This Week in the Mercury

Savage Love


Savage Love

Only the Lonely

An <i>Unbroken</i> Story...


An Unbroken Story...

And Angelina Jolie's Sticking to It

Saturday, December 27, 2014

It's Happening Tonight!

Posted by Bobby Roberts on Sat, Dec 27, 2014 at 1:59 PM


DANCE PARTY—Wanna put the hell of Christmas with the family far, far behind you? Go get messy at Blow Pony’s holiday blowout dance night, Christ-Mess. There’ll be naughty and nice DJs, lots of eye candy to unwrap, and more gaiety than you ever saw on Christmas proper, with Santa sittings and sexy, sexy dancers! COURTNEY FERGUSON
Rotture, 315 SE 3rd, 9 pm, $5


MUSIC—Any time you get a chance to dance, drink, and cavort at the Spare Room, you should take that chance and hug it close to your sweaty, drunken bosom. Perennial Portland favorites Larry and Teri provide another great reason to get drunk and sweaty with their old-school lounge act; they’ve been playing 60 years of hits for nearly two decades together. COURTNEY FERGUSON
The Spare Room, 4830 NE 42nd, 9 pm, FREE

Erik's 15 Favorite Movies of 2014: #5—Force Majeure

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Sat, Dec 27, 2014 at 11:59 AM

CINEPHILES! TIGHTEN YOUR MONOCLES! Here are my favorite movies that played in Portland in 2014. It was an excellent year for film—while most critics crank out a top 10, I had a hard time whittling it down to 15. Each day I'll highlight one of those, going alphabetically, because fuck that ranking nonsense.


Force Majeure
dir. Ruben Östlund
Now playing at the Living Room Theaters
From the Mercury's review: "Any child of divorce—where my divorce pals at?—will likely suffer a few flashbacks. Except this time it's funny!"

Seriously. Where my divorce pals at. I need to process this experience with somebody.

How To Not Sound Like Glenn Beck: A Mandatory PSA from Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams

Posted by Megan Burbank on Sat, Dec 27, 2014 at 11:28 AM

I saw a LOT of holiday shows this holiday show season, and in one cringe-inducing moment in one such show, a character made a Kwanzaa joke. This was weird for a number of reasons that I think are best explained in this video. You may remember Phoebe Robinson, a very funny lady based in Brooklyn, from this year's All Jane No Dick comedy festival. Here, she joins forces with Jessica Williams, Best Person™ on the Daily Show, to explain exactly what's wrong with "jokes" like that. Don't worry, it's funny and will only make you feel like an asshole if you deserve it:

Just remember—the holiday season may be over, but not being a jerk never goes out of style!

Tonight in Music: Blow Pony, Holiday Friends

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Sat, Dec 27, 2014 at 10:29 AM

(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) See My, What a Busy Week!

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Well now, this is a bill of enjoyable, local-ish acts who live in different-but-similar places on the spectrum of folk, pop, and rock. Snowblind Traveler is Long Island-born, Portland-based singer/songwriter Matt Dorrien, who makes downcast folk and barroom blues for the modern set. His 2014 album, Confederate Burial, will be a perfect soundtrack for any of the gray days ahead of us. The Weather Machine's self-titled album is a cozy combo of frontman Slater Smith's strummy folk songs, his love of alt-rock (i.e., Modest Mouse, the White Stripes), and his band's baroque-pop savvy. Add it all up and it sounds like Idaho songwriter Josh Ritter when he's in full-band-fun-times mode. Finally, Holiday Friends, from Astoria, take straightforward pop-rock songs and dress 'em up with synths, programmed rhythms, and other future-stuff. In a world where mildly electronic, post-MGMT pop-rock bands are huge, Holiday Friends are capable of big things. BEN SALMON


Friday, December 26, 2014

Blazers vs. 76ers - Hot Live Blog Action

Posted by Rob Simonsen on Fri, Dec 26, 2014 at 6:40 PM


Live from the Moda Center as the Portland Trail Blazers host the Philadelphia 76ers.

All I wanted for Christmas was for the Blazers to survive their toughest road trip of the season, and goodness did Santa Dame deliver. Going 3-1 against the Spurs, Pelicans, Rockets, and Thunder is one thing, but capping things off with an allusion to Game Six is a damn Christmas miracle. Lillard’s list of clutch performances is getting ridiculous. Y’all know what time it is.

