July 9th, 2012 | by WW Arts And Culture Staff Features | Posted In: It List

The It List: The Top 10 Things in Portland and the World

     
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Each week our culture scientists rank their 10 favorite things in the universe. The resulting list is infallible. The list is perfect. If you don't agree with the list, you are wrong. Some items may stay atop the list for weeks, others may only make a brief appearance. Some items are Portland-centric, but only because Portland is at the center of the universe. Please do not write to us, asking for the metrics behind the list. We will not provide source material. We will not be swayed. Bow down to the list. Love the list, as the list loves all things. Let the list move through you. (And, you know, if you have suggestions for the list, stick them in the comments section below.)

1. Against Me! at MusicfestNW
Yeah, yeah, we're total shills for WW's own summer music festival. But not only is Against Me! one of the finer shout-along punk rock bands in America, frontman-turned-frontwoman Laura Jane Grace (formerly Tom Gabel) is one of the great stories in rock and roll, as well. In a sweet moment, the band recently took the stage in New York City with Joan Jett to cover the Replacements' "Androgynous." 



2. Amtrak's Coastal Starlight
Sure, it nearly doubles the time it would take to drive to San Francisco, and it features the world's saddest arcade, and hanging out in the dining car means taking the risk of getting chatted up by a 70-year-old conspiracy theorist or a blind man who insists on helping snap a photo of you and your girlfriend, but the ride from Portland to California is crazy gorgeous and infinitely more comfortable than flying. Just make sure to smuggle your own food onboard. Microwave pizzas are, like, $9.

3. Super Amazing Wagon Adventure for XBOX 360
WW Music Editor Casey Jarman is an ardent supporter of the XBOX 360's seldom-discussed Indie Games marketplace, and he has a new favorite (let's face it, sooner or later something was bound to steal the crown from Criminals Under Arrest). Super Amazing Wagon Adventure is a high-voltage cross between R-Type and the Oregon Trail that succeeds where so many recent faux-retro games fail (the shape of the screen even appears warped like an old TV set). Hilarious and actually quite fun to play, the wagon trail shooter offers amazing text narration ("Day 68: All of the recreational buffalo shooting started a prairie fire.") while sending the old west genre on a series of unexpected directions (watch out for that cave filled with gigantic bats). Also, it costs a dollar.

 

4. Casey Jarman's "It's Not a Portland Summer Until You've..."
Making the list for a third week (back up 4 places from #8) because it's still summer!

5. Texts From Jane Eyre
Waaaay funnier than we expected it to be.

6. Knott's Berry Farm
Growing up in Southern California, we referred to Knotts—the L.A.-area Old West-themed amusement park with Snoopy inexplicably serving as its mascot—as Magic Mountain for pussies. Revisiting as adults, it turns out we were either horribly misinformed, or the park has significantly stepped its game up in the last two decades. Now, it's got rides like the Xcelerator, which goes from zero to 80 miles per hour in two seconds and shoots you into nearly 90 degree, 250-foot drop, and the Windseeker, which raises up 300 feet into the sky and spins at a leisurely pace as your feet dangle below you. Awesome! Well, theoretically. If you think we're actually going to get on one of those things, you've vastly overestimated our courage: We were hyperventilating just going up in the placid observation deck. We're happy going on the log ride seven times in a row, thank you very much. 

7. FedEx
Actually, it's not so much that FedEx is awesome as that Portland's UPS drivers are clowns.   

8. The Sisters Brothers
It's a year old. You probably should have read it by now. 

9. This video of Japandroids playing "Fire's Highway"
Making the list for a second week (down 2 spots from #7)


10. Jaime Lannister Vs Eddard Stark Lightsaber Battle
You've probably seen this already, but whatever.

 
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