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March 2000 Columns
xmag.com : March 2000 : The Gospel According to Viva Las Vegas

The Gospel according to Viva Las Vegas - "the laziest gal downtown"

[Picture of Viva]I don't know what the hell I'm doing in Oregon. Most of my far-away buddies would be hard pressed to say what country it's in, much less find it on a map. I had no reason to move here, other than to avoid the east coast, midwest, Seattle, San Fran, and LA. But time and time again I find myself thanking my up-to-now lucky stars for landing me in this grey Eden. Last month I had another one of those blissouts. A weekend of some of the best entertainment I've witnessed in my little life. It went like this.

On Friday, February 11th, the oft-deserted but supah-swanky Union Jacks was packed mirror-to-mirror for a trio of punk bands!! I've yearned for this intersection of live music and live nude girls for years now. Two great things that go great together, right? Well, when I sang "Blue Moon" à la Blue Velvet at Union Jacks two years ago, the place was full of regular regulars who would rather have had a table dance. These days, the new rawker regulars pour into UJ's and pile as close to the rack as they can get to see a $5 rock'n'roll circus with a stripper who tries her best to gyrate between amplifiers.

Kicking off this kick-ass show was the Singapore Slings. I love this band! They look sloppy, but are sooo tight! Brilliant! I'm in love with their must-be adolescent bass player; asked him to marry me. Up next were the slick Goddamn Gentlemen, then that fatally fabulous car crash Coco Cobra and the Killers. Coco was well-lubed, slurrin' somethin' like "more Jägermeister!" between hits "I Need Sex," "I Need a Man," "(I Can't Get Off) Without You," and the ever-popular "I Hate You." Apparently when Union Jacks hands out drink tickets, they ain't for the usual PBR, but for shots of Jack Daniels!! Whoopee! Plus, Coco says it really is supergroovy to

see a chick getting nekkid while your band gets the rock off.

Saturday night at bitchin' new bar Dante's warmed the cold cockles of my fuck-February heart with four velvety hours of honest-to-God BURLESQUE. Pander/Vero's Lust-O-Rama featured Pornland's finest music, words, film, and skin. It was Dante's grand opening, and the joint was exactly what my fondest imaginings of HELL are like: cozy and red, filled with well-liquored Bad people, a deep stage with red velvet curtains and fabulous curvy girls campily introducing luminous entertainers. My favorite living poet, Portland's own incendiary genius Walt Curtis, was at his best, delivering selections old and new, including the Grammy-contender "Zucchini!" The Pander Brothers showed Suck It and See, Kitty Diggins graced us with her heavenly fan dance, Seantos y Arachna churned out a very David Lynch set of musica, and I, Viva las Vegas, let people EAT OUT MY BOX! For free! The whole thing was very Lynchian--my highest compliment! I hope Dante's maintains this vibe, cuz it was Soulfood. Long may it nourish.

Sunday night was Lucy Fur's eagerly awaited Twentieth Century Underwear Revue. A glittering menagerie of Portland's most marvelous, gorgeous and high-end entertainers donated time and talent and got everybody off with a great girly show. All proceeds from the door were donated to Portland Area Privacy Alliance, which is working to protect the rights of sexworkers [i.e. everyman/everywoman]. Berbati's Pan was stuffed to capacity with hipster guys and gals--the Johnny Sole nation supporting the arts! Papillon closed this scintillating Valentine's eve with their smooth 'n' sultry French pop. Bliss out.

So if the rain's got ya down this month, remember that it waters the manic depressives who fashion the guts of our truly remarkable creative scene. It might not seem like all that, but it is what all the hip-makers from NYC, etc. keep belching. Portland is COOL. I say it's cuz her heart is pure burlesque: the crummy stage that is the epitome of the underground, the borders of society where the beats were birthed, the low brow cutting edge. At the heart of good burlesque is the potent cross-pollination of art, music, politics, naughtiness and booze, and it's no small thing when you get the egobrats from these various camps to cooperate for anything, much less drink tickets!

Yet that's where Portland shines, when her brilliant peacocks collaborate and keep the short attention spans of the FOX/MTV/www. audience occupied for a few hours, just long enough for a suspicion to sneak into their collective subconscious. The revolution will not be televised. The revolution will be LIVE.


More Viva!

Dec. 99
Nov. 99
Oct. 99


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