To quote the infamous comment by Jeff Gannon, the Capital Metropolitan Rainbow Alliance "who seem to have divorced themselves from reality," when it comes to host the national conference for Deaf GLBTs in Washington, DC this coming July 19-23, 2005.
Why? There are numbers of reasons. Lack of information. An abrupt change of hotel which moved from Thomas Circle which is very close to DuPont Circle to Downtown which is pretty far away from any gay bars/clubs. Using the Metro? Yeah, right ... during the weekdays, it closed earlier, which is not good for us all.
To clear up the confusion, the conference is on July 19 to 23 -- which means "Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday" -- that is five nights.
Prior to my first visit to 2001 RAD Conference in Seattle, they had a website with counter to let us know how many people had registered -- in fact, it has a record-breaking of more than 500 registered a month before the conference started. The cost of registration for a combo ticket in Seattle was $175, I believe.
Now it is $350 for a combo ticket with lack of information on what kind of workshops and all that shit -- by that, it is absurd. It sends a ripple effect on the Deaf GLBTs across the country -- I asked a friend in Atlanta, few friends in Philadelphia, few friends in New York, one friend in Los Angeles and one in Phoenix -- that is the total of 10 friends that I asked out of curiosity, only 2 will go. None will pay for the combo ticket at that price -- one said that the website on RAD.org and deafCMRA.org lacked the comprehensive information on specific things that might attract people to come to Washington for 19th Biennial conference.
I even asked one particular person who is involved with the committee about the numbers of persons that already registered -- he refused to identify and said that we could "find out" when we are there.
Such a baloney way to hook up the bait -- it indicated that the numbers of registrants are low.
It seemed to me that the Committee has not considered the facts that the economy in the last few years are shitty to start with, not many people got to have the pay raise and all that. But that does not matter to the RAD Board and the Committee at all.
They went ahead and reserved the Conference at Grand Hyatt Hotel that costs $179 per night plus tax. Make it $200 per night for five nights = $1000. This is a hotel with no swimming pool. I can find a hotel $99 in Thomas Circle with a swimming pool!
Plus $350 for combo ticket. Total is $1,350. Not only that, remember many people will fly over. Some costs as low as $200, some costs as high as $800, especially with the ones who came from Europe, Asia and Australia! That is nearly or over $2,000 in total just to get in RAD 2005 Conference -- that is with only 3 MEALS for the whole week! Not to mention that we'd have to shed more money on food and drinks for our own time as well as checking out with the International Deaf Leather and Deaf Cub & Bear contest ($30).
The truth is that it is all bullshit.
In fact, I will go no matter what but I am not going to buy the combo ticket. I will pay $20 for registration, $75 for Miss RAD Pageant/Buffet -- that's it. The rest can kiss my ass. I plan to attend the International Deaf Leather & Deaf Cub & Bear contest as well!
I asked one person who is involved with the committee to explain the reasons and to find the solution, he declined and kept on saying, "whatever" when I pointed out the issues that seemed to be ridiculous. I may come across as blunt and may be perceived as rude but the whole point is not about rudeness or how one worked hard for this -- but how can it benefits us all?
Basically, I checked with few friends of mine -- they said that they will come down to RAD for two nights only (Friday and Saturday) and won't pay the combo ticket. One chuckled, "Fuck 'em, they think they're above us."
The Conference was supposed to be at Washington Plaza Hotel, the gay-friendly hotel by Thomas Circle which has easy access to 4 gay bars and a brief stroll to 17 Street bars. The Committee refused to say why they changed the hotel, they kept on saying "It did not work out, it did not work out."
The Washington Plaza Hotel may not have enough rooms, there are 5 hotels right around Thomas Circle and on Massachusetts Avenue -- Wyndham Hotel, Courtyard Marriott, Holiday Inn and Carylyle Suites Hotel. They are all within less than 5 minute of walk to the Washington Plaza Hotel should the RAD Conference held at that place. The best part of all is that this particular hotel has a swimming pool! I want to get drunk and swim as well! I did before and it was hysterical!
I thought I planned to go for the whole week -- I decided to trim down to Thursday, Friday and Saturday. And guess what? I am going to pay only $95 for that shit and I'm going to work with a friend of mine to reserve a room in Thomas Circle or DuPont Circle -- who wants to catch dead in Grand Hyatt Hotel, the same hotel where the former Mayor Barry was caught for doing the crack?
Again, the RAD Board and the CMRA Committee is obviously divorcing themselves from reality -- it is not about me, when I thought it was bit odd, I asked around for their opinions -- most echoed the same sentiments but were afraid to question this to the committee because they knew they would be defensive with unruly comments. It is about how many perceived the RAD like that. Too fucking bad.