Meet the Board of Directors


Maria Peters Lake


Peacock Productions, Inc. Co-Founder, President and Peacock in the Park hostess Maria has been a leader in the gay community for more than 25 years. A natural born entertainer, Maria gave her first drag-style performance in 1986 at the infamous Darcelle XV Showplace. She became a member of Oregon’s oldest gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender organization — The Portland Forum — and was elected to serve as Ms. Gay Portland II the following year.

In 1988, she was selected by a panel of judges to serve as Ms. Gay Oregon VI. During her year as Ms. Gay Oregon, The Portland Forum merged with the Imperial Sovereign Rose Court (ISRC), and Maria became the first Ms. Gay Oregon to serve under the newly consolidated group.

Using her loveable personality, tenacity, talent and hard work, Maria continued to break down barriers in the largely male-dominated gay community. In 1990 she became the first woman elevated to the title of Princess of the ISRC and in October 1993, she became the first woman elected by the citizens of Portland to serve as Empress of the ISRC. To date, Rose Empress XXXVI Maria and her Rose Emperor XX Babalou are the only all female reign in Rose Court history.

Just three days after her crowning as Rose Empress, Maria’s dear friend and the founder of Peacock in the Park and the Audria M. Edwards Scholarship Fund; Lady Elaine Peacock died due to complications from AIDS.  At her bedside, Maria and Kimberlee were informed that it was Peacock’s wish for them to assume leadership of Peacock in the Park and the AME Scholarship Fund. In the summer of 1994, Maria took her position as the new hostess of Peacock in the Park.

In 1999, Maria and Kimberlee incorporated Peacock Productions and Maria became President of the board of directors, a job she continues to this day. Under their leadership the Scholarship Fund has continued to grow with annual grants ranging from $5,000-$20,000 to GLBT individuals and/or their children for post-secondary education.

In addition to her work with Peacock Productions, Inc., the Audria M. Edwards Scholarship Fund and the Imperial Sovereign Rose Court, Maria also owns the Mr., Miss and Ms. Gay Pride Pageant, is the treasurer of Saturday in the Park (Vancouver’s Pride Festival) and an active member of her church and church choir.   When not working Maria loves to spend time with her dog Romeo, her daughter, son-in-law, two granddaughters and close friends.


Kimberlee Van Patten


Peacock Productions, Inc. Co-Founder and Secretary Kimberlee Van Patten’s involvement in the gay community dates back to 1984 when she became involved in the Imperial Sovereign Rose Court (ISRC). In 1990, Kimberlee won one of three open seats on the board of directors for the ISRC and went on to serve for a total of four years (three as president) before becoming Rose Emperor XXIII in 1996. During her reign as Emperor, The ISRC raised $23,000 for various charities including the Pride of the Rose and Bill & Ann Shepherd Scholarship Funds, Salvation Army’s Greenhouse and the Rose City Swing Band to name a few.

In 1993, following the death of Lady Elaine Peacock, Kimberlee and Maria assumed leadership of Peacock in the Park and the AME Scholarship Fund. In 1999, they formally incorporated Peacock Productions and Kimberlee became Secretary of the board of directors, a job she continues to this day.

An accomplished event planner, Kimberlee manages nearly every behind-the-scenes aspect of Peacock in the Park. She has also produced events such as the six-year run of Peacock After Dark, countless ISRC Coronations & Pageants, the Medieval Feast, the All Ages Show, and several theatrical plays.

Kimberlee is an Oregon native and has worked for the State since 1988.


Gina Valdez

Board Member

Gina Valdez became involved with the gay community of Spokane, in 1986 and was crowned Prince XII in 1987. After moving to Montana, Gina became the first Emperor of the newly formed Imperial Court of All Montana in 1995. She subsequently moved to Portland, and became a member of the Imperial Sovereign Rose Court (ISRC) where she was crowned Prince XXIII in 1997, served several terms as an ISRC board member and reigned as Rose Emperor XXXIX in 2012. Gina and Rose Empress LIV Cassie Nova were known as the Allure of the Rose and during their reign, the ISRC raised more than $27,000 for charities such as Our House of Portland, Sexual Minority Youth Resource Center, Esther’s Pantry, HIV Day Center, Service Members United, Camp KC and many more.

Gina has been a board member of Peacock Productions, Inc. since 2002. Today, she and her business partner Alicia own and operate two adult foster care facilities and share custody of their adopted children Hattie and Diego.


Jane Arends


Jane Arends joined the Imperial Sovereign Court of the Emerald Empire in Eugene, Oregon in 1980 and was elected Empress X in 1983. In 1989, she moved to Portland and began attending and volunteering at Peacock in the Park. In 2002, Jane joined the AME scholarship review team and in 2004 she became a member of the Peacock Productions, Inc. board of directors where she currently serves as the Treasurer. Since 1994 Jane has been an active member of the Imperial Sovereign Court of the Raintree Empire of Vancouver, Washington and in 1999, she was elected Empress XXV, received the Tim Kelly Lifetime Achievement Award and the Jose I Honors Award.

Jane is a 1958 graduate of Wilson High in Portland, received her BA from Whitman in 1962, MST from Portland State University in 1965, and Ph.D. from the University of Oregon in 1975. After a 44-year career in public education as a teacher, program evaluator and administrator, Jane retired in 2006. She lives in Vancouver with her life partner since August 1992, and wife since January 2013, Shelley Smith.


