The Saga of Mini Bike Winter, Part Three: Scintillating Saturday Some More!
At the end of our last installment, Chariot Wars had just finished up and people were doubledutching on the bridge. We didn’t want to go – but we needed to get home and get our colors on for our performance. You’d be amazed at how much time it takes to put on so little clothing. All dressed and on the way to the park for a little practice, we stopped off for burritos that made us all feel like we’d never left home, and then went to the beer store to get whiskey for the chilly night ahead….
Wait, what? A place called “the beer store” only sells beer? Really? Well, okay, where is the whiskey store? We sped off in that direction, got lost, and finally found the place… just as it was closing for the night. Saturday night. At 8:25pm. No wonder Portland kids drink so much beer! Well, when in Rome, right? We headed back to the park just in time to gather around the (covered! lit! yeah Portland!) basketball court to see the mighty SPROCKETTES!
In case you haven’t been paying attention, the Sprockettes are the godmothers of the bike dance movement, and I was psyched as anything to see them live for the very first time. And oh man, they did not disappoint – from their brand new song in honor of Mini Bike Winter, to their jaunty umbrella moves and skillful use of the get down-get up, they were awesome and inspiring from start to finish and all the Derailleurs came away determined to be worthy of dancing on the same bill.
Next up came the genius move of MBW: rather than stick around in one place so that lazy latecomers and the police could zero in and possibly bust up the fun, we all got on our bikes again and rode to a completely new, unannounced venue for the next performers! Another park with a covered basketball court, this time for the B:C:Clettes, all the way from Canada. The lights went out just as they came onstage – but no worries, we lit them up with our headlamps, and they and their glowing white hazard suits delivered an awesomely adorable ode to safety and farewell to car culture that had everybody screaming with glee.
And then just as before, the entire crowd – maybe 200 people? – packed up and rolled on, this time to the plaza underneath the Hawthorne Bridge for our performance! The setting could not possibly have been more epic – the dark river below us, downtown lit up blazing behind, the huge bridge looming above and everyone’s faces beaming in the darkness.
We were all shaky with excitement and nerves as we got our parasols put together and arranged our props. It had been raining off and on most of the day (mad props to Portland for not being discouraged by a little water), but it was dry as our set started – good thing, because we spend a lot of time down on the ground – although I was so full of performance adrenaline that I wouldn’t have noticed an earthquake hail tornado blizzard with thunder and frogs. We did our brand-new song “Door’d” – guess what it’s about! – to the song written for us by our friend Dannygirl:
and “Flat Tire”:
and “Sexy Bike:”
and “Helmet On:”
and just as we were starting the finale, “It’s Bitchin:”
– it started to rain again! So! Epic! And everyone yelled and cheered and was amazingly sweet and even though I straight up fucked up that last part of “It’s Bitchin” that I never ever fuck up, I felt like visiting rock star space princess royalty. Most supportive city ever.
The ride rolled on toward the last stop, the indoor dance party, featuring burlesque from the Irondelles (who are a lady tallbike crew, not usually a burlesque troupe, but it’s hard to fit tallbikes inside sometimes):
and awesome music from Chervona:
and the whole gallery was crammed with sweaty writhing bodies in circus clothes and face paint, yelling and playing games and dancing as if everybody’s lives depended on it.
I bought an Irondelles/MBW t-shirt and Sprockettes shirt which I lost a few hours later, and met a bunch of people who melted into the crowd, and spilled my beer, and just generally overflowed with feelings of home and love and belonging to the big doofy wonderful family of mutant biking.
It got so steamy inside that the art peeled off the walls, and eventually the party ended and they kicked us all out, but we didn’t want to go home yet – so Rabbit led us to Thunderdome, a secret spot under the bridge where we dried our damp selves around a cozy pallet fire, passing around bottles and singing songs and befriending strangers until 6 in the morning when the Derailleurs finally decided that maybe it was time for a little sleep. We got up reluctantly, packed up our gear and headed back to Chuck and Emily’s, and I could see the fire and the people gathered around it for a long time afterward, keeping me warm all the way to bed.
– Agent F-Word, photos by Agent Take the Lane and Agent Instigata and whoever had Instigata’s camera during our set (thank you paparazzi)