Photos By Lori Lucas
Drink Like a Hobo
Subject: Film Editor Erik Henriksen • Study Submitted by: Chas Bowie
Hobos have long played a central role in the fabric of our national identity. Representing the American archetype of the individualist who manifests his own destiny while forsaking the oppressive machinations of modernity, the hobo is perhaps the most quintessentially American figure in our collective consciousness.
Either that, or he's a fantastic creature who frolics with unicorns and leprechauns. Seriously—have you ever seen an honest-to-goodness hobo? The kind that draws hieroglyphics of inverted pineapples on the doorsteps of kindly old ladies? Neither have we, so our "hobo" interpretation is one part railrider, one part old-fashioned bum. Please forgive us.
Film Editor Erik Henriksen, our "hobo for a day," chose a 40 of Olde English as his afternoon beverage, wisely figuring that hobos don't need to wait for nightfall before twisting the cap off. We started at the siesta- and shopping-cart-friendly park on SE 12th and Stark, cold 40 in hand, but a town clown (that's hobo speak for police) was patrolling the park, forcing our lazy adventure further west, to the true spiritual home of the hobo.
We headed for the railroad tracks under the bridge (how's that for hobo imagery?) in inner Southeast, and knew we had stumbled upon hobo central when we spied one Grizzly Adams-looking guy strumming a guitar, and another Grizzly Adams-looking guy pissing against the side of a wall. "Ah, the life of the hobo," Erik muttered, finally feeling the flow of malt liquor down his gullet. (It should be noted that neither Erik nor I look anything like Grizzly Adams. Maybe more like Grizzly Adams' little sister's butchy friends. But we knew that we hobos shared a fraternity that outsiders couldn't understand, and took solace in that.)
We learned a lot of important things about drinking like a hobo that day. Namely, that there are few things in life less interesting. Since a hobo is beholden to no man (only to the long cry of a faraway train whistle), he never has to be anywhere, and therefore, he never has anything to look forward to, and nothing to take care of. We realized this about one third of the way into the 40, when Erik asked, "So what, exactly, are we supposed to do?" That sad answer was that this was it. Sit in the sun, watch the trains go by, and drink a 40. (We entertained the idea of hopping a boxcar, but every train roared by in excess of 35 mph that day. "Does taking the MAX home count?" Erik wondered.)
Erik learned firsthand what the appeal of Olde English is: Not only do you get a lot of liquid for your buck, but boy does it pack a punch! One minute Erik and I are gabbing about how boring it is to be a hobo, the next minute, he's telling me that he just wants me to be happy in life. I don't know if hobos ever have "dude, I love you moments," but if they do, I'm pretty sure this is what they'd look like. (Only more Grizzly Adams-ish.)
Drink Like a drunk
Subject: Mercury Intern "Ralph" • Study Submitted by: Katie Shimer
"Charles Bukowski lived to be 73 and died of leukemia." This what I tell myself when I'm on my sixth straight bender, and I'm ordering another shot of tequila from the bartender. If Bukowski could make it into his 70s clocking 300 hangovers a year, I can certainly make it into my 60s on 150. Good rationale? Who knows, but it works for now.
Because I'm considered something of an expert on getting shitfaced, I was in charge of coaching the fresh-faced 21-year-old Mercury intern Ralph into drinking like an alcoholic. Unfortunately—or rather, fortunately for Ralph—I realized immediately that this was an impossible task. No one is capable of drinking like an alcoholic unless they are one. I mean when you throw up in the morning and then suck down a beer, that's alcoholism. When you make excuses to pop into the bar at 2 pm and throw back four cocktails, that's being a boozer. When half of your drinking experiences end in blackouts, that's being a total lush. No 21-year-old newbie drinker is capable of becoming an alcoholic; that sort of dedication takes years.
Regardless, I did my best, plying the little guy with shots of Makers Mark and tequila and whiskey cokes and beer. He train-wrecked during the first 15 minutes of the drinking experience after confidently gulping down two whiskeys and then a beer back. (Note: This was the first time Ralph had ever heard the term "beer back.") When I explained that the beer back was intended to "chase" the booze, Ralph exclaimed confidently, "I've never used a chaser before. I never want to use a chaser." I am reminded of the year 1994, when my dorm-mates and I drank straight bottles of vodka and MD 20/20 and puked in the sink.
Ralph's face turns completely red from the booze, but his nose stays completely white. He is something of a reverse clown. He expounds on many personal problems at a rapid and ferocious pace, the bulk of his ranting directed at Mercury Film Editor Erik Henriksen. Time passes, I force Ralph to eat food, and then I buy him and myself a shot of tequila. I do mine at the bar before I return to the group, and then deliver his. Ralph is inspired by the shot and grabs the saltshaker from the table, dumping salt directly into his mouth. He then gulps the shot down, but it doesn't go well. Ralph starts sucking on a lime, presumably to keep from vomiting. A nearby friend says, "If you throw up on me, I'll punch you in the face." Ralph replies, "I'd like to see you try."
