Among the stranger things to have happened since we moved here, I was alerted tonight to an upcoming festival at a venue here in Paris titled "Keep Portland Weird." (hat tip Stefanie!) Having grown up in Portland, Oregon, I'm familiar with the weirdness that is Portland - or at the least the weirdness that the rest of the country likes to attribute to Portland. I'm pretty sure I still went to the mall, wore clothes from the Gap, was on the student council, and other typically American, non-weird things.
But Portland has its reputation, and I am all for it. I don't entirely understand why Portland is marketing itself to Paris hipsters, but I'm happy to think that soon even France will believe as my husband does that having grown up there, I must have worn dreadlocks and smoked a lot of pot (sorry honey, both are still false).
Among the gems on the "Keep Portland Weird" promotional materials:
*Portland est un bourg rempli de hippies du XXIe siècle. (Portland is a town full of 21st century hippies). What exactly is a 21st century hippie?
* Imaginez une petite sœur de Seattle avec une passion folle pour la cuisine bio, locale, et l'activité communautaire...(Imagine Seattle's little sister with a mad passion for organic food and community activism.) Hey. Portland is nobody's little sister. Seattle is so early '90s.
*Depuis une dizaine d’année, le nom de la ville circule chez les mélomanes, comme Katmandou à l’époque des Hippies (For 10 years, the name of the city has circulated among music lovers, just like Kathmandu in the time of the Hippies). What's with the focus on hippies? It's not Berkeley. Hipsters, Paris, it's hipsters. Not hippies. And the Kathmandu reference is way over my head.
In any event, if you're in Paris at the end of April, you can check out the listing of films and concerts associated with Keep Portland Weird here. I'm proud that my hometown has made it to Paris. Proud, confused, bemused. Best get out my hippie clothes.