Five Portland Artists Explain What Pride Means to Them

Welcome to our 2022 Pride Issue.

We have some people we’d like you to meet.

They include the executive director of a zany theater company, a musician who mines My Little Pony for inspiration, a dancer in Lizzo’s orbit, a veteran of musical film parodies, and an acoustic mastermind whose work spans the chasm between hope and hopelessness.

All five differ in terms of their backgrounds and artistic styles, but they are all storytellers in one form or another and prominent members of Portland’s LGBTQ+ community.

For our 2022 Pride Issue of WW, we did something different: a package of stories about local LGBTQ+ artists—and how Pride is expressed through the sound, the movement, and the stories of their creations.

Everyone interviewed was asked what Pride means to them. One word came up frequently: community. And if our roundup of local Pride events (page 25)—from dance parties to drag brunches—is any indication, Portland’s LGBTQ+ community is as vibrant and vocal as ever.

It’s easy to be pessimistic in a world where transphobic celebrities are coddled by companies like Netflix and Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill endures. But together, the artists in these pages offer visions of beautiful things that could be.

Chris Pureka (page 23) says: “For me, a big part of Pride is feeling a sense of belonging and community. It is also a moment to celebrate and have gratitude for the very brave people who have, and continue to, open minds and doors and fight for equality for our community.”

This issue is dedicated to the people who fight that fight with their art.

—Bennett Campbell Ferguson, Assistant Arts & Culture Editor

Vylet Pony Learned to Embrace Her Queer Identity Through the Music of a Saturday-Morning Cartoon

Donald Horn, the Visionary Behind Triangle Productions!, Reflects on His Career and Life

Burlesque Dancer Jayla Rose Sullivan Talks About Competing on “Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls”

How Chris Pureka’s Music Balances Hope and Hopelessness

How James R. Dixon Became a Director out of Necessity

Ultimate Pride Guide 2022