Best Drunk Driver
Holly “Hotbox” Morgan. IMAGE: Rob Delahanty
Drunkards, take heed: Cabbies do not take kindly to your boozy shenanigans. When you and your buddies crawl into the cab, you’d best pray Holly “Hotbox” Morgan is behind the wheel. The former bartender and five-year veteran of Radio Cab—she won Barfly’s Coolest Cabbie award in 2005 and 2006—understands the goofy shit drunk people do and takes it in stride. “I’d much rather drive drunks around than people who are all grouchy in the daytime,” she says. Morgan, who provides drums and vocals to longtime Portland garage-rock duo Thee Headliners, insists her rides are among the city’s raddest. “I’m gonna take you exactly how you wanna go, and I’m gonna be pumping the sweetest tunes,” she says. “Sometimes people want to take the scenic route. I could give a fuck. I just want you to be stoked and not worried.” AP KRYZA.
Best Financial Revolutionary
Since Alex Payne moved to Portland, he’s put himself through spiritual and physical torture hunting for venture capital. But Payne hopes that his quest to tie down money will help set yours free: He’s one-third of the trio behind BankSimple, a virtual banking project that aims to help you and your cash to escape from the maze of fees—hidden or obvious—that big banks charge.
“Banks in America make money by keeping customers confused,” Payne says. By muddying up online interfaces and making the small print microscopic, Payne says, big banks make consumers pay for things they never should.
That is, in part, why Payne has been recruited to the BankSimple project. A former Twitter developer, Payne is in Portland to help make BankSimple’s online presentation as clean and understandable as possible. On a day-to-day basis, he says, customers will be able to quickly see what’s safe to spend now, how that will impact their financial goals and so on. As for the system itself, here’s how it works: Customers get one card they use for everything—checking, savings and credit. If you have a big night out and accidentally overdraft your account, no worries; there will be a small line of credit—between $500 and $1,000 to start—ready to cushion your fall. No overdraft fees to compound your guilt the next day.
Payne and the BankSimple team hope to wrap up funding in July, and offer a beta version of the banking system to about 10,000 customers soon after—customers, he says, “who know they should be doing something smarter with their money” but don’t quite know how. Payne hopes SmartBank can show them the way to freedom. RON KNOX.
Best Field Trips
The long-unused and run-down Wong’s Laundry building in Chinatown is the sort of place in which you’d imagine transients sleeping. But today, instead, there’s a sweet Asian woman, May Oka, offering me and about 20 others hot tea and cookies while we look at remnants of the space where her family once ran a laundromat. Thanks to Marc Moscato, the director of the Dill Pickle Club (dillpickleclub.com), and the club’s three other organizers, Portland’s history has become more accessible to all via guided historical tours. You might wonder what pickles have to do with learning about Portland. Moscato explains it was the name of a Chicago speakeasy where artists and intellectuals convened. The small (literally—its rent is $70 a month for 70 square feet of office space) organization is growing thanks to Portlanders’ curiosity about their home. ROXANNE MACMANUS.
Best Free Giggles
Hit up just about any open mic around Portland and you’ll find the same gaggle of would-be comedians, gathered together to fine-tune their jokes and eke some belly laughs out of the audience. The comics’ favorite venue is the Monday night open mic at The Boiler Room (228 NW Davis St., 227-5441, boilerroomportland.com, 9:30 pm), which draws in the city’s best up-and-coming talent to play for a room full of passersby and bros rather than the usual cadre of other anxious comedians waiting for stage time. With no cover, it’s the best place to try your hand at comedy, or just watch others fail in embarrassing ways. BEN BATEMAN.
