“It’s way more challenging than it looks,” says Isaac Rochester. “Lots of people think, ‘I could get drunk and throw some shit at a wall.’ But it really is a game of millimeters.” Less than 30 minutes later, Rochester, vice president of the Portland Area Dart Association, throws a ton 80—the highest possible score with three darts—so the man knows what he is talking about.
Rochester, along with several members of PADA and general dart enthusiasts, met up at the A&L Sports Pub in Northeast Portland for a few games in advance of this weekend’s 43rd annual Oregon Open, the longest-running dart competition in the United States. About 200 players from across the country are expected. Here’s some suggested techniques from some of Oregon’s best players. Their only other advice? Drink. It helps. Seriously.
There’s no preferred stance for tossing, but most players tend to lean forward on their throwing side. For better accuracy, keep your upper arm parallel to the floor and let your forearm and wrist move. “Establish a form and be consistent to build that muscle memory,” says Clay Carney.
“Darts becomes a complete mental game: You can defeat yourself,” warns Jason Pitzer, PADA president and committee chair for the Oregon Open. Nearly every player echoed the importance of a focused mental state and self-confidence. “I embrace the nerves, I hug them, and them I kick them right in the ass,” says Greg Haggan, a frequent tournament competitor.
Proper form and the right mental state will only take you so far when it comes to landing a dart point in .197 square inches from nearly 8 feet away. Carney puts it succinctly: “Just hit what you’re aiming at.”
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25OMSI AFTER DARK: LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX
[SEX] A title from a 1991 Salt-N-Pepa song about the virtues of prophylactics testifies this isn’t the edgiest sex talk, but topics include picking a lube, how tigers fuck and a literal explanation of the birds and bees using dissected flowers. OMSI, 1945 SE Water Ave., 797-4642, omsi.edu/afterdark. 6 pm. $6-$12.
THURSDAY, APRIL 26MAKE IT POP
[MUSIC] This fundraiser for the PDX Pop Now! organization features members of Y La Bamba, Lost Lander and Loch Lomond. It’s your chance to give back to the folks who put on a bitchin’, free music festival every summer. The Cleaners, 403 SW 10th Ave. 7:30 pm. $35. All ages.
FRIDAY, APRIL 27CRAIG FERGUSON
[COMEDY] Remember when Conan O’Brien was charmingly awkward and kinda funny, before the ginger-martyr shtick? That’s about where Craig Ferguson is now. The Late Late Show host will not go anywhere near any sort of edge in his standup, but if it’s harmless chuckles and a charming Scottish accent you want, he’s got it. Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie Ave., 233-1994, aladdin-theater.com. 10 pm. $42.50-$55.
[MOVIES] Willem Dafoe hunts a rare tiger in the Tasmanian outback. Like The Grey, which led us to believe Liam Neeson would be bare-knuckle boxing a wolf for two hours, the film isn’t quite the man-versus-wild free-for-all its synopsis implies, but it ends up being entrancing and quietly poignant anyway. Living Room Theaters, 341 SW 10th Ave., 971-222-2010. Multiple showtimes.
SATURDAY, APRIL 28NORTHWEST NEW MUSIC
[MUSIC] The intrepid ensemble goes royally crazy with a compelling program comprising one of the 20th century’s most powerful music-theater works, Peter Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King, as well as Charles Wakefield Cadman’s A Mad Empress Remembers, Thomas Larcher’s My Illness Is the Medicine I Need (which uses texts from institutionalized mentally ill patients) and Morton Feldman’s King of Denmark. Lincoln Hall, Portland State University, 1620 SW Park Ave., 753-3357. 8 pm. $5-$25.
STUMPTOWN COMICS FEST
[COMICS] This year’s fest features big names like underground legend Pete Bagge and Portland royalty like Nate Powell and Steve Lieber, but Stumptown is really more about discovery than stargazing. This isn’t comic-con, it’s a fest as grown-up as the medium itself is these days. Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. $7. Continues Sunday.