“The status of the contestant is irrelevant..but HIV is not,” he says on the group’s Facebook page. He defines the event as: “a pageant to spread awareness of HIV/AIDS through education.”
The event promises five miss entries, and three entries for mister. Cole is bringing Sabel Scities, the newly crowned Miss Gay Dallas, along with La Femme Plus International, Vivica Valentine as co-mistresses of ceremonies. The local Portland news is also taking notice. In fact, KOIN 6 news anchor Jennifer Hoff will act as a special guest judge.
The crowns of Mister and Miss will be passed from the current title holders, Don Hood and Chartreuse O’Hara to the new recipients this Sunday. ProudTimes will certainly follow-up letting you know who won the crown, and what they hope to bring to their roles for the next year.
Mister HIV Awareness, Don Hood, took some time to talk about his involvement and what the experience meant to him. Previously, he has served as Mr Oregon Leather. Hood was proud to wear the sash and crown whenever and wherever he could, using the opportunity to speak to the about issues surrounding HIV. On a personal level, the title means the world to him.
“I was the first Mister,” he told ProudTimes. Adding, “and hopefully not the last as a person that is living with and is a survivor of HIV/AIDS. That puts a huge face on it.”
In terms of his service as the first titleholder, he said his biggest accomplishment was through music. The pair put on what they called an AIDS Concert.
“All the music that was performed had to be about HIV/AIDS or written by someone who had died or was living with it,” he said. “The concert was a big hit, it was everything that I wanted in a fundraiser–and more! We had two charities to raise funds for that night.”
The organizations which benefitted were the HIV Day Center, and Women of Wisdom, who are under the umbrella of the Quest Center. We raised over a thousand dollars, and were able to give each charity a little over five-hundred dollars each.”
Hood is retired and lives with his husband and partner of over 20 years. He tells the upcoming winners to do as much in their role as they can, and says the most important thing for each winner is to have fun with the title.
“I am very proud of what we did,” Hood said referencing what he and his husband were able to raise for local charity.
The theme this year is “A” Scarlett Letter. ProudTimes will be there to see who wins the crowns. Check back in for a follow-up article next week. Be sure to check out the Mr & Miss HIV Awareness group on Facebook for information about the pageant on May 5th. As always, please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you know of any upcoming events or fundraisers important to the LGBT community in the PNW.
To listen to Alexz Johnson is to enter a sonic nirvana. Her lyrics are deep, and sensitive, yet relatable. They penetrate your soul while her voice–at once powerful and angelic–invokes emotions which connects you to her songs in ways not all artists can do. To meet Alexz, is quite a similar experience. She’s genuine and sincere. All it takes is a single conversation to realize that beyond the artist, there’s a human being who is nothing less than extraordinary. She welcomes you into her world with such effortless kindness that you immediately feel like you’re two old friends, catching up. As a journalist, I’ve met some of the biggest names in the industry and as an artist myself, I’ve been given the chance to work with incredible men and women regardless of their fame. However, none of them have had as profound of an effect on me as Alexz Johnson.
She’s my go-to artist whenever I need a mood change, or music to relax to, or someone to inspire me. I’ve reviewed almost every single one of her three studio albums, her remix album, the three demo compilations, her two live albums and her five EPs. I’ve loved every single one of them, but none of them have made me as happy as her newest release Weight.
Cover photo – Shervin Lainez
As a fan, I’ve followed Alexz’s career from the beginning, so I’m familiar with the weight behind Weight and the significance this release not only means to her as an artist, but also what it means to her fans.
Originally scheduled to be included on the debut album she recorded for Epic/Sony Records in 2009, the song and the album were shelved after a shift at the label. This lead to Alexz, and several others, being released from their contracts. However, red tape being red tape, there was still the caveat which meant Epic still owned all the songs she recorded while under said contract. However, Alexz pushed forward to release her music her way, unbeholden to anyone who wanted to make her anything other than who she was.
Eventually a recording of Weight was released on the first volume of her demo compilations, The Basement Recordings. It was also leaked online with a lot of the other recordings from Epic. Still, release of a fully-produced, official version of the song was slim to none.
That all changed when Alexz revealed on Instagram that Weight would be her first official release of 2019. I knew a new song was coming, but the realization that this was it was huge. So, the first thing I did after seeing her post was to purchase the track.