I am conflicted about what to do now because it seems cruel to give the guy any more to drink. We head to one more bar for a beer. Ralph is getting progressively sleepy and I find his lack of tolerance boring. In my opinion, more booze could only improve our attitudes... but then I'd have to drunk drive him to the emergency room. So I leave him there, face down, snoring blissfully on the table. See? This is what happens when you deal with amateurs.
Drink Like a breeder
Subject: Delaine Waverly • Study Submitted by: Marjorie Skinner
A long time ago, a wise man sagely noted that people were in need of a place to congregate, dance, and drink their way through the night—that without such a place, procreation was in danger of becoming a rare and awkward experience. And so, he invented the nightclub.
Centuries later, we find the plan has worked too well. Rampant breeding has caused overcrowding and widespread conflict over resources, yet nightclubs continue to multiply and flourish.
In Portland, the most overtly nightclubby experiences are found downtown, where there's a certain air of honesty in the situation: People have come from throughout the metropolitan area to congregate, drink, dance, and have sex with each other. And while some may turn their noses up at clubs with long lines and high cover charges, from the point of view of a soon-to-be-breeding young person, that exclusivity is an essential first step in culling the herd. You're not just paying to dance, you're paying for the chance to be in the vicinity of likeminded and economically able members of the opposite sex.
Having spent two years living among said young people, I was recruited to guide Delaine Waverly, a young lesbian in a committed, cohabitating relationship, through the fleshy marketplaces behind the doors of Portland's nightclubbiest nightclubs.
Armed in the standard uniform of tight jeans and bra-revealing black camisole, I first took Delaine to Aura (1022 W Burnside), where we each paid $10 to get inside the white-walled confines, which were crowded with people schmoozing, waiting in line at the bar, and dancing. We hit the dancefloor, where Delaine snagged a male partner. Alas, he soon became fascinated with his cell phone and disappeared. Despite having really cool bathrooms, we declared Aura a bust, and moved on to the Dixie Tavern (34 NW 3rd).
With a modest $7 cover charge, the much more casual Dixie was wall to wall with revelers drinking house concoctions involving Rockstar. Here, Delaine and I became separated in the crowd, and though one young man promised to help her find me, he soon fucked off with his friends.
With things getting increasingly discouraging, we opted for more familiar territory. Tube (18 NW 3rd) is a bar not ordinarily categorized with our first two destinations, but on a Friday night all bets are off, and Tube too was crawling. Nonetheless, it was clear we had crossed into new territory. There was no cover, and a man approached Delaine almost immediately. She herded him toward the bar with the ultimate goal in mind—getting him to buy her a drink. Alas, without the deadbeat-eliminating cover charge to protect her interests, Delaine watched him retrieve a mere $5 from his wallet. Not only did she have to pay for her own drink, she had to fork over to subsidize his! This was the final straw for our hero's heterosexual tourism, and Delaine was soon hotfooting it back to the quiet of a house in North Portland and the arms of a good woman.
Drink Like a tourist
Subject: Food Editor Alison Hallett • Study Submitted by: Will Gardner
I was disappointed when I greeted Alison and she was NOT sporting Capri pants and a fanny pack. I was under the impression that if we were supposed to be drinking like tourists, we should dress the part. I couldn't say much, however, having rolled up in the Portland-issue uniform of hoodie and old-school New Balance sneakers.
Our evening included plans to patronize several "authentic" tourist destinations, and to savor the fruits and hops of our native state. I knew there was a lot of marionberry-infused liquor in store for us.
The drinks at the Portland City Grill (111 SW 5th) were fruit-flavored, though not with marionberries. From the martini menu, Alison chose the Oregon Pear Blossom and I had (who knows why) a watermelon martini. Each cost $8.75 and tasted like Kool-Aid. Apparently our tour of Intoxicated Portland was on its way, because Alison was soon examining the bottom of her martini glass, and wondering aloud (quite loudly, in fact) whether the three-inch follicle she found was from a "facial or a pubic beard." Maybe it was an olive stem?
It was time to move on to Jake's Famous (401 SW 12th), a place frequented by Californians and Canadians alike. When we introduced ourselves as tourists, the bartender insisted we try his special mojito—though I was reluctant. Despite being a fag for well-nigh 30 years, I'd never tasted a mojito. Alison downed hers like she was Colin Farrell; mine was fine, though for the rest of the night I was burping up mint. Jake's was teeming with out-of-towners looking to get trashed: The cocktails were well executed and the free bread I scored provided a necessary liquor-sponge. However the sponge may have arrived too late, because by the time we reached Ringlers Annex (1223 SW Stark), Alison and I were on our own trip... halfway to halfway over the moon.
