Sunday, August 5, 2012
Panorama Nightclub, Portland, OR
This will seem completely out of the blue -- but yes, that's me, posing with Ethel Merman.
Where and when was this photo taken? Well, funny you should ask. It was taken in 1996, in downtown Portland, Oregon, in front of the now-defunct Panorama nightclub.
Just in case the huge figure of Ethel didn't give it away, the Panorama was a gay club. I was visiting Portland in the summer of '96 and was walking downtown with a friend when we happened to stumble onto it. We couldn't resist posing for a photo -- we thought that huge Ethel was just so terrific.
Was it part of the Panorama's permanent sign, or just a temporary addition? I haven't the slightest idea. My cousin, who lived in Oregon in the 1990s, said she doesn't remember it, for what that's worth.
A few weeks ago, I got to thinking about the Panorama. I'd often wondered whether Ethel still presided over her street corner. After doing some Internet research I learned that not only did the Panorama close, but Ethel is gone. This is the same corner today on Google StreetView:
I Googled and Googled, but I could not find another image of the Panorama and Ethel anywhere on the Internet. So I scanned my photo and uploaded it to Flickr, and I am now happy to report that Googling "Panorama Portland Ethel Merman" promptly produces my photo. I'm happy to have added that wonderful sign to our planetary photo archives. It would be such a shame if Ethel were lost to posterity.