Portland Food and Drink News Wrap-Up: The Bad, the Sad, and the Glad

24th and Meatballs
24th and Meatballs Nolan Calisch
Let's dig in.

The Oregonian reports that John Gorham, the man behind the Toro Bravo and Tasty n Sons empire, is taking time off to undergo brain surgery after doctors noticed a small and possibly benign lesion; and that Adam Berger’s 24th and Meatballs is getting a new sibling this month: Broadway and Meatballs will open at 515 SW Broadway before the year ends. The restaurant joins Berger’s meatball stable, which also has locations in the Ocean micro-restaurant complex and in St. Johns’ Two-Thirds building. Expect lunch and dinner options dedicated to the titular meatball.

The Willamette Week reported this week that Jon Horrid, owner of the Lovecraft Bar, has been forced out after multiple anonymous accusations of sexual assault over the last seven years surfaced online. Horrid will reportedly sell the bar to its current manager, Brooke Moreno, in the wake of a boycott movement and after multiple threats targeting the bar’s staff. Horrid denies the allegations.

Portland Monthly broke the news that two shuttered food and beverage carts—Ole Latte and Picnic—are resurrecting themselves and teaming up to share a new space at 1410 SE Clinton. Here’s the takeaway: The cafe will seat around 10 people, with the Picnic cart operating just outside the front door; the space will be defiantly wi-fi free; there will be a drive-through window for bicyclists; and you can anonymously purchase a coffee drink which can be claimed later that day for someone who can’t afford it. PoMo says to prepare for an opening within the next few weeks. Likewise, the magazine reported the opening of Sterling Coffee Roasters at 518 NW 21st. The new 950-square-foot space is a lot larger than its last two locations, which measured just 200 and 50 square feet.

Eater PDX has the news that the burger maestros at PDX Sliders have opened up shop in the old Sunshine Tavern space at 3111 SE Division; that Nimblefish, a new sushi restaurant with Fukami and Hokusei street cred (both shops recently shuttered) is posting up in the old Boxer Sushi space at 1524 SE 20th; and that Dub’s Chicken and Waffles is leaving behind its kitchen duties at the dive bar Ranger Tavern for its very own brick-and-mortar at 8537 N Lombard up in St. Johns.


Two Reissues on the Jazz Dispensary Label Are a Blast from Jazz’s Past

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It’s probably dumb to say that jazz sounds better on vinyl, but it’s not dumb to suggest the format’s reliable limitations perhaps gave recorded jazz some of its power, like a picture frame accentuating its contents. No matter where the musicians go—no matter what black holes and cosmic nebulae their music propels us through—it’s certain that after 20 minutes or so, the needle will hit the dead wax and we’ll be landing back on earth. Perhaps those confines are partly what allowed jazz musicians of the late ’60s and ’70s to enter some very freaky territory, with the knowledge that their explorations would be administered in side-length increments.

Two recent reissues from Jazz Dispensary revisit the exploratory attitudes of an era more than four decades past. Both albums were originally issued on the foundational Prestige label, and continue Jazz Dispensary’s “Top Shelf” series.

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Consume Cannabis and Bid on Art for Charity

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This Saturday, December 16, toddle on down to the NW Cannabis Club (1195 SE Powell) to support a great cause. And bring your weed.

The Holiday Ball and Charity Art Auction is a benefit for the Portland Rescue Mission on Burnside, and will feature art in its many forms, including "functional glass pieces," and no, I don't means vases.

Take a break from the holiday madness ("Does this gift for a person I'm not sure even likes me cost too much, or too little?" "Why am I spending $900 on airfare to fly someplace freezing to argue with drunk relatives again?") and go someplace warm and welcoming so you can check out art, but stay with me—you can do it while getting high.

NW Cannabis Club doesn't sell cannabis, but you can consume it there, using their house collection of implements including e-nails. You can walk in, sit down, get high with your friends, check out art, then bid on it. Think you can do that at a regular auction at, like, Christie's? Blazing a blunt in an auction house surrounded by clench-jawed WASPs with more money than god? That scenario won't end well. Trust me.

