Pickathon Announces Two-Thirds of the 2017 Festival Lineup

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Pickathon announced a hefty chunk of their 2017 lineup at a preview party tonight at Revolution Hall, an unveiling that included performances by Y La Bamba, TYuS, Cat Hoch, 1939 Ensemble, and the Last Artful, Dodgr—all of whom will be performing at this year’s festival on August 3-6. Tonight's live presentation, hosted by Aaron Ross, was the second year in a row the Portland-area music festival has hosted an announcement party to unveil the roster of acts that will perform this summer at Pendarvis Farm.

Big names include: Dinosaur Jr. (along with a solo set from frontman J Mascis), Drive-By Truckers, Charles Bradley, Deer Tick, Swedish psych alchemists Dungen, Pickathon mainstay Ty Segall, personal faves Wolf People, and returning champ Jonathan Richman. Several other big names were announced, along with a lot of unfamiliar ones, proof of the festival's curating prowess in finding undiscovered talent.

Without further ado, the performers for the 19th annual Pickathon that were announced tonight are:

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Things to Do Tonight!

Dear Sugar Radio: The Writers Resist
When it comes to the podcast advice racket, you can't do better than Dear Sugar's good cop-bad cop duo Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond. They're essential listening for anyone invested in becoming less of an asshole. This special live episode benefits human rights and the environment, and features writers opposed to the Trump doctrine. Go. It'll make you feel better. MEGAN BURBANK
6 pm, Aladdin Theater, $30, all ages

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It's the I, Anonymous Show! This Monday!

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Do you like laughing your pants off? Well, one of the funnest comedy nights in Portland is hands-down the Mercury’s monthly I, Anonymous Show. As longtime Mercury readers already know, our I, Anonymous column is your secret forum to post your deepest, darkest secrets, confessions, and rants. Go on! Say how you really feel, because no one will ever know it’s you!

But here’s where the REAL fun begins! In the monthly I, Anonymous Show, hilarious host Bri Pruett picks the best (of the worst) I, Anonymous submissions from the Mercury, and discusses them at length with an equally hilarious panel of panelists! And oh boy—what a great panel we have for January: the very funny Jacob Christopher, Kirsten Kuppenbender, and B. Frayn Masters —who all have very strong opinions about your secret opinions!

Plus there’s even more fun in store: Bri will read and discuss I, Anonymous submissions from the audience, and each of our comedians will supply a short set of their funniest stand-up! THAT’S A HELLUVA LOT OF LAUGHS FOR ONE EVENING!

So don’t miss the January edition of...

The I, Anonymous Show!
THIS MONDAY, DECEMBER 19, 7 PM
The Secret Society, 116 NE Russell
$10 adv, $15 door (that’s cheap!) GET YOUR TICKETS HERE!


Things to Do Tonight!

Girl Fest 2017
This year the third annual Girl Fest, a concert celebrating and showcasing talented female artists in Portland, is hosted by the city's very own Blossom. The neo-soul singer was on the bill for the first two Girl Fests, so it's only fitting she'll still have a big presence this year. The 2017 lineup is significantly beefier and more diverse than last year; we'll hear hip-hop from Neka & Kahlo and Karma Rivera, indie from Courtney Noe, pop from Haley Heyndrickx, and modern jazz from headliner Coco Columbia. Make sure you come out and show love to the ladies. JENNI MOORE Read our story on Girl Fest.
7 pm, Lola's Room, $8-10, all ages

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Meanwhile In Washington State, Attorney General Cracks Down on Landlords Who Ban Felons, Citing Disproportionate Impact on Black Renters

Ads like this violate fair housing laws, according to the Washington State Attorney General.
Ads like this violate fair housing laws, according to the Washington State Attorney General. washington state attorney general's office

The Washington State Attorney General is putting landlords across the state on notice: Your Craigslist ads don't have to say "no blacks allowed" to be discriminatory against African Americans—and if they are, the AG's office will find you.

In a string of cases filed in King and Pierce County Superior Courts between November and this week, Attorney General Bob Ferguson's office has fined five property management companies for advertising apartments with "no felons allowed" policies, arguing those policies disproportionately hurt African American renters.

