Beaches, Bag(dirt), Bent/BlueParrot, bonfire, bonkers? - A boisterous weekend review

DirtBag at The Know, Portland

DirtBag at The Know, Portland

Ok, so Thursday isn’t technically the weekend yet, except when it is! Last weekend the hottest weather we’ve had here in fair gayPortland, and plenty of us used this opportunity for suntan catchup, chillin’ at the beach. Here a little weekend review in case you missed some of it..!

Thursday saw the premiere of DirtBag! at The Know, which has  moved from the Blue Parrot / Foggy Notion due to the recent change of hands. 2/3rds of stopped by after a gay old time at the Sandy river in all our sandy, sunburnt glory. This DirtBag was also a fundraiser for TuffLuck, the trans-owned and operated coffee shop located inside In Other Words bookshop, a fact that sadly was not as promoted as it could have been, but still had plenty of folks in attendance.

The Know is an unusual venue that offers unique olfactory sensations, crazy wall climbing in the “smoking alley” (if any of the girls who climbed the walls in 3 inch heels see this, please send us the shots you took!), and a nifty cooling system consisting of fans & spray bottles of scented water. Seeing disgruntled metalheads hovering outside and wondering what had happened to their local was entertaining, and the crowd was mostly local trans and hipster crowd who took pleasure in DJ Gutter Glamour’s unusual selection of music. Musically not really my bag o’ dirt, but the crowd seemed to dig it, and a buck for Tuff Luck is a buck for a good cause.

Speaking of the Blue Parrot / Faggy Nation, I took a long, cool ride after the epic Friday daytime heat up to North Portland from darkest SE (well, 30th and Woodstock). One of the sights on the trip was so glorious I have to share it with you – the sight of a large maine coon cat in a little red plastic car, while another cat kept circling it and pushing the car with it’s paw).
BENT was packed with feverish, exuding irregulars (I’m trying to stop saying “hot, sweaty queers” all the time). Roy G Biv and Jodi Bon Jodi were tearing up the place, and I ended up dancing on stage with not very many clothes on. I always enjoy it when that happens. We headed out to a crackly little bonfire for a while before I pedaled home underneath an amazing sunrise.

Sauvie Island in the summer

Sauvie Island in the summer

Interestingly enough, the BENT/Blue Parrot/FAGGY NATION situation has shifted onto another important hotbed of queer Portland vice: Craigslist. There is currently an interesting conversation going on in everyone’s favourite section (no, not casual encounters)…w4w missed connections. Discussion there is currently raging about the availability of those feverish, exuding irregulars mentioned above, and who fits in where in the queer scene…and a side discussion of alleged STD epidemic raging through the portland dyke community, which is caused by people being “dirty” and having “stank vag”. A lot of this sounds vaguely sex/body-phobic judgmental to me, but hey, it’s sort of entertaining to watch from the sidelines. Note to those frustrated with Portland queer events: Plan your own event, then tell us about it so we can cover it!

Saturday saw qPDX do a bad job of covering Vancouver, WA pride (we’re sorry. One of us is actually a child of the ‘couve!) but photos are all over Facebook and it looks like it was a blast, but on Sunday we spent a lovely time chilling at the gay beach on Sauvie Island, planning the next step of our world takeover. (Queer Swim? Queer Riverfloat? Queer BBQ?)

11 comments to Beaches, Bag(dirt), Bent/BlueParrot, bonfire, bonkers? – A boisterous weekend review

  • jennybruso

    dirt bag has always been affiliated with tuff luck. that’s actually why it started and i think we kinda dropped the ball on promoting that over the last coupla nights. we’ll work on making that clearer. also, i appreciate the shout out, and i don’t mean to imply that i think the last 2 reviews of dirt bag have been unkind exactly, it just kinda always sounds like, ‘then there’s this other dance night that i don’t get and i’m not going to give you any reason to go, but it’s queer.’ no dramz, just wishing it could be a little more positive or at least, unbiased. thanks, regardless.

    but perhaps a more unbiased opinion of the night would come across a little better. or maybe have someone who’s more into this kinda music write the review? i remember the last review being like this too, and well, it’s not really gonna help get us any attendance and that doesn’t really seem like yr intention by blogging about it, y’know?

