RE: “The Mercury’s Fall Arts & Culture Guide” [Aug 30], our guide to Portland’s upcoming literary, storytelling, comedy, dance, visual art, and theater events.

I applaud the ideas behind your recent Fall Arts Guide, but in one major way, it came up quite short. I guess I should be used to poor coverage of theater, but this really jumped out at me. (Yours is still better than the Oregonian’s, but that’s not saying much.)

In your events calendar, you mentioned 13 live theater shows that are coming in the next few months. There are, of course, many, many more you could have mentioned. Maybe you didn’t have the room... except you went on to mention 12(!!) different comedy shows coming to Helium.

Do I see a bias here? Or perhaps someone has a financial stake in Helium? Or maybe it was all a joke. I’m sure all the hard-working actors and technicians who do local productions will laugh themselves silly.

Thomas Newsom

ARTS EDITOR MEGAN BURBANK RESPONDS! Thomas, most of this week’s Arts section is dedicated to fall theater coverage. But it sounds like listings are what you’re looking for. You’ll find our complete calendar of arts events at, including all the theater you could possibly attend. And also comedy. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


RE: “The Food Vendors at the Portland Taco Festival Didn’t Have a Very Good Time Either [Blogtown, Aug 29], in which Emilly Prado interviewed the cart owners who were caught up in the poorly managed food event.

Why couldn’t they have hired on somebody who actually knows the Portland community as opposed to someone from out of state? We need somebody who actually knows the history of these events and knows how many people actually comes to these things.

Karim Khan

Seems like food and drink festivals are heading on a downward trajectory around these parts. This fiasco, the disappearance of WhiskeyFest NW, and other problems with more established culinary festivals give me pause before I open my wallet. Hell, even the OMSI After Dark nights have been known to run out of product before the evening is over.



RE: “City Commissioner Lori Stegmann Got a Controversial Flag Removed from the Courthouse [News, Aug 30], News Editor Dirk VanderHart’s story about the removal of a “Thin Blue Line” flag from a break room in the Multnomah County Courthouse. Originally meant to honor fallen police officers, the flag—a black-and-white US flag with a single blue stripe across its middle—has been appropriated by fringe-right and racist groups. Stegmann forwarded concerns about the flag to Sheriff Mike Reese, who removed it. “For communities of color this is a very scary time,” Stegmann told the Mercury. “Emotions are running so high. I think it’s just important that people think about the importance of symbols. For some people it’s not a big deal, but for other people it’s representative of the hate and the bigotry that we are seeing in our country.”

Lori Stegmann is a smart and caring leader of our community. Her thoughts on the impact of racist symbols are thoughtful and accurate.


My friend has a business, one part of which is an online presence that includes the sale of Celtic items, including flags. For a while he was selling a lot of one particular flag. He thought that was odd, so he looked into it—and found that the flag had become the symbol for a neo-Nazi group. So he stopped selling it. If your imagery becomes associated more with a hate group, then pretty much the only thing to do is to drop that image and move on.


Good call, econoline—you win the Mercury’s letter of the week, as well as two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater. Maybe you should take your friend!

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