PARADE DAZED: There is just something so damn special about the St. Johns Parade. Maybe it's because its one of the first of the season. Or the fact that several local politicos—including Mayor Sam Adams, Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler and Commish Jeff Cogen and the gregarious Secretary of State Kate Brown—make it a point to be a part of it. Or that, although it has very few floats, the nearly two-hour spectacle still has enough home-made charm evoking the truly unique small town nature of one of this city's most undiscovered 'hoods that I'd put it right next to the big Rose Parade for pure entertainment value.
DANCE FEVER It was "dance" night during week five of RuPaul's Drag Race: Portland Edition to crown the Northwest's "fiercest drag diva." And the ladies definitely knew how to strut their stuff. Speaking of Strut, it's time to get your ticket to one of the coolest fashion shows in town (and I should know since I live with one of the people who is putting it on). Back to the drag race: the night also included the announcement that this week Ongina will grace our judging platform. And word on the street is that RuPaul is looking for a new group of gals to grace her tv show. Check out the dets here or at http://www.rupaulsdragracecasting.com/
FIGHT CLUB: Speaking of fierce ladies, The Bad Girls Club is looking for a few good bitches to tear up the TV screen. Now, if you all remember The Playhouse's Egypt/Naveen (picture above) ripped up that show awhile back...and well...I guess the producers think Portland might be the right place to find another wannabe trouble maker. Wanna apply? Here is the information from the press release:
Casting The Bad Girls Club in Portland
The Bad Girls Club is looking for seven women to star in season four of the hit Oxygen reality show. From Bunim-Murray, the groundbreaking producers of The Real World, The Bad Girls Club is Oxygen’s highest-rated original series ever.
Season four will bring together an all-new cast of self-proclaimed ‘bad girls’ in a beautiful mansion. These women recognize that their outrageous behavior has hindered their relationships, careers and lives. They have issues with trust and claim they want to change. Will living together help them move forward and turn their lives around – or will chaos rule?
Bunim-Murray Productions will be holding casting interviews by appointment only in Portland, OR.
Those wishing to participate should email
and submit their name, phone number, city and a brief description of why they consider themselves a ‘bad girl.’ Emails must also include several recent photos – submissions without photos will not be accepted.
The subject heading of email submission must be: “PORTLAND-RECRUITING REQUEST.”
The minimum age to apply for The Bad Girls Club is 21.
More information is available at www.bunim-murray.com
Last Updated (Friday, 18 September 2009 20:39)
FINE DINER: Diner + Restaurant= Wow. That's pretty much my take on the soon-to-be open Dinerant, The Original. Although it's still a couple of weeks from opening its doors to the public, I had a chance to do a walk-thru of the brand new gem in the Sage Hospitality crown. You know Sage. These are the same folks who just opened the modern steakhouse, Urban Farmer, and perhaps the most buzzed-about (and busy) sky-high Pan-Asian restaurant in town: Departure. The genius with the golden touch, Peter Karpinski, and his crew of original thinkers, are about to unleash on the city Sage's vision of a "modern diner." And I have to tell, it's really cool. The first floor, with its brown booths and sleek urban lines looks like a set from AMC-TV's "Mad Men." You have expect suited-business men sitting there mulling over stock prices as they slurp their coffee. Famed gardener Geoff Beasley was in the space during my visit working on a very unusual artificial garden that will "live" under the stairway that leads to the incomparable second floor. Upstairs The Original is a bit more clubby with its hanging 70's-era fireplace and groovy wool wallpaper (wait until you see where they put the DJ booth!) And as for the food? It has to be on the quirkiest menus ever concocted in the state of Oregon—or any place else for that matter and it will be really interesting to see if they can pull it off because it not only has diner faves like meatloaf and chicken pot pie but it will feature a "flight of hot dogs" (you heard it right), beer can chicken (that's where the stuff a Pabst up the poulet's you-know-what), mac-n-cheese (made with lobster), poached eggs and poutine, frled bologna sandwich and something they call the Voodoo Doughnut Burger (which I can't wait to try). The menu is not final, but that's the plan for now. And now if I only can talk them into being open 24 hours, it will be just like the old days at the much-missed Quality Pie. Except with better food. And prettier people. And..oh I can't wait!
Here are a couple of photos I clicked of the second floor during my tour:
MAY THE FIERCE BE WITH YOU: Okay, I would have told us this earlier but I was sworn to secrecy. But now that someone has started blabbing it on the blogs I can tell you that yes, it does look the winner of Logo TV's "RuPaul's Drag Race," Bebe Zahara Benet (she's in the big pic above) will be making an appearance at the Portland version of the show. As will Ongina. Yes, the two queens will be making our scene as fellow judges alongside Lisa Schroeder and moi. I know. I can't believe it either. Ongina will make an appearance at next week's show and Bebe is scheduled for the Pride Week finale on June 11th (the same night as my Big Gay Barfly Bus—that's going to be a busy night). As for tonight, it's going to be our fifth week/lap and, if you can fit it into your busy little schedules, you really should come by.