The Annex was crowded with tourists—I'd never seen these people before, so they must be tourists, right? Alison's request for a beer sampler was denied, but she settled for a suspicious concoction called the Oregon Bulldog—vodka, Irish whiskey, RC Cola, and half and half. I sipped a frou-frou martini. Embarrassing, yes. But when in Portland... right?
Well hooched, we decided to leave. Alison insisted on walking herself home to Southeast. I couldn't drive, of course, but didn't she want to take a rickshaw, or the duck tour boat? No, she would be fine—after all, she had her trusty laminated map at her side.
As she stumbled confidently home, I decided that we had been true to our "tourist" roots (though we never agreed if we were from Tallahassee or Cincinnati). We had supported three well-worn spots on the tourist map, sampled an array of recommended Pacific Northwest offerings, and, in the ultimate sign of the out-of-towner, barely tipped anyone for their help.
I really wish we'd remembered the fanny packs, though.
Drink Like a british person
Subject: Web Editor Christine S. Blystone • Study Submitted by: Matt Davis
You Americans think you've got us Brits sussed, don't you? In your minds, we all talk posh like Hugh Grant, and on every Sunday we play cricket on some archetypal village green, limp-wristedly sipping lukewarm ales like the Europeans in a Henry James novel.
Well, I've had it with your stereotypes.
Besides being my home for 26 years, Great Britain is the home of punk. It's the home of soccer hooligans, too. And growing up in tough South London, I was suckled from an early age, like, the age of 12, or 11, yeah 11, mate, on the only drink any respectable aspiring lout, albeit one who went to a private boys' school and still did his homework, would touch: a Belgian lager named Stella Artois.
Needless to say, the result of a culture that values alcohol tolerance over academic achievement and good dentistry is that most 18-year-old Britons could drink the entire Mercury sales team under the table in 40 minutes, and then kick their asses. Me included.
But I'm 27 now, and sadly, in the last nine years, I've lost my touch. I can no longer fight, nor if I'm honest could I ever, really, to save my life, and since alcohol also doesn't combine too well with Xanax, my current drug of choice, I'm well and truly off the booze for the time being. I was, however, delighted to tutor Mercury Web Editor Christine S. Blystone in the finer points of drinking like a Brit, because I remain a walking repository of Brit-drinking wisdom, even if I am on the wagon. Boy, was she ever going to learn a thing or two.
Except that Ms. Blystone doesn't need any tutoring. Even by British standards, she is pretty much a British drinker. When we showed up at the Horse Brass (4534 SE Belmont)—a convincing British pub, from the mock-Tudor walls right down to soccer scarves and plenty of dartboards—she informed me it's already her favorite pub, and furthermore she was happy to drink good old Stella—"although it's pretty weak, for a lager."
I let her comment pass, since having worked for a beer distributor, Christine also seems to have learned how to throw a mean dart, although she said, "I don't really aim, I just throw them and see what happens," so she also has the menacing aggression part of Brit-drinking down. I was instructed to "try the fish and chips" as my drinking buddy blithely scored another triple 20, and I began to wonder, like Aretha Franklin, just who was zoomin' who, here?
When we left for the Moon & Sixpence (2014 NE 42nd), encountering three bums arguing over a 40-ouncer in the car park, Christine even encouraged me to "drive straight into them" and start some sort of ruckus. Top marks! This was anti-socialism any Brit would be proud of.
The Moon, apart from a nice, traditional wooden bar, has the most authentic British pub smell I've encountered in this country, not to mention loud, cackling groups around more dartboards and lots of British food available—and about nine beers into the evening, Christine showed no sign of flagging or slowing down. As she challenged a random punter to a game of darts for $50, I made my excuses and returned home to bed—after all, it was already 9:30 pm, and some of us had to be up in the morning. But I'm still tougher than all of you Yanks.
And to think, they say: "British men are pansies...." Puh.
Drink Like a lesbian
Subject: Copy Editor Courtney Ferguson • Study Submitted by: Amy J. Ruiz
We begin our evening at the Egyptian Room (3701 SE Division), Portland's one and only lesbian watering hole. Embarrassingly, despite living just blocks away from the bar for my first year and a half in Portland, I—a card-carrying lesbo—had never been inside the place. As a near-neighbor, I'd seen far too many girls run out the door, topless, giggling, and chasing after their friend wielding their wayward shirt. Don't get me wrong: I like topless girls. I'm just worried I, too, would end up streaking down SE Division within moments of crossing the E Room's threshold.
But that's where my partner Sonia and I are meeting Courtney; I rationalize that drinking with a coworker—a straight coworker who lives with her adorable boyfriend—will ensure that everyone's tops stay in place. Under the watchful gaze of the E Room's door woman (who looks like she's been there "since lesbianism was invented" as Sonia put it), we get down to the business of letting Courtney in on the secrets of lesbian drinking.
