Ahem, as predicted, this week's letters section is quite the journey. In fact, we doubled the size of it in an attempt to give space to the many, many responses to our endorsement of fluoridation. Whichever side of the debate you're on, it's a colorful read. My two favorites...
TO THE MERCURY VIA VOICEMAIL—I'm a holistic health practitioner, which I know in the article says that we're based on faulty science, which is kind of amusing to me. Putting a Band-Aid on tooth corrosion while ignoring the ravages on these children's bodies from their diet, which is the main issue, is really fucking stupid. And I literally can't believe that anyone would be so fucking stupid as to think that that would help. So I would really appreciate if some people on your staff could have a more holistic perspective on health and maybe get behind some nutrition initiatives like community gardens or something where these kids can get some fucking organic vegetables.
DEAR NEWSPAPER EDITOR PERSON—Your article has inspired a small group of us who believe that Establishing Holistic Regionally Mandated Aquatic Heritage Goals is Everyone's Rightful Duty (EHRMAHGERD). EHRMAHGERD is committed to defending Portland's water not just from fluoride, but also from chlorine and ammonia. Now, you may be thinking, "Wait, if you remove all the disinfectant chemicals, then some people will contract cholera or dysentery!" Well, yes, that may be true, but the sacrifice of an unlucky few is a small price to pay for the rest of us to enjoy perfectly pure drinking water. In the next voting cycle, look for EHRMAHGERD's campaign against vaccinations. Now, again, you might be thinking, "Hey, without vaccinations, some kids will contract polio!" Well, to that we say: We never could've had FDR's New Deal without a little polio. If you'd like to join EHRMAHGERD, we'll be meeting at the bottom of Crater Lake next Tuesday.
—An under-informed, well-meaning, active citizen
A few other missives about other stuff snuck in, too. Like our interview with two of the "street kids" who inspire so much hand wringing during the warmer months. If you ever actually talk to them, you might think about cluing them into places like Outside In, since many of them are just passing through and don't know about it but could use some of this amazing facility's services. (So could their dogs.) And it would help reader and Outside In case manager Heather feel less "bummed."
Also, guys: some people think you're an asshole for holding the door open for women. Some people think you're an asshole for not. You really can't win this one.
Also, FYI, the plural of "haiku" is "haiku."
Oh, and Portland As Fuck made someone cry tears of joy. Great job, Karmel.
But otherwise, yeah: FLUORIDE
Alas, what exactly that something is? We aren't sure! The stretch of SW Third in front of the organization's newly expanded and rennovated offices—which happen to be right by the Mercury's offices—is largely blocked off. Several Klieg lights, turned on and bright even in the middle of the afternoon, are set up on the opposite side of the street from the building's entrance, near the Silverado gay bar and the Portland Outdoor Store. These lights are pointed at a stage that's being erected in the street, beneath a giant green bow that's been affixed to the building.
I asked the employees of a nearby food cart if they'd heard anything about was going on; their response, which I desperately want to believe, is that ANTONIO BANDERAS is coming to town this weekend to celebrate the grand opening of Portland's spiffed-up Scientology HQ. (Banderas isn't on this list, but he was in Interview with the Vampire with Tom Cruise... COINCIDENCE??!!)
The first thought I had about this big production is that it might be related to Scientology's practice of setting up the "Ideal Orgs" that former Village Voice editor Tony Ortega has written about:
As [Scientology leader David] Miscavige has pushed his followers to raise money in extreme quantities to buy up these large buildings and renovate them, there's been a real question about their purpose. Church membership itself hasn't been growing, and the Ideal Orgs are replacing smaller facilities that weren't out of space.
That info seems to match with Portland's previous, far more humble Scientology offices, which were always sparsely populated whenever I'd walk by. But back to Ortega: While he notes that openings of such buildings come only after "local Scientologists... are encouraged to mortgage their homes and max out their credit cards in donations so the church can buy a historic property in their area that needs renovation," Scientology's PR department focuses on the dramatic impact those buildings can have—particularly their grand openings, which "are attended by thousands of parishioners, guests and dignitaries from across the social spectrum."