I’ve listened to Weight hundreds of times, and it has brought me to tears. But as I sat there taking in the scope of what I was listening to, it was like I was finally hearing the song for the first time. It gave me goosebumps. Alexz’s voice fit seamlessly with this new production’s synth-pop sound–and I’m not the only one who thinks so. Since the release, Alexz’s fans have been flocking to social media in support of her and the song. Atwood Magazine, who debuted the track, and the music video, called it a “Cathartic anthem of Freedom,” and they’re spot on in their assessment.
Full of hope, Weight is a song of perseverance. Not only is pure pop perfection, It’s a testament to Alexz’s talent as an artist and her integrity. As a fan, I’m excited for the new music, as a friend, I couldn’t be more proud of this amazing and awe-inspiring badass.
“This has been such a special few days,” Alexz told ProudTimes. “I am ever so humbled by the incredible audience I’m lucky enough to share my sound with. Some say fans, I think of the listeners as my friends–people who share so much of themselves and in return gives me the opportunity to be as real as I can be.”
Released on April 19, 2019 Weight can be purchased on all digital platforms including iTunes, and can stream the song on Spotify. You can see the music video here.
Kenyth Mogan is a Los Angeles-based recording artist who grew up on the prairies of north-eastern Montana. He is an avid lover of cartoons, comic books, puppies, and all things cute and colorful. His spirit animal is something between Rainbow Brite and Kim from Netflix’s “Special.”
She-Ra has always been one of my favorites. She’s been a source of inspiration for countless stories, and songs. I even had a horse named Spirit that I called Swiftwind whenever we’d race from one side of the Montana ranch I was raised on to the other. There was just something about a woman, who kicked-ass–the asses of bad man–that I could look up to. She reminded me of my mother, my aunts, and the amazing women who raised me. Her villains were dark and dangerous and she beat them. Not just with her strength, but her cunning and kindness. She was as well-rounded a hero as any man, but also gentle and kind. I would take the lessons I learned from She-Ra into my own life, when, as a gay kid in a conservative town, I was facing my own villains. Like many gay men, mine were mainly the kids at school.
Admittedly, I was nervous when I heard she was being rebooted. But when I sat down to watch Dreamworks She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, I was not only pleasantly surprised, but also instantly obsessed. Anxiously, I awaited the second series to come out.
Now that the wait over, I can finally journey back to Eternia and catch up with the cast of characters I have come to love and adore as much–or even more than–their 1980s counterparts.
While the first season had wonderful Easter-eggs for fans of the original She-Rea, the second season took it a step further. They included flashes of the original costumes, samples of original music, and even alludes to Eternia. Continuing on its course of diversity and inclusion, the second season has some beautiful moments between characters, deepening connections, and exploring the family life of characters we haven’t seen before. The only word I can think of to describe the series is simply: beautiful.
The second season pics up right where the first leaves off with Adora, Bo, and Glimmer and the rest of the Princesses of Power struggling to rebuild after the battle of Bright Moon. To reconnect with their true power, they must strengthen their connection, not just as warriors, but as friends. Adora must also learn to find her own inner-strength outside of her power as the She-Ra.
In the Fright Zone, Catra, still riding high after her promotion to Force Captain, is learning the struggles of being a leader. With Scorpia and Entrapta constantly by her side, she still has a lot in her past to deal with, which, includes learning to let people in. Shadow Weaver’s backstory is also further explored, adding depth to her darkness. While we only get a taste of just what and who Hordak is, it’s enough to make you realize that the series has big plans for its future.
One of the best things about this series is its commitment to diversity. We are living in a time where the LGBT community is finally being included in our superhero landscapes. There are more than one same-gender coupling in this series and those characters are handled with the same respect and dignity as any other character. This season however shows us the first male / male couple in Bow’s fathers. They’re wonderfully amazing and exactly what you would expect from the parents of the only boy in the Princess Rebellion. Clearly homosexuality and queer identity is not an issue in Etheria–even with the bad guys. It just simply exists as a part of everyday life. It’s never questioned or judged, it’s wonderful.
Further exploring the mythos Etheria, the second season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power does not disappoint. In fact, my only issue with the series is that it isn’t long enough. It ends, just at the exact moment I wanted more. Which, in truth, is how you know it’s well written. The art and story are wonderfully married to one another. Only add the beautiful score, composed by Sunna Wehrmeijer, and the series becomes something truly spectacular.
