Ani DiFranco at the Crystal Ballroom – June 30th, 2022

Ani DiFranco delivered a profound and spirited performance at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Oregon on June 30th—returning to the historic McMenamins venue. She played songs from her latest record, Revolutionary Love, along with plenty of early favorites. The place was packed with Ani superfans, from old schoolers who grew up with Ani in the…

Read More

Senator Patty Murray, from Anderson School to D.C.

Painting of US Senator Patty Murray by Carol Meckling

This painting of US Senator Patty Murray by artist Carol Meckling is displayed at McMenamins Anderson School in Bothell, Washington, where there is also a guest room named in Senator Murray’s honor. This patriotic piece envisions Patty as Rosie the Riveter—the WWII icon that celebrates the power of women’s work and equality. Patty grew up…

Read More

Julie Montaigne and the Barony Ball

Happy Pride Month! To celebrate, we spotlight the Barony Ball, a drag queen pageant that was a groundbreaking event for the LGBTQ+ community in Tacoma, WA, from 1975-1985. It was held in the grand spaces of what is now McMenamins Tacoma Elks. These days, all visitors are welcome and encouraged to peruse artwork, photos and…

Read More

Happy Juneteenth!

Mural of Clara Peoples

In 2021, Juneteenth was designated a federally observed holiday. And this year, on June 19th, Juneteenth will officially be recognized as an Oregon state holiday. Juneteenth celebrates the abolishment of African American slavery in the United States. But attaining that freedom was not as simple as President Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862. Even after…

Read More

Bad Bad Hats, The Ophelias at McMenamins Mission Theater

Bad Bad Hats, a rising indie-pop rock trio from Minneapolis, put on an energetic and joyful show at McMenamins Mission Theater in NW Portland on Wednesday, May 25th. The opening band, the Ophelias, brought their playfully dark baroque-rock from Cincinnati and were the perfect musical foil to the sunny Bad Bad Hats. Bad Bad Hats…

Read More

Happy May Day!

Happy May Day! For years, a tradition for Portland-area schools was to celebrate the arrival of spring with a Maypole dance. The first held at Kennedy Elementary School (now McMenamins Kennedy School) was in the spring of 1916, as part of the dedication ceremony for Kennedy’s new permanent school building. McMenamins revived the Maypole tradition…

Read More

The Roses of the Cotillion

“They were cultivating us to be the kind of women that they wanted us to be, not just as women but as community leaders, community organizers, as people who would carry on the torch.” – Crystal Wright, Red Rose Cotillion debutante of 1975 The Unique Social and Community Club was founded in 1963 by a…

Read More

The Brandos in Kalama

The Brandos

While few can likely relate to the turbulent ups and downs of the famous Brando family, every one of us understands the desire for a friendly place where we can escape from real life, even if just for a short while. Incredibly, for legendary actor Marlon Brando and eldest son Christian Brando, that place was…

Read More

An Extraordinary Existence

George Putnam Riley

George Putnam Riley was a brilliant activist, orator and lifetime barber lived an extraordinary existence during a pivotal time in American history, during the second half of the nineteenth century. His formative years were shaped by his East Coast upbringing, but his true character came from his life experiences on the Pacific Coast. The African-American…

Read More

Modern Dance Pioneer Bonnie Bird

Bonnie Bird

She was many things: an accomplished performer, revered instructor, passionate political activist and loving wife and mother. Bonnie Bird also was a Bothell, Washington, resident into the 1930s, while the rest of her family continued to live there into the ’50s. Bonnie was born in Portland in 1914 and spent most of her childhood in…

Read More