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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.

Danzig-Portlandia-604-web

Face Melting Cameos

The 10 Most Metal Pop Culture Cameos

Glenn Danzig drops by Portlandia tonight at 10P on IFC.

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Glenn Danzig rocks harder than granite. In his 60 years, he’s mastered punk with The Misfits, slayed metal with the eponymous Danzig, and generally melted faces with the force of his voice. And thanks to Fred and Carrie, he’s now stopping by tonight’s brand new Portlandia so we can finally get to see what “Evil Elvis” is like when he hits the beach. To celebrate his appearance, we put together our favorite metal moments from pop culture, from the sublime to the absurd.

10. Cannibal Corpse meets Ace Ventura

Back in the ’90s,  Cannibal Corpse was just a small time band from Upstate New York, plying their death metal wares wherever they could find a crowd, when a call from Jim Carry transformed their lives. Turns out the actor was a fan, and wanted them for a cameo in his new movie, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. The band had a European tour coming up, and were wary of being made fun of, so they turned it down. Thankfully, the rubber-faced In Living Color vet wouldn’t take no for an answer, proving that you don’t need to have a lot of fans, just the right ones.


9. AC/DC in Private Parts

Howard Stern’s autobiographical film, based on his book of the same name, followed his rise in the world of radio and pop culture. For a man surrounded by naked ladies and adoring fans, it’s hard to track the exact moment he made it. But rocking out with AC/DC in the middle of Central Park, as throngs of fans clamor to get a piece of you, seems like it comes pretty close. You can actually see Stern go from hit host to radio god in this clip, as “You Shook Me All Night Long” blasts in the background.


8. Judas Priest meets The Simpsons

When you want to blast a bunch of peace-loving hippies out on their asses, you’re going to need some death metal. At least, that’s what the folks at The Simpsons thought when they set up this cameo from the metal gods. Unfortunately, thanks to a hearty online backlash, the writers of the classic series were soon informed that Judas Priest, while many things, are not in fact “death metal.” This led to the most Simpson-esque apology ever. Rock on, Bartman. Rock on.


7. Anthrax on Married…With Children

What do you get when Married…with Children spoofs My Dinner With Andre, substituting the erudite playwrights for a band so metal they piss rust? Well, for starters, a lot of headbanging, property destruction and blown eardrums. And much like everything else in life, Al seems to have missed the fun.


6. Motorhead rocks out on The Young Ones

The Young Ones didn’t just premiere on BBC2 in 1982 — it kicked the doors down to a new way of doing comedy. A full-on assault on the staid state of sitcoms, the show brought a punk rock vibe to the tired format, and in the process helped jumpstart a comedy revolution. For instance, where an old sitcom would just cut from one scene to the next, The Young Ones choose to have Lemmy and his crew deliver a raw version of “Ace of Spades.” The general attitude seemed to be, you don’t like this? Well, then F— you!


5. Red and Kitty Meet Kiss on That ’70s Show

Carsey-Werner Productions

Carsey-Werner Productions

Long before they were banished to playing arena football games, Kiss was the hottest ticket in rock. The gang from That ’70s Show got to live out every ’70s teen’s dream when they were set loose backstage at a Kiss concert, taking full advantage of groupies, ganja and hard rock.


4. Ronnie James Dio in Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny (NSFW, people!)

What does a young boy do when he was born to rock, and the world won’t let him? What tight compadre does he pray to for guidance and some sweet licks? If you’re a young Jables, half of “the world’s most awesome band,” you bow your head to Ronnie James Dio, aka the guy who freaking taught the world how to do the “Metal Horns.” Never before has a rock god been so literal than in this clip that turns it up to eleven.


3. Ozzy Osbourne in Trick or Treat

It’s hard to tell if Ozzy was trying his hardest here, or just didn’t give a flying f–k. What is clear is that, either way, it doesn’t really matter. Ozzy’s approach to acting seems to lean more heavily on Jack Daniels than sense memory, and yet seeing the slurry English rocker play a sex-obsessed televangelist is so ridiculous, he gets a free pass. Taking part in the cult horror Trick or Treat, Ozzy proves that he makes things better just by showing up. Because that’s exactly what he did here. Showed up. And it rocks.


2. Glenn Danzig on Portlandia

Danzig seems to be coming out of a self imposed exile these days. He just signed with a record company, and his appearance on Portlandia is reminding everyone how kick ass he truly is. Who else but “The Other Man in Black” could help Portland’s resident goths figure out what to wear to the beach? Carrie Brownstein called Danzig “amazing,” and he called Fred “a genius,” so this was a rare love fest for the progenitor of horror punk.


1. Alice Cooper in Wayne’s World

It’s surprising, sure, but for a scene that contains no music whatsoever, it’s probably the most famous metal moment in the history of film. When Alice Cooper informed Wayne and Garth that Milwaukee is actually pronounced “Milly-way-kay” back in 1992, he created one of the most famous scenes in comedy history. What’s more metal than that? Much like Wayne and Garth, we truly are not worthy.

The joke’s on you, Portland: An interview with the pranksters behind the Peculiarium

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In the window of the pink-colored building that houses Northwest Portland’s Peculiarium, there are signs advertising its contents with adjectives such as “Bizarre” and “Shocking.” The ones to pay attention to, however, are those reading, “We Promise Nothing” and “Not So Unusual, Actually.” Although it sounds like a knock-off of Ripley’s Believe It or Not!—or the title of a kids’ movie about a kooky museum curated by an eccentric collector named Dr. P.Q. Peculiarius—it’s actually more of a parody of those kind of curio tourist attractions. Exhibits include: an empty cage of poisonous lizards from “Idiotsville, Oregon”; the true contents of Al Capone’s vault, complete with a visually-referenced Rickroll; an alien autopsy scene in which the extraterrestrials are the ones doing the dissecting; and, inside the gift shop, a massive stuffed Sasquatch. So it’s a bit of an ongoing prank, perpetrated by Laika director and animator Mike Wellins—you may recognize his work from recent M&Ms and Frosted Mini Wheats commercials—and partners Lisa Freeman and Eric Bute, but one pulled with such enthusiasm you don’t mind being tricked.

