I've only done one "fun run." It was not, in fact, "fun," and I may have almost punched a child dressed as a strawberry who abruptly ran out in front of me. THAT BEING SAID, Portland Parks and Rec just announced a "$5 5k" series, which is cheap enough that I'd give the whole thing (strawberry included!) another shot—it's a series of races taking place at different Portland parks, and registration for each is only $5.
For details and registration info, go here.
(WAIT, what if we got a Blogtown team together for one of the races? Eh?
Golden Retriever create polyphonic music from monophonic instruments. The bass clarinet and the analog modular synthesizer are generally both capable of playing only one note at a time. Starting from this point of pure melody, Golden Retriever then find ways to turn melody into harmony... to make live electronic music that is remarkably rich in textural details and almost symphonic in its use of layering.We're looking forward to the new album's release later this summer; in the meantime, Golden Retriever are scheduled to play on June 14 at the Know.
Recorded live, but then heavily edited in Carlson’s basement studio... the four songs presented here were typically performed as 25 or 30 minutes pieces. For the album, the songs were distilled into shorter passages where the original structure remains, but each section within the overall song has been shortened.
Things from Another World—the retail arm of local comics publisher Dark Horse—is shutting down its NE Sandy location and opening up a new one on NE Broadway. The new spot's at 2916 NE Broadway, which, according to my hasty Google Maps search, means it'll be conveniently located next to some hair and nail salons and that depressing Fred Meyer that is one of the most godforsaken places in the world. To the press release!
Oregon-based comics and collectibles retailer Things From Another World (TFAW) is proud to announce the newest addition to its exciting family of stores at 2916 NE Broadway June 2 in Portland. The unveiling begins at 11 am, during which the community is invited to take a tour of TFAW's brand-new location and save 20 percent on everything in the store. The celebration will continue with an epic after-hours party from 7 to 10 pm featuring free food and beer (for guests 21+).
The expansive new Portland TFAW will showcase a broader selection of merchandise, including nearly double the graphic novels of the Hollywood TFAW location, which will be closing. The Portland TFAW will also vastly increase its selection of statues, collectibles, gaming supplies, and more. Plus, the new location features a parking lot, making shopping at TFAW more convenient than ever.
In addition to comics—hell, probably more than comics—TFAW focuses on toys, t-shirts, and general nerdery supplies; if you ever wanted a mini She-Hulk statue or Game of Thrones-licensed playing cards (IN THE GAME OF GO FISH, YOU WIN OR YOU DIE), they're the spot to hit. Without having seen the space, I can't imagine this won't be a good move: Parking at the Hollywood location was a pain, and the store always felt cramped and dark. I look forward to checking out the new location, where I can finally fulfill my dream of getting both a pedicure and some sort of plastic crap with a Walking Dead logo on it in a single afternoon.
A while back I mentioned the forthcoming N Mississippi shop Worn Path, a man-centric destination for "Small '70s referential cruiser skateboards and supplies, Murdey Surfboards, Poler Camping Stuff, Juniper Ridge teas and household items, Tim Adam bags, books on Northwest plants identification as well as mushrooms and handmade houses, planters made by John Sardari (Goby Hardwoods), small furniture made by James Sinacore, knives by Opinel and Helle, letterpress cards and art by Fortress Letterpress, Zig Zag shoes, plus a mixture of clothing items and other goods to use while out in the wild," according to owner Niles Armstrong, whose own line of accessories will round out the mix.
Well, its arrival is now imminent, with doors set to open this Saturday and an opening celebration scheduled for 7 pm. By the way, there is a veritable shitstorm (in the prettiest way) of fashion and retail events coming up in the next couple weeks, including—heyyyyyy—the Mercury's own Open Season fashion show on May 12. Keep an eye on MOD for all the updates.
You think you're sick of visiting distant relatives and all they can talk about is Portlandia? You're not alone! Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld is fed up with everyone talking about The Wire (the extremely popular HBO crime drama based in his hometown) and wishes that everyone would just shut up about, and I quote, that "stupid show." From North Baltimore Patch:
The commissioner criticized the show because he said it painted a picture of the city as "doomed." He said the city’s reduced crime figures and new strategies are proof that the show's portrayal of Baltimore isn’t accurate.
He also complained that when traveling abroad the only thing people would ask him about would be the city's homicides and "The Wire."
Bealefeld showed his contempt for the show by refusing to use its name and referring to it as "that stupid show" or "that show."