All seven half-hour episodes of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power’s second season will become available to Netflix members worldwide on April 26, 2019.
Phoenix, Oregon–ProudTimes brought what should have been a story of national importance to the Portland region a few weeks ago concerning the disappearance of Dennis Day.
Day, who was last seen in mid-summer 2018, was an original Mousketeeer on the Mickey Mouse Show. Several factors however contributed to this case not gaining as much attention as it should have. Only in February, about seven months after the disappearance, did Dateline run a story on the investigation. The pictures used offer grim contrast; perhaps too severe a disparity between the two images.
Mr. Day was an openly gay, lower-income senior citizen living in a largely rural community.
“I think a lot of this has to do with the fact my uncle was poor, gay, and older,” said niece Janel Showers, who lives in the Fresno, California area. She has also said initial quotes were rehashed on both a local and national level from an original story released by the press. “No one really contacted us, his family.”
Due to constraints, such as a small police force with limited resources, and that Mr. Day’s next of kin–his husband–suffered from dementia and was living in a care facility, both the investigation and his family were seemingly ignored. In fact, the Day family didn’t even know their brother and uncle went missing for several weeks after the man was reported missing to police.
Today, April 5th 2019, the family called ProudTimes to say the case had progressed–finally. ProudTimes was the first news outlet to know that as of yesterday cadaver dogs and drones were being released to search the vicinity of Mr. Day’s property.
What was not shared with the press earlier is that Mr. Day’s home located at 510 Pine Street in Phoenix, Oregon shares a property line with a cemetery. They did not find a body in the cemetery however. Instead a body has been found on the grounds which Mr. Day and his partner called home for over 30 years.
The case, and the family were largely ignored. ProudTimes is privy to much information that we can only reveal when more comes to light about the investigation.
“We loved my uncle,” Showers said. “In fact the last time she saw him was in 2017, when my mother,” Nelda Adkins, “went to check on him in July 2017.”
Day, due to his husband’s ill-health hadn’t left the area for many years. Ideas were put forth by a source close to the case which painted Day’s closest relatives as estranged and homophobic. Upon interviewing both Showers via phone and her mother via email, ProudTimes is certain they were not biased against their missing relative.
Only now that a corpse has been found on the property of Mr. Day, is the mainstream media taking an interest. A man’s life was discounted because of his station socio-economically by mainstream media, but now that larger news outlets have a story to sell…they are taking an active interest.
This is an ongoing case. ProudTimes will be releasing more information as it becomes available.
By now, most of you know I march to the beat of my own drummer, so when I decided to visit a summer time destination in the winter, people weren’t surprised. Cape Cod is known for attracting throngs of LGBTQ beach and party goers to its northmost tip, Provincetown. Having never been to P-Town, the locals found it surprising that I would visit during the winter, when the towns population is a fraction of what it is during the summer.
My first stop on my Cape Cod journey was the town of Hyannis, located about mid-way up the cape. On the suggestion of a friend of mine, I booked a stay at the Sea Street Inn, a lovely 5-bedroom bed and breakfast located just blocks from the ocean and minutes away from the historic Kennedy Compound.
The Sea Street Inn is not your typical B&B. Upon arrival, I was greeted by the proprietor Adrian and offered a lobster roll as a ‘welcome to the Cape’ gift. The property was designed by Adrian and his wife Xenia in 2018 and features a beautiful art gallery, sitting area and dining solarium where guests can enjoy breakfast or their morning coffee. Adrian is a classically trained French chef who studied under Jean-Georges Vongerichten, so the Sea Street Inn offers a dinner menu that rivals any 4-star restaurant. I had the opportunity to sample some of the best food in recent memory including a delectable smoked trout and brie dish in addition to a crab BLT.
A short drive from the Sea Street Inn is the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum, a multimedia exhibit designed to highlight the days JFK spent on Cape Cod relaxing with family, entertaining world leaders and sailing on the ocean, one of his favorite hobbies.
The Museum’s exhibits feature videos and photographs spanning the years 1934 to 1963. In addition to photography, an orientation video narrated by Walter Cronkite depicts the President’s experiences on the Cape.
