Shiny! Shiny! The PDX Browncoats always do a kickass job with their flyers for the annual Can't Stop the Serenity charity screening of Serenity.
Shoot me an e-suggestion for next week's poster, if you'd so like.
A few weeks ago, I mentioned how much I like Kinoko's Gilgamesh comic. If you don't remember (Why don't you remember?), I praised that series' blend of authenticity and off-the-wall insouciance. Kinoko's translation worked its magic through playful irreverence, tickling but not skewering the source material.
Jezebel, Portland comics artist Elijah Brubaker's account of the Biblical story of Jezebel is not so subtle. Both strips recast their protagonist as a sort of modern everyman, but where Kinoko's Gilgamesh is a childish, overmasculine bro, Brubaker's, er, Elijah is something beyond that. He's a careless, shlubby, "rather loud and hairy individual." He's a champion of his religion perhaps out of sheer righteousness, but more likely out of pure self-righteousness. He listens to God, but only because God appears to him (God's appearance is... ungodly, and hilarious) and says He'll help him. It's worth pointing out that God, also, is just kind of a dick in this strip. Reverence does not Brubaker's goal here.*
Neither is accuracy, thankfully. If I'm not wrong (I'm probably wrong), in the Biblical story of Elijah and the widow of Zerapheth, the widow's son dies and Elijah prays for God to bring him back to life, which God does. In Jezebel, the widow and her son, tired of Elijah's grifting them for all their food and a room in their home, fake the son's death. Elijah's reaction is to "invoke the power of the lord" and wake the kid up with a series of belly flop bodyslams. I also might have failed to mention that Elijah is naked during this entire episode, so... NSFW or whatever.
The earlier pages show Ahab, currently King of Israel and not apparently super committed to being Jewish, meeting and getting to know his bride, Jezebel, via an arranged marriage. Ahab is so relieved his bride is not fugly (Ahab's word, not mine) (also not the Bible's) that he doesn't seem to mind that she worships Baal, not the God of Ahab's people. So he builds Baal some temples and monuments and stuff, which is what sets Elijah off in the first place.
Granted, it's mostly that irreverence that keeps Jezebel funny. Or maybe the funniness makes it irreverent... Anygoddamnway, they're inextricably tied. Either way, the jokes are funny as hell and even the very minimal characterization in the art (especially the faces) is enough to make every joke pop.
If it sounds like your thing, and you can face the risk of eternal damnation inherent in reading a comic where God says the phrase "Hey what up, Donkey Dick," you can check it out at Study Group. It updates Wednesdays. Today's update includes Elijah and God high-fiving.
*It is in his wheelhouse, though. Brubaker's other ongoing historical comic, Reich, is a fairly serious series about the German psychologist (sexologist) Wilhelm Reich. It's a probing, evenhanded biographical comic, and the art is stark, expressive caricature. The research is thorough, and Brubaker's notes make a point of admitting when the comic isn't exactly accurate.
Natasha Kmeto makes music like no one else—it's part electronic, part R&B, part classic pop, part dance, with all the disparate ingredients adding up to a very cohesive, unique whole.
LISTEN: Natasha Kmeto - "Take Out"
Maybe it's the gray skies, or the strong beer, or the men fearlessly garbed in kilts. Whatever the reason, Scots and Portlanders seem to be simpatico in many ways—like Camera Obscura, who came from Glasgow to record their new album here.
LISTEN: Camera Obscura - "Fifth in Line to the Throne"
Once they were the Ascetic Junkies. Now they are There Is No Mountain. The stripped down duo has a new name and a new, playful sound.
LISTEN: There Is No Mountain - "Owl Hymn"
Plus a fistful of Up & Coming shows.
The man best known for portraying Tony Soprano on HBO's acclaimed gangster drama The Sopranos died in Italy today. The initial reports from Deadline.com attributed cause of death to a stroke, but was later changed to a heart attack. Gandolfini was 51 years old.
Gandolfini is survived by his wife Deborah Lin, their infant daughter Liliana, and a teenage son Michael from his previous marriage.
His filmography includes roles in True Romance, In the Loop, Crimson Tide, Get Shorty, The Mexican, Killing Them Softly, and Where the Wild Things Are, where he voiced Carol. His is the first voice you hear in the following trailer—
—and his face is the last thing audiences saw in the final moments of what has become maybe the most controversial ending in modern television.
Hi gang, I've got a pair of tickets to give away to tomorrow night's installment of Russian Roulette, a spinoff of the popular Back Fence PDX storytelling series in which eight storytellers spin a giant wheel to select a story prompt, and are given five minutes to come up with a true story based on that prompt. The audience gets to decide who wins and who is fed to the lions.