We talked to Wellins and Freeman about their big joke, the roadside attractions that inspired it, and how in a place like Portland, where absurdity is the norm, it’s incredibly easy to fool people into believing that, yes, that really is a dead Bigfoot in the doorway.

Portlandia: What was the inspiration for this place?

Mike Wellins: It was a group of people who all like this kind of stuff, and we went to the next level. Lisa and I were looking around to do something to get out there, besides a Web site or something. We originally thought of doing, not a food cart, but a truck that traveled around. We went and looked at some trucks, and we’re like, “Wow, this is a horribly uncomfortable place to have to work. I’m 46 years old, I don’t want to be going to a gas station asking to use the bathroom.” This place became available, and that was it. It harkens back to horror movies and sci-fi and all that stuff we like, and also that tongue-in-cheek, putting-a-museum-on-its-ear kind of humor. To me, that’s one of the really fun, subversive parts. Some people really do see it as a museum and will be like, “Is this real?” There’s that element of teasing people, and also that element of fooling people, which is kind of surprising. There’s a really fine line between screwing with people and having fun with people. That was a big part of it. There’s also a lazy aspect. Like, “I don’t really want to go research a bunch of stuff. Let’s just make up a history.” You couldn’t force me to read history in high school, but I friggin’ love history and true things now, and the strangest stories I can find. So it was a natural transition to just make up our own lore about this area.

Lisa Freeman: I just love the subtle humor throughout. You don’t have to get it to enjoy it, but if you do get it, it’s almost like you’re in on an inside joke. It’s real fun to watch people’s reaction to things. Some of the funniest stuff is when people don’t get it. They’ll say, “Where did you find those aliens? Did they crash in your yard?”

Does that really happen a lot?

Wellins: We’ve had people come in and go, “Oh yeah, I saw Bigfoot up at Trillium Lake, talked to him for half an hour.” They’re serious! They’re like, “We went camping one time, and [pointing to giant Sasquatch mannequin] that’s the guy we saw, except he was shorter and fatter.”

Growing up, were there places you visited that you modeled the Peculiarium after?

Freeman: Of course we both love Ripley’s.

Wellins: My dad was a good dad, but he was in the military. We’d go on vacation, everybody would get up at four in the morning, and he had it all planned out, and we never got to stop at places like this. And we got to pick one gift on our whole trip, which was horrible, because you get something early and later on you’re like, “Oh no! I didn’t know they’d have these!” So I used to drive past all these places. Once I became an adult, when I go on vacation I don’t make reservations, it’s like, let’s just explore. So for me, it was, let’s make a place I never got to go to. I stop at all those things now, even the most rinky-dink, hokiest ones, because they’re so weird. I’m amused by weirdness and awkwardness.

Tell me about the art shows you have in here.

Wellins: We just sort of opened the door. Monte Wolverton, whose dad Basil Wolverton was a Mad Magazine artist, he did a great show, and he couldn’t get a show anywhere else.

Freeman: He came in and didn’t say who he was. He dropped a CD off and ambled out the door.

Wellins: I saw “Wolverton,” looked at the CD and saw the first picture and said, “Yeah, you can have a show.” To me, there is an element of sterility that goes with a lot of art galleries, where it’s not supposed to be fun. Sometimes, the openings are like wakes, where everyone’s standing around wearing black, and they’re very quiet. I need more humor in it. So we embrace people who do weird, silly stuff, and couldn’t get shows anywhere else.

So what’s the deal with the whole Conrad Elwood story?

Wellins: Originally, we wanted to have a bigger back story, to cement [the Peculiarium] to something older than us. It has this long history that precedes this place by 80 years. And we’re out to deliberately confuse people who want to be confused. Some people laugh when they read the signs; other people, like we said, don’t know what’s real.

Freeman: Most people do think he’s real, and we perpetuate that all the time.

Wellins: Yeah, we’ll be like, “Oh, he was just here, you just missed him.”

Freeman: “He just dropped off a new package! We haven’t opened it yet, but it’ll be good.”


The Peculiarium is located at 2234 NW Thurman St. Its winter hours are 12pm-6pm, Fri.-Sun. For more information, call (503) 227-3164 or visit peculiarium.com.

(Photo by Todd Mecklem)

Get a sneak peek of Portlandia’s poster for our “Battlestar Galactica” episode

1229-Portlandia-Battlestar

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Just when you thought that all the gifts you had coming were over, Portlandia has a couple “moore” in store for you. While we’re counting down the days to the premiere of Season Two next Friday, January 6 at 10/9c, we’re also insanely excited about preview of the entire second episode titled, “One Moore Episode,” this January 1st on Facebook.

In appreciation for all of the tremendous fan support we’ve been getting, we’re sharing the episode’s commemorative poster created by Portland artist Justin Hampton.

Have a Happy New Year and be sure to like us on Facebook so you can join us when we journey back to Portlandia with Fred and Carrie for “One Moore Episode.”

IFC.com users cannot sell, distribute the “Portlandia” posters to third parties, prepare derivative works of or otherwise exploit “Portlandia” posters without the prior written permission of Broadway Video and IFC.

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