Baron Von Goolo. IMAGE: All That Jazz Photography
Baron Von Goolo rose from the grave of the dot-com revolution in 2002, after alter ego Dave Helfrey’s advertising business went splat. The mascot of Fright Town—the city’s most pants-wettingly bonkers haunted attraction since 2005—Von Goolo is a deranged reflection of horror-memorabilia-collector Helfrey, a cross between Vincent Price, the Crypt Keeper and Hannibal Lecter sporting a dapper suit and a psychotic grin. “I know what makes people uneasy,” growls Helfrey, 46, who by day is a freelance art director and illustrator. With the Rose Quarter’s future in limbo, Fright Town, which occupies the basement of Memorial Coliseum every October, may soon need a new home. (“There’s gotta be some abandoned GI Joe’s [sports stores] around here somewhere,” jokes the Baron.) In the meantime, the horror mainstay is planning the next Halloween jolt fest, talking with producers about a Von Goolo film and raising his 3-year-old son, who has no idea this mild-mannered dad transforms each autumn into a creature of pure evil. “As soon as he’s done with Dora the Explorer, we’ll worry about that stuff,” Helfrey says. AP KRYZA.
Best Warehouse-Party Masterminds
Imagine the craziest party of your life. Now double the loco factor, and you have an event organized by Winter Is the New Summer. The project, spearheaded by Devin Gallagher of Typhoon, WW freelancer Nilina Mason-Campbell and woman-about-town Alley Frey, centers on a weekly updated website (winteristhenewsummer.com) featuring a photo of a local celebrity/band member/socialite holding a sign listing the week’s exciting concerts—plus myriad hidden links to homemade videos, a bad joke of the week and photo outtakes. In the spirit of its name, WITNS provides a free coat check at each event, so dancers and party-goers can shed their winter layers and party like it’s hot as high summer. With local bands like Wampire, Starfucker and Guidance Counselor, WITNS’s shows can get pretty ragey. “We really didn’t anticipate all the insanity, which looked eerily similar to LCD Soundsystem’s ‘Drunk Girls’ video,” says Mason-Campbell. “Our first warehouse party was by far the craziest of our series, in that we’d hoped for 150 people to show up and got about 2,000 over the course of the night.” The site’s been dormant since March, but rumor has it the clan has a Christmas in July party in the works. Can I get a WITNS? WHITNEY HAWKE.
Best Place For A Free Lay-Me-Down
Look, times are tough—we know this—but the next time your lover or parent or friend kicks you out into the cold, hard world (you freeloader, you), you won’t have to end up with back problems in the bargain, with painful mottled carpet marks on your cheek. It’s easy to score a free mattress or 10. At P.J.’s Sleep Shop’s squat, gray warehouse (1727 SE 11th Ave.), mattresses proliferate out front or in the outside loading area (behind the chain-link, behind the vertically filed slabs from Allstone Countertops); most of these are giveaways. Some are a bit roughened by weather, it is true, some incidentally razor-poked or -slashed. Some, however, are simply extra. Upon last visit, an entire trailer full of twin mattresses was up for grabs. Just think: You could build the tallest mattress fort ever. You could hide in comfort forever, or until the world renews itself. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
Best Reason To Forsake Youtube*
I want my MTV! If you miss switching on your set to a random amalgam of Top 40 hits, throwback hip-hop jams and hair-band gems, pay attention: The Eye Candy VJs (eyecandyvjs.com) are bringing back the music-video era. Video jockeys Nick Wells (a.k.a. the Phantom Hillbilly) and Danny Norton (a.k.a. VJ Norto) have amassed a VHS and DVD collection of more than 3,000 videos, billed as “all-era” and “all-genre,” and they will take your requests. You will clutch your Pabst and watch, enthralled, as the screen swiftly goes from Salt-n-Pepa to Johnny Cash to the Darkness. Since 2006, Eye Candy has been in and out of different bars in the city; Sundays at Beulahland is its longest-running gig, and the best place to experience it. There’s just enough room between the cozy booths to leap up at the first notes of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me).” CAITLIN MCCARTHY. Sundays at Beulahland (118 NE 28th Ave.), 9 pm Tuesdays at the Know (2026 NE Alberta St.), 8 pm Wednesdays at the World Famous Kenton Club (2025 N Kilpatrick St.), 9 pm. Free. 21+.