Which leads to something else interesting, this time from Ortega's dedicated Scientology site: A recent story headlined "Scientology is Staking Everything On Portland Like It Actually Matters." That post takes a look at information gathered by former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder, with particular interest paid to this Portland-centric flyer that calls Portland "The First Scientology City."
A call to that number from the Mercury office has yet to be returned.
So now, my fellow Portland residents, we are left with one very important QUESTION:
• Will ANTONIO BANDERAS be in Portland this weekend???
As you may have heard, Portland continued its uncanny televised streak a couple weeks ago by having yet another apparel design representative win Project Runway, which—while there's no getting around the fact that it's reality TV, and all that comes with that—does necessitate an actual skill. Prior hometown winners have taken the money and run to New York to establish themselves in a bigger market, but I think it's interesting that Michelle Lesniak Franklin has chosen instead to invest her money in the local economy, with plans to hire in-house production workers and commitments to participate in at least three upcoming fashion shows in the next six months.
In this week's paper I interviewed Michelle about the mind tricks of reality TV (which she dealt with remarkably well) and plans for further design domination. You may not have heard of her prior to the show's season but get ready for her name to come up often.
A couple weeks ago we introduced new writer Ronald Quiroga and his real estate-centric column over on MOD, and today he's back with his first specimen.
If you were to split up the personalities of prospective homeowners, some would be the type who love big old houses with personality and weird details that need a shit-ton of work (me!). Then there are the smart people, who are looking for move-in ready, brand new everything, no pending problems or DIY money pits in sight. House #1 is for the latter mindset, one of those new craftsman-style houses that have been popping up all over town and, I think, doing a decent job of blending in with the existing architecture.
It's also amazingly priced, and while it does cross the 82nd-avenue "line of fire" for some people, it's half a block off Glisan, which is snap. And as someone currently typing this with flecks of oil based primer all over her hands, I can tell you that the fact that everything's done has its advantages.
Did someone lose their dope? It's in this tin seen on SW Ash & 3rd. (AND NO, I DIDN'T SMOKE IT.)
So maybe my excitement led me to get a little out of hand with the subject tags of this post, but that's only because Sword + Fern—the gem of a shop helmed by Emily Baker, who makes jewelry but also stocks local apothecary, art, clothing, vintage nicknacks, books, and more—just keeps becoming a better and more rounded nexus of all these things.
After closing for a few months for renovations, Sword + Fern will be back in the First Friday swing of it this week, debuting the first in their new series of curatorial collaborations/art installations, "DISCOVERe'verer," with Plane/Air, to be followed by a roster of participants that includes Claudia Meza, Anna Korte, Helmy Membreno, Valentine Freeman, and more. Plus they've just announced that S+F will be the pickup spot for produce from Thistle Top Farm, and a forthcoming clothing line collaboration with Portland Garment Factory(!!). Swing by this Friday from 6-9 for a look at the reconfigured space and a high five for Baker's expanded venture.
Do you lay awake at night because someone might "force" something "poisonous" on your water? Or that "wingnuts" will shout loudest and drown out "sane science"? Do you give a shit about Metro's ability to manage open spaces? Or how about our city's continuing commitment to helping disadvantaged children thrive?
Of course you do! So pay attention and do exactly what I say: REGISTER TO VOTE. The deadline to sign up for a ballot in the May 21 election is today. TODAY. AS IN, THIS IS AN OFFER THAT EXPIRES PROMPTLY AT 12 MIDNIGHT.
The easiest way: Hit up the Multnomah County Elections Office's website. You can download a registration form and find answers to questions like, "If I'm already registered, but moved since the last election, do I have to register again?" (Yes please!) Or? Go right to the cleverly named oregonvotes.org website maintained by the Oregon Secretary of State's Office.
Or... if you're a Luddite who shuns fire and electricity and pirated wireless, show up at 1040 SE Morrison or call 503-988-3720. Copies of registration forms are also in phonebooks, and in post offices, libraries, schools, and DMV offices. So long as the postmark has today's date, you're golden.
