Knate Higgins/Bunny Wonderland is one of Portland’s veteran drag performers. Wonderland can be seen performing at Geno’s Rock Club, Blackstones, Space and with the Curbside Queens traveling drag show. Wonderland is scheduled to appear at the Cherry Lemonade Portland Pride show at Aura on Saturday and at the Strut Portland Pride Tea Dance at The Inn on Peaks Island Sunday. Wonderland was one of two Curbside Queens who responded to our queries about their perfect day in anticipation of Pride Month. Cherry Lemonade’s perfect day was in the May 30 edition of Go. 

Knate Higgins.  Photo courtesy of Knate Higgins

When you live in the historic West End of Portland, you gain a bit of a complex. Unique architecture, diverse food options and small retail businesses all stack up to the moniker of “The Best End.” Admittedly, it’s very easy to spend most of my time off within a half-mile confine of my home on Pine Street and still have the best day ever.

My ideal day would start, well, late. After teaching (pre-kindergarten) all week for Portland Public Schools and quite possibly performing in a few shows during the weekend, I’m rather tired. Late nights equal late mornings, and I’m happy to hurkle-durkle (a Scottish term for lounging in bed after it’s time to get up) with my cats for a few hours. When I finally venture out for sustenance, I would most certainly make my way over to Hot Suppa for brunch. I am obsessed with their approach to stick-to-your-ribs Southern-style cooking, and one of their Cajun Bloody Marys always kicks my weekend into gear.

Cherry blossoms at dusk in Portland’s West End in April. Many elements of Bunny Wonderland’s perfect day can be found in or near that neighborhood. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

In a haze of brown butter and pickled okra, I would walk it off over to one of my favorite antique shops, Red Squirrel. I’m always on the hunt for something kitschy and odd, and Red Squirrel always sings to my maximalist heart. Afterwards, I would most certainly pop into Green Hand Bookshop to check out either their horror, fantasy or occult section for my next non-textbook read.

Oftentimes, I need to recharge myself physically, and spiritually, and the best way I know how to do that is through nature. My sanctuary lies within the Mill Brook Preserve in Westbrook. This sprawling campus of forest and water contains my special thinking spot I’ve dubbed “Pilgrims Roost,” and I’ll easily spend two to three hours sitting there meditating and making magic by the water.

A footbridge at Mill Brook Preserve in Westbrook. Photo by Leslie Bridgers

Arriving home, I’ll be hungry. Rosemont Market on Pine Street satisfies my craving for good cheese, crackers and olives as a pre-nap snack. Being a late-night performer, on weekends I tend to be really into my disco naps as a way to prepare for the evening ahead. I’ll probably spend 90 minutes to two hours napping, wake up from a dream-filled daze, and then round the early evening out with some video games on Xbox.

Dinner with friends at Empire Chinese Kitchen would be my top choice. I could slurp literal gallons of their hot and sour soup at any given time of the year. Add a side of their green beans, veggie spring rolls and white rice and BOOM! Satiated. Heading to Geno’s Rock Club for dancing at their monthly Queer Club night would be my favorite way to exorcise my inner demons, and loins. The infectious energy and queer joy that abounds from these nights are an ecstatic religious experience in its own right.

Empire Chinese Kitchen on Congress Street in Portland. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Rounding out my late night, my friends and I would most certainly end up at our favorite friendly neighborhood watering hole, Blackstones. As Portland’s oldest gay bar, Blackstones is in every sense of the word our Cheers. Catching up with the regulars, cruising the narrow bar and continuing the dance party is my ideal Blackstones night. When it’s closing time, I’ll most likely head home and pop an ’80s horror movie into the VHS player, lulling myself to sleep to the sounds of camp and gore.

A crowd outside Geno’s Rock Club in Portland. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

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