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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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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

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

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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