Pomo Picks

Things We Love That Have Nothing to Do With Coronavirus: Week of March 18

The Portland Monthly team shares the non-pandemic stuff that’s keeping us sane.

By Portland Monthly Staff March 18, 2020

Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road

News about coronavirus is coming hard and fast, and the Portland Monthly staff is working to bring you up-to-date information about how the crisis is affecting Portlanders. It’s vital we all stay informed and figure out how to help each other through this surreal, challenging moment.

It’s also vital that we take some breaths. Every week, in lieu of a “top things to do this weekend” post, we’re going to pause and share the pandemic-free content that’s keeping us grounded. 

Nvidia GeForce Now

Unless you’ve been self-quarantining your entire life (like me), you may not be aware that a little thing called “game streaming” exists. It’s a recent and remarkable development in which any old computer (Windows or Mac) with a steady internet connection can access a top-of-the-line gaming rig across the country and stream any of the newest, most demanding games in real-time. Think of it as a Netflix for gaming. Some big names have debuted their own versions, including Google and Sony. But my pick for function (and price—it’s free!) is Nvidia GeForce Now. I’ve been jumping on the Destiny 2 bandwagon (also free to play) using my old MacBook, and it’s been a very efficient method of turning off my frazzled brain for an hour at a time. —Benjamin Tepler, Senior Editor

The Emperor’s New Groove

Have a Disney+ account? Tired of watching Frozen 2 already? Take a second (or most likely first) look at one of the most overlooked animated films in the Disney canon, The Emperor’s New Groove. Released in 2000 in the doldrums between money-printing machines The Lion King and Frozen, The Emperor’s New Groove has more in common with the madcap, joke-a-minute style of Warner Brothers animation legend Chuck Jones than its more serious contemporaries Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
As a bonus, check out The Sweatbox, a documentary shot by Sting’s wife, Trudie Styler (as a condition of his hiring to write the obligatory Top 40 song from the film), when Emperor’s New Groove was still intended to be the more serious and prestigious Kingdom of the Sun. But don’t wait—you might have to find The Sweatbox on Youtube before Disney’s lawyers do. —Brian Breneman, Deputy Art Director

Profile: 'Fiona Apple's Radical Art of Sensitivity'

This week in proof that God is reading my diary: Emily Nussbaum, the New Yorker’s patron saint of TV criticism, has been working on a profile of Fiona Apple since last July. The finished piece, which dropped on Monday, is full of buzzy details—Apple’s massively anticipated new record is called Fetch the Bolt Cutters, after a line in BBC’s The Fall; she quit doing cocaine after a bender with Quentin Tarantino and Paul Thomas Anderson annoyed her into sobriety—but its greatest strength is unexpected timeliness.

Apple rarely leaves her house and has been inching forward with new music for nearly nine years, and Nussbaum captures the beauty and the frustration of that process with real clarity. (She also, thank God, doesn’t skimp on lyric snippets or song titles.) Who knew how badly we’d need such a nimbly written, well-researched document of creativity in solitude this week? —Conner Reed, Arts & Culture Editor

TED Talk: ‘This Is What Happens When You Reply to a Spam Email’

This is a thing we all have thought about doing, and watching him do it plays out that fantasy without any of the work. Plus I’ve been inundated with scammer emails as of late, and now they actually make me laugh when I think about writing them back. —Eden Dawn, Style Editor

Pineapple Street Studios’ Kids Podcast Experiment

Will someone think of the children? Thankfully, Pineapple Street Studios has, and they’ve hatched a cunning plan to get them to make their own entertainment. It’s a podcast for kids stuck at home—by kids stuck at home. The idea is that kids record their own podcasts—interviews, movie reviews, advice, news, music, whatever floats your bored-out-of-your-brains boat!—and email it to the good folks at Pineapple Street Studios, who promise to make something “really fun” from what they receive. —Fiona McCann, Senior Editor-at-Large

Mad Max: Fury Road (Black & Chrome)

