Vancouver, Wash.: Land of self-service gas, sales tax and pirates? This hidden hinterland is worth every inch of the seven-mile drive from Portland across the Columbia River, in large part because of a new space that's devoted to buccaneers and the people who love them. Ensconced in a low-slung cinderblock structure, Adventure Studios, a.k.a. Koolahkakrockignaugph Island (1205 E 33rd St., Vancouver, 360-750-0005), is a far cry from the wonderful world of Disney. But that doesn't mean this pint-sized pirate cove isn't worthy of Captain Jack and his boys. Inside, owners, actors, builders and brothers Phil and Ron Verry, 34 and 37, escort kids of all ages through an interactive performance featuring pirate puppetry, fog-covered sailing ships, costumes, CO2 cannons and haunted treasure, eventually arriving at a birthday party in a luxurious tiki-themed lagoon. In keeping with the family theme, their mother, Linda Fletcher, 55, helps out too, building props and decorating the maze of handmade sets. While it's obviously geared toward kids, parents will enjoy the attention to detail in this amazingly intricate one-of-a-kind place. Birthday parties cost a few gold coins ($150-$225) but Saturday puppet shows are only $5. For show times, reservations and tickets, visit

Avast, ye scalawags! Captain Bogg & Salty (playing at The Bite of Oregon on Aug. 13--see make the most raucous noise on the Seven Seas, which has sailed them into the heart of the Portland family-music scene. If you don't have a pirate-crazed child, you may be surprised to learn that Bogg and Salty play standing-room-only (free) library concerts. The G-rated arr-songs tell you to "shake your sillies out" or "sing when your spirit says sing," in the catchy chorus to "Scurvy." Tot-moshing and costumes are encouraged, yelling "eat a lime" is nearly mandatory, and for some reason, bunnies are thrown. Hmm.

Christian Slater totally sexed up pirate radio, leading the tortured teens of suburbia to rebellion in Pump Up the Volume. The gents at Northeast Portland's own pirate station, the Portland Radio Authority (, don't tell the kids what to do. They just play what listeners want: good music. The people lucky enough to find the station's signal can hear a host of live DJs Sunday through Friday from 4 pm until midnight. And soon a few more people will be able to get in on the good stuff as the radio station triples its wattage. But we're not going to tell you where to find it, in hopes it won't be shut down. That's the way Slater's Hard Harry would have liked it.

Inside "Best of Portland 2004"