Man, it's weeks like this that make me think I could totally move back to Portland. Forget that I spent most of my adolescent years here wanting to get the hell away from all the rain, forget that jobs in Portland can be harder to come by than parking spots in SF, forget that … well, I think those are the only two bad things I can say about my hometown. It feels so good to be back in Portland, especially because we got to meet so many awesome folks making cool shit happen here.
For this round of the Bold Rush, our pop-up shop was situated in Portland’s “West End” area (i.e., the part of town that used to have nothing but Powell’s bookstore and some gay bars, and now has lots of lumberjack chic boutiques). We took over a storefront called The Cleaners owned by the Ace Hotel and invited an eclectic group of merchants to join us for our pop-up shop. Paxton Gate Portland had an amazing taxidermy bat amongst their creature collections (we also loved their tiger in the window). Lowell is an awesome shop with a Southwest theme, and I drooled over their pottery, blankets, and housewares (the couple who owns it is originally from Arizona and her dad ran a Native American art gallery for years, so they have some really original stuff).
My boyfriend is quite the handyman, so he loved Hand-Eye Supply’s urban toolshop wares, which included denim hats and aprons (which they displayed in an awesome wood cart). Imaginary Authors carried fragrances that had our space spelling wonderful all the time. I really loved the graphic design work on Imaginary Authors’ bottles – images inspired by old books, which were also used to display their collection. And then there was M’Lady’s Records, run by Brett Lyman (who later DJed some seriously killer old soul tunes for us during our American Tripps party), and Fiona Campbell from Chain and the Gang. I think I cleaned out a good chunk of their vinyl, including a great new My Bloody Valentine-sounding act out of New Zealand called The Golden Awesome (they're playing The Knockout in SF on the 23rd of October, and if you know what's good for you, you'll come see them with me).
Portland has a rep for being a maker city, which is one of the many reasons there’s so much synergy between people here and in SF, and you could feel it talking to these vendors. I also felt it while exploring the neighborhoods that’ve come up since I left town. Mississippi, for example, has a ton of great vintage and beer-drinking spots, and Chinatown has gone from a dead zone to housing a cool collection of comics, clothing, and art. Chinatown also has a holdover from my childhood, though – the relocated 24 Hour Church of Elvis, which I love for all of its Portland weirdness.
Of course I couldn’t come back home without stuffing my face with a little Voodoo. Their donuts cast spells that force you to obey the call of the sugar rush. Plus, it’s fun to play into the kitshy Portland spots (there are so many of them).
My favorite part of the trip, though, was pulling out the old ping-pong table and getting some Berlin-style ping-pong going with American Tripps. Once again, we had all kinds of people – rocker dudes, indie kids, trippy hippies, outdoorsy bros, fashion bloggers, and more, all coming together to whack the white ball across the table. And our amazing pals at Rice Paper Scissors kept the paddlers well fed with their delish Vietnamese spring rolls.
You can see all our Portland Bold Rush photos on Facebook. And since there's no rest for the wicked, we have one more sunny fall day in Portland before we head to Seattle tomorrow for the grand Bold Rush finale. In the meantime, gotta go do some laundry while my parents still allow me to use the machine.