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Blazers Recap: Best Team In The League? Send In The Bench. Blazers Win, 128-122!!

Photo By Bruce Ely /

Remember putting together Tug-o-war teams in elementary school? Once the teams were assembled and everyone took their spot on the rope, it was always considered wise to put the heaviest, strongest, and preferably shortest person on the very end. It was typically a stout jock, or the poor chunky kid who was incessantly bullied until it was time to put his girth to work and be the hero. It was a good strategy, but it never guaranteed a win. Your anchor could be a tree stump, but you couldn’t pull the other team over the line if every one wasn’t digging in.

Currently, the Trail Blazers are a Tug-o-war team that is putting all their faith in an anchor to win games. It varies from game to game who that anchor is. Sometimes it’s Damian Lillaird, Jusuf Nurkic, or like Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies, it was CJ McCollum. CJ went wild and scored 40 points to the rest of the team’s 43. That’s right, three fewer than half the points for the whole team. That’s a solid anchor, but again, everyone needs to pull on the rope to win. It’s almost as if the Blazers draw straws in the locker room before games to see who gets to go off when they all are capable of doing so.

Last night the Blazers gripped the other end of the ol’ Tug-o-war rope looking at the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors have the best record in the NBA right now at 23-7. The Blazers have gone up against some fierce teams this season, but not the best. Considering the Blazers play of late, the natural inclination was to assume that the Blazers would get ripped into ribbons by the Raptors. Last night, more than any night, the Blazers needed to forgo their Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe ritual and just pull together.

Photo By Bruce Ely /

Per usual, the Blazers were wholly unpredictable. Instead of leaning on one single player’s performance, or collapsing in the fourth quarter, the whole Blazer team planted their heels and wrenched the best team in the league off their feet for the win, 128-122.

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Shoplifters Review: A Movie That Steals Your Heart, Then Breaks It

Magnolia Pictures
The title of Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters could have just as easily been Collectors: An impoverished, three-generational family lives on top of each other in a tiny house cluttered with piles of stolen and salvaged junk. Other people’s trash is their treasure, and that idea is taken to extremes when the family adopts—or kidnaps, depending on your point of view—a neglected and abused young girl. But the true nature of this unusual family, and their methods of acquiring things, means their lives must be kept in the shadows.

Shoplifters won the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and it’s now playing in Portland after being raved about by critics for the past few months. Count me in that group—Shoplifters really moved me, and did it in a sneaky way, carefully setting the table during the film’s early stages for a gut-wrenching and unforgettable ending.

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Spoiler Alert: Everybody Dies In Everybody at Artists Rep

Imagine Death knocks on your door...literally. It's time to go, and no, you don't have a choice. And yes, it's really happening. Do you want someone to accompany you? Of course you do. But who will? Complete with the embodiments of your favorite real-life characters and emotions (Love, Kinship, Stuff, Friendship...and of course, Death), Everybody by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is an audacious riff on the 15th century morality play Everyman. Of the robust 10-person cast, five brave actors will play a multitude of roles with their characters chosen by lottery onstage every night — with a possible 120 combinations — as they fight to cheat Death. If contemplating death doesn't put you in the Holiday spirit...then what does?

When: Now - December 30

Where: Artists Repertory Theatre, 1516 SW Alder St. Portland, OR

“What’s Your Deal?” Your Weekly Food and Drink Wrap


This week, superstar bartender, columnist, and author Jeffrey Morgentahler (Clyde Common, Pepe le Moko, Playboy) took to Twitter this week to ask his many guests, customers and colleagues, “What’s your deal?” As in: “Guys who sit with their back to the bar and stare at the crowd: what’s your deal?” and “Rich white ladies who would rather split the check than buy your friend a glass of happy hour white wine: What's your deal?” and “Americans who order the 'charcuterie' with a comically-fake French accent: What’s your deal?” and “Bartenders that serve drinks over one large ice cube in a stemmed glass: What's your deal?” and “Guests who answer ‘What do you feel like making?’ when we try to take your drink order: Did you just answer a question with another question? What's your deal?” as well as this little gem, “People who make changes to a recipe before trying it, and then get upset when it doesn’t turn out well: What’s your story? Why are you the way you are?” All very good and very great questions! The startender also joked on the medium that reported on his musings must mean it’s a slow news week. If only!

This week, the Mercury reported that Ling Garden, the Taiwanese restaurant that shuttered after more than two decades on NW 21st, has grandly re-opened today for lunch and dinner. Get ready for popcorn chicken and General Tso’s chicken, and Kung Pow chicken, as well as other vegetables and proteins.

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Coming Soon to Southeast Powell: Studio One Theaters, with High-End Picture, Sound, and Food

Scott Radke

We're starting to get a better idea of what Portland's newest movie theater will look like. And sound like.

