Portland Scene: Babes play basketball for the HRC, Chunky Dunk and Riot Grrrl Karaoke


After indulging in two Pride celebrations, booty bouncing, calling anyone maybe and/or glitter were the last things on my mind for, well, the rest of summer. Or at least July as that kind of raging was what month long recoveries are made of. Unfortunately low-key does not a social life make, so to balance raging with nights in watching the Olympics with my dog I chose my events wisely. Just so happens, having taken stock in what I had attended over the last few weeks, that my community has a big-heart with charitable goings on every week. From one very loud and prideful community celebration to the other, I was reminded beyond the floats and pizazz, of the support we’re afforded within our queer community.

In my very first Portland Scene post, I regaled everyone with the wonderment that is Riot Grrrl Karaoke. Now I try not to repeat myself when it comes to Portland happenings because we are never lacking for shiny and fabulous new events, but judging from the outpouring of high-fives, chest-bumps and hand shakes all around, the general consensus on this years second, hopefully annual, Riot Grrrl Karaoke was that it was THE BEST NIGHT EVER. And I’d have to agree. One thing Portland queers are never short on is a strong sense of kinship, but this evening became an amalgamation of solidarity and raucousness! Pretty much, it was all the warm and fuzzy softheartedness one could garner from a roomful of Rebel Grrrl identified folks knowing every word to every song. I’m fairly sure having the lyrics projected on the wall was unnecessary.


Hosted by Freddie Fagula, the bands featured the salacious talents and hot babes from the bands Tombstalker, The Need, XXXplosionZZZ, Dark Entries, Madame Morte, Forever, Tiny Hearts and The I’s with DJ Slutshine bringing the teenage angst between sets. There was even an impromptu relay to the sign-up table as the event started at nine and folks were lined up starting at 7:30 to sign up for their song of choice. To me it sounds like Hole’s “Violet” was the piece de résistance and Veruca Salt’s Seether was brought you by AfterEllen.com’s own Trish Bendix and Mia Jones. In the style of last year’s event, all proceeds went to benefit the Not Enough! Queer Music & Arts festival.

For months, I had been getting Facebook updates for HRC’s Fourth Annual Women’s 3X3 Basketball Tournament, and unintentionally paid no mind as I thought they were asking me to participate. And homie don’t play that. You know, sports, considering I am someone who counts watching the Olympics as working out.

It eventually dawned one that this event would also serve as a spectator event, and there’d be ladies playing sports. Oh, and I was invited. Game on. After my morning workout of women’s beach volleyball and water polo, I headed to Irving Park where terms like double elimination and competition were being thrown around. I was more interested in the team names, which included HOOPS! I Did It Again, Lezbron James and, my personal favorite, Basketball Wives’ Wives. See what they did there?

Come to find out, even I could have participated. I mean, I recall at least two successful baskets made in my life and HRC Oregon and SW Washington’s co-chairs Shaley Howard and Jose Rivas have made sure to include all skill-levels, grouping folks by both age and competitive levels vs. recreational games. This understanding of how to encourage folks to be engaged both physically and socially is indicative of how this tournament has grown so quickly to become the largest 3×3 women’s only basketball tournament in the state of Oregon. Pretty sure Howard and Rivas speak fluent activism and understand how to seamlessly blend social engagement with change all while hosting an amazing community driven event in the process.

The immense support from the participants, attendees and sponsors didn’t hurt either as the turn-out was exceptional. When our community is given a challenge, say come watch a bunch of ladies show off their kick-ass athleticism for a good cause, we’re all in. And, yes, I realize that this was not actually challenging as I got to listen to jams provided by DJs Roy G Biv and Mr. Charming while watching my girls, Basketball Wives’ Wives, win the Spirit Award.

Now I’m going to go ahead and assume you are familiar with Portland and all it’s natural beauty glory, so it makes sense that I haven’t stepped foot into a public swimming pool since my days in the humid as hades Midwest when my only natural body of water was the questionably swimmable Lake Michigan. This was until my Olympic induced 50m Freestyle dreams happened to fall on one of this summer’s Chunky Dunks. Chunky Dunk is a series of body-positive swimming events held every summer here in good ol’ PDX. And let me tell you, this was possibly the most last minute invite that I’ve ever capitalized immediately finding it to have held the greatest rewards.

For a nominal fee, I got to splash around with some fabulous folks, had access to a childfree pool where there was no pressure, expectation or disrespect while I was getting my Michael Phelps on. I think we all know how daunting it can be to slap on a bathing suit in a dressing room, much less in public, especially if you have the Pacific NW glow. You’re familiar if you’ve seen any of the Twilight films.

I have already changed my mind about taking the rest of summer off as the calendar shows there’ll be no stopping till September or beyond. Get ready for DJ Beyonda’s nearly six year young event, I’ve Got A Hole In My Soul, MRS’ 2 year anniversary costume free-for-all and what could make a run for being my favorite party ever, Fierce By Day: A Hotel Rooftop Party brought to you by the lovely folks of Bent and Gaycation fame. We so excited.

As luck would have it, summer has finally decided to grace us with it’s presence to the tune of 102, a near anomaly in Portland, so you’d better believe I will be attending the next two dunks on August 12th and 26th. As usual, Portland is trail blazing the chunky-dunk empowerment but the organizers are also looking to start events in other locales. Check out their site to get in on the action.