This time around the lineup includes Portland comedians Shelley McLendon and Ian Karmel, doorguy/actor Vin Chambry," and a woman who gives her former occupation as "peacock wrangler." Hit the jump for the full list of performers and bios.
The show is tomorrow night at Disjecta, 8 pm, tickets are here.
Email me with "Russian Roulette" in the subject line by noon tomorrow for a chance to win!
We're giving away a pair of tickets to the show! To enter, you'll want to jump over to End Hits. Good luck!
The Builders and the Butchers w/Sons of Huns, River Giant; Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi, 9 pm, $15 (tickets here)
I've been squirting Michael Cera OUT THE ASS this week, but you should probably really watch this trailer for his new indie film Crystal Fairy and the Magic Cactus (Just a smidge of NSFW). Here's the very apt description!
On a trip through Chile a boorish American expat named Jamie (Michael Cera) and three Chilean brothers plan to set off in search of the prized San Pedro cactus and its promise of beachy hallucinations. But in the previous night's drunken stupor Jamie invites a free-spirited fellow American (Gaby Hoffmann), whose devil-may-care worldview gives them more of an adventure than any of them had bargained for.
Guys! GABY HOFFMANN! Yes, Field of Dreams' Gaby Hoffman! And her eyebrows are A-MAY-ZING. Oh, and Michael Cera's in it too... so that's pretty cool, I guess. I want to watch this whole thing!!
Water activists incensed over the city's decision to formally stop fighting a federal order to cover our drinking water reservoirs have been threatening for weeks to pitch tents in protest on Mount Tabor next month. They're calling it Occupy Mount Tabor.
But this morning, they showed up outside Portland City Hall with something of an olive branch for the city council: Pick up the phone and resume what's been, for years, an unsuccessful fight, and everyone will stay home.
"If you don't want the grass ruined, pick up the phone," organize Jessie Sponberg, a Mount Tabor native and Occupy activist, said into his megaphone. "The last thing I want is to pitch a bunch of dome tents with a bunch of hippies up there. But I will do it.... I don't care if police drag me off the mountain."
Sponberg was addressing a group of maybe 30 or 40 people who marched around city hall chanting about Portland's water being "under attack" thanks to a plan to spend hundreds of millions of water rate funds to comply with the feds by covering and building new reservoirs.
The issue has been bubbling for years but was set off again after city council, with the exception of Amanda Fritz, signed a letter last month calling off attempts to fight the feds.
Activists say giving in amounts to a sop for construction companies eager to start work on the expensive public works project, which, to fund, will require significant increases in the city's water rates. They say the city should keep lobbying the feds for a waiver, something that the city says hasn't worked.
The debate also has taken some of the leftover momentum for the city's fluoride fight—with signs and chants talking about poison and water quality, which is an interesting rhetorical angle, given that the reservoir mandate is aimed at stopping water contamination issues Portland's open-air Bull Run watershed system doesn't suffer from. The Oregon Health Authority has some oversight in the reservoir issue. And despite an internal review clearing the OHA of influencing the fluoride debate, trust issues linger.
"You are being sold a lie," Sponberg says.
Sponberg also said he didn't think the media was doing enough to pay attention to this issue. He mentioned me—people clapped, apparently not as chapped over our fluoridation endorsement—and hoped I'd be writing something. Which I was planning to do. And with a few more pictures, even.. after the jump.
Featuring Rachel Maddow, George Takei, Alan Cumming, and Dan Savage.
Portland State University last week gave some of its students surprising, if perhaps welcome, news: No school this summer.
In the middle of exam week, mere weeks before summer courses were set to commence, the university sent out e-mails to students enrolled in a number of classes, saying they'd been cancelled due to "budget constraints beyond our control."
But people affected by the cancelations are wondering how that pencils out.
"All these courses were beyond capacity," said Greg Twiss, a pre-med student who'd counted on taking an Introduction to Genetics course this summer. "There were already three people on the wait list for it. What's the budget cut logic there?"
According to an email he received June 10 from the PSU biology department, Twiss' best bet to take the course is now to enroll this fall.
"Due to budgetary constraints beyond our control all sections of this course, as well as the associated recitations, are being cancelled for summer 2013," the e-mail says. "We apologize for the inconvenience this will undoubtedly cause, and recognize that this is a truly unfortunate situation for all. BI 341 Genetics will be offered during Fall term 2013."
That's a message Twiss was surprised to receive weeks before the class was set to begin.
"They opened registration for these course months ago," he said. "If they were gonna make a policy decision to make these changes, it would have between great to know sooner."
