Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. - Cyril Connolly
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Portland Oregon
I had never been to Portland, OR and had always wanted to visit there. Therefore, an invitation to represent the State of MD at the National League of Women Voters Convention (also known as the national "Chicos" meets "Cold Water Creek" meets "Talbots" convention with a liberal dose (pun intended) of "LL Bean" and "Eddie Bauer") was a welcome opportunity.

This is perhaps the most common perception of Portland:

Au contraire!!! The weather was exquisite during our entire stay. Sunny, cool and beautiful. The air was SWEET. You could literally taste it. The light was brighter, and the air was cleaner by a LOT than on the east coast. Despite this, sadly, you could still make out a brown haze around Mt. Hood in the distance. This photo was taken mid day on perhaps one of the clearest days of the entire year. Welcome to global climate change.

Portland is definitely a city of contrasts. From their pioneering, independent spirit, to the current alt.indie culture, to the influx of Japanese and other immigrants, it is the perfect city for people watching.

We received a flyer under our hotel room door the second morning we were there, notifying us that the streets around the Hilton would be closed for a few hours for the "Portland Pride Parade".

What do you get when you mix 1,000 feminists and a Pride Parade? A lot of happy, enthusiastic spectators. Our entire convention emptied out into the streets to cheer the parade and march with them.

The parade opened with the "Dykes on Trikes" delegation (there are so many entendres in that statement, I don't even know where to begin), and was followed by the "The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence". Always a crowd pleaser at any LBGT event.

Sister Anna Wrecks Ya and her posse:

Now the cool thing about Portland was the amazing turnout from the entire community for this event. Families with strollers, old people, young people, etc... It was like any turnout for any major parade in any major city. Face painting, balloons, clowns, etc.. OK, so the Furry element was a little too fetish, but the kids just thought they were mascots.

And then there were the traditionalists. When I shot the photo of the Sisters, I turned to see this Japanese woman in full kimono dress looking on. This is what she wears every day - she was not in costume.

I'll post photos from the Rose Garden, Japanese Garden and other Portland locations tomorrow.
posted by Broadsheet @ 9:40 PM  
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