I was initially very excited about this screening during Feminist March at the Hollywood Theatre, but then coronavirus came and ruined just about everything. Thankfully, the internet. The fourth installment of George Miller’s legendary Road Warrior series is a visual feast: makeshift armored cars and war rigs, dystopic desert landscapes, a Doof Warrior that plays a guitar that shoots out fire? Need I say more? OK, maybe just a little.
The Black & Chrome version captures Miller’s original vision for Mad Max: Fury Road as a black-and-white film. The lack of color, something that distinguished the theatrical release, turns it into something more abstract and somber, creating a different, and equally enjoyable, viewing experience. —Gabriel Granillo, Digital Editor

This American Life: ‘Everyone’s a Critic’

Look, This American Life is not a secret, cool-kid thing. I don’t even listen to it on the regular. But on Tuesday night, while making dinner from whatever I could find in the fridge (since we are trying to space out grocery store trips as much as possible), I checked my podcast queue and there it was. I scrolled through the episodes to find one that was zero percent coronavirus related, and for 15 minutes I got to think about how crazy it is that white tourists in cargo shorts come on tour buses to Sunday services at black Baptist churches in Harlem, and then post negative reviews about their experience on Yelp.

Also, keeping it real, on this morning’s run I listened to the Ringer Network’s delightful Bachelor Party podcast, hosted by Juliet Litman, who shares my distaste for pets and intense interest in the British royal family, and got to hear the lowdown on how coronavirus has disrupted my favorite guilty pleasure. STREAM THE BACK CATALOG, ABC. Bachelor Nation demands it. —Julia Silverman, News Editor

Giri/Haji (Duty/Shame)

This yakuza film noir series jumps between Tokyo and London, while making room for complicated love stories, high family drama, witty dialogue, stylized action and rich, inventive cinematography. Surprises keep coming. You might see a finger cut off (did I say the yakuza was involved?) or an interpretive dance scene. The story centers on a Tokyo detective searching for his mob-assassin younger brother (say hello to my new husband, “Yuto”). But the entire multigenerational cast is carefully etched, with a star turn by the great Kelly Macdonald (TrainspottingBoardwalk Empire) as a complicated London detective. I’m officially obsessed. —Karen Brooks, Food Editor & Critic

Thorns 2013 Opener vs. Seattle Reign

With live sports on hiatus, the local Fox affiliate will air Portland soccer matches of yore, starting this weekend. The Thorns–Seattle Reign game will feature some familiar faces, including OG Thorn Christine Sinclair (still a Thorn, this year the Canadian set a new record for the most international goals), tea-sipper Alex Morgan (now with Orlando and expecting her first child next month—hope you’re planning a home birth, Alex!), retired Canada national team goalkeeper and 2019 World Cup commentator Karina LeBlanc (expecting her first child any minute now, too), and Seattle keeper Michelle Betos (who spent some time as a Thorn and is now back with Seattle, and who once scored a goal so incredible a Thorns fan had to re-create it in Lego). Catch the match at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 21, on KPTV/FOX12. —Margaret Seiler, Managing Editor

Marc Rebillet

The awful mix of feelings when you stumble on a performer with a rabid following who you had no idea existed: elation at the discovery and deep sadness for the fact that you’ve been missing out on something vital for a long time. That’s what I felt earlier this week when I randomly stumbled on Marc Ribellet’s Facebook profile. Maybe everyone already knows except me (gah!), but here’s the rundown: he’s a mustachioed singer and keyboardist with a penchant for robes and kimonos who makes up songs based on audience suggestions. Sounds goofy, sure, but wait until you hear this guy sing, rap, and set his keyboard on fire with sweet, sweet melodies.

Because of the pandemic, he’s missing a bunch of Australian tour dates—but the good news for us non-Aussies is he’s doing the dates as live-streamed concerts from his NYC apartment, complete with audience call-ins. They’re all available on Facebook and Twitch at anytime,  but the next live performance starts Thursday, March 19, at 5 a.m. I can’t think of better work-from-home music right now.
Marty Patail, Editor in Chief 

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