Every year, alt-weeklies across the country, from The Athens News to the Wausau City Pages, anoint their city's best happy hours and hair salons.
Here's an inside secret: These "Best ofs" are cheap to produce, journalistically challenged and about as alt as a Maroon 5 remix.
This is not that "Best of."
Portland deserves better. A city that marches to the beat of its own homemade djembe doesn't need the same list of best brunches and beers they're doing in Fort Lauderdale and Indianapolis. You know this stuff already, and we have no interest in preaching to the choir. (Besides, we offer plenty of this information in Finder and our Restaurant and Drink guides.)
Fact is, the best things in this city—the things that make Portland Portland—aren't products and services. Instead, they're things like losing yourself on a trek through an urban forest, finding a box full of poetry posted on a quiet neighborhood street, or an anonymous stranger constructing houses for feral cats under the Ross Island Bridge.
So instead of asking our writers to nominate the city's best bookstore (because, c'mon), we simply asked them to write about the people, places, stories and curiosities that make Portland the snowflake it is.
Over the next eight pages, you will not find the city's best stylist, but you will meet Robert Ham's 91-year-old barber. You won't read about the city's hottest new band, but you will read about music editor Casey Jarman's favorite online punk-show calendar. We will not nominate the city's best bar, but Aaron Mesh will blow the lid off his favorite bar mural east of 82nd Avenue.
Here's another inside secret: Most alt-weekly writers in other cities loathe writing their "Best of" edition. We love writing ours.
EDITOR: Ruth Brown
CONTRIBUTORS: Penelope Bass, Emilee Booher, Martin Cizmar, Robert Ham, Kimberly Hursh, Nigel Jaquiss, Casey Jarman, Matthew Korfhage, AP Kryza, John Locanthi, Richard Meeker, Aaron Mesh, Cody Newton, Alex Tomchak Scott, Matthew Singer, Saundra Sorenson, Richard Speer, Katy Sword, Brent Walth
COPY EDITORS: Rob Fernas, Kat Merck, Matt Buckingham
ART DIRECTOR: Ben Mollica
PRODUCTION STAFF: Kendra Clune, Kerry Crow, Lana MacNaughton, Dylan Serkin
PHOTOGRAPHERS: Amaren Colosi, Ronit Fahl, Anna Jaye Goellner, Leah Nash, Jarod Opperman, Clara Ridabock, Andrew Waits