For those thinking that our disdain for Portlandia is as misguided as Bealefeld's disdain for The Wire, there is one critical difference: The Wire is awesome and Portlandia stinks. However! I will follow in Bealefeld's footsteps by refusing to refer to Portlandia as anything but "that show."
If Dan won't say it, I will: All religion is bullshit.
Oh, I'm not saying there aren't some good things that come from religion or that people of faith are inherently bullshitters, just that in a very real and literal sense the Bible, the Koran, the Vedas, the Buddhavacana, the Book of Mormon, and all the other sacred texts and oral histories on which the world's various religions are based are total bullshit. They are simply untrue, both as historical documents and as factual accounts of the word of some deity or deities. And I base this assertion not on my own non-theism, but on the simple fact that while these religions may share some universal values ("Thou shalt generally, under most day-to-day circumstances, do your best to avoid casually killing people within your own social group," for example), they are very often totally at odds with each other in everything else, especially their proscriptions for properly worshipping the one true God (or gods).
And in case you think I'm being an asshole by declaring all religions bullshit (i.e. factually incorrect), I'd just like to point out that the only reasonable alternative—that there is only one true religion, and all the others are bullshit—is equally assholic. Honestly, only an asshole would ring my doorbell to tell me that unless I believe exactly what they believe, a compassionate and loving God will torment me in Hell for all eternity.
Of course, much of what gets us through life is bullshit, so I really don't mean to judge your bullshit as any better or worse than mine. But bullshit it is.
I was reminiscing with a friend yesterday about the "good old days" of Mad Men, about Sal and Kinsey and the strong, established personalities that dominated the first three seasons. Even as superfan who loves pretty much all of Mad Men unequivocally, there's something about turning on the Netflix and going back into the wood-paneled walls of the old Sterling-Cooper.
Then an episode like last night's comes along and I forget all about the old days. Mad Men is as smart, funny, and bittersweet as ever.
Spoilers lurk below.
I stopped by the Spell Checkers panel on Saturday with writer Jamie S. Rich (who has been known to write for the Mercury—and look, everything's coming up Rich today) and artist Joëlle Jones. As true to the program prediction that they would bicker for 45 minutes, Rich and Jones did indeed grump at each other in a jovial manner as they showcased some new pages from the 2013-dropping third volume in their fun teenage bitch witch series from Oni Press. We also got a glimpse of Jones' new book The Girl Who Owned a City—which I totally missed my chance on buying as Jones sold out by the time I strolled up to her booth on Sunday. And there were some beautiful pin-up teasers to a new collaboration by Rich and Jones from Oni that features a Mad Men-esque housewife in retro ads for Pepsodent (and murder). Can't wait to learn more about that.
WHAT: Student Strike
WHEN: 7:30 am
WHERE: 501 N Dixon
WHY: Portland Public School teachers, parents and high school students rally against harmful school budget cuts at the PPS headquarters in North Portland. Their goal? To shutdown the headquarters whilst cutting class.
WHAT: Land Liberation Action
WHEN: 9 am
WHERE: Woodlawn Park at NE Dekum
WHY: Led by the Portland Liberation Organizing Council (a vein of Occupy), this movement aims to reclaim a bank-owned piece of land in protest of national and local foreclosures. Block party to follow.
WHAT: General Strike
WHEN: 11:30 am
WHERE: Under the West Burnside Bridge
WHY: In conjunction with the national Occupy movement, this unpermitted rally and march hopes to be the second rising of the Occupy movement. Here's Occupy's guide to how to get out of work or class.
WHAT: International Workers Day Rally
WHEN: 2 pm
WHERE: Park blocks, SW Park and SW Salmon
WHY: The only permitted May Day rally, this event is both a celebration of local and international workers and a rally to demand worker's rights (in regards to pay cuts, child care/contraception access, immigrant freedoms). A "family friendly" event, the group intends to march to the main government headquarters downtown and then reconverge for music, celebration, and a roaming dance party.
I would like to apologize for describing that walk out as a pansy-assed move. [Re: "Savage's Great New Shitstorm."] I wasn't calling the handful of students who left pansies (2800+ students, most of them Christian, stayed and listened), just the walk-out itself. But that's a distinction without a difference—kinda like when religious conservatives tells their gay friends that they "love the sinner, hate the sin." They're often shocked when their gay friends get upset because, hey, they were making a distinction between the person (lovable!) and the person's actions (not so much!). But gay people feel insulted by "love the sinner, hate the sin" because it is insulting. Likewise, my use of "pansy-assed" was insulting, it was name-calling, and it was wrong. And I apologize for saying it.
