Friday, October 10, 2008

Portland Part II

So after getting the lappy fixed I was set to meet up with a gal who had offered to give a 'Portland Tour'.

The agreed upon destination was a coffee shop, 'Coffee by Design'. She told me what the cross streets were but since I'm a GPS slave, I just plugged the Coffee Shop into the system without regard to checking street names. The thing I didn't account for was that even though it was a local coffee shop, there were two locations.

I waited outside for a good bit. After some correspondence I realized I was at the wrong coffeeshop. Off to a good start.

We met in this city square halfway between the two locations. I was informed our location was known for serving as a venue for impromptu jam sessions with homeless dudes and hipster kids in the middle of the night.

Oh, and they have those goddamn "homeless" punk/hippies playing hackey sack, smelling like a viking diaper, and demanding change from everyone. Not dissimilar to the ones Oakland and the South Side. Pheeuuu.

We wound our way through Old Port which I learned is great spot for fun on Saturday nights. The combination of hilly cobblestone roads and sufficiently wasted girls in ridiculous high heels provides instant entertainment.

I did get one picture of some water since it was Portland and all. Seemed to be the appropriate thing to do. I did not, however, find any fishermen wearing big raincoats with gray beards smoking pipes which was disappointing.

The main goal of the evening was to end up at this one venue for an event titled 'The Clash Of The Titans'.

The concept is this: Starting in July-ish a weekly "Clash" is held between two bands. Sometimes it's most of the members of one local band with an extra person or two; Sometimes a meshing of members of various bands.

The Portland scene is similar to Pittsburgh insomuch that it's totally incestuous. These Clash shows conjured up memories of the Halloween shows that used to happen in Pittsburgh where bands would dress up and perform as some other band. I seem to remember having the homemade 'Donnie Darko Jet Engine' on my porch for the better part of a year.....

A 'Clash' one week may be The Who vs. Led Zep......or The Cars vs. Blondie.....stuff like that. The one we were trying to get to was the grand finale of the season: Prince vs. Michael Jackson. The shows are generally well attended but never really sell out completely......except for this one. The line was wrapped around the block in both directions. Instead of announcing that the show was officially sold out, they just kept everyone in line and let one person come in for ever person that left the venue. Gah.

After about half an hour into waiting, we resigned ourselves to the fact that we most definitely were not getting into the show. Total drag. But the whole 'Clash' concept is a really great one that I think Pittsburgh should adopt. Spice things up a bit.

We ended up at the local "Hipster bar" since we were denied any Princination. I met a couple inebriated Portland breakdancers and the DJ spun both Rush and Steely Dan at one point which was pretty rad even if it was just to be ironic......

The only drag about Portland bars is that they shut down at 1am. Our little party migrated back to my "tour guide's" apartment; a pretty sweet pad. And in my typical fashion, I managed to misread the parking signs that stated 'No Parking between 11pm and 6am' for trash collection or something. There were other cars parked there so I thought I was good, but upon leaving I discovered we were all rewarded with parking tickets for our oversight. Portland does have a first offense forgiveness policy for out of state plates for certain violations. Unfortunately I did not fall under that umbrella. A fun night regardless.

That Friday we ended up at an 80s night at this little dive bar whose name escapes me. Being an 80s night snob, I was a bit skeptical. All my fears were laid to rest though when I saw the entire ceiling was lined with tons of old tin lunch boxes strung out light Christmas lights. And there was a freaking light up dance floor. For real.

They installed a light up dance floor for 80s night. Flippin' awesome. About half of the crowd came dressed in costume too. The dread of the 3 show Saturday that was mere hours in the future melted away after a few drinks and some flailing about. Not a bad end to the week.

In retrospect I most definitely should have taken a ton more pictures than I did especially since I pretty much covered the entire city walking. Oh well. Portland is a pretty sweet town and I'm hoping to return soon and check out some of the local music scene.

Portland Pics here

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