Any Oregonian 17 or older is eligible (provided you'll be 18 on or before Election Day). And no one should feel left out if they're currently houseless. List the place you sleep most often as your residence—be as detailed as possible, providing details like cross streets—and then use a friend's place, a shelter, a PO box, or even the county elections office as a mailing address where your ballot will be sent.
Now hurry up, get out there, and fart in the general direction of history!
The goal of Portland Made is just broad enough that it takes a minute to wrap your head around. It's an online hub that ultimately aims to include every single product that is manufactured in Portland (not just tea towels and stationary but mattresses, bikes, and eventually food products), where visitors to the site can browse maker profiles, connect with retailers, and even purchase items for later pickup. It's also a quasi-social networking service for its makers, designers, retails, and manufacturers to ask and field questions, pool resources, and form mutually beneficial partnerships. Created jointly by Supportland and ADX, you know the ambition doesn't stop there. One of the most exciting things they are doing is pairing with researchers at PSU to create metrics tracking the job creation powers of local manufacturing, creating numbers that they can then bring to decision-makers in local and state government, with the idea of collecting evidence for the argument that the economic health of our community doesn't just live and die at the hands of biggies like Vestas and Adidas.
I spoke at length this week about the project, and tonight's official launch party, with ADX's Kelley Roy for this week's Sold Out column, but if you're more of a visual person, check out the official launch video by Will Nelson of Megamouth below, and stop by ADX tonight at 7 for speeches by the mayor, State Representative Jules Bailey, dancin', drinkin', and more!
This morning on MOD we published the inaugural blog post of new contributor Ronald Quiroga, who's bringing his experience as a real estate journalist to the blog, with sneak peeks at properties that come to market. Some of them might be reasonable a first-time buyer to consider, some of them might just be cool/amazing/weird. But if you're anything like me (going to open houses is your idea of a good time), you'll want to look out for 'em. First up he introduces us to Erin Lolcama of Exit Realty with some basic advice on what to do and consider if you're thinking of taking the plunge. (Lolcama sold me my house last summer, and the woman can break some truth across your brain.) Go check it out.
Before the current issue disappears into the horizon and sails away, I'd like to encourage you to take note that in addition to our lengthy feature on mayor Charlie Hales, I devoted my little fashion column to his wife, and Portland's first lady, Nancy Hales, which sort of makes this the unofficial Hales Issue.
I didn't really think anything of the fact that he was married when Hales first took office. In the 15+ years that I've lived here Portland never had a "first lady" in any impactful way, so expectations were pretty nonexistent. It was actually Tito Chowdhury, Executive Producer of FASHIONxt who first alerted me to her in his contribution for our 2013 style predictions at the new year:
Our new mayor's wife, who's well traveled, outward looking in her professional capacity, and a fashion enthusiast, may play a visible role in promoting style. Unless the underachieving, vocal majority of Portlanders don't break her spirit just because she's showing fashion awareness, [since] that threatens their frumpy looks and living.
Man, I almost forgot how jerky he got at the end there. Anyway, it was enough to make me curious, and to notice when she kept being photographed wearing Portland-designed pieces. I was just excited to have someone in a visible role who was stylish—we could use a little glamour, guys, and I will never forget the time a supportive but hapless Sam Adams made his opening remarks at Portland Fashion Week wearing a tee-shirt and baseball cap (ugh, so embarrassing). And I was delighted to find out that her interest is more than just for show. She has a fascinating job in her own right, running the First Stop Portland program at PSU, acting as an ambassador of the city for international delegations coming to visit and study Portland for a variety of reasons, and it was through this work that she started to unpeel what the local industry has been doing, and she understands its significance within the overall culture of the city and its famous "livability."
Anyway, I think she's rather fantastic, and maybe represents the potential for more support and/or recognition from people in decision-making positions. Read it!
Guys! For those of you who bemoan the lack of celebs that come to Portland, prepare for a minor SQUEE! Filming has started in Portland for a new untitled TNT series starring Geena Davis and Scott Bakula! WAIT! And Veronica Mars' dad Enrico Colantoni?? HOLY SHIT, WE'RE AT LEVEL THREE SQUEEEEEE, PEOPLE!
