Ruggy, Don Bourassa and other party goers at Yelp's Bossanova Ballroom Bash
BALLROOM BASH: It was as hot as Hades at the fourth installment of Yelp's annual Bossanova Ballroom Bash. This year's dress code was all about "jorts," or jean shorts, and other jean-ture. It was a cute look, but if it as hot as this next year, I am recommending linen, or maybe naked.
This year was a two-night affair on Friday May 10th and Saturday, May 11th. The party (for VIP's anyway) began at 7pm each night with the main event at 8pm. The event is a great chance to see the many of the local folks who are featured on Yelp, including those businesses that offer craft cocktails, frosty brews, delicious wines, and sparkling bubbly. Besides booze the bash also offered tasty bites from local restaurants, snacks, musical entertainment, live performances, massage and more.
WILD TIMES: Brad Smith is the Executive Director of the WebVisions conference, an event that explores the future of the web in cities around the globe. He is also a serial instigator who launched the Hackathon for Social Good, where programmers and designers develop websites and apps for non-profit organizations; Arduino and robotics workshops for students; Hatchinate!, a stage for startups to give lightning presentations on their innovative products and services; and more.
Brad is a board member of the AIGA Portland chapter and helps to connect communities around the world with education, design and economic development opportunities. For his day job, he is the Creative Director at Hot Pepper Studios, an award-winning design company. He lives in Portland, Oregon, drinks too much coffee and enjoys occasional time off with his family.
Right now, Mr. Smith is knee deep in The Wild, a showcase for all that keeps Portland weird and wired.
What is The Wild, exactly? The Wild is a series of events that takes on the gritty, indie, gettin’-shit-done world of artists, makers, writers and cultural iconoclasts who are doing the creative work that contributes to Portland’s awesomeness. With The Wild, we’re really focusing on local talent, artists, makers, writers. The Wild runs during the popular WebVisions technology conference, so we’re working to give a SXSW vibe with a mid-sized event, that showcases Portland.
Who is the audience for The Wild? We’ve got visionary speakers who really know their shit. For example, Thomas Phinney is a font guru who can figure out if document is forged because he knows how forgers screw up. He was even called in to consult on the forged documents about President Bush’s National Guard service. The guy is amazing. Another group of Portland-based writers, zinesters, small press publishers and comics artists are going to riff on the future of indie lit, comics and graphic storytelling. We’ve got some of the most respected names in Portland’s fashion scene doing four nights of shows called Open Season. Live Wire is doing a show with us at the Alberta Rose. There’s something for everybody.
Now you’ve whet my appetite. What else? There are all kinds of community events, like workshops for kids, speed mentoring for girls, the Hackathon for Social Good, 24 Hour Comics, etc. Like I said, something for everyone. And we’re going to expand The Wild to other cities around the world (New York, Chicago, Barcelona, London) to showcase local talent, sometimes alongside Webvisions. Let’s talk about Webvisions a moment. It’s in its 12th year now. What’s changed over the years? When WebVisions began, we had a predominantly male audience and lineup of speakers. Now it’s closer to a 50-50 gender split, and we’ve got a big age range in attendance. It used to be that everyone looked like techies—but now we’re all geek chic—the nerd revolution has come to fashion. Culturally, all this stuff is merging. We’re changing the world, training the new frontiers in digital at the same time digital tools are expanding their reach. It’s very cool.
We constantly work to push the event in new ways. We mix things up: short sessions, keynotes. There will be DIY crafting sessions. Paypal’s Bill Scott will talk about Lean UX. We also do Hackathons for Social Good, where programmers and designers work collaboratively to build programs and applications for nonprofits in 12 hours. There’s a one day outcome, which is awesome. These things all push the initiative in different ways.
So how do Webvisions and The Wild fit together? We are breaking down boundaries between tech and design For example, we had a session called UX for Aliens, which sounds weird, but think about it: in a globalized world, we are designing for ‘aliens’: consumers and businesses in other countries and other cultures. Let’s give tech people a little design and designers a little tech knowledge. All of a sudden we have this understanding, this shattering of barriers that will allow people to be savvier. It cuts both ways.