Eagle-eyed Mercury readers will remember that we've been trying to figure out what's going on with the construction at Southeast 39th and Powell foreverall the way back in April, I mentioned a building permit that noted plans for a "new theater" with "7 theater rooms" at the location. That permit was filed by C2K Architecture, a firm that’s previously worked on three different locations for Cinetopia, a high-end theater and restaurant chain with several locations just outside of Portland, but none in the city proper.

Over the past year, multiple emails and calls from the Mercury to Cinetopia have gone unanswered—even as a sign for "Studio One Theaters" went up on Powell, and even as construction started to look like it was wrapping up. Meanwhile, a listing for "VCE Theaters" at the location started popping up on Dolby's website, which indicated the forthcoming theater would have Dolby Atmos, a super high-end sound system.

But now, a few job postings have given us a much clearer idea of what Studio One Theaters will offer.

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Ling Garden’s Soft Open Turns to a Hard Open Today


Two-and-a-half years ago, the NW 21st Taiwanese restaurant Ling Garden shuttered after 23 years to make room for a big development. Today it reopens with a brand new modern storefront in the exact same place.

Sumei Cheng, the face of the family business, says Ling Garden will rely on its old family recipe box to re-greet its Alpahabet District neighbors, so get ready for more General Tso’s chicken, moo shu beef, snow pea pork, egg fu yung, King Pow chicken lo mein, popcorn chicken and other Taiwanese street foods.

Cheng says her 40-seat restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner and will serve beer, wine, and an abbreviated specialty cocktail list, as well as a three-course $16.50-dinner option entitling guests to a barbecue crab and pork puff, a cup of soup, and a dinner main with your choice of rice.

Cheng says that, for the first time, her family business will finally be run by not just her generation, but the generations that came before and after, joking that when her 20-year-lease finally runs out, the entire family will be able to retire.

Hours are 11 am to 9 pm, Monday through Thursday, 11 am to 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and noon to 9 pm on Sundays.

Ling Garden: 931 NW 21st, 503-227-6052

Merkley Heads to the Border to Investigate Child Prisons—Again

Senator Jeff Merkley will visit the Tornillo Children’s Detention Camp in Texas, pictured here, this weekend.
Senator Jeff Merkley will visit the Tornillo Children’s Detention Camp in Texas, pictured here, this weekend. JOE RAEDLE / GETTY IMAGES

It’s been six months since Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley was denied entry to an immigrant detention center in Texas—and livestreamed it, adding fuel to the fire of a national outrage over the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.

The latter half of 2018 didn’t bring much change—ICE and the Border Patrol are still separating families and keeping kids locked up, and today news broke that a seven-year-old Guatemalan girl, Jackeline Caal, died from dehydration and shock after crossing the border and being detained earlier this month.

So Merkley is in Texas again this weekend to shine a light on the issue. While there on Friday and Saturday, he is visitng three detention centers: the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, the Karnes Residential Center in Karnes, and the Tornillo Children’s Detention Camp in Tornillo—a desert tent encampment that currently detains over 2,000 immigrant children.

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Erik Henriksen Tells You What to Watch This Weekend™


Welcome to the Erik Henriksen Tells You What to Watch This Weekend™, a weekly post in which I, Erik Henriksen, tell you what you should watch this weekend! I will continue doing this post until you have watched everything you should watch.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: A Midwinter’s Tale—Sabrina Spellman's back with a holiday special! Mercury Editor-in-Chief Wm. Steven Humphrey loved the first season of Sabrina, calling it "entertaining, dark, and blisteringly pro-feminist." (Now streaming, Netflix)

Roma—Alfonso Cuarón's insanely acclaimed drama is finally out, and you can either go see it in a theater or stay home and watch it on Netflix. Go see it in a theater. (Now playing at the Hollywood Theatre, now streaming on Netflix)

Half the Picture—"A documentary about women directors—or, more accurately, the lack thereof," says Elinor Jones. "Featuring interviews with Ava DuVernay, Miranda July, Penelope Spheeris, Catherine Hardwicke, and more, the doc includes most of the women who have directed feature films over the last two decades, who are easy to fit into 94 minutes because there aren’t that many of them. It's at first eye-opening, then infuriating." (Fri Dec 14, NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium, followed by panel discussion with filmmaker)

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Good Morning, News: A Morning Full of Bad News for Trump (Heh, Heh, Hehhhhhh)

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

Can someone do something about all my lies blowing up in my face?
"Can someone do something about all my lies blowing up in my face?" Chip Somodevilla / Staff / Getty

GOOD MORNING, PORTLAND! On New Years Eve, at twelve o'clock we'll stop to kiss. And while the whole world will be whistle-blowing, we will still be mistletoe-ing. LET'S GO TO PRESS.

Yay, bad news for Trump! A source tells NBC News that the president was actually in the meeting with Michael Cohen and the National Enquirer's David Pecker when they were scheming about using campaign funds to silence women.

And even though Trump is trying to play dumb and say that he didn't know that paying for these women's silence was illegal, Michael Cohen is not having that and is publicly contradicting the president.

