Viva Las Vegas is a stripper, writer, and musician whose memoir, Magic Gardens, inspired the one-act opera Viva’s Holiday by Christopher Corbell. Portland’s new favorite holiday tradition, Viva’s Holidaywill be performed December 15 at the Winningstad Theatre. Viva’s vocal trio, Bergerette, opens the show. @cultoforpheus


Mary’s Club / Downtown

Mary’s Club is a magical place that I refer to as “Portland’s Living Room.” It’s an all-female, family-run business that is welcoming to everyone (Leave your ego and your cellphone camera at the door.) I strip there Fridays from noon until 4:30 and can’t imagine a better place to grab a cheap drink, glimpse some provocative art, and enjoy a priceless conversation.

Benson Hotel bar, aka Palm Court / Downtown

I love hotel bars––the feeling of anonymity mixed with worldliness and never knowing who you’re going to meet. The Benson’s bar is so beautiful and has the friendliest staff in town (Hi, John and Richard!) Their burger is great, too.

Vampire Tapestry at Chapel Theatre / Milwaukie

I’ve never been to Chapel Theatre and can’t wait to check it out. Portland’s smaller, scrappier theater troupes tend to mount my favorite productions. Also, my bandmate and bestie, Pat Janowski, is in Vampire Tapestry, and I’ll see anything she does. Twice.


Coquine / Mt. Tabor

Saturdays are my biggest work day, so I’m going to fantasize about what I’d do if I had it off. I’d start the day with a walk to Coquine for coffee with my main girl, Charlotte (age 3). I love Coquine’s pottery and their way with vegetables. I try to avoid gluten, so sometimes I get a house-made popsicle for breakfast. Charlotte approves.

Lan Su Chinese Garden Teahouse / Chinatown

Taking the MAX to tea at Lan Su Chinese Garden is among our favorite lunchtime activities. It’s enchanting! We split a pot of tea and order the dried mango, a couple of tea-soaked eggs, mooncakes, and cookies.

Cheese Bar / Mt. Tabor

Having a 3-year-old means I usually try to forage close to home. For an al fresco dinner on sunny days, we LOVE the Cheese Bar, which is at the end of our block. Charlotte gets sardines with lemon, and I get a seasonal salad. And wine. On rainy days, we like to catch a flick and dine at The Academy Theater. We split a slice of Flying Pie pizza and a bag of Peanut M&Ms. And wine. Gremlins is playing this weekend!


Tabor Heights United Methodist Church / Mt. Tabor

Charlotte is a preacher’s granddaughter and has a fondness for attending church. I’d lived half a block from THUMC for 13 years, but it had never occurred to me to visit. Now I’m a regular and singing a solo this Sunday! Community is my number one fetish, and THUMC does community RIGHT. Charlotte and I have been made to feel so welcome, and we always leave well-fed.

Mary’s Club Holiday Party / Secret Location

This Sunday afternoon is Mary’s Club’s annual holiday party, a private event but a highlight of my year. Boss Vicki Keller composes an annual poem that sums up the slings and arrows of the club’s outrageous fortune. Then we all get presents, frequently Mary’s Club swag with our names (real or fake) embroidered on it.

Holocene / SE

Holocene is hosting The Socialist Party at 5 pm—a holiday mixer for Portland’s chapter of Democratic Socialists (of which I’m a card-carrying member). It’s a potluck, and kids are welcome (Yay! Someone else can feed my kid!) There’ll be music, crafts, and political effervescence. Holocene all but birthed the artisan cocktail scene in Portland, so that’s an additional enticement. No need to be a DSA member to attend—this event is open to the public.

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