From all of us here at the Mercury, tonight we raise our glasses in a toast to YOU, our awesome readership! While producing a paper weekly (and a blog daily) has not been without its challenges, we're always humbled and thankful for your continued support, and as such, we sincerely wish you good health and the happiest of new years.
As always, ABBA sums it up best.
See you in 2010!
The next few months sees a metric shit ton of theatrical productions adapted from or inspired by books. Here's a handy reading list for the overachievers in the room.
Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett. Jessica Wallenfells, Betsy Cross, and Elizabeth Klinger are adapting Patchett's book for the Fertile Ground festival—Truth and Beauty is an intense, almost uncomfortably honest account of Patchett's friendship with another writer, a disfigured poet who died at age 39 of a drug overdose. And if Fertile Ground isn't already on your radar, it should be—the ten-day arts festival in late January is essentially a fringe festival that focuses exclusively on locally developed new work.
The Book of Men and Women by David Biespiel. Biespiel is a local poet and head of the Attic Writer’s Workshop—his collection The Book of Men and Women was recently named one of the best poetry books of the year by The Poetry Foundation. For Fertile Ground, Biespiel and Oregon Ballet Theatre dancer Gavin Larsen are collaborating on an original piece called Incorporamento.
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson. An adaptation of Guterson's post-WWII novel about racial tensions on a small Puget Sound Island opens in two weeks at Portland Center Stage—the adaptation was developed at Seattle's Book-It Rep.
Spider Web by Agatha Christie. Lakewood Center for the Arts opens Spider Web on January 15. It's actually an original stage play by Christie (not, like And Then There Were None, adapted from an earlier novel), but since Christie's books are basically interchangeable, you might as well pick up... Oh, Murder on the Orient Express, let's say. Or the ironically titled Elephants Can Remember, an analysis of which was recently used to support the claim that Christie suffered from Alzheimer's-related dementia toward the end of her life.
AND! Oregon Children's Theater has two plays based on the works of Louis Sachar: A world-premiere adaptation of Small Steps (a sequel to the popular Holes), adapted by the author, in April; and Sideways Stories from motherfucking Wayside School in May.
(Hat tip to Powells' blog for that headline, which I brazenly ripped off.)
UPDATED THURS 4:12 PM:
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez, and—take note, Spanish majors!—a bilingual adaptation of Cervantes' Don Quijote , both at the Miracle Theatre.
Patrick Stewart is now Sir Patrick Stewart.
I love you Sir Patrick Stewart.
I've been reading Kingsley Amis, the famously drunk famous British author, now famously dead. Amongst his essays about booze, liquor, drinking, mixing drinks, drinking while writing, and drinking while making more drinks, there is a fine essay about the care and handling of hangovers.
The advice for the physical hangover is the usual stuff: Hair of the dog, vigorous sex, water (and lots of it). However, he also addresses the metaphysical hangover—the portion of the hangover which I have always neglected. What is it?
"...That ineffable compound of depression, sadness (these two are not the same), anxiety, self-hatred, sense of failure and fear for the future..."
You know the drill. So when the "morning" dim creeps through your curtains tomorrow, you must first look towards curing your physical hangover, but don't forget the metaphysical hangover.
According to Amis, the first step is to remind yourself that what you are experiencing is a hangover. You are not, in fact, a bad person. It will all be alright. You're not dying, and no-one really hates you.
Now in order to truly tackle the metaphysical hangover, says Amis, "...you must feel worse emotionally before you start to feel better. A good cry is the initial aim."
Amis recommends a course of reading or listening to help matters, but aside from Paradise Lost it's unlikely you'll have his recommendations handy. The same goes for music. But the basic gist is to start out with something really depressing, then switch to something "that suggests there may be some point to living after all,"—like war poems, according to Amis. Then, to distract yourself from yourself move on to action, and finally, comedy.
I personally think this can be done with just about anything. I'd recommend doing it with film. Why not try something like "Requiem for a Dream," followed by "Rudy," then "Star Wars," and finally "The Big Lebowski." Done and done. Hell, I'm feeling better just reading that list.
Check out this article and give me your suggestions for curing that metaphysical hangover.
Thanks to Sarah, Ned, Erik and Ezra for the assist.
Crazy Bruce would like to help.
Last week we kicked off a brand new Mercury tradition of awarding a commenter on our web site a
gift gif each week for having left the best/funniest comment on our site. Behold:
This week's winner took home the bragging rights with this comment, left on a blog post entitled, "Register to Vote with the Mercury Cover." And that comment was:
Congratulations and thank you Alexjon for A) teaching us something (about how you need a drivers license or something?) and B) entertaining us (fax machine! Ha!). Think you can comment better? You have one week to prove it.
