The Austin Chronicle

Public Notice

By Kate X Messer, April 13, 2001, Columns

Dogs in Drag

A dog's gotta be a dog.

Ahhhh, to revel in the languorous lull of all-day naps and attentive head skritches by beloved masters. Ruff life, that, full of scheduled pit stops, walkies, and the occasional social hour spent sniffing butts and establishing caste. (Not so different from human life at work, after all, then, hmmmmmm ... ?)

Then again, there are times when that canine soul barks to be free -- free from the constraints of leash and law, of harness, shock fence, and six-week obedience lessons. Sometimes, a dog's gotta be free to express his or her inner id. Sometimes a dog's gotta be a man ... or a woman, depending on Rover's particular inclinations and leanings. A pirate poodle, perhaps? An Airedale airline attendant? Or a saluki sex surrogate? (Ahem.) Dogs, too, must listen to pesky, neurotic inner voices on occasion and stretch the old mental boundaries a bit to imagine for themselves a better life -- even if it's all just futile fantasy. And yes, your cat feels the same way, too. (We even have a friend whose cat is a puppy. Go figure.) As does your golden koi fish, African grey, bovine, boa constrictor, and/or sugar glider.

Hearts yearn to be free. It's inherent -- 'cross genus and species, programmed into the DNA, yes? Why would your man's best friend yearn any less? Now, we're not advocating the violent overthrow of the master/pet paradigm, mind you; we're not even encouraging you to allow the furry fuzzball onto your bed, or house even, sending power dynamics into an irreversible vortexian tizzy. No, no. Keep a tight leash on the beasts. And do it at the Pet Parade.

The second annual Lyndon Lambert Memorial Benefit Easter Pet Parade is this Saturday, April 14, 11am on South Congress. Rover, Spot, Smiley, Coco, Sequoia, Hannah, Miss Kitty, Chico, and the Man wanna strut their stuff. They want to take to the streets (or at least the Street: Congress) and feel the limelight shining on their shiny coats, if but for one glorious afternoon. They want to be dressed up in some ridiculous ensemble, crafted by you, and entered into a Costume Contest, in hopes of fulfilling your vision of perfect humiliation, just to satisfy your whims. Why? Because they love you that much. Plus, if their outfit wins the adoration and attention of their peers and yours, it might just win you a prize.

Straining at the leash? We thought so.

The place? Meet in front of Liberty Catering, 1716 S. Congress at 11am with $5 per pet (they say there will be Liberty-made pet biscuits). Proceeds will benefit Animal Trustees of Austin. The parade of human and non- will proceed up Congress to Jo's Hot Coffee, 1300 S. Congress, where it will turn into the big parking lot shared with Hotel San José, where owner and pet alike shall enjoy a grand promenade around the asphalt, accompanied by a small marching band(!).

So what happens if you win? Well, second and third prizes are as yet to be determined tabs at Jo's, and first prize is a night at Hotel San José -- a pet-friendly establishment.

You weren't thinking of leaving Coco at home, were you? 444-3800.

Speaking of Sniffing --

We're anal here too, anal about making sure your little buttinskis have fun this summer. Yes, folks, it's almost time for the Chronicle's Annual Kids' Summer Fun Guide, so e-mail your kid-centered day camps, events, and activities to [email protected] (or fax 458-6910, attn: Kids' Summer Fun) by noon Friday, April 20, for inclusion.

Speaking of Drag --

Austin NOW (National Organization for Women) needs you to dig out your cross-dressing best for a li'l Pro Choice Performance Art & Press Conference at the Texas State Capitol Building, next Thursday, April 19, 2pm. It's all a part of the local chapter's concerted response to all that goofy Gregory Gym fracas going on at UT, you know, where the powers that be allowed some bending of some longstanding rules and traditions to accommodate some Right to Life über displays to take over the area in front of the gymnasium. NOW in conjunction with TARAL, UT Voices for Choice, and Planned Parenthood will hold their own counter-demonstration all this next week in front of the gym, as well as a series of other planned events. Call fo mo info. 462-1661.

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