Toto didn’t show. But plenty of others, many dressed to the nines and beyond, happily scrambled over the rainbow to Beaverton’s Patricia Reser Center for the Arts as the region’s newest arts center celebrated both the end of Pride Month and the wrapup of its first season of performances. (The second season is already in high gear.)
The hostess for the evening on June 28? Poison Waters, the talented, funny, and highly entertaining Portland drag queen. The show, which featured many of Waters’ fellow performers from around the Pacific Northwest? Friends of Dorothy: A Queer Cabaret.
While drag queens and LGBTQ+ people face increased hostility and legal challenges across a divided America, greater Portland remains something of a haven for drag culture, partly through the efforts of Poison Waters (known offstage as Kevin Cook) and also through the long and storied life and career of Darcelle XV/Walter Cole, who when she and he died on March 23 of this year at age 92 was recognized as the world’s oldest performing drag queen. Darcelle’s spirit, and the spirit of her beloved club Darcelle XV, hovered over the festivities at The Reser like a blessing.
And what did the audience see on this evening of cultural celebration? A little song, a little dance, some winks, some jokes, some energetic whirling, some razzle and dazzle and costuming to die for and a whole lot of fun.
Photographer Joe Cantrell was on hand with his cameras, and he captured the spirit of the evening with a profusion of happy images. You can see an assortment below. Now, don’t you wish you’d been there, too?
— The Editors