Blazers Recap: The Beard Prevails Again

The Houston Rockets, our evil rivals from down south, rolled into town sporting the best record in the NBA and the fireworks flew Saturday night. The Blazers were looking to end their most dismal stretch of the season, a three game losing streak at home. Things started off swimmingly for the home team, with Damian Lillard scoring at will, and the Blazers led most of the way. But alas, they couldn't close it out, and James "The Beard" Harden dashed our hopes once again. The Rockets pulled ahead in the final quarter and won, 124-117, dammit.

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Bruce Ely/Trailblazers.com

Few teams are as disliked by Blazer fans as the Rockets. Their list of grievances against the Texas team goes on and on, dating back to the mid-90s when they wooed superstar Blazer Clyde Drexler away to join one of the first NBA superteams with Hakeem Olajuwon and Charles Barkley. These days the Rockets are known as floppers and whiners, with all-star guards James Harden and Chris Paul leading the charge. Unfortunately those two floppers are also really good players and the Rockets currently sit in first place in the West. The Blazers weren't expected to give them much of a game, but hey, the hometown boys came out swinging. Lillard ended the game with 38 points and a franchise record 9 three pointers. But it wasn't enough to down the Rockets.

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Kill, Baby... Kill! Has a Great Title! It's Also a Great Movie!

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Mario Bava’s 1966 film Kill, Baby... Kill! is jam-packed with classic horror tropes: creaky doors, gratuitous cobwebs, shadowy passageways, intense exorcisms, cavernous tombs, ornate candelabras, random green auras, and one revolting baby doll.

The story is classic, too: Following the mysterious death of a young woman, Dr. Paul Eswai (Giacomo Rossi Stuart) is sent to perform her autopsy in a village in Eastern Europe’s Carpathian Mountains. Eswai’s dismissive voice of reason is not welcomed by the locals, who believe their town is cursed and being ravaged by a murderous ghost. Eswai’s foil is Ruth (Fabienne Dali), a professional sorceress with winged eyeliner who inserts coins into corpses’ hearts.

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Why Portland’s Small Businesses Are Turning To Car Sharing Services Like ReachNow

Portland’s small businesses fuel our morning routines, keep us connected to Portland’s roots and make our neighborhoods our homes.

But, just like the rest of us, small businesses face challenges as they continue to grow with the changing face of Portland. One way small businesses are looking to modernize their approach is by using ReachNow. Car sharing helps offset the cost of additional company vehicles and help their employees move around Portland.

ReachNow has 350 cars available across Portland for on-demand use by the minute, hour or the day. They have started partnering with small businesses to improve through mobility. For example, ReachNow is working with Water Avenue Coffee, who was able to forgo the purchase of an additional company car to handle deliveries and other business needs around Portland and move their team around in a more sustainable way. Learn more about how ReachNow is helping Portland’s small business here.


Billy Joel's Five Best Songs You Won’t Hear at the Dentist

BILLY JOEL Writes hits, loves pugs.
BILLY JOEL Writes hits, loves pugs. JAIMIE MCCARTHY / GETTY IMAGES

Billy Joel is one of the most successful and accomplished songwriters of all time. He’s also unanimously loathed by pop critics (with the exception of Chuck Klosterman). Few musicians represent the disparity between popular and critical consensus better than Billy Joel.

Barring his underwhelming classical experiment from 2001, Fantasies and Delusions, Joel hasn’t released a proper album of original material since 1992’s River of Dreams (which is actually much more listenable than its awful cover art suggests). For music journalists looking to brandish their snark, Joel is the perennial low-hanging fruit, though there aren’t any new reasons to make fun of him.

Many criticisms of Billy Joel are valid, as are criticisms of virtually any artist. He has written some horrible songs, and some of those songs are his biggest hits. His attempts at portraiture are laughable (“Piano Man”; “Goodnight Saigon”), and when he plays the role of pugnacious cultural critic (“It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me”), he just seems like a paranoid one-upman hell-bent on besting his imagined nemeses.

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The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: Portland Food and Drink Weekly News Wrap-Up

Departures Peking Duck
Departure's Peking Duck JOHN VALLS/ DEPARTURE

Generally, December’s a slow food news month, but the first week of this December has brought with it some uncharacteristically sunny news (as well as some gloomy news). Here’s how the last month of 2017 is shaping up.