Here's what we know about the plot thus far:
“Inspired by the real-life story of bounty hunter Mackenzie Green, the drama stars Davis as Mackenzie “Mack” Green, an unconventional bail bondswoman and bounty hunter whose eccentric personality and unusual tactics give her an advantage in a tough and unpredictable business.”
Oh, you bounty hunters with your unusual tactics and eccentric personalities! The O reported they shot some scenes last week in Milwaukie (just south of Sellwood) and we've had reports they are filming today in Ankeny Alley right behind our offices, so I guess you know where I'll be all day! Okay, Blogtown Cub Reporters! You know what to do... SEND US YOUR CELEB PICS AND SIGHTINGS!
Weirdly, there isn't a single screencap or vid of his performance on the entire internet (unless you're one of those pirate people), but you can catch it online when Fox unlocks the episode in a week. Don't miss it! In the meantime, the internet blogger reviews are in, and here's what they're saying about Ron's performance:
Eventually, Schmidt and Winston start brainstorming about the worst thing they’ve ever experienced on a date, and that’s when it becomes clear that they’re not going to make it anywhere near the restaurant. Winston and a girl were once serenaded by a shirtless, overweight homeless guy singing George Michael’s “Father Figure.”
Okay, that didn't really reveal much about his performance. How about this review from The Two Cents:
Fueled by a fear that their friendship is nothing without him, Schmidt and Winston decide to ruin Nick’s big date. Send in the shirtless singing hobo!
Better... but... how about one from Den of Geek:
Because Winston’s worst date was when a random homeless man marched up to his table and danced and sang 80s love ballads for the entire time. Yes, we get a flashback. Yes, it is hilarious. Yes, I wanted that scene to just keep going. Sadly, the rest of the episode had to happen.
That's more like it! And here's an even better one from The Loop:
The flashback that followed may be the funniest scene in New Girl history. In short, we watched a fat, shirtless homeless man sing George Michael’s “Father Figure” to Winston’s date while grinding the air. Whoever came up with that bit clearly has a inside track on what tickles my fickle funny bone. I must have rewatched it eight times in a row and I still couldn’t stop giggling like Ron Swanson in the presence of a free steak dinner.
And finally, someone who actually recognized Ron! From Hollywood.com:
...and the other homeless guy who serenaded Winston against his will to George Michael's "Father Figure." (By the way, that guy was played by an incredibly talented stand-up comedian named Ronald Funches. Do yourself a favor, next time he's in town, check out his act. You won't be sorry).
Again, congrats Ron, and we hope to be seeing more (not necessarily naked) of you on TV soon!
Whatever you were doing yesterday afternoon was probably more boring, and most likely safer, than this:
That's Thor Drake up in there air, there, co-owner of See See Motor Coffee Co. and probably Portland's most popular and well-documented motorcycle stuntman (see: every photo or music video filmed here involving motorcycles ever). I think that probably sans cape and mass human peril, this is just a typical afternoon for Drake, but in this case the jump was a reward for donations for a forthcoming book documenting the past two years of the One Motorcycle Show. Or, according to MotoLady:
…for science! Or… for the love of moto! Or simply because it’s fun to do things that aren’t maybe the best idea. Either way, Thor raised $50,000 to bring some amazing books to print… two years of the One Motorcycle Show. To entice investors, he said he’d jump over them for another 10k. He got it. Today, he jumped ‘em.
I'm glad that A) he followed through on his Kickstarter reward promise, and B) everyone lived.
Look, I'm no Portland newby; I've lived here a long time and have paid my dues and then some. But like many of you, I didn't grow up here, and only really found out about Portland because of reasons that can ultimately be traced back to Courtney Love.
In addition to these periodic publishings, Streckert (whose day job is as a Portland tour guide, appropriately) has been holding casual seminars at the Jack London Bar to continue the education of his audience, like tonight's focus on Portland TV personalities (which kicks off at 7:30). That is exactly the sort of shit I, and chances are you, missed out on by being born in a different state. He tells of "Clowns. Cowboys. A man with too many buttons. Buzz-cutted retailers. News anchors. An actual, real whale. Puppets." And... I've heard of the whale. Should it even be noted that you can relieve yourself of ignorance while hurting your brain with alcohol at the same time? It's all about balance.
