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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Pride in Long Beach

by James Cohen

Last weekend was Pride in Long Beach,and what better place to spend it than on board a queen – the Queen Mary. Yes, we all knew that joke was coming, so now that it's out of the way we can move on.

Saturday night the docked and converted hotel ship played host to Poseidon, a maritime club experience.

The location was easy to find, with the name spelled out in light on the side of the ship near the proper entrance. Definitely more attractive than a banner.

Doors opened at 7pm but who gets to an event like this that early? This guy, right here. For information purposes, of course. Full access wasn't granted until 8:30 and the crowd showed up closer to 10. Of course this is common sense but now you have empirical proof not to show up early.

Though it did get fairly busy inside,the space was comfortable, occupying a three-story section of the ship. Being a 21-and-over event, alcohol was never too far away. Reasonably priced drinks were available from at least one bar on each floor.

Whoever was in charge of sound deserves a nod – booming speakers were brought in and the setup ensured that while the main dance floor was on the bottom, the top floor was a party as well.

I noticed several straight couples,which was a bit surprising for an event that employed half-naked mermen. Glad to see the Fs from PFLAG in attendance, though, and they didn't seem to have any trouble mingling with the crowd or jumping on the dance floor. There were more women, lesbian or not, in attendance than I normally see at gay clubs. In Southern California, at least, it seems most queer locales are predominantly either male or female. Let's be honest, we do tend to segregate ourselves and go out with a goal in mind. Thanks to Pride weekend going on outside, the atmosphere at Poseidon was diverse, friendly and inviting for everyone involved. I saw straight couples making friends with gay strangers and it warmed my heart. That and the Jack Daniels.

It was really easy to get from Prid eover to the Queen Mary via the free Passport bus line that runs through downtown Long Beach. This is an especially convenient option because (A) Pride is a big deal here so traffic gets pretty heavy and(B) buzzed driving is drunk driving. If you have more will power to abstain, or plan on staying the night, the Queen Mary has a spacious parking lot and is a fine hotel.

Bottom line, if you want to have a great time in a unique place with an eclectic crowd visiting from all corners of the same-sex-friendly earth, you'd better hope Poseidon graces Long Beach Pride again next year.

Tickets were $40 in advance or $50 at the door, but for out-of-towners there were package deals with the Queen Mary hotel that included rooms and a Sunday brunch on the Verandah Deck – and who doesn't love a good package?