The Good
This week, we listed what we feel are the six best options to get your Peking Duck on during this holiday season. They are Departure ($106), Duck House ($55.95), Powell’s Seafood ($38), Golden Horse ($36), Wong’s King ($35), and Pure Spice ($25.95).

PoMo reports of two highly anticipated openings this week: Melissa McMillan’s Portland-by-way-of-Ashland sandwich shop, Sammich, which has opened at 2137 E Burnside, and Adam McGovern and Arik Miller’s new cafe. Sterling Coffee Roasters is now grinding beans and foaming milk at 518 NW 21st just a couple blocks away from their old shared digs.

Courtesy of Eater PDX, we’ve learned that the Little Griddle is now serving breakfast and brunch at 3520 NE 42nd; that in February of next year, the Hilton-owned Porter Hotel will open four restaurants to be helmed by former Original chef AJ Voytko, including Terrane Italian Kitchen + Bar, Xport Bar & Lounge, the Chiosco pizza window, and a cafe and deli called Portland Exchange Grocer & Goods; that Lightning Bar Collective is bringing vegan barbecue to its newest—and eighth—bar, Thunderbird, located at 5339 SE Foster; and that the bro-ishly named Pink Taco, which makes Mexican food in LA and Las Vegas, will post up in the old Trader Vic’s space in the Pearl District. You’re welcome, ladies.

The eagle-eyed New School beer advocates have learned that the Ohio-based Fat Head’s Brewery won’t resign its lease next year for its 131 NW 13th Pearl District location. However, its Portland-based franchisee, Tom Cook, plans on opening his own new brewery and pub, Von Ebert Brewing, next year with an assist of Fat Head’s current brewer and a former Commons brewer.

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A County Employee Has Been Fired For Sharing Racial Disparity Data

Amanda Lamb
Amanda Lamb Multnomah County

A county employee who shared data showing persistent racial disparities in Multnomah County's justice system has been fired because of it, the Mercury has learned.

As we reported last month, local justice officials were angered by a presentation county research analyst Amanda Lamb gave in October at the Tableau Conference, a large software conference in Las Vegas. The 53-minute presentation unveiled a "racial and ethnic disparity dashboard" that's been in the works over the last year. It also portrayed a justice system where people of color are disproportionately jailed and imprisoned, among lots of other things, and justice officials who were reticent to share that data.

Lamb's talk got a hearty applause from her Vegas audience, but did not go well in Portland. Judges, Multnomah County Prosecutor Rod Underhill, and others were concerned that Lamb had shared their data without permission, contrary to county rules, and portrayed them as reluctant to make the findings public. They also painted her conclusions as misleading, and Ed Jones, the county's chief criminal judge, went so far as to call it "half-assed analysis." The backlash from some court officials was strong enough that Abbey Stamp, Lamb's boss, asked Tableau to remove a video of the presentation from the web. (We obtained a copy via a public records request. It's below.)

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I Had a Religious Experience at the Killers Last Night

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This is probably not a cool thing to say, but the Killers are one of my all-time favorite bands, and last night I finally got to see them play live. It was unreal—between songs, frontman Brandon Flowers bantered about Portland's "Rip City" nickname and basked in the wild applause of a sold-out Moda Center.

Fellow early 2000s nostalgia act Franz Ferdinand opened the show with crowd-pleasing hits like "Do You Want To" and "Take Me Out." I was never a huge FF fan in my youth, but enjoyed how singer Alex Kapranos did some cool twirling dance moves while the other dudes just bopped around. Apparently the Scottish indie rock band is still making music—they just released a single called "Always Ascending," the title track of a new LP coming out in February.

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Pink confetti flurries and a booming, god-like voice announced the Killers' arrival: "Who's got gas in the tank? Who's got money in the bank?" Flowers, drummer Ronnie Vannucci, Jr., a couple of other guys (bassist Mark Stoermer and guitarist Dave Keuning are sitting this tour out), and three truly amazing backup singers ripped into "The Man," the disco-infused lead single of the Las Vegas rock band's new album, Wonderful Wonderful.

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Don't Miss the Siren's "Best Christmas Ever" Comedy Show—Tonight!

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If you love the holidays, and peeing your pants a little from laughter, don't miss the Siren Theater's newest banger, The Brand New Best Christmas Ever—a holiday-positive show featuring sketch comedy, singing, dancing, and (full disclosure) MEEEEEEEE!