Last Updated (Friday, 18 September 2009 20:39)
MANIC PANIC: Last night was a friggin—if somewhat freaky—blast. I was one of the four readers who were asked to write and read their stuff at Mel Favara's fabulous bi-monthly literary series called 1,000 Words (the glam Mel is pictured above). I and three other much more talented writers—sci-fi guy Joe Pitkin, the anime-ish literary go-to girl Geneva Chao, and Vancouver nonfiction writer/karoake queen Daniel Borgen—read four tiny, 250-word pieces written for the occasion over the past month, based on the theme PANIC. It was super cool. I thought I might share what I did last night with you folks. Each entry includes the "phrase" and "words" I had to use for each 250-word snippet. And it sort of reminded me of my old Queer Window column. And oh, by the way, it's a true story.
Phrase: Last thing I counted
Words: rail, feel, tear, black, peel
“Where is your mommy?” I asked the shoeless, little girl.
My partner and I had just found his own mother trying on a pair of shoes near the escalator rail inside the largest department store in the largest mall in the area. Now, just outside the mega-store entrance, I found myself trying to engage in conversation with a pint-sized Asian girl, no older than three, with jet-black hair and a smile so bright it could peel the paint off a frozen-in-amber children’s play area animal.
I bent down closer to her and asked again, as nicely and politely as possible, “Where’s your Mommy?”
Still no answer. Instead she did the worst thing imaginable: she climbed right up into my arms. “Oh shit,” I thought to myself. “This doesn’t feel right.”
A small crowd had started to gather. They too had seen the littlest mall walker. “Don’t move,” said one woman. “We need to get security,” said another. “Is she Korean or Chinese? I think she’s Chinese,” said a concerned shopper.
A part of me wanted to tear up and down the mall so I could get this young child, who by now had buried her head deep into my neck melting her upper body into my shoulder blade, back in her family’s arms. But I just stood there. I was frozen, waiting and wondering what would happen next. The last thing I counted on that Sunday afternoon was finding a lost child. But I did. And I was freaked out.
Phrase: My fear the shield I
Words: asphyxiate, seal, deny, damp
As the young stranger clung tightly to my neck, my fear the shield I had worn my entire life, the one that has protected me from all those who say gays have no business getting married and should be denied any chance to raise a child started to worm their way into my cerebellum. Other thoughts raced through me too: “I shouldn’t be the person holding this kid. “It should be a nice mom from the burbs.” The increasing size of the crowd surrounding us wasn’t helping matters either. It was all turning my mind into a damp mess. But rather than let negative notions asphyxiate me I allowed something else to coat my cortex and seal up my panicked brainpan.
It was love.
“Jesus,” I thought. “Is this what it feels like to be parent?” I had never felt those feelings. Not even as an uncle. Perhaps that had something to do with the fact my Christian sister didn’t want her daughters spending too much time with her homosexual brother. Nevertheless, I wasn’t going to let this little girl slip from my hands until we found her family. Or that’s what I thought would happen. You see, the crowd had started to insert themselves into the situation. “You can’t just stand there and wait. You have to go find her mother,” said one. “If you walk away from here, they can charge with kidnapping,” said another. “I have to see how this ends,” said one more person who seemed to think the whole thing was some kind of virtual reality show. That’s when I did something I never thought I do.
Phrase: The varieties of longing
Words: catapult, adopt, minority, union, fleet
I was going to steal a baby. My constant need to be in the middle of everything had catapulted me—and my fleet yet fucked up mind—smack dab in the middle of another situation I had no business being in. A thought raced through my head: “I could adopt her,” I thought. “Just like Madonna did with little David.” But I wasn’t rescuing an orphan from some dirt-poor country like Malawi. Besides Madge was in a heap of trouble for that and her most recent attempts at “saving” babies. Truth is, I was considering nabbing someone’s kid. “Jesus Christ, what am I thinking?” That’s when I looked straight into “Mai’s” pool-dark eyes. I thought that was her name; so I called her that: “Mai.” But, come to find out, that wasn’t her name. And here I was calling her a name that sounded like “mine.” However brief it was, the instant union between my little Mai and me seemed incredibly strong. And the varieties of longing, which had hid dormant in my soul for so long, had been unleashed.
I could feel a tear drop starting to work it’s way down my cheek. Mai looked at me, smiled and then she simply wiped it away.
Maybe I was in the minority here, but I didn’t want to let go of Mai. At that moment she meant everything in the world to me and I wasn’t ready to let go of her or those “new” feelings.
“Sir, sir, can we talk to you sir?” said the portly security guard. My heart started to race and I broke out in a cold sweat.