Roe's Trent Pierce, Departure's Gregory Gourdet, Riffle's Jenn Quist, Amelia Hard, the ladies of Moet Chandon and Smokehouse 21's BJ Smith at Taste of The Nation
TASTY NIGHT: I remember a day when Chef's Night Out was one of the biggest nights in Portland.
Truth is, it still is. But, now after these oh-so-many-26-years, it's called "Taste of The Nation."
Many of Oregon's best Chefs, Winemakers, Brewers and Distillers come together, for one night, to end childhood hunger. That night, happened on Tuesday at The Crystal Ballroom. Each ticket purchased for The Taste of The Nation helps support Share Our Strength’s efforts in eliminating childhood hunger.
In the wake of staggering reports that nearly half of all children in the U.S. will be on food stamps at the some point in their life, there is no time to waste. The time to act is now.
And that's exactly what everyone did last night on two different floors of The Crystal, as well as on the stage and in the balcony. Food and drink covered every inch of this spectacular space. GEM Restaurants (newish restaurants on the local scene) served from 5 pm to 6:15pm in Lola's Room, while upstairs over 30 different favorites dished out the good stuff to a capacity crowd of cuisine-friendly folk until 9 pm.
Sam Adams and other civic minded folks at Civic Drinks at Davis Street Tavern
COCKTAILS & CONNECTIONS: Civic Drinks, the 1st Tuesday of the month, is a free mixer, hosted by the City Club and its Executive Director, Sam Adams, of informal conversation, connection and cocktails. It's an opportunity to mingle with local leaders, City Club members, and others involved or interested in civic issues.
The first one, at Portland's Penny Diner, attracted 200 local folks. The May edition, held at Davis Street Tavern, attracted so many people that the fire marshal forced them to turn people away.
With election season around the corner, City Club invited candidates for school board in Multnomah County, and leaders of Ballot Measure campaigns, including: Centennial School District, Corbett School District, David Douglas School District, Gresham-Barlow School District, Mt. Hood Community College, Multnomah Education Service Department, Parkrose School District, Portland Community College, Portland School District, Reynolds School District, Riverdale School District, Ballot Measure 26-150 (Renew five-year levy to prevent abuse, child hunger), Ballot Measure 26-151 (Fluoridation of Portland drinking water supply) and Ballot Measure 26-152 (Parks and natural areas levy).
Scene from "Interior. Leather Bar," by Travis Matthews and James Franco
QDoc for You and Me and We: Featuring Divine documentary, James Franco co-directed project and porn star Buck Angel. May 16-19.
Portland has many film festivals, each vying for a niche loyal audience that will return annually to gather and gander at the silver screen. QDoc: Portland’s Queer Documentary Film Festivalmight seem like one of them. It is after all the only film festival in the country dedicated to screening queer documentaries exclusively. But, in fact, it’s probably the most inclusive event in the city. Straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, questioning and queer alike are all featured behind and in front of the camera, as are jazz musicians, artists, filmmakers, porn stars and environmental activists. Where to start? How about at the beginning.
This year’s festival opens May 16 at McMenamins Bagdad Theater May 16 with the larger than life portrait of drag superstar Divine inI AM DIVINE presented with director Jeffrey Schwarz (VITO) and actress Mink Stole in attendance. Following Opening Night, the festival continues through May 19 at McMenamins Kennedy School with ten documentaries, among them, the eco-documentary GOODBYE GAULEY MOUNTAIN, the documentaryINTERIOR. LEATHER BARmade by Travis Matthews and actor James Franco, a profile of the transgender advocate Buck Angel inMR. ANGEL and closing the Festival on Sunday evening is VALENTINE ROAD, a new HBO documentary. Many filmmakers are in attendance.
QDoc has a seat open for all of us. For a complete listing of films and to purchase tickets, visit: http://queerdocfest.org/.