As you know, the Siren is home to the funniest, smartest comedy in town, and this show includes Portland's best and brightest talent including Shelley McLendon, Erin Jean O'Regan, Jed Arkley, Janet Scanlon, Chad Parsons, Justin Himes, and Beau Brousseau. (Oh, and did I mention MEEEEEE?) Plus there isn't a single mean, Scroogey bone in this show's body. It's most akin to the television holiday variety specials of yore, and is chock-a-block full of laughs and good cheer.

BUT! It's only playing for six performances, starting tonight (Friday Dec 8 through Sun Dec 17). So get your tickets now, because some shows are already on the verge of selling out! If you need a holiday cheer up, then The Brand New Best Christmas Ever is the place to be!

GET YOUR TICKETS HERE!


Talkin’ Subatomic Cosmic Blues with Valerie June

VALERIE JUNE Following her own voice.
VALERIE JUNE Following her own voice. Jacob Blickenstaff

With her Tennessee twang and infectious laugh, Valerie June could charm the dew off a honeysuckle. It’s difficult not to smile and laugh along with her, even as she’s discussing celestial realms and conversations with spirits.

June has always been interested in the esoteric and the transcendent, but it wasn’t until writing the song “Astral Plane,” from her latest album The Order of Time, that she found a way to fully express these thoughts in her lyrics. It’s a quiet meditation on hopes, dreams, and interstellar traveling delicately sung over a lush, cosmic folk arrangement. “Dancing on the astral plane/In holy water cleansing rain,” June sings. “Floating through the stratosphere/Blind, but yet you see so clear.”

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Yep, It's Time to Stop Watching Woody Allen Movies!

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To steal one of the writer/director’s old jokes, Woody Allen’s latter-day movies can be divided into two categories: the horrible and the miserable. His newest, Wonder Wheel, has the unprecedented distinction of being both—it’s a toothless, slipshod reshuffling of Allen’s usual lazy tropes (miserable) and an incontrovertible reminder of the appalling rumors that surround his personal life (horrible).

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Today on Craigslist: Anybody Need Any Haunted Nightmare Bones?

Haunted bones, free to good home.
Haunted bones, free to good home. Courtesy Craigslist

From the keen eyes over at Portland Reddit comes this very bizarre Craigslist ad for "Free Haunted (nightmare inducing) Bones from Alcatraz." Here's the description:

My roommate scavenged these miscellaneous (animal?) bones from her recent trip to Alcatraz Island and brought them back to me as a gift. They have since caused ceaseless bizarre, realistic nightmares to myself and others in the house. We must be rid of them.

The ad goes on to say that the horror bones are "Perfect for art projects, studying priests, and perhaps shamans, or witchfolk." And in a thoughtful addition, "not for animals to eat. Very small, they could choke."

The owners are also quick to relinquish any responsibility for anything terrible that could happen to the new owners of the bones, but mitigate this by throwing in "a delightful fall scarflet" that the bones come in, "for you to wear at your leisure."

HERE ARE MY QUESTIONS:

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Good Morning, News: Wheeler Bounces Housing Director, Al Franken Bounces Himself, and LA's Bros Are Upset

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cosmonaut / Getty Images

First up this morning, Mayor Ted Wheeler is saying goodbye to two more of his bureau directors. The city announced yesterday that Housing Director Kurt Creager's departure has been hashed out over the last month—he was pretty clearly forced out—and Office of Equity and Human Rights Director Dante James is setting sail for Colorado.

Wheeler's also trolling the federal housing secretary (in a more-or-less good way). No housing official is immune.

As we all figured he would, Sen. Al Franken announced yesterday he's resigning from office, after yet another woman accused him of sexual harassment and he lost the support of virtually all of his fellow Democratic senators. He's also not admitting to most of the accusations, and he's quite salty that Trump still gets to be in office and a (alleged) child molester will probably be elected to the Senate next week. ("The GOP has lost its last ethical moorings," Slate's Dahlia Lithwick argues.)

GOOD NEWS: The police officer who shot a fleeing, unarmed Walter Scott in the back in 2015 was sentenced to 20 years in prison yesterday, in what the NYT notes "is one of the few instances in which a police officer has been prosecuted for an on-duty shooting."

How the hell do that many crisp, unfolded hundos get through the tiny slot in a Salvation Army kettle and still qualify as an "anonymous" donation, I want to know. Something ain't right. (But if you gave $10K to the Salvation Army, good on you.)

