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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama Inaugural Whimsy in the Mission

Posted By on Wed, Jan 21, 2009 at 12:37 PM

Think Aretha Franklin's big-ass-bow hat is as whimsical as it can get for the inauguration? Why don't they invite groups like this to perform on Capitol Hill?

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While planned parties speckled the cityscape Tuesday night, an impromptu block party broke out on 22nd Street between Mission and Valencia outside Revolution Cafe -- until the cops ended the fun in the name of civil order.

As the clock struck 11, the brass horns and beating drums of the alternative Extra Action Marching Band busted out the traveling circus-like tunes -- think New Orleans brass band crossed with Brazilian samba -- while the gender-bending queens sashayed with their flags and pompons, and onlookers joined the frenzy. A couple even wore Dick Cheney masks.

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Could it be that Barack Obama is ushering in a new era of whimsy and creative revelry? Actually, the Mission artists are always like that. The new prez just provided the excuse to bring it out.

The cops rolled up in patrol cars, and a paddy wagon even passed by in case things got out of control, but the line of law enforcement professionals seemed to surmise there was nothing nefarious going on. They mostly just stood by in bemusement (note the hipster cop with his Buddy Holly frames hiding like "Where's Waldo?" behind the officer second from the left) and let the Missionites have their brief moment. The band's tuba player conferred with a cop during a song break, after which he entered back into the circle of fanny-shakers and signaled "one more" with his index finger.

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Did you know if you repeat "Obama" several times fast it starts sounding like "mambo"?

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Photos by Snitch collaborator Francisco Barradas, whose flash was working much better than mine.

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Lauren Smiley


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