Supporters' Stand Against Fascism Takes Center Stage as Timbers Fall to Sounders

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Craig Mitchelldyer/Portland Timbers
The Seattle Sounders beat the Portland Timbers 2-1 at Providence Park on Friday night, avenging their loss to the Timbers at CenturyLink Field a month ago, and ensuring against the odds that the Cascadia Cup will remain in Washington for another year.

It was a typically entertaining, spirited contest between American soccer's greatest rivals. Seattle center back Xavier Arreaga, playing in his first derby, collapsed to the ground in front of the Timbers Army in exhaustion and exultation when the final whistle sounded, the Timbers' Jeremy Ebobisse kicked the air in frustration.

The result mattered. It always does. But on this night, the result, the soccer, was secondary.

The night's main event took place in the stands, where, for the first 33 minutes of the biggest game of their season, the Timbers Army, Emerald City Supporters, and Gorilla FC protested Major League Soccer's ban of the antifascist Iron Front symbol as loudly as they could — by falling silent.

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Watch Portland Comedian Mohanad Elshieky's Killer Set on Conan

Mohanad Elshieky
Mohanad Elshieky TBS
Libyan-born, Portland-based comedian Mohanad Elshieky appeared on Conan on TBS for a stand-up set last night, and predictably, it's genius. Having lived in the United States for five years, Elshieky's five-minute set featured his "I need to speak to America's manager" bit, which smartly points out that the product is nothing like the image. One of the Mercury's Undisputed Geniuses of Comedy, Mohanad's excellent, laid-back delivery is his secret weapon; he can make audiences laugh about cultural and political topics like racism, police shootings, terrorist organizations, and his very controversial hatred of boy bands.

I once saw Elshieky perform parts of this set at a local Minority Retort show, and can attest that the longer version is even better. Here's hoping that Elshieky gets offered a Netflix special in the near future. He deserves it and we need it.


Gin Blossoms' Guitarist Jesse Valenzuela on His Band's History, Legacy, and Playing "Hey Jealousy" for the 10,000th Time

Gin Blossoms
Gin Blossoms Shervin Lainez

The members of Gin Blossoms have transitioned to their current status as a beloved nostalgia act better than most artists. As students of rock history, they know that they were incredibly lucky to get one song in the Billboard pop charts, let alone the four Top 40 hits they landed during the ’90s. They also know that the likelihood of getting back to those heights anytime in the near future would be next to impossible. Instead, the quintet is embracing the continued interest in their past work and making new music as the spirit moves them. (Their most recent album Mixed Reality was released last year.)

What separates them from the flailing moves of some of their contemporaries is that their most popular songs—”Til I Hear It From You,” which got to #11 on the Billboard charts in 1995 and “Follow You Down,” which was a #9 hit the year later—aren’t tied to a ’90s aesthetic. This was a power pop band that could have emerged alongside Big Star and The Knack some 15 years before its formation. Sure, they had tunes on the soundtracks for Wayne’s World 2 and Empire Records but the reason Gin Blossoms still get played on the radio today is that, melodically and spiritually, their work had a melodicism and drive that unashamedly sought out and impressively achieved timelessness.

As well, Gin Blossoms has maintained their remarkable work ethic since reuniting in 2001 following a break up four years earlier. The group has toured steadily since, both to support new albums and to pay heed to their past successes. They are more than happy to play every song off of their 1992 album New Miserable Experience as long as there are people who still want to hear them.

With Gin Blossoms returning to the area this weekend to perform at ilani Cowlitz Ballroom in Ridgefield, we caught up with founding guitarist Jesse Valenzuela to talk about keeping the band afloat after more than three decades together and whether he still gets something out of playing the group’s hits after all this time.