As for what I said about the Bible...
A smart Christian friend involved politics writes: "In America today you just can't refer, even tangentially, to someone's religion as 'bullshit.' You should apologize for using that word."
I didn't call anyone's religion bullshit. I did say that there is bullshit—"untrue words or ideas"—in the Bible. That is being spun as an attack on Christianity. Which is bullshhh… which is untrue. I was not attacking the faith in which I was raised. I was attacking the argument that gay people must be discriminated against—and anti-bullying programs that address anti-gay bullying should be blocked (or exceptions should be made for bullying "motivated by faith")—because it says right there in the Bible that being gay is wrong. Yet the same people who make that claim choose to ignore what the Bible has to say about a great deal else. I did not attack Christianity. I attacked hypocrisy. My remarks can only be read as an attack on all Christians if you believe that all Christians are hypocrites. Which I don't believe.
On other occasions I've made the same point without using the word bullshit... as you will see after the jump.
THAT IS NOT SOON ENOUGH? I suppose you're right. Good thing Spinner is streaming the entire monument-al (eh? see what I did there?) album this week, so go over and get listening.
Tu Fawning are about to embark on a monthlong European tour; they'll return Stateside and play their hometown release show on Friday, June 8 at Holocene.
Last night’s episode of Game of Thrones was very front-loaded. The most exciting thing to happen in the whole hour transpired in the first ten minutes. Not too much else in the way of action or excitement ended up transpiring. We didn’t even get any nudity. I'm so disappointed in you, Game of Thrones. You're the place that I go to for heaving bosoms, swinging dicks, torrents of arterial spray, and sundry severed limbs. Last night was all fall-outs and wind-ups, with very little sex or death- there was nothing that couldn't have been in a PG-13 film. However, the episode made pretty clear that later this season a substantial amount of things will be going "BOOM."
After the jump, there be spoilers.
This weekend I had the chance to catch up and see parts two and three (The Brothers Size and Marcus, Or the Secret of Sweet) of Tarell Alvin McCraney's sweeping american epic and as I predicted, they didn't disappoint. McCraney's words are so well matched with Victor Mack's direction and the cast's talent, I found it hard to picture these plays being done in any other capacity. Portland Playhouse's treatment is that good. The plays feel like they were meant to be performed by these actors and in Portland Playhouse's theater.
I have several other gushing proclamations regarding the quality of this trilogy, but I should probably spare you and leave it with a simple recommendation: go see these plays. They are great. All three are playing concurrently at Portland Playhouse until May 13th.
The alternate headline for this post is "Angry Old Man Embarks on Vicious Letter-Writing Campaign."
Shame on Barack Obama for diminishing the memory of September 11th and the killing of Osama bin Laden by turning it into a cheap political attack ad. This is the same President who once criticized Hillary Clinton for invoking bin Laden 'to score political points.'...No one disputes that the President deserves credit for ordering the raid, but to politicize it in this way is the height of hypocrisy...it is no wonder why President Obama is shamelessly turning the one decision he got right into a pathetic political act of self-congratulation.
Holy shit. John McCain sure does have a temper on him. Looks like Republicans are going all in on these claims that a president should never politicize his foreign-policy achievements or prey on his opponent's perceived foreign policy weaknesses. Like, say, this guy, or this guy:
or this guy:
The fashion shows have been coming fast and furious in the past weeks—there have been three since last Saturday!—and the photos are rolling in, beginning with Isaac Hers' debut of the new, in-house line of the same name, designed by shop owner Barbara Seipp. The well-attended event took place in a spacious former piano shop downtown, with a silent auction at which I actually scored for once, a convivial atmosphere, guest designs from The Woodlands and a crowd-pleasing match-up of dapper Brooks Brothers clothing with debuting men's tie line PINO (more on that later), and lots and lots of maxi skirts. Click over to MOD for the whole spread, courtesy of Marrow.
Here's a performance video of Ramona Falls performing on BreakThruTV, in which they play "Brevony" from their new album Prophet. There's also a quick interview with the band—Brent Knopf, Dave Lowensohn, and Matt Sheehy—and some quick clips of other tunes they laid down in front of the cameras. Regular Ramona Falls drummer Paul Alcott is not in attendance; that's Lost Lander drummer Patrick Hughes sitting in (Hughes also plays with Sheehy and Lowensohn in Lost Lander).