As a tenants-rights organizer at her North Portland public housing complex, Evans battled unfair eviction. Through her work as a community outreach worker, Evans has been equally pugnacious progressive advocate for a number of ambitious ideas, including that new highway projects should pay into a health care fund and speaking out against the Columbia River Crossing.
At the least, her presence will make the campaign debates interesting.
The week’s Last Supper focuses on the best dishes I enjoyed most in 2009. I’ll stress that most of these dishes were consumed during review. I’m more than happy to admit that I’ve probably missed some great food. (I hope you’ll enlighten me in the comments.)
Unfortunately, space for these list-heavy columns can be limited. The equally worthy are often cut. Here are the dishes that I reluctantly struck to keep my word count:
QUASI+WHO=LUV—Bid farewell to 2009 as local legends Quasi take on rock legends the Who, in this sure-to-be-spectacular New Year's "Fir Ball." Quasi will do an entire set of Who covers, which will most likely include instrument smashing and guitar windmills for days. I heard the Jupiter Hotel is building a pool just so drummer Janet Weiss can drive a car into it. EAC
w/the Shaky Hands, Inside Voices, DJ Safi; Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside, 9 pm, $13-15
DEVILS—There's a lot of competition tonight, but the fact that the legendary Murder City Devils play, like, once every year (or five) makes a pretty compelling argument for spending the last hours of '09 basking in their creepily keyboarded brand of decadent devastation. Plus: Jello Biafra! MS
w/Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine, My Life in Black and White; Roseland, 8 NW 6th, 9 pm, $30-55
ASS-SHAKIN'—The massively popular '80s Video Dance Attack comes to the Wonder Ballroom for a New Year's celebration that's sure to inspire sweat stains. VJ Kittyrox presents the most dance-tastic videos and music from the 1980s, and with a $7 price point? That's a fun way of ringing in 2010 on the cheap! WSH
Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell, 9 pm, $7
Luckily, resolutions aren't legally binding. But there is a handful of new Oregon laws going into effect January 1st, so learn them right or pay the price. Here's a helpful round up.
Renters Rights: Thanks to Senate Bill 771, landlords now have to give you at least 60 days before booting you out with a no-cause eviction (unless you're on a month-to-month lease, in which case they still have to give you 30 days). If the house you're renting gets foreclosed on, the new owner has to give you at least 90 days to get out and has to honor the length of your original lease unless they're going to occupy the house as their primary residence. Also, move-in, move-out fees are now illegal! So are cleaning fees, though cleaning deposits are still legit. A break down of the new laws is here (pdf).
Religious Freedom Act: Businesses do not have to build special prayer rooms or anything for their employees, but they are now required to allow workers to wear religious clothing and take time off for religious holidays unless it would create "some type of burden or undue hardship" on the business. Whether that means praying once a year or once a day does not matter, both are now protected by law. More info here.
Family Military Leave: Oregon businesses with 25 or more employees must (in most circumstances) allow any employee married to a member of the armed forces to take 14 days unpaid “military leave.” Husbands and wives can use that time to prepare for their military spouse’s imminent deployment or visit with the military spouse during periods of leave from deployment. Couple that with the new burlesque classes for army wives and we're looking down the scope at a military baby boom.
Whistleblower Protection: The legislature dramatically expanded protection given to Oregon’s whistleblowers. Starting in January, private employers cannot discriminate or retaliate against an employee who has “in good faith reported information that the employee believes is evidence of a violation of a state or federal law, rule or regulation,” regardless of the severity or importance of the alleged violation. How this differs from before is a little complicated, more info here.
Online Voter Registration: As we discussed yesterday, print is dead! As of March 1st, the state's online voter registration system should be up and running, allowing you to register to vote online for the May primary. Long live the internets.
In case you missed the news, the Portland Trail Blazers' LaMarcus Aldridge—the eventual all-star and the team's best player not named Brandon Roy—left last night's 103-99 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers with a left ankle injury. He is currently in "a boot" and is listed as questionable for Saturday's game against the Golden State Warriors.
When Nicolas Batum was lost for months with a shoulder injury before the season started, it was very disappointing. Then Travis Outlaw (foot) and Rudy Fernandez (back) joined the ranks of injured players, things became upsetting. Greg Oden was next, and that was just downright sad. When Joel Przybilla's knee snapped into tiny pieces, well that is when things officially became ridiculous. Oh yeah, Coach McMillan rupture his Achilles, coach Maurice Lucas has bladder cancer, owner Paul Allen is battling non-Hodgins lymphoma, and team mascot Blaze the Trail Cat is emotionally wounded following a breakup with this thing*. An injury to Aldridge—which appears less severe than the ailments of some of his teammates—only solidifies my theory about the team: gypsy curse!