I decided to take an afternoon adventure to Nantucket on the high-speed ferry, which whisks you to the oasis in about an hour. Even in the winter, Nantucket is gorgeous. With limited time to explore the island, I wasted no time and headed straight to the Whaling Museum to view their Festival of Trees exhibition which transforms the museum into a festive winter wonderland for the entire month of December. The highlight of the museum is the Whale Hunt Gallery which explores all aspects of the demanding and dangerous trade of 18th century whaling. Although I am against this trade, it was an important part of the area’s history. The centerpiece of the gallery is the skeleton of a 46-foot male sperm whale, which died on Siasconset Beach on January 1, 1998.
Nantucket is filled with wonderful boutiques and family-owned restaurants. I asked around and almost everyone on the island recommended I try the Lola Burger at Lola 41. It was probably the most expensive hamburger I have ever ordered at $22, but the perfectly cooked burger was served with Cabot Cheddar Cheese, a red onion compote, and foie gras sauce. One of my favorite things to do is pair a burger with a nice glass of Pinot Noir. It was the perfect way to end my journey before heading back to the mainland.
About halfway between Hyannis and P-Town is The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, a small museum which also serves as a nature education center which is worth visiting if you have some time to spare on your way up the cape. The museum offer guests a variety of programs, classes, lectures, panel discussions, and interactive exhibits that reveal the many facets of Cape Cod’s natural wonders.
Driving into Provincetown for the first time was magical. I felt like I was exploring a small island town filled with narrow cobblestone streets, dozens of art galleries, quaint restaurants and of course LGBTQ establishments. The more time I spent in P-Town, the more I began to realize why people are in love with this destination. You feel like you’re in a gay oasis a million miles away from the rest of society and free to do whatever you want, without judgement. Even the straight community that visits the town is accepting of LGBTQ people and everyone is extremely welcoming and friendly.
One of my first stops in P-Town was the Provincetown Art Association & Museum, a collective gallery exhibiting the works of local artists, many of whom identify as LGBTQ. One half of the space is dedicated to museum caliber works while the other half serves as a gallery space where people have the opportunity to purchase local art.
There are many lodging options in P-Town, but I decided to stay at Land’s End Inn for its location at the tip of the peninsula. My room, which was called the Library Room, offered unobstructed views of both the sunrise and sunset and is located just a few minutes from Herring Cove Beach. Antique lovers will be in heaven at Land’s End Inn. Its décor is more traditional than I usually enjoy but lends nicely to the property’s rich history. In addition to complimentary breakfast, the Inn also offers a daily wine reception where you can mingle with other hotel guests.
Surprisingly, 2018 was the first time Provincetown held a gay pride festival. I guess when the town is gay all the time, people didn’t find the need for one. This year’s festival is scheduled for May 30 through June 2. Last year’s festival featured a rainbow laser instillation, a disco dance party and a pride sashay/stroll.
Bear Week will take place this July and is an annual gathering of…bears. It’s one of the largest and busiest theme weeks in Provincetown, attracting tens of thousands of men and hosting dozens of parties and shows. Another fun event is P-Town’s annual Carnival, which will take place August 15-25 and celebrates the towns LGBTQ culture.
To get the best view of the town, climb to the top of Pilgrim Monument which was constructed to honor the Pilgrims’ first landing in Provincetown. President Theodore Roosevelt laid the cornerstone in 1907 and the 252-foot tower was completed in 1910.
The only thing I didn’t like about Provincetown was the cost of food. An inexpensive dinner can easily run about $30. I tried finding a few less expensive places to dine and stumbled upon Canteen. Try their homemade clam chowder, you won’t be disappointed. If you want something sweet, head to Purple Feather Café and indulge in one of their special desserts or famous white hot chocolate.
During my stay, the gay bars were a bit slow, but this is something that I expected. Visiting in the winter helped me navigate the town easier than during the summer months and when I return, I’ll feel like a local. If you aren’t into crowds but still want to get a feel for the town, I would recommend visiting during shoulder season…May or October. Otherwise, be prepared for one non-stop party if you decide to visit this summer. I know I’ll be back!
Enjoy the Journey!
Joey Amato is the publisher of Pride Journeys, a website dedicated to LGBT travel. Joey has spent over a decade in LGBT media and public relations and currently resides in both Nashville, Tennessee and Indianapolis, Indiana. He can be reached at email@example.com. J
The world of anime and manga is one of fantasy and romance. With so many great stories out there, there really is something for everyone. This includes the gay community, a group vastly underrepresented in most mainstream comic book realms. In an attempt to rectify this empty space, VIZ Media has created an imprint specifically for “Boys Love stories,” SuBLime. After reading a few of their titles, I was given the opportunity to speak to Jennifer LeBlanc, an editor with the imprint about Boys Love Stories, their appeal, and why a lot of them seem to be written by women. Kenyth Mogan: Why do you think Boys Love books are so popular?