Prophet comes out tomorrow on Barsuk Records. Ramona Falls then kicks off a US tour, and will be playing the Doug Fir on Friday, May 18.
Doug Fir—Washed Out, Memoryhouse, 9 pm, $15
Al's Den—Jason Lytle, Hinterlander, 7 pm, free
East End—Heavy Metal Ladies Night: Mares of Thrace, Transient, Aranya, DJ Nate C
Hawthorne Theatre—Devin the Dude, Coughee Brothaz North, Theory Hazit, 7 pm, $17-20, all ages
Mississippi Studios—Brave Chandeliers, Josh & Mer, 9 pm, $5-7
Local writer/Mercury freelancer/my pal Jamie S. Rich has a handful of novels and comics under his belt—most recently, the Spellcheckers series, out from Oni Press—and he's just begun serializing his newest novel, Bobby Pins & Mary James. You can read the first 40 or so pages right over here. It's about a girl who works at a small comics publisher—territory Rich, a former editor-in-chief at Oni, has some experience with.
Jamie's also made a Spotify playlist for the book—I like it when authors do that. It's here.
It's endorsement week at the Mercury. That means, for the next few days, we'll be releasing endorsements in one or more selected races here on Blogtown. Think of it like a slow buildup to the unveiling of our pick in this year's mayoral race, which won't be revealed until the paper hits newsstands later this week.
Today, we announce our choice in the closely contested state Attorney General's race. Which race will it be tomorrow? Come back to find out.
In placing his imprimatur on Holton, Kroger could have done a lot worse. Holton is collaborative, can claim solid management experience, and has a clear judicial track record of taking on polluters and other reprehensible types. Nor is he a reactionary, having come up in the Clinton White House before taking work as a federal prosecutor first in New York and then, since 2004, in Oregon.
But as agreeable as we found Holton, we were just slightly more impressed by his only rival in the race, Ellen Rosenblum—a former appeals court judge and former state court judge who also, many years ago, spent some time as a federal prosecutor. She’s also smart and likeable and unquestionably progressive.
I attended the afternoon's panel discussion, whose audience was packed onto benches until the venue could provide sitting-on-the-floor room only. Three ambassadors from Portland—Kristan Kennedy (of the Portland Institute of Contemporary Arts), Mark Zusman (editor of Willamette Week), and Trevor Solomon (organizer of MusicfestNW)—introduced the idiosyncrasies of Portland with a slide show illustrating various cultural and social movements in their hometown.
While the Portlanders participating in the discussion were proud of the events that the city supports (including Eat Mobile, MFNW, the Time-Based Art Festival, and Occupy Portland) the focus of the presentation was on the people of Portland—from Phil Knight to Elliott Smith, Sam Adams to Carrie Brownstein, and all the Portlanders in between who bring something ineffable and intangible to the city. There is no Eiffel Tower, no quintessential croissant, that symbolizes Portland. The city can best be summed up by its population of young people who move there for a variety of reasons: cheaper rent, bike paths, an opportunity to start over, or, as a wise man once said, to retire.
I am a heteroflexible, Dominant-yet-extremely-masochistic woman in her mid-twenties and am absolutely in love with your column. I won’t say that it helped me realize my inner kinkster or become more comfortable with my sexuality in general as I did that on my own through a hell of a lot of trial and error, but I applaud you for everything you do for those who haven’t yet been as lucky as I have. I do, however, have one observation/question. In the hundreds of posts I’ve read, I have seen FetLife mentioned exactly four times. I’m keen to know why, when people write expressing concerns about never being able to find a partner who is also into their particular kink/fetish, your general response is almost always to tell them to hang in there and lay their kink cards on the table in front of their potential vanilla partners, occasionally suggest getting involved in the local kink community (without delving into how to go about actually doing so), and to rarely mention a website or two devoted to their specific area of interest. Is there some reason you do not advocate being proactive in their search and joining FetLife?
I read the letters of guys who desperately want a good pegging or (insert random quirk here) and are starting to despair over not being able to find a willing partner and I can’t help but think, "FetLife, you poor bastard!" We’re out here and wanting to meet you! And by “meet you,” I of course mean in a respectful, generally neutral environment where we can discuss or mutual wants and desires openly and without fear of recrimination before either getting down for some freaky fun or deciding that it just isn’t the right match.
