History books offer few figures that stand as fiercely as the pirates beneath the fluttering skull and crossbones. They wrought havoc, they drank, they caroused, they fought. And though most people think pirates exist today only in Peter Pan, a crew has risen from its murky sleep and invaded the shores of North Portland with its piercings, goatees and gnarly brine.
It all started last July when Skervy, the alterna-queer night at Cobalt Lounge, ended. In search of new fortune, the organizers set sail far from the known world of downtown gaydom for the uncharted waters of North Portland. In April, they came ashore at Porky's Pub, a small bar floating on the edge of North Lombard. There, they created a modern-day, queer, piratecore rock party. And they called the night Booty.
Porky's cramped quarters are made even more so with Booty's smell-yer-neighbor-and-her-neighbor crowd. Corrugated iron lines the bar's walls, which shelter a single pool table, a wooden dance floor and a bar that barely accommodates the thirsty pirates. This is a land-lubbin', waterin' hole a rabble of pirates would take pride in. Then again, what respectable swashbuckler pays attention to décor; the crowd is the real treasure of this night.
Though there were no eyepatches or peglegs, it's not hard to imagine this group of denim-, spike- and bleach-decked ruffians as today's pirates (who were a queer bunch to begin with; how else do you explain wigs and a sword fascination?). The more punkish members of the crowd captured the pirates' flair for piercings and rebellion against the niceties of high culture. The drag kings performing displayed both the goatees and flamboyance for which some pirates were famous. And when watching a pair of tattooed fairies freakin' against the ATM to an electronica beat, one wonders at the homoeroticism that must have haunted shipmates at sea.
Of course, a queer pirate night wouldn't be complete without a brawl, for not even the buccaneers of old were as ferocious as the foot soldiers of Sappho, and they undoubtedly weren't as ferociously hot. The battle came around 11:30 pm, when two dykes laid into each other on the pool table. Though old-world pirates would have drawn sword or musket, these two were pulled apart after only a short struggle, and the crowd returned to their jolly cheer.
After all, this pirate's tale is all about findin' (hot, sweaty, sexy) treasure, not walkin' the plank.
Every Thursday at Porky's Pub, 835 N Lombard St., 283-9734. 9 pm. $3 after 10 pm. 21+.