Magic Garden 1960-2014
The Magic Garden opened up around 1960 in what is known as Old Town in Portland, Oregon. Originally, it was erected as one of Portland’s first Lesbian bars. It had a bit of success, but the new owner’s wanted to try something different, and from there it was transformed into what would be the area’s best dive bar and strip club. It changed hands a few times, finally picked up by Everett Moore in the 1990’s, who brought his best sassy mouthed bartender, Patty Wright from their history together at Southeast Portland’s, My Father’s Place, and the rest is history.
Magic Garden stayed as a regular’s hangout, even with closing of the beloved Satyricon, and with the obscene amount of renovations, turning the industrial wasteland into Portland’s new posh area. The MG stayed strong for about 50+ years.
Where I come in….I was an intern at One Grand Gallery during the winter of 2014. We all knew of the closing and gallery owner, Jordan Mendez, thought up an idea to do a poster show about what the Magic Garden means to the artist, and how would they render a concert type poster for the event. This is where a call to artists all over Portland was announced, and the idea for me to take portraits of the dancers and bartenders, the space, and the dressing room as it is on a day-to-day basis, in the last month that the club was to be open. Many participated, and those that did were gracious enough to allow me in their space and take a peek into their lives. This was a small documentation of one of Portland’s favorite dive bars and strip clubs as it came to an end. The doors permanently closed on New Year’s Eve 2014.
All images and text © Jenny Olsen
By Jenny Olsen