Magic Gardens is the name of Viva Las Vegas’s memoirs, and it refers to the infamous Old Town strip joint of the same name.

Richard Meltzer (author, poet, Blue Oyster Cult songwriter): What are you doing here?

Me: I’m covering Viva’s party for the society pages.

Richard Meltzer: Hmmmph. Some society.

It was a very Portland cross-section of humanity—musicians, poets, strippers, and sundry riff-raff including myself—that crammed itself into Dante’s last Tuesday night. The occasion was the book release party for Magic Gardens, the spicy memoirs of stripper, writer, rocker, bartender, and cancer survivor Viva Las Vegas, a name that should be familiar to Portland Monthly readers for her recent entry in the pages of this very periodical. Most everyone present (except me, apparently) was dressed in old Hollywood-style finery, showing off in glittery gowns and crisply-pressed suits.

Like I said, the place was jammed and the wait for a drink tested my usual Job-like patience to the snapping point. But emcee Tres Shannon, the world’s most distinguished doughnut entrepreneur, kept up a lively stream of patter, introducing local notables like Storm Large, Pennie Lane, Courtney Taylor-Taylor, and Walt Curtis to the stage to read racy passages from Magic Gardens. There was also a performance by Viva’s ripping rock band Coco Cobra and the Killers, and a bevy of beauteous dancers, including the legendary Lucy Fur, tantalized us to distraction, which went a long way toward easing the pain from the eternal drink lines.

Take a gander at our web-exclusive slideshow of this auspicious event, shot by photographer Kerosene Rose.