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

oregon theater by todd mecklem

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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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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

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Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

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IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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