The first wave of invites to people who'd signed up first on Wildfang's site—a new Portland-based e-commerce site dedicated to the "tomboy" look—came out on Friday. As someone who is probably somewhere in the middle of the pack, and anxious for the unveiling of a shop that has been the recipient of a remarkable amount of hype, I have been going back to check daily for the launched site. And while my invite must have gotten lost in the mail (ahem), lo and behold this morning my email address unlocked the site.
Wildfang warrants a little extra attention because they've stormed the retail scene with guns blazing and eyes on the prize. Founded by a coterie of former Nike employees and enough resourcing to enlist over 20 people in various forms of employment, this is a smart, careful, and formidably savvy crew out to become a major player—in my interview with them they made comparisons between themselves and Urban Outfitters more than once. If and when they get there, assumed they remain in Portland, as they've stated they want to, this could well be where your future teenager jocks her first reg.
Yeah yeah, but what about the goods. Click over to MOD for what's inside.
The history of Portland's 24-Hour Church of Elvis has been marked by frequent closures and relocations, so it's not a huge surprise that its most recent incarnation in downtown's Goldsmith Blocks is now shuttered.
Stephanie G. Pierce's oddball vending machine/art gallery/wedding chapel is definitely a vestige of old weird Portland—not new weird Portland, which is not actually all that weird—and it's been located, variously, at SW Washington, Ankeny Alley, an upstairs storefront on Ankeny, and, since 2008, in the Goldsmith building at 4th and Couch. Most incarnations hinged on Pierce's interactive, coin-operated displays, though for a time she offered both real and fake weddings from the upstairs Ankeny museum. (I think I might've married a gay friend there when I was in high school?)
I don't have any info on the closure, aside from some unverified rumors; I'm gonna poke around a bit and I'll update if anything interesting turns up.
In the meantime, here's an awesome/adorable piece from KBOO's archives about Pierce's 1991 attempt to run a booth at the Rose Festival. It's pretty priceless.
Welcome to episode two of my continuing effort to document Portland's small victories and unsung heroes.
 Tiny giraffe chained to the street.
In my last episode, I mentioned how much joy I get out of the tiny horses chained to the street. Alert reader Virginia sent me this picture of a tiny giraffe chained up while her owners are inside. I love you guys so much.
 OMSI After Dark, or more generally, adults-only events at kid places.
Last week I had a nightmare that people were making fun of me for not being to tie my shoes. While I'm technically an adult, I'm emotionally seven. So it's nice that OMSI recognizes that some of us want to play with the block crane without waiting in a line of children. Other establishments should learn from this (psst, I'm talking to you, Portland Zoo and sketchy Portland Aquarium).
 Unnecessary bike delivery
I love people who make things unnecessarily hard on themselves and Portlanders do that as well as anybody. The harder it is the more we seem to like it. Selling Tacos by bike isn't that hard, so Clever Cycles is upping the ante by delivering hot tubs. I predict that in six months something is going to be delivered by horse and buggy. "If you're on the east side, we're going to have to caulk the taco truck and float it across."
 Solar powered garbage compactors
These have gone a long way towards fixing the overflowing downtown trashcans but I especially like the touch of having beautiful pictures of the city on them. I'm especially fond of this one because I assume the people in it don't know their faces are on a garbage can.
 Bagel shops popping up to replace Kettleman's.
We don't need a natural disaster to prove we know how to pull together in a crisis. When Kettleman's got purchased by the fast food bagel BAKERY that shall not be named, we rose up as a city and offered twice as many good bagels as we lost. Kenny & Zuke's are still my favorite and they answered the call by turning Sandwichworks into a Bagelworks. New, amazing bagel shops are popping up all the time. Because Portland is full of heroes.
Keep up the good work, Portland. Nominations for Acts of Awesomeness? E-mail me.
UPDATE: See the comments for details, but the short version is that, embarrassingly, I have a hard time figuring out what week I'm currently living in. Alien Boy plays at Cinema 21 through next Thursday, March 7, at Cinema 21. That said. Tonight is your last chance to see a screening with director Brian Lindstrom in attendance, so at least part of this post isn't a total waste of pixels. Original post follows. Just ignore all the parts about tonight being the last night it's playing.