The cancellations apparently go well beyond Twiss' genetics course, but university staff has been unresponsive to my calls so far today.
PSU Adjunct Professor Carey Booth, who's sounding the alarm on the cancellations, says they appear to be aimed at saving money on outside staff—Booth is a lab instructor at Reed College, and only teaches at PSU during the summer.
"They won't explain to me or (Biology Department Chairman Jason Podrabsky): What is their logic?" Booth says. "How do they pencil this out?"
According to her own calculations, which Booth concedes are simplistic, the university stands to make something like $40,000 from her classes alone this summer. Here's her logic.
More on this when (if) the university decides to call me back.
UPDATE, 3:06 pm: Documents available to PSU students indicate the university is also slashing more than half of its summer economics offerings. According to this list [PDF], PSU had 17 summer courses in economics listed as of Monday.
Today, according to a screenshot Twiss sent, that list has been pared down to eight.
In March, Shape magazine published a big "best-of" feature in which they canvassed the country's various gyms and other workout-related businesses to determine the "best" in each category. There was only one winner from Portland: Studio Blue, which was christened the best studio for "Pilates powerhouses." Naturally, I had to see what the hype is about, so click over for the rundown on one of the most diverse studio experiences ever listed under the term "Pilates."
For the 10 songs of Imperium, as the press release says, "the Portland trio discarded the synths and unplugged their instruments, translating into a more upfront and assertive Blouse." You can hear that new approach in the strumming of the new single, "No Shelter," which starts off sounding like a casual demo before building into an intriguing, if slightly unsettling production, bearing a sense of tensely potential freedom, like a tethered hot air balloon pulling forcefully against creaking ropes. Unlike the first Blouse album, there are no drum machines or "instruments that plug into the wall" on Imperium. Apparently there was construction going on next door to the studio while they were recording, and while we're spared the 34-minute sonic experimental track "Excruciating Sound of Power Drill through a Muffled Wall," it does seem like that element of flux and transformation lent itself to the record.
Listen to "No Shelter," why don't you?
Idaho Republican Party leaders are calling on the state Legislature to invalidate local city ordinances that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation - like the one Coeur d’Alene passed after an emotional community debate just two weeks ago.
Six Idaho cities have passed such non-discrimination ordinances in the past year and a half, and a seventh, Idaho Falls, is looking into one now; the Idaho GOP wants them halted.
I'm trying to picture the kind of a person who wakes up in the morning and says to himself, "Today's the day! I'm finally gonna take a stand against those anti-discrimination laws!" How do you think that thought and not realize how monstrous your behavior is?
Fluoride's resounding defeat in Portland is nearly a month behind us, but controversy around the most-contentious vote in
Portland's recent memory lingers—sort of.
The Oregon Health Authority has found in an internal investigation [PDF] one of its employees committed a "minor violation" of the state's acceptable use policy in the run-up to the vote, when she used her state e-mail account to arrange to give out pro-fluoride signs.
But employee Laurie Johnson, a program coordinator in the Oral Health Unit, didn't ultimately distribute the signs, the report found, and pulled back when she realized the communication "may be crossing boundaries."
"Based on the Agency's review and consultation with (the Oregon Department of Justice), we have determined the email exchange was a minor violation of the Acceptable Use Policy," the report states. The cited policy prohibits state employees from using state computers and accounts for political purposes.
The violation was the only finding of wrong-doing in an investigation that—at the urging of fluoride opponents and spurred by news reports—sought to determine whether there was credibility to concerns about the OHA's treatment of the fluoride debate. Specifically, anti-fluoride political action committee Clean Water Portland suggested OHA workers purposefully delayed a report showing the dental health of children had improved, and had inappropriate communications with pro-fluoride campaigners.
Stop by the Falcon Art Community tonight at 6pm for the inaugural installment of the live-work community's Wednesday Night Lecture Series ($10 suggested donation, 5415 N. Albina Ave).
Tonight's lecture will feature painter and Falcon Art Community member Natalie Sept, alongside photographer Israel Bayer, who Sept teamed up with to produce The Dishwasher Project— a series of paintings and photographs that document Portland's dishwashers. (Details on that project, right here.)
Apart from their shared art endeavors, Sept and Bayer are an interesting pair: By day, Sept works as a district representative for Congresswoman Bonamici; Bayer, as the executive director of Street Roots. While there's no official connection between The Dishwasher Project and the professional posts held by the project's creators, the duo's dedication to giving voice to the unheard is evident across their creative, personal, and professional lives. They work all day to help people, and then they punch out only to keep fighting the good fight. A very tall, sincere stack of gold stars goes to them.