Clearly someone in the Portland Trail Blazers organization stole the precious precious gold from the mouth of an elderly gypsy witch, and ever since that moment the team has been cursed. How else could you possibly explain the team's terrible luck? It's all her fault.
* probably not true.
... is to become strong enough to have a big black guy ride on my back, and to have bricks of gold surgically embedded inside my calves. But that's just me. What's your resolution?
At 12:01 a.m. Friday morning same-sex partners can officially get married, and a handful of gay couples plan to do just that by exchanging vows right in front of the Statehouse in Concord as soon as the law takes effect. Same-sex spouses who got married in other states will join the celebration.
Will you be the next Phart Chart topper of the week? Submit your art or photos to the Mercury's Flickr group, and start PHART-ing today!!
The NSA had info about Al-Qaida choosing a Nigerian man for an upcoming terrorist attack, but American spy agencies failed to put the pieces together. Here, let me help: Al-Qaida + Anybody doing anything = ATTACK!
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the suicide bomber who infiltrated a CIA base in Afghanistan and killed eight people.
More cheery terrorism news! Five Americans have been caught in Pakistan allegedly trying to join militant groups, and will probably be sentenced to life imprisonment.
Almost actually cheery terrorism news! One of Al-Qaida's most dangerous members has been arrested by the Yemen military. (Don't worry, American military, it's not a competition. Wait... it is a competition, and you lost that one.)
AT&T ends their sponsorship with Tiger Woods, apparently because he gets more tail than they do.
Rush Limbaugh is resting comfortably after experiencing "chest pains," which may be due to complications from not having a soul.
Poor evangelist Rick Warren needs $900,000 stat, or his Saddleback church won't be able to continue making the world a more disgusting place.
At 12:01 tonight, say, "Happy Twenty-Ten!" Not "Happy Two-thousand-and-ten." 'Kay? Kay.
Rose Bowl tomorrow! So yeah... there's that.
Snow Report! It's disgustingly rainy down here, but expect 15 inches of new powder tomorrow morning at Mt. Hood.
And finally, this is my last chance of the year to use this overused phrase, but it's a goodie: Fat guy vs. frozen lake... WHO YA GOT?!?
Happy New Year, you guys!
Phew! Now that the present-buying BS is out of the way, it's time to get down to the brass tacks of post-holiday merriment... spending money on yourself. Got some scratch from Grandma and Grandpa (five whole dollars!)? How about a couple sawbucks from returning those sheets Mom sent you? All in all, you might have 50 extra bucks sitting around. Why not donate it to a charitable and political cause before January 1? You can write off all 50 of those dollars on your 2009 taxes (on your state tax returns). There's all sorts of nonprofit Political Action Committees to donate to: Basic Rights Oregon, Stand for Children, Bus Project, to name a few.
Here's more info.
Quick like a bunny, get to donating before the clock strikes midnight.
Live from the Rose Garden as the Portland Trail Blazers meet their longtime rivals from Southern California, the Los Angeles... Clippers? Oh, wrong team. The Garfunkel to the Lakers' Simon (it was either that, or the Joe C to the Lakers' Kid Rock) a visit from the Clippers doesn't quite have the same flair as one from their crosstown neighbors. Their finest asset, the splendid beard on Baron Davis: a man so confident in his facial hair that he dispenses beard tips from his twitter account. Oh, they also have Chris Kaman. He blows things up.
Panic, you guys! The Oregonian is now Stickel-less! From The O:
In a style that didn't much surprise his colleagues or friends, Patrick Stickel, president of The Oregonian, quietly retired Wednesday from the newspaper where he had spent most of his life since moving to Portland in 1967.
"As president, Pat Stickel was the best possible steward of The Oregonian, its resources, deep roots in the community and time-honored brand," said Sandy Rowe, who retires as editor of The Oregonian this week.
As Oregon Media Central notes, this is the first time in 42 years that the O will not have a Stickel in an executive role. So to recap... PANIC!!
I'll put an ad on Craigslist for a Stickel, and maybe you can ask your friends if they've got a Stickel they can spare?