Between his heroics in the triple overtime thriller in San Antonio and The Shot redux, Lillard had himself a road trip. Dude is an unending stream of fire emojis. No lead is safe with him on the court.

The Blazers are riding high, feeling good, and enjoying that Christmas break as the second-best team in the entire league. Now they're back home and will try to keep that momentum rolling against...the tanking 76ers? Really? Way to suck the fun out of the holidays, Philly. Christmas is barely over and you’ve already ditched the tree on the sidewalk. Nothing like a visit from the league’s worst team to really get those post-holiday blues jump-started.

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New Year, New Books: Here's What's Coming in 2015

Posted by Megan Burbank on Fri, Dec 26, 2014 at 4:27 PM

  • Graywolf Press

2015 is nearly here, which means one thing: new books are on their way to bookshelves (and our hearts!). While every blogger weighs in with their favorite books of the year, here are some of the books with 2015 publication dates to look forward to:

The Argonauts, Maggie Nelson—Maggie Nelson is arguably one of the best contemporary writers around, with a crazy amount of range both in terms of genre (she's written poetry, scholarly work, nonfiction, and work that's all of those things at once) and subject matter (murder, the color blue, cruelty, Schopenhauer). But something she hasn't written about is her family life—and anything happy. The Argonauts takes on her marriage to the artist Harry Dodge, queer family-building, and Winnicott's idea of the "good-enough" mother.

Bitch Planet #2, Kelly Sue De Connick The first issue of De Connick's new comic, Bitch Planet, is an amazing send-up of classic exploitation stories and lesbian pulp. It takes place in an all-female prison on a far-off planet, where "noncompliant" women are sent, and a rebellion is just beginning. I tore through the first issue, and I can't wait to read the next one, which drops in early January.

Get it While You Can, Nick Jaina—I just picked up a review copy of Get it While You Can, the latest from Portland's Perfect Day Publishing, and I already know I'm going to love it. If you're convinced that memoirs are strictly about awful things, Jaina's memoir will disabuse you of that notion. It's a tremendously likeable, structurally innovative look into what it's actually like to try to make a living while making art, plus silent meditation.

Life is Short, Art is Shorter, David Shields and Elizabeth Cooperman—David Shields has made a career out of giving traditional narrative as we know it the finger. In Reality Hunger: A Manifesto, Shields took the very distinction between fiction and nonfiction to task, and willfully plagiarized other writers. So it's no surprise that his latest, in collaboration with Elizabeth Cooperman, is a collection of writings that make the case for brevity—for the short story, for flash fiction, for the prose poem—as a viable and perhaps more interesting alternative to the traditional 200-page novel.

Purity, Jonathan Franzen—Confession time: I don't have much interest in Jonathan Franzen. I never have. But maybe you do?! If so, here's Purity. If not, see above.

The Best (and Worst) of the Year in Fashion

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Fri, Dec 26, 2014 at 2:59 PM

EVERYONE'S DOING IT! It's time to look back over the past year and assess: What were the best moments, images, cultural influences, and trends of 2014? What sucked, and should be left out in the cold for 2015? These pressing questions certainly pertain to the world of personal style, so as is tradition, I hit up the city's many stylish folks for their take on the best and the worst. They had a lot to say! This here's the full version of what was whittled down for print:

The best: minimalism (so glad); everyday outdoor lifestyle shoots on Instagram of everyday people crabbing, climbing, camping; feminist and racial issues are a topic again; flat shoes; succulent plants. The worst: floppy hats–They're expensive if they're not vintage, and they're not really flattering. Platinum white hair: When everyone has it, it becomes less interesting. The beard: I passed up so many men this year because I couldn't imagine kissing them. Plus, when everyone has it, it becomes less interesting. Tie-dye and electric-orchid hair (sorry). Everyone being riddled with debt and being underpaid, except the techs.—Sierra Gardiner, founder, Oneironaut, a forthcoming line of "dream wares for serious oneironauts"

Best: any time a celebrity wore something publicly twice; the return of hosiery; men in hats; Crocs have all but disappeared (!); pants offered in silhouettes beyond skinny; and David Sedaris in culottes. Worst: crop tops; jeans with ridiculously large holes; bedazzled Tevas; leggings as pants; pointy manicures; neoprene clothing; and slouching.—Holley Shepard, fashion stylist,

