Horse races, like sex, are about mostly anticipation. And while the Kentucky Derby—like sex—only lasts two minutes, the elaborate celebrations around racing’s biggest event last all day. Once the exclusive domain of the upper crust, any jerk in his or her boxer shorts can now stay home and enjoy the Derby on ESPN. But why not spend this Saturday hobnobbing with other jerks? There are really just a few simple steps to making the Derby—or, as we like to call it, the “Super Bowl of animal cruelty”—your bitch. And, they’re off!
Men: Your finest suit is probably not fine enough for the greatest horse race in the world. The Kentucky Derby’s website says: “Gentlemen leave their pinstripes at home and instead opt for seersucker suits, light-colored sport coats and the occasional madras plaid jacket.” I’m thinking $10 at the Bins and we’ll have this sorted.
Women: “Ladies typically wear pastel-colored suits, frilly dresses or bold separates,” the Derby’s organizers explain. But women of the Derb are also expected to build elaborate, gigantic hats—dubbed “fascinators”—that test the limits of both fashion and neck muscles. You’re not just the arm candy of some rich Saudi Prince, you’re a trendsetter!
We have a hard time understanding why a horse race needs
an official drink, but Derb tradition insists you enjoy a mint julep at
the race. There’s no great story behind this, but just as you must drink
Champagne at weddings and tequila on your 21st birthday, the big race
is all about whiskey, sugar and fresh mint.
While the live racing season at Portland Meadows (1001 N Schmeer Road, portlandmeadows.com)
ended last month and there won’t be any ponies on offer, the track
still goes all out on Derby day. The doors open at 7 am, at which point
you can bet on your favorite horses (may we suggest Daddy Nose Best?)
and the Meadows will keep feeding you all day with the $35 “Turf Club
Those looking for something different can watch the Derb on the big screen at the Mission Theater (1624 NW Glisan St., mcmenamins.com),
which will also be featuring $5 juleps, whiskey tastings and a
fancy-hat contest. The Mission will also host punky bluegrass from Water
WEDNESDAY, MAY 2THE GREAT NORTHWESTS
[MOVIES] Local filmmaker Matt McCormick’s deeply moving 76-minute art project retraces a 3,400-mile road trip taken by four single thirtysomething women back in 1958—think On the Road meets an Eisenhower-era Sex and the City. NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium. 1219 SW Park Ave., 221-1156. 7 pm Wednesday-Thursday, May 2-3.
[DANCE] The great contemporary dance company returns to Portland with 10 ensemble members performing a musically disparate program. On the one hand, you have North Star, a kind of amoeba-shaped group work set against Philip Glass’ driving score. On the other, there’s Robert Schumann’s Symphonic Etudes, Little Rhapsodies, which accompanies the company’s men as they test their athleticism and sensitivity. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, whitebird.org. 7:30 pm. $26-$64.
FRIDAY, MAY 4WILD FLAG
[MUSIC] Carrie Brownstein and company play hard in concert. The part-Portland quartet’s recent Coachella performance was second to none in terms of intensity; It was wrought with extended solos, whammy-bar noodling and truckloads of distortion. The Sleater-Kinney influence looms, but Wild Flag is its own avant-punk animal altogether. Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside St. 9 pm. $15 advance, $18 day of show. All ages.
SATURDAY, MAY 5INCREDIBLE EDIBLES PLANT SALE
[PLANTS] Like all good Portlanders, you surely have a thriving edible garden, which provides a bounty of nourishing fresh produce to feed your soul and fuel your sense of self-righteousness. But, just in case you’re new around here, the Multnomah County Master Gardeners are holding a sale of organic vegetable starts. All Saints School, 601 NE Cesar E. Chavez Blvd. 10 am-3 pm. Free.
FREE COMIC BOOK DAY
[COMICS] Charge your blasters and tell Mom you’ll be home late—it’s Free Comic Book Day. Comic shops across Portland offer special appearances by authors and artists, costume contests and a slew of giveaways. For a complete listing of events, visit freecomicbookday.com.
SUNDAY, MAY 6GAPER DAY
[SKI/BOARD] Essentially an ugly-sweater party with lift tickets, Timberline’s traditional Gaper Day has downhillers wearing their dumbest outfits. “Extra points for snowblades!” they say. Timberline Lodge, 27500 E Timberline Road, Government Camp, 231-5402, timberlinelodge.com.