[Portland's funniest funny guy IAN KARMEL has graciously agreed to allow Blogtown a peek into the life of a touring comedian with this new series, "Comedy Tour Diaries." Travel along with Ian as he brings laffs to some lucky people in Philly, Minneapolis, Austin and more!—eds.]
April 26th 2pm —To be a touring comedian is to live a life of blaring monotony spiked with moments of intense and brilliant fucking spectacularity. I know that spectacularity isn't a word. I know that because I typed it into Merriam-Webster's website and they were like “Did you mean 'spectacled bear'?” and I didn't know that I did, but I did. I did mean spectacled bear. Thank you, Merriam. Webster can fuck off, I know he didn't have anything to do with this crazy love-thing we have.
Anyway, to be a touring comedian is to live a life of blaring monotony spiked with moments of intense and brilliant fucking spectacled bear. It's an awesome life, but so much of my day is spent in the hotel room in various states of illogical nudity. If you were a Mighty Morphin Power Ranger, and could “behold the viewing globe!” into my hotel room, most of the time you'd just see me watching Man vs. Food, wearing a hat, one shoe and a t-shirt riddled with grease stains.
Some of my friends have been going through shit lately where their significant others don't trust them on the road. They think it's some sort of giggle-fueled fuck party. It's not. I'm sure there are comedians who fuck around on their girlfriends all the time, but these are going to be the same people who fuck around on their girlfriends at home. Controlling a room and making everyone in it laugh can be a powerful aphrodisiac, but often the very circumstances that gave us that power also made us too shy, docile or awkward to use it. It's like if when Peter Parker got bit by that spider, it also gave him a crippling fear of heights.
4pm—Earlier in this series, I talked about the “Fallacy of the Cheesesteak”, and you can go ahead and put Texas BBQ on that same list. I went to this place called the Iron Works with Moshe Kasher (HOPE YOU SAW HIM WHEN HE WAS IN PORTLAND, PORTLAND), W. Kamau Bell (HE'S GOT A SHOW COMING OUT SOON, PORTLAND, WATCH IT) and Sean Patton (HE'S A GREAT GUY, PORTLAND, LETS ALL REFLECT A MOMENT ON FRIENDSHIP). It was good BBQ. It was great BBQ, even! It was really, really,really fucking great. Obama ate there, George W. Bush ate there, Boz Scaggs ate there—all the greats! It was delicious, but it wasn't remarkably better than what I've had back home. Maybe I'm just being defensive of food back home, but I get tired of going out to eat, enjoying a wonderful meal, and then having some blowhard go “No, this food is angry diarrhea. If you want real ______ you gotta go to _____ and order the ______.” I will continue my search for the regional food dish that actually shames other city's version of that dish, but I am not optimistic. Next week I head to Minneapolis, where I will cook and eat an entire blonde woman named Peggy.
10:30pm —I did a show with The Amazing Jonathon! If you don't know who he is, he has an act that is equal parts dumb magic tricks, corny jokes and cocaine references. I don't mean any of those remarks to be disparaging. He's totally self-aware, and he plays those old Vegas magician tropes like a finely-tuned instrument. It's easy to get jaded about comedians who've been around a while. You want to reject someone you laughed at when you were younger the same way a toddler doesn't want to do something because “that's for babies!” But this guy cut through all that shit and I was giggling like a 4th grader. Hocus pocus, Moontower is the dopest.
For those who attended last year's HUMP! (the Northwest's premiere homemade porn fest), you'll surely remember the ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS animated centaur dirty movie, Mythical Proportions about ladies who want to get it on with a half-man, half-horse. Well, guess what? It's uploaded on YouTube now which means you can watch it again, now, at work! That is unless your boss has something against claymation centaur sex? (Okay, fine, I'll say the bolded letters: NSFW!)
OH! And speaking of HUMP!, we're almost ready to reveal the rules, regulations and entry information for this year's competition! If you love making hot/artistic/funny/filthy amateur porn (and I'm looking at you, Portland!) AND love winning thousands of dollars? Stay tuned to the Mercury for all the deets!
A couple weeks ago, Dan Savage delivered a keynote address at the National High School Journalism Convention, during which he spoke some true (if expletive-ridden) words about what the Bible has gotten wrong throughout history. Then came this top headline on the Drudge Report: "Anti-Bullying Speaker Curses Christian Teens."
Here's video of what Dan said (which led numerous Christian students to flee the auditorium).
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