Favorite 2014 styles: Nike Air Max sneakers; oversized grandpa coats; linen and wool fabrics; clogs; 501s; soft vintage T-shirts. Other things that made me happy: Milk Milk Lemonade (; huge sales at Una (; fewer pop-ups and more curated events that showcase local craft designers (like Portland Flea,; vintage shopping going from something you do because you're on a budget to a way to add unique pieces to a thoughtfully collected wardrobe.—Charlotte Wenzel, owner, Palace,

Best: Bryce Black's runway presentation at the Fade to Light show in August ( There should be more dancing in fashion shows. Worst of 2014 fashion: Kim Kardashian. Need I say more?—Krystal Gaynor, operations manager, Mercantile Portland,

Alexa Stark
  • Chantal Anderson
  • Alexa Stark

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It's Happening Tonight!

Posted by Bobby Roberts on Fri, Dec 26, 2014 at 1:59 PM


MUSIC—If you have not yet been smitten by the wildly talented golden vocals of The von Trapps—it means you’re either weirdly unfamiliar with the great-grandchildren of the Captain and Maria von Trapp (yes, from Sound of Music fame), or you’re got something wrong inside your tiny, cold heart. Make that heart grow three sizes today with holiday songs sung by Portland’s favorite and beloved crooners at this intimate show at Mississippi Studios! WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY
Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi, 6:30 pm (all ages), 9 pm (21+), $13-15


COMEDY—Keep the holiday jollies going with Boxing Day Comedy, featuring the return of former Portlander Mikey Kampmann and his fellow Los Angelino Jay Weingarten! There is also a surprise guest who is something of a fixture on these pages as well as kind of a big deal. Can you guess? MARJORIE SKINNER
w/Jason Traeger, DJ E*Rock; Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water, 9 pm, $5

Your Yearly Tax Credit Reminder

Posted by Courtney Ferguson on Fri, Dec 26, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Alert! Alert! This is your yearly reminder: Time is running out to to use the political tax credit of $50—which allows people who donate up to $50 to a political action committee (PAC) to knock that amount, dollar for dollar, off their taxes. I like to switch it up but the Bus Project counts, as does Basic Rights Oregon. Me, I'm thinking about donating to the Oregon League of Conservation Voters or to Planned Parenthood's PAC. Decisions, decisions. But you only have until December 31 to donate.


Erik's 15 Favorite Movies of 2014: #4—Edge of Tomorrow

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Fri, Dec 26, 2014 at 11:59 AM

CINEPHILES! TIGHTEN YOUR MONOCLES! Here are my favorite movies that played in Portland in 2014. It was an excellent year for film—while most critics crank out a top 10, I had a hard time whittling it down to 15. Each day I'll highlight one of those, going alphabetically, because fuck that ranking nonsense.

EDGE OF TOMORROW Pictured: Action hero Emily Blunt, costar Tom Cruise.
  • EDGE OF TOMORROW Pictured: Action hero Emily Blunt, costar Tom Cruise.

Edge of Tomorrow
dir. Doug Liman
Now available on Blu-ray, DVD, VOD, and Netflix
From the Mercury's review: "If you see a better popcorn movie this summer, it's going to be a very good summer indeed."

You say you want movies to be smart? You say you want movies to be funny? You say you want movies to be exciting and badass and packed with the sort of visual and aural spectacle that you can't get in any other medium? And then you say you want women in Hollywood to get interesting and meaningful roles? Then for fuck's sake, when movies like that come out, then fucking go. This movie should have been huge, and it should have sent a message about what more blockbusters need to look like. But it wasn't huge, so it didn't. And if you didn't see it, I blame you.

Who Wants to See KISS' Paul Stanley in a Folgers Commercial?

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Fri, Dec 26, 2014 at 10:59 AM

Basically the story went like this: In the year 2000, Folgers coffee wanted someone cool to be in their commercial. So they were like, "Ummm... Paul Stanley from KISS, duh!" However at that point, Paul had stopped wearing his KISS "Starchild" makeup. But Folgers was like, "Whatever! It's PAUL STANLEY! Squeeeeee!" So they made a commercial with non-made up Paul Stanley wandering around a circus in a puffy shirt. And to Paul's credit? You'll never see a more passionate ending to a Folgers commercial. To his discredit, no one in Folgers' focus group recognized Paul without his makeup, and were like, "... what?" So Folgers shelved the commercial. Until now! ROLL THE TAPE.