Phrase: filing by, I wondered, could I do better
Words: fleece, clad, clod repeal, cold
The cold sweat quickly turned into a chill down my back when I saw over the shoulder of the fleece-vest clad security guard a frantic woman and a young boy racing down the mall shouting “Kay-lee.” The guard informed me it was fairly easy to find out the place where the young girl had wandered away from. “The clue was her bare feet,” he said. “We knew she probably came from the play area.” At that time the mother, who was actually the mother’s sister and the child’s aunt, reached up and whisked Mai…I mean… “Kay-Lee” out of my arms and back into the bosom of her family. The “auntie” thanked me profusely for what really amounted to nothing more than baby-sitting her charge for a total of maybe fifteen minutes. And, then like that, it was over and my “little Mai” was gone. As I walked away with my partner and his mother I felt a rush of emotions race through my body and I burst into tears. I was grateful that everything had turned out okay. But somehow I still felt like a clod. “Jesus Christ, why was I panicked?” I thought. “They’re the one’s whose kid was missing.” I turned around, one more time, long enough to see that Kay-Lee was looking at me over her aunt’s shoulder. She smiled. And the faintest little wave left her hand. I smiled, and turned around back to face my future that included being childless, jobless and over 45. As I watched other families filing by, I wondered, could I do better? Could I become a parent, something I never ever thought I could be unless anti-gay measures were repealed? Maybe. And that’s when the real panic set in.
Last Updated (Friday, 18 September 2009 20:39)
PANIC ROOM Tonight I will be reading some of my own stuff with a bunch of other cool people at The Maiden for the 1,000 words series curated by the ever creative Mel Favara. You should join us. Here are the press release dets:
Please join the 1,000 Words Reading Series to witness four great writers—Leading queer light Byron Beck, sci-fi charlatan Joe Pitkin, impresario, writer, teacher, and all around literary go-to girl Geneva Chao, and stellar Vancouver nonfiction writer Daniel Borgen will each read four tiny, 250-word pieces written for the occasion over the past month, based on the theme PANIC and a set of prompts and arbitrary rules provided weekly by series curator Mel Favara. It will be fast and fancy if not furious. Vancouver emo-punk trio We Play Quiet will also play songs based on the writers’ prompts, which is a phenomenon not to be missed, unless you don’t mind missing things that are singularly fantastic.
7PM sharp, MONDAY, MAY 4
AT THE MAIDEN, 639 SE MORRISON STREET (503-232-5553)
ALL-AGES VENUE UNTIL 10; THE READING WILL BE OVER BY 9
PETE KREBS TO FOLLOW
MAMA DRAMA Alexsandra's Vintage Emporium (6726 N Interstate Ave. 735-4420) found a fabulous frock for me to wear at the Red Dress Party on Saturday night (see Leah Nash's photo above). Marc Acito said it was equal parts see-through sexy and old-lady dowdy. Whatever. I just thought it was fun. In honor of Alexsandra's fun and funky fashions I would be remiss if I didn't tell you about a wonderful event she is having tomorrow night at Tony Starlight's. A "Mother and Daughter Vintage Fashion Show and Sale" it's the perfect place to pick up a little something for that very important lady in your life (who just so happens to like looking like an old school glamour queen...these clothes are fierce).
(The show starts at 8 pm and a five-dollar cover will be added to your bill, Tony Starlight's, 3728 NE Sandy Blvd., 517-8584)
Last Updated (Friday, 18 September 2009 20:39)
A heart-pounding "bumpy ride" had a slightly different (and perhaps a bit more thrilling) meaning Saturday night at The 9th Annual Red Dress Party, entitled "RED EYE."
The "bumps" in question came courtesy, more often than not, about 2,000 red-dressed clad male (and plenty of female) crotches that were grinding their "rides" up against each other on the dance floor (as well as in a few well-positioned dark corners) in the jam-packed new BodyVox Building located deep in the bowels of semi-industrial Northwest Portland.
Last year's RDP was more of a political meet and greet (perhaps that had to do with the fact Chelsea Clinton crashed the soiree), but this year's party seemed to go back to its roots as a literally balls-to-the-wall blow-out of drunken debauchery (thank god). Split into two levels, the upstairs "first class" section was for VIP's and included an amazing set by Tahoe Jackson, an appearance by Martha Davis of The Motels (the rock mama was sporting a killer stewardess hat with a glowing jet) as well as the "girls" who are rocking it each week at RuPaul's Drag Race: Portland Edition. RDP Hostess Poison Waters joined the "girls" on the mainstage/main dance floor for a quickie fashion show that included a presentation of the RDP board. Later that evening, Storm Large, sprinted over to the venue from her sold out show at Portland Center Stage, "Crazy Enough." It was probably crazy for Storm to perform on the same weekend she was doing four shows, but damn that girl is trooper and she killed the crowd with an amazing set. And I won't even begin to tell you what shenanigans went on near the baggage carousel/seating areas and giant luggage-shaped beds.
Okay, enough talking. I know you are here to see the photos. I took so many I had to break them into two sets. Enjoy. It was definitely an enjoyable flight for these folks.
Last Updated (Friday, 18 September 2009 20:40)