Matthew Akerson aka Cassie Nova

Board Member

A native Oregonian, Matthew Akerson has spent most of his life in Portland and has been an active member in gay community since coming out in 2000. His drag persona, Cassie Nova has been an active member of the Imperial Sovereign Rose Court, since 2007.

Cassie has held many titles including Debutante XXVII, Miss Gay Portland XXXVIII, Imperial Princess Royale XLI and in 2012, she was crowned Rose Empress LIV (54). During her reigns she has travelled all over the NW raising money for various communities, charities and scholarships. As Rose Empress LIV, she was paired with Rose Emperor XXXIX Gina Valdez and together they were known as the Allure of the Rose. During their reign, the ISRC raised more than $27,000 for a number of charities including the Audria M. Edwards Scholarship Fund, Pride of the Rose Scholarship Fund, PFLAG, Make A Wish Foundation, Q-Center, Faces of Change and many others.

Cassie was also a featured cast member at Darcelle XV Showplace from 2008 to 2011, Board Member at Large for the Sweethearts of Portland from 2008-2010 and a featured performer at Peacock After Dark.  In 2014, Cassie returned to the stage as a featured cast member at Darcelle XV Showplace where you can see her every Friday and Saturday night.

Professionally, Matthew has worked as a Mortgage Loan Processor for nearly 15 years. He joined the Peacock Productions, Inc. board of directors in 2012 and is thrilled to be involved in the return of Peacock in the Park!


Niki Davis

Board Member

Niki Davis has been a native Portlander since 1995 with the exception of her four-year stint as a native New Yorker from 2004-2008. Niki has been involved in or around the community since 1996 and has been an avid supporter of all things drag longer than she can count. Niki’s past involvement with other organizations such as New Avenues For Youth have led her to pursue involvement with Peacock Productions Inc.

When in her natural habitat, Niki has been with Powell’s Books management team for eight years and loves working for such an iconic Portland landmark. In her downtime she spends countless hours with her trusty wiener dog Beckham Rue strolling through their South Waterfront neighborhood, enjoys traveling, happy hour and time spent with family and friends.


Vesta AKA Patti O’Dora

Recording Secretary

In May of 1962, a Star was born. Problem being no one realized it for many years. Growing up in Yamhill County, Miss Vesta never really fit in but made the best of it by performing in every school play and in the choir. As soon as she was old enough, Vesta moved away from the country and into Portland.  In 1983, at the tender age of 21, Vesta debuted her stage persona Patti O’Dora on the legendary Dahl and Penne stage.  Winning that night’s amateur contest, she went on to perform all over the Pacific Northwest. In 1985, she competed and won the title of Miss Gay Oregon 13, and then went on to become Rose Empress 33. Patti hosted the longest running show at the Embers, retiring in 2005 to start a family.

From the very beginning of her involvement with the drag community, fund raising was the number one priority. From its inception, The Audria M. Edwards Scholarship Fund has been her go-to charity because she believes that education is our most important obligation to our youth. As the mother of two, it has become even more important to ensure that everyone can afford education. Vesta feels it is an honor and a privilege to be serving on the board of directors of Peacock Productions and looks forward to continuing its rich traditions.


Caleb Morris

Caleb Morris, or Athens Scities as you may know him, has supported the Audria M. Edwards scholarship fund and Peacock Productions for over five years. Over the years his annual fundraiser, Athens’ Cabaret, has given away over $5000 to the AME scholarship fund. Caleb started his involvement in the LGBTQ community as a youth member in 2008 when he ran for and won the title of Thorn during the 32nd Annual Rosebud and Thorn Pageant. He later joined the Imperial Sovereign Rose Court, running for the position of Mr. Gay Oregon, which he also won. After a successful year as Mr. Gay Oregon, Caleb campaigned for the title of Rose Emperor. The community voted and he was elected the 38th Rose Emperor of the ISRC (Imperial Sovereign Rose Court). Over these past few years Caleb has given back to his community by volunteering at both local and international events, raising over $30,000 for various charities.


Nichole Connelly

Board Member

Nichole Connelly, an Oregon native, grew up in the Willamette Valley and has been planted in the heart of Portland since 2001. She has an intense drive for equality and strong community support, and is drawn to Peacock Productions due to its value statement and community presence. Balancing two careers, Nichole covers much of the west coast as a Senior District Sales Manager, and works as a Realtor in the Portland market. She spends her free time volunteering through several organizations, cheering the softball fields, or playing at the park with her Weimaraner, Bentley.


Kevin Cook aka Poison Waters

Honorary Board Member

Founding Board Member of Peacock Productions, Inc. and co-host of Peacock in the Park since 1990 as well as all six Peacock After Dark shows (2008-2013), Poison continues to keep a full calendar of events including the Poison Waters & Friends Show at several McMenamins properties, and major engagements with SagaCity Media in Portland and Seattle.  As the co-hostess at Darcelle XV Showplace, she also enjoys hosting events for Bradley Angle, the Portland Assistance League, Maui Pride and performing alongside her co-stars of Hot Chocolate!

In 2013, Poison (Kevin Cook) was appointed the volunteer Camp Director for Cascade AIDS Project’s summer camp for HIV affected children – Camp KC (Kids Connection). She would like to thank the community for their unending support and generosity!

The re-launch of her award winning website has helped to increase her popularity and booking schedule. Poison’s adventures have allowed her to entertain from NYC to Hawaii and many points in between. She couldn’t be more appreciative of all the love and attention, which just leaves her, well, proud as a peacock!