Tonight in Music: The von Trapps, Tony Starlight's Neil Diamond Christmas

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Fri, Dec 26, 2014 at 10:29 AM

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Buried in the back of most of our heads is a childhood memory of watching The Sound of Music. Maybe a hazy memory includes Julie Andrews' polished smile or a row of sharply clad children vocally bouncing through "Do-Re-Mi." And maybe even further down in our minds is a memory of the true story, that this was based on a real people who eventually made their way from Austria to America as a family band. Generations later, the von Trapps are a sibling quartet who prove the theory that it runs in the blood. Earlier this year, the von Trapps—Sofia, Melanie, Amanda, and August—paired up with Pink Martini for Dream a Little Dream, a highly eclectic mix of standards and originals. You can hear their perfect harmonies, passed down from generations of von Trapps, on the day after Christmas. What better way to emerge from the holi-daze? ROBIN BACIOR Also see My, What a Busy Week!

(The Tony Starlight Showroom, 1125 SE Madison) I come from a long line of dedicated Neil Diamond enthusiasts, but I admit that some later-period Diamonda has eluded my notice. For instance, 2009's A Cherry Cherry Christmas collection, the crooner's third collection of yuletide-themed tunes. (The irony of Diamond having such a deep catalog of Christmas music is not lost on me, but a quick, digressive plea: Can we all stop calling Diamond the Jewish Elvis? Elvis didn't write any of his own songs—not a one. Diamond, meanwhile, remains one of the great American songwriters, the throughline from New York's Brill Building pop of the '60s to the California singer/songwriter period of the '70s to whatever revisionist karaoke era we're currently living in.) Last Christmas, my brother asked if I had heard Cherry Cherry Christmas' title track. I hadn't. Grinning, he dialed it up on Spotify, and the phone emitted the most ridiculous, pandering, wonderful piece of Christmas music I've ever heard. In it, Diamond shamelessly namedrops several of his own songs—an example: "Wish you a very merry cherry cherry Christmas/And a holly holy holiday, too." Or: "Let's raise a Christmas toast of red red wine/We'll even sing Sweet Caroline while the whole world sings along." And lo, there's also a super-swanky saxophone solo. The song is a masterwork, a thing of awe-striking beauty. Tonight, Portland's premier Neil Diamond tribute artist, Tony Starlight, performs a Diamond-inflected holiday show, drawing deep from the man's triptych of Christmas albums. Let's hope "Cherry Cherry Christmas" is on the program. NED LANNAMANN

Good Morning, News: Prison Breaks, Airplane Rants, and Zombie Baby Jesus

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Fri, Dec 26, 2014 at 9:02 AM

So you probably had a pretty okay holiday. Not the best. Not the worst. And it probably wasn't as good as this one. Stacey Addison, a former Portland veterinarian, got word that she'd be freed from the East Timor prison where she'd been held for months just because she'd shared a cab with someone who'd been carrying drugs.

You know who had a lousy holiday? This guy, who got himself kicked off an American Airlines flight after ranting and raving when the flight crew, like the good robots they're trained to be, kept wishing him a "Merry Christmas."

You know who else had a lousy holiday? Hordes of gamers, who were forced to interact with their families and/or housepets after hackers, starting on Christmas Eve, knocked out service to the Xbox Live and Sony Playstation networks.

Despite playing in just 300 theaters, after Sony finally relented and allowed its partial release, modern freedom totem The Interview banked $1 million in box office proceeds over Christmas.

Happy New Year for Russia? Nyet.

A drunk New Yorker was among six people arrested on suspicion of threatening to harm police officers—more fallout from last weekend's assassination of two cops who'd been sitting in their patrol car.

The pharisees in charge of a Cincinnati suburb, selectively wielding their town's zoning laws, have aimed brain-splattering kill shots at some nerd's zombie birth-of-Jesus-in-a-manger display.

This is what not having "freedom of speech" really looks like, in case anyone wondered.

Tasers are called "less-lethal" weapons for a perfectly good reason. Sometimes, albeit rarely, people who are zapped with them die.