So, support a small local business that's auctioning off art from local artists, which will go to help a rescue mission. And do it while partaking of cannabis. Hell, offer to smoke out someone else there. Make a friend. Share what you have. That's what the holidays are really about.

It happens tomorrow at NW Cannabis Club at 1195 SE Powell, starting at 6 pm. Facebook event here.


SEXComedy

Feeling Scroogey? Get Your Tickets for Dan Savage's Happy Hole-adays!

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If the horrible, unceasing events of 2017 have left you feeling like a burnt crouton, there's still hope for some holiday cheer—that's also hilarious, informative, AND sexy!

Listen up, because here’s your opportunity to see one of America’s top rated podcasts and top rated sex advice smarty-pants on the same stage! It’s Dan Savage’s Happy Hole-adays, a live taping of the Savage Lovecast with tons of holiday-inspired comedy (with segments such as “Santa’s Paindeer,” “Toys for Tits,” “A Gay in the Manger,” and “The Little Hummer Boy”) as well as terrific guests such as Portland’s funniest person (and host of the monthly I, Anonymous Show) Caitlin Weierhauser, and New Orleans’ mischievous singer/songwriter Carsie Blanton. Make sure your “hole-aday” is stuffed with fun this year with the hilarious, saucy fun of Dan Savage’s Happy Hole-adays! (It's gonna be a sell-out so get your tix quick and here!)

Thurs Dec 21, 8 pm, Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark, $35, 21+


Pickathon Starlight Series, Episode 3: Huun-Huur-Tu

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Miri Stebivka

It's time again for another stunning performance from last summer's Pickathon, so here's the latest in our ongoing Starlight Series, which spotlights performers who played on that festival's nighttime stage. Today's video is pretty special, featuring Tuvan band Huun-Huur-Tu, who incorporate traditional Tuvan and Mongolian instruments with the trademark Tuvan throat singing. Huun-Huur-Tu was one of the most extraordinary acts to play at the last Pickathon, and seeing the chance to see real live Tuvan musicians perform is not something you get every day.

"Huun-Huur-Tu" roughly translates to "sun propeller," and Tuvan songs traditionally deal with the steppes of central Asia and, of course, horses, which are a staple of life there. While Huun-Huur-Tu travel the world bringing Tuvan sounds to all kinds of different countries, hearing them against the very Pacific Northwest-style setting of Pickathon must have been among the most striking and memorable ways to see them. Even within Pickathon's stylistically diverse lineup, this was a pretty remarkable moment. And the guy here is a waaay better throat singer than your roommate at Evergreen College ever was.

Pickathon 2018 will take place on August 3-5; look for lineup announcements starting in the early part of next year.

Check out the previous episodes of this season's Pickathon Starlight Series:
• Episode 1: Marlon Williams
• Episode 2: Brent Cobb


Good Morning, News: Net Neutrality's Dead, Republicans Ready Their (Bad) Tax Plan, and the Death Toll of Portland's Homeless Crisis

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iStock / Getty Images Plus

Net Neutrality is Dead: In a long-foreshadowed split decision, the FCC voted 3-2 yesterday to repeal rules preventing Internet service providers from picking favorites. It's probably not going to be good (though lawsuits are expected on behalf of Oregon and other states). "Want to access Facebook and Twitter? Under a bundling system, getting on those sites could require paying for a premium social media package."

The net neutrality repeal was ushered forth by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Trump appointee. Here's Pai appearing with staffers from the hard-right Daily Caller—including a Pizzagate conspiracy theorist—to gloat over his forthcoming victory. Cool.

Eighty people died on the streets of Portland last year, a number that would have been unthinkable as recently as 2014, and which reveals how critical the city's homeless crisis continues to be. The tally comes from the Domicile Unknown report that Multnomah County releases on a yearly basis.

Turns out the city isn't going to launch an investigation into serious allegations against former Mayor Sam Adams that emerged last month. City Attorney Tracy Reeve tells the Mercury that Adams' accuser, Cevero Gonzalez, declined to meet with city officials about his allegations. She also says the city no longer has authority to call Adams to account if they're true.