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Mike Wallace Is Here: A Clear-Eyed Look at a No-Bullshit Reporter

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Magnolia Pictures

“A nation’s press is a good yardstick of a nation’s health,” a young Mike Wallace says in old black-and-white footage early in Mike Wallace Is Here. “Take a look at the history of any nation which has lost its freedoms, and you will find that the men who grabbed the power also had to crush the free press.” Director Avi Belkin’s doc about the famed 60 Minutes reporter—who interviewed everyone from Malcolm X to Ayatollah Khomeini to Oprah Winfrey to Eleanor Roosevelt to Vladimir Putin—is a smart, measured look at Wallace’s greatest journalistic hits and misses, his struggles with depression, and his influence over a changing, weakening news business. (“You’re a dinosaur!” a belligerent Bill O’Reilly shouts at Wallace—and in the same breath, notes Wallace was a huge influence on him.) Unlike another recent journalism doc—HBO’s lightweight The Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben Bradlee, about the heroic editor of The Washington PostMike Wallace Is Here remains clear-eyed and hard-hitting, just as, one imagines, the no-bullshit Wallace would have wanted it. Take, for example, when Larry King attempts to chide Wallace for his brusqueness, and Wallace responds: “Do not confuse anger and hostility with an insistence on getting to the bottom line, to the fact.”


TV Review: On Becoming a God in Central Florida Has Great Elements But Plateaus Too Soon

Kirsten Dunst in On Becoming a God in Central Florida.
Kirsten Dunst in On Becoming a God in Central Florida. Patti Perret/Sony/SHOWTIME
There are a lot of things to like in On Becoming a God in Central Florida, although I doubt any two people are going to like exactly the same things about it. In its best moments, On Becoming a God hits upon a worthy blend of comedy, humanism, and bug-nuts surreality that’s unlike anything else on TV. Unfortunately, it also has qualities that are like a lot of things on TV—namely, that it burns through the promise of its early episodes too quickly, and becomes a repetitive churn without enough of a build.

The series was originally planned for YouTube’s slate of original content and is instead airing on Showtime (it premieres this Sunday night), although right now you can check out the first two episodes on YouTube for free. It was also at one point going to be directed by Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite, The Lobster), and my god, wouldn’t that have been something. Maybe that coulda-been gives you an idea of what sort of dark, quirky comedy we’re talking about with On Becoming a God, although it’s marginally less confrontational and significantly nicer than Lanthimos’ work tends to be.

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Get Your Tickets Now for the Mercury's Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy 2019!

Meet the 2019 Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy!
Meet the 2019 Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy!

It’s back! The biggest night of Portland comedy is returning to Revolution Hall on Saturday, September 21!

You like laughing your guts out, right? Then you won't want to miss the Portland Mercury’s Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy 2019, featuring Portland’s funniest people (and hilarious up-and-comers) all on one stage.

Stand-up comedians, sketch comedy, and crazy stuff that defies explanation... all provided by Portland’s local undisputable geniuses!

Featuring stand-up from: Portland’s Funniest Person top finalists Corina Lucas and Shain Brenden, along with the amazingly funny Dylan Carlino, Shrista Tyree, Lance Edward, sketch comedy from D&D, Dianna Potter, Eddie Su, Wendy Weiss, Ben Harkins, Tory Ward, and more surprises!

Hosted by the consistently hilarious NARIKO OTT!

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 8 PM
Revolution Hall
(1300 SE Stark)
$17 advance, $25 door, 21+
Last year’s show was a sell-out, so don’t delay!

GET YOUR TICKETS NOW AT MERCTICKETS.COM!

Trust us—you won’t want to miss the undisputable fun of the Portland Mercury’s...UNDISPUTABLE GENIUSES OF COMEDY 2019!


Pop Fantasies: Leading Psychics See the Future of Guitar Pop

Leading Psychics
Leading Psychics Kristin Neuschwander

The slow death of guitar-based music is a narrative that keeps coming up. Guitar sales are in decline. Rock music—in the general sense—is nowhere near as popular as it once was. And mainstream pop? Forget about it. The only things you'll find on the charts that employ guitars are Ed Sheeran and a handful of country-lite artists.

