This last November 7th Portland was rocked by the Weird Portland United Gala and Hall of Fame Launch Party! Your friend and ours, the Unipiper, and a bunch of his most creative and interesting friends organized live performances, celebrations, and novel expressions of art. This was their first big fundraising event and opportunity to hobnob with movers and shakers in Portland. This was of course part of the ongoing movement to keep Portland weird, brought to us by the new non-profit- Weird Portland United. WPU’s stance on Portland weirdness is unwavering- they support it. They like that Portland has a weird edge to it that anyone can enjoy, locals and visitors alike.
As though it was a competition, Portland’s weirdos showed up in force with their costume selection. Gingerbread House Hats. Obscure science fiction monsters. Bob Ross complete with actual live painting on an easel. Steampunk varietals. Fruits. Vegetables. Roddy Rowdy Piper. A smattering of independent kilts. I invited a friend to come who was planning on recycling his halloween costume. As he got out of the car he called and asked “I don’t know, I’m dressed up as the Grim Reaper. Is it too much?” To which I replied “friend, it’s not enough.”
Fundraising for a new organizations meant opportunities for Portlanders hungry for weirdness. The live and silent auctions mostly offered local experiences, from visiting the llama farm to getting the Unipiper to show up at your next event. They were also selling WPU merchandise, such as prints of many of Portland’s most celebrated weirdos who were on hand and ready to sign the beautiful photo, entitled “The Spirit of Portland.”
The evening took a more serious turn later on as the crowd welcomed the inaugural class of inductees into the Weird Portland Hall of Fame. This was the first time any of the inductees had been announced, and so the audience waited patiently to see if their favorite Portland personality had made the list. The first inductee was Stewart Holbrook, a historian and journalist who set the stage for the weirdness that was to come in Portland. Next was “Working” Kirk Reeves, a street performer known for his regular appearance on the Hawthorne Bridge during rush hour wearing a white tux with tails and Mickey Mouse ears while playing the trumpet. Then we had Darcelle XV, our legendary long-running drag queen. The hall of fame ceremony finished with Bud Clark, the beloved mayor known for his support of the arts and creative pursuits.