Best "Ladies" In Red
Portland's lack of any sort of dress code is well-known in a city where you see ball gowns and trucker hats at the opera, and not even the little black dress holds any sway. But at one of Portland's fastest-growing annual fundraisers, you won't get in on the action without a red dress. Every spring, 10 men host the eagerly anticipated Red Dress Party (www.reddresspdx.com), which raised more than $20,000 for local charities this year, including Our House and the Sexual Minority Youth Resource Center. Red dresses have long provided inspiration for the American Heart Association, but this group turns the charitable desires of their red-gowned guests into an unforgettable evening of fun, luring the fashionable and flamboyant, queer and straight, male and female partygoers. Now, if only we could do something about all those shorts-wearers at the symphony.
Best Place to Never Get a Date-Ever!
Anime nerds unite! Every Wednesday the Portland State University Anime Club meets in a drab conference room in Smith Memorial Student Union (1825 SW Broadway) to ogle animation from the land of the rising sun. One quick look at their extensive schedule (available at www.anime.pdx.edu/events.html) will prove that this is not for the uninitiated: "Wednesday: First four episodes of Record of Lodoss War, and the parody sub of episode 23 of Fruits Basket (warning: this is very disturbing O_o)." Well, alrighty!
Best Reason to Visit Sin City
It's a tossup which is sexier-the way Viva Las Vegas exposes her body, or the way she exposes her mind. Both are pretty damn impressive. With her wicked sense of humor and the sharpened skills of her pen, Las Vegas defies the notion that all strippers are bubbleheaded twits. At night, the graduate of Williams College in Massachusetts sheds her clothes at Magic Garden; by day, she edits the local sex-trade publication Exotic; and in between, she slaves away on her book detailing her life as an exotic dancer. Her "I Y Las Vegas" column in Exotic dispenses words of wisdom to other dancers, while waxing philosophic about life and the universe.
Best Place to Whack Tonya Harding with Your Pole
Before you marry your good-girl crush, do us all a favor and fulfill that most bizarre of sexual P-town fantasies: "Do it" with the patron saint of trailer parks and Pall Malls, Tonya Harding. Rather than risk social ostracism, or the threat of having to perform a triple salchow in bed, consider a much safer version of mounting Milwaukie's weapon-wielding ice queen. Try out the Fantasy Message section of Tonyaharding.com. Phrases like "she leaves the twirly skirt on," "Nancy Kerrigan, limping and hesitant, soon joins in" and "I made a sticky in Tonya's skate...sorry," abound in the site's 1,400-plus posted fantasies. And, believe it or not, this looks like it may be Tonya's official site, so be careful with the messages you leave for the once (and maybe future?) ice/boxing queen. We're just looking out for your knees, buddy.
Best Late Check-in for Checking out PDX Nightlife
One of the hottest slumber spots on the surface of planet P-town-the Jupiter Hotel (800 E Burnside St., 230-9200)-isn't just for the astronomically affluent. It's for the drunk, wasted and horny. Check in after midnight, and your room rate is only $59. That's dirt cheap, considering that Condé Nast Traveler ranked it as one of the hippest new hotels in the world. And although the bargain-basement price means you can afford to clog yourself with cocktails at the adjoining Doug Fir Lounge (without worrying about the drive home), it won't help you remember the name of the person beside you in the chic bed in the morning. That's your problem, hot stuff.
Best (well...the only) Reason to Pull Yr Hose Out in a Strip Club
In a city long regarded as home to more strip clubs per capita than any other in the United States, Portland might have lost one of its jewels if not for the judicious work of an army of firefighters and their dozen trucks. The Chinatown building housing Magic Garden (217 NW 4th Ave., 224-8472) went ablaze just after breakfast May 4 while a construction worker was using a blowtorch to dry concrete. Owner Everett Moore described the firefighting as "phenomenal," and when the smoke cleared he invited everyone inside for a celebratory drink. No word if any blaze-busters joined the strippers to toast the occasion.
Best Strip(pers) Mall
Just down the street from a former "best," Cathy's Lingerie, and across the street from Southeast's Eastport Plaza, lies Portland's most deservedly decadent strip mall. The triple threat of Eastport Liquor Store, Atlantis Showgirls and the gloryhole-in-the-wall Temptations Adult Video Store (4229 SE 82nd Ave., Suites 1, 2 and 3 respectively) finally blends America's love of hooch, hot mamas and porn with an insistence on convenience. Not since the advent of the Big Bite Hot Dog and Super Big Gulp combo has convenience been so sinfully succulent.
Best Place for a Father to Have the "Talk"
There are few places where a man can get a meal, keep an eye on his spawn and stare at young ladies' chests-and still watch the game. Hooters Restaurant (9950 SE Stark St., 251-8400, and other locations), a deep-fried paradise of wings, beer and boobs, which opened a Beaverton branch in March 2004, offers guys everything a dude could desire. And guess what? Dads are encouraged to bring along their rugrats. From Croatia to Clackamas, Hooters is famous for its bubbly PG-13-porn-pin-up "waitresses" with pushup bras and hot pants. Internet scuttlebutt has it that they even throw a "Little Miss Hooters" contest whenever things get a bit on the quiet side. So grab your 6-year-old and show him the difference between the birds and the boo-bees.
