This Week in the Mercury

Out of Tumblr and Onto the Wall

Visual Art

Out of Tumblr and Onto the Wall

Intisar Abioto's Signature Portraits Get Their Due at Duplex Gallery

Pushing for a Pipeline


Pushing for a Pipeline

How a $500 Million Fuel Facility Nearly Crept into North Portland

Discomfort Zone

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Don't Worry, White People, Other White People Will Save You!

Posted by Shelby R. King on Thu, Apr 9, 2015 at 12:29 PM

Rendering of the proposed Multnomah County Courthouse done in fetching blue and yellow hues.
  • Rendering of the proposed Multnomah County Courthouse done in fetching blue and yellow hues.

Welp, there goes the neighborhood.

It doesn't look like good news for Portlanders who can afford $17 chilaquiles: Veritable Quandary—the downtown restaurant that bills its patio a "dining oasis"—is probably getting bunch of criminals as neighbors.

The Multnomah County Commission on Thursday listened as the project team looking at two sites for the new county courthouse—the preferred site on vacant county-owned land at SW 1st and Madison and the alternate site next to the KOIN Tower at SW 2nd and Clay—explained the due diligence process of evaluating the sites.

The short of it is there's no deal breakers for either site, and most of the push back on the preferred site came from people associated with the VQ, according to team testimony.

In December, VQ owners, employees, and people who think the $27 Rain Shadow Farm Chicken is just TO DIE FOR came out in hordes, some even getting teary-eyed, to plead with commissioners not to sully their beautiful patio view with an eyesore of a new courthouse.

Owner Dennis King, who founded the restaurant 45 years ago, and his daughter, Lindsay King, both warned the commission that their restaurant likely wouldn't survive construction. I mean, who wants to sample a $25 wine flight with sweaty construction workers everywhere? EEEeeew!

Never fear, VQ! The Multnomah County Bar Association will save you!

At Thursday's public hearing—at which no Sad Sallys from VQ chose to testify—Guy Walden, Executive Director of the Multnomah County Bar Association, pledged he and his fellow attorneys will save the VQ ... well, they'll give it a shot, anyway.

"To the extent that the MBA can assist VQ during construction, we will," Walden said.

What a guy, Guy! So, see? White people all over Portland step up to help other white people in times of need. Where would attorneys go for business lunches and after work drinks without VQ?

On the other hand, Portland, as the most gentrified city in the country, has stood by for 40 years while our black and brown populations have seen their business owners and residents pushed out of neighborhoods in the name of progress. Huh.

The commissioners are scheduled to make a final vote on the location of the new $150 million courthouse at their April 16 meeting.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

No new cab companies and no new ADA-accessible vans ... yet

Posted by Shelby R. King on Thu, Mar 26, 2015 at 3:41 PM


Those with an iron (or a fleet of irons) in the fire that is Portland’s rapidly changing private for-hire transportation industry had a busy Wednesday.

Both the city’s Private for-Hire Transportation Board of Review (known as the Taxi Board, though they represent many types of for-hire transportation companies) and the Innovation Task Force met, separately to discuss the future of for-hire regulations in the city. While both groups made some headway, neither made any concrete decisions.

The Taxi Board was scheduled to review applications for three new cab companies—PDX Yellow Cab Drivers Association, Rainbow Cab Co., LLC, and United Independent Cab—but didn’t have a quorum. Instead, Kelly Sills from the Board of Transportation allowed audience members to ask questions and make comments, and comment they did.

Turns out, we can blame the shortage of ADA-accessible vehicles, and therefore overall cabs on Portland streets, on Ford Motor Company. Thanks a lot, Ford!

When the Board of Review in February approved licensing abut 250 new taxis in Portland, they stipulated that before a company would be granted any new vehicle permits, it must bring its total number of vehicles that comply with accessibility standards set up by the American Disabilities Act. Board member Kirk Foster said owners would love to buy those expensive ADA-accessible vans, but there aren’t any to be bought.

“There is a nationwide shortage of ADA-compliant vehicles, and Ford is backed up for months,” he said. “I’ve had two on order that they promised me this week, but they’re not going to be here until June. The ones that were supposed to be coming in May got pushed back to July.”

A member of the audience suggested the Board of Review, at the next meeting with a quorum, vote on a motion to allow taxi permits to companies that can prove they’ve taken pertinent steps to increase the size of their ADA-accessible fleets and are on a waiting list. Both Sills and Frank Dufay, a PBOT program manager, thought that was a logical idea and agreed to add a vote on the topic to the next meetings agenda.

That is, assuming there is a next meeting; Innovation Task Force member Richard Lazar, representing the Technology Association of Oregon, suggested the group at its next meeting consider dissolving or changing the composition of the Board of Review.

Bryan Hockaday, a representative from Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick’s office who acts as a liaison between the task force and the review board, confirmed Lazar broached the idea, but said he didn’t know whether the idea could get traction.

Continue reading »

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Attack of the Bronies

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Thu, Jul 10, 2014 at 3:22 PM

A BRONY TALE We probably shouldve seen this coming.
  • A BRONY TALE We probably should've seen this coming.