Courtney and I slip up to the bar, next to a solitary woman who's nursing a cocktail and working her way through a pack of Camel Lights. I give Courtney two lesbian-approved options: She can order a Corona, or a vodka Red Bull. She picks the vodka Red Bull. (Back at our table, I point out that the three women next to us have four Coronas and Corona Lights among them, and the E Room has Red Bull on tap; clearly, my pre-research into what real lesbians drink was accurate.
An hour later, two vodka Red Bulls under her belt, we whisked Courtney to our next destination—the monthly Girl4Girl dance party at the Wonder Ballroom (128 NE Russell). Girl4Girl offers special bracelets for ladies looking for some action—since we'd been coaching Courtney for the past hour on the finer points of lesbianism, I inform Courtney that she is ready to wear one of these bracelets. Over a super femme-y drink called a "Bonny Lass" in the Wonder's basement cafe, she enthusiastically agrees.
Inside, however, we notice that all of the bracelets have been taken. Girls sporting three, four—even eight!—bracelets parade around, eyeing each other. Undeterred, Courtney spies a cute girl in a red shirt, who's got half a dozen bracelets on her wrist. I can't hear Courtney's negotiation tactics over the thumping music, but they end with a long kiss. With a newly won bracelet on her wrist, a triumphant Courtney promptly hits the bar for another drink (yep, more Red Bull), and proceeds to tear up the dancefloor.
We ogle Girl4Girl's lithe go-go dancers for a while, and scope the crowd for someone make-out worthy—no luck, but Sonia follows Courtney's lead, and gets a bracelet of her own. The two celebrate their victories by kissing each other (after making sure it "won't be weird later"). With no other prospects in sight, we head back to the E Room, where, to the strains of a Tori Amos song none of us had heard since 1998, we drink a final round of Coronas in honor of Courtney's first (but not last?) foray into lesbianism.
Drink Like a successful person
Subject: News Editor Scott Moore • Study Submitted by: Wm. Steven Humphrey
Obviously, I am a successful person. I am the editor and partial owner of a wildly successful weekly tabloid. I am well paid, command respect wherever I go, and girls are more than happy to cater to my every sexual whim. Therefore, it saddens me to see people like Mercury News Editor Scott Moore, sleepwalking through life with no real plan to pursue the success I enjoy with vigor. I felt beholden to be Scott's tour guide: to give him a peek into how the other half (i.e., the successful half) lives and drinks.
While Scott offered to "bike" to our first drinking establishment, I informed him my driver would be by to pick him up in the Bentley. Tip #1: Successful people don't sweat. In a previous conversation, I asked Scott to "make an effort... for once" when it came to his evening wardrobe. While he did wear a jacket (of the ill-fitting thrift-store variety), I was alarmed to see him in jeans—complete with an actual patch on his hindquarters! Plus, he wore Converse sneakers—the shoe of hobos. After learning that his wardrobe does not include a single golf sweater or pair of pleated Dockers, I had to remind myself this evening was about drinking... not looking like a functioning member of proper society.
Our first stop was the new and decidedly posh Teardrop Lounge (1015 NW Everett), a bar that exudes class, artful elegance, and—most importantly—sexy "cougars" lining the rack. I perused Teardrop's impressive cocktail menu and settled on the "Smoke & Mirrors"—a fruity, not-too-sweet blend of muddled canary melon, light rum, agua de jamaica (hibiscus), and lime with a chipotle-salted rim. Divine. Scott ordered the Sazerac, a cocktail made with whiskey, cherry vanilla bitters, gomme syrup, and Herbsaint rinse—which he inexplicably claimed tasted like "shampoo." BOOR.
It became quickly apparent that Scott was no Eliza Doolittle, and possibly a permanent enrollee in the caste of the "vulgar poor." Things worsened still while sipping on delicious Sidecars at the Benson Hotel (309 SW Broadway). Soaking in the room's classic cherry wood, leaded glass, and chandeliers, Scott let slip that his idea of monetary "success" was earning $50,000 a year. $50,000 A YEAR?? One can't afford a garbage bin on $50,000 a year, so I shudder to think of his current living situation. A refrigerator box reeking of urine, perhaps?
However, there turned out to be a whisper of hope for the plebeian Scott. As he gazed into his straight-up martini, procured at the neighboring and decidedly up-heel El Gaucho (319 SW Broadway), Scott proclaimed the drink "a bit vermouth-y" (nice), and went on to define his measure of a man's success: "Ultimately, success is power. And true power comes from influencing the powerful. People like downtown business interests use gobs of money to influence city hall—while in reality? All you need is a low-paying job writing editorials at a shitty alternative weekly."
I smiled over my glass. Apparently, even a lowborn is capable of glimpsing the true meaning of success. Although I'm sure the top-shelf vodka provided the inspiration.