Community gathers to remember Kiki Larsen

Community gathers to remember Kiki Larsen

Memorial event for Kiki Larsen-20

Kiki Larsen’s friend Esther Hockett reads words
of remembrance at Kiki’s memorial service on Sunday.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Dozens gathered at Peninsula Park on Sunday to remember Kiki Larsen. Kiki, who danced with the Sprockettes as “Agent Crush” for nearly 10 years, passed away on Thursday.

Kiki died of a drug overdose. She was found in her room by herself on Tuesday and taken to a hospital where she passed away a few days later despite attempts to save her. Her family and friends were by her side.

At her “For the Love of Kiki” memorial, friends and family shared stories and memories of her life. One by one, people stood up in front of a huge crowd, and in a testament to Kiki’s impact on the people she knew, the sharing went on for hours. And there were as many laughs as there were tears.

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Kiki’s Sprockette bike, “Fat Elvis”, and some of her outfits
helped decorate the memorial service.

Kiki was a beautiful person with a soul, style, and attitude as fiery as her curly red hair.

My family and I knew Kiki from Sprockettes. My wife Juli danced with her for several years and my girls played with her at practices and at Sprockettes summer camp. We joined them on their Operation: Bike Nation Tour with New Belgium Brewing back in 2008. My youngest daughter, seven-year-old Danica, wrote this poem about her (which we printed up and hung at the memorial)…

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I’ve photographed the Sprockettes since 2006 and Kiki has loomed large in many of my images. She would always manage to find my lens and add extra flair to her smile and her movements when she knew I was shooting. I loved watching her dance. She embodied so much of what I find inspiring and important about Portland: Community, creativity, ridiculousness, independence, strength, DIY style, and living on your own terms. Going through my hundreds of Sprockettes images to find ones of her brought back a rush of cherished memories…

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In Waterfront Park for the 2008 Tour de Fat. Temps were in the 100s. It was hot just watching them, but Kiki still poured everything into her performance.
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Mini Bike Winter, February 18th, 2012.
Sprockettes at Earth Day

Sprockettes at Earth Day

Earth Day at Woodlawn Park, April 21, 2007
Multnomah County Bike Fair 2007

Multnomah County Bike Fair June 23rd, 2007
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Taking a break after a performance in Ashland, Oregon on July 17th, 2008
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Kiki was always looking to be different. At the Cirque du Cycling, June 14th, 2008.

Backstage of the Cyclecide show in San Francisco, July 20th, 2008.

For those that knew Kiki or enjoyed her sparkly and charismatic stage presence during countless performances with the Sprockettes, the marquee outside the Florida Room (where she once worked) on Killingsworth sums it up pretty well, “The world is less bright without a Kiki in it.”

(Photo: Kristin Lee/Facebook)

Kiki’s death has brought up very complicated feelings and emotions. We always think we have a strong community, and then something like this happens to one of our own and we can’t help but think, why? People are still grappling with these tough questions.

Take care of the people you love and please watch out for yourself and your friends.

Goodbye Kiki. We’ll always love you!

Phil Sano posted a nice remembrance of Kiki on his blog and heartfelt words and memories continue to pour onto her Facebook wall. Kiki’s friends are helping her family pay medical bills and other expenses associated with her passing. Check out the campaign and donate if you can at

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