The good news: Panorama is closing.
The bad news: Panorama is closing.
Why the imminent closure of one of the largest mixed dance clubs in the city is both a good and a bad thing says as much about the changing face of our "unofficial" gay neighborhood as it does about Portland itself.
First the facts. According to Ron Mitchell (who oversees the block-o-fun consisting of Panorama, The Brig, Boxxes, Red Cap Garage, Fish Grotto and the Fez Ballroom), "Panorama will cease operation around the first of July."
This won't be a big sweat for the nearly 1,500 folk who booty-shake their way across Panorama's 12,000-square-foot dance floor each weekend. Mitchell says a plan is in the works to open a multilevel club in the immediate vicinity at the same time he closes the notorious P-daddy. Invitations to the new club will be handed out to Panorama patrons during the last few weeks of June.
But here's the bad news.
Although Panorama attracts a mostly straight crowd, this queer-owned club is also one of the biggest players in the wedge-shaped, gay-ified, club-trotting, late-night neighborhood known as The Burnside Triangle--the same neighborhood City Council has zoomed in on recently as it continues to contemplate just what to do with the west end of town. With Panorama gone, the ass end of queersville is all but gone, too.
Although Mitchell didn't disclose what will become of Panorama, or who its new owners might be, he did confirm what many have been whispering: Panorama will no longer be a restaurant or nightclub.
"The building in which we operate the club is owned by one of our subsidiary companies," says Mitchell. "The sale of this building is the beginning of a diversified, long-range plan for our future growth."
Or could this be the beginning of the end for our beloved Stark Street queer scene?
That would be sad, really. More than just Boys Town, the corner of 10th Avenue and Stark Street has been a queer axis, where many a young one cut his/her/its teeth on the scene. I'm as happy as the next gay guy to know that "our street" will no longer be overrun by thousands of straighties trying to make this piece of P-town their homo away from home, but I'm sure not looking forward to what it's about to become.
Buzz on the street has Panorama becoming--cue snooze alarm--a telco hotel.
While this new reality may have little, if any, effect on the g/l/b/t crowd, the majority of whom long ago abandoned this fairy freightliner for trendier watering holes, it ultimately could be a huge blow to Portland's livability factor. Hell, everyone knows that what really makes a city great is a rainbow of radically different neighborhoods. Portland has lost most of its ethnic ones--and now looks like it's about to lose its queer one, too.
I'm not ready to watch it go tits up; how about you?
Get there while you still can.
341 SW 10th Ave., 221-7262
La Cage Aux Folles
The feathers will fly during this musical treat filled with a kajillion local drag queens and directed by none other than Greg Tamblyn.
Eastside Performance Center, 531 SE 14th Ave., 916-6592. 8 pm Thursday- Saturday, May 24-26, and 2 pm Sunday, May 27. $30-$35.
Butch Femme Group
Which one are you? Find out early Sunday morn at this lezzie love fest, the last Sunday of each month.3125 E Burnside St., 282-4733. 10 am Sunday, May 27. Free.