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Apocalypse Whaaa?: Where to spend your Portland Armageddon

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As we all know, the world is ending this year. (If Roland Emmerich makes a movie about it, then it must be true.) What the Mayans didn’t tell us is exactly what that means. What specific brand of doom is coming our way? Is the earth going to collapse into a giant sinkhole? Are aliens invading to steal our precious fluids? Monkey-pox outbreak? Waterworld?

Don’t fret, though. Whatever the cause of our utter annihilation, Portland is prepared. If you just happen to be visiting the Rose City when the meteor hits or the sun explodes or the grain starts to overrun the planet, don’t let a little apocalypse ruin your vacation. Even if all existence begins to crumble around you, there are still plenty of places to go and things to see. It just requires a minor tweak of your plans. Here now are just a few suggestions on how to spend your end-times in Stumptown, depending on the cataclysmic scenario. Calm down: We’re going to get through this together. The end of the world doesn’t have to be the end of the world.

Natural disaster: Andy & Bax
324 SE Grand Ave., (503) 234-7538

A military surplus store on mushrooms, Andy and Bax has essentially been stockpiling for Armageddon since it opened. What kind of Armageddon? Any kind, really: tectonic plate-shifting earthquake; Ice Age; ninja-pocalypse (a longshot, but there are throwing stars and nunchucks available just in case). Half the store looks like a costume shop specifically designed for World War II battle reenactors, with country-specific combat helmets, uniforms, boots, gas masks and a mannequin posed in a flight suit purportedly worn by a pilot in an observer plane during the nuking of Nagasaki. For the Outward Bound set—and really, that’s going to include all of us once the infrastructure collapses—there’s all sorts of affordable camping gear, from propane stoves and lanterns to instant hot shower kits, Dutch ovens, government-issued extreme-cold sleeping bags and skillets big enough to fry a baby bear in. Oh, and what the hell: While you’re at it, why not pick up a pink bedazzled cowboy hat and Mexican wrestling mask? Live it up! There’s no one left to judge you, anyway.

Nuclear war: Glowing Greens
509 SW Taylor St., (503) 222-5554

In a city where every home has a basement and every street corner a subterranean bar (not to mention the Shanghai Tunnels beneath Old Town), there are plenty of potential places to take cover when the bombs begin to fall. Keep in mind, however, that there’s only one pirate-themed indoor miniature golf course. Why hide there? Well, first of all, it’s underground. Second, everything is neon colored and illuminated by blacklight, which will help survivors get acclimated to the new psychedelicized radioactive environment they’ll encounter once the smoke clears. And most importantly, when the earth is repopulated, future humans of the dystopian wasteland are going to need some method of blowing off steam, and someone must pass down to the next, possibly horribly mutated generation the concept of leisure. All hail the post-apocalyptic pastime: glow-in-the-dark 3D putt-putt golf!

Zombie fever: The Safari Club
116 SE 4th Ave., Estacada OR, (503) 630-3208

Technically, this place is located in Estacada, a small, rural town about 25 minutes outside Portland proper, but when the dead begin to rise and feast on the flesh of the living, it’ll be a good idea to flee the metropolitan area. And when escaping masses of the shambling undead, you’re going to want to be in a place with a lot of taxidermied animals. A rare combination of Portland kitsch with the, um, “redder” sensibilities of the rest of Oregon, the Safari Club is a 40-year-old roadside landmark, a restaurant and dance club decorated with dozens of stuffed big-game beasts, hanging on the walls and posed behind glass. Frankly, it doesn’t have much strategic value in a zombie apocalypse. It just looks like the kind of weird setting from a low-budget mid-’80s horror movie where people would hole up to fight off the zombie hordes. Sorry if this isn’t much help. I’d recommend my friends’ heavily fortified compound nearby, which is where I’m going the moment the first corpses stand upright, but the invitation is somewhat exclusive.

Rise of the machines: Sauvie Island

In the case of a “Terminator”- (or, if you prefer, “Maximum Overdrive”-) style mechanical revolution, getting back to nature and away from murderous little toasters is going to be key. Sauvie Island is the largest island on the Columbia River and located only 10 miles from downtown, and from what I’ve gleaned, modernity stopped moving forward there in the 1700s, as it appears to exist only to provide land for corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and clothing-optional beaches. Yes, there is a nude beach there. What? Oh, just because it’s the apocalypse, men are supposed to be less enthused about the prospect of ogling naked women? Whatever. Be careful, though: It is not far from Portland’s industrial northwest, which could come alive with homicidal machinery. But again: Nude beach.

The Rapture: 24 Hour Church of Elvis
408 NW Couch St., (503) 226-3671

Let’s face it: If this apocalypse is the work of a deity—any deity—Portland is royally screwed. We’ve been living in hedonistic decadence (well, decadence on the level of a really awesome thrift store, anyway) for too long to repent now. Of course, on the off chance that the King of Kings is actually the King, the best hope for us sinners of getting into Hunka-Hunka-Heaven when it comes time for His ultimate comeback special is to haul ass to Chinatown and humble ourselves before the shrine at the 24 Hour Church of Elvis. And by “shrine,” I mean the coin-operated machine at the above address, which offers a blessing from the Sideburned One himself. An institution of Old Weird Portland, the Church has changed locations several times since the mid-’80s, yet it always seems to magically reappear somewhere else in town, which is enough of a sign of divine providence for me. And unlike other churches, it only charges a quarter to save your rock’n’roll soul. Salvation has never come so cheap!

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.