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2011’s new nuggets of nightlife

ChiChi performs during one of ChiChi and Chonga's Notorious Neon parties at Red Cap Garage

Portland of already so choc full of great queer nightlife that there wasn’t room for the same level of new club nights as 2010, but there a few new highlights worth mentioning plus a couple of nightlife stories that kept the year interesting.

New club nights to watch

3 – Deep Cuts – Fiery music enthusiast DJ Bruce LaBruiser already had a successful neighborhood night going once a month on Thursdays that’s almost always packed. But she took it to the next level along with adorable newbie Kasio Smashio. And you can catch the next one this very weekend!

2 – Revival at Red Cap – Red Cap Garage has been around a long time now. And sometimes its had some great nights, sometimes some great Friday afternoon drink specials. But the Stark Street triangle that has long been considered the gaybprhood has been waning as the seat of gay culture in PDX. But 2011 has seen an infusion of new blood, new parties, new performance and new ways of thinking. There’s Candy Shop, ManTrap, Riot Wednesdays, Notorious Neon and more. And I think we owe a lot of that to new Promotions Manager Samuel Thomas. There’s an event at Red Cap almost every night of the week so head on over the the Events Calendar.

1 – SugarTown – Though it has struggled to find a home since the implosion of Saratoga, this first night explicitly for queers to enjoy the soul music that has been blowing up elsewhere really is the most innovative and fun new experience I’ve had in awhile. Another nice change of pace from the top 40, you won’t hear modern music even after the DJs get a little tipsy, because they play vinyl and and stick to a 50s through 70s stack of records. Catch just some of the sweet sounds I’m talkin’ about at the upcoming Sweet’N’Slow next Friday the 13th.

Nightlife news

3 – Peep Show moved to Fridays. Opening up a new crowd to the west side of Portland.

Is the divide between the east and west sides of the might Willamette finally over? Well, no, I’ve still got some eastside pride. But, we are starting to notice and appreciate the diversity of nightlife we each have to offer. And Peep Show is a perfect example of that. Started as a Tuesday night performance by Artemis Chase it was taken over by the wild Drag Mansioners and moved to a prime Friday spot. The highly original drag numbers quickly made Peep Show a destination and not just background noise at the gay bar.

2 – Katey Red was a no show at Pride

Trying to attend all the amazing parties you want to get to during Pride is pretty much impossible. You not only have to choose wisely, but time it right too, as lines can be killer. So when the Friday night of Pride weekend 2011 had at least 4 parties I really wanted to go to it was mostly chance that I didn’t end up at Rotture to see sissy bounce legend Katey Red. So when she missed her flight and was unable to make the show not only were folks disappointed, but lines at nearby clubs swelled to epic proportions. I managed to sneak in and out just in time, but it was a crazy night in the inner eastside.

1 – The death of Chi Chi and Chonga

Doobie-smokin’ duo ChiChi and Chonga rose up the drag star ranks in a flash and nearly as quickly decided to call it quits. Their incessant schedule was surely burning them out but it’s so sad when the good die young. Each has continued to perform but not at the same breakneck pace. Still it would have been nice for them to give us another year of saturation before fading away (and you can hear my thoughts on this in the first ep of 2 girls, 1 podcast). But that’s ok. Perhaps they are readying for an epic comeback that will remind us all how much we miss them.

(Special thanks to occasional contributor Katey Pants for her nightlife news suggestions)

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