That's not to say the alternatives are all bad. But guitars sure are cool. So are saccharine-laced hooks. And silky vocal harmonies. Portland's Leading Psychics deliver all of this unabashedly on their forthcoming debut What About Lonely? (via This-A-Way Records). The record is seemingly at odds with the members’ punk roots.

“When we started the Psychics, it was based on the notion of indulgence—layers galore, harmonies—things that aren't always so punk, but felt so good,” explains guitarist/vocalist (and co-founder) David Frederickson, who also formed one of Portland's longest running bands, the Prids, with Mistina La Fave back in the mid-'90s.

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Timbers v. Seattle Match Preview

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Sam Ortega/Portland Timbers
With discontent over MLS's ban of the Iron Front symbol swirling, the buildup the Portland Timbers' showdown with the Seattle Sounders tonight at Providence Park has had a decidedly unusual feel. Tonight's game will be well worth watching — for what happens off of, as well as on, the field (7 p.m., TV on ESPN).

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Good Morning, News: Fed Reserve Disses Trump, Video Damns Joey Gibson, and One Koch Bro Down... One to Go

Stay up to date on Portland news and politics. Looking for fun? Here are the best Things to Do in Portland today.

David Koch dies... but not before ruining everything he touched.
David Koch dies... but not before ruining everything he touched. Lars Niki/Getty Images

GOOD MORNING, PORTLAND! You go behind my back and call my friend? Boy, you must've fallen and bumped your head. LET'S GO TO PRESS.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell announced that Trump's trade policies pose a risk to America's economic outlook. Cue the president's infantile hissy-fit in three... two... one.

Meanwhile China is clapping back against Trump, slapping America with $75 billion worth of tariffs on automobiles and other goods.

David Koch, one half of the infamous Koch brothers who poured money into far right-wing politics, has died. Let the world's tiniest violin play.

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Live Review: Daniel Caesar, Koffee at Roseland, Tues August 20

Daniel Caesar
Daniel Caesar Jenni Moore
Following his drunken defense of known culture vulture Yes Julz, I wasn't sure what the crowd for Canadian R&B singer Daniel Caesar would be like, and to be honest I didn't really care. I was too focused on being excited about seeing the opener, 19-year-old Jamaican reggae singer Koffee, whose debut EP Rapture I've been obsessed with as of late.
Koffee
Koffee Jenni Moore

As I entered the Roseland Theater on Tuesday, the first of two sold-out Daniel Caesar shows this week, I immediately noticed that this Daniel Caesar/Koffee crowd was quite diverse—a quality not typical of Portland concerts, and a very pleasant surprise. Koffee started right at 8 pm. Her 30-minute set had a very unplugged vibe: just drums, some acoustic guitar, and a hypewoman. She was dressed very casually, which only adds to her down-to-earth, humble attitude.

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AU Releases Final Album: a Live Recording of Their 2016 Collaboration With the Camas HS Choir

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Briana Cerezo
It’s been about three years since a spell was cast on me. It was at the 2016 TBA Fest, where I got caught in the waves of undulating sound and exuberant wonder brought forth by the members of AU, some of their assorted musical friends, and, most crucially, the many, many young bodies that made up the Camas High School Choir. Their collaborative performance, which included some re-arranged material from AU’s catalog and new material, was a glorious immersion that I’ve never fully recovered from. I’ve been seeking out its analog ever since with mixed results.

My search may have come to an end with the news that AU is digitally releasing a live performance of this same set, recorded earlier in 2016 at Yale Union. It is, as the PR copy for this release states, “the summation of a yearlong project that found [keyboardist/vocalist Luke] Wyland working directly with Camas students to produce an entirely new body of music that blurs the lines between propulsive art-pop and avant-garde choral soundscapes.” While it can’t beat the experience of seeing the pure delight that played across everyone’s faces as they played or the visceral feeling of soundwaves hitting my chest, it will help scratch that peculiar itch in me nicely.

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The 2020 Presidential Race Just Lost the Only Candidate Appropriately Concerned About Climate Change

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee KAREN DUCEY/GETTY

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee was remarkably one-note in his recently euthanized campaign to be 2020's Democratic nominee. Climate, climate, climate, he'd say. Climate, climate, climate! And—occasionally, if he really wanted to shake things up—he'd add: Climate! Climate! Climate!