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Burgerville's Anti-Union Messaging is Getting Worse

Tyler Gross

On Tuesday, Burgerville employees at the fast food chain's SE Hawthorne and 11th location held an election to decide whether or not their store would join the Burgerville Workers Union (BVWU). Like the two other Burgerville stores that have already voted on this, employees chose to join the burgeoning union.

But, unlike in those past elections, the vote was uncomfortably close: 13 to 9. BVWU members say Burgerville's increasing hostility toward the union explains this vote.

"A main difference between this election and the two previous was the decidedly more pernicious tone and content of Burgerville's anti-union campaign that, to be entirely frank, disturbed us," said Emmett Schlenz, a BVWU spokesperson.

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Book Review: User Not Found, Felicity Fenton's New Chapbook, Dives into Social Media Addiction


"As a child plotting my future adulthood, I couldn’t imagine becoming someone who ogled the glow of screens and sweat-clenched the square edges of devices,” writes Felicity Fenton in her new chapbook, User Not Found. “Not once did I believe I would partake in an incessant perusal of digital walls, skimming notes and pictures from others about their physical and emotional whereabouts, or that I would send others notes and pictures about mine.” This idea is what the chapbook’s single, long-form lyric essay hinges on: Though most people have accepted our collective social-media addiction, it isn’t what any of us dreamed our lives would look like.

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Your Letters to the Editor: Nazi Sympathizers and Very Angry Grandmas


This just in... we get letters at the Mercury! And we've received A LOT in the past week on a number of topics including our "Keep Resisting—It's Working" feature package and our holiday gift guides, as well as the usual array of very good points and nitpicky nitpicks.

Let's start with what is clearly the most entertaining voicemail we received all week about our "Keep Resisting" feature from a very perturbed Nazi sympathizer. This gentleman's sarcasm game is ON POINT, he name checks a murdered racist skinhead, AND he butchers Ned Lannamann's name in the most awesome way ever. Listen to the voicemail below, AND DO NOT MISS THE VINCENT PRICE-STYLE ENDING, IT IS PRICELESS.

dear_nick_laudanum   ►

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Half the Picture Review: First Eye-Opening, Then Infuriating


Half the Picture is a documentary about women directors—or, more accurately, the lack thereof. Featuring interviews with Ava DuVernay, Miranda July, Penelope Spheeris, Catherine Hardwicke, and more, the doc includes most of the women who have directed feature films over the last two decades, who are easy to fit into 94 minutes because there aren’t that many of them.

It's at first eye-opening, then infuriating: Women behind the camera have faced obstacles at every level of their professional development, from assumptions that their puny lady arms aren’t strong enough to lift reels to concerns that they’ll be too preoccupied with childcare to top-shelf actors demanding to work with certain male directors. (Those interviewed in Half the Picture are very careful to not name names, which is very womanly of them, but don’t you want to know who those nasty actors are?!)

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The President of the United States Should Be This 15-Year-Old Girl From Sweden

Everyone is speculating about who should run for President in 2020. The answer to that question must include Greta Thunberg, a 15-year-old climate change activist who gave an interview to Democracy Now's Amy Goodman yesterday morning.

Goodman has been reporting live from the UN Climate Summit in Katowice, Poland, where global leaders have been discussing ways to implement the Paris Climate Accord. While representatives from the U.S. troll attendees by singing the praises of coal during their presentations, Thunberg has been schooling UN representatives about climate policy with a steely gaze and clarity of purpose that will likely be completely absent in the 2020 race for the presidency. Check this out:

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A Very Short Review of the Very Bad Mortal Engines Movie


Based on the 2001 steampunk book series by Philip Reeve about “predator cities” on wheels that roam the wastelands of a post-apocalyptic Europe, Mortal Engines is the sort of movie that you watch when you get home from a rave at 3 am and you’re still too high or amped up to go to sleep. It does not belong in a theater. At best, with all its giant motors gyrating and people jumping around while dressed up like bikers at a Renaissance faire, Mortal Engines deserved a straight-to-video release. But the script was written by Peter Jackson (along with his frequent collaborators Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh), so I’m as confused as anyone. What happened? The best I can hypothesize is that this thing was rotten at its seed—like most steampunk stuff, Mortal Engines is a pile of shit with some antique-looking cogs stuck on.

Read more of the Mercury’s award-winning* movies and TV coverage! For movie times, click here.

*Not actually award-winning

Portland Literary Magazine Tin House Is Publishing Its Final Issue in 2019

In June 2019, Portland-based literary magazine Tin House will publish its 20th anniversary issue. It will also be Tin House's final issue, as the publisher is ending the magazine's print run and focusing on its book division and its widely respected annual writers workshop. Although the print publication is ending, Tin House says they will still publish new work online.

The magazine has consistently housed some of the best fiction, poetry, and essays to be read anywhere. In a joint letter from publisher/editor-in-chief Win McCormack and departing editor Rob Spillman, the details are laid out. McCormack writes:

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