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San Francisco Cherry Blossom parade.

April 20th, 2003

Was Had By All
About forty-five minutes into shooting the Cherry Blossom Festival parade this morning in front of San Francisco City Hall, I started to feel tired, light headed. "Shit!", I thought. Am I going to run entirely out of gas? Is there no place to sit down, encumbered here with two cameras, a backpack filled with necessary items and a shooting jacket full of stuff?

Then I thought, "Hell, I really am tired, better find a place to sit pretty quick - but! but! but! - I am not dizzy!" My goodness. Not dizzy. Haven't been dizzy all day. Tired, yes. Light headed, yes, but different than dizzy. I probably need a sugar fix, something to eat. Everybody's tired and light headed and needs to sit down (and maybe throw up, turn blue or go home and pull up the covers) on any given Sunday morning, Tuesdays are often worse, it's a part of the package. This is good! I am not dizzy. Vertigo nada! Whoop!

And so I kept shooting and the tired feeling went away, after I found a nice fire hydrant to sit on for a while, and everybody lived happily ever after. The End. Right? Please? Three and a half hours later, eight rolls of film later, I was done. And feeling pretty good. And tired, yes, but muscle tired, ten miles of walking tired, packing the cameras tired, and not a bit dizzy. This really is good. Very good.

And the parade? Well, lots of Japanese people, which is to be expected, this being their parade and all, but lots of other folks too, most of them young and dressed for the occasion in off the wall costumes I realized must have come from movies such as The Matrix and Star Wars and from television series I've only seen in passing. Weird geeky shit. Which I'm usually pretty comfortable with, at a distance, with a camera.

One of the kids was dressed in what looked like a blue and white Tyrolean outfit with his black hair combed over one eye. He didn't look exactly like a young Adolph Hitler in a photographic sense, but you knew this kid was the young Hitler, no doubt about it. The symbols on the, um, uniform - no swastikas, none of that, I assume the symbols had to do, again, with a science fiction movie or television series I'm not familiar with - said Nazi.

The kid himself, I don't know, take away the hair and the costume, still seemed more than a little strange, gamboling, I assume innocently, with the hundred or so kids his age decked out in wooden swords, ray guns, mylar masks, women of the world costumes, bug suits, bunny fur and paper machete. Just a note in passing, you understand. An observation. This kid. A glimpse of a child Hitler milling among the children in front of City Hall. Nothing like an omen or anything. Did I shoot his picture? Yes, of course, but my heart wasn't in it. I did skip the signs that read "down with short ears, up with long ears" and "down with humans, up with rabbits", for some reason substituting an ethnic minority or skin color for "ears and humans and rabbits".

Good grief, snap out of it! Hitler and racism on Easter Sunday? A day you're celebrating not being dizzy, celebrating the idea it might go away?

It was an odd thought, an odd observation in passing, nothing obsessive about it at an otherwise upbeat Easter (Cherry Blossom) Parade. It seemed something to write about. I made a note about it coming home on BART. There were a number of Dojo's represented, some really good drummers in costume, I think I got one or two good shots. I was certainly happy with that. The size of the crowd was just right, not too large, not too small, some media, but a minimum number of photographers (who wants to shoot pictures of a parade on Easter Sunday?) and plenty of room to maneuver. I was able to give the new lens a work out.

And you had guests over the weekend.

Yes. We'll tell the story tomorrow. A good time was had by all.

The photograph was taken at the San Francisco Cherry Blossom parade.