Tonight’s show was at a place called the Funhouse Theater, which was another cool space. They clearly do plays there, so there were lots of props in the greenroom, and an obscene John Mullaney quote on the greenroom mirror, and a set with a fireplace and a clown painting and fake bookcases. I did a great riff during my set where I looked at the bookcases and said something along the lines of , “Ha! Look.” Pretty brilliant. But the show, which is called Imma Leave You With This, was great, despite being a midnight show that started about 35 minutes late. Ouch! My cousin and his wife, with whom I’m staying here in Portland, came out for the show, and I always feel like a jerk when normal people end up having to stay out wayyyy later than they ever would (these guys have 3 young kids, and probably ended up finally going to bed around 3). But the show was really fun. And I got to meet a #loshopo fan, which is always fun. I won’t say who it was but he has written us several times.
Another cool thing I did today was I went on a walking tour of Portland. Ario Lynch, another #loshopo fan who has literally been my guide to Portland, also gives walking tours for the Portland Historical Society, whose name I am undoubtedly getting wrong. But we walked around Old Town Portland and learned a lot about some of the dark stuff in Portland’s past. Did you know that in 1923 there were 35,000 registered KKK members living in Oregon? Did you know that starting in 1844 it was made illegal for freed slaves to settle in the Oregon territory? That Portland took great pride, at the time, that they were the first American city to intern all their Japanese citizens after the start of World War II? We also learned about crimping, which was a 19th century practice of tricking guys into signing contracts to be sailors for 4 or 5 years. They’d get guys passed out drunk, strip them naked (so they could sell their clothes), bring them on board ships and throw them in cells. When the guys woke up, they’d be told it would be no problem getting out of the cell if they just signed a piece of paper- which of course was a contract guaranteeing them $400 or $500 if they completed their length of service, usually about four or five years. Nothing before then. And if they didn’t complete the term, they got nothing. Crazy. But the craziest thing about it was that it was all considered legal and aboveboard, because there were contracts involved. Everybody had realized that sailing was, as Ario said, “… the worst job in the world…”- filthy, dangerous, poorly compensated, exhausting, no health benefits, tiny 401 k donations…
On my way home I stopped to get toothpaste at a 7-11, because I am such a good and well-prepared traveller that I always remember everything. It was 2:30 AM, freezing cold, pouring rain, and there was a guy right inside the door of the store. he saw me coming and opened the door for me, with a hearty greeting, which I returned less enthusiastically. "Good. How are you?" "Aw man, I been waiting for my ride, he said he would be here half an hour ago but he hasn't showed yet." "That sucks," I said, using a phrase that was absolutely not allowed in my house growing up, I suppose given that it implied either "cock" or "shit" or "the poison out of a rattlesnake wound." Then he went and stood right outside the door, almost as if he were waiting for me. I found what I needed, then headed outside. My new friend was right there. "You headed south?" he asked, having seen me drive up to the store heading south. "Sorry man, can't help you." As I unlocked my door, he softly, angrily shouted "I was gonna give you five bucks!"
Next time lead with that.