The peace and security promised by the Islamic State's dominion over parts of Iraq and Syria—they were bureaucrats, we were told, as well as soldiers, religious scolds, and demagogues—have failed to materialize. Hunger and deprivation are surging. Basic municipal functions are crumbling. More importantly, morale and faith in the promise of a new Islam are faltering.

Cops in Hong Kong are promising to track down every single goddamned degenerate who ran onto a traffic-choked road downtown and pocketed money spilled from an armored truck.


Thursday, December 25, 2014

It's Happening Tonight!

Posted by Bobby Roberts on Thu, Dec 25, 2014 at 1:59 PM


FILMIt's a Wonderful Life goes something like this: George Bailey—a small-town bumbler who can't refuse the bums he calls his “friends”—trusts an incompetent relative with a lot of money, right before Christmas, and then the money winds up lost. Facing ruination, he gets drunk, menaces his family, and hallucinates after a botched suicide attempt. And I always BAWL MY GODDAMNED EYES OUT. DENIS C. THERIAULT
Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy, 6:30 pm, $8


SWEATERS—Sure, Santa has come and gone… but you’re in need of one last holiday celebration. So pick out the most horrific sweater in your Xmas collection and head on down to the Tonic for House Call: Ugly Sweater Party. It’s an evening of top notch house and techno featuring the excellend DJ Mikey Velazquez (along with special guest turntablists Mena Lynn, bahb, Joshua Faded, and Easy Company). By the end of the evening, I bet that old sweater is going to smell fantastic. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY
Tonic Lounge, 3100 NE Sandy, 9 pm, $5-10


Deep Cuts: Blood, Guts, and Top 40 in The Maids' Tragedy

Posted by Megan Burbank on Thu, Dec 25, 2014 at 1:14 PM


It seems perverse to call a play where (almost) everyone dies at the end "fun," but oddly enough, that's exactly what Northwest Classical Theatre Company's The Maids' Tragedy is. That's surprising enough for straight-up tragedy, but it's especially weird in this case: The play is an obscure, rarely performed Jacobean tragedy, written—in 1619!—by two of Shakespeare's lesser contemporaries, Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher. It's theater nerd fare of the highest order that, in theory, shouldn't appeal to anyone but the most diehard of Bardheads.

The story's familiar enough: Melantius (Tom Walton) returns home after a war (as Jacobean heroes so often do!), weary and ill disposed to courtly society, only to find his top bro, Amintor (Steve Vanderzee), has broken an engagement to Aspatia (Melissa Whitney) and is getting married to Melantius' sister, Evadne (Brenan Dwyer), at the king's mysterious urging. If you've ever seen a tragedy, the reason's clear—secret affair!—and the outcome, inevitable—much (bloody) revenge!

Northwest Classical Theatre is known for adaptations of classical works that are good, but also play it straight and frill-free, so I was surprised that this production employed so many contemporary references and surprising visual choices. The playbill contains a nod to Quentin Tarantino, the play's bleak material is soundtracked by Kanye West and Pharrell, there's an entire scene that takes place while Aspatia and her handmaidens do sun salutations, and there's a heavily implied BDSM undercurrent to Evadne and the king's not-so-secret relationship. As the grisly events of the play progress, the actors' makeup becomes increasingly pale, with smudged red lips that at the play's opening suggest revelry, but by the end, seem more bloody than anything else.


Erik's 15 Favorite Movies of 2014: #3—Citizenfour

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Thu, Dec 25, 2014 at 11:59 AM

CINEPHILES! TIGHTEN YOUR MONOCLES! Here are my favorite movies that played in Portland in 2014. It was an excellent year for film—while most critics crank out a top 10, I had a hard time whittling it down to 15. Each day I'll highlight one of those, going alphabetically, because fuck that ranking nonsense.

CITIZENFOUR “So just turn on incognito mode, and bingo! You’re all set!”
  • CITIZENFOUR “So just turn on incognito mode, and bingo! You’re all set!”

dir. Laura Poitras
Now playing at the Living Room Theaters
From the Mercury's review: "We have yet to see the full repercussions of Snowden's revelations, and we have yet to see if Americans have the spine to ensure that our government ceases its blithe abuses of power."

The way the North Korean government acted about The Interview? I'm still a little surprised that the American government didn't react that way about Citizenfour. Maybe they just didn't see it? Man, when they see it, they're going to freak out!