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Blazer Recap: The Magic Confound The Blazers, 115-109

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It’s a fact that the city of Portland and snow don’t mix. Anytime it snows, no matter how much drops from the sky, Portland is thrust into swirling chaos and oblivion. The roads are treacherous, neighborhood bars bulge, and everything else shuts down because everyone is either too scared, or too drunk/high to go to work. This time around the city looks like Superman's Fortress of Solitude, so you can rest assured nobody knows how to handle themselves. However, the Trail Blazers should feel right at home since they played like Supermen and toppled the defending NBA world champs on Wednesday. We can all be a slightly honest with ourselves and realize that the Cavaliers helped them win by shooting a clunky 34% from the field, but CJ McCullom’s 27 points, his seventh game in a row dropping 25+ or more, certainly helped. Also, Allen Crabbe dumping in 24 points was definitely a factor in the Blazers getting the win.

Last night the Blazers were looking to extend their winning streak (two games counts as a streak) against the Orlando Magic. All the Blazers needed to do was continue to up their defensive game, and shoot the ball as confidently as they did in the last two contests. From the starters to the bench, they all needed to produce and stay frosty.

Sadly, at the end of regulation, the Magic’s slight of hand proved to perplex the Blazers. Orlando walked with a 115-109 victory, and the Blazers were left to pick up the pieces yet again.

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Health Care Rally: Most of Oregon's Congressional Delegation Heads to Northeast Portland on Sunday

Senator Jeff Merkley on the Senate floor this week
Senator Jeff Merkley on the Senate floor this week

Both Oregon's senators and three of its representatives are coming to Northeast Portland on Sunday to "fight back and save healthcare," as Republicans in congress are working to boot the Affordable Care Act.

Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, along with Representatives Earl Blumenauer, Kurt Schrader, and Suzanne Bonamici are headed to the gym of Self Enhancement, Inc.—"a nonprofit organization supporting at-risk urban youth"—at noon on Sunday "to tell Republicans loudly and clearly: You are not going to get away with it."

Per the event page on berniesanders.com: "At a time when the United States remains the only major country on earth not to guarantee health care to all as a right, the Republicans want to throw nearly 30 million people off of health insurance, make massive cuts to Medicaid and defund Planned Parenthood."

Oregon congresspeople not included to the event: Rep. Peter DeFazio (a Democrat who's against the repeal) and Rep. Greg Walden (a Republican representing the eastern part of state who wants to repeal it).

Merkley, Wyden, Blumenauer, Schrader, and Bonamici—all Democrats, of course—have been supporters of "Obamacare" and critics of the Republicans trying to get rid of it.

Here's Wyden this week:

Here's Merkley from this week:

Here's a Blumenauer newsletter from last week:

If they succeed this time, there will be disastrous consequences – not only for the almost 30 million people who now have insurance (some for the first time, because of the ACA), but also for the entire U.S. health care system now facing uncertainty.

Current Republican proposals will increase health care costs and put insurance companies back in charge – not to mention, these proposals will cost taxpayers billions of dollars. Instead of helping expand health care coverage to low-income Americans, it will hurt middle class families and return us to the days when insurance companies discriminated against women, the sick, and the poor.

Here's Bonamici from this week:

Here's a Schrader press release from last week:

After drafting and passing a trillion-dollar, deficit-busting tax and budget bill last month, my Republican colleagues now want to get some money back—on the backs of middle- and lower-income Americans. These are the people who have been struggling to recover from the Great Recession. These families and small businesses that are having trouble staying afloat would now lose access to affordable health care. It is irresponsible.

I don’t get it. The Affordable Care Act gives millions of families a hand up in order to be able to afford health insurance. Families are put in the driver’s seat in the health insurance market, and are seeing great results. This is something we have been doing in Oregon for some time now. Market-based principles and personal responsibility. That is the heart of the ACA, and I know it’s something the Speaker understands.


Wingnut Rep. Steve King Just Introduced a Congressional Bill to Ban Abortion Nationwide

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First they came for our health insurance, and now they're coming for our doctors. Here's Rewire:

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) on Thursday introduced the first federal “heartbeat bill” modeled on a failed Ohio attempt to end legal abortion as early as six weeks into a pregnancy—before many people know they’re pregnant.

“Heartbeat bills” amount to total abortion bans. They have been declared unconstitutional in federal court.

King’s office confirmed that HR 490 marked the first introduction of a so-called heartbeat bill in the U.S. Congress. Former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) introduced a forced ultrasound bill in 2011, but her measure did not ban abortion—King’s stated goal.

A King press release called Roe v. Wade unconstitutional, adding that under HR 490, “if a heartbeat is detected, the baby is protected.”

