Faux drag queen "Spamela Manderson" stopped traffic outside the Roseland Theater. Inside, organizers muttered about "disaster"—were Candidates Gone Wild tickets oversold? Or were they talking about the guy in the tie-dye, with the machetes?
Luckily, there was no disaster Monday night at the latest version of Candidates Gone Wild, the election event sponsored by WW and the Bus Project. At least nobody died.
There was just a bloodthirsty crowd pushing past campaign junk and voter-registration forms, to climb upstairs, to the beer for $4 a pop. Just a bearded freak stopping at City Council candidate John Branam's table. "The Pentagon needs to burn, and Oregon's a good place to start," he told Branam, who blanked. The freak left. Branam said, "What the fuck was he talking about? I think he's high!" The odds favored it.
Behind the scenes in the green room, council candidate Amanda Fritz's husband Steve wore devil horns and a leather suit. (It might be his usual Monday-night get-up, judging by his wife's evident comfort sharing the stage for a Black Sabbath cover during the talent portion of the evening.) Steve Novick, a Democrat vying to be America's first 4-foot-9 U.S. Senator, just had to do his "fighting for the little guy" schtick. Worst of all, there was a booze shortage.
"Stay close to the vodka," said council candidate Mike Fahey, whose American-flag lapel pin was inadvertently upside down.
Back-stage question of the night: Why do only young hotties work for the Bus Project? "It's always been that way," said mayoral candidate Sam Adams, sipping a "water." "In fact, when they get to a certain age, they get kicked out and replaced with younger, hotter women."
WW editor Mark Zusman wandered by in a wrinkled shirt. Said Adams, "I'd be happy to iron it for him—while he's wearing it."
Onstage during the show, Zusman and his co-interrogator, political consultant Liz Kaufman, were booed for asking pointed questions that sober voters might appreciate.
Kaufman questioned mayoral candidate Sho Dozono's "core ethics" ("Sho Dozono's Rules," WW, Oct. 30, 2002) for borrowing from a child's trust fund (hiss! boo!) "I'm not here to argue with the WW article. I have made mistakes in my past," Dozono said. "I have conducted myself honorably."
Emcee Storm Large set a tone of pleasant sadomasochism. "One thing you may not know about Sam Adams," she said. "He cries when he comes."
During the "talent" section, Dozono danced in drag around a hollow silver object that quickly fell to the floor. A "poll dance." He disappeared offstage. There was an eerie pause. "Did this suddenly turn into a David Lynch movie?" Large wondered. Dozono reappeared to box a shark representing Adams. Then he rapped. "When I say Sam, you say tram!" "We know that was a metaphor for something really cosmic," said Jeff Merkley, one of three U.S. Senate Democratic hopefuls-turned-"judges," along with Novick and Candy Neville, "and we'll be trying to figure it out for the next month."
Four council candidates demonstrated actual talent.
Charles Lewis showed he knew his audience by busting out a solid Bob Marley cover. Most of the pot jokes were directed at Jim Middaugh, the tie-dye candidate who juggled not only machetes, but torches. He kept dropping them, too. But he gets an A for effort. Fahey, who had rushed onstage at Lewis's cue, joked about sex in an old folks' home. The punchline: "You old fool, if I'd thought you could still get it up, I'd have taken off my panty hose." ("Those were my clean ones," Fahey said.)
And Nick Fish is secretly a beat poet. "Why is fareless—square?" He killed.
, for footage of an evening that included council candidate Jeff Bissonnette in a frog suit and Commissioner Randy Leonard joking that Adams would "hit on me at least once if he's really gay."