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Portland’s New Year’s resolutions

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2011 was a big year for Portland. We were sweetly satirized on cable television and think-pieced in the media ad nauseum, and at this point the name of the city could practically apply for dictionary recognition as an adjective for a kind of lifestyle some folks scoff at but secretly envy. As great as this year was, 2012 could be even better — with a few improvements. So we asked some culturally prominent Portlanders to give us their New Year’s resolutions for Stumptown itself. Shockingly, none of them included replacing the downtown Benson Bubblers with beer. Would that be too over-the-top?

Fernando Viciconte, musician

My resolution for the City of Portland in 2012 would be for city officials to convince Tri-Met to convert all buses into rolling food carts, with each bus line providing a different type of delectable treat. Maybe the Number 14 could serve Korean BBQ?

The second resolution would concern the Portland Police Bureau and their management of resources. In 2012, rather than wasting precious taxpayer funds on ousting protesters from city parks, I would deploy these enforcers of law and order to issue citations to all individuals caught wearing those “funny” winter animal hats, which violate every law of good taste.


Jonathan Maus, operator of BikePortland.org

For 2012, I would love to see the City of Portland go even further for “Bicycle Rights.” Despite all the press releases and glowing rhetoric that we live in bike utopia, the truth is that way too many of our fellow citizens are afraid to bike because of what they perceive as unsafe conditions. I would like 2012 to be the year when City Hall begins to see Bicycle Rights not as special rights, but as basic rights: That every citizen deserves the choice to ride a bicycle and that when they make that choice they can expect the same level of respect and safety as when they drive, take the bus, or ride the MAX.


Zora Phoenix, performer/producer/emcee/”gender illusionist”

For the upcoming year, I hope Portland learns to not take itself too seriously. We are a transient city made up of artistic individuals whose collective passions are wide and far-reaching and, like any mass of unique peoples, it can be difficult to find a common ground. It can often seem that Portland’s stance of attempting to be weird and different sets itself apart from no one other than its citizens. All of you are unique, just like everyone else. Embrace your uniqueness without feeling the need to capitalize on it. Lighten up, Stumptown, and have fun!


Jon Ragel a.k.a. Boy Eats Drum Machine, musician

Invent an iPhone app for dating that Auto-Tunes a user’s voice to sound like Gerald Wallace.


Theresa “Darklady” Reed, professional writer/speaker/activist/erotic event impresario

Randy Leonard once tried to scare the SE Division neighborhood where the former Nature’s building still stands vacant by pointing out that an adult business could move into the space. Given that Portland is famous throughout the country for its clean, safe, couple-, female-, and even queer-friendly adult establishments—and the fact the city is a Mecca for those of us who identify as being out of the mainstream—this was both an upsetting and worrisome attack on that well-deserved reputation. I’d like to see that negativity gone. Adult businesses aren’t just good for our employment and economic health, they’re also good for our relationship, mental, and physical health.

I’ve been largely freaked out by riding a bike ever since taking a nasty tumble along a busy street in east county during my teens, but I am beyond proud (yes, to the point of boasting about it alongside our booze-with-full-nudity-strip clubs and nation’s strongest First Amendment) of our bike-friendliness. Alas, the ironic flip side to the popularity of this eco-enhancing transportation method (and something that may be tied in with the aforementioned great coffee shops) is an arrogance and sense of combined moral superiority and immortality on the part of entirely too many bicyclists. Red lights mean stop for everyone, folks, even those using peddle power.

Finally, what I’d really like to see Portland do during 2012 is offer me a reasonably priced, excellently located, ADA accessible venue from which to run my business, host my events, and offer a wide variety of social, educational, and professional services to the sexually questing citizens of the city.

Whaddya say, Portland? Maybe we can talk about it over coffee?


Chris Haberman, artist

Eat No Cinnabon. It’s fat-people crack for Portland suburbanites, and we need to step away from its evil table of sugary goodness. As if bacon-topped doughnuts were better, but at least they are local.

