station wagon. Enormous land yachts, often festooned with simulated yacht planking (made of genuine processite!), they pose as the backdrop to the events of our childhood. Each one a symphony of lacquer, chrome, and wood- accessorized with travel decals, vintage luggage, tiaras and furs, and even lesbian girl scouts.
I admired the sweep of the calligraphy proudly announcing the arrival of middle class respectability- Town and Country, Country Squire, Colony Park, Grand Safari-
each name bearing the promise of postwar prosperity.
How could life be anything less than perfect with such a handsome beast parked in the circular driveway of one's smart ranch home?
West coast meet, for your enjoyment:
More photos here