Have we regressed to the point of shooting each other with crossbows in this city? And is that a good or bad thing? Discuss in the comments.

We noted yesterday that Portland's financial outlook for next year is potentially worse than planned. Budget officials now say the city could be facing a budget deficit of between $9 million and $30 million, despite surging economic growth.

Oregon Congressman Kurt Schrader is okay carrying the NRA's water. He voted yes on a bill that expands the rights of people to tote their concealed weapons in all 50 states. "Schrader often votes with the National Rifle Association, which gave him a 71 percent positive rating in 2016," OPB notes.

Just a reminder: The homelessness crisis is playing out up and down the West Coast. Here's a snapshot of what's going on in San Diego.

More from California: Both of these videos are weirdly worth your time.


And of course, Southern California is still in flames (with the help of climate change!). "Driven by erratic winds through parched narrow canyons, the hydra-headed Thomas fire in Ventura County continued its onslaught on many fronts Thursday, roaring through beach communities, suburbs, fruit orchards and rugged mountain redoubts."

Three people, including the gunman, were killed in a New Mexico school shooting yesterday. Authorities haven't released much about the shooter or victims.

Aaand the government is funded for two more weeks, and a larger budget standoff looms.

FORECAST:

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Feds Seize $50,000 From Repeat International Gun Part Smuggler in Oregon City

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Haoquin Liu's business adeadvancedoptics.com

Oregon City's Haoqian Liu, who runs an online gun store, keeps getting busted by the feds for illegally smuggling in gun parts from countries in Asia.

In the middle of a probation sentence for bringing in at least 30 shipments of gun parts from the Philippines—including some that violated the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations—the US Department of Homeland Security seized $50,000 from Liu that agents say is proceeds from an illegal scheme to smuggle gun parts from China.

Liu operates a company called ADE Advanced Optics, an online gun part retailer based in Oregon City. In February, the feds—agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); Homeland Security; Customs and Border Patrol; the Department of Commerce—and the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office raided ADE office in Oregon City and seized a whole bunch of assault rifle parts shipped illegally from China that they say are worth more than $1.5 million. Per federal court records:

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I Don't Care About Democrats Setting a Good Example

I don't care about shaming "Republicans into being better people." I don't care about "unilateral disarmament" when it comes to sexual harassment and sexual assault. I don't care about "asymmetrical warfare." I don't care about high morality, or norm preservation, or any other term people are using to explain the rationale to get rid of Democrats who sexually humiliate their colleagues and constituents.

When it comes to sexual assault and sexual harassment, there is only one thing I care about: Putting an end to it. That is it. Plain and simple. Nothing more, nothing less.

If liberals consider that goal some sort of performative morality without any political calculus, they clearly do not understand my interests, and I don't want to belong to their political party.

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Joachim Trier’s Thelma Is More Than It Appears

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Much like Jordan Peele folded acidic commentary and comedy into the shocks and dread of Get Out, Joachim Trier’s fourth feature, Thelma, is a lot more than it appears: as a thriller about a young woman with kinetic abilities.

On the surface, Thelma’s plot revolves around the plight of the titular character (played with the wet-eyed timidity of a lost fawn by Eili Harboe) and her realization of what her powerful mind is capable of. But deeper down, the story is about what her body is craving—and there’s some sharp observations about repressive religious beliefs sprinkled in, too.

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Sneaker Wave: The Latest in Portland Hip-Hop

KARMA RIVERA
KARMA RIVERA ADOLFOCANTÚ VILLARREAL

Okay, Portland. I need to begin this week’s column by berating those of you who haven’t bought tickets to Jay-Z. Seriously: Why are there hundreds of blue dots representing empty arena seats for his show at Moda Center on Thursday, December 14? 4:44 was beyond excellent and his setlist is all hits! Why wouldn’t you spend $28 (plus fees) to see none other than Hov himself? This is why we can’t have nice things! You always embarrass me in front of Beyoncé!

Whew, now that I’ve got that out of my system, let’s focus on local news: This week the two-day Portland Oregon Hip-Hop Festival returns, the Thesis celebrates its three-year anniversary, and there's an all-ages Chill-Out Benefit Concert on Sunday, courtesy of Friends of Noise. But first, let’s acknowledge the dopeness of Portland rapper Karma Rivera’s latest music video, “Everybody Watchin.’”

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