The lead feature of the just-released January issue of Portland Monthly is a compendium (edited by former WW staffer Zach Dundas) of "The 50 Most Influential Portlanders." The list includes both former WW intern and columnist Mike Thelin and current MusicfestNW director Trevor Solomon (congrats, guys), along with many other hardworking local folks. But its awfully straight, don't you think? In the interest of representing the, well, let's call it diversity of the city's culture, here are 50 Portlanders who, for good or ill, have profoundly influenced me.
1. Patty, the bartender at Magic Garden
2. Extremo the Clown
3. Kay Olsen, the city’s most ubiquitous usher.
4. Kirk Reeves, he of the Mickey Mouse ears and trumpet.
5. Trimet bus driver Bob Foster
6. Tony Starlight
7. Elvis Nagel
8. Pabst Brewing rep Matt Slessler
9. Phil Geffner, owner of Escape from New York Pizza
10. Matt Mount, who invented the aquavit Jell-O shot
11. Jim Skinner, who made the Tree of Shame on North Sumner Street.
12. John Schroeder, better known as "Portland Elvis" or the Elvis of Old Town.
13. Michael Krupp, better known as Blue Man
14. Brian Kidd, better known as the Unipiper
15. Richard Gismondi, better known as Lefty the One-Armed Guitarist
16. Wells Oviatt, better known as Mr. Statue
17. Ilan Laks, who painted the “SMILE” sign on the roof of AudioCinema
18. The woman who lives on Southeast Gladstone Street and drives the white pickup with “Pussy Wagon” painted across the gate.
19. Ron Funches
20. Whoever wrote “I LOVE MY CAT” on the back wall of Hollywood Bowl
22. The guitar-playing, no-hands bicyclist.
23. The man with the single, beavertail-like dreadlock who roams the parks downtown.
24. Al M, the author of Rantings of a Trimet Bus Driver
25. Deek and Bryan from Next Adventure
26. Molly Bloom, the shop cat at Annie Bloom’s Books.
27. Leeloona The Clown
28. Josh Martinez
29. Fat Cobra owner Pat Lanagan
30. Cindy, the Erotic Pleaser
31. The Welches Con Man
32. DJ Nick
33. Tommy Gaffney, who hosts the Thursday poetry night at Tony’s Tavern
34. David Allan Canterbury, the Toys R Us Jedi.
35 and 36. Fred and Toody Cole
37. Brittany Walsh, who fires arrows with her feet.
38. Ted Papas
39. The dancing panda at Saturday Market.
40. Rama the elephant
41. Ryan Wendell Birkland
42. Sister Helen Baak
44. Jonathan Ware, who likes turtles and must be, like, 15 by now.
45. Darklady [NSFW!]
46. Georgina Stiner, who rents goats.
47. Michael Wedel-Durrow
48. Al Gore’s massage therapist
49. Blazer Bruce
50. Corgi Bruce