The Extraordinary and the Familiar Intertwine in Samantha Hunt’s The Dark Dark


Fiction writer Samantha Hunt has the capacity to tell a story that genuinely surprises, like her 2016 novel Mr. Splitfoot, which I read in a hot hurry, then immediately restarted because I wasn’t ready to be done with its mix of strangeness and surprise. That book flirted with something dark and occult, so I was intrigued by the title of Hunt’s new collection of stories, The Dark Dark. Would these tales go to darker and stranger places? The answer is yes—but, of course, Hunt never gives you quite what you expect.

In The Dark Dark, mysteries abound. Some are fantastical—why has a dead dog come back to life? Can a man love a robot? What does a woman’s affair have to do with her turning into a deer at night in her bedroom next to her husband? Others are more mundane: Did a 14-year-old seek to seduce a man in his thirties, knowing the trouble it would cause? Why can’t a woman who desires a child get pregnant?

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Enter the Mercury's "Cutest Pet Photo Contest!"

God DAMMIT, that kitten is cute!
"God DAMMIT, that kitten is cute!" Martin Poole / Getty

Clearly, your pet is the cutest in all of Portland—so why doesn’t anyone believe you? Here’s your chance to prove yours is the cutest once and for all with the Mercury’s “Cutest Pet Photo Contest! (And yes, there are PRIZES!)

• Send an original photo of your pet lookin’ cute to by 5 pm on TUESDAY, AUGUST 2, 2017. (Note: You must own the picture or get written consent from the photographer. iPhone photos are okay!)

• Be sure to include your pet’s name, breed, the owner’s name, and a daytime phone number.

• The entries will be narrowed down to the top sweet 16 cute pets, and published in our August 9 PET ISSUE. Then our readers will vote (bracket-style) to determine which of the top 16 is the cutest pet in Portland!

• The grand prizewinner will be featured in an upcoming edition of the Mercury, and receive a fancy commemorative plaque proving once and for all they’ve got the cutest pet in Portland!

Put Your Pet’s Cuteness Where Your Mouth Is!
Enter the Mercury’s Cutest Pet Contest Today!

Nicole Georges’ Fetch Is For Anyone Who’s Ever Really Loved A Dog


Just for the wow factor, Nicole J. Georges and I try to list all of her current projects. A well-known artist, educator, and organizer in zines and indie comics, Georges currently produces a weekly podcast, Sagittarian Matters, in which she conducts interviews and dispenses her highly regarded advice. She continues to do pet portraits—Georges may be as famous for those as she is for her long-running comics zine Invincible Summer. She teaches in an MFA program at California College of the Arts. She’s also working with Judith Butler “interviewing kids across the US for an illustrated book about gender—for kids by kids.” And finally she completed a second graphic novel—the immense 300-plus-page Fetch: How A Bad Dog Brought Me Home.

Georges took a moment out of her project-filled world to talk to the Mercury about Fetch and her tender relationship with a bad-behaving shar-pei/corgi mix named Beija.

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Help Animals by Partying with Cannabis Growers

This Saturday is going to beautiful, and certainly you have numerous options as to how to spend it. Not that you asked, but I'm spending the second half of mine hanging at a cannabis farm in bucolic Boring, Oregon, playing with dogs, listening to music, and partaking of the Devil's Lettuce. Does that sound like something you would like to do as well? Oh good, because there are tickets still available, but they are going fast.

Bull Run Craft Cannabis is hosting their first annual "Live on the Dock" event, and it's a doozy. There are three bands set to play—the Variants, Sons of Bitches, and Led Zeppelin tribute band Ramble On. There is barbecue. There are promised "fun surprises" from their sponsor friends Farma, Jefferies, Portland Rosin Company, Water Ave Coffee, CBD Daily, Coalition Brewing, Hop Valley, PBR, and Firefly Vaporizors. Food and adult beverages will be available for cash donation. All proceeds benefit their farm-located nonprofit Greyhound Pet Adoption Northwest, and the Humane Society.

Tickets are a laughably low $7, which is the best deal you will find all weekend. Get them quick!

A Ghost Story Will Take You Somewhere, If You Let it


There are a lot of arthouse movies about grief and grieving, and most of them are bad. A Ghost Story is so much more than that, but to understand what writer/director David Lowery (Pete’s Dragon, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints) is playing at, you have to forget what you’ve learned from other grief narratives. A Ghost Story will take you somewhere, if you let it. Probably its most impressive quality is that it teaches you how to watch it.

Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara play “C” and “M,” a young married couple living in a quaint country house that might be haunted. We don’t know much more about them, other than C (Affleck) is some kind of composer, that he and M seem to be having relationship trouble, and that the two never, ever smile.

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Sheriff Warns of "County Jail Population Emergency" As Inmates Fill Reduced-Capacity Jails


Multnomah County has had a "jail population emergency" twice this month—meaning more than 95 percent of the available beds were taken up by inmates—Sheriff Mike Reese told the board of commissioners this morning. He pushed for the board to pass a resolution allowing a committee to review people who could released to make room for others who are arrested.

There's only been two days so far when the population at the two jails—the Multnomah County Detention Center downtown and Inverness Jail in Northeast Portland—dipped below 90 percent capacity. 90 percent capacity is when the sheriff's office, which runs the jails, issues an "early warning notice" to law enforcement in the county about potential overcrowding issues.

On Monday, for example, 96.6 percent of available county jail beds were taken up.

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Native American Rapper Supaman Reflects on Cultural Preservation

SUPAMAN Energized by the movement for indigenous unity.
SUPAMAN Energized by the movement for indigenous unity. Matika Wilbur

The video for Supaman’s 2015 song “Why” opens with the stunning image of blue and white ribbons swaying in the wind. Adorned in traditional Native American regalia, the rapper—who was born Christian Parrish Takes the Gun and raised on a reservation near Billings, Montana—performs the men’s fancy dance alongside world champion jingle dress dancer and Umatilla tribe member Acosia Red Elk.

As the two move together in the countryside, Supaman layers his signature drum loops against a prayer melody from the Native American Church (NAC), then begins rapping about economic inequality and the struggles of parenting. Over the phone, Supaman tells me his grandfather was once president of NAC and played a key role in regaining religious rights for the church.

A member of the Apsáalooke (or Crow) Nation, Supaman is energized by the movement for indigenous unity. He’s also passionate about another culture: hip-hop. Drawn to parallels in the genre’s stories of systematic oppression, Supaman was inspired by B-boying and the Rock City Crew, and began DJing in the ’90s.

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Federal Law Aside, Investing in a Pot Startup Is Inherently Risky


Dear Pot Lawyer,

I’m thinking of investing in a pot business, but I still can’t get over the risks with the feds. What should I do?

You might start by thinking about this issue in another way. Even in these darkest of times, the greatest risk to your investment may not be retrograde federal law. You probably stand a greater chance of losing your investment because you invested in a start-up. I could be wrong about that, but everything I’ve seen for the past several years suggests

Every day, I go to work at a law firm that represents hundreds of pot businesses, auxiliary businesses, and investors in Oregon, Washington, and California. To my knowledge, not one of these businesses has ever been subject to a federal inquiry, warning letter, or raid. I also know dozens of other pot lawyers and law firms. To my knowledge, not one of their clients has ever been subject to federal inquiry, warning letter, or raid. It certainly has happened from time to time, out there in the world—but in our world, it simply has not.

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Learning About Cannabis Is Dope

Emma Chasen
Emma Chasen Jake Moffett
Two words hated by the Trump administration—Cannabis Science—are also the title of an upcoming workshop taught by Farma's Director of Education, Emma Chasen, on Saturday, July 29. Check out my recent column on Chasen and her mission to education budtenders.

Presented by Tokeativity and held at Tillamook Station (665 N Tillamook), the workshop is not exclusively geared toward budtenders, but it is exclusively for womxn, and will explore topics such as the "entourage effect" of cannabinoids, terpenes, and more; debunking the Indica/Sativa myth; CBD as derived from cannabis versus CBD from hemp; and the inner workings of the unique endocannabinoid receptor system.

Tickets are $45 prior to July 23 (that's this Sunday), and are $55 after. But HOLD THE PHONE, because there are five—that's right, FIVE—scholarships available to low-income women and women of color. How great is that? The future is female, y'all. Get with the program.

To buy your tickets or apply for a scholarship, go to Tokeativity.

Timbers Unravel in Landslide Loss To Real Salt Lake

Craig Mitchelldyer/Portland Timbers

On Wednesday night at Providence Park, the Portland Timbers' season — teetering on the brink of collapse for several months now — turned bizarro.

The Timbers, the only team in MLS who could return from a two week summer break more depleted than they entered it, dressed only sixteen players. One of those players who be stretchered off injured. Two would be shown red cards. The team that made its way around the barren stadium at full-time looked skeletal.

