Thursday, April 17, 2014

P is for Portlandia and Pink Martini (Portlandia from A to Z)


If you don't live in Portland, Portlandia probably brings to mind the IFC show with Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein. If you do live in Portland, you will remember when Portlandia meant only one thing: the beautiful hammered copper statue perching on the Portland building downtown. It's the second-largest hammer copper statue in the United States, after the Statue of Liberty.

City seal
On her barge

Portlandia shares a birthday with me and my birthday sister Nancie--she was installed on Ocboter 6, 1985 after floating up the Willamette River on a barge. (She was built by Raymond Kaskey, Greg Pettengill, and Michael LaSalle near Washington DC and her parts were shipped to Portland.) Portlandia is based on the design of the city seal. She is 34 feet, 10 inches high. If she were standing, she would be 50 feet tall.
Being delivered
Back in the days when I worked as a proposal manager, I remember delivering proposals to the City of Portland in that building. We'd usually go in pairs--one of us would stay in the car (so we wouldn't have to find a parking space), and the other one would run upstairs to deliver the proposal, often just minutes before the deadline!

And then of course, Portlandia appears in the title credits for the clever show that made "The Dream of the
'80s is Alive in Portland," "Put a Bird on It," and "Keep Portland Weird" household phrases across the country. Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein satirize the weirdest of Portland, and of course it's completely over the top!

Here's a recent episode, Yoga Class Fail:

Or Brunch Village. Portlanders love their brunch--and some people actually do wait this long in line! Not us!

Pink Martini

Pink Martini is a fabulous Portland band, formed in 1994 by supremely talented and creative pianist Thomas Lauderdale. Described as a "little orchestra," Pink Martini straddles classical, Latin, jazz, and pop. They sing in a variety of languages, too.

We've long been Pink Martini fans, back to the days when the band would perform free concerts in the park--wait, they still do that! But they also perform to sold-out crowds with the Symphony and at New Year's Eve events and travel all around the world.

Pink Martini
We've seen Pink Martini a number of times, the last time at their wonderful singalong concert in Pioneer Square a year ago. They did another one of these recently, but we missed it! The fabulous Storm Large now often performs with Pink Martini, making them even more amazing. I love it when Storm Large and China Forbes perform together, like in this version of "Get Happy/Happy Days."

They also recently recorded an album with the great-grandchildren of the Captain and Maria Von Trapp.

Listen to and watch Pink Martini at their youtube playlist here. Here's one of their classics, Amado Mio:

Nicholas, my seven year old, used to LOVE this one, Dos Vedanya Mio Bombino:

Hope you've enjoyed this taste of a