Republicans could introduce the latest version of their tax plan today, but they're scrambling to find places to slash spending and pay for steep corporate tax cuts they've been fetishizing. As the NYT explains, "many of the changes made to assuage the concerns of businesses and Republican lawmakers are expected to drive up the cost of the bill and will need to be paid for to ensure the legislation does not add more than $1.5 trillion to the deficit over a decade." Depending on where Republicans find savings, support in the Senate could be tricky.

Interestingly, the O was able to get Congressman Greg Walden's office to actually talk about his support for the bill. Last month, we hounded Walden, Oregon's lone Republican member of Congress, to explain his support for an earlier House bill that would have decimated affordable housing. Walden's folks wouldn't get back to us (or his concerned constituents), but he now claims to have been fighting to claw back money for affordable housing.

The O has a long, interesting piece on the state agency that regulates and licenses cops. The investigation shows that the department refuses to strip cops of the ability to keep working even after they're fired for egregious offenses. That means they can be hired elsewhere. The crux: "State law says the department must decertify anyone fired for cause. Yet the department interprets 'for cause' so narrowly that 57 percent of fired officers stayed eligible to carry a gun and a badge elsewhere in Oregon." It's worth your time.

A grand jury has found a Portland police officer had every right to shoot an unarmed Black man suspected in a bank robbery in October. Cops have said 25-year-old Chase Peeples reached into his pocket when confronted by officers. Portland Officer Ryan Reagan fired six shots, striking the unarmed Peeples three times. He survived his injuries.

Happy Trails, Spencer: Spencer Raymond, the former OPB announcer who quit his job to run for city council, but faced immediate backlash (and Internet pranks) from people who thought an inexperienced white man shouldn't be running against three women of color, has dropped out of the race, Willamette Week reports. And so ends one of the more bizarre campaigns I've experienced. You will never see a long-shot candidate so studiously avoid talking to reporters. It was impressive.

Paul Ryan might retire next year.

21st Century Fox and Disney have merged, though Fox News is left to be its own spiteful self. Expect federal regulators to try to dash the deal to pieces.

Portland's spending more of the $258.4 million housing bond voters approved last year. Mayor Ted Wheeler's office announced yesterday it'll use bond money to help build between 200 and 300 units of affordable housing at the site of the former Safari Club (RIP) on Southeast Powell. Though the bond was passed last November, it wasn't until October of this year that the city developed a strategy for spending it.


If You Are Confused About Where to Draw the Line with Sexually Harassing Me at Work, I Will Invoice You

Solutions all around!
Solutions all around! triloks/getty

There seems to be a lot of confusion about where to draw the lines in all this troubling "sex-reckoning" we're having these days. Despite the fact that the law decided sexual harassment at work was a form of sex discrimination 53 years ago, it seems that men feel that their advances toward employees or subordinates could be construed as innocent flirting under the right circumstances. How to possibly tell?

I've been asked where to draw the line, and I've also been told that drawing any line is dangerous. I've been told this is about hurt feelings. That it's subjective. (Objectively, federal civil rights law defines harassment as "unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature ... when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment," but ok.) I've been told that pointing out sexual harassment as sexual harassment would become a swift, extrajudicial conviction of any man who stands accused.

It took me some time to sleep on it, but I think I've found the solution. If men still think they're entitled to treat women who work for them or under them as sexual targets, despite the fact that these women did not sign up for that and expect to be treated equally to men (and despite the fact that men in the workplace don't have the same expectations leveled at them), we should be paid for the extra labor.

To future bosses: If you sexually harass me, I will invoice you.

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Sandy Hook, Five Years Later

It was too loud. Something was bad.
"It was too loud. Something was bad." Handout / Getty Images News

Five years ago today, Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT and murdered 26 people, 20 of whom were first graders. That means they were between six and seven years old.

