When it was over I headed up the street to the Hawthorne Theater Main (there's been some debate on how walkable Helium is from the rest of the Barmuda Triangle, but when 238-RIDE quoted me a 26-minute wait time, I started marching, and got there in less time than that, FWIW). Hawthorne Late Night was in mid-swing, with notable performers like Hari Kondabolu taking the stage in front of a standing-room-only room. Nearly everyone had a Portland joke. Mike Burns declared his affection for the place by contrasting it with the fact that he had gotten "stabbed by cholos" back home in LA; Guy Branum admonished us for all dressing like lesbians ("you live in a city: buy some heels"—clearly he hadn't clocked my walking shoes) and said somewhat accurately that "Portland is like San Francisco if it quit its job to concentrate on music"; and it wasn't exactly a joke, but Dan Boulger name-dropped the pop-a-shots at Spirit of 77, which is just endearing. Other highlights were a couple of political points, like Branum's that the US has at least three major Holocaust museums rather than slavery museums, and Boulger's imagining of us explaining the Great Repression to our kids: "Oh, it was awful. Nobody had any money... but we all bought iPhones anyway."
After fulfilling Helium's two-drink minimum with a coupla chardonnays, I drank naught but water, yet somehow I am wiped. But I'm going to persevere and head out tonight. I'm especially hoping to catch Jesse Case at 10 back at the Hawthorne. I saw him perform to a nearly empty room early on Day One of last year's fest, and his was one of my favorite sets of the entire weekend. I wanna see how he's seasoned over the past year.
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