October 3, 2013

Off Beat: Perfect Portlander Pageant Thursday at Mayo Street Arts

Contestants will test their knowledge of city history and trivia, and show off their Portland style

By Ray Routhier rrouthier@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

What was Portland called before it was called Portland? What is the city’s largest park?

click image to enlarge

Portland from Munjoy Hill, circa 1976

Press Herald file

PERFECT PORTLANDER PAGEANT

WHEN:7-9 p.m. Thursday

WHERE: Mayo Street Arts, 10 Mayo St., Portland

HOW MUCH: $5

INFO: Mayostreetarts.org

If you were one of the Casco Bay Lines ferries, which would you be? And why?

If you can answer the above questions quickly, and eloquently, you may have what it takes to earn the title Perfect Portlander.

Mayo Street Arts will be hosting its first Perfect Portlander Pageant Thursday. And even though the contestants were to have been selected by pageant time, you might still want to go to the pageant and see if you have the stuff needed for some future run at the title.

The pageant will likely feature six willing contestants who live, breathe and love their city. And who have a sense of humor.

The pageant is not part of some grand organization, like Miss America. It’s the brainchild of two former interns at Mayo Street Arts, an eclectic arts and music venue in the city’s East End. Erika Clark-Jensen and Dylan Rohman came up with the idea of a pageant to pick the perfect Portlander because they thought it would be fun, and because the city has nothing else like it.

“We were brainstorming ideas, and it sounded like fun to look for people who feel like they embody Portland and love Portland,” said Clark-Jensen.

And who look good in flannel.

The contestants will be asked to participate in a fashion segment of some sort, maybe modeling something plaid, something flannel, and perhaps their best L.L. Bean boots. The contestants will be mostly folks Rohman or Clark-Jensen know, so they will know beforehand what they’re in for.

Then there will be a talent portion of the competition, followed by a series of questions about Portland where contestants buzz in with the right answer.

The questions might include things like when was the Portland Museum of Art built? What is Portland’s population? Name all the neighborhoods of Portland.

There will also the kind of questions pageants are infamous for, but with a Portland twist. Things like “If you were a Casco Bay Lines ferry, which would you be, and why?”

“Mostly silly or vapid questions which I’m not really sure they ask at real pageants, but I’ve always imagined that they do,” said Rohman.

Rohman said he’s not sure if the pageant will be held again. But for this one, someone will be awarded a sash and a crown and the honor of being named the “Perfect Portlander.” A panel of judges will pick the winner.

But then again, isn’t that redundant? Don’t Portlanders already regard themselves as perfect?

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

rrouthier@pressherald.com

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