The Pride Parade may be over a week away—on June 17, to be exact—but there are plenty of opportunities to get your gay on starting this weekend: Portland's Pride Festival officially kicks off on Saturday night, June 9, and it's a nonstop party all week long, whether you're an L, a G, a B-T-Q, an I or an A (hey, that's almost everyone in Portland!).
On Saturday, the "Keep Portland Queer!" fest gets rolling at Cinema 21, with a special screening of The Itty Bitty Titty Committee, presented by the Portland Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (616 NW 21st, 5 pm, $8). I'm so stoked about this just-confirmed event, I'm already in line for tickets: The film—by director Jamie Babbit, who also directed lesbian cult hit But I'm a Cheerleader—stars a slate of queer (or at least queer-friendly) hotties, like Clea DuVall, Daniela Sea, and Jenny Shimizu. Set to a riot grrl soundtrack, the fun flick—which won the Best Film Award at SXSW, but hasn't been widely released yet—follows a gal named Anna (played by Melanie Diaz), as she hooks up with a radical feminist group called the CiA, or Clits in Action. The troupe sets their politically active sights on the Washington Monument—I'm guessing that's thanks to the national icon's phallic, um, symbolism.
Once the credits roll, head across the street to the Gypsy (625 NW 21st, free with movie stub/$5 without) for a happy hour (there's an appetizer buffet for VIPs), followed by an all-night dance party with DJ Iran, Tina Turner impersonator Lawanda Jackson, and the Rose City Sirens Burlesque Troupe.
Also on Saturday night, there is a dual "Blackout Party" to celebrate Pride in the black community. Those 21 and over will dance to DJ Black Cat and Jamilah Bourdon at the Red Cap Garage (1035 SW Stark, 9 pm, $10), and enjoy performances by Lawanda Jackson and Pebbles, while the 18-and-up set parties at the nearby Ace Hotel (1022 SW Stark, 9 pm, $5).
Don't dance your pants all the way off, though—you'll need them for Sunday night's ¡Noche de Fuego! Latino Pride party at the Jupiter Hotel (800 E Burnside, 5-11 pm, all ages). Featuring performances by Meesha Peru of Darcelle XV, the Portland Gay Men's Chorus, plus notables like Mister Gay Latino and Miss Gay Latina Oregon 2007, hundreds of guests will nibble on food from La Bonita, and sip a special tequila cocktail from the adjacent Doug Fir Lounge. Órale!
Meanwhile, over at the Fez on Sunday night (316 SW 11th, 7 pm), the 2007 Pride Royalty—like the newly crowned Mister and Miss Pride—strut their stuff for adoring fans.
If cruisin' is more your thing, hit the dock on June 13 for the second annual Pride Cruise (110 SE Caruthers, 6:30 pm, $65). State Senator Ginny Burdick—a big queer community ally, who pushed forward both domestic partnerships and non-discrimination laws in Salem this year—and City Commissioner Sam Adams will be on board (literally), for a fancy schmancy river ride. There's a sit-down dinner, a full-service bar, piano serenades, and dessert from Saint Cupcake.
There are plenty of other events this week, too, like a First Thursday reception for gay and lesbian artists at Portland City Hall on June 7 (1220 SW 4th, 5 pm), and a screening of The Man You Had in Mind on June 13 at the Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy, reception at 6 pm, film at 7 pm, $10). A fundraiser for the Elder Resource Alliance, the film explores the relationships of five Portland-area male couples.
And if you aren't worn out by next Thursday, be sure to pick up next week's Mercury. Inside, you'll find the big gay official guide to Pride, including complete event listings, the parade route, previews of all of the performers on two stages at the Keep Portland Queer! Festival on the waterfront, and interviews with folks from Portland's queer coterie—like Sam Adams, Darcelle, and Donna Dresch. Plus, check out essays from Dan Savage, Freedom to Marry's Evan Wolfson, Q Center Board Member LeAnn Locher, novelist Marc Acito, and plenty of other 'mos, as they dissect the language and labels of the queer community, from "LGBTQIAA" to faggot, and from partner to—my new favorite word—gaywad.