This week I have a requiem and a celebration.
First, the requiem: Big-Ass Sandwiches has sold its last whimsically titled, inhumanely gigantic, unquestionably delicious sandwich. They're closed forever, shuttered. I don't know if it's right to call this place a Portland institution, but had it been given the time, or had it existed in a different time, it could have become one. Lord (and any doctor I've ever had a serious sit-down discussion with) knows Portland has no shortage of sandwich places. We're blessed with so many delicious sandwich options THAT ONE COULD SWEAR THERE IS A LETHARGIC, FAT BELLIED GOD SMILING DOWN UPON US CHILDREN HE MADE IN HIS OWN IMAGE. We have many hella delicious sandwiches, but we didn't really have anything like Big-Ass.
I hope I can say this without sounding insulting, but Big-Ass Sandwiches wasn't "cool." Don't get me wrong—it was cool, the people who worked there were nice, and the food was delicious and affordable, but it wasn't "cool." Their logo was a pin-up girl with a big ass, not some stripped down, meticulous, Brooklyn granola shop, dime-a-dozen, minimalist logo that you see on every business in Portland now. I mean, their name was fucking Big-Ass Sandwiches. That's not a "cool" name. It's a descriptive name, but it isn't "cool." It's way more hair metal than indie rock.
Maybe that doesn't matter, but maybe it does. I realize how fucking ridiculous it is that I'm getting serious and wistful about a sandwich place closing, but I am. Maybe it's because the place reminded me of a slightly older, dying (dead?) Portland. A Portland that didn't need to scream the myth of Portland at you. A Portland that was just as much for nurses and steelworkers as it was for image-conscious marketing executives. A Portland that wouldn't notice I just knocked out a couple of fragment sentences. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe a place can just be good and not "cool"—I hope I'm wrong. RIP Big-Ass Sandwiches.
Now the celebration! Bridgetown Comedy Festival is here. If you're reading this in any sort of timely fashion, the comedy festival is happening all around you. The festival that preceded and largely caused Portland's comedy boom is now in its ninth year and becoming a Portland tradition in its own right. Here are my quick picks for each night of the festival.
Wednesday—Earthquake Hurricane: It features some of Portland's best comedians, as well as some visiting favorites, such as Solomon Georgio, David Gborie, Megan Gailey, and Kate Willett. Plus Greg Behrendt is on the show, and he's a fantastic comedian with amazing hair.
Thursday—Lance Bangs' Come Laugh With Us: I mean, it's got Moshe Kasher, Kyle Mooney, Jonah Ray, and a musical performance from The Thermals. It's going to be tight as fuck.
Friday—Hometown Heroes: It's a bunch of Portland's own homegrown comedians! Matt Braunger! Shane Torres! Sean Jordan! Some secret guest!
Saturday—Kill Rock Stars Presents: Portland's own indie-rock-turned-comedy label is putting on a show with some of its best comedians, plus music from Wimps.
Sunday—Turnt Up with Eliza Skinner: It's a rap battle show, and I know that sounds ridiculous, and it is, and that's why you should go.