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April 10th, 2013 REBECCA JACOBSON | Culture Features
 

Frames Within Frames

A full year of bike-based art.

lede_cyclepedia_3923INCONNU BY AN ANONYMOUS DESIGNER AT CYCLEPEDIA - EMBACHER-COLLECTION / Photo: Bernhard Angerer
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Portland cyclists are not content to limit their demonstrations of affection to soggy winter commuting, bombing downhill from the zoo and quaffing too much beer at Apex. Portlanders who worship at the altar of the holy two-wheeler take their love to new heights. This is a city that abounds with art and performance dedicated to that humble machine, and we’re not talking about yarn-bombed bike racks, twee greeting cards with letterpress images of vintage velocipedes or even tricked-out fixies. Portlanders write plays and fiction and poetry about bikes, they make movies about bikes, they dance with their bikes, they sing and play kazoos and pump jams while riding their bikes. Much of that, unsurprisingly, happens in the spring and summer months. Here’s a guide to the best of it.


Open Bike Night

7-10 pm every third Wednesday at Velo Cult

Nothing says bike love like spoken-word odes to derailleurs and chainstays, songs about MILFs who ride cargo bikes, and readings of 19th-century poems about bicycles. Since debuting in mid-January, this monthly event has also featured blindfolded violinists and legendary bike mom Emily Finch with a presentation on the rhythm method of birth control.


First Friday at Bikeasaurus

7-10 pm every first Friday at Bikeasaurus

Bikeasaurus stocks lots of adorable products for purchase (coffee cozies stitched with bikes, dinosaur-shaped reflectors, onesies), but each month the shop also houses an exhibit by a different local artist, with a First Friday reception. Recent exhibitions have featured hand-pulled linocuts, vaguely expressionistic oil paintings and playful line drawings.


Taking the Lane

Due out later this month

For the 10th volume of her bicycling zine, writer and activist Elly Blue is diving into fiction for the first time. Or rather, blasting off: The issue, due out later this month, is an anthology of feminist, bike-centered science fiction. Many stories are set in grim, postapocalyptic dystopias, but readers will also meet a Pooh-like robot, an octopoid triathlete and plenty of spunky bike-riding go-getters.


Filmed by Bike

April 20-21 & 23 at the Clinton Street Theater

Filmed by Bike presents three days of short films centered on bikes. The festival turns 11 this year, with 40 films from around the world. Films include a Santa-themed ride in Wisconsin, a rickshaw trek through Edinburgh, cyclists braving Hurricane Sandy, bike races on ice and tips on how not to get doored.


Pedalpalooza

June 6-29

This monthlong celebration of all things two-wheeled always features plenty of rides with artsy themes. In last year’s festival, cyclists played kazoos, filmed documentaries, read poetry, performed Sacred Harp singing, toured murals and sported an endless parade of wacky costumes (powdered wigs, onesies, dinosaur getups, bloomers and tweed)—all while pedaling. The month ends with the Multnomah County Bike Fair, which in the past has included performances by the Sprockettes, an all-female bike dance troupe, and the Tall Tour Crew, a band that rides tall bikes.


Bike Play

WORKING THEATRE COLLECTIVE’S INVASION OF THE BICYCLE SNATCHERS
IMAGE: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland
June 20-23

For the fifth year, the Working Theatre Collective is cooking up a two-wheeled theatrical endeavor. Riders pedal behind performers, being met at each location with a scene in an unfolding drama. Last year’s performance, Invasion of the Bicycle Snatchers, paid delicious homage to ’50s sci-fi, and previous installments have riffed on cowboy Westerns and classic noir. Riders this year can expect a mythical jaunt filled with bike gods, monsters and masks. It’s one of the year’s best bike events.


Cyclepedia

June 8-Sept. 8 at the Portland Art Museum

For those who like high-tech or bizarre design, this exhibit spotlights 40 bicycles, each selected by Austrian designer and velophile Michael Embacher. The exhibit will trace the evolution of bicycle design (including cargo, folding and kid’s bikes), and local designers will get in on the action with lectures, workshops and tours.


Bike Smut 7: The Porny Express

June 12 at Clinton Street Theater

Lycra, chamois cream, chain lube, and memory-foam saddles—cyclists already know how sexy their sport is. Doubters should pedal to this festival of DIY bike porn, which pushes the boundaries of cycling’s erotic potential. If you thought bikes couldn’t be used as sex toys, think again. This year’s Wild West-themed program will be hotter than a whorehouse on nickel night.


Artcrank

Oct. 3-4 at the Cleaners at the Ace Hotel

A few steps up from greeting cards, this annual event features handmade bike posters designed by several dozen local artists. There is also, unsurprisingly, a very beery party.


BikeCraft

Early December

It’s more consumer-focused than most things on this list, but this annual gift fair always features some seriously impressive goods, including lamps made from recycled bike parts, gorgeous wooden fenders, leather cup-holders for your handlebars and jewelry made from old tubes and chains. 

 
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