Jennifer LeBlanc: Boys love (BL) is a niche within a niche, really. But they’re popular enough to support their existence. I’m speaking solely about the English-language market. KM: What can you tell me about the start of the SuBLime Imprint with VIZ? JL:Back in 2011 sometime, VIZ and the Japanese publisher Libre Publishing decided to go into partnership and start a BL imprint. I was hired in August of that year to run the imprint, and we officially launched in 2012. We released our first digital-only titles in February and our first print titles in June. KM: Why is it called SuBLime? JL: We went through a lot of names trying to find just the right one. The meaning of sublime worked, and as an added bonus, it has “BL” right in the middle. KM: When I was first getting into the industry (my first GN was published in 2007), it seems like yaoi books were still a bit on the taboo side. Do you feel like this is still the case or has the industry changed? If so, what do you feel has caused the change? JL: I think things have definitely changed since then, but I wouldn’t say BL is mainstream and everyone is okay with it. Its longstanding presence in the manga market has helped, for sure. And I think people in general are more open to gay content as well as women exploring their sexuality through entertainment media, think “50 Shades of Grey.”
KM:What is currently your most popular title? JL:Definitely Ten Count by Rihito Takarai. KM: Ten Count is one of the most popular yaoi titles ever. What, in your opinion, makes this one so popular? Its story? Its art? Or is it the explicitness of the series? JL: All of that. We weren’t really sure how it would be received at first due to the storyline being about a counselor and someone who is essentially his patient. But it’s a great story about two people struggling and how they each help each other to deal with those struggles. Beyond that the art is absolutely gorgeous, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that the sex scenes are quite explicit. KM: From the Boys Love titles I’ve read from SuBLime, most of them seem to be written and read by women. What is it about the genre that you think resonates with women? Do you think they write more romantic stories than their male counterparts? JL: The BL market in Japan is made up mostly of women writers, and the writers we publish are at least working under female pen names. Male writers of explicit gay content tend to fall under the label of “bara.” The BL genre is written by women for women, and I think it works because women know what women want to see in a story. Many of us are tired of the played-out tropes surrounding female characters in romantic stories, and boys love eliminates that completely by putting male characters in those positions. Women can explore their sexuality through BL without having to deal with comparing ourselves to the completely unrealistic female characters we tend to see. We’re also not forced into the submissive role women often receive in romantic storylines. KM: Is there an upcoming series that SuBLime is especially excited about? JL: We actually have a few things we’ve yet to announce, so I can’t go into any detail there, but we did recently announce Fourth Generation Head: Tatsuyuki Oyamato by fan favorite Scarlet Beriko, and the fans really went crazy over it.
KM:What titles would SuBLime recommend to readers just getting into the Boys Love genre? JL: I guess it depends on what level of explicitness they’re looking for. I was okay with the super hardcore stuff when I first started reading it. But if we’re assuming someone is just dipping their toe into this type of content and aren’t sure how they feel about it, I would start with something light like His Favorite, which is rated T+. It’s your typical high school story common in manga and it doesn’t get overly explicit. It’s pretty funny too. Tableau Numéro 20 is a collection of stories (this time all adults), so readers can get a variety of content, and although it’s rated mature, it really isn’t at all.
KM: Will SuBLime be licensing the Ten Count, or any yaoi anime? JL: have no idea as that’s a completely different department. What I do know is that they would never say if they were if it wasn’t something that was officially announced already. You never tip your hand when it comes to future business plans!
In speaking with LeBlanc, It was intriguing to learn that most “Boys Love” titles were written by women, for women. But what’s interesting, is that the stories are not sexual just for the sake of being sexual. They are romantic stories, sweet yet seductive. Check them out.
To kick off the return to warmer weather, ProudTimes is asking our readers to share stories and pictures of your trips to the Oregon Coast. We’re launching this ongoing summer series with Kate Brown’s banning offshore drilling–permanently.
It has been said it takes a woman to clean up the mess men leave behind. Especially politically, according to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. In a piece found on CNN, in terms of the domestic front, many households share the financial burdens of home and family by being double-income. However, in “traditional marriages” it seems women work equal hours but still find themselves doing the lioness’ share of chores at home.