His spokesperson provided Rewire with legislative text specifying that an abortion provider “who knowingly performs an abortion and thereby kills a human fetus” without determining a heartbeat, informing the patient of a heartbeat, or proceeding regardless of a heartbeat would face fines and up to five years in prison. The bill includes limited exceptions for the physical health of the pregnant person but not for “psychological or emotional conditions.”

It gets worse:

Presumably, the same U.S. House of Representatives panel that props up conservative and often racially biased anti-abortion myths may hear testimony on King’s legislation. During a Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice hearing in 2016, King interrogated a reproductive justice advocate over whether killing “partially delivered” puppies would amount to a crime in an apparent attempt to draw a parallel between puppies and Black babies.

It's important to point out here that the bill this jackass is introducing is copycat legislation based on an Ohio law that Governor John Kasich vetoed because it wouldn't have made it through the courts if it was challenged. Because, lest we forget, the right to an abortion is constitutionally derived and protected. Also key here is the right's tired, racist positioning of abortion as a threat to people of color, a propagandistic, self-serving feigning of interest in racial justice.

On the heels of Senate Republicans' nocturnal vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, this bill isn't just counter-productive nonsense: It's an insult, it's a waste of time, and it's completely on-brand for the political party who's succeeded in making "People shouldn't be able to go to the doctor" gospel.

A small piece of good news here is Politico's reporting on a handful of Republican governors who want to maintain the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansions in their states, and are fighting their DC counterparts' decision to repeal the legislation that made healthcare coverage unprecedentedly available to their constituents. John Kasich is one of these governors. It feels bad and wrong to pin my hopes on him, but I'm doing it anyway.


Puny Twitter Human Hurt Hulk Feelings

Hulk write opinion column for puny Mercury this week. Hulk think it am okay! But puny human on Twitter not think so.

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HEYYYYYYYYY. THAT REALLY HURT HULK FEELINGS. Well Hulk have snappy comeback all ready for you.

Hey puny human! Hulk think YOU are stupid! And Hulk think YOU sound like puny human with broken English! Take that, dummy. You just been SMASHED by Hulk!

(Sob.) Hulk go lie down in dark room for a while.


SEX

Savage Love Letters of the Day: Reader Advice Round-up

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Last Thursday, I started posting some of the smart advice and responses I get by email from readers and listeners. Since I didn't get hundreds of angry letters complaining that last week's Reader Advice Round-up was boring and a waste of time, here we go again...

In response to Strictly Come Dancing:

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Hamburg Just Opened One of the Most Amazing-Looking Concert Halls in the World

Hamburgs stunning new Elbphilharmonie concert hall.
Hamburg's stunning new Elbphilharmonie concert hall. iStock/ThomasFluegge

Hamburg's much-delayed and very expensive Elbphilharmonie concert venue officially opened for business on Wednesday night, and much has been made of the design of the building, striking on both the interior and exterior. It's a gorgeous building and almost immediately has become the central landmark in the recently revivified city of Hamburg—Germany's second largest in terms of population but a relative lagger in terms of cultural significance. Pundits think the Elbphilharmonie will change that; even if it doesn't, it is a remarkable structure. Expect the next James Bond movie to have a sequence filmed there.

Wednesday night's debut concert had an unconventional program, with works dating from the Renaissance up to modern day (and a little Beethoven at the end for good measure). The ceremony kicked off with pieces from two of Hamburg's own—Mendelssohn and Brahms—but almost everything else came from less well known composers from across Europe. The whole thing is on YouTube in a special 360-degree video (you need certain browsers to watch it—Safari won't work). There's a part where an oboist plays a solo from up in the balcony, which suggests the symphony hall's complicated layout eludes any single conventional setup.

Music aside, the building, which contains three separate performance venues, is absolutely gorgeous. And it'd better be, considering how much it went over budget: Swiss architecture firm pegged the budget at $197 million, but costs eventually blew up to a whopping $843 million. Wired has a fascinating article how algorithms helped design the very complicate acoustics in order to make it sound gorgeous, too, although it doesn't say if the large symphony hall's resemblance to the Galactic Senate from the Star Wars prequels was deliberate. The Guardian has a review of the concert but doesn't have very much to say about the acoustics themselves.

The venue's home orchestra, the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, has a pretty well-known international reputation, albeit one that may have slightly receded during the long years of the venue's construction. But with Hamburg having just unveiled one the most impressive concert venues in the world, it seems likely the orchestra will raise its own bar to match. Visiting ensembles and soloists will play there, too (including Einstürzende Neubauten, because, you know, Germany), although many of the performances in the grand hall are already sold out. Regardless, the place is damn pretty to look at.


Neo-Nazis Postpone Threatened Rally in Whitefish, Montana

Whitefish, Montana. (In summer.) Right now its 10 degrees there, with 100 percent fewer Neo-Nazis coming to town on MLK Day.
Whitefish, Montana—in summer. Right now it's 10 degrees there, with 100 percent fewer Neo-Nazis coming to town on MLK Day. Pierdelune/Shutterstock

For this week's Stranger, I wrote about high-profile white nationalist Richard Spencer and a vengeful Neo-Nazi "troll storm" launched on his behalf against the small, liberal town of Whitefish, Montana. In addition to the vile phone messages Jewish residents of Whitefish were receiving, and the negative online reviews being posted about local businesses the trolls believed (not always correctly) to be Jewish-owned, there were also promises of Neo-Nazis soon staging an armed march through the town. Here's what I said about that earlier this week:

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This Avengers Knock-Off Is the Second-Weirdest Thing to Come Out of Russia This Week

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Look. Russia, right? I don't know.

That's all.


Ben Affleck Doesn't Wear His Little Bat Ears Even ONCE in Live by Night

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O, Fortuna! Your capricious wheel of fate brings us mortals to greatest highs and most miserable lows as we rotate, ever onward, through the spinning machinations of time! And none among us has been raised by generous fortune to loftier highs, then brought to cruelest lows, than that mighty chin among men, the Batman-who-would-be-king, Ben Affleck.

Affleck the Elder’s career carves the insistent, repetitive arc of a pendulum, with the trough accompanying some of the most irredeemable garbage cinema has ever seen. And yet, he ascends—from Gigli to Argo, from Jersey Girl to Gone Girl. We are bearing witness to the uneasy middle period of the Ben Affleck Cycle, on the heels of the brain-bludgeoning Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and whatever the fuck The Accountant was. It is, perhaps, not the most propitious time for Affleck to unveil a sprawling gangster epic—a work in a genre that, in the right hands, can be transcendent, and in the wrong hands, hackneyed and derivative.

Live by Night suggests, however, that Affleck may be on one of his many upswings.

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Good Morning, News: Wyden Takes on Pompeo, Trump Cries Like a Stupid Baby, and MAX Train Derails

GOOD MORNING, BLOGTOWN! Now I see where believing you got me. Gave you the wheel, but you can't drive me. LET'S GO TO PRESS.

Guys, it's COLD outside this morning (like 23 degrees cold) which is wreaking some havoc with the MAX lines (one train derailed from the ice buildup, no injuries), BUT EXPECT DELAYS.


Portland is trying out salt on the roads to deal with the ice. (Note: This would not be a news story in any other major city, but for those who are just arriving, Portland despises only two things: salt on the roads, and fluoride.)

Check out this story of the fourth houseless person to die from hypothermia since the beginning of the year, and how mental illness played a major role.

Let's give credit where credit is due: Oregon Senator Ron Wyden is kicking some major ASS right now in his fight against the Trump shitstorm. Yesterday he blasted CIA director nominee and Republican congressman Mike Pompeo over his views of American privacy and data collection.

That being said, at least Mike Pompeo appears to be siding with intelligence agencies during his confirmation hearing, and expressed logical fears of Russia meddling in American political affairs.

Speaking of which, did anybody else think it was kind of disturbingly weird that C-SPAN was briefly taken over by Kremlin funded network Russia Today?

President-elect and proven liar Donald Trump went on another of his screechy and embarrassing Twitter rampages this morning about how everything is FAKE NEWS and SLEAZEBAGS are out to get him and RUSSIA is innocent and TOO BAD... and oh, you know the drill.

House Republicans are beginning to get very nervous indeed that there's no viable plan to replace Obamacare, and they're going to get drummed out of their jobs by a furious public. They are right to be nervous.


Today in OH, HELL YEAH: The Justice Department will be investigating FBI Director James Comey's very suspicious actions in regards to the pre-election Hillary Clinton email scandal.

In America's favorite bromance: Obama surprises Vice President Joe Biden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and it is just as heartbreakingly sweet as you might suspect.

Some Senators are considering confirming Rex Tillerson for the Secretary of State role simply because they're afraid Trump's replacement might be worse. (This is the America in which we now live.)

Okay, let's look at this COLD WEATHER we're having: IT'S COLD! Expect sunny skies and a high of only 32.

And finally, here's what it looked like when the Kremlin network Russia Today briefly took over C-SPAN. (Not a big improvement actually.)