Insider’s Guide 2019: Entertainment

These Are Portland’s Can’t-Miss Shows, According to Drag Clown Carla Rossi

Among them, educational drag nights and imaginary Game of Thrones episodes.

By Rebecca Jacobson March 26, 2019 Published in the April 2019 issue of Portland Monthly

Anthony Hudson is a human of many hustles: community programmer at the Hollywood Theatre and running the cinema’s Queer Horror series; developing a new play at Artists Rep about coming of age as a half-white, half-Native American kid in Keizer, Oregon; cohosting a podcast called Femmesplaining. And Hudson’s alter-ego? The fantastically potty-mouthed drag clown Carla Rossi.

Somehow, there’s still time to see other people’s shows. On the drag front, Hudson endorses fellow queen Pepper Pepper’s monthly Drag Queen Tag Team at the Alberta Street Pub. Hudson explains: “Pepper will bring in two or three queens and give them challenges, like, ‘Lip-sync to this song, but as if you just received a call from your health care provider that your coverage has been dropped.’”

Rita Lynn

Image: Austin McKee

Another rec is Rita Lynn, who hosts a biweekly “educational drag show” at Local Lounge called Femmes Of .... “She is absolutely brilliant,” says Hudson. “So weird.” Each installment of Femmes Of ... zeroes in on a genre—April 9 brings country, April 23 is metal—and honors trailblazing musicians via songs and stories. 

When not taking in drag, Hudson heads to Performance Works NW, the venerable Foster-Powell hub for offbeat dance, founded in 1999 by choreographer Linda Austin and lighting mastermind Jeff Forbes. “It’s a very bare-bones, egalitarian feel in there,” Hudson says of the diminutive studio space. “It allows for performances that are confrontational or intimate or thoughtful. Really professionally run, but kinda punk at the same time.”

Also on Hudson’s calendar: Spec Script at Kelly’s Olympian. Each month, a funny person pens a script for a television show they’ve never seen—Game of Thrones, Battlestar Galactica—which is then given an impromptu table read. “It’s a free-for-all exploration of what this TV show could look like in a much more entertaining world,” Hudson says.

Jillian Snow Harris and David Saffert in Liberace & Liza

Hudson is downright evangelistic about Liberace & Liza, a cabaret-style show from David Saffert and Jillian Snow Harris that imagines Liberace and Liza Minnelli as best buds: “Whether they’re doing Britney Spears’s ‘Toxic’ or an old Judy Garland tune, it is breathtaking in the funniest, most wonderful way,” Hudson says. “Simultaneously retro and groundbreaking.”

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