Annual Esprit transgender convention opens today
By Arwyn Rice
PORT ANGELES — Men paying women the compliment of imitation will begin arriving in town today for the weeklong Esprit 2012 convention.
Called "the Pacific Northwest's premiere transgender convention," about 100 people are registered for the annual gathering of cross-dressers.
Based at the Red Lion Hotel, Esprit will extend through next Sunday.
The convention provides a place for transgender individuals to wear their identity openly, to learn to be ladies and to live it up a little.
The Red Lion, which has hosted the event since 1990, was deep in preparations for the arrival of the Esprit participants Friday, said Vanessa Fuller, Red Lion director of sales.
Most of the events at the convention are closed to the public, including clothing exchanges, a pool tournament and classes in self-defense, religious and legal issues, cosmetics, dancing and social graces.
The Esprit conventioneers are "wonderful to be around and easy to work with," Fuller said.
Shopping and tourism
"We could all use a little training to be a lady," she said.
Fuller said the hotel and local businesses, including Fashion Bug and Goodwill, are working to convert storage rooms into "stores" within the hotel where the Esprit participants can shop and get their hair and nails done.
"Everything is coming along wonderfully," Fuller said.
Guests at the convention also will be offered more typical North Olympic Peninsula tourist activities, such as a trip to Hurricane Ridge, a visit to the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, shopping in Port Townsend and a ferry trip to Victoria.
Public events include the Esprit Talent Show and several concerts.
The talent show will begin at 8 p.m. Friday at the Elks Naval Lodge, 131 E. First St., including a 9 p.m. performance by The Boneyard Preachers, a contemporary blues group.
The Nasty Habits, a popular transgender band, will perform "edgy '80s dance covers" at Bar N9ne, 229 W. First St., at 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
The Nasty Habits are not technically part of the Esprit convention but have scheduled Port Angeles performances in conjunction with the convention for several years.
Charlie Ferris will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Red Lion Hotel Lounge.
For more information, visit www.espritconf.com.
John Nelson's Live Music Column: Music Scene Heats Up As Temperatures Rise
By John Nelson
THE LIVE MUSIC scene continues to heat up on the Peninsula just as the weather heats up (hope I didn't jinx it).
The music doctor has just one prescription: Get out and enjoy the music
On Friday and Saturday, the Nasty Habits return to Bar N9ne, 229 W. First St., for two nights of rollicking fun from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Parties, music enliven Esprit weekend
By Diane Urbani de la Paz
PORT ANGELES — Esprit, the weeklong conference for transgendered people held at the Red Lion Hotel since 1990, culminates in public parties, live music, dancing and general revelry tonight and Saturday night.
The Esprit Talent Show, an evening of song, dance, lip-synch and comedy starring Esprit conference participants, starts tonight at 8 p.m. at the Elks Naval Lodge, 131 E. First St., with admission at $5.
"The public is invited to the talent show, and those who have been, come back," said Esprit planning committee member Frances Wiemann.
"We love Port Angeles, and Port Angeles loves us."
This year's show is based on the 1960s television romp "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" and will be limited to eight or 10 acts, according to www.espritconf.com. It will wrap by around 9 p.m., and then the Boneyard Preachers, a contemporary blues band, will take the Elks stage.
"For the more adventurous," the Esprit website notes, "the Nasty Habits will play their edgy '80s dance covers to their throngs of local fans in town" at Bar N9ne, 229 W. First St., from 9 p.m. until 1 p.m.
The cover charge will be $5, and for more information phone 360-797-1999.
'60s themed gala
Saturday night brings the Esprit Gala, a 21-and-older, 1960s-theme bash at the Red Lion Hotel, 221 N. Lincoln St.
Admission is again $5 for the public, and the Fabulous Boomers from Seattle are scheduled to play classic rock from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m.
"Dress as formally as you wish, or push the limits and flash the go-go boots, the polka-dot miniskirt, big hair and sunglasses!" www.espritconf.com urges.
Ginger Li, left, and Jackie Wilson, members of the Nasty Habits band, will be at Bar N9ne, 229 W. First St., Port Angeles, tonight from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. and again Saturday with the rest of the band as part of the Esprit conference's wrapup. Photo by Alison Peacock.
Also Saturday at 9 p.m., the Nasty Habits will be back at Bar N9ne, with a $5 cover charge for their four hours of dance music.
New at Esprit this year is a Saturday evening concert by Charlie Ferris, the local crooner of doo-wop, rock and other nostalgic songs. Ferris will sing downstairs in the Red Lion lounge from 8 p.m. till midnight, with no cover charge.
The gala and talent show admission charges are donated to Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County, so "all of the money we raise stays in the community," Wiemann noted.
For more information about conference events, visit www.espritconf.com or phone the Red Lion at 360-452-9215.