Do Not Fear The Apocalypse. Do not to live 2012 in fear. Live for the now, spend money, have fun.  The calendar debacle is the Mayan Y2K.

Cook At Home, Use Everything In The Fridge Every Week. Only buy what you can carry and use everything creatively.

Zombies Aren’t Coming, Share Your Can Food With The Homeless.

When It’s Nice, Be Outside. Portland is a festival city, especially in the summer. Check out new things, make a festival check list.

Go To Water, Commune With Nature. Local rivers are great. Experience them, leave the Pearl and the PMA and see the outdoors, even in the winter. Hiking in the rain is inspiring.

Do Things, Go Places. Be active in the city and its trillion events. Go see music, theater and art.

Portland Community. Become part of something. Volunteer. Portland is only great because of its friendly and helpful people; be one.


Cool Nutz, rapper/Portland hip-hop ambassador

My New Year’s resolution for the City of Portland is to potentially run for mayor. Most likely I won’t win, but I think that it would be good for the city and also give me a task to actually challenge myself with. I also plan on fully entrenching myself in the city’s food cart culture and visiting as many carts in the city as possible. I will also plan on dedicating more of time to exploring and traveling on all of the cities bike paths. I want to take a more grassroots approach to 2012 and really see what the city has to offer.


Ron Funches, comedian

Enjoy yourself more this year, Portland. You have a vibrant arts scene, delicious food, and people make TV shows about how you live your everyday life. That’s treatment usually reserved for pawn shop owners and pregnant children. Live it up.


Nico Bella, movie hostess/cabaret entertainer/book club leader/candy girl/glittermonger

This year, as you make your New Years resolutions you little hamlet on the Willamette, make one of them convincing your citizens that something does not have to be green, rare, wacky, odd, boring, barrel-aged, unsettling, organic, all gender-speak variant inclusive, expensive, difficult, uncomfortable, itchy, handcrafted, full of doughnuts, made by bike, done on a bike, or including a bike #at all# to be legitimate, valid and, get this, fun.

We have lost track of what fun is here. We know how to make fun of things, but we have forgotten how to make things fun. In 2012, I hope this town remembers that what made this place “weird” was a bunch of people who did their own thing and didn’t care if people were watching. That pioneering spirit diminished in the shadow of Pioneer Place and the lively, randy, funny heart of this town dimmed as the last dirty book store went dark.

Where are we now? Now the whole world is watching and Williamsburg wants to be us—that, as the great poetess Emily Dickinson once said, “is jacked.” So, bring back the fun. Remind your citizens that it is OK to do/wear/ride/eat something, not just as an ironic statement but because you have an actual passion for it. (Oh, and on that note also remind them it is also OK to do/wear/ride/eat something and not give a good goddamn about it’s origins.)

So that being said, if some of your citizens hold tight to their kale chips and their deep appreciation for Belgian documentaries about bleakness filmed from a bicycle, cool—as long as it’s sincere, I applaud them. I, however, will be over here, eating Cheez Whiz and watching “Xanadu”…again.

P.S. Can you also work on your citizens to not dressing like adult babies? That would be cool too.

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Southern Fried SNL

Watch Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein in SNL’s Southern Rock Supergroup

Fred and Carrie kept it mellow on the SNL season finale.

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Photo Credit: Saturday Night Live / NBC Universal

It was a veritable “band from comedy heaven” this weekend as a myriad of comedians assembled for a feel-good musical sketch in the Saturday Night Live season finale. Guest host Fred Armisen was joined by Portlandia cohort Carrie Brownstein as well as Maya Rudolph, Andy Samberg, Jason Sudeikis, Larry David, and members of the SNL cast to form faux-southern-rock supergroup The Harkin Brothers — a band whose members managed to outnumber its audience.

If The Harkin Brothers’ smooth vocal stylings remind you of The Blue Jean Committee from Documentary Now!, that’s probably not a coincidence. The BJC first appeared in a different, more regionally-specific form in a SNL sketch with Sudeikis on drums.