Well, Oregon’s Governor Kate Brown, who queer Oregonians know identifies as bisexual, just signed a law banning offshore drilling from damaging our pristine coastline. #micdrop In effect, she just prevented the mess which would doubtlessly come from the current administration (in this case led by largely mega-rich white men) trying to open up a whopping 90 percent of federal waters to environmental exploitation. Several other states have banned offshore drilling in the wake of this threat.
Sadly, not all Oregonians feel this way. Some would like to see our waters exploited. If you read the responses to the Associated Press article posted by OregonLive, you’ll see some hateful responses. Some crassly attack the governor’s relationship with other Democrats, and her understandable umbrage against the resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in D.C. These are expected in the public forum. The comments against her sexuality and gender shouldn’t be expected–but they are still sadly present.
However, it’s our job to celebrate what others eviscerate. Therefore, from all of us at ProudTimes, and all of us who love the Coast, we say “Thank you, Governor Kate Brown.”
If you have any great photos and experiences you’ve taken away from the Oregon or Washington Coast, ProudTimes would love to publish you! Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org we’ll see what we can do!
As part of ProudTimes’ coverage of Women’s History Month, we are speaking to DJ’s who are serving up hot beats on the dance floor. They are all fierce queer women, who are changing the tracks through empowerment, and progressive change. Today, we bring you Portland resident, Jules Juke.
ProudTimes: How long have you been DJing? When did you decide you were going to get out there and spin?
Jules Juke: I’ve been obsessed with underground music since middle school, but spent many years promoting it from behind the scenes as a writer/album reviewer on webzines, long before I decided to put myself in front of the decks as a DJ at my college radio station, KUPS, in 2009. Back then I wasn’t Jules Juke – the radio show was just called “The Mixdown” and I hosted with my real name! Jules Juke didn’t come about until 2012 when I played my first club gig.
PT: Was this something you wanted to do, or have experimented with doing, from an early age?
JJ: As an introvert, DJing never really crossed my mind until I was much older. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was essentially a crate diver long before I knew the term existed. I loved finding and exposing new music, but had little personal desire to play in front of an audience. I had been on a steady diet of trance since 2006, but never felt a great urge to mix trance despite listening to it all the time. In 2008, I fell headfirst into the retro-yet-futuristic sound of synthwave and 80s electro. It was then, that I finally felt I found a genre I wanted to play with more than consume. That to me is what separates a typical music lover from someone who becomes a DJ or producer–that extra push to create something that didn’t exist before.
PT: Do you think the industry is difficult for women to break into? Is it something of a “boys club?”
JJ: It’s definitely somewhat of a boys club and that can be intimidating for women to want to break into, especially if you don’t see any role models like yourself in the community. Just look at the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs! There are only six women in the Top 100, up from four in 2017! Often electronic music festival lineups mirror this underwhelming percentage with female representation in the single digits. Not to mention female musicians are overly sexualized and subjected more often than their male counterparts to unfounded criticism of mixing technique or using ghost producers. That said, I feel like the techno space actually has better female representation than the EDM space and there are slowly more female DJs being profiled in media and festivals signing on to the Keychange initiative to bring gender and diversity balances to lineups. Organizations like She Said So and PWR by Kittens are also doing remarkable grassroots level work to change the industry landscape.
PT: What kind of music do you spin–how would you describe your DJ style?
JJ: My sound is best described as playing in the space between genres with an underlining attention toward melody. I tend to mix with an ear toward a cohesive story and the emotions I want to evoke. Aside from House and Techno I enjoy playing Disco/Funk, Tropical Bass, 80s/90s and my personally curated styles called RnBass (R&B influenced Bass music) and Future Club (a mix of Ghetto House, Trap, Jersey Club, and Bass music).
I also have a soft spot for pop music so I curate a Spotify playlist called Cruise Control dedicated to sharing music that’s “too alt for the radio and too pop for the underground.”
PT: Are there any venues, events, audiences, types of shows which you really prefer to make music at over others?
JJ: Nothing makes me happier than seeing someone lost in the moment, eyes closed, brain off, body vibrating to a song they can’t identify in a room full of strangers doing the same. I don’t really have a favorite venue, but my favorite audiences are the ones with an open mind who aren’t there to listen to any particular artist or genre, but just want to let the DJ to take them on a sweaty, danceable journey.