Okay, to be fair: We probably should have seen this coming. But we didn't. In this week's Mercury, Elinor Jones reviewed A Brony Tale, a documentary about bronies. I recommend reading the whole review, but it's the last part of it that's earning the ire of bronies:

Sure, most of the bronies we meet in the film are sincere nerds who love being a part of something that promotes kindness and friendship, and part of me feels like a little bit of an asshole (and maybe Ashleigh is one, too) for having dismissed bronydom the second I heard of it.

HOWEVER—big however—if the purpose of A Brony Tale is to show us that bronies are somehow not weird, it doesn't work. The inherent ick factor is unavoidable, even though A Brony Tale touches on it only briefly—as one guy recounts how judged he feels by mothers of daughters when he hangs out in the little-girl aisle of the toy store. Like it's the mom's problem that he looks out of place. Dude. No. Get that you are a visitor in a space that is not meant for you, and don't be surprised if a mom doesn't want to let you talk to her daughter about tiny sparkled horses.

That seems totally fair to me—but I'll also be the first to admit I'm not particularly well-versed in brony culture. But as someone who likes a lot of things that most people think are for kids—comic books, Harry Potter, videogames—I can imagine that if you're a grown man who's passionately in love with My Little Pony, it probably gets a little tiring to always get made fun of.

And while I'm normally inclined to say, "Just let people like what they like, and remember that pretty much every person is into something that everybody else thinks is incredibly stupid," I can totally see why a mom wouldn't be comfortable with a grown man wanting to talk to her little girl about My Little Pony. The comments on Elinor's offer a range of brony perspectives; they are also making me think way more about bronies than I thought I would today. Or ever.

We have the furious criticisms, from "otaku4242":

you know, I created an account JUST so I could call you out on the huge amount of STUPIDITY you have. Seriously, what the FUCK is wrong with you, how dare you say such horrible things about us bronies.

you know, normally I would love and tolerate the shit out of you, but considered you had to post an ENTIRE ARTICLE, no, I give no forgiveness to sexist haters like you.
have you even SEEN brony statistics? do you know ANYTHING about us? HAVE YOU EVEN SEEN THE SHOW?

no, of course not, because you don't do your research, because you judge entire fanbase based on a few bad apples. guess what, EVERY FANDOM HAS BAD APPLES!

and if you are truly, TRULY man enough to reply to this upon reading it, I expect an apology, because NOONE likes people like you, NOPONY wants to go to equestriadaily and be reminded that there are IGNORANT SNOBS like you out there.


And we have the calmer ones, from "adkscherch":

I liked this documentary, and I don't mind seeing a negative review of it. People have different opinions, and I respect that. That said, I'm disappointed at the statements used both by some of my fellow bronies in the comments as well as by the author in her final paragraph.

To the author: I don't have a problem with people still feeling off about bronies. It certainly looks odd from the outside, depending on your level of open-mindedness to the idea. One of my best friends still hates bronies, but when it comes to a review in a publication I see no reason for why you needed to use the phrasing you did. Your last few statements sound much more like a personal attack on the guy telling him to stay in his "proper place". There are other ways to express your distaste for the idea than trying to make a personal attack on one of the interviewees.

To some of the bronies here: I get it's frustrating to read some parts of this article, but shouting out your anger and throwing harsh words around doesn't help our case. We can express disagreement without yelling and being super angry about it. Let's not try to make our public image any worse. (Via.)

Anyway: Bronies! All you ever wanted to read about them is here.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Let's Have an Argument About Driving!

Posted by Bobby Roberts on Thu, Mar 27, 2014 at 12:00 PM

From YouTube user Florida Driver comes the video you'd expect from a YouTube user named Florida Driver. Normally, here is where "The following video was filmed in portrait mode like a real asshole" warning would go, but again; this is a video shot by someone named Florida Driver, made while driving, so let's just be thankful they are managing to keep the car moving forward in a straight line without exploding. The other driver, however...

As you could tell from the Witch Hazel-esque cackling that closes the video, Florida Driver is very pleased at the outcome. The schadenfreude is delicious, as Broseph in the truck too-eagerly savored getting his way, flying that bird, and grinning that grin after unsafely following behind Florida Driver at a distance of somewhere between 40-50 feet at best.

BUT: She's also in the left-hand lane of a two-lane highway, meaning maybe she should be getting over if Brotus is going to ride ass like he's in a Major Lazer video. I understand the desire to deny a shitty driver their aggressive impulses, but when you've got about 50ft of space and you're both going 50 mph in two-to-three combined tons of metal, glass, and plastic, the point being made isn't maybe worth the potential consequences? I'm sure Broheim there in the Ford would answer in the affirmative if you asked him now.

In her video description, Florida Driver says she couldn't get over because there were trucks in the right hand lane, but the video shows the right hand lane being very empty for long stretches of time, and when Brodimus Prime finally tries to go around her, what does Florida Driver do? She speeds up to stay parallel with him instead of letting him blow by and get back over. And she's definitely not staring straight ahead at the road the whole time, because you can see her framing up the shot, which is again, in portrait mode it's 2014 for the love of fuck turn your phone sideways while you and some lunkheaded knuckledragger are endangering everyone on the road.

