School-themed nightmares aren't the only time you picture everybody (including yourself) in undies. Valentine's Day is prime time for unmentionables-ogling. And nobody is taking advantage of the annual sapfest more than PDX's "Romance District." "We attract each other, just as we attract our customers," explains Steven Lien, owner of Under U 4 Men, Portland's only hotbox for male underthings. He's referring to the three-block radius of Southwest Broadway that he and other merchants have dubbed "The Romance District."
From lacy and racy underthings to hotel suites and chocolate truffles, this downtown area is a one-stop purveyor of carnal indulgence. The group of 24 retailers—including Teuscher Chocolates, Flowers by Dorcas, Packouz Jewelers and Jane's Vanity—have joined the group since last November. The businesses will host fashion shows and offer packages and promos throughout the year.
Even without the extra incentives to drop some coin, PDX is for lovers—according to 2007 sales, at least. Flowers by Dorcas sold a whopping 200 bouquets of a dozen roses last V-Day. And Feb. 15 is as good a day as any to share the love. "We usually see about 20 to 30 orders the day after Valentine's Day for those who are in the doghouse. Those are the desperate ones," says Melinda Watzig, manager of Flowers by Dorcas. "If they're smart, they double their dozen."
Local creep-folkster Andy Combs leads his audiences in chant- and stomp-alongs, pitting crowd halves against each other, plucking his banjo and smiling all the while.
What if Miss America were forced to perform with her runners-up? That's what's happening as Oregon Book Award winner Alison Clement reads with nominees Robert Hill and Monica Drake in a cage match brought to you by Literary Arts.
The sharp, inventive Cello Project teams up with the Balkan brassy Vagabond Opera for a lovefest complete with a "love clairvoyant."
Yes, author Toby Barlow's
is about werewolves in L.A. Yes, it's written in free verse. And yes, it kicks ass.
Local four-piece Bark, Hide and Horn plays ridiculously catchy folk songs that could create a whole new entry in the music-snob dictionary: "science rock."
A dark, absurd Belgian noir has Colin Farrell hiding from people who want to kill him with dumdum bullets. These are probably the people who bought tickets for
Soulstress Liv Warfield employs enough vocal gymnastics to make her a prime candidate for taking on jazz standards—whether she can channel a world-weary, emotive Holiday, though, remains to be seen.
A PIFF highlight: Gus Van Sant's mournful teenage tour of PDX makes its first appearance in town—accompanied by none other than Gus himself.