The internet is alight with heartrending remembrances today. The Twitter feed of CNN anchor Jake Tapper has been especially poignant, with a stream of photos of the victims and concise, shattering memories from the family and friends who survived them.

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Get to the Moda Center Early Tonight to See Jay-Z's Opening Act, Chicago Rapper Vic Mensa

VIC MENSA Thurs 12/14 Moda Center
VIC MENSA Thurs 12/14 Moda Center Roc Nation

There’s a very famous rapper, businessman, and husband performing at the Moda Center Thursday night, and considering the number of mega-popstars who pass through our fair burg, that’s something to be excited about. Jay-Z is a legend, plain and simple, and if you’d like to know more about him or his solid new album, 4:44... I don’t know, Google it?

But if you’re going to the show, be sure to get there on time so you’re not one of those folks wandering in during the opener. Vic Mensa is probably the biggest young MC not named Chance to come out of Chicago in recent years. Mensa and Chance the Rapper are old friends and collaborators, and they share some attributes: artistic ambition, social awareness, a knack for melodic hip-hop, and singing voices they aren’t afraid to use. But while Chance pushes his rhymes through a positive, faith-based perspective, Mensa explores darker and harder-edged themes.

He broke through in 2013 with an excellent full-length mixtape called Innanetape that showcased his jazz-hop interests and limber flow, then followed that up with a couple of EPs before dropping his official debut, The Autobiography, in July. It’s not perfect—releasing rap albums in the Kendrick era is tough, man—but it’s a perfectly enjoyable tour of Mensa’s strengths. The guy picks solid beats, some built from old soul music (“Say I Didn’t”), others based on Weezer songs (“Homewrecker”), and still others with a hard funk feel (“Rollin’ Like a Stoner”).

No matter what kind of track he’s rapping against, Mensa’s rhymes touch on insecurity, addiction, despair, sex, violence, street life, and rockin’ “leather like a punk.” In fact, Mensa seems obsessed with the rock-star lifestyle. He makes punk flyers for his concerts, wears studded jackets and Casualties T-shirts, and his shows are apparently wild-eyed, high-energy spectacles. Bottom line: The guy comes at rap music from an interesting, thoughtful, and talented place.


ICYMI: Hari Kondabolu & Liz Miele at Aladdin Theater [Photos]

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Pat Moran

Last night, our comedy hero Hari Kondabolu came to the Aladdin Theater to do what he does best—uplift our spirits with crushing criticisms and laughs. Opening for him was Liz Miele, a NYC comedian known for her viral stand-up performance of "feminist sex positions" and her debut album Emotionally Exhausting.

We first interviewed Hari in 2010, but his comedy is as relevant as ever now, and he has a new documentary under his belt too—The Problem with Apu—on the subject of The Simpsons’ longstanding casual racism. As our art editor, Megan Burbank put it, "Kondabolu’s jokes are unapologetically political and unafraid to call out racism and sexism..."

Read our 2016 interview with him here. And check out these photos from last night by Pat Moran.

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Pat Moran

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Pat Moran

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Pat Moran

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Pat Moran


Between the Death of Net Neutrality and Disney Buying Fox, Today's a Great Day for Our Soulless Corporate Overlords

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David Soanes Photography / Getty Images

This morning the Federal Communications Commission voted, along party lines, to kill net neutrality—the rules that have, until now, ensured an internet in which service providers were forbidden from giving preferential treatment to certain sites and services. While telecom companies are vowing that consumers won't get screwed over by this, it's safe to say that's a lie—there's a reason these giant companies have been pushing for the end of net neutrality for years, and that reason is they can now squeeze a lot more money out of us.

What's this mean for you? Probably nothing in the short term—Comcast and other, equally hated telecom companies will be canny enough to let the heat die down a bit on this enormously unpopular decision. But going forward, it's safe to expect some streaming services to be notably cheaper and faster than others—telecoms will price their own services lower than their competitors', and make them faster, too—and that accessing certain parts of the internet, whether those parts deliver news or porn, will likely cost you more. (Depending on just how shitty streaming gets, physical media like DVDs and Blu-rays might make a comeback—good thing we've got Movie Madness.) And with entrenched tech corporations now having a huge financial advantage over tech start-ups, we can expect a lot less innovation: Smaller and independent start-ups simply won't be able to compete with the larger companies that now have a stranglehold on the information and applications that determine our day-to-day lives.