Tonight in Music: Merry Christmas!

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Thu, Dec 25, 2014 at 10:59 AM

(Tonic Lounge, 3100 NE Sandy) See My, What a Busy Week!

What to Watch Today: How About Five Seasons of Pee-Wee's Playhouse?

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Thu, Dec 25, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Santa's come and gone, and all you're left with is a hangover. So what you should be convalescing on the couch with today? How about some ice cream, a big turkey leg (optional), and all five seasons of Pee-Wee's Playhouse on Netflix (streaming now)?

Still hilarious, and murdered long before its time (because of that, ahem, incident) Pee-Wee's Playhouse is truly one of the greatest series to ever be produced for Saturday morning television. But even if you don't have time for all five seasons, at least tune in for the famous Christmas episode—WHICH WAS VISITED BY CHER, OMYGOD.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

This Week's Letters Section: BEST OF 2014!

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Wed, Dec 24, 2014 at 2:59 PM

You guys are funny and you're weird, and sometimes you get SO MAD it makes us cry... albeit usually with laughter. There almost nothing more delightful than to go back and examine some of the strangest fruit to have fallen from our little conversation tree over the previous year, and thus we present to you the Best Mercury Letters to the Editor of 2014: Grande Edition!

Remember Bronies?
  • Remember Bronies?

As with all good parties, we begin with Ritz crackers:


RE: "Puttin' on the Ritz! By Amanda Fritz" [New Column! Jan 22], in which the city commissioner recommends her favorite Ritz Cracker party snack combinations.

DEAR COMMISSIONER FRITZ—Perhaps your recipe for Egg on a Ritz might be appreciated back in jolly ol' England, but not in the good ol' US of A—and especially not here in this gastronomic hotspot we call Portland. Any elected official who extols garnishing dishes with a fucking bay leaf should, frankly, no longer be in office...

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It's Happening Tonight!

Posted by Bobby Roberts on Wed, Dec 24, 2014 at 1:58 PM


KEANU—I was going to recommend that you bail on your dumb Xmas Eve crap to go see the Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy The Interview tonight… BUT then The InterviewJohn Wick, is playing at the Academy this afternoon. Keanu > Jesus. ERIK HENRIKSEN
Academy Theater, 7818 SE Stark, 4:40 pm, $4


PRINCE—There’s a lot of people who were raised like “you get one present early on Christmas Eve, and then you’ll get the rest Christmas morning.” Make this year’s early gift the gift of Prince, with DJs Holla & Oates’ tribute night, Pussy Control. Have your ass a purple, funky Christmas. BOBBY ROBERTS
Dig a Pony, 736 SE Grand, 9 pm, FREE

Poster of the Week

Posted by Courtney Ferguson on Wed, Dec 24, 2014 at 12:59 PM


This year's Art of Musical Maintenance poster is by Jay Ryan. Nice, right? I love the music poster show the Goodfoot (2845 SE Stark) puts on every year. It's the 11th annual outing and this time there are more than 300 posters and 40 different artists covering every square inch of the bar's walls. All items are for sale, so it's a great spot to pick up a last-minute gift. Show runs through January 27.

Hit the jump for a few of my favorites.

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Here's Hyperallergic's Annual Roundup of the Most Powerless People in the Art World

Posted by Megan Burbank on Wed, Dec 24, 2014 at 12:14 PM

#ARTSELFIE game strong.
  • #ARTSELFIE game strong.

Every year, amid best-of-the-year and most-powerful lists, art blog Hyperallergic publishes my favorite art-nerd alternative: The 20 Most Powerless People in the Art World, an irreverent look at the unacknowledged cogs that make the world of art and art selling go 'round. Here are a few of the people the art world threw under the bus this year, leading, of course, with unpaid interns:

1 – Unpaid Interns: Yes, they’re still on this list, and they’ve even jumped 10 spots to take the lead. When respectable art publications, like the for-profit Artforum, have no problems blantantly advertising for unpaid internships, then we have a problem. Thankfully, the British Museum backtracked after it briefly advertised an unpaid position that sounded a lot like a real job. The awful stench of unpaid internships has contaminated every level of the art world, from for-profit galleries, art fairs, artist’s vanity projects, well-endowed nonprofit museums (like Crystal Bridges), and even nonprofit publications like Brooklyn Rail, which barely pays anyone, depending on an army of free talent. This has to stop.