    • jennybruso

      er, nevermind that last part. i was editing and clearly didn’t delete what i edited 😉

  • Dildo baggins

    I agree with JB, if you are going to criticize or review a dance part night at least have musical knowledge or background. Furthermore, do we need to recap a dance party?! How about important issues!? This blog is more about queer dance parties and bars than anything else. I’m really happy for you that you had a great weekend but maybe you could start a personal agenda blog? I don’t mean to sound harsh but serioulsy I think I’m goin to stop reading this one. If you are into goingto a bar seven nights a week then this is the place to keep up on the latest queer dance party an if you want to read a review about it other wise there are much more insightful news worthy blog I intention devote my time to. I’m just keeping it real.

  • Hey Jenny,
    thanks for your comment. I sort of knew that DirtBag was “affiliated” with TuffLuck, but I didn’t know that the night was a direct fundraiser. Going by the conversation outside of the venue, there were other people who weren’t aware of this also, which is why I mentioned it!

    In terms of reviewing a night – I try and make sure that I write things as I see them. I have been going to queer dance nights for almost 15 years, and that is experience i obviously bring with me. If the music and the energy blow me away, the staff is amazing and it’s the best night of my life – I’ll write that. If it’s not, then I’ll write that too. That said, for me, even if I don’t really get the music or the crowd, it is more about how much fun other people are having. I judge an event by that, and the crowd at DirtBag was having a great time, even though I did also hear people complain about the music and the attitude prevalent in the crowd when I was smoking outside. C’est la vie.

    I encourage everyone to go check out DirtBag and decide for themselves whether they like it or not, and I give much respect to anyone who tries to throw a night, I really do. For me a night is not just about the records that are played, but also determined by the energy, the location, the staff, the setup. Organizing an event is work, and you want it to be well received! It works the same for this blog, as well. I know where you are coming from.

    But in the end I feel like it’s not fair to request a certain kind of review. I do consider myself unbiased. I for sure have no grudge or issue with DirtBag or TuffLuck, quite the contrary. I am community minded to a fault! I hope that this event overcomes what I see as teething problems and becomes a rocking success with lines around the block.<3

  • Hi Dildo,

    thanks for your opinion. If you’re interested in covering the “important issues” you are referring to, you should get in touch with us. I would be the first one to agree that we could branch out more and cover more issues – I would also like to point out that the last few posts have been regarding community issues such as the TWAC and the Q Patrol, and we have a history of reporting breaking local news such as gay bashings faster than mainstream media can. Seriously, we welcome your feedback on other “important events” that we are missing, you are welcome to expound on that if you so wish.

    I would, however, like to gently point out that this blog is a free service that is provided to you. We do not get paid for the work we do, instead, we devote our afternoons/evenings/weekends to reporting things we do and see. If you are willing to pay for a subscription based blog, indeed we would have funds to stop working and attend a variety of different events that often cost money. Unfortunately, we do not have those resources so, by default, we end up covering the events we attend for fun.

    Also, it’s summer, yo!

  • DB – I’ve enjoyed reading your comments before and I have been glad of your participation and I do want to acknowledge that the professional training and experience of the current COMPLETELY volunteer qPDX staff is rather Arts and Culture centered. And yet, though that is my background I do encourage community news and discussion.

    And as Perry pointed out we do cover news when it happens! It is often discussion and opinion based as this is more a community news and entertainment site than a hard news site. And sometimes these conversations take place more on Facebook than even on the site itself though I encourage folks to comment here so that is accessible to all. Nonetheless both technical and ethical concerns make it impossible to import some interesting and eloquent comments that appear elsewhere on the web.

    We are currently working on more projects to encourage community involvement and I always am looking for more news and politics centered contributors, whether they are regular or just write one piece that matters to them. This is why I have included essays from community members such as Katey Pants.

    However I DO think it is relevant to review events, be they nightlife or other things and I think readers are quite interested to know what’s fun around town and what is worth attending, especially if “mainstream” or even “mainstream alternative” media outlets are not covering events. Who wants to complain about too much coverage? So I hope we do not lose you as a reader but event coverage is important to us and interests a huge amount of our readership so I certainly do not want to stop reviewing worthy and interesting events put on by members of our community that can certainly use the coverage.

  • And on that note, event reviewing does have a lot to do with personal opinion. I believe I wrote the earlier review of the night and I stand by that opinion that the first DB could have had better musical transitions.