ORIGINAL POST: Okay, probably not your last chance to see Alien Boy—given the film's local relevance, it'll likely be screening again somewhere else sometime soonish, and I imagine it'll have occasional screenings far into the future. But tonight's your last night to see it at Cinema 21—and at the 7 pm show, it's your last chance to see a screening with director Brian Lindstrom in attendance for a Q&A.
From Denis' review:
Nearly seven years ago, James Chasse Jr. was chased and beaten by cops, kept from the medical care that would have saved his life, and left to die in the back of a police car. Lies were whispered in the minutes and hours that followed, and years have passed without any meaningful reckoning.
And ever since, Lindstrom and the film's producers, some who knew Chasse personally, worked when they could to painstakingly assemble the most definitive—and unflinching—account of a tragedy Portland should never forget.
The final screenings at Cinema 21 (616 NW 21st) are tonight at 4:30, 7, and 9, with Lindstrom in attendance for the show at 7.
Protesters had turned out early this morning, and one was arrested and cited for trespassing after cops showed up and she pushed past the caution tape set up several dozen feet away from the tree. But by the time I showed, the scene was one of quiet resignation. And noise. The tree had been denuded of branches, which were being fed into a chipper. And a sawman was up top of it, hacking it down piece by piece.
Said one onlooker as a log dropped onto the damp dirt below with a dull thud: "It's like a body."
The road has to be big enough to handle trucks, which is part of the reason it couldn't be drawn to go around the stand of trees. OH, AND THE CITY ALSO TOLD EVERYONE THE TREE WOULD HAVE TO GO SEVERAL MONTHS AGO after a long, involved public comment period that everyone apparently forgot about until it was time for the saws to start up. It's not been much comfort to protesters that the city is planning on planting new trees and using the wood chips at a park in Westmoreland.
"I just want to emphasize again that if there was any other way that we could have proceeded with this project without removing the tree we certainly would have done that," parks spokesman Mark Ross said. "It's just not possible. This option had the least impact, and the public process has been going on for years."
Portland, Oregon is about to become home of the largest women's swimwear boutique on the West Coast. I know: HOW THE FUCK.
Clearly the arrival of such a landmark calls for a celebration involving "beach hair makeovers," swimsuit models, live surf bands, free booze, tons of prizes, and a hot tub. No really, it does. Surf on over to MOD for the whens and wheres.
I made it 13 seconds into this. Perhaps you will fare better.
The people stomping around and claiming that homosexuality is wrong because it says it's wrong in the Bible are the religious equivalent of those Japanese soldiers on remote Pacific islands who never found out that World War II was over. Here's what the Bible should have said: "It super bums out God if you butt fuck, so don't butt fuck, but if there are ever so many people on the planet that there are TWO Gallaghers, please feel free to butt fuck without remorse."
True that! READ ALL OF IT HERE.
Alas, you can't win them, and when the Portland location of Seattle men's clothing stalwart Blackbird quietly closed its doors at the end of December, it chipped away at what has been a recent (and arguably overdue) surge in men's-focused boutiques. It also freed up a spot in the primo Black Box building, which perfectly straddles the downtown/West End and Pearl District shopping districts, so it's no surprise that there's already a new neighbor moving in. Click over to MOD to find out who.
Last night the PR mavens behind Pendleton's Portland Collection posted a teaser image from the next season's lookbook:
Coincidentally, I recently got my hands on a hard copy of the lookbook, a lengthy tome of over 40 new looks and a slew of new accessory designs. Aside from the fact that this collection is important—it is an example of a powerful local brand using its re-energized momentum to demonstrate its faith in local independent designers (Church + State's Rachel Turk and Nathaniel Crissman, and John Blasioli)—it gets better with each season. One notable fan of the line is newly minted first lady of Portland Nancy Hales, who keeps getting photographed in it, and has said publicly that she's making an effort to wear Portland-designed clothing, which could be a good sign that the newly configured city hall is taking an interest in the local apparel industry.
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