Critics of the changes say consumers may have more difficulty finding content online and that start-ups will have to pay to reach consumers. In the last week, there have been hundreds of protests across the country, and many websites have encouraged users to speak up against the repeal. Some groups have said they planned to file a lawsuit challenging the change.

“I dissent, because I am among the millions outraged,” said Mignon Clyburn, one of the two Democratic commissioners who voted against the action. “Outraged, because the F.C.C. pulls its own teeth, abdicating responsibility to protect the nation’s broadband consumers.” (Via.)

The coolest thing about all of this is how Ajit Pai, the Trump-appointed chairman of the F.C.C., straight-up ignored Americans' massive outpouring of support for net neutrality. He's a busy guy! He's got more important concerns.

AND TODAY KEEPS GETTING BETTER! Also this morning, the Walt Disney Company announced its plan to buy a massive chunk of 21st Century Fox's film and TV empire. Disney already basically has a monopoly when it comes to mainstream TV and film—in addition to their Disney-branded products, they own Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, ESPN, ABC, a big chunk of Hulu, and more—and should their $52.4 billion deal be approved by our totally trustworthy government regulators (see above), Disney will soon have more. A lot more.

Walt Disney Co. said Thursday it agreed to buy most of 21st Century Fox Inc. for $52.4 billion in stock, in a deal that would give Disney a dominant position in movies and sports and help bolster its flagging television business as it prepares to directly challenge digital giants like Netflix Inc.

Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger said on a call with investors Thursday that the biggest acquisition in his company’s history will benefit it by adding new film- and TV-production capabilities, plus franchises including Fox’s Avatar and the X-Men; expanding Disney’s comparatively weak international television presence; and advancing his goal of building direct relationships with consumers through majority control of streaming service Hulu and the satellite services Sky in Europe and Star in India. (Via.)

A ton of the discussion online is about how this merger would affect Disney and Fox's popular franchises—like smooshing together the Fox-owned X-Men movies with the Disney-owned Avengers movies. While Fox's properties, from The Simpsons to the upcoming Avatar sequels, are huge, they also have a less-heralded, artier division: Fox Searchlight, which, as one of the few remaining "arthouse" arms of a major studio, takes chances on things like The Shape of Water. Given Disney's past practices, it's just about impossible to imagine them keeping Fox Searchlight around. Who needs The Shape of Water when you've got Wolverine Meets Spider-Man?

But there's a far bigger issue here: A purchase like this consolidates control of news and entertainment in even fewer hands, which is never a good thing for consumers or democracy. One could make a strong case that Fox News shares a significant responsibility for our current geo-political nightmare—and with Fox ruler Rupert Murdoch planning to retain ownership of the Fox News Channel, that means Fox News could get a massive infusion into their war chest that will keep it going far into the future. Seeing Wolverine team up with Spider-Man would be fun! Might be a little less fun, though, knowing that the way it happened was by giving Fox News $52.4 billion to keep doing exactly what it's been doing.


From Bangerz to “Burning House,” Cam Feels Pressure-Free of Industry Expectations

CAM Combining Queen, Dolly Parton, and super soft fuzzy outerwear.
CAM Combining Queen, Dolly Parton, and super soft fuzzy outerwear. RCA Records

The singer/songwriter known simply as Cam has managed to carve a comfortable path between the two extremes of country music success. Her sound is neither solidly nostalgic, à la Margo Price and Kacey Musgraves, nor does it turn down the twang and stomp used by crossover hitmakers like Lady Antebellum.

