Sarah at the Gay-La

Sarah at the Gay-La. Photo by Amy Traut.

There was a line out the door of the Baltic Room for the 2016 SIFF Gay-La, Lady Gaga vibrating the pavement. Having just come from Welcome to the Taradome, Tara Thomas’s art show at Pony (NOT TO BE MISSED!) I had on a gray windowpane wool suit and a wolf stole, and my co-partier Amy was wearing a voluminous red 80’s prom dress and a two-foot-high feather tiara. Both of us were pleasantly but manageably lit and our pockets were full of plastic bugs.

I always forget that I like the interior of the Baltic Room, especially at an event like the Gay-La where the party light show makes the bar’s chandeliers look like tropical flowers. A DJ who resembled a combination of Buddy Holly and Alfred Hitchcock perched at the bar’s throne-like sound booth, instigating a lively dance party that delightfully included leather collars as well as ties and heels.

Upon receiving my drink tickets, I asked a guy who looked straight out of Scorpio Rising if I was at the end of the bar line, and he said, “You should go to the front, you beautiful man.” I was deeply flattered AND had free beer—the gala was off to a great start. Amy and I collected some delicious Mexican food from the caterers (sautéed mushrooms and crispy fried onions were the highlights) and hit the dance floor.

We opted for a platform because somehow a platform is always the most glamorous place to dance, but from our new vantage point, the party turned into a game of betting whether more queer couples or straight would go home together. By the end of the evening we’d counted four straight couples and five queer quitting the dance floor for each other’s embrace, of upliftingly tender and advanced ages.

We were happy about this and so decided to go outside and drink a tequila shot out of a urine sample cup that I still haven’t asked Amy why she had in her purse. We gave away our remaining drink tickets in a neighboring dog park—something I’ve never done, and which I see as a mark of any party’s supreme success.

It was here that we met ANOTHER Scorpio Rising-level awesome leather daddy, who told us about the motorcycle he was building with a side car for his dog, who was there, totally excited about the sidecar, and eager to be petted. We killed the tequila urine sample and Ubered to our respective apartments, entirely happy with the way the evening had gone.