But, maybe I'm being unfair to Florida Driver. After all, the initial wrong was done by the douchenipple trying to push his Ford up her tailpipe at 50 mph; People who drive like that are being really dangerous to both themselves and everyone else on the road. But I have a hard time watching this video and feeling the vindication Florida Driver feels by its end.

So here comes the super-scientific opinion poll that I'm sure will accurately capture the width and breadth of opinion one could have on such a nuanced situation:


Friday, November 23, 2012

Wanted: Your Cure for a Post-Thanksgiving Clogged Duodenum

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Fri, Nov 23, 2012 at 10:44 AM

If you're anything like me, you awoke this morning with an entire three-pound turkey leg resting uncomfortably and snoring loudly inside your upper intestine, refusing to awake. It took a while, but I finally rousted him from his slumber and made him move along—though it took a grand total of four separate trips to the can. Here's my recipe:

One ginormous cup of black coffee.
One large bowl of Kashi's GoLean cereal (with 10 grams of fiber).
Followed by an exerting series of sidebends, backbends, and sit ups.

The result? It was like the Ghostbusters stepped into my colon armed with power washers.

However! I'm always looking for faster, more efficient methods of bowel expurgation—and I trust you to supply those in the comments below. BOMBS AWAY!

Ugggh... that turkey leg makes me want to touch my fist to my stomach and make the balloon face.
  • "Ugggh... that turkey leg makes me want to touch my fist to my stomach and make the 'balloon' face."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Discomfort Zone: A Hipster Goes to the State Fair

Posted by Alison Hallett on Thu, Sep 8, 2011 at 12:59 PM


Continue reading »

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Welcome to the Discomfort Zone, Alison Hallett!

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 2:51 PM


Well, well, well, we're nearly at the end of our mildly successful Discomfort Zone series, and who's left? It's Mercury arts/web editor Alison Hallett, whose likes are, in this order: 1) Cats. 2) Comics about cats. 3) Eating gelato from Alder while reading comics about cats.

But we don't care about that! What are her dislikes? In the few years that I've known Alison, I have been able to determine that they are as follows, in this order: 1) Hardboiled eggs. 2) Discrimination. 3) Shakespeare in the Park. Therefore, this week's Discomfort nominees were tailored with her dislikes in mind, and while the much-anticipated annual Easter Egg Hunt & Racism Ball unfortunately doesn't fall on this weekend, we found some choice events in the coming days that should make Alison distinctly discomfortable.

Knucklehead Blues Fest
SE Foster biker bar Knucklehead's is hosting a three-day festival of that most discomfortable of musical genres: the blues. While we can't make her go to all three days, we can definitely ruin her Sunday by sending her to a long day/night of white dudes singing, "Woke up this morning..." PROS: The blues; bikers. CONS: Alcohol. Alison might be able to drink her way through this one.
Knucklehead's, 6219 SE Foster, Sunday September 4

Jerry Garcia Celebration
More unfortunate music, this time performed by Jerry Garcia tribute band Cats Under the Stars. What makes this so discomfortable (other than the music)? Alison loves cats, which means she's automatically predisposed to love Cats Under the Stars based on their name alone—but I predict that she'll experience disorientation and confusion (in other words, DISCOMFORT) when it becomes apparent that these particular Cats are neither fluffy nor purr-y. Also, hippies.
The Goodfoot, 2845 SE Stark, Sunday September 4

Shakespeare's As You Like It performed out of doors
A-ha! Now we are getting somewhere. The otherwise likable Portland Actors Ensemble (their logo is of Shakespeare wearing sunglasses! Tubular, dude!) insists on blabbing their way through the gender-bending As You Like It, one of the Bard's most discomfortable plays, without the benefits of an indoor stage. This is certainly one of Alison's pet peeves. Also, it's at Reed, which means she'll be surrounded by Reedies. DISCOMFORTABLE.
Reed College, in front of Eliot Hall, Sunday September 4 & Monday September 5

A charming day at the Oregon State Fair
It's the last day of this year's Oregon State Fair, and there's plenty to see and do, including a concert by Selena Gomez at 4:30 pm! Alison must attend Ms. Gomez's performance in full, PLUS complete at least three of the following activities also taking place on this fine day of family and fun (here's a PDF of the full schedule):
• Warpaint International: Paintball Open Play
• Let’s Pretend Circus - Cutest Show on Earth
• Marion County Sheriff and Keizer Police K-9 Demonstrations
• GASCAR Crazy Animal Races
• Bi-Mart Presents Radio Disney
Oregon State Fairgrounds, 2330 17th St. NE, Salem, Monday September 5

Monday, August 29, 2011

Discomfort Zone: I Busked at Pioneer Courthouse Square

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 3:59 PM


I went busking on Saturday, per the dictum of the results of my Discomfort Zone vote, in which a two-hour performance by yours truly at Pioneer Courthouse Square edged out attending a six-hour kiddie concert at the Children's Museum. Well chosen, Blogtownies! This turned the Discomfort Zone into something a little different than it's been in the past: Instead of sending a Mercury writer to a previously established event, this event was created out of thin air, solely to make me discomfortable and possibly the object of ridicule. If it didn't get picked, it wouldn't have happened.

