FOR THIS YEAR'S Top 10 Pride Picks™ I have intentionally avoided the obligatory, and have instead hand picked gems you might not already have on your radar (but really should).
Now in its third year, Queerlandia kicks things off with its unique Lollapalooza-on-ecstasy dance party/queer craft fair/performance art take on Pride weekend. With six DJs, a big gay marketplace, caricature artist Tuna Doodle keeping it weird, and drag artist Carla Rossi doing her "Carnival Grotesque" routine, this party promises to have something for everybody.
Embers, 110 NW Broadway, Thurs June 13, 9 pm, $5 ($1 goes to LGBTQ domestic violence services at Bradley Angle), 21+
Portland queer, indie synth-pop favorites Lovers are bringing their big show to Pride weekend with Atole and Coins opening. Celebrating the community of local out musicians is one of the best ways you can check being proud in public off your list this year—plus it will be cute and fun, so... what else is there?
Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi, Fri June 14, 9 pm, $10, 21+
8. Portland Black Pride
Not to be missed is this year's five-day Portland Black Pride festival, which follows Pride weekend. This gives you two full days to nurse your daytime drinking hangover before diving headfirst into round two. It's perfect!
Check online schedule at facebook.com/portlandblackpride for details, Wed June 19-Sun June 23, fest pass $30, age restrictions vary
7. The Gospel According to Alaska Thunderfuck
RuPaul's Drag Race season five finalist (and better half to season four Drag Race winner Sharon Needles) Alaska Thunderfuck is performing at this Portland Mercury-sponsored genderfucking takeover event. This is probably the party where you'll get drunk and put something in your mouth you might later regret, so make it count!
Branx, 320 SE 2nd, Sun June 16, 7 pm, $10, 21+
6. Queer Heroes NW
The Gay and Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest and Q Center unveil the second annual Queer Heroes NW gallery show, honoring 30 individuals who helped further the cause of equality and freedom for LGBTQ people in Oregon. Mingle with some of the living heroes at the opening celebration and pay tribute to those who paved the way.
Q Center, 4115 N Mississippi, Thurs June 13, 5-8 pm, through July, free, all ages
5. Control Top!
There are tons of DJs and performers on this bill, and there are a million parties going on in bars all over the city during Pride, but all you really need to know is that DJ Bruce LaBruiser is hands-down one of Portland's best party starters, and high-energy electropop duo Double Duchess from San Francisco are insane. GO.
White Owl Social Club, 1305 SE 8th, Sat June 15, 9 pm, $10, 21+
4. Diverse Harmony
Based in Seattle, Diverse Harmony is the first-ever gay-straight alliance youth chorus in the United States. It takes courage to be out or allied in general, but even more so when you are young. The ages of this 58-member chorus range from 13 to 22, and their mission is to open "the hearts and minds of communities, and provide a safe environment for youth of diverse backgrounds to share their love of music and be accepted for who they are." Pretty cool, huh?
St. Stephen's Episcopal Parish, Fri June 14, 7 pm, free (donations will be used to start a Diverse Harmony chorus in Portland!); Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, Sat June 15, 7 pm, $17-45; Waverly Heights Congregational United Church of Christ, 3300 SE Woodward, Sun June 16, 10 am, free (donations accepted)
3. Gula Delgatto
Come get crunk with the raunchiest drag queen in all the land, Gula Delgatto, as she smears hot, sweaty homosexuality all over your gay face. The "Divine" of Portland, this fine creature is EVERYTHING. If you don't already know her, you need to. The Eagle's daytime realness Pride party features performances from Gula herself, Cakes Da Killa, and a bunch of other strange birds who are absolutely worth a look and a listen. Music by DJs Moisti and Danimal.
Eagle Portland, 835 N Lombard, Sun June 16, 4 pm, $10, 21+
2. Magic Mouth at Scandals Block Party
With the historic Stark Street "pink triangle" having been taken over by new retail developments, Scandals is now the last relic left standing from Portland's golden age of queer. The gay takeover is happening again this year in the streets with post-punk cool kids Magic Mouth headlining the main stage on Saturday. Until you've heard Magic Mouth frontman Chanticleer Trü's soulful wail, you don't know what soulful wailing sounds like. You can thank me later.
Scandals, 1125 SW Stark, Sat June 15, 2-10 pm, Sun June 16, noon-8 pm, 21+
1. Go Somewhere Else
I hope you will all do this. Being queer can feel isolating in small towns and rural areas, even in Oregon. My top pick for Pride this year is that all of us pack our wigs, feather boas, and sequined what-have-yous and go sprinkle fairy dust on the queer communities found at smaller Pride festivals throughout the state. Being out with (and sometimes for) our LGBTQ family in less densely populated parts of the state is what building community is all about! Oregon Coast Pride, Central Oregon Pride, and Eugene/Springfield Pride are all coming up, so plan your trip now.
There are lots of ways to be out and proud in Oregon, and being out is the single most important political act any of us queer people can do. We mustn't forget that Pride is every day, darlings. Be good to each other... and have fun this weekend!