Watch an all-star SNL cast perform a mellow tribute to Arkansas called “Summertime in Fayetteville” in the video below.

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Farewell Mr. Fred

5 Funniest Sketches From Fred Armisen’s SNL Season Finale

Is "Farewell, Mr. Bunting" the best SNL sketch of the season?

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Photo Credit: Saturday Night Live / NBC Universal

The 41st season of Saturday Night Live drew to a close this past weekend, and star of Portlandia and Documentary Now! Fred Armisen hosted the occasion. A former SNL player himself, this homecoming allowed Fred to show off the comedy chops and character skills he’s honed since leaving Studio 8H.

Here are the 5 funniest sketches from the season finale of Saturday Night Live hosted by Fred Armisen.

1. Farewell, Mr. Bunting

What appears to be a straightforward take on the maudlin climax of the 1989 Robin Williams classic Dead Poets Society takes quite an unexpected turn. But if you’re really watching, you’ll realize it’s completely organic and integral to the plot.


2. Fred’s Monologue and One-Man Show

Actor, writer, producer, musician, impressionist — Fred can do it all. So tackling the many characters in the story of his life is a cakewalk for such a talent. Here, Fred takes us on the emotional journey through the day he got the job at SNL and luckily he leaves no detail, however minor or insignificant, out of the performance.


3. New Girlfriend

We were wondering what characters Fred would bring back, but we didn’t predict Regine. Fellow SNL alum Jason Sudeikis appears in this sketch as Regine’s new boyfriend, who introduces his pals to his snarky, raunchy lady. Watch Aidy Bryant try not to crack up at Fred/Regine’s joygasms.


4. Expedition

Three of the biggest stars in American colonialism are Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and Sacagawea. But what most history books choose to omit is the simmering sexual tension between the three explorers. Fortunately, a group of community players illustrate the historical figures’ lustful dynamic to a high school class in graphic detail.


5. Escape Pod

As an interstellar ship begins breaking apart, Fred plays the lucky member of the space crew who wins access to the last escape pod. But a heartfelt goodbye is mitigated by the pod’s virtual assistant ensuring all the luxuries and pampering are to the occupant’s liking.

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League of their own

The Crying Game

10 Things You Didn’t Know About A League of Their Own

Batter up for A League of Their Own this month on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures/Everett Collection

While there may be no crying in baseball, lots of blood, sweat, and tears went into the making of A League of Their Own. From sweltering July heat to concussions to the Material Girl causing trouble, making the hit film wasn’t exactly a homerun. Before you catch A League of Their Own on IFC, check out some dirt on the making of this sports movie classic. Hear that call! The time has come for one and all to play ball!

1. The cast really had to play baseball.

League of Their Own Quotes
Columbia Pictures

Director Penny Marshall was adamant that all of the actresses cast in the film could really play baseball. Prior to the start of filming, the cast (even Madonna!) trained eight hours a day, six days a week for over seven months to hone their skills and bond as a team. They initially practiced sliding using a Slip ‘N Slide, but that method was abandoned when both Tracy Reiner and Megan Cavanagh suffered concussions.


2. Geena Davis auditioned in Penny Marshall’s backyard.

Geena Davis
Columbia Pictures

The Fly and Beetlejuice star was the last person cast in the film after several other prominent actresses like Debra Winger, Laura Dern, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Demi Moore passed. Davis had never played baseball but won Marshall over through a game of catch in her backyard. A natural athlete, Davis was outplaying most of the other actresses on the film. (Though she did use a double for the sliding portion of her infamous catch in the splits.)


3. Tom Hanks entertained the extras with puppet shows.

Tom Hanks
Columbia Pictures

Over 1,700 extras were used throughout the shoot, enduring long hours and occasionally extreme 100+ degree summer heat while on location in Indiana. To keep them entertained in between shots and scenery changes, members of the cast performed. Tom Hanks did puppet shows behind the dugout while Rosie O’Donnell would perform stand-up. Madonna reportedly refused to perform (what a shocker!), leaving the rest of the cast to perform imitations of her. Geena Davis suggested they perform “Bohemian Rhapsody” and songs from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, assigning Tom Hanks the role of Caiaphas.