But it did! And so on a hot, sunny Saturday afternoon, I packed up my guitar and headed downtown. On the way to the Square, I spied a couple other buskers plying their trade on the sidewalks, including a violinist with long, graying hair; he was a real pro, and a great player. I felt like a bit of an interloper to be busking on essentially a dare, when there were legit musicians actually out there trying to make a buck. But Blogtown readers must be appeased! So it was on to the Square. A couple problems, though: First of all, it is illegal to actually busk in Pioneer Courthourse Square. Playing anywhere on the bricks is not allowed. Second of all, a weekend-long Italian festival had taken over the entire block, jamming the entire square with cannelloni, the European rhythms of the EuroRhythms, and, uh, cannelloni? (Italians are not known for their food, are they?)

Continue reading »

Friday, August 26, 2011

Make Alison Discomfortable! Watch Me Be Discomfortable!

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 12:43 PM


Thanks to a suspiciously high number of votes, I will be busking tomorrow at Pioneer Courthouse Square. Well, actually, as close to the square as I can get—the Festa Italiana is also taking place this weekend, so I may be budged out to the margins of the square. I will be there from 1:00 to 3:00 pm, I will be wearing a hat, and I possibly may be joined at some point during the performance by a musical cohort. Stop by if you want to throw money. Stay home if you want to throw anything else.

MORE IMPORTANTLY: Next week is Alison Hallett's turn to be discomfortable. It's Alison! You want to make her even more discomfortable than you're making me! So leave your brutal, mean, discomfortable ideas in the comments and we'll take your best suggestions into consideration. Alison's reign of discomfort begins next Thursday, September 1 and runs through the following Monday, September 5, so any terrible, unpleasant, or just plain awful events that fall on those days are game. (She "says" she has a wedding to attend on Saturday, September 3, which sounds discomfortable in and of itself, so look for things that fall on other days, if possible.)


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Welcome to the Discomfort Zone, Ned Lannamannaman!

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Tue, Aug 23, 2011 at 9:59 AM

The weekly Blogtown torture chamber continues, this week with Mercury music writer/astronomer/misanthrope Ned Lannamannaman. If you know anything about Ned, he's a feckless passive/aggressive bastard who survives in the print industry primarily because of his unwillingness to do anything great. He hates any music that doesn't include a banjo, and considers "people" a tiring, but necessary race put on this earth to administer handjobs and serve him pizza. If anyone—other than myself—deserves to be discomfortable, it's him. That's why he must be thrust into... THE DISCOMFORT ZONE. (Well, that, and it was his turn according to the calendar.)

The rules are simple: we do a half-hearted search for the most uncomfortable (for him) events of the week—with a few tossed in for good measure by Blogtown regulars—and then you vote on which event he has to attend and be discomforted by! Even worse, he has to write about it afterward—a task which, to him, is almost as uncomfortable as actually attending the event, because he is a writer who hates writing, and is therefore the perfect person to represent our dying industry.

OKAY! All that being said, here are Ned's DISCOMFORT ZONE choices for YOU to vote on!

The All Stars Tour at the Roseland: An entire DAY of unequivocally shitty metalcore bands, starting at 1:30 in the afternoon, and continuing until the audience commits seppuku. Here's one of the headliners, and if you can make it through 20 seconds of this, you deserve a million dollars. REMEMBER NED! NO DRINKING!

Mama Mia at the Keller Auditorium: This musical based on the songs of ABBA is so, so, so much worse than the actual songs of ABBA and will possibly make Ned's head explode. I kind of like musicals, though, so maybe I should go with him and rub his thigh during the performance?

Josh Groban at the Rose Garden: Look up "bland" in the dictionary and you'll see this guy. Josh will undoubtedly put on a painfully sleepy performance that will lull Ned into a discomfortable sleep. At which point I'll sneak up behind him and slit his throat. Fun for me, not so fun for him.

Baby Woodstock at the Children's Museum: Here's one from Commenter Todd— a six-hour concert for KIDS (Ned despises children, of course), and here's the description: "Dust off your dancing shoes and put those bell bottoms on, it’s time to celebrate our annual event, Baby Woodstock. Take in a great musical performance, make your own drum, and decorate your own reusable shopping bag." HAHAHAHAAAA!!! Gross. Here's a song from Baby Woodstock headliners, The Alphabeticians.

Street Busking: Here's another Blogtownie suggestion I think is pretty good! Ned will have to spend at least two hours busking on the street downtown for money. That's right, playing his guitar and singing songs (let's say at Pioneer Square on Saturday afternoon), and if he happens to make any money (he won't) it will be used buy us drinks at the next Blogtown meet up. Video proof of Ned performing must be provided and posted along with Discomfort Zone write up. He should also wear an odd hat. GET A REAL JOB, HIPPIE!