DANG!—You’re not going to want to miss Holidang, the funnest party this side of New Year’s. They’ve got an assortment of incredible musical acts, like Typhoon, Black Whales, Loch Lomond’s Ritchie Young, and Seattle’s everlovingly, undeniably fun BOAT. And cover is totally free, but you can make donations to a very worthy cause—MS research—and the Riot Act DJ Wrecking Crew will be in the house to make sure the party don’t drop! NL
Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi, 8 pm, FREE
THIS YEAR’S MODEL—It’s been a whirlwind year for the Portland Trail Blazers: a return to the playoffs, exciting new faces, broken hearts, and of course broken kneecaps. Tonight, bid farewell to one of the most interesting years in franchise history as the Blazers take on that other Los Angeles team, the Clippers. EAC
Rose Garden, 1 Center Ct, 7 pm, $9-150
Remember when we blogged about Indie Comic Book week—a week during which, because Diamond Distributors won't be shipping any new comics, participating retailers will dedicate their new-release shelves to showcasing independent creators? Well... it's now!
Until 7 pm today at Things from Another World's Hollywood store (4133 NE Sandy), meet indie comics creators Paul Guinan (Boilerplate), Shannon Wheeler (Too Much Coffee Man), Neal Skorpen (Island of the Moths), and Jason Martin (Zombie Tramp). Plus, everything else in the store is 10% off, and they've launched a new page on their site dedicate to indie comics.
Cosmic Monkey (5335 NE Sandy) is also having an ICBW sale. From their website:
December 30th is a skip week for our main distributor due to holiday shipping delays. Blackest Night #6 will be the only new book on the stands. So we're joining with other retailers across the country to highlight our fine assortment of alternative, small press, weird and different mini comics and graphic novels available for 25% off cover price from Wednesday, December 30th thru Friday, January 1st.
Indy books are anything creator owned and published, or creator owned and published by a small press publisher or distributor. Everything in our upstairs mini-comic area is on sale. Everything in our indy graphic novel section is on sale. Anything pubished by Marvel, DC or Dark Horse is not included. Some Image books will be included, but only creator owned and produced books - meaning the owner of the material is the only one to work on it. Walking Dead is excluded, as are all studio line books such as Top Cow and Wildstorm.
Related note: The TFAW-hosted Geek Trivia Night at Vendetta last night was fun, though there is some dispute over whether the lungs are in fact the body's heaviest organ (And also, why we were answering anatomy questions instead of questions like, say, "Who was the helmsman of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-B?"*)
*reference provided by actual nerd.
The Secretary of State's office mailed out the January Special Election voters' pamphlet (pdf) today. For having only two things on the ballot, it's a hefty read. The pamphlet clocks in at 91 pages altogether.
Most of those pages are pure bickering: forty six pages of arguments in favor of the two tax measures on the ballot, twenty pages of arguments against the measures.
Also arriving in Portland today is a unique issue of the Mercury designed to fill your voting needs. Check it out! The cover doubles as your 100% legally compliant voter registration form.
If you've changed addresses or parties in the year since Obama won, just rip off the cover, write out your info, track down a stamp and drop it in a mailbox. Easy. Awesome. You're welcome.
Of course, some people are not content with print.
"What is this, fuckin' 1920s Russia? Why can't I do this on the internet?" whines Mercury Editor Wm. Steven Humphrey, who still hasn't registered to vote despite the looming January 5th deadline. The Oregon legislature feels the same way, actually. Last session they passed a bill mandating that the state create a way to register to vote online starting March 1st, 2010, in time for the May primary.
Washington, California, Utah and Arizona have also voted to allow online registration, proving once again that the West > Rest of the Country. Online registration is good news for young people: when Washington created online voter registration in January 2008, 40 percent of new voters registered online and half of those registrants were under the age of 30, according to local political action squad the Bus Project.
At the end of every year, I go all Andy Rooney and bitch and moan about how self-indulgent, arbitrary, repetitive, and bullshitty most top 10 lists are. But regardless of said bitching and moaning, apparently everyone still loves the shit out of top 10 lists—and since I’ve had a few people ask me what my favorite 10 films of 2009 were, well, here they are.
If there's one thing I know about the people who work at Bishops Barbershop, it's that they know how to party (you know who you are). And since no holiday season would be complete without at least one workday plagued by the telltale dehydration and anxiety-driven decision making skills of a really nasty hangover, you're invited to join them for one last hurrah this Sunday night at 9 pm at the Dixie Tavern—and if there's one thing you can say about the Dixie Tavern, it's that they have a mechanical bull. Cancel your plans to get up early on Monday and hit the gym before work. And probably don't make any New Year's resolutions either. You're just bound to disappoint yourself.
Okay, I was going to post some of the best snow photos from the Mercury Flickr and Twitter, but then I realized most of the awesome snow photos were of awesome snowmen.
Write in candidates go in the comments - include a link to a photo!
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