PT: I know there are less and less venues specifically catering to queer women. When you get the opportunity to perform for a primarily lesbian or female audience, does that add any excitement to your approach?
JJ: Of course! I love queer female audiences because I feel safer around them! Even when I’m on the dancefloor enjoying the music, I don’t have to worry about some random guy touching me uninvitedly. I think creating a safe space in a club setting is a very complicated and nuanced issue. Jen Roberton does an amazing job with LesbiOut/Flock to create that vibe for her events!
PT: Do you have any influences, whether from DJs or musicians, that inspire your sound or attitude when you’re playing?
JJ: My favorite female DJs are La Fleur, Peggy Gou, and J. Philip because they are all amazing selectors and the thought of being able to spend a day picking their brains on music makes me weep. I also love Brenmar, Stanton Warriors, and Russ Chimes because they inspire the type of stylized sound I want in my mixes with lots of remixes/re-edited tracks to make their sets sound unique. Aside from DJs I really love producers who sit outside of a particular genre box and execute on thematic bodies of work like Henry Saiz, Imogen Heap, Max Cooper, and Club Cheval.
PT: How do you best promote yourself, your events, or parties while still keeping your identity intact? Meaning: to get noticed, some artists scale back in the hopes of attracting more fans. Do you find yourself trying to appease any standards?
JJ: Not to sound like a broken record, but this is an interesting question to me because I’m such a student of genre that I never really feel like I scale back or change what I play to appease. My collection of music is so wide and diverse, that I happily step into mixing new genres as a personal challenge. My goal is always to pick out the best bits and elements I like out of a style and mold that into my own thing. For example, I started DJing yoga events in 2017, but had no chill out music to play. I reached out to my DJ friends and asked them to send me some of their favorite ambient tracks. Through that experience I discovered some amazing artists I’m really drawn to, but never would have found otherwise. Doing this countless times has only deepened my appreciation for different styles of DJing.
PT: What are you working on right now–in terms of events, gigs, collaborations etc.?
JJ: I’m headed back to Hawaii next month and will be DJing a non-profit yoga event called Namastyay on 4/7. I also recently guest interviewed on Missing Mei’s Indie Rant Radio podcast, which should be coming out soon! For the Portland folks, I’ll be playing at the Local Lounge in May as part of Club Flock. It’s very exciting to be part of an all female DJ collective after so many years of doing it alone! We have amazing plans in the works so follow Club Flock on social to stay informed!
PT: Female DJs are getting more and more prominent in our cultural landscape—especially in the LGBTQ community–what would you tell younger DJs out there, especially young women, who are interested in getting into the industry?
JJ: I feel like this advice is true for any entrepreneurial pursuit or stretch goal, but know your why. There will always be people who will criticize, reject, and distract you, but your why has to be stronger than all of that or you will give up. My more practical advice is to try make each day nonzero, meaning do one thing everyday toward that goal, whether it be contacting a promoter, learning a new DJ skill, or working on your mixes. Nonzero days are compounding interest on yourself! Most importantly, practice self-compassion because we are usually our own worst critics.
PT: We are celebrating Women’s History Month. What does this mean to you? What are you fighting for in 2019 and beyond?
JJ: Women’s History Month means celebrating all the tremendous work of the women who have paved the way for the rights and equality we have today. I’m extremely lucky to live in the country and time-period that I do. That doesn’t mean there’s no gap to close, it just means I could have been born in a totally different social/political climate where talking about being a queer female DJ would be absolutely ludicrous. I’m humbled and grateful that is not my reality. In terms of 2019 and beyond, #metoo is a movement I feel drawn to and I hope to see more shifting mentality and legislative wins from!
I don’t tend to find my inspiration and sense of strength from women in history books or stories of fiction. This is especially so as regards queer women. It’s always possible that had I been exposed to the stories of queer women before me that might be different. But growing up in Texas, not so much. However, I was fortunate to have strong Texas women to look to.
Women like Barbara Jordan who may or may not have been family (that’s not for me to say), who I remember watching on TV when I was 10 years old, giving that now famous address at the Democratic National Convention. What little I knew of politics at the time didn’t matter. What I knew was that this woman was owning that space in front of thousands of people in a way I had never seen before. As I learned more about Jordan’s legacy of leadership years later, she just became more and more of an inspiration to me. And it wasn’t just because she overcame the obstacles she faced as black woman holding elected office in Texas; it was her complete and utter sense of an “I am me, I know my worth” attitude, one of those things difficult to describe but you know it when you see.
