Outdoor, indoor: Hot fun in the summer is upon us

By Daniel Borgen, PQ Monthly

Do you love a good theme party? You seemed to like Red Dress enough, and you sure loved getting all sparkly during Pride weekend(s), so why not embrace this: Roman Gladiators. Dust off your red velvet capes and dig out those trusty shields from the bottom of your closets, because on Saturday, Aug. 18, Fire on the Columbia is bringing you some toga and goddess realness — beach-party style. (How often do you say “beach party” in the Northwest?)

The cost of your ticket covers food, drinks, and entertainment (deejays, fire dancers, burlesque, and more). All you have to do is buy your ticket and show up. For a small surcharge, the event will shuttle you from the city to Sauvies Island; there are three runs the day of the event. Money raised will benefit the Oregon Crusaders, a youth performing arts organization. Beaches, dancing, charity — it does get better.

The hundreds-strong celebration keeps growing, year after year — and, like lots of legendary parties of its ilk, it started out pretty small.

“It used to be a pirate party my roommate and I called ‘Pirates on the Columbia,’” said Phillip Marshall, event coordinator and Oregon Crusaders executive director. “After a couple of years of pirate boots and parrots, it was time to move on to something bigger and better. The best part of growing has been my organizing committee of wonderful people — our DJ, our bartenders, caterers, and performers. Mother Nature usually does her part, too.”

The Oregon Crusaders provides youth education in the performing arts to almost 200 Portland-area youth every year.

“The organization’s top competitive ensemble just won the Drum Corps International World Championship on Aug. 7,” Marshall said. “It’s an enormously worthwhile cause that changes young people’s lives forever.”

You help kids and feast on all the gay Romans you can handle? Reason enough? Well, if you need another gentle nudge, we’re here to bring you some hard truths. August is nearly over, which means summer’s winding down — which means you need to spend every moment you can where it counts: outside. Check out www.fireonthecolumbia.comfor event, ticket, and shuttle information.


If you’re a summer Grinch and don’t feel like playing outside, we have the perfect indoor alternative. MikeQ, of East Coast ballroom/vogue-house scene, descends upon Portland to throw some Shade — and a “steady stream of vogue and ballroom tracks, re-edits, and remixes.” Featuring Serendipity Jones, Beyondadoubt, The Miracles Club, and Isaiah Tillman, organizers promise all-out inspiration on Friday, Aug. 24 — and the sort of dance party Portland rarely sees.

“We’ve been doing these parties for the last couple of years at various venues and spaces,” said Miracles Club’s Rafael Fauria. “We’re a group of friends united by a love of club music, particularly stuff that’s a little non-conventional: Chicago house, deep house, garage, Detroit techno, that sort of thing. I’ve been a longtime fan of the NY ballroom scene, so this all started with wanting to bring a piece of that energy here — and no one out there is doing it like MikeQ.”

Fauria added, “When he agreed, I reached out to a few friends who share a passion for vogue-house — and I basically just tried to get together all the talented musicians and dancers I know whose art has been inspired by the balls in New York. It’s rare to see dancing as an art form in the clubs, so that’s a really big part of it.” Ah, an East Coast night descends on the Rose City. We dig.

For more information, check out “Ecstasy Presents: Shade with MikeQ, Beyondadoubt, The Miracles Club, and Serendipity Jones” on Facebook.