Get it? Got it? Good, let's vote!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Discomfort Zone: I Went to a Spoken Word Event... about CATS

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Mon, Aug 22, 2011 at 10:57 AM

In a world where cats are considered the highest life form (the world I'm speaking of is, of course, the internet) I am a pariah. Why? Because I just don't like cats that much. I don't endlessly coo over them, nor do I loathe them. To me, a cat is like a broken ottoman: It's just there, serving no real purpose—but would take too much energy to throw it out of the house. I'm actually more annoyed by the people who adore cats. It's hard to respect people who are happy being treated like shit by the animals they feed every day. THEREFORE, it is of little surprise that Blogtownies chose to send me to CAT STORIES II—a spoken word event (annoying enough on its own) that caters solely to cat lovers and the stories they mistakenly think are interesting.

Hit the jump and find out.

Continue reading »

Friday, August 19, 2011

Got Any Ideas That Will Make Ned Discomfortable?

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 3:44 PM

So as you know, I'm doing my Discomfort Zone thing tomorrow (CAT STORIES?? AT 10:30 IN THE MORNING?? Oh, for the love of Christ.), but our own Ned Lannamannaman is being thrust into the Discomfort Zone next week! GOT ANY IDEAS THAT WILL MAKE HIM WRITHE IN DISCOMFORTMENT?

If you want to play, look for weird, discomfortable events that fall anytime on the following dates: FRIDAY, AUGUST 26-SUNDAY, AUGUST 28.

What we know about Ned so far: He likes science. He hates horrible music. He dislikes making contact with other human beings. That's about it. (Oh, and while you are welcome to suggest things like, "Shit into a hat and make him wear it," we would prefer actual events that we don't construct ourselves. Otherwise, we'd be using our own endless supply of sadistic creativity to torture Ned, which is a lot worse than merely wearing a shat-into hat, and super illegal I think.) HAPPY HUNTING!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Welcome to the Discomfort Zone, Wm. Steven Humphrey!

Posted on Tue, Aug 16, 2011 at 1:29 PM

  • Imagine.

“I think the thing that would really get Steve, “ popular/ist commenter Graham said as we were staging a mock serial killer bedroom in his basement, “is to be bored. Just make him really bored.”

This Discomfort Zone might be like shooting fish in a barrel because, as Steve readily admits, "I am very easily annoyed by almost anything."

Cat Stories II Open Mic Event
Everyone hates an open mic. This open mic promises to expose those who don't hate an open mic all over Wm. Steven Humphrey. With cat stories. Before breakfast.
Sat Aug 20, Joe's Cellar, 1332 NW 21st, 10:30 am

Toby Keith at Sleep Country Amphitheater - Hey Warriors, it isn't that there's anything wrong with a Toby Keith concert except that Wm. Steven Humphrey would totally HATE IT. It has been suggested that Steve be forced/encouraged to dress up for this event, either wearing a turban or wrapping himself in the French national flag.
Thurs Aug 19, Sleep Country Amphitheater, Ridgefield, WA, 7 pm

The 8th Annual Dark Alice in Wonderland Ball - Another costume mandatory event! We love it when Wm. Steven Humprey dresses up. My excitement for this event may stem from my deep-seated need to see all the men in my life as goth dancers. I never before realized I also want to see them dressed up as Alice In Wonderland characters. Steve is a natural caterpillar, don't you think?
Sat Aug 20, Mt. Tabor Theater, 4811 SE Hawthorne, 9 pm

Kottonmouth Kings - This is truly brutal and unusual for a discomfort zone. Some would put this at a step below an Insane Clown Posse concert. I might put it as a step above. Truly the worst rappers known to mankind. I forgot to ask Steve how he feels about rap.
Sat Aug 20, Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th, 8 pm

4th Annual Corgi Walk in the Pearl - Steve made a big deal to shriek and act offended when we brought this up during an editorial meeting. I've checked with a few people and it seems legit. Wm. Steven Humprey hates corgis, feels unsettled in their presence and experiences vertigo when watching them run.
Sat Aug 20, NW Park & Everett, 9 am-noon

Discomfort Zone: I Tried to Help Graham Move

Posted on Tue, Aug 16, 2011 at 11:28 AM

In this week's preview for Discomfort Zone, I agreed to help popular/ist commenter Graham move in with his girlfriend. Graham moved all his shit the day before our agreed-upon moving day and said very obstinately that I could not unwrap plates. I expected this sort of thing. I mean, he’s Graham. He’s difficult.

Earlier that week I told Graham I could help him move anytime that weekend. He said he was hiring movers and asked if I wanted to go to the zoo.

"People are trying to get me to create some sort of fake situation in which to abuse you," he said, and quoted a fellow commenter:

The mustache is even more grandiose than you could have imagined.
  • The mustache is even more grandiose than you could have imagined.

Continue reading »


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Discomfort Zone: Suzette Fears Sports

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Tue, Aug 9, 2011 at 12:14 PM

Okay! Welcome back to Discomfort Zone, the weekly blog fiasco where we send a staffer to an event that is outside of their comfort area. Up this week is intern Suzette Smith who (special treat!) is heading to her hometown, Detroit, on Monday. One of the choices for this week's event, then, is in Detroit. Voting ends at 2pm tomorrow!

First: A little bit about Suzette. She is a NE Portland social worker and indie comics artist who was raised in a rather religious "grab-bag Christian" home. As mentioned, she is from Detroit so she is hard to rattle.

