Tracy Candido is the creative force behind Pining for You, an event at Park Slope’s Old Stone House in Washington Park on June 16 that will explore queer park space, gay utopias, community love and Dutch culture. It will include the reading of vows written by and for queer community members, a queer-love wedding ceremony, a pine tree planting ritual and a Dutch-inspired wedding cake to eat and share. We chatted with Candido to learn a little more about her leafy utopian dreams.
You describe Pining for you as “an event that explores queer park space, gay utopias, community love and Dutch culture.” What is your utopia?
My Brooklyn utopia is a park full of queer people.
Why a park?
Parks resonate very much for me. And I think a lot of people want to get married in parks. This wedding is not so much a same-sex wedding ceremony as a queer community wedding ceremony, where the community is very much the value, not just the two-person couple.
So people will be getting married?
“Married” has quotations around it. The effort is for everyone to come together and have this ceremony where we write vows for each other, their feelings and thoughts about their queer community and what it means to them. It’s not necessarily about same sex marriage—the encouragement is to think about the queer community outside of same sex marriage.
What is the connection to Dutch culture?
Dutch culture resonates with me and my life. I studied abroad in the Netherlands and learned a lot about Dutch communities. The Dutch community is very familial; there are lots of neighborhood dinners at somebody’s house. Everybody just talks, and even if you don’t share the same language they treat you like family.
How exactly are you incorporating Dutch culture into the event?
There will be a pine tree planting ceremony. When there’s a wedding in Dutch culture, friends of the people getting married plant pine trees outside their house. It’s a symbol of everlasting love and friendship, not just between the two people getting married but also the friends supporting that union. We’re also having a potluck, to which anyone can bring a cake that uses almond in some way. Everybody will eat it and share together.
Did you draw any inspiration from your personal relationships?
I’m in a relationship, have a girlfriend and we live in Park Slope. So I’m part of the queer community and a lot of my friends are part of the queer community. We respect and support one another.
What do you hope attendees will take away from the event?
A stronger connection between community members. I think relationships are why we’re here on earth, so we should definitely make the most of them. Energy and love, as hippie as that sounds, just coming out of all of us.