Portland: City of Dreams

I learned two things this past weekend at my Hen Party in Portland.

1) Drag Queens are in constant motion and therefore difficult to photograph.

2) B. and I have the greatest friends in the world.

We were definitely feeling the love from our 30-some friends who made the trek down to the PDX to throw us, both separately and jointly, the greatest party known to man.

On Friday, the bride camp hung out at the Kennedy School marveling at this elementary school turned adult playground. This place is so cool. All the rooms are converted classrooms. There are 4 different bars, one of which is a cigar bar. There is also a heated saltwater soaking pool and a movie theater which is free for hotel guests, but only $3 to the general public.

Saturday, we had breakfast in the giant outdoor courtyard of the McMenamin’s restaurant in the Kennedy School. Later, we rendezvoused downtown. I played a couple of games of Dr. Mario at Ground Kontrol, but was not on point, so I gave up and met up with folks at Blitz. They have the longest shuffleboard table I have ever seen. It is not easy to use.

As we were getting ready to head to dinner, we saw people setting up for the Rose Parade. Trucks full of Budweiser Clydesdales pulled up. People walked around dressed as princesses and Strawberries. Very surreal.

The bride party left the groom party to go to Darcelle XV for a dinner/drag show. Darcelle’s is basically basically a drag version of Medieval Times. The steak is comically large. I ordered the ravioli.

Apparently, going to Darcelle’s is not an unusual thing to do for a Bachelorette party. Is was CRAWLING with other brides-to-be. But I still managed to baffle everyone. I had the largest party by far (24 people!), of mixed gender and sexual orientation. I was asked “Where’s all your shit” by the token male performer. I asked him what he meant. “Your veil and penis hat and all that,” he explained. I didn’t have any of that, but I did have a pillow shaped like a ham.

I also confounded Darcelle. She has a standard series of questions she asks every bride-to-be.
When are you getting married?
What church are you getting married in?
What color is your dress?
Are these your bride’s maids?
What color are the bride’s maids dresses?
Where are you honeymooning?

She started with some other ladies and got pretty standard answers. Most girls had a church and said their dresses were “cream” or some such food color, prompting Darcelle’s punch line “White would be a stretch”. Most ladies had bride’s maids and they were wearing colors like “goldenrod”. A drag queen standing near me while this was going on scoffed “Goldenrod? Ha. You mean YELLOW?”

But then Darcelle’s got to me. “What church are you getting married in?” “The Church of Satan,” I joke, but immediately regretted it. She was not ready for this sort of thing and it threw her off her game. So I corrected my answer, telling her I was actually getting married in a park. “What color is your dress?” she asked. “Black and red,” I answered truthfully. But now she didn’t believe me. She checked and confirmed it with the rest of the table. “I’m a goth bride,” I explained.

At this point, she had no idea what to do with me. “Where are your bride’s maids?” I told her I don’t have any. She was so ready to move on. “Where are you honeymooning?” I told her Mexico. “That’s more like it,” she said.

The show began. Right in front of me was another bachelorette. She had “all [her] shit”.

What followed was a totally surreal drag queen fever dream. It was so beautiful. Darcelle plowed through her hosting duties with a vengeance. She has clearly been doing this for a long, long time. She occasionally seemed hammered but I’m pretty sure she wasn’t actually drinking. The costumes were elaborate and colorful and…RIGHT THERE. The theater seemed too small to hold all these giant gorgeous powerhouse ladies. Highlights include…
a Cher medley featuring each queen dressed as a different era of Cher…

a double shot of Bette Midler that actually made me appreciate Bette Midler…

Note: This was the queen who scoffed at “Goldenrod”.

…and a Fosse version of “Big Spender”…

…with a plush punchline:

Darcelle also told a series of Bush jokes, much to the chagrin of the apparent Republicans in the front row, who sad frowny-faced and crossed-arms throughout. (Confidential to those girls: What the HELL are you doing at a drag show?)

I remember two of them:

There was recently a fire that decimated the library at the White House. George W. Bush was devastated. He lost both of his books…And he wasn’t even finished coloring them. (Ba-dum!)

George W. Bush was strolling through the White House when came across the ghost of George Washington. He asked Washington if he could impart any advice. Washington responded “Always tell the truth.” Next, he encountered the ghost of Thomas Jefferson. He asked Jefferson for advice and Jefferson responded “Respect your people”. Finally, he came across the ghost of Abraham Lincoln and asked if he had any advice. Lincoln responded, “Go to the theater”. (… …Ba-dum-CH!)

After the show, we boarded the aptly named Party Bus Where the ride BECOMES the party.) It had a pole, a cooler for booze, and karaoke and took us around town. Among our stops was Casa Diablo, a vegan strip club. We picked up the groom camp, and eventually rode back to the Kennedy School for the after party, where we doubtless proceeded to annoy every other guest in the hotel.

Sunday we nursed our crippling hangovers with eggs at the McMenamin’s restaurant. (Note: Even though checkout is at 11, they stop serving breakfast at 11:30. We just managed to slip in our order and then had to wait an HOUR for our food, because they’d already moved on to lunch.)

Then we drove feebly back to Sea-Town and slept hard. HARD.

1 Comment

  1. Sounds like a good night out. The photo of the drag queen is classic!

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