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April 21st, 2004 Kim Colton | Night Avenger
 

Bingo at the Brig

     
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It's nighttime, Easter Sunday. Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson--in their best Sonny and Cher impersonations--invade network television. You must get out of the house. But where to go on such a religious, and boring, evening?

To gay bingo, of course.

The phenomenon of bingo inside a gay bar isn't new. Over at Chinatown dive the Fox and Hound, they've been hosting a raucous monthly game for some time now. If you must get a fix of gays and bingo on a weekly basis, however, the place to be Sunday nights is the Brig/Red Cap Garage. The Elks Club this isn't, but the Red Cap--located in the sprawling Fish Grotto-Boxxes-Panorama complex along downtown Portland's oh-so-gay Southwest Stark Street--seems as good a place as any for a gay round of nighttime bingo.

There's music--which consists mainly of Madonna, OutKast and fill-in-the-blank electronica. There's alcohol--including a drink special that changes each game. And then there's the host, Michael Kennedy, who is better known as his drag-queen persona, Mischa. A supreme caller of all things bingo, he spits vitriolic, catty remarks via a hands-free microphone. Call an incorrect "bingo"? That'll be a dollar. Ask for a repeat? Prepare for a tongue-lashing. He is the man with the prizes.

And about those prizes. If there's anything boring about this version of bingo, it's the giveaways. Forget cash. If you call "bingo" here, prepare to win household items. Like a desk organizer. Or Little Debbie snack cakes. Well, what should we expect when the game is free?

There is an element of Let's Make a Deal surprise, though, in the mystery bags offered to game winners in lieu of the prize. Don't feel like taking home an Easter basket? Grab a mystery bag, and inside you find... kitchen shears. Oh, well. Nice try.

Attendance numbers rise and fall during these games and sometimes, if lucky, local drag queens stop in for a hello. The lack of attendance can make the game feel kinda pathetic, though.

Pathetic, huh? That sounds a little like "straight" bingo. Except, of course, you hardly ever see a drag queen at the Elks Lodge.

Red Cap Garage, 1035 SW Stark St., 226-4171. Bingo starts 9:30 pm Sundays. 21+.

at the clubs this week: A SWAP MEET! SLACKERS GET DRESSED!

wednesday

metrosexuals vs. he-men

It's another round of BarFly's monthly Dysfunctional Family Feud. This month, tucked-in shirt-wearing, hair product-slathering pretty boys take up arms against a gang of macho men.

Dante's, 1 SW 3rd Ave., 226-6630. 6 pm. 21+.

thursday

service industry yoga

An afternoon yoga class at Nocturnal for all the barkeeps seeking nirvana before another night behind the bar.

Nocturnal, 1800 E Burnside St., 239-5900. 2 pm. $8 w/ Food Handlers' or OLCC cards. All ages.

friday

shut up and dance

One of Portland's hardest-working DJs--that's Gregarious to you--holds court each Friday at the Fez for this town's most reliable '80s party.

Fez Ballroom, 316 SW 11th Ave., 226-4171. 10 pm. Cover. 21+.

saturday

twilight rummage sale

You can't beat this monthly Eagles Lodge event: swap meet, cocktail hour and dance party all in one.

Eagles Lodge, 4904 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 232-7505. 5 pm. $1. All ages.

sunday

wrestling church

This little roadside dive houses some serious male aggression come Sundays. Join like-minded lunatics for weekly wrasslin' viewing.

Billy Ray's Neighborhood Dive, 2216 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 287-7254. 5 pm. 21+.

monday

mello mondays

DJ Mello Cee host this Monday-night Lola's Room hip-hop party. Sloths and slackers--ditch the sweatpants and follow tonight's slick dress code.

Lola's Room, 1332 W Burnside St., 225-0047. 9 pm. Cover. 21+.

 
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