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A Little Historical Perspective on Portland Tech

December 5, 2008 Comments off

I was fortunate enough to catch Bram Pitoyo‘s live broadcast of the Portland Web Innovators meeting. While I enjoyed watching Rick Turoczy give an effective ‘State of the Portland Tech Union Address‘ I couldn’t help but think back to another point in Portland’s Tech History.

Back in 1995, Portland was abuzz with the Internet. Since the web was relatively new (think Web 1.0, or maybe 0.95b1), the excitement over it and opportunities created by it connected people from traditional Portland tech, software engineering universe, and non-tech entrepreneurs who saw the opportunity to use the new technology to fuel business.

It was out of this unique mix that the Portland Internet community was born. In this space a few factions existed: The SAO (The Software Association of Oregon), which existed prior to the web, consisted mainly of hardcore technologists and engineers;  Netogether, run by Lenny Charnoff, it existed as a local business networking and discussion forum designed to bridge the gap between the technology and the local businesses who could benefit from it.; Internet Professionals Northwest (aka Internet Entrepreneurs Association) which flourished under the leadership of Mike Pritchard and provided a mixing point between technologists and entrepreneurs. Read more…

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Robin Williams is Extremely Funny in His Portland Performance

Robin Williams Plays Portland

Robin Williams Plays Portland

It was a rare opportunity to see one of the best stand-up comedians alive today. Robin Williams hadn’t toured in six years and luckily his “Weapons of Self Destruction Tour” stopped in Portland

For an hour and a half Robin Williams ran at a spitfire pace, telling about three hours worth of jokes. Starting with a series of local jokes “I see you’re drinking a Sam Adams, that isn’t the only Sam that enjoys a little head in this town” to his trademark penis jokes (as he reenacted a committee meeting to design the penis), Robin Williams hit a home run every time he went up to bat.

I’ve been to my fair share of stand-up performances (most recently Eddie Izzard and Henry Rollins) and no-one comes even close to landing so many extremely funny jokes as Williams.

What struck me the most about Williams was just how energetic and youthful he is.  Fighting a cold his horse voice never stopped him in his explosive comedy and he bounded around the stage like a man half his age.

Some of the funniest jokes of the night came between Williams a woman who was signing for some deaf audience members. Williams often uses faux sign language in his act, and his interplay with the interpreter was  Williams at his absolute best.

After Williams finished his set everyone in the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall rose to their feet in a complete unanimous standing ovation. Williams returned to the stage and continued his set for another half hour. “It feels great, my regular routine is over and now I get to play!” What followed was pure, raw unadulterated Robin Williams and perhaps the best case made that Robin Williams in the funniest man alive.

Telling jokes like John Coltrane played the sax, William bounced and riffed like no other comedian can.  Robbins did an entire riff on porn, including celebrity porn with impersonations of Jimmy Stewart, Betty Davis and Katherine Hepburn all doing porn. The capper was an impersonation of Christopher Walken doing porn!

The evening’s finale was an impromptu country western song that was inspired by an audience member’s t-shirt. It showed off the sheer genius comedy of Williams and was a perfect cap to an amazing night.

Hopefully it won’t be another six years until Williams goes on tour again, no matter how long it is, I can tell you it will be worth the wait.

Categories: Comedy Tags: ,

Children's Healing Art Project Holiday Bizarre

December 3, 2008 Comments off
Childhood Healing Art Project Holiday Bazarre

Children's Healing Art Project Holiday Bazarre

This past weekend we made our way down to The Pearl for ‘The Big Reveal‘. The idea was a great one, several Pearl merchants would reveal special holiday windows all at once in a grand event. The unfortunate thing was it was a complete non-event. The only real saving grace was that we stumbled upon CHAP’s (Children’s Healing Art Project) Holiday Bizarre (which runs till the 24th of December).

Located at 937 NW Glisan St, this special holiday bizarre features a number of DIY crafts and activities for kids. While we were there they had a woman working with the kids to make little pocket pals for $1.50! Talk about a great stalking stuffer.   In addition to pocket plas there are worskops for: animation, screen printing, clay critters, orgami, collage and more (see the complete schedule of workshops).

The Holiday Bizarre also features a huge collection of samples from Columbia Sportswear. Many of the samples are one of a kind. Prices ranged from $5 to $40 with some incredibly good bargains for quality clothing (some of the clothes has ‘sample’ written on them, so pick carefully).

The bizarre is not only a great spot for kids activities and an opportunity to pick up a steal of a deal on some sportswear, the CHAP’s Holiday Bizarre supports a very good cause. So if for no other reason than to support a fantastic local cause, I recommend visiting this bizarre!

Here’s another picture from the bizarre:

Columbia Sportswear at CHAP's Holiday Bizarre

Columbia Sportswear at CHAP

Categories: Family Tags: