This week we gave the coveted Letter of the Week prize to "Miss Fatima": "I think whoever says sunshine brings happiness have not danced in the rain, the best way to love is to meet people in a way that your feelings will be without sentiments, and also not getting attracted to looks until you have the heart opened to a good level of understanding, this is the only way to find such person. My name is Miss Fatima."
I do hope she writes us back! In the meantime, a couple real people wrote us things too. Such as!
—"Anonymous" wrote to complain about Matt Bors' comic addressing the big-box employees who worked on Thanksgiving. "As if those employees didn't choose to work there," he or she says. Awwwwkwaarrrrd.
—Erika has beef with the contention made by one of the founders of Little Boxes that Chipotle serves "super-affordable" meals. (Not as affordable as McDonalds!) Can this please be our last fight about Chipotle?
—Also! People are still arguing about Merc columnist Barbara Holm! This time frankieb says, "If her blog had as many negative references to say, black gay women as she makes to straight white men, she wouldn't even have a blog in the Merc."
—Which brings us back to Miss Fatima, who sagely confesses that, "at my age, I really want a happy life now, I want Good friend not only good, but also my best friend." Don't we all.
Letters: Read 'em and weep.
As you know, the Mercury LOVES spotlighting the best illustrators in the world every week on our covers. Now we want to spread that same love... TO YOUR BODY. Introducing the new "Mercury Fancy Shirt" line of fancy t-shirts! That's right, every month (until we get bored) we'll be releasing a brand new Mercury T-shirt featuring the amazing art and artists you see on our covers each week—and they'll be exclusively sold at Upper Playground (23 NW 5th)!
Buy these limited edition shirts and you'll be sporting the works of such great artists as Bwana Spoons, Skinner, Lori D., Tim Root, Jeremy Fish, Sean Morris, Michael Hsiung, and more! Our December and January shirts will feature the art of Martin Ontiveros (see the heavy metal tiger) and James Mitchell (dog and death on a bike). Check 'em out!
You can get these fantabulous shirts starting THIS FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6 at Upper Playground, where we'll be having a Mercury Fancy Shirt kickoff party at 7:30. Come by, say hi, meet the artists, and buy a shirt for yourself or a friend! As they say in the the holiday biz, "MAKES A PERFECT GIFT!"
THE PORTLAND MERCURY FANCY SHIRT COLLECTION: Ensuring you look fantastic every month in 2014!
If you have climbed out of your tryptophan coma and re-entered polite society, you probably have some catching up to do. For instance, what are people on the Mercury Letters page squabbling about this time? Well, let me tell you:
—"Fireman" was the one person with the get up and go to read the I, Anonymous about a woman dissatisfied with her kissing partners and publicly respond with a personal ad for himself, complete with email address signature. While we take no responsibility for anything that may or may not occur should you respond—nor do we in any way guarantee that he is actually a fireman of any sort—it's nice to see some gumption.
—Paul asks about all these bicycle lanes we're paying for. Anyone usin' 'em?
—EVERYBODY FREAK OUT about Barbara Holms' column, and then everyone else. freak out at the people freaking out and keep going back and forth until the comments are finally closed. This is how you play.
—Did you know that we have digital editions of every new Merc issue? Jack just found out and now he's going to go get high and read them. Excellent plan, and great for digestion.
Things are a little feisty over on the old Letters page this week, let's take a look:
—Ann Romano's fans keep coming. This one actually apologized for having written an earlier, nastier letter about a difference of opinion concerning Anne Hathaway. This never happens.
—James is mad that he wasn't included in our look at what the forerunners for two seats on the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners think about the Morrison Bridge mess. Or is he mad that he isn't one of the forerunners? Hmm.
—If people don't stop talking about whether the Muscle Shoals documentary is good/not good, I'm going to have to break down and see it, even though I pretty much trust Ned that it's not good.
—Barbara Holm's opinion that anti-feminists should be dicks inspired quite the discussion in the comments about what it means to be a feminist. Including seentomuch's opinion that "Real heroes in history were Sojourner Truth, Jane Pittman, Susan B. Anthony, all the suffrage advocates, Dorothy Day, Rosa Parks, and the list goes on"—can you spot the fictional character? Commenter anatta did!
Letters: Go on, write one.
The original design team who worked with Pendleton to create the Portland Collection—Church + State's Rachel Turk and Nathaniel Crissman, and John Blasioli—have discontinued their contract with the heritage brand. Though TPC has a few more seasons to cycle through as far as appearing on retail shelves, it's unclear what will come of the venture. But the first assumption, that Jones had been hired to take it over, appears to be oversimplified.
You can read it in the paper if you like tactile sensations with your words, but the online version is longer, and includes her views on the whole Project Runway thing three years after having won it. ("I have no interest in being involved in any of that stuff again.")
Three things. Three things in this week's Letters to the Editor, that is:
—Gary wrote in just to be mean, pretty much. Mean to First Thursday ("safe commercial art") and its attendees ("hollow masses yearning to be cool"), and, of course to us, although he is grateful for one of the many uses our paper is available for: being used as a barrier between his ass and a wet bench. It's only our pleasure, fun guy.
—Meanwhile, Renee, who regrets no longer living in our fair burg, wrote a lengthy pep talk to those of us who remain, apparently to fortify our spirits against the coming colder, wetter months. Her strategy was basically to list off all the things we have that shan't be taken for granted. Turns out? It's mostly to do with plants and grocery stores. So we have that.
—And finally, Chelsea astutely points out that we are still covering local comedy and giving it the print space it deserves, when it deserves it, which is so, so very often.
The Mercury letters page: Take a topic, leave a topic.
We do the talking most of the time, but the Letters to the Editor is all about what you have to say (and by "Letters" I mean internet comments too, though it's always nice to be contacted the old-fashioned way). So here's what came out of your collective mouth this week:
—Tessa just loooooooovvvvvves Ann Romano and One Day at a Time, calling her "so unfailingly clever that my admiration stops JUST short of resentful envy." Phew! Good thing, since few emotions drive the plot of violent stalker movies as often as resentful envy!
—Oh, since everyone's obsessed with water right now (and those loathed monster-sized bills for it), Buck wants to make sure we're all clear on one thing: water rates are different than sewer rates. Like, totally different. Same bill is all. Okay? Okay. Resume arguing.
—It ain't easy being in charge of Portland's police. As apheliotropic puts it, "It seems to take an awful lot of courage, conviction, and public support to enact any meaningful and beneficial police reforms anywhere." Sigh.
—pecans05 grumpily complained that our Murder House article wasn't scary. Much like the name "pecans05."
—Teresa heaps more criticism on the mayor's handling of the Right 2 Dream Too relocation clash. Bottom line: "Leave R2D2 alone!!!"
—On a similar note, Reverend Bite Me suggests that city council change its name to "developers' pleasure boys" or "builders' comfort lady."
—ROM seemed to like Zac Pennington's review of Free Birds in a new web column called "Movie Masochist," to the extent that it made him want to revisit Rock-a-Doodle. Win-win?
How 'bout you? Whatcha got?
We gave you a few things to chew on, and here's what you spat out on this week's Letters page!
—Brian thinks that we never shoulda spent our money on the busted (busting?) Morrison Bridge in the first place, because he doesn't care if someone from "Grue-some" occasionally wipes out. :(
—Nathan says how 'bout that Edith Head, guys, amirite? Anyone? Google? Never mind.
—You caught how Denis spent a recent weekend down at Right 2 Dream Too, right? (Seriously, read it if you haven't.) People were genuinely impressed with his efforts, and he even inspired LC to read it all the way through without skimming, making it "probably the longest article I've ever read." Wow! Great job everyone!
—If you permit a touch of self-described pretentiousness, Ben in Portland has some comparisons to make regarding Lisa Wells' exploration on place and art as expressed in the life's work of Elliott Smith and the wine-world concept of terroir. (The last line of this one just kills me dead.)
This week, on the Letters to the Editor page...
—mikenathan responds to JDowdy's complaints last week over the co-founders of Wildfang's use of the words "girls" and "tomboys" in an interview. mikenathan's response? That people call men "boys" all the time, and you don't see them crying about it! He (making the bold assumption that "mikenathan" is a... boy, here) also suggests that the cleverly gender neutral-named JDowdy "pick a real thing to nag people about." Yikes.
—In response to an I, Anonymous about a blind man being brought to tears by the callousness of his bartender, we have two opposing views on what, exactly, is bartender is. Kattie contends that, "y'all need to realize that your bartenders and servers are not your friends." Counterpoint: Munch says that bartenders are your friends, and "Come to my bar, we'll prove it!" Where would you rather hang out?
—Lastly, everyone is shitting bricks (pun intended) over how unprepared Portland's historic architecture is for a major earthquake, as well as how much it would cost to bring everything up to speed. Also, does this mean everything's just going to be sold to condo developers?
RE: The upcoming Garrison Keillor performance at the Newmark (on November 5, if you really want to know):
"He whistles his S's. When he's on in the car I like to turn the volume way down so you can only hear that. It's like the most outré radio performance art you can imagine.
I think I might try that out this weekend. God knows it can't be any worse than actually listening to Prairie Home Companion.
You guys, always with the feedback:
—"Irked at Heart" was... irked, I guess you would say, about the grammar in this sentence: "Instead, officers merely helped the cabbie and I exchange information." Spot the problem and you get to come up with your own play on "Dirk VanderHart." You may also be interested to know about the lack of repurcussions to hitting a cyclist with your car.
—JDowdy likes juggernaut brand Wildfang okay, but objects to their rampant use of the words "girls" and "tomboy," arguing that if you want to make gendered branding and lifestyle more fluid, "Why must everything fall over the backdrop of men, boys, or hetero-normative culture? Let fluid gender expressions be fluid and ambiguous, please."
—"An irl Portlander" who works at a certain local pharmacy seems pleased/possibly not pleased with Sarah Mirk's investigation into the actual availability of Plan B contraceptives in Oregon stores. Depending on whether one's "boss' asshole" having a "horizon-broadening experience" is a good or bad thing. (I honestly don't know.)
—RE: the idea of merging the city's housing and urban renewal agencies, by pointing out that "the one segment of Portland that least needs governmental support is real estate development."
—Ms 45 had something to say about the whole Miley Cyrus controversy with Sinead O'Connor and Amanda Bynes and... ZZZZzzzzzzzzz
—And, finally, Hank has known us practically his whole life. We kind of grown up together, and he likes us. He really really likes us.
Things started off simply enough in this week's Letters to the Editor, with "Chrysanthemum" responding to a spate of Zac Pennington film reviews (here and here) with the simple request that he simply "shut up." Not likely, dear.
Then things got a little more complicated when the issue of panhandling came up. Boy, didn't see that coming, didja? We heard from people who work with the homeless community, formerly house-less individuals, and those concerned by a perceived uptick in the number of people asking them for change downtown. Join the conversation, cuz it's not going anywhere.
Stretch out the furrow muscles in your brow because this week's Letters to the Editor is all about concern.
—Caroline Skinner (no known relation) is concerned about the smoke billowing from that crematorium in SE Portland. Specifically, she's concerned about the mercury (no known relation) in dental fillings being incinerated and shot out into the neighborhood's breathin' air. Ah, the cycle of life.
—Our interview with Portland Pearl District Neighborhood Association President Patricia Gardner kicked up quite a bit of concern, too. Specifically: concern that the red tape associated with land use development is being compared to homelessness; that the tax-aided development of the Pearl in the first place didn't involve too much public process either; that a building with a real roof might be a better location for Right 2 Dream Too; and even so, "token subsidized housing is not enough."
—Also, fluoride! (Really, Steve?)
—Alternatively, you could concern yourself with getting familiar with the Portland-developed videogame Gone Home. The choice is yours.
Slap fight! Slap fight! This week's Letters to the Editor begins with a good old fashioned... well, actually is was really more of an email tiff. But no bother:
—Reader and filmmaker Andy Norris wrote in to be angry that our film section doesn't revolve around his work. That must be legitimately frustrating. He also accompanied that with more insults than we had space to print. Something about having watched the decline of our paper and about how all you—yes, he picked on you too—"dipshit" readers should be victims of an earthquake. That ain't right. So Erik (who edits the film section) called him racist, which was hilarious. Slap!
—That I, Anonymous insisting that you are obligated to tip live musicians who happen to be playing while you're trying to eat dinner and have a conversation? Many disagree, although some put it more roughly than others. Bobby put it medium rough.
—Adorably named Nicky Buttons politely pointed out that, contrary to what was said in My, What A Busy Week!, John Carpenter and Kurt Russell have made four movies together, not three. To which Erik responded again (he's chatty this week) that he specifically wrote that they had made three fantastic movies together, because "Escape from LA is a piece of shit." Zing!
—Then Johnny wrote a rather belaboredly sarcastic response to the whole idea of moving Right 2 Dream Too under the Broadway Bridge. His biggest concern doesn't seem to be crime or zoning laws, but rather pigeon shit.
—Then "You Know Who" wrote in to ask why we are mad at her, since it must be personal that we keep scaring her with our cover art. Seems she is a bit sensitive to clowns.
One need only look out the window to see what crazy, busy times we are living in, but let's see what floated to the top for Mercury readers this week: Smells like Syria (obvi), tallow (stay with me; all will be explained), jailhouse rape (again, this will make sense in a minute), Right 2 Dream Too, and Burning Man. Let's unpack, shall we?
—Shamus took issue with columnist Ann Romano's perceived belief that the nerve gas attacks on civilians were real. It is true that one shouldn't be too hasty in deciding at what point people have killed each other too badly, and it's time to go in and kill a little bit more of them.
—Occasionally people end up with the wrong impression of us. It happens. But it's only every once in a while that people get us so wrong that they think we are involved in completely unrelated industries. Like this person who desperately wants to buy beef and mutton tallow from us in large quantities. Whatever did we do to give that impression?
—Dresden wrote in to express shock and outrage over last week's Stumptown ad:
Uuuuum, I guess I could see that.
—A person in the Pearl (surprise!) wrote in to fret over the relocation of Right 2 Dream Too. An R2DToo-er wrote her back.
—I think it's so interesting that people are talking about Burning Man again.
Letters to the Editor: Connecting with your friendly hometown media and your less friendly hometown internet trolls. Every week!
Don't forget! Tomorrow night is the Portland Mercury's Silent Disco—an outdoor rooftop party with FOUR DJs, where you wear wireless HEADPHONES... that way you can dance your ass off till 3am AND whip off the headphones when you want to talk to friends!
OH MY GOD, SO FUN.
Silent Disco is tomorrow night (Friday, Sept 13) from 10 pm - 3 am on top of the Hotel deLuxe parking structure (so you can see the whole city while you dance) and the weather is going to be PERFECT.
THIS THING IS SELLING OUT FAST, SO GET YOUR TICKETS HERE.
Or I'm giving out three pairs of tickets... because I really want to see you there. Email me here by noon tomorrow (Friday), include your name, and put "HEADPHONES" in the subject line. I'll pick three winners (and their dates) at random, and we'll email your tickets tomorrow.
Again... OH MY GOD, SO FUN.
See you tomorrow night at Silent Disco!
Mercury pals! This Friday's Silent Disco is selling out fast... that's why I quickly snagged three pairs of tickets to give away on Blogtown! Do you want to come? You should, because it's gonna be ba-zonkers.
Silent Disco is a outdoor rooftop dance party—on top of the Hotel DeLuxe parking structure—with FOUR DJs (including DJ Beyonda and DJ TJ). How can we get away with that? By giving everyone HEADPHONES. Slip them on and the music (which you choose) will be wirelessly sent to your ears, so you can shake your ass until 3 am and not disturb a single neighbor! Even better? If you want to chat with your friends or cozy up to someone cute, there's no need to shout. Just take your headphones off and talk in comfort as the craziness goes on around you!
The Mercury's Silent Disco is THIS FRIDAY NIGHT (from 10 pm -3 am) and if you don't wanna be left out of the fun, get your tickets now and here.
Or take your chances and email me here by noon tomorrow (Tuesday), put "SILENCE, PLEASE!" in the subject line, and you'll be entered to win one of three pairs of tickets to Friday's Silent Disco! I really hope to see you there, because it's gonna be a certified blast! (A noiseless one!)
You've enjoyed our blog series "A Peek Inside the Mercury Editorial Process" so much, we're expanding the franchise! Our new series "Your Favorite Mercury Employees... at Home" explores what your favorite writers do when they're not penning snarky, self-serving articles about topics no one could possibly give two shits about.
Our inaugural episode of "Your Favorite Mercury Employees... at Home" features Arts Editor Alison Hallett with a special guest appearance from her roommate Copy Chief Courtney Ferguson. Man, these single gals in the city seem like they have a lot of fun outside the office! In this video, Alison demonstrates her considerable "twerking" skills. Take it away, Alison!
Good afternoon, mister mailbag! What have we got in the way of letters today?
—Students! The chancellor of WSU Vancouver is trying to lure you with in-state tuition pricing and assurances that they are "scenic" and "easy to find," and that "you'll feel right at home." Look out for that when you're out shopping for continued education.
—Manuel submitted a totally "us" column for consideration about how the United States is going to meet imminent destruction at the hands of a punitive god. Actually maybe we do have something in common.
—You never know what the last straw is going to be for people. Apparently for reader Tito it was Ryan Gosling. Huh.
—Will and Montiel are in a slapfight about magic. This would be more fun if they were actually fighting with magic.
—Johan wrote in to simplify our perspective on teen birth rates in Oregon, noting that "Apparently, the species monitors itself." The fact that I titled his letter "Monitor Wizard" is my favorite thing in the paper this week.
—Oh! And then Diana swung by to holla at Alison for her excellent handling of reviewing the craptacular film Austenland, in which Colin Firth's nipples feature prominently.
Letters to the Editor: Go on and try it!
This week readers went back to school, chastised the mayor, said a tearful farewell to Ian Karmel, and started getting excited about the Mercury's upcoming first annual Chili Jamboree! All is well on the letters page.
—First up, the opinions came out about the schools we profiled in our Back to School Issue. Laylow was pleased to solve the mystery of the young smarty pantses at his local cafe discussing religious vision questing in Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew (Multnomah University), while Will piped in to opine that "Naturopathy is pseudoscientific, harmful crap" (the National College of Natural Medicine), and Jonathan is pessimistic about career options for graduates of local art institutions (Pacific Northwest College of Art).
—Meanwhile, Mayor Hales' fancy footwork regarding the homeless, city hall food cart pods, and the sudden materialization of money for services did not go over well with Rob at all, who called him a "professional liar." Ya burnt.
—torkful gives Ian Karmel a send-off to LA by, I think, vaguely threatening that if he doesn't pimp himself out sexually he won't get far? At least that's how I interpret the characterization of a place as "an involuntary-sexual-relation-based economy." Ew. By the way, Alison took this moment of parting this week to remind you that the comedy scene here doesn't end with Karmel's residency.
—Graham would like to get on the list for the Mercury's first annual Chili Jamboree, a chili-cookin' contest between some of the city's best chefs combined with live music from (good) country bands like Lucero. Wouldn't anyone?
Dirk's a fucking rube.
Subject tags of the week = talk of the Mercury town: homeless, small record labels, Dan Saltzman, housing commissioner, and gangs. Hmm. Yeah, I guess that about sums it up. To the Letters:
—First off, reader Brian gives Mayor Hales a pat on the back for "restoring some dignity to the grounds of city hall," after he ousted a longstanding protest encampment, further positing that Portland's homelessness problem is the result of having good services: "Build it and they will come."
—Nicolas gives music writer Thor Benson a pat on the back for profiling some of Portland's small record labels, noting that, "Support from the community for local artists is one of the things I like most about Portland." Me too, Nicolas!
—Nancy harbors fond memories of former housing commissioner Nick Fish, who actively worked to find temporary housing for Occupy participants who needed it before the protest was brought to a halt. Dan Saltzman—or whoever's actually in charge of the thing now—has some big shoes to fill.
—Retiring Assistant Police Chief Eric Hendricks thought Dirk's look at cops battling gang violence was "one of the best in many years." Meanwhile Bea posits that what would really help lure youngsters away from the lifestyle are jobs that actually paid anything close to what a life of crime might yield, and Ed chimes in to make a good point that if society expects you to finish high school, get a job, only procreate responsibly, and stay out of trouble, then society should do its part to make those things easier to do. Possible tools to include, "Education, employment opportunities, birth control, welfare reform, criminal justice reform, and drug legalization."
The Letters Page: Where reading and writing come together!
Subject tags for this week's letters section: kids, Woody Allen, Hulk, Denis C. Theriault, and renaissance fairs. Always so telling. Shall we?
—Ian Karmel made some hilarious observations about parents who dress their kids up like they're "opening for the Thermals" (so true) and pregnant mothers who put Rubik's Cubes up their hoohas that come out solved, so... Everyone agreed! Kids: always so telling.
—Author Zac Pennington made the case that Blue Jasmine, thanks to its cast, is one of those increasingly rare Woody Allen films that won't make you feel swindled. But is it too little, too late? Somebody thinks so.
—Someone wrote in to criticize how Hulk looks in his column photo. Hulk sad.
—Somehow this blog post on a very important issue turned into a pro/con match over News Editor Denis C. Theriault—is he a shill for the man? Shouldn't he have gotten that question right on Jeopardy!?—before coming back around to the actual post. Last word: It's a "clever piece of advocacy journalism."
—And, perhaps the best response to Wm. Steven Humphrey's dalliance with the renaissance fair scene comes from "A," who envisions a more realistic version in which "90 percent of entrants would immediately be directed to perform manual labor for three days from dawn to dusk. On the last day they'd be sorted by religious beliefs, formed into groups, and then they'd stab each other to death." And for this he winneth the Letter of the Week.
Good day, sirs!
Did'ja know this week's cover art by Zach Johnsen was painted with smoke bombs?
Did'ja also know you can see Johnsen's new art show The House of Uncommons at Hellion Gallery this month?
Did'ja? Now you do!
"Nice Beaver!" Those are the only words I've heard about this week's cover.
Come on, people! Do you really think we'd put a beaver on the cover, just to boost our pick-up rate (yes we did)?
If you like looking at beavers and stuff by Jeremy Fish you should go to this print art show he curated at Upper Playground tonight. A big pile of big-name art stars will have prints in the show, like Mike Giant, Michael Sieben, Travis Millard, Mel Kadel, Frank Kozik and more. See you there!
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