Christian Art Experience: Every Sunday, all-caps Christian art group AGENTS OF FUTURE "facilitates an attempt to connect with the supernatural side of things (through that guy, Jesus)" at The Bridge in NE Portland. They encourage "visceral means" including "performance art, punk rock, puppetry or playdoh."

Vancouver Bikini Bike Wash: Look at this flyer! Suzette must ride her bike to this bikini (motor)bike wash and attempt to get her frame a sexy scrub down from the ladies.

Giant Poetry Slam: At least 24 performers are taking the stage at Backspace for an epic poetry slam. This thing could last hours. Hours and hours of poetry slamming. Suzette hates sincerity so this will be tough to stomach.

Minnesota Twins vs. Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park: This is occurring in Detroit and I think it sounds okay, but as Suzette explains: "I hate sports and the Tigers always lose. Also I went on a date once with this hotdog salesman who sings fake opera in the stands and I feel like he might still be working there. (shudder)"

Help Graham Move in with His Girlfriend: You may know Graham from his 3,581 comments on our site. After all these years, this weekend Graham is moving in with his girlfriend (a real life girlfriend not from the internet, you guys). What could be more uncomfortable than sharing in their incipient domestic spats as they bicker over sofa placement?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Discomfort Zone: I Went to a Lingerie Party

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Mon, Aug 8, 2011 at 12:45 PM

The internet wanted me to take my shirt off. So I obliged, heading over to Lola's Room on Friday for a dance night that invited people to wear underwear, lingerie, or "anything skimpy, really." Ladies got in free. Woop woop.

There are no "anything skimpy" pictures on this blog post. Just words. And one screenshot of some dudes. To continue reading the words, but not see any photos of anyone—myself included—with their shirt off, click the jump.

Continue reading »

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sarah Mirk: Welcome to the Discomfort Zone

Posted by Ezra Ace Caraeff on Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 3:34 PM

Oh great, we made her cry
  • Oh great, we made her cry

After the horrible failure that was my Discomfort Zone we are now determined to make our next contestant—News reporter extraordinaire Sarah Mirk—suffer like no one has ever suffered before. The problem is, Sarah loves everything. Clowns? She thinks they are hilarious. Nazis? She also thinks they are hilarious. Denis Theriault's collection of vintage amputee erotica? She admires his steadfast devotion to diversity.

To make matters worse, the camping trip with Furries event is already sold out (or, Sarah secretly bought out all the remaining tickets in order not to go) and our lawyer said we can't force her to go to this and fight a stranger.

Thankfully we have been inundated with a few other suggestions from our cruel readers, the best/worst of which are below.

DebbieTay Comedy Hypnotist
Two things we know about Sarah: she has never laughed and she has never been hypnotized. I can't promise this event will take care of the former (just watch this depressing video that looks like it was filmed in the basement of the Red Lion), but perhaps she will fall under the spell of this comedy hypnotist and dance the "Funky Chicken." We should probably film that. Fri Aug 5, Multnomah Arts Center, 7688 SW Capitol Highway, 8:30-9:30 pm

It's Getting Hot In Here! Lingerie and Underwear Party
Due to my inability to write in the prose known as "rapey," I'll let the event's description take it from here: "Lola's room is known for getting pretty hot when people get moving, so we thought it would be fun to throw a lingerie and underwear party. Or swimsuits. Or anything that feels suitable for an event called, It's Getting Hot in Here. (there will be a 'clothes' check available)." I guess the title "Megan's Law: The Dance Party" was already taken. Fri Aug 5, Lola’s Room, 1332 W Burnside, 9-12 pm

Gathering of the Eagles
You wanted it, you got it. But beware, this Tea Party gathering—featuring Herman Cain, the token black Republican all Tea Party members namecheck in order to not appear racist—is the sort of thing Sarah is into. It's newsy, plus she has been to one before. Then again, a full day on a ranch in Jefferson, OR might help Sarah become less of a Pinko and more of a true American. Sat Aug 6, Ames Ranch, 4135 Paradise Hill Dr, Jefferson, OR, 8:30am-7pm

Liquid Blue
Who? Oh, you know, "America's Best Dance Band" and "America’s Best Independent Artist," which are fake titles this painfully sincere covers band just arbitrarily gave themselves. Watch this video/informercial and then get back to us. Thurs Aug 4, Refectory Lounge, 1618 NE 122nd Ave, 7pm

Voting ends tomorrow (Wednesday) at 3pm. Do your worst.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Discomfort Zone: Hola, George Lopez

Posted by Ezra Ace Caraeff on Mon, Aug 1, 2011 at 12:01 PM


You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension: a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into... the Discomfort Zone.

Or not. As we all know, my fellow Mercury word slaves seriously dropped the ball when it came to my Discomfort Zone. Instead of selecting juggalo puppets or the screening of my parent's sextape at the Pioneer Square Flicks on the Bricks (such discomfort—I'm really glad they missed that one), my options were some poetry, a picnic with tall people, or popular comedian George Lopez.

Lopez won, but the real winner was me. I've never seen his sitcom, or his talk show, but to me Lopez was a vaguely familiar comedian, probably not as funny as Louis CK, but superior to Jay Leno or Carrot Top.

