So if you read this blog a lot, you may notice that for the past couple of months we’ve mentioned Last Thursday a number of times. It’s not that we’re marketing for Last Thursday, it’s just so freakin’ cool! As advocates of everything Portland (hence the Portland Pedal Power), we feel that Last Thursday represents the diverse aspects of Portland quite well, so obsessing over this event seems to fall right into our business plan. Now I can imagine that the majority of you readers have experienced, frequented, and even participated in Last Thursday on Alberta. For those that haven’t, we’d like to give you a very small taste of what you’re missing out on here. Now keep in mind it is a street walk for art of all kind, small businesses to sell and promote their products, and unique foods and drinks to be pushed to the masses. Alberta’s last Thursday has helped to raise awareness for the art community and local businesses and co-ops alike. As you pass through you may see:
Portland has some of the best Taiko in the nation. More often than not you will be able to catch these amazing Taiko performances on any given last Thursday. Taiko is Japanese for “drum” and was historically used as a war drum to either deliver marching cadences or call out orders and announcements. Modern day Taiko was established in 1951 by a Japanese Jazz drummer named Daihachi Oguchi. Since it’s origin, other pioneers had emerged and Taiko was spread throughout Japan via radio and the rest is history… that you’ll have to look up, like we did.
As I stated before, this is an event for art and expression of all kinds. These were two wonderfully spirited hippies of old with a vision of jelly fish walking the streets of Alberta, flowing through the crowds as though they are a vast sea of fish. I’m sure no drugs were involved (recently). As you peruse through Alberta, whether it’s last Thursday or not, you always chance running into all forms of creatures that you would typically only see in an ocean, zoo, or circus. We highly encourage you, when you see these creatures, to not make eye contact, but simply partake in their activity and do as they do as to best blend in.
You may see a Rocky Mountain Horror show
So one of the wonderful things about this city is it’s appreciation for cult films and all things slightly strange. So if you haven’t seen a Rocky Mountain Horror Show you are likely missing out on some of the best Portland has to offer. More often than not you have the privilege of seeing such a show in a movie theater like the Clinton, where they show it fairly regularly. Yet if you hate the theater you could possibly catch an all too live showing on Alberta. The actors in this group I’m sure perform other pieces, but I can imagine the Rocky Mountain Horror Show being their most highly demanded.
Now obviously this is not a port-o-potty from Japan, otherwise it would have a shower toilet seat on it with a warmer and some disinfectant spray posted up on the port-o-potty walls to wipe down the seat with. No, this is Japanese in an entertainment sense. You’ve likely seen these port-o-potties if you were watching the Taiko show or eating some new Paleo diet style foods at ‘Cultured Caveman‘. These special portable toilets are decorated with a bamboo curtain draped over the door and pictures of various Japanese people posted all around the walls, as well as Manga, cosplay, and all other things that Japan is well-known for, but less expected! Personally, we will never use any other port-o-potty again. This is the only one for us.
So being Portland Pedal Power and all, you were probably wondering, “Where are the freakin’ bikes?!” Well that’s a future post, but in the mean time we did find this amazing fete of ingenuity and kettle corn! The Pedal Kettle was a food vendor after our own 21 speed hearts, sporting a full kettle corn cooking setting up on a customized bicycle. This is just an example of the unique foods and vendors that you will find. You can find food carts with foods from all over the world. From Ethiopia to the Mediterranean to Mexico to ‘Merican! That’s not even including the craft brewed beers and especially Kombucha! Careful drinking this Kombucha though, we found out the hard way that the alcohol content is much higher in these home brewed batches, which may and has actually resulted in varying levels of healthy intoxication.
Perhaps the most prevalent and enjoyable part of Last Thursday is the abundance of music as you saunter along the street of Alberta. Everybody with a mic, a guitar, and a speaker plugs-in, tunes up, and entertains away in this eclectic art fair. We enjoyed large ska bands, amazing marching bands, percussion bands, solo rap artists, and R&B singers serenading young women as they passed by their claimed corner. The greatest part is, the majority of music you see on the street of Last Thursday is better than that last show which you likely paid $20 dollars for entry. As with any form of music, you get those who live freely enough in their own skin to skip, hop, jump, and dance around in front of the band living life as if for that moment, life could not be any sweeter.
So for those of you who love all things Portland, here is a great place to be overwhelmed with Portlandish activities and items.