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DID YOU READ

Portland’s Most Ill-Advised Valentine’s Date Spots

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(Photo by Todd Mecklem)

Hey guys: So, I realize it is pretty late to change any Valentine’s Day plans, but it’s not too late. Especially if you’re planning on taking your date to any of the places I’ve listed below. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with these establishments 364 days out of the year. But for V-Day? C’mon. No matter what you think of the holiday—yes, yes, we all know it’s a crass capitalist invention attempting to monetize human emotion for the benefit of card companies, chocolate manufacturers and soft jazz record labels—it’s still something you have to put effort into, lest you wind up spending the night on a cot in the basement. I’m here to get you out of trouble. Even if you’re just about to leave to pick up your girlfriend/wife/mistress/et. al., please scan this list. There’s still time to reconsider!

Poseidon Seafood Bar & Grill
503 W Burnside St., (503) 525-4900

In fairness, I’ve never actually eaten at Poseidon. I’m sure the food is fine. I have—and I’m ashamed to admit this—been in the building before, however. About two years ago. Back then, it used to be called Cabaret. It was a strip club. Not just any strip club, but quite possibly the skeeziest, sleaziest, nastiest strip club in Portland. I saw a woman undulate with several Band-Aids lining her abdomen. Every dancer looked unhealthily skinny. This wasn’t the day shift, either; it was midnight on a Saturday. Also, one time when I was just walking past, a gentlemen came out of the club, followed me up the street and tried to sell me crack. And last year—on Valentine’s Day, coincidentally—the city declared the place a threat to public safety, leading to its closure and replacement by this family seafood joint.

Anyway, enjoy your crab!

Alternative: Acropolis Steakhouse (8325 SE McLoughlin Blvd., 503-231-9611). Yes, it’s a strip club. Yes, from the outside, it looks like an abandoned sawmill. Yes, the steaks are alarmingly cheap. But at least your date knows what she’s getting into. After all, isn’t visiting an ancient Indian burial ground less frightening than unwittingly living on top of one? Plus, the owner also owns a cattle farm, so the steaks are actually pretty good.

Yamhill Pub
223 SW Yamhill St., (503) 295-6613

If the Buzzcocks taught us anything, it’s that punks are hopeless romantics, too. But even the punkest of punk chicks would recoil in horror if their dog-collared beau took them to the Yamhill Pub. It’s as if someone built a bar inside CBGB’s famously grotesque bathroom. Any other day of the year, that might sound inviting for drinkers who prefer their bars ultra-scuzzy. On Valentine’s Day, it’ll only remind your date that the holiday’s initials are “VD.”

Alternative: The Know (2026 NE Alberta St., 503-473-8729). Same ‘tude, less urine smell.

Enchanted Forest
8462 Enchanted Way SE in Turner, OR, (503) 363-3060

Oh, you probably thought sneaking into an off-season amusement park would be a brilliantly unique, thrillingly dangerous way to impress your significant other, huh? Well, wait until your loved one finds herself in Storybook Lane, surrounded by a creepy laughing egg and a giant witch’s face, and has a panic attack, causing you to spend the drive all the way back from Salem reassuring her that they’re only inanimate objects and not physical manifestations of her deepest, darkest fears. You’ll end up in each other’s arms, all right. Unfortunately, the crying will negate the romance.

Alternative: Oaks Amusement Park (7805 SE Oaks Park Way, 503-233-5777). It’s got rides, rollerskating, and a huge organ suspended from the ceiling that plays itself. Which is kind of unsettling, but not nearly as much as this.

Oregon Theater
3530 SE Division St. , (503) 232-7469

Who the hell are you, Travis Bickle? Sure, the theater is something of a neighborhood landmark, having played foreign and art-house films as far back as the 1920s. But those days are long gone. Now, it’s all porn, all the time. Of course, considering the dwindling number of adult theaters across the country, you could make an argument that it’s a piece of Portland history, and that visiting wouldn’t be much different than going to a museum…on second thought, play it safe and stay away.

Alternative: Laurelhurst Theater (2735 E Burnside St., 503-232-5511). Good beer, great pizza, and they’ve got some excellent second-run date flicks playing right now. I’ve heard “Shame” is pretty sexy…

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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.