Shalimar Drinks, Shalimar Draws: Drink and Draw at the Majestic Theatre, June 5, 7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

I went to Drink and Draw. At the Majestic. I heard it was a place with no cover where they have a selection of art supplies and alcoholic beverages and hard surfaces, and sometimes even models, and I said “Sign me up.” Then I found out you aren’t supposed to sign up, you just show up, so I did that.

Naga ModelI prepared myself to enter a Den of Sin, musky and dark, draped with veils and smelling of opium, presided over by an androgynous, scantily clad Master of Ceremonies…I expected the 1972 version of “Cabaret” with Liza Minelli, I guess. I will admit I was disappointed when I entered a brightly lit room with symmetrically placed tables facing a small pedestal on which a sharp-cheeked, jean short-bedecked gamine swanned about with a contemplative expression. I would have been less surprised had she been clad in a waist-high Malaysian sarong and little else, her pale skin catching the faded glimmers of crowded candles and torches lining terra cotta walls. Back up: there were no terra cotta walls or torches; it was more like a business meeting room. Where people with unique facial hair were hanging out.

I paused at the bar as I assessed the seating situation. Perusing the drinkable options, I was again disappointed. No absinthe. No tequila. Standard Oregon beers and wines, just fine, of course, but hardly ideal for birthing hallucinations. With a $4 Porter in hand and a small plate of complimentary tiny cookies, rice crackers, and baby carrots (to my pleasure, the abundant food options were almost all delightfully, surreally petite), I found a seat at a table, hoarded a few squares of paper and a fistful of colored pencils, and furrowed my brow, willing my creativity to burst out of my chest like a slime-covered alien. Instead of the clang of gongs, classical guitar played in the background. While I doodled a pair of rutting sea turtles, one of my tablemates laughed as she drafted seemingly endless pages of watercolored beauty with flourish, while the other solemnly scrawled poetry.

Conversation bubbled through the room and swam in my head. The Porter was rich, the rice crackers pungent on the tongue. The model picked up a frilled parasol and a dagger. My mind reeling, my hand acted of its own will, and grasping a pencil, turned the model, fair-skinned and dark-haired, into a naga, fanged and perched on a boulder, a seductive mythological beast, her snake tail curling into the air.

I’ll be back.

By Shalimar Jones