Full Disclosure: The author of this piece is a current PR intern at Dante’s and the Star Theater and has been hired by Patrick Buckmaster three times to hang promotional posters. The author also participated in the promotional campaign for the First Annual Cannabis Cabaret in 2015.
Oregon achieved the repeal of marijuana prohibition in 2014. The next year Dante’s, performance venue and home of the KEEP PORTLAND WEIRD sign, started hosting a cannabis-themed cabaret every April 20, showcasing the erotic arts of burlesque, circus, pole dance and drag. This year’s revue, 420/24/7, is under new management, transitioning from Go-Go Rocket Productions to the trio of Baby Le’Strange (Rose City School of Burlesque), Nikki the Glitter Beast (Blow Pony, Kit Kat Club) and Patrick Buckmaster (Sad Day, NecroNancy, Club Kai-Kai).
The Vanguard sent Buckmaster a list of questions generated from social media and our sub-basement office, and Buckmaster responded via email. This exchange has been edited for punctuation and clarity.
VANGUARD: How do you feel about marijuana three years after prohibition repeal?
Patrick Buckmaster: I feel beautiful. I feel hopeful. I feel love. I feel free. We are living in an age where we witnessed something illegal becoming legal. People are changing their minds (and the laws) about something deemed “bad” and redeeming it as “good.” Since when is mother nature illegal but mankind is legal? Marijuana has never killed anyone but mankind does everyday. This is groundbreaking in many ways and I know this will be a revolution for we(ed) the people.
VG: How is 420/24/7 at Dante’s different from other 4/20 parties, or even the previous two versions of this show?
Buckmaster: This event is curated to showcase the highest of Portland talent. Performances that not only pay honor to our ganja goddess but to our wonderful city/state that legalized marijuana. Though I’m a sativa diva, 420/24/7 is a hybrid! This show has drag, burlesque, comedy, drama, and marijuana. 420/24/7 isn’t just a party name—it’s a religion. I personally 420 24/7 and I suggest you do the same. When life’s got you down, get high.
Buckmaster: First of all, I never listen to publications: I listen to my myself, MY MOM, my community, and Shitney Houston. Gay/Queer bars are not just bars, they are a community center. They are the eye of the hurricane. Everything outside is chaos, but on the inside it’s calm compared to the shitstorm outside. Gay bars are a place of love and acceptance. While there are no true safe spaces, there are safer ones. Queer people used to have to gather in basements, hidden/secret locations, and people’s homes to do what we do in a gay bar, which is just being ourselves with people like us and those who support us. Having a place where you can be yourself is something we all need, despite our sexual preferences. Society tries to cage us and put us behind bars, so I say: make the world your gay bar. There are people all over the world who are being killed and tortured for being who they are, so we need to live proudly for them, ourselves and our future generations.
VG: Do you have advice for students getting to know themselves (queer, straight, gay et al.)?
Buckmaster: You already know yourself. You know the best and worst parts of yourself. You know who you are but you let outside forces question that. No one can know you like you, no one can hate you like you, and no one can love you like you. You aren’t the problem, you are the solution.
VG: What is it like working with national celebrities?
Buckmaster: I think you mean international and universal, darlin’. Working with people who you have looked up to for most of your life and have shaped who you are is the most surreal moment. Life imitates art. As wonderful as it is: it’s my friends, family, and community that are the real celebrities. I spent my whole life wanting to work with people that love what they do and want to change the world. And I never knew I would find them in my own backyard instead of on television or in a magazine.
VG: In public, you’ve mentioned sometimes being afraid to leave the house, e.g. shortly after the Pulse Massacre; or, you were recently featured in a Pizzagate video about Dante’s, which I’m sure must be scary to some extent.
What gets you to set foot outside?
Buckmaster: I (un)dress how I do, walk like I walk, talk like I talk, and leave my bell tower because people need to see me. Seeing me is seeing yourself and the world around you that might have never even considered. I am the unicorn that you only dreamed of. Stop dreaming and start living! People need to see someone like or unlike them to see beyond their own vision. Look at the bigger picture, not just the materials that created it. I leave so myself and those like/unlike me can stay forever. I do it for those that can’t because they don’t have the confidence, the ability, or safety concerns. It’s important to show visibility because that shows others they can do the same but still be different. I don’t want to die afraid, I want to live fearlessly.
VG: Who is your favorite 420/24/7 cast member and why?
VG: What is your favorite post-show ritual?
Buckmaster: After last call, I say on the microphone: “Thank you so much for supporting (queer) art and love. If no one today told you this, ‘I love you.’” Then giving a hug and saying thank you to every person that came out to my event that evening. Then going home alone and crying myself to sleep.
VG: What is your 2017 trend forecast for nightlife?
Buckmaster: The end of trends.
VG: Least favorite part of nightlife/celebrity culture?
Buckmaster: People not realizing that sometimes even giants feel small.
420/24/7 takes place 8 p.m. Thursday, April 20 at Dante’s, with a post-show dance party and a cast of performers including Ivizia Dakini, Soren High, RAKEEM, the House of Flora and more. Tickets can be purchased at the door or at danteslive.com.