DID YOU READ

Made in Portlandia

Made in Portlandia (photo)

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In 2008, the dream of the ’90s brought me to Portland. At the time, of course, I didn’t realize that’s what drew me here. I’m 29 years old; in the ’90s, my dreams were usually about Neve Campbell, hanging out with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin or, for some reason, fronting a dancehall reggae band. Even just before moving here, I wasn’t totally cognizant of what relocating to Portland “meant.” All I knew is I wanted to finally get out of the Southern California beach town I grew up in and go to a place harboring big-city culture within small-town geography, and San Francisco was too expensive. A job opportunity put Portland on my radar. The job never materialized. I ended up here anyway.

Over the last three years, though, I’ve come to the conclusion that Portland is where I’ve always belonged–and not only because the weather is more conducive to my wardrobe. “Portlandia” introduced itself by having Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein define the culture they would be lampooning via a synth-pop song-and-dance number, but “The Dream of the ’90s” didn’t register with me as a skewering. For me, it was a valentine to all the things that have made me fall in love with Portland. I don’t have any piercings or tattoos, I didn’t study clowning in college (though in retrospect, it might’ve been a better decision than majoring in journalism), and despite what my subconscious used to tell me, I’ve never had much desire to be in a band, reggae or otherwise, but I’m glad to live somewhere in which those things are part of overarching value system. I enjoy being surrounded by people living absurdly. And there’s no place in America that accommodates absurdity more than Portland.

I’m aware that makes it seem as if I’m romanticizing the notion of delaying adulthood. I would argue, however, that what Portland is about is redefining what it means to be an adult, not shirking it all together. That whole thing about this being the city where “young people go to retire” is funny but not totally true. If Portlanders are unambitious–and that’s a relative term to begin with–at least they are passionate about their lack of ambition. You know what offends me far more than artisanal light bulb manufacturers and adult dodgeball leagues? People whose only goal is making enough money to afford to live in a region where the temperature dropping below 75 degrees is considered a “cold snap.” I would never fully slander my hometown–Oxnard, California, known for producing strawberries, underground hip-hop producer Madlib, and gang violence of both the Latino and surf-punk variety–but that’s the prevailing attitude of a lot of my peers who never left. It was a beautiful, culturally diverse place to grow up, but it’s not where I wanted to spend my late 20s. I wanted to spend them in a place where my neighbor works 15 hours per week at a local co-op and the rest of their time in the basement recording a ukulele folk album.

I didn’t really know that about myself until I came to Portland, and despite conventional thought, I think that’s true of most of the city’s transplants. Contrary to popular belief, Portland does not put out a Bat-signal for freaks, weirdos and (ugh, I hate to use this word because it’s lost all meaning at this point, but it feels obligatory) hipsters. People wind up here for whatever reason, and the weirdness gets yanked out of them and added to a culture that’s still being defined. “Portlandia” straddles a line between mocking and celebrating that culture; to hear locals discuss it, the side to which it leans is a matter of interpretation. So I prefer to think of it as a tribute. And that’s how I plan to treat my space on this blog: As an homage to those who dare to live absurdly, in the most absurd place on earth.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.

via GIPHY

It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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