GEEK LOVE: The staff at Ground Kontrol in Old Town were surprised last Thursday when a private event they had scheduled turned out to be the wedding of Seattle comics creators Michael Avon Oeming and Taki Soma. Oeming draws the acclaimed cops-and-capes series Powers with Portland's own Brian Michael Bendis, while Soma does a weekly Web comic called You'll Never Die. The modest guest list was a who's who of the local and national comics industry, including Dark Horse VP David Scroggy and editor Diane Schutz, who chowed on Voodoo Doughnuts, Escape from New York pizza and a cake shaped like a spaceship from classic arcade game Space Invaders. The newlyweds are collaborating on a new comic called Rapture, debuting in April from Dark Horse Comics.

WASHINGTON EXPORT: In other comics news, Bellingham's Bluewater Productions has moved to the 'Couv, bringing the number of major independent comics publishers in the metro area up to five. Bluewater has evidently already embraced the very-Portland values of keeping it local and making it green by moving its printing to Tigard's BB Print Source.

MILK RECRUITS OSCAR: So it's not been the greatest week for Portland's first gay mayor. Hollywood was far kinder to Gus Van Sant's movie about San Francisco's groundbreaking gay politico: Milk was nominated Thursday for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Sean Penn) and Best Director (Van Sant). Meanwhile, Van Sant told MTV he's mulling actors for his next project, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. His first choice to play legendary Oregonian Ken Kesey was Heath Ledger, he says, but after the actor's passing? "There's an opportunity it could be Jack Black," Van Sant says. Sometimes a great Nacho Libre?

SWANK TOQUE: Hold onto your Ed Hardy hats, Portland is going L.A. Monika Reti is opening her third Hipcooks (, a Los Angeles-based cooking school, near the hub of new businesses on North Williams Avenue. The California transplant, who once lived in an artists' colony, takes a, well, avant garde approach to cooking, banning recipes and measuring implements from every class. "The idea is to trust your cooking instinct," says Reti. So, how does Portland compare to L.A.? "Oregon has this real emphasis on local produce. People here seem much more conscious of where things come from." That's right, L.A. You have Heidi and Spencer from The Hills; we have fresh produce and goat cheese from our hills. Instruction starts Feb. 3 and costs $55 for a three-hour theme class. A Saturday, Jan. 31, open house (1-6 pm) invites Portlanders to take a sneak peek at the space at 3808 N Williams Ave.