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Live Review: RuPaul's Drag Race: Battle of the Seasons


The crowd might not have been the biggest the Crystal Ballroom has ever had, but it certainly was the most vicious.
After waiting in freezing temperatures Wednesday night in a line that wrapped around the block, not a soul at the RuPaul’s Drag Race: Battle of the Seasons show would accommodate the girl with two vodka crans trying to squeeze her way to the stage. When my friend Nathalie...   More
Thursday, February 6, 2014 by AARON SPENCER

Semester in Sequins #4: Mod Squad

One and one and one is three.


At the end of the 10-week course at the Rose City School of Burlesque, the 16 students will perform a group number. That’s in addition to the non-mandatory solos that instructor Fannie Fuller says she’s “assuming” everyone will do.
But the group number for this class—made up of students of an assortment of sizes, ages ...   More
Tuesday, February 4, 2014 by AARON SPENCER

Live Review: Ragnarok (Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre)

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The shell of the former Rexel/Taylor Electric Supply building has become a graffiti-covered urban backdrop since someone set fire to the building in 2006. The four-alarm fire, fed by wire and other electrical components, all but destroyed the building, collapsing its ceiling and busting out its windows. Since then, taggers have covered the remaining walls with colorful and often elaborate graffiti...   More
Saturday, February 1, 2014 by AARON SPENCER

Semester in Sequins #3: My First Pair of Heels

Do shoes make the man?


It’s 30 minutes before my second class at the Rose City School of Burlesque, and I’m pacing the aisles of the Lloyd Center “Cross Dress for Less” (as it’s called in drag circles), in search of some heels.
Instructors told students on the first day of class to bring a pair, and though common sense told me this isn't man...   More
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 by AARON SPENCER

Live Review: (a)merging (Program Nox)

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The second weekend of Lindsey Matheis’ (a)merging compilation show is a lot prettier than the first. While the first weekend leaned more experimental—with such ornaments as rave rings and frying eggs—the second is largely straightforward, pleasan...   More
Saturday, January 25, 2014 by AARON SPENCER

Live Review: Phillip Adams BalletLab, Amplification

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Australian Phillip Adams created his signature piece Amplification after visiting a morgue in Melbourne. Two body bags from that morgue were onstage again last night in Portland, for the opening night of a three-night run presented by White Bird.
The piece, created in 1998, is a great exam...   More
Friday, January 24, 2014 by AARON SPENCER

Semester in Sequins #2: Bump and Grind

Burlesque wannabes get their first lesson in tease.


"Just imagine you're wearing a huge strap-on dildo and you're tracing a circle on the wall."
Zora Phoenix rocks her hips counter-clockwise in front of the class as she gives 14 burlesque wannabes their first dance lesson: how to bump and grind. Phoenix, whose real name is Chris Stewart, stands 6’2” in 5-inch pumps, stockings showing the full length of her legs. She tosses the hair of her re...   More
Tuesday, January 21, 2014 by AARON SPENCER

Live Review: (a)merging


Although she couldn’t resist the allure of decorative punctuation and lower-case letters, the title for Lindsey Matheis’ show (a)merging is actually pretty clever. It’s succinct and whimsical, but also descriptive: “A merging of emerging artists” is a fairly accurate tagline for the compilation show produced by the Northwest Dance P...   More
Saturday, January 18, 2014 by AARON SPENCER

Semester in Sequins #1: Before the Burlesque Begins

Dance critic Aaron Spencer dives into burlesque's world of pasties, sequins and tear-away pants.


Burlesque is a mainstay in Portland, from the fiery stages of Dante's to the nerdy trenches of Geeklesque. It's almost too popular, sometimes with more shows than the city can support—regularly scheduled shows have come and gone over the past few years, sometimes with life spans of less than a month.
Still, the town keeps cranking out peelers, and that's largely thanks to one fabulous factory...   More
Friday, January 17, 2014 by AARON SPENCER

Live Review: Pacific Dance Makers


Former BodyVox member Éowyn Emerald’s third installment of Pacific Dance Makers, which in concept is a showcase of Northwest talent, is really more about Portland this year. Seven Portland choreographers joined one from Seattle on Friday’s opening night for a show that included some real talent as well as some duds.
The standout is ...   More
Saturday, January 11, 2014 by AARON SPENCER

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