For a brief overview of The Dishwasher Project, check out this piece we ran a few weeks back, and if you're curious about the mechanics of the project— how Sept and Bayer went about gaining access to kitchens, selecting subjects, conducting interviews, etc.— drop by the Falcon Art Community tonight and hear the full story.
People who like awesome stuff were already aware that Fox is producing an animated series based on the best thing the human mind has ever, and likely will ever concieve: Axe Cop, a comic created by a five year-old, drawn by his 29 year-old older brother, starring a mustachioed titan of masculinity who dispenses hickory-handled justice upon those who do evil, like Pretzelhead, the Vampire Man-Baby Kid, and Mr. Doo-Doo.
Today, thanks to contractual obligations clearing themselves up, Fox was able to announce that yes, showrunner Nick Weidenfeld (Children's Hospital) made the only acceptable choice to voice Axe Cop; Ron Swanson himself, Nick Offerman.
But that's not the only bit of good news. Over on the Axe Blog, co-creator Ethan Nicolle broke down the rest of the cast, which includes some of alternative comedy's best (Patton Oswalt, Ken Marino, Peter Serafinowicz, Rob Heubel); alongside some serious heavy hitters, like Breaking Bad's Gus Fring and Mike Ehrmantraut (Giancarlo Esposito and Jonathan Banks) Mad Men's Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser), and finally, Michael Fucking Madsen.
The best animated show television will ever behold premieres July 27th, 11pm, on Fox.
For this week's film section, I interviewed Nathan Fillion about his performance as the bumbling, self-important lawman Dogberry in the new Joss Whedon-directed adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing. He said something great when I asked him what informed his character:
“Stupid people don't know that they are stupid. Stupid people think that they're the smartest guy in the room. So I learned that that's very important, to play smart. The smarter you can play it, the funnier and more stupid you can come off. So I just focused on trying to be smart, and letting vanity play a large role in how Dogberry behaves.”
That brought to mind a fascinating multi-part blog series that Errol Morris did for the New York Times called "The Anosognosic’s Dilemma: Something’s Wrong but You’ll Never Know What It Is." In the first post of the series, Morris introduces something called the Dunning-Kruger Effect, which is explained in the article by Cornell professor David Dunning:
[W]hen you’re incompetent, the skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is. In logical reasoning, in parenting, in management, problem solving, the skills you use to produce the right answer are exactly the same skills you use to evaluate the answer.
In other words, "our incompetence masks our ability to recognize our incompetence." This concept has basically haunted me since reading Morris' post; I'm glad, at least, that Fillion was able to apply it to such good comedic use in Much Ado.
(Much Ado is perfectly fine and fun, btw. Don't let people tell you it's the best Shakespeare adaptation ever made—they are only saying that because Joss Whedon touched it—but it is a perfectly charming and enjoyable little movie. My writeup is here, with more of my interview w/Fillion.)
Actress Shailene Woodley discovered firsthand what a cordial and welcoming place the internet can be when on-set pictures of her as Mary-Jane Watson in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 hit back in February. And if having legions of pindicks projectile vomiting their facile opinions about her looks everywhere wasn't bad enough, today she learned that she endured the firehose stream of liquefied asshattery for nothing, as Marc Webb announced her character is being excised from the movie, and bumped to the sequel.
Superficial Spider-Fans excited that this might be step one towards the role being recast were immediately served a steaming plate of "Tough shit"; Woodley is not going anywhere. Which is very likely for the better, because last time Spider-Fans got this pissed off, it was about the mere concept of Spider-Man being black, which ended up not only becoming a reality, but (surprise) one of the best written realities in all of Superhero comics.
More level-headed Spider-Fans consumed the news in a different way, speculating on how The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will now play, and how the next two films in the series will proceed from there, with Dave Gonzales of Latino Review breaking down the idea that this announcement starts locking in place the puzzle pieces needed to build a Sinister Six trilogy.
Which could be pretty fucking awesome, so long as audiences haven't become exhausted by the nonstop onslaught of Superheroes wrecking shit at the multiplex by then.