Inslee never managed to get much support in the race, which remains dominated by Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders (feat. Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg). What Inslee did manage to do, though, was use a national platform—as limited as it was—to drive the political conversation toward what is, arguably, the only issue that currently matters: Climate. Climate. Climate.

"We have to understand if we don't solve the climate crisis, it will prevent us from dealing with all of our other hopes and challenges," Inslee told NPR in May—a strong statement that, incredibly, might not have been strong enough. ("We're all fucked if we don't work on this one goddamn thing," might have been a more accurate, if less diplomatic, way to put it.)

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SEXComedy

TONIGHT! It's the Sex/Comedy Show, Talkin' Dirty with Shrista & AJ!

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Aaron Lee / @aaronleephoto

Get ready to celebrate, America! The Portland Mercury and She Bop are thrilled to bring you a new, live show that pairs your favorite things in the world: SEX AND COMEDY. It’s Talkin’ Dirty with Shrista & AJ, starring the hilarious Shrista Tyree and beloved sex educator/entertainer Amory Jane. In this monthly series, Shrista and AJ promise a wild and funny evening filled with comedy from local and national comedians, lots of real talk, and a live sex ed demonstration from one of the top educators in the field!

And for TONIGHT'S Thursday, August 22 show, Shrista and AJ will be joined by Portland's Funniest Person finalist Dylan Carlino and sex educator Gretchen Leigh who will teach us the fine art of blowjobs and deep throating! Plus, there will be lots of lively conversation, games, and surprises galore!

Our first show was a near sell-out, so get your tickets NOW for TONIGHT'S edition of the funniest, sexiest show in town:

Talkin’ Dirty with Shrista & AJ
Thurs August 22, 7:30 pm doors / 8 pm show
The Siren Theater, 315 NW Davis
$15 advance at merctickets.com, $20 door

Brought to you by the Portland Mercury, and Portland’s favorite all-inclusive sex shop, She Bop!


New Evidence Shows Joey Gibson's Role in Planning May Day Attack at Cider Riot

Joey Gibson at a August 17 rally in downtown Portland.
Joey Gibson at a August 17 rally in downtown Portland. Karen Ducey / Getty Images

The legal team representing local cider bar Cider Riot in a lawsuit against far-right group Patriot Prayer has filed a new motion containing potentially damning evidence.

The lawsuit came after members of Patriot Prayer—including leader Joey Gibson—instigated a brawl with Cider Riot patrons on the sidewalk and street outside of the NE Couch business on May 1. Cider Riot attorney Juan Chavez, with the Oregon Justice Resource Center (OJRC), argues that Patriot Prayer intentionally targeted the business because people who identified as anti-fascists (or, antifa) were meeting there to celebrate a day of peaceful May Day demonstrations. The lawsuit, filed on May 3, accused Gibson and six other members of Patriot Prayer of acting negligently and trespassing on private property—and requests a trial by jury.

Gibson has since requested a judge dismiss this lawsuit, claiming Cider Riot and Chavez are trying to silence Gibson's political opinions. Gibson's lawyer, Multnomah County GOP Chair James Buchal, believes that his client is the target of a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP), a name for litigation that appears specifically crafted to intimidate and silence critics.

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Disjecta’s Portland 2019 Biennial: Where to Start

Altar by Lynn Yarne
Altar by Lynn Yarne LYNN YARNE

The fifth edition of Disjecta’s Portland Biennial is both a narrowing and an expansion of the exhibition’s original vision. The Biennial is a curated survey of Oregon contemporary artists that takes place every two years. But for the first time since Disjecta started organizing these regular events, all the work and the majority of the planned events will be featured in or around Disjecta’s gallery on North Interstate, rather than scattered across the city or—as with their ambitious 2016 edition—the state.

By contrast, the scope of the 2019 Biennial is wider and more far-reaching.

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