All the carnage resulted in the Timbers' worst home loss in twelve years — a 4-1 defeat to Real Salt Lake that was so thoroughly dismal it felt almost apocalyptic.

The signs were sure there. The game started against the backdrop of a dumpster fire two blocks from the stadium. It ended with the Timbers Army breaking out Tetris — its victory song — with Portland 4-0 down against a team that, two games ago, was on pace to finish with the worst goal differential in MLS history.

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Announcing the Winner of the "Portland's Funniest Person" Championship!

Last night was the finals for Helium Comedy Club's "Portland's Funniest Person" contest (I was one of the many judges), and I'm thrilled to announce the very deserving winners!

Out of the 12 finalists—which included Portland's best and brightest standup comics, including Alex Falcone, Adam Pasi, Kirsten Kuppenbender, JoAnn Schinderle, and more—three were chosen as the judges' top picks... and here they are:

This Libyan-born comic has really honed his talents in the last year, and delivered a whip-smart, politically pointed set that had the audience in stitches. (He was also featured in the Mercury's 2016 "Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy" show.)

First Runner-Up: ANTHONY LOPEZ!
He's the host of No Pun Nintendo, a co-host of the very popular Earthquake Hurricane show, and a semi-regular guest on the Mercury's I, Anonymous Show. Anthony is another great example of how Portland's comedians just keep getting better and better, and he delivered a killer set that was personal, smart, and showed off his skills as a gifted storyteller.


Caroline Smith

In a city of very funny comedians, no one can argue that Caitlin is in the cream of the crop. Her delivery is impeccable, her jokes are original and full of smarts and heart, and she plays the audience like a violin. She's also co-host of two of the funniest shows in town, Lez Stand Up and the Mercury's I, Anonymous Show (don't miss the next one on Aug 2)! Caitlin was at the top of her game last night, and is very deserving of this award. Congrats, Cait! We're all super proud!

In fact, all of the Portland's Funniest finalists should be pleased with their performances, because it was really a great night of comedy. Be sure to check out the Mercury's Things to Do calendar for the best comedy listings in town, and support this great (and growing scene). OH! And mark your calendars for the Mercury's "Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy" show this coming September 16 at Revolution Hall which will feature Portland's best and upcoming funny people from standup, sketch comedy, film, and music. More details to come!

Good Morning, News: Multnomah County's Koch Problem, the Alberta Rose Theater, and a Commuter Ferry

Good morning, Portland. Link time.

First up is this week's feature by tour guide/writer Joe Streckert, out in print as of yesterday. It's good: "I became an unlicensed teacher, got laid off, and found a tour guide job on Craigslist. That was in 2010, and it ended up being one of the most formative gigs of my life. I learned more than I ever thought I would about the city I used to complain about. I learned that teenage me was an idiot and that this place does have a sense of identity. And I learned it by seeing my hometown through the eyes of a tourist."

Check out this long news story by Dirk VanderHart about how Oregon's mental health hospitals are being flooded with criminal defendants. It's expensive and making things worse, critics say.

Kenneth Huey

Remember the campaign finance reform measure you more than likely voted for last November? A Koch Brothers-backed group is taking to the courts to try and stop Multnomah County from implementing it, we reported yesterday.

Portland's finance office doesn't want to go to city council for approval on consulting contracts because, the office says, it wastes times. In the Oregonian: "A proposal before council Thursday would increase the value of consulting contracts that the city's chief procurement officer could okay without council approval from $100,000 to $500,000. The change would allow bureau directors and Chief Procurement Officer Christine Moody decision making authority over 96 percent of consulting projects. This means 95 contracts—or more than $9.5 million worth of deals—approved by the city council in the last 17 months would have been selected without council oversight."

"A Beaverton strip club subjected a 15-year-old girl to sexual harassment and discrimination while she worked there illegally as a dancer in 2014 and should pay her $1 million in damages, according to an administrative law judge's ruling," the Oregonian reports. "The announcement Wednesday comes a month after the owners of Stars Cabaret reached a $1.25 million settlement after a 13-year-old girl was forced to perform sex acts on customers in a backroom at the same club in 2012. "

In the Portland Tribune: "The future of the Alberta Rose Theatre is uncertain, as building owner Robbin Mayfield has decided to sell the building more than 30 years after buying it as an investment and fixing it up himself. Mayfield has given Joseph Cawley, who owns the theater — a tenant in the building — the option to buy it. A crowdfunding campaign is under way, with a goal of raising $300,000 by Sept. 1."