    That said, my opinion on THIS night was actually different than Perry’s. I thought that the DJing had evolved greatly since the inaugural Dirtbag and was finally coming into its own as a quality retro sampling, as opposed to the more scattered nature of earlier sets.

    Certainly both of us that attended had a good time, and Perry’s review said as much, but neither of us is willing to compromise our opinions or journalistic integrity just because we want a project to succeed, even though we do. And even when the opinions of our various writers differ I wholeheartedly stand by the qPDX “staff” to make them. And just because we do not like something does not mean

    a) that we don’t know anything about it
    b) that no one else will like it
    c) that we want it to fail or change to suit our individual desires

  • Dildobaggins

    Word. It’s easy to be critical. You know this as journalists. I won’t stop reading. Thanks for the lengthy response. My point is just that seventy five percent of your blog is queer dance parties and the djs who spin music there. And I’m over it. but I’m a small person in a huge gay pond. If people need a review of the three parties every weekend… Then by all means give the people what they want. I think us as queers should be doing less things in bars. Thanks- dildo

  • Shoe Bogues

    Hi there, bloggers and the readers who love them. Or don’t, as the case may be. My name is Choriko “Shoe” Bogues and I am one of the founders of Tuff Luck and an organizer for Dirt Bag. I would just like to pass on information and an opinion or two.

    EVERY DIRT BAG BENEFITS TUFF LUCK! (YAY!) It always has and always will. Me, Ryder and Jenny started it as a night to help supplement the coffee cart, since it is barely making enough money to sustain itself. After the first couple of DBs, we just let the party grow it’s own spine without the benefit aspect. We need the money, but we didn’t want people there just for that. We wanted folks to come and LISTEN to the music and support an awesome, all inclusive space.

    The premier Dirt Bag was Gutter Glamour’s very first DJ gig. We asked Jenny to DJ because we liked the music she listened to and we had all bonded on several occasions in the space where our musical tastes overlap. We didn’t want a mainstream gay dance night hosted in the usual places by the same dj’s that have been spinning the same 80 songs between each other over and over. And. Over. We wanted a party where we would feel the music and dance out of joy, angst, passion, heartache and happiness. A place to dance like we dance when we’re alone, except do it in public. If you’ve seen me dancing to the Smiths, you know what I mean. Gross, I know. Sweaty and earnest with my eyes closed. It probably looks like I’m trying to out-sing the shitty sound equipment. You can hardly call it dancing, more like impersonation. In short, it gets me off spiritually. And I’m not the only one…

    Jenny B aka Gutter Glamour has had more DJ gigs than you can shake your queer, little stick at since that first time out. She was nervous and uncertain. She didn’t think anyone would like her set ’cause it wasn’t packed to the gills with top 40 swill. The positive feedback was overwhelming. Folx were literally walking up to the DJ booth and thanking Jenny. I think I cried a little when “Boy” by Book of Love crashed over my tender little tranny heart. That song kills me every time.

    There was plenty of criticism, too. Some people weren’t into it and it was fine that they didn’t come back. Funny thing is, a lot of our initial detractors DID keep coming back. Maybe because it was the only queer thing happening that night or maybe, deep down, Portland queers are ready for a dose of sincerity in the dance party scene. Whatever it is, I’m glad there are those who complain. If no one’s talking smack in Queersville, you are doing something terribly wrong. This machine eats snark and drama and shits rainbows. I welcome a little polarity around Dirt Bag. I do wish people would go a little easier on their fellow queers sometimes, especially when they are trying something new (like DJing) but no one ever said life was easy. Life is fucking hard. That’s why I need a night like Dirt Bag every now and then. So I can feel what I’m feeling in a room full of other people feeling it. And, also, so I can buy the most incredible local coffee available for Tuff Luck and serve the best damn espresso you ever put in your face.

    Queers, TransFeminists & Allies Unite! Keep your booty on the dance floor and your money in your community.

    I love you people!


  • alleyhector

    Well said Shoe!

    I think we can be hard on each other. And that can be a good thing when we are calling each other out and encouraging each other to learn, but it can be bad when we trample great things.

    I try to tread that balance between honesty and compassion. But in this case, Jenny don’t need it. It’s a great night and I’m definitely going back.

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