That same sense of self is what inspired me about Texas governor Ann Richards. I had the opportunity to meet her when I was in high school before she governor. In addition to her great sense of humor, something Jordan also possessed, you could just see the “go ahead cowboy give it a try” glint of steel in her eyes. She was not gonna be played by anybody. Neither of these women, to my young eyes, seemed to need, or to be asking for, permission to be who they were or to say what they needed to say.
Many years later after I moved to Oregon, I completely fell in love I completely fell in love with state senator Avel Gordly, who upon learning I was from Texas, immediately instructed me to read Barbara Jordan’s biography. She carries that same spirit of self-knowing that so moves me.
I don’t really believe in the concept of heroes, of singular individuals as super-humans, as somehow more special than everyone else-and more important, on whom we project our own abilities to lead and to make change. Every single day, I see womxn changing the world. As I’ve grown older and become active in my community, it isn’t the famous or titled people that inspire me.
The womxn that inspire me now, the ones who drive me to be better every day, who have helped and continue to help me to grow both as a woman and as a person…most of them don’t even know they do that. Through my association with Pride Northwest I’ve been fortunate enough to now work with-and be called out-by amazing queer womxn. Working with them has been a fundamentally life changing experience for me, one that I will forever be grateful for.
Womxn like Lyles Felicia, Alyssa, Jackie, Mary, Kristan, Jessica, Margaret Ann….the list goes on. Not a single one of these womxn sits on a pedestal. They are as fallible and as human as the rest of us. But when they are gone one day, when they have passed into history (maybe a bit famous, maybe not), the world they leave will have been made better and stronger because of them. These womxn who lead every day by their example, these are my heroes.
if you know anyone in the community who you think ProudTimes should celebrate email email@example.com and we’ll see what we can do! They can be LGBTQ+ or our allies!
Celebrating the Future is Feminine through Yoga & Dance
Women’s History Month, 2019
By Elise Bays
“Celebrate curves, hips, bellies.Tap into your strength. Draw upon each other’s strength.”
The sunshine was coming through the windows as the crowd began to form at the Daybreaker Portland event. We were a collection of yoga mats and excited families standing outside. As we waited, people shared memories of previous events. The doors opened. We were greeted, and asked if we wanted hugs. Plenty of hugs and encouragement later, we had our yoga mats set up and ready. Standing by the stage looking out at the sea of young and old, I was ready to relax and celebrate feminine energy.
The yoga session began by having us think of intention. She talked about being kind to our bodies and celebrating all aspects. To celebrate the very things that society tells us have been problematic. Celebrate curves, hips, bellies.Tap into your strength. Draw upon each other’s strength. During our session, we formed a circle and learned from each other. Outside, a train chugged along, the horn blasting as if to say we are ALIVE!
Post yoga, the beat changed from a soft drum beat to a soft pulse as “In your wildest dreams” played. DJ Jen Roberton kept me going, with the music and pumping beat. The pulse of the music flowed like a heartbeat as kids, families, of all ages and genders danced among bubbles, and balloons. But it wasn’t just the DJ who was spinning–there was even a hula hoop artist to the delight of parents and children alike.
The energy was incredible. People who were strangers became friends, connections were made, and memories created. My 10-year-old child formed a circle and began dancing. Event hosts came and joined us, kids followed suit and soon a dance off was happening.
Leaving the event, we felt rejuvenated, like we took a deep breath of fresh, springtime air. Daybreaker was exactly that–a moment of empowerment, energy, and encouragement. There is something inspiring about connecting music, dance, health, and well-being. The energy created from this could move mountains, and it will for the future generations.
Elise Bays is happy to be part of a growing group of ProudTimes’ contributors which celebrates the LGBTQ+ community in Portland. She’s a native to Phoenix who calls the PNW home. She’s an avid jeeper who enjoys hiking, photography, art, and music. Bays is also an advocate for human rights, sexual education, safe kink, empowerment, polyamory, and gender studies. She is the proud mother of two children: a grade school son, and an MTF college-age daughter. Her other “kids” are two tuxedo kittens and a Labrador retriever who is turning six. Bays is a firm believer in small acts of kindness changing the world, and that ice cream and chocolate cake are meant to be enjoyed–even for breakfast.