Also in the Tribune: "The hub of Portland's bustling water sports community, which draws up to 1,000 users a day in the summer, is being pushed out by a rent hike. Come August 2019, the nonprofit Portland Boathouse has two options: relocate to a building just across the parking lot from its current location at 1515 S.E. Water Ave., or build a new $3 million community boathouse."

A Portland woman wants the city to create a commuter ferry service, KATU reports: "Spencer is trying to raise awareness of the possibility for a passenger ferry service in Portland. In theory, it would run as far south as Oregon City and perhaps as far north as Vancouver. It would make stops at communities and neighborhoods in between to pick up daily commuters on their way to downtown Portland."

OPB on Oregon wildfires:

Federal and state agencies are investigating a string of wildfires in southeastern Oregon with a potential link to military training exercises.

Seven small fires ignited across state and federal lands on July 11, all attributed to human activity — a suspicious pattern that indicates they could be connected, according to federal officials.

“The thing that’s a little bit different with this is the number that occurred simultaneously,” said Brett Fay, Assistant Regional Fire Management Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Investigations are regular, but the concentration of number of ignitions from this, pretty rare.”

For fuck's sake, Don.

Fischli and Weiss Meets Clarissa Explains It All at Killjoy Collective

The Fight for Women’s Rights
The Fight for Women’s Rights TAYLOR ADKINS

For months, I’d been meaning to pay Killjoy Collective a visit. When I finally arrived at the gallery space at Southeast 10th and Sandy last Sunday, I was greeted at the door by collective member BriAnna Rosen and a Shiba Inu mix puppy she’d adopted just the day before. Rosen, clad in floral Birkenstocks, led the way into the small, subterranean gallery where the puppy cozied up to me immediately and the artist talked about her collective, started by a group of PNCA MFA grads as a space for women and women-identified artists. On their website, the group describes their mission this way: “Killjoy Collective celebrates all women, women of color, women of all ages, women of all shapes and sizes, women with visible and invisible disabilities, immigrant women, indigenous women, queer women, trans women, and all those who refuse to be put in a box.” The aim, says Rosen, is to offset the art world’s gender problem. “Male and male-identified artists just get shown more,” she says.

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Win Tickets to See Chastity Belt at the Star Theater Friday, August 11!

CHASTITY BELT Fri 8/11 Star Theater
CHASTITY BELT Fri 8/11 Star Theater Conner Lyons

There's a lot to love about Seattle's Chastity Belt: Their band name. Their penchant for bucket hats and selfie sticks. Their wry sense of humor. But Julia Shapiro, Gretchen Grimm, Lydia Lund, and Annie Truscott's new album, I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone, cuts the irony for excellent post-punk driven that's by strong guitar melodies and vulnerable lyrics (on the title track, Shapiro sings, "I wanna be sincere"). Chastity Belt plays an all-ages show at the Star Theater Friday, August 11 with Never Young and Strange Ranger, and the Mercury is giving away one pair of tickets! Enter to win below.

You Voted For Campaign Finance Reform. Big Money Groups Want to Stop it.

Kenneth Huey

On August 15, there will be an unprecedented battle in a Multnomah County courtroom over the fate of local campaign finance reform.

In an opinion that could come to shape political races statewide, a judge will decide whether strict contribution limits approved overwhelmingly by county voters last fall are constitutional.

And now, after the deadline to submit arguments to the court last week, we know who’s trying to secure a spot in the courtroom to oppose these reforms, defending unchecked spending on candidates running for county office.

For starters, there’s the Koch brothers.

Amid the standard deep-pocketed business groups worried about losing sway over politicians, the list of opponents to campaign reform includes the Center for Competitive Politics (CCP), a litigious nonprofit funded in part by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch and right-wing dark-money sources like the Donors Capital Fund and Donors Trust.

CCP swoops into courts around the country to stamp out laws that cap money in elections—arguing huffily that such limitations are an assault on the First Amendment. And at some point since Multnomah County’s reforms passed in November, the Virginia-based organization reached out to the conservative Taxpayer Association of Oregon (TAO), offering to have CCP lawyers represent the group as an intervening party in the case against Measure 26-184, known as the “Honest Elections Multnomah County Charter Amendment.”

“They gave me a call,” says TAO Executive Director Jason Williams. “And I’m glad they’re around. I hate these laws that try to limit free speech.”

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