Best Lo-Carb, Fat-Free, Human Sandwich
Common Ground Wellness Center (2927 NE Everett St., 238-1065) is widely known as the home of clothing-very-optional hot tubs and saunas for the people fighting the good fight, but Common Ground's other charms are often overlooked. Namely, the Massage Sandwich treatment ($69, available by appointment). Show up at your appointed time, grab your funky robe and head to the hot H2O in Common Ground's outdoor cedar tubs and steamy sauna for a half-hour of relaxation and deliberate not-looking-at-others'-nudie-ness. Then get your naked ass over to Common Ground's massage and wellness studios, where your massage therapist will work out any stress from your already-warmed muscles. An hour of massage later, you're sent back for another half-hour of soaking and sweating-an experience that ranges from exhilarating to hallucinogenic. This, my friends, is the best sandwich in Portland, period.
Best Place to Unleash Your Inner Booty
Let's be honest: Given Portland's inordinately large number of strip clubs and huge unemployment rate, who hasn't considered taking their clothes off for cash? Sure, there's nothing remotely sexy about a tense stripper with bad posture and a generic pole routine. But beating the ladies at Mary's will require more, by way of Isis' Stripper 101 (334-8578, www.becomingjuicy.com). After a few months of classes-which grew out of Isis' work as a holistic, body-centered therapist-students can perform for friends onstage at a Southeast bar or just for the hubby at home. Stripping class? $12-$20 per session. Not getting booed off the stage during the first legal, public exposure of your fun bags? Priceless.
Best Boulevard of Double Entendres
What's the hottest strip in Portland? West Burnside? The Stark Triangle? Hell, no. The real action's up north on Columbia Boulevard, and we're not talking about the skin on display at Exotica International Club for Men or the police crackdowns at Helena's. It's the auto-part shops and industrial rental lots that make this patch of pavement sizzle. Feeling naughty? There's Feenaughty Machinery. Had a dry spell? Maybe it's time to get Laidlaw-and time to hit Spencer Fluid Power or Ott's Friction Supply. Home to the Blasting Co., Cummings Moving Systems, Ram Light Truck Salvage and Tacoma Screw, Columbia Boulevard is just waiting to be the subject of a Mercury best-of spoof or a novelty T-shirt line at Old Navy.
Best Building for Queer Kids to Rock In
Located on the first floor of the music-friendly Modish Building, The Escape Nightclub (333 SW Park Ave., 227-0830) is the only all-ages gay nightclub west of Big Miss. On Fridays (10 pm-3:30 am) and Saturdays (10 pm-4 am), the club attracts twinky teen queens and the hags who love them, who make the journey from as far away as Seattle and Spokane to come party with the Portland "bois." While young drag queens and bare-chested go-go dancers lip-synch to queer classics from the Pet Shop Boys, the rest of the building features more musical offerings, including three floors of rehearsal space, musician studios and even a soundstage. Rock on.
Best Feminist Den
Everything about the decor of nonprofit feminist bookstore In Other Words (3734 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 232-6003, www.inotherwords.com) conveys a certain circa-1970s women's-lib earnestness, from the scruffy reading couch to the hand-lettered volunteer chore list posted beside the cash register. But it's the 12-year-old storefront's well-edited merch selection-with shelves devoted to Trans- and Inter-sex books, plus anti-porn and pro-porn sections-that makes the place a draw for later generations of sarcastic, "It's My Body" grrrls. And everybody else with a sense of humor, as evidenced by the un-PC message of the store's top-selling bumper sticker: "I Y hunting accidents."
Best Lizards to Have on Your Team
Lewis & Clark College biology professor Kellar Autumn discovered that-for one species, at least-sex ain't all it's cracked up to be. The Bynoe's gecko, an all-female species of Australian lizard that reproduces by asexual cloning, has proved that giving up something as important as, say-OMIGOD-sex can actually help promote species superiority. "Evolution has come up with some incredible things that differ from what common sense tells us," Autumn says. According to a study he compiled with a team of (s)experts involving stress tests on little gecko treadmills, Bynoe's geckos outperformed lizards from more nuclear families. The treadmills, looking like V-8 engines, measured oxygen consumption on minuscule levels. Autumn's finding shows that the lizards, which have evolved away males so they don't need to pair up to procreate, reproduce twice as fast without losing genetic dominance, making them the "wonder women" of the reptile world.
Most Inspired Public Endorsement of Intoxication
"Drink 'til you want me." That five-word phrase catapulted 34-year-old Portlander Phillip Ross from mild-mannered PSU student to a blogger's wet dream. Ross' online T-shirt shop (www.drinktilyouwantme.com) started off as a way to pay off college debt (he's made enough to cover a full term and then some) but has since taken on a life of its own. Ross started small, but when he shilled the shirts at local wine festivals, people went "nuts." "They never buy them for themselves. They always buy them for someone who they know will wear them," he says. "[Customers] are always totally thrashing whoever they're buying it for."
Best Bathrooms to Get Horny In
Local artist Justin "Scrappers" Morrison knows how to leave his mark in a bathroom. When 7-month-old bar Acme Food and Drink (1305 SE 8th Ave., 230-9020) wanted to spruce up its '70s-era bathrooms, owners asked to Morrison to paint a menagerie of horny animals on the walls and stalls. For the ladies? Unicorns and rainbows. For the men? Burly bucks. The Acme bartered with Morrison for an undisclosed amount, but sources confirm the renovation was cheaper than installing ceiling-to-floor coke mirrors.