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It was 7:30 when I arrived at Heathen Brewing in Vancouver, WA. It was also very cold, But activists were already present staging for the day’s events. The main plan was for activist to be outfitted with a simple PVC harness draped with fabric to make the wearer resemble an angel, and for them to line the outside perimeter, obfuscating any attempts anti drag protesters would have at filming the event from the outside with their wings.
As LCRW previously reported, Heathen Brewing’s windows were broken after they announced they’d host an all-ages drag performance and brunch set for last Sunday, the 26th. After the vandalism, the brewery changed the event to be 18+. The event was targeted by a local hate network, who used the usual anti-queer “groomer” accusations to organize a counter-protest against it.
Shortly after my arrival, around 8AM, police arrived. By this point more activists were milling about outside as the sun had begun to shine a bit. A few activists approached the police and were basically told that the cops would remain in their cars unless a fight happened or some sort of other violence broke out.
Doors would open at 11 and the show began at 12, but by 10 we had the first of the few agitators of day. Chelly Bouferrache, better known as “Honey badger mom” and a friend who goes by the handle “cocaine michelle” on twitter tried to film from across the street. Some activists used umbrellas to block them from getting any real footage of the event. Activists using umbrellas were able to block Bouferrache and cocaine bear repeatedly, causing them to reposition until they had been removed from the premises. LCRW was told they took refuge in a Catholic church located across the street from the brewery.
Paul Pawlowski, a local right-winger, showed up to try to agitate as well but left shortly after arriving when confronted by activists. As a local antifascist pointed out, Pawlowski claimed on the Heathen Brewery’s Facebook page. He taunted the brewery, implying they faked the vandalism because they hadn’t released surveillance footage of it. Pawlowski also claimed he’d “rode by” the brewery the night of the vandalism. At the event itself, Pawlowski admitted on camera to doxxing a local independent journalist and his family.
The show went on without a problem. The defense was lively, peaking at about 180 people, many wearing costumes. An energetic playlist over a portable speaker combined with the lack of any organized anti-drag protesters made the whole scene feel like a block party.