Luckily, there were bright spots. The food was the best it's been in years—Artemis Catering provided the night's tastiest hors d'oeuvre, a saffron-chorizo risotto cake. The entertainment in the lobby was well-imagined: fabulous dancers from Conduit, dressed in billowing costumes, held court atop pedestals; a killer DJ (Barrett Paul) spun; and erstwhile Portlander, artist and "model" Rick Dinihanian, 57 (who appeared naked in Playgirl in 2004), luxuriated in a sumptuous bed—a hunky, living art installation.
PAM's Bruce Guenther narrated the live auction, where two pieces, Louis Bunce's I-5 and Anna Skibska's Blue, tied for top draw at $11,000 apiece. While many attendees felt that minimum bids at the silent auction were set too high and that the art as a whole was underwhelming, there were diamonds amid the coal: David Geiser's wondrous gold-leaf cube; Paige Saez's messy/ordered juxtaposition; Wid Chambers' digital landscape; Eugenia Pardue's red-and-gold fantasia; and Agnes Field's gorgeous Styrofoam transfiguration. Other highlights included H. Jannine Setter's jaunty, retro-cool photograph; the diffused abstraction of Benton Peugh; Rachael Allen's pocked and puckered Lovers; Beth John's haunting Hypophysis; and Michael L. Wilson's December, with its sexy shapes and yummy 1970s colors.
And finally, as mistress of ceremonies, glittery drag queen Poison Waters gave the occasion some much-needed sass and spunk.
For more information about Cascade AIDS Project, visit www.cascadeaids.org.