Instead, the Bay Area-born artist found a verdant middle ground with “Burning House,” a balanced and patient ballad written when she lived in Portland for a year. Sent aloft by a chilly string section, it’s free of nostalgic winks or contemporary glitz, and landed in heavy rotation on country radio, helping to carry Cam’s 2015 album Untamed into the upper reaches of the charts. It’s also kept her wheels spinning for the past two years between headlining tours and opening spots for everyone from George Strait to former One Direction member Harry Styles.

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The City Won't Investigate Misconduct Claims Against Former Mayor Sam Adams, Attorney Says

Former Mayor Sam Adams
Former Mayor Sam Adams

As the #metoo movement rages on, the City of Portland will not conduct an investigation into allegations that former Mayor Sam Adams subjected his former assistant to inappropriate conduct.

City Attorney Tracy Reeve told the Mercury on Wednesday that claims by former mayoral aide Cevero Gonzalez appeared to be "time-barred" from any action on the city's part. And given that Gonzalez declined an invitation to come speak with city officials, Reeve says his claims will not be looked into further.

"We did reach out to Mr. Gonzales and ask if he would be willing to speak with us," Reeve said. "We wanted to make sure that we were fully informed. We wanted to make sure we weren’t missing anything that might not be time-barred."

Gonzalez "responded he was declining coming in," Reeve said. "What he suggested instead is that the city should hire an outside investigator."

The city has no plans to do so, and Reeve did not contact Adams about the accusations.

In a six-page memo to city officials in early November, Gonzalez alleged a pattern of sexual harassment and extremely unprofessional conduct on the part of Adams, who served as mayor from 2009 to the end of 2012.

Among his allegations: that Adams repeatedly quizzed Gonzalez on his sex life, forced Gonzalez to scout bathhouses and gay bars for Adams' trips out of town, and required Gonzalez to drive him around drunk. (Here's the full statement.)

Adams, who has denied the allegations, had been out of office for nearly five years when they came to light, and Reeve says officials were fairly certain early on that the city had no recourse, were Gonzalez's accusations proven true.

"I had written back to him and said, ‘Gosh I don’t know that there’s anything legally we can do, given the timelines," Reeve said. She added that city rules would have prohibited the conduct Gonzalez says occurred, and that "unfortunately Mr. Gonzalez did not avail himself under existing rights that he had."

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Guillermo del Toro on The Shape of Water: “It’s About Taking Something That Is Completely Unknown, and Seeing How Different People Look at It”

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“Understanding is love. There’s no difference, really,” says Guillermo del Toro. Despite it being a bright, warm morning in Beverly Hills, he’s wearing a heavy, cozy-looking sweater—and peeking through glasses so thick they distort his eyes. “That’s why most of the things we hate are things we don’t understand. We live in a time where divisions are done by ideology. It makes us easier to control, but on top of that, they have sold us on responsibility.... They tell you, ‘All your problems are them’—immigrants, illegals, a race, whatever it is—and you go, ‘Of course it is. My problem is not me or what I do. The problem is they are taking my job. They are the guys that are this and that. They are the criminals.’ No, no! It is an illusion. It is not us and them. It is only us. If you understand a person, you love the person.”

Del Toro thinks of his latest film, The Shape of Water, as being about “love and understanding.” That’s true, but those who dive deeper will find more: The Shape of Water is strange, sweet, and wonderful, and easily the greatest film ever made about a mute cleaning lady who falls in love with an amphibious fish man.

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Dance the Yuletide Blues Away with Portland Soul Legend Ural Thomas' "Christmas Crawl"

URAL THOMAS AND THE PAIN Dancing the yuletide blues away.
URAL THOMAS AND THE PAIN Dancing the yuletide blues away. Courtesy of the artist

This time of year inspires festive joy in some and soul-crushing anguish in others (speaking of which, check out this week's Scrooge-tacular feature, "Critiquing Christmas"). But Portland's own Ural Thomas and the Pain's got the solution for whatever ails you: "Christmas Crawl," a brand-new holiday song, music video, and dance move—just "twist your ankle like a candy cane!"

In the video, the legendary soul singer and his fabulous backing band dance their way through a wild house party. Watch below, and don't miss the outfit's next show January 8th at the Goodfoot!