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DID YOU READ

That’s So Portland

That’s So Portland (photo)

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What makes Portland so Portland?

Is there a definitive recipe, an indie cocktail of farm-to-table ingredients that definitively sets it apart from the other subcultural meccas of North America? Sure, San Francisco’s got the Burning Man enthusiasts, L.A. has ample macrobiotic eaters and yoga kooks, and Williamsburg, Brooklyn, has its share of bearded hipsters, but it’s not about the quantity of underemployed twentysomethings in bands, nor the volume of food trucks‒it’s something more ineffable.

See, sometimes I hear about a new happening in town‒a vegan version of Iron Chef, for example, or a zombie prom ‒and I think, “only in Portland.” As an earnestly corduroyed individual at the farmer’s market entreats me to join this weekend’s charity mushroom hunting foray, I think, “this is so Portland.” What that means, exactly, is something I’m still trying to define; like modern art and pornography, ya know it when you see it.

And in the Rose City, you see it all the time. Often, in fact, it seems as though Portland is one giant, endlessly regenerating parody of itself. In its perfectly postmodern way, Portland itself is “so Portland.” Like a too-cool-to-be-aired episode of the Real World, it stops being funny. And starts being real. You get to a point where you don’t even flinch anymore when your neighbor’s response to why they’re having a yard sale on a Tuesday instead of the weekend is, “Because I don’t believe in linear time.”

Not to be pejorative, mind you. Though perhaps impossible to completely define, “so Portland” is a perfect storm of many confluent factors, none of which are negative, necessarily: earnestness, zeal, a joyful disregard for mainstream culture (especially its linear time), and a desire for uniqueness, sustainability, and self-reliance. Even the snobiness that Portlandia so lovingly lampoons‒our local baristas’ withering disdain for Starbucksisms, the guy at the pizza shop’s refusal to play anything other than O.G. Scandinavian death metal on the stereo‒comes from a high cultural premium placed on taste and a fierce commitment to building a better world, a better community.

Sometimes Portland is so insular that we forget, kinda, that most of the country thinks a macchiato is something with whipped cream and caramel in it. And, like, that’s delicious, but it’s not a macchiato, you know? In Portland, at the grocery store, a person can feel like a pariah when they forget to bring their shopping bag from home. A person can be lambasted by their friends for admitting a preference for restaurants with walls and bathrooms, as opposed to bicycle drive-through windows and food carts. And don’t even get me started on the shame of being the sole car driver in a posse of transit commuters and cyclists. The shame!

To be honest, it’s as enervating to be on the receiving end of that energy as it is fun to dish it. You either get into it or you don’t. Portlandia’s already-iconic “Dream of the 90s” sketch gets this perfectly: sure, we’re ridiculous, but have you tried jumping right in? Within no time you’re flanneled to the nines and hanging out with crusty-punk clowns.

Then, suddenly, without warning, you’re So Portland. And is that such a bad thing?

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Final Countdown

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…