Q-ING UP: My buddy, Jessica Lyness, is promoting a really cool queer documentary festival that takes place in Portland early next month. That's why I am sharing with you guys what she just shared with me:
Portland Queer Doc is back with a world of drag and a world premiere (June 3-6): The fourth incarnation of this one-of-a-kind event, this year featuring a number of films dealing with music, with drag kings and queens, and with the politics of the gay rights movement. The Festival opens June 3, with visiting director Michelle Lawler and transgender drag queen/documentary subject Vicki Marlane in person to introduce their film “Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight”, a compelling profile about the San Francisco drag legend, who is still going strong well into her 70s. After the screening, the audience is invited to the Opening Night Party, hosted by Clinton neighborhood favorites, Broder and The Savoy Tavern & Bistro. June 5 catch the world premiere of “Le Tigre: On Tour”, a trip with the feminist electroclash band trio Kathleen Hanna, Johanna Fateman, and JD Samson of Le Tigre, known for their dance mixes and LGBT activism. Closing up the four day festival is the award winning documentary directed by Leanne Pooley, “The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls”, about twin yodeling lesbian sisters, Jools and Lynda Topp, one of New Zealand’s most cherished and charmingly irrepressible performing duos. The Topp Twins will be in attendance. More at: www.queerdocfest.org.
NIGHTINGALE NIGHT: Diane Birch played her first ever Portland show on Saturday night. I interviewed her prior to the big gig and will be posting what she said about her return home in the next couple of days. For now, I wanted to make sure you had a chance to see a few photos from her sound check and a couple shots during the concert. And, by the way, it was an amazing concert.
RHYTHM OF THE NIGHT: Perhaps against my better judgment I've signed on to, once again, be a judge of a competition at the Red Cap Garage. But instead of telling drag queens how fierce they look Iike I did for Drag Race, now I'm judging real, live actual singers for the club's new contest called "Portland Idol" which kicked off Thursday night and will run through the end of July.
Twelve candidates, out of a kajillion folks who audition, were hand-picked to sing in front of an audience that included one incredibly beautiful (and somewhat in the news) face: plus-size model and former Biggest Loser contestant, Rasha Spindel and her fiancee Vana.
This contest is the real, live deal, with big money and trips on the line. It also has an interesting person behind the scenes: events and promotions dude, Justin Buckles, actually worked for several seasons on the actual American Idolas well as some other well-known reality shows. So who knows what will happen with him in the mix.
Hosted by DJ Adam West, and co-hosted by Poison Waters alter ego, Kevin Cook, another judge marking her return to the platform was my Drag Race Season I buddy, Mother's Bistro owner/chef Lisa Schroeder.
It's too early to tell who the favorite is, but I will tell you this: This is going to be the best place in town to hear some pretty spectacular singers (including David Brown, above) strut their stuff for the next few months.
CHEESE & COGEN: My friends, John and Rebeca Buffaloe (cute couple alert!), asked me to help them host a fundraiser for Jeff Cogen, candidate for Multnomah County Chair, at the Buffaloe's Southeast home on Thursday. As County Commissioner, Cogen has spent the last four years making Multnomah County a better place to live. The party was a great chance to see Jeff again, tell him how cute his hair looked and hear his vision for the County. The strangest part of the evening for me though was just prior to the party. As I was taking supplies out of my car for the event, including leaflets and lawn signs, I noticed that a few fliers for a rather risque publication I used to write for (and Beau Breedlove appeared on the cover of) had slipped into Cogen's materials. Hmmm...awkward to say the least, Iet's just say I was glad I caught them before we placed them next to the wine and cheese platter.
SONGBIRD FLIES HOME: Former Portlander, and current international singing sensation, Diane Birch, is playing the Aladdin Theater Saturday night. And for those of you who are familiar with this site, well, you know I am a big fan (see above).I didn't get a chance to speak to her prior to her arrival in Portland but I did snag a press release from her peeps. This is one show you don't want to miss. Diane Birch, Aladdin Theater, 3017 S.E. Milwaukie Ave Portland, 8 pm Saturday, May 15. $22.
Here is what her release has to say:
May 10, 2010 –Fresh off a frenzy of European tour dates, first-rate SXSW performances and a terrific appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, singer/songwriter Diane Birch is packing up her Rhodes keyboard and getting ready to bring her soul-infused pop to 23 cities across North America. Beginning this Wednesday, May 12 in Los Angeles at the El Rey Theatre, Birch and her band will embark on their first national North American headlining tour in support of Diane’s highly acclaimed debut album BIBLE BELT (S-Curve). Birch will also make her debut at Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival on June 10 at the end of the run.
Birch’s new single “Valentino,” a fun, catchy New Orleans-flavored pop gem featuring drummer Stanton Moore of Galactic, is fast becoming the singer’s next sing-along hit at her shows. NPR ‘Song the Day’ recently highlighted the track, commenting, “…Diane Birch knows how to set herself apart. Funny, punchy and a little weird, her song "Valentino" makes a quick but deep impression; once you hear it, it’s hard to forget.” Fans are talking about the innovative new video for the song, conceptualized by the young video director Dennis Liu, which this week was added to VH1’s playlist.
Diane has also recently appeared on The Today Show, The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Late Night with David Letterman, The Carson Daly Show and Jimmy Kimmel.