Revival Drum Shop–Fiasco, Wishyunu, 8 pm, $5-15, all ages
Aladdin Theater–James McMurtry, Denver, 8 pm, $18-20
Al's Den–Casey Neill, 7 pm, free
Holocene–Mattress, XDS, Swahili, Grapefruit, 8:30 pm, $5
Lola's Room–CSS, MS MR, Io Echo, 8 pm, $22.50, all ages
Mississippi Studios–There is No Mountain, Siren & the Sea, Sam Cooper, 9 pm, $6-8
Wonder Ballroom–The Dandy Warhols, The Shivas, 8:30 pm, $22-25, all ages
Erik Henriksen is out today, so as the office's Chatum Tot #2, it falls to me to blog about Jimmy Kimmel's latest bit of business, a music video called "Channing All Over My Tatum," featuring Jamie Foxx, Channing Tatum, Gabourey Sidibe, and Miley Cyrus. It goes a little something like this:
It's a fine attempt, but it doesn't really work. Mostly because (and I'm sure Erik would agree with me) there's too much stuff that isn't Chatum. And when there is Chatum, he isn't being his charming, suave, ridiculously handsome self. He's being a weird caricature of himself. Jamie Foxx is being Willie Beaman from Any Given Sunday, and that's cool—
—but when Chatum is on screen, I want CHATUM. RAW. UNCUT. THUMB-HEADED LIP-LICKING VAGUELY CONFUSED-LOOKING CHANNING FUCKING TATUM.
Instead I got Jimmy Kimmel making a jizz joke about his mom and Miley Cyrus eating some skittles. Eh. Whatever. Your mileage may vary.
I am a bisexual woman in my early 30s and am currently in a monogamous relationship with a wonderful woman with whom I am living together. I love her very much and although we have been dating for less than a year, I am pretty convinced that I want to be married to her.
Our sex life is great—quite vanilla (especially compared to the kind of letters you receive) but nonetheless, deeply satisfying. However, there is one problem: sometimes when I am on the edge of getting an orgasm, I think of gay men having sex. Specifically, I think of myself as a gay man f*cking another guy in the ass. And that, without fail, will make me come. I have never thought of myself as a man or have any intentions to be one. I also have no desire to sleep with anyone but her. I recall you mentioned before that we are all free to think of what we like when having sex, but this is really bothering me. Am I cheating on my partner by thinking of something/someone else, other than her, when I am getting laid by her?
Gay Sex Is Hot
My response after the jump...
In greedy douchebag news, a Christian school in Nebraska is not only expelling a student for being in a lesbian relationship mere months away from her graduation, but is now also charging her the $6,000 tuition that was due the semester she was expelled. Before being slapped with a bill, Grace University made Danielle Powell see Christian mentors, engage with spiritual advisers, and promise not to engage in sex. Powell was not aware that the people running her school were virgin Dungeons and Dragon masters that still lived with their mothers and needed more money to buy lube and light sabers.
Porn star “Stoya Fleshlight” talked to Huff Post this week about how she’s “ruined porn for her dad.” Now when he goes online to whack off to porn, it’s nearly inevitable that he’ll run into some pop-up ad of a sex toy modeled after his daughter’s vagina. This, apparently, also applies the other way around; any time Stoya is acting in a porn scene, she is vividly reminded of the months of neglect her father used to bestow upon her.
The house judiciary committee has advanced a bill this week that would outlaw abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. When one Democrat asked how the policy would apply with instances of rape, GOP Arizona representative Trent Franks said occurrences of pregnancy from rape were “actually very low.” “I’ll show you ‘low,’” said millions of American women, readying their fists.
Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” has quickly become the number one song in the country, and its music video has been sparking all kinds of controversy. The video consists of Robin Thicke’s beady little eyes staring at us, wearing a full suit (alongside T.I. and Pharrell) while models prance around appearing nude, like a bunch of anorexic babies. Meanwhile, balloons float through the music video at one point, saying, “Robin Thicke has a big dick.” “Oy vey, he wishes,” sighed Robin Thicke’s mother.
George Boak, a spiritual healer in the UK, has been charged with sexually abusing two women, with a third accusing him of the same charge during his trial. George Boak was known to heal physical pain, but in the instances of sexual abuse, he asked the women to take off their clothes, and touched them inappropriately. When one victim asked what he was doing, he reportedly responded, “sorry, I got carried away.” Incidentally, Boak has also “gotten carried away” with his hand, his Starbucks barista, his grade 8 math teacher, and one particularly uncomfortable instance with his single-speed Schwinn bicycle.
The low number comes via the Gallup poll, which says exactly 23 percent of Americans think newspapers are worth trusting.
But newspapers don't stand alone. Confidence in television news has also been slipping — it's tied with newspapers this year at 23 percent, which is slightly up from last year's all-time low of 21 percent. Newspapers and television news rank near the bottom of a list of 16 "societal institutions," according to the report. The only institutions television news and newspapers beat out this year are big business, organized labor, health maintenance organizations and Congress. Americans expressed the most confidence in the military, at 76 percent, and small businesses, at 65 percent.
Well. We can't exactly recreate this poll, but we can ask the question this way:
I think we can all agree that this—and I do not offer such praise lightly—is the second-best thing that has ever been set to Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'."
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