So how was it?

Eh, it was fine. My comfort level didn't stray far from vague indifference as I sat alone in the balcony of the Keller. Sorry to let you down, I know you all truly wanted me to suffer.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

This Is What We Should Have Sent Ezra To

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Tue, Jul 26, 2011 at 3:54 PM

Dammit, dammit, dammit, dammit:

These guys are releasing their record at the Mt. Tabor Theater this Thursday, July 28. As far as I can tell, it is some sort of murder rap/puppet project, like Juggalos starring in Meet the Feebles.

I can't believe we didn't find this in time to make the nominations. I'm sorry, Blogtownies. We have failed you.


Let's Make Things Very Uncomfortable for Sarah Mirk

Posted by Ezra Ace Caraeff on Tue, Jul 26, 2011 at 1:44 PM


Hahahaha, a George Lopez show, poetry, or a picnic with my genetically-blessed brethren? Clearly no one here knows anything about me. Did they suggest the Juggalo-ish puppet show hiphop band? Of course not. Looks like my co-workers actually "like" and "care" for me.

Pussies. All of them.

That is why I want you, loyal citizens of Blogtown, to help me find something truly uncomfortable for our next contestant, Sarah Mirk. We are looking for horrible events that occur between August 4-10. Post your suggestions below, that way we'll make sure the next Discomfort Zone post isn't about what a great time I had at the comedy show, poetry corner, or a tall person pizza picnic.

Do your worst.

Ezra Ace Caraeff: Welcome to the Discomfort Zone

Posted by Courtney Ferguson on Tue, Jul 26, 2011 at 10:44 AM


Just because he's amusing and has a cute dog, let's not take it easy on Ezra. Let's make sure he has as awkward a time as Erik. A much worse time than Marjorie. May he have the opposite of my delightful night out with the foot fetishists. To recap the premise of the Discomfort Zone: Based on a Blogtown poll, we send a knock-kneed scribe out to an event that is decidedly outside of their comfort zone, usually to an event they wouldn't normally cover or an event that gives them the whim-whams based on their personal heebie-jeebie levels. To Ezra's lineup!

Zombiestock 2011
Dammit, this got canceled. Ezra would've been really uncomfortable there.

Portland Poetry Slam
Yelling! Slam poetry! All ages angst! Iambic pentameter! Free verse read from diaries! According to the blurb, "[It's] Portland's most punk rawk literary show extravaganza pitting eight poets against each other for $50 and the chance to represent PDX poetry to it's [sic] finest." This has great potential for snarky commentary. Backspace, Sunday, July 31, 7:30 pm

George Lopez
Lowest common denominator stand-up is probably the worst stand-up comedy known to humans. In his right mind, Ezra wouldn't step foot in this place for the comic stylings of George Lopez, where he might be treated to jokes about Lopez's Mexican grandma and the psyche-up song War's "Low Rider." "But Lopez is a pro," you think. Indeed, but just watch. Ugh. Keller Auditorium, Friday, July 29, 8 pm

Picnic with the Portland Skyliners Tall Club
This is my personal favorite! Ezra's long been fascinated by the Portland Skyliners Tall Club, a club founded "for the purpose of promoting friendship and good fellowship among tall people." Ezra "I'm Taller and Better Than You" Caraeff needs some fellowship and feel-good picnicking. Decreed by Blogtown, he should have to join the Skyliners and attend a concert in the park... in Lake Oswego. The trifecta of awkward: tall people club membership, picnic with strangers watching some easy-grooves from the Gretchen Mitchell Band, and the drive to schmancy Lake Oswego. Sounds like total discomfort to me. Portland Skyliners Tall Club concert and picnic in the park, Westlake Park, Lake Oswego, Wednesday, August 3, 6:30 pm

Let's rock the vote! (Due to a polling issue, you might have to vote again. Poll ends tomorrow at 3 pm.)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Discomfort Zone: Where I Fear to Tread

Posted by Courtney Ferguson on Fri, Jul 22, 2011 at 2:26 PM

My foot in sunnier climes.
  • My foot in sunnier climes.

I had a great time at Footnight, a night for foot fetishists. Frankly, it was delightful. Nary a creepy moment. Good food, plentiful drinks, interesting conversation. Take that, Schadenfreudesters of Blogtown. Oh, I wore the knee-high boots and I got propositioned once.

After a whiskey frontload, I got off the bus at SE 39th and Powell to wander around the warren that is Angel’s, 10,000 square feet (ha!) of rooms designed for sexual frolicking (porn screening room, hot tubs, rec room with pool table and bar, cage with swing). Lovely host Catherine de Sade was orienting the foot models in the rec room before the men arrived. She told me the ladies came from “all walks of life,” and most were from Bay City Blues, a local phone-sex operation with girls working from their homes. Everyone was in high spirits as we mingled around—people were polishing their patent leather shoes, CoxxAnn was setting up a table for a silent auction of her high-heeled shoes she’d worn for three years, Tonya was showing off her smelly Converse, I was browsing the hardbound book collections lining the walls (Winston Churchill bios, old encyclopedias) and wondering how much action the booths had seen.

