Thanks for coming out!
JULY 13 -16 2017
July 31st 2017
Hey Kats and Kittens! It’s Belinda! I’m the co-founder and co-director of Portland Queer Comedy Festival. It’s been fifteen days since the last day of the first annual Portland Queer Comedy Festival and I miss y’all like Sinead O’Connor in that one song where she whines about her garden. I even cut off half my hair after a long hike. That one might have been the heat, though. Don’t worry, I didn’t go bald, I’m not in denial. I know how big my head is.
Holy fuck, you guys. It’s taken me this long to soak in all of the awesome that happened, plus I needed like 3 naps a day for a few days there. Y’all wore me out. 😉
The weekend was absolutely magical. From Thursday’s packed first show showing off Jeffery Jay’s antics; a few of us trying on various undies in their swag bags from our sponsor, Taboo. Julie Goldman’s notoriously awesomely off-the-hook Big Gay Pancake brunch set (a comic came up to me after and said “holy shit, Julie is fire!’), Sandra Valls’ fucking amazing Bridge Over Troubled Water’ (like serious singing kids) had people coming out of the Funhouse just blown away. Sandra and I have known each other for a long time and having her there for my first festival was just rad Riley Silverman made so many people’s weekend with her nerdy brand of love, then to cap off her weekend, they finally cast a female Doctor! Bridgetown Comedy Festival’s incredible Matt Braunger agreed to do a set on the One Straight Show and he just rocked it– he nailed the intent of the festival, which made me extra fucking proud to be from Portland –with a bit about San Francisco. I loved every set of Dana Goldberg’s so much and her hilarious dildo education for the audience (a collection she procured from backstage of the Funhouse, she didn’t bring her own. This year.). Seeing ANT in top form in front of 30 people for The Sober Show where he made a nice Barbie man-friend, all the comics performing my showcase SMUT with my musical director Matt Insley and our Biggo Queer Musical Number with burlesque vixen, Vanity Thorn. Particular highlights; Guy Branum’s Gay Bash, both All-Stars shows at Curious Comedy (which we FILMED in Curious Comedy’s fancypants HD…stay tuned), the super high of the Gateway Show –heh— and running into Maggie Maye after her set. 😉 We ate so much Sizzle Pie, Hive honey and drank so much Pabst over the weekend that our entire roster was on a carb cleanse for a week after the fest.
The moments for me were huge. People showed up! The shows were mostly full, and the audiences were just incredible. We received much feedback that people were so happy that this space existed. Danielle Radford grabbed me by the face, and told me to be present and stop worrying (it was the All Stars Show!) because she’s the raddest and reminded me to have just a great time. I relaxed and I did.
The headliners stayed at the Hi-Lo Hotel (Thank you Dilion!), and just to let you know, the hotel is gorgeous and the showers are magic.The building was built in 1910 and was the site of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission in the 20’s, I’m dying to find out the stories; and to top it off all the wood floors are re-purposed Oregon barn wood. It’s so over the top, but I loved it.
Everything was so smooth, from all of our volunteers who gave it their all, (we’re having a party for you guys!) the comedians coming from all over to perform at the festival, to the shows themselves. A special thanks to our transportation manager Alx, who managed to get everyone there on time, and managed all the drivers. No small feat, and I can’t thank you enough.
Robby Hoffman came in from NYC for just a day, and rocked everything which made my world, but my absolute favorite story is Charley Macorn, from Montana. She’s a trans woman comic who performs in rural Montana— for those that think your city is hard because they don’t get your next-level beard joke– and this was her first festival, ever. She fucking rocked it and made awesome connections.
I love connecting comics and I love that I have all of these talented, smart, caring people that I’m coming to, or already, consider friends in my life. I’m honored I get to see and create art while fighting for the foundations of free speech, civil rights, and as cheesy as it might sound, freedom of choice–which I believe is at the base of the function of comedy. (it ain’t all dick jokes, folks). (TW: POLITICS) Especially now, as our civil liberties and so many fundamental things, like healthcare and lgbtq rights, are being threatened. As much as this comedy festival was a huge party (as it should be!) I also view the festival as a form of activism. The more we are seen, the louder we are, the more we fight back, the harder it is for them to take our rights. If you are speaking out, I am proud of you. This is true now more than ever. I am writing this on the heels of the active transgender military ban and assaults on democracy. I promise you this, if my mouth is my only defense, I will not stop talking. *solidarity inspire fist here* /end dykey rant
Back to fun! This was the best four days of my life, (that I can talk about in public 😉 ) and I want to thank everyone involved with the festival, everyone who helped, who sponsored us, who tweeted us, Facebooked us, cheered us on as audience members, or gave us a high fives before the festival; it kept us sane and feeling like maybe we were on the right track. This was —in the most literal sense— a labor brought about by love, and a dream of mine. As we all know, sometimes, dreams don’t come true in life, but this one did and I am so grateful everyday.
I cannot even go further in this wrap up, without thanking Andy Barrett the owner of the Funhouse Lounge, my co-producer and business partner in all of this. He worked with me tirelessly side-by-side on this entire project. We were up many nights until 3 or 4 am and back up at 9 am. I couldn’t have asked for a better business partner, creative partner, or friend. He was the most laid-back person, logical person even when hitting snags. We hit snags we didn’t even see coming in the planning stages, and we were happy we could roll with the punches and see everything through.
I’m continually bolstered by my belief that stand-up comedy at its highest ideals is meant to entertain, uplift and heal. That’s why despite the ups and downs, I continue to be in love with comedy.
All of that said, join us next year, July 19th to the 22nd, 2018 for the 2nd annual Portland Queer Comedy Festival! Come to Portland! See what we have in store! We only plan on getting better.
All of my love, always.
I just noticed, I’m writing this on Harry Potter’s birthday! I know, it’s an odd shout-out because he’s really just a story, but he’s a source of inspiration to me.
He may be fictional, but he taught me a lot about what I live by; it’s not your circumstances but the choices you make that create who you are, be patient with your friends, to believe in people and to keep fighting for what’s right; even if you might feel fear. And, most importantly, always say yes to grand adventures. I’ve always regretted when I’ve fallen short of that, and renew my vow to be even braver this year.
Special Shows featured by
Spotlighting comedians who fall on the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) spectrum and their allies, the Portland Queer Comedy Festival’s vision is to not only highlight queer and allied talent from all over the world, but to give back to the Queer community through our community non-profit partner initiatives.
The 1st Annual Portland Queer Comedy Festival is a four day stand-up comedy focused event to be held in scenic Portland, Oregon July 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th, 2017 at Funhouse Lounge and Theatre, Curious Comedy Theatre and associated satellite sites.
To that end, the Portland Queer Comedy Festival pledges a portion of festival proceeds to area and national non-profits, as well as creating fund drives within the festival shows. If you would like your non-profit to be considered, please email Info@PortlandQueerComedyFesitval.com
2017 Portland Queer Comedy Festival Headliners:
A Talkshow Named Desire
Location: Ford Food + Drink
Hosts: Crystal Kordowski, Jason Lamb, Stella Harris, Mark Alexzandr
Featuring: Jeffrey Jay