4. Madonna wasn’t exactly a team player.

Madonna Bosoms
Columbia Pictures

To say the Material Girl was a bit of a handful during the shoot is an understatement. In addition to refusing to perform for the extras and ignoring requests for autographs, she often complained about coming into the film a star but being relegated to the background. According to costar and friend Rosie O’Donnell, Madonna brought a boombox to set the first day and warned everybody that if they broke it, they’d have to buy her another one. She also wrote a somewhat scathing letter about her experiences to a friend, calling Geena Davis a “Barbie Doll” and lamenting the lack of “beautiful men” in Chicago.


5. All of the injuries in the film were real.

Bruise League of their Own
Columbia Pictures

The real women of the All American Girls Pro Baseball League were tough, but their onscreen counterparts were equally as tenacious on the field. Penny Marshall had the actresses play a lot of real games with multiple cameras set up in order to get enough footage for montages, and they didn’t go easy on one another, jamming their shoulders, spraining fingers, and nearly breaking noses. The giant strawberry bruise Alice gets while sliding into base was a real injury actress Renee Coleman sustained during filming, and it lasted for well over a year.  Ouch.


6. Lori Petty and Rosie O’Donnell were the real most valuable players.

Rosie O'Donnell
Columbia Pictures

Though Geena Davis showed natural ability and was supposed to be the “best player in the league,” on-set coach William E. Hughes was most impressed by Lori Petty and Rosie O’Donnell. Petty could actually outrun Davis, so she was forced to slow her pace during the scene where the two race so as not to appear faster than Davis. She wound up throwing more pitches during filming than most Major League Baseball pitchers do in a full season. O’Donnell had actually played Little League baseball with her brothers growing up, so she excelled during training camp, learning how to throw two balls at once from one of the real AAGPBL players on set. O’Donnell and Petty often had hitting competitions and could hit the fences at Major League parks with little difficulty.


7. Even Tom Hanks didn’t know how long he would pee in the locker room scene.

One of the most memorable moments in A League of Their Own occurs when Jimmy Dugan introduces himself by bursting into the locker room in a drunken stupor and relieving himself in front of the rest of the Peaches while Mae times him. To keep both Hanks and the actresses on their toes, Penny Marshall stood in a stall off camera and made the noises with a hose and a bucket for maximum comedic effect. The actual length of Dugan’s epic #1 is an impressive 53 seconds!


8. Jimmy and Dottie had a romantic subplot that was cut from the film.

A League of Their Own Spit

The initial cut of the film clocked in around four hours before being cut down to its more slender two hours and eight minutes. Among the footage left on the cutting room floor were scenes depicting a growing romantic relationship between Dugan and star player Dottie. The conversation on the bus left in the final cut of the film hints at tension, but in a deleted scene the pair shared a passionate kiss late one night on the field which is what originally led to the scene with Dottie telling Lowenstein she was going home.


9. Jon Lovitz was almost upstaged by a cow.

In the scene where Lovitz’s character, baseball scout Ernie Capadino (a role specifically written for the SNL star), visits Dottie and Kit at their family dairy farm, the girls are seen milking cows. Unbeknownst to Lovitz, one of the cows off-screen was giving birth and mooing loudly, causing him to ad lib the line “WILL YOU SHUT UP?!” It was only after they finished filming that Lovitz found out a calf had been born, which the farm named Penny after director Penny Marshall.


10. Some of the cast reprised their roles on the A League of Their Own TV Show.

CBS aired a TV version of A League of Their Own for a brief period in 1993. Cast members Megan Cavanagh, Tracy Reiner and Jon Lovitz reprised their roles, with former “Bond Girl” Cary Lowell in the Dottie role and Sam McMurray channeling Hanks as Jimmy. As you can imagine, it only lasted five episodes.

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