Learn about foot fetishes and gang bangs after the jump.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

What Kind of Footwear Should I Wear to a Foot Fetish Night?

Posted by Courtney Ferguson on Thu, Jul 21, 2011 at 2:59 PM

As you jerkwads of Blogtown decreed, I'm off to Footnight tonight for a foot fetish party tonight. Please help me decide what to put on my feet for the evening—I'm really toeing the line on this one (PUNS ARE WHAT YOU DESERVE).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Courtney Ferguson: Welcome to the Discomfort Zone

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Tue, Jul 19, 2011 at 12:44 PM


Okay, this time it's Courtney's turn for discomfort. While I was uncomfortable for him reading it, so far Erik has soldiered through an athletic event he was physically unqualified for, and I, by default, had to go to a perfectly comfortable performance by a UK artist popular with hippies (enough with the hippies). Before we start demanding greater degrees of torture, let's take a moment to note the fact that this is not Worst. Night. Ever., which immediately devolved into cruelty (sending Patrick to get punched in the face, sending me to get murdered in the woods, etc.). This is Discomfort Zone, which was intended to be a gentler, less reckless W.N.E., one that's about stepping outside our usual cultural circles and reporting back, so that we all might expand our borders—not just crude dares. That said, behold Courtney's options:

Creation 2011 Northwest: A Tribute to Our Creator
This Christian music fest featuring 60 bands and 20 speakers actually starts tomorrow, but it runs through Saturday, so I think we can let Courtney choose whether she'd rather be "drawn to salvation and discipleship in Christ" during Thursday's full lineup of "Gospel through music" (including communion at 11:30 pm and the Transform DJ Electronica Night kicking off at midnight); "give tribute to our Creator" on Friday (don't forget to Experience Vice Verses at the Worship Stage); or "unreservedly submit to Christ as Lord and Savior" on Saturday—don't skip out on 4 pm Catholic Mass, Court. You might learn something. Enumclaw Expo Center, 45224, 284th Ave, SE, Enumclaw, WA

Tip o' the cap to Blogtown commenter cat & beard for this doozy. The Summer Soles 'N Toes extravaganza promises a 10,000 square foot venue (REALLY?!) filled with foot models, "'luxury 'suites' for private worshipping, an intimate lounge area for more public exhibitions and even a cage to unleash your deviant foot fetish desires." Plus, a bar (mercy), hors d'oeuvres (cheese?), and a DJ! Let's hear some quotes from past attendees: "I got the idea with experienced later in the evening, that I can get aggressive, by tickling the model’s feet she was fulfilled. I can now almost see myself confident with more women in general." "Angel and I went to a private space and I gave her my patented gentle podiatric examination..." Okay. That's enough. Thursday, 8 pm-midnight, "Actual location only provided to registered, confirmed guests"

Friction 2
"Portland's biggest lingerie and pajama party happens at Barracuda. Everyone dressed in pj's or lingerie will receive a raffle ticket for prizes from Cathie's & G-Spot." 'Nuff said. Saturday, Barracuda, NW 2nd & Couch, 9 pm

I will leave you to your deliberation.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Discomfort Zone: I Got Shpongled

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Mon, Jul 18, 2011 at 2:18 PM

Okay, firstly let's re-cap the cluster-fuck that brought us to this point. In the largest landslide vote of Discomfort Zone thus far, you overwhelmingly wanted me to attend the Improv InTouch All-Night Open Jam. And no wonder. While I was pretty sure it would just be an improv dance class (which I've actually done before in college, although I felt extremely stupid), I doubted it was going to turn into any sort of "orgy" as you all—fuck you very much—had hoped. But the threat of it going on indefinitely was... ugh. Nonetheless, I went to pre-register for it on Friday, when the organizer told me the monthly to-do was on hold for July and August. One of the other two Discomforts on the list, Jo Jo Jorge Falcon (which was the one I had been hoping you would send me to so I would have the opportunity to practice my Spanish comprehension while improvising sitting my ass in a chair in a dimly lit theater) had already happened the night before. That left Shpongle Presents the Shpongletron Experience, a psychedelic UK DJ extravaganza that seemed like a safer, louder, and much briefer endeavor than what I had to do last year. But I was not stoked. I knew I would have to go alone (my fiance unfortunately is rarely down to suffer along with me for Merc-related punishments ever since that one time I tricked him into going to the screening for Marley & Me). But whatever. So I looked it up. They're from England, headed by one Simon Posford, and they play synth-based psychedelic music, but they're also known for crazy live shows. According to Wikipedia, this happened just days before I saw them:

"Shpongle Live" performed at Camp Bisco X on July 7—9, 2011 in Mariaville, New York. This is was Shpongle's first ever performance as a full ensemble in the United States. The performance also had three other live performers along the lines of a gymnast, a giant slinky woman and an incredible hula hooper. Simon wielded a guitar, and Raja Ram blew minds and donned a beautiful blacklight reflective cloak. Also the show took place during a thunder and lightning storm, but the entire group did a fantastic job at holding such a crowd in the inclement weather.

So, I was expecting this:

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