(Video courtesy of Nick Gilbert)
I must admit, my first question upon being asked to cover the All-Star Game was not related to getting paid for the piece, or about what kind of a spin they wanted me to put on things, but rather, What in the hell is the All-Star Game? Seriously, I was that clueless.
Let me start this whole thing off by stating the obvious -- SF Weekly has a perverse sense of humor. I mean, asking me, San Francisco’s drag mega-star, to go cover the All-Star game? Wasn’t there a MAC cosmetics conference or something going on that I could write about instead?
Once I accepted the job, fear gripped me as the days counted down to the Big Game. Sure, some of my more hysterical friends told me I was crazy, that I was venturing into enemy territory, that I wouldn’t get out alive -- but that’s not what I was apprehensive about. I’ve always found that, contrary to popular belief, your average heterosexual isn’t nearly as homophobic as we make them out to be. No, I wasn’t afraid so much about being the only tranny in a crowd of tens of thousands of beer swilling, testosterone fueled sports fans (actually, the thought kind of turned me on) but I worried... would any of them have anything interesting to say?
Isn’t it strange how reality is so much different than how you imagine things will be, darlings? In a perfect world, on the Big Day itself I would be dropped off smack dab in front of AT&T park, where I’d calmly sashay over to the entrance gates with my videographer, Nick, and gracefully engage your average Baseball Lover, charming him with my feminine ways into telling me all the mysteries of America’s Favorite Pastime. Mission accomplished, we’d share a laugh, he’d tweak my nipple, give me a bite of his hot-dog, and all would be right in the world.
The reality, of course, was hellish nightmare of closed off streets within a 3 block radius of AT&T Park where we stood about as much chance of finding a parking spot as I did of throwing the first pitch at the game. Finally finding a spot in the McDonald’s lot at 3rd and Townsend, we grabbed it. Noting the intimidating customers only 30 minute time limit sign above our spot, we made the decision that my driver would go in and make the supreme sacrifice of actually buying a McDonald’s hamburger while I would run down the street (with the SF Weekly video crew, who had met up with us there, in tow) and hastily try to interview people.
The strangest thing was, there was so much hysteria around the game, with scalpers on every corner, police herding people like sheep, and merchandise vendors screaming in my ear, I found it almost impossible to get noticed -- something that, considering the fact I was in high Heklina drag, I found very disconcerting. My goal was to speak with out-of-towners who had traveled a great distance to be there that day, but when I was able to get someone’s attention to ask where they were visiting from, I was told Half Moon Bay, San Jose, Modesto, Larkspur, blah blah blah. To say my conversations with these people were less than scintillating would be a massive understatement -- I was told that this was the first time in 23 years that SF had hosted the All-Star Game, that Barry Bonds was there for some reason (they told me why, but I honestly don’t remember), that it was a matter of great pride for the City to be hosting the game, yawn yawn yawn. I felt I should have been holding a pick and wearing one of those miners hats with the light on it -- this was interview gold! I mean, heartfelt and all, but come on.
With the clock ticking away, I was desperate to find some tourists, and I finally hit pay-dirt. A family consisting of a mother, her husband, her sister and their collective four little children visiting from Florida. They were perfect, so cute, All-American, and obviously thrilled to be in San Francisco talking to a real! live! drag queen! Huge baseball fans, they just couldn’t miss this event, especially because some guy on one of the teams whose name they told me but I forgot was playing that day. I asked them if they had good seats for the game and was astounded when I was told they didn’t even have tickets! They were going to try to find a scalper or whatever it took to get in. I was a bit flabbergasted at this… I mean, I can understand being passionate about something but what would possess a family to spend what must have been a small fortune on airfare, hotels, etc. to get to a game they weren’t even sure they could get into?
Just as I was trying to get to the bottom of this my driver ran up to inform me that, although we had only been parked in the McDonald’s lot for 28 minutes, we had, in fact, just gotten our car towed. Needless to say, this drew my interviewing to a screeching halt, as I began to panic wondering how the fuck I was going to get out of there. We did manage to get a cab and call Golden Gate Tow Company, who informed us that it would be a mere $250 to get our car back.
$250 for 28 minutes? Hmmmm…As we taxied away from the chaos of AT&T Park it occurred to me that we had, in our own small way and in a very short time contributed to the estimated $60 million haul the City is expected to reap from the All Star Game, a tidbit I did find extremely interesting. Take me out to the Ball Game, indeed.
Experience Heklina every Tuesday at The Stud, 399 9th St. @ Harrison, at midnight, $8 cover.