rebels in heels
Hardly anyone but the queens themselves have seen the true nerve center of America’s oldest drag revue: a squeaky backstage staircase that spirals up from the dressing room in the basement, a passageway out of the glittery underworld.
For this feature and documentary short, I teamed with Blue Chalk Media, known for their editorial work for outlets such as The New York Times and NPR. We spent hours in the belly of Portland’s Darcelle XV Showplace with one of its veteran performers, Poison Waters, celebrating 30 years in heels in 2018.
It’s, of course, not a story about the stairs themselves, but the distinct realms they bridge: the basement packed with relics of the venue’s five-decade history and the gender-bending limelight of the small stage, where performers have danced in step as the LGBTQ liberation movement has plodded past triumphs and tragedies, always with sass and candor.
"Meet the Glitziest Queen in Portland" was published in Travel Oregon on May 31, 2018. (For the sake of transparency, please be aware that I have never been an employee of Travel Oregon.)
Read the entire feature/watch the documentary short here.