7 — Artworks: This year, if people weren’t punching art, snapping fingers off ancient statues for selfies, breaking an Ai Weiwei vase, trying to upstage it (link NSFW), or ignoring the art while they use it as a prop (looking at you Beyoncé and Jay Z) then they were taking things called #artselfies.

12 – Vivian Maier: As people continue to fight over her legacy and the copyright of her artwork, it’s only natural that our thoughts turn to the artist herself: what did she want? Sadly, we’ll never know, but we can only hope that her legacy is safe.

20 – Female Artists: Did Art Basel Miami Beach depress the hell out of you because of the lack of art by women at the main fair? Yeah, us too.

Poor Vivian Maier! If Art Basel Miami Beach depressed the hell out of you too (solidarity!), you can read the whole thing here.

Erik's 15 Favorite Movies of 2014: #2—Calvary

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Wed, Dec 24, 2014 at 11:59 AM

CINEPHILES! TIGHTEN YOUR MONOCLES! Here are my favorite movies that played in Portland in 2014. It was an excellent year for film—while most critics crank out a top 10, I had a hard time whittling it down to 15. Each day I'll highlight one of those, going alphabetically, because fuck that ranking nonsense.

CALVARY So, this is a cheerful place to have a nice chat then.
  • CALVARY "So, this is a welcoming place to have a nice chat then."

dir. John Michael McDonagh
Now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD, on Netflix Jan 6
From the Mercury's review: "Calvary is neither an easy film to watch nor a cheerful one. It is, however, excellent."

John Michael McDonagh—like his brother, Martin—doesn't try to light up the darkness. And he shouldn't: darkness is all around us, and it pervades, and it defines. Unlike the significantly funnier The Guard, which McDonagh made in 2011, Calvary doesn't have many release valves (it feels, at times, like an endurance test), but thanks to some fantastically sharp performances, the film never stops being perversely enjoyable. The characters are great, and even when they're in the most dire of straits, there's something phenomenal about watching them live. Or worry about not living, as the case might be here.

Trailer for the Black Mirror Christmas Special...

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Wed, Dec 24, 2014 at 10:59 AM

... ummm... which you probably can't watch unless you're in either a relatively small group of people, or a goddamn thief. Why? Because unless you live in England, like to steal stuff off the internet, or are a DirecTV subscriber, you won't be able to watch the Black Mirror Christmas Special tomorrow on Christmas day. Here in the states, this 90 minute long creepy special will only be broadcast on DirectTV's Audience Network at 9:30 pm on December 25. Why should you give a flip? Because the British series Black Mirror (which you can watch on Netflix) is AWWWWESOME! Here's a bit I wrote about it in I Love Television™:

Black Mirror (Netflix, all the damn time). You've probably already had seven to you should believe them! This British sci-fi anthology series (which is like The Twilight Zone for techno-paranoids) tells new stories every episode about the awesomeness and terror of modern-day technology—and I'd tell you more, but it would just take away from the beauty and horror of what you're gonna witness. Just watch it and thank me—and those other seven to nine people.

And the Black Mirror Christmas Special is shaping up to be just as creepily wonderful. Here's what Slate says about it:

Our protagonist, Matthew, is played pitch-perfectly by Jon Hamm in grinning, slightly smarmy mode. As the episode begins, he has been holed up in an endless snowstorm with Joe (Rafe Spall), a laconic, fragile man, for five years, and they are all but ignoring each other. But today is Christmas, there’s a holiday song on the radio, and Matthew wants to chat while cooking a Christmas dinner—anything would be preferable to the boredom. What then unfolds are three distinct stories embedded within the larger narrative frame of their conversation. The first makes clear what Matthew is doing in this frigid place, the second depicts his former day job, and the third explains what Joe is doing there as well, all three stories interlocking and building upon one another with increasingly elegant horror.

I'm sure it will come to Netflix eventually, but if you have a chance to catch it now? CATCH IT NOW. In the meantime, watch the rest of Black Mirror on Netflix—especially if your preferences run toward a "dark Christmas."

Tonight in Music: Pussy Control

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Wed, Dec 24, 2014 at 10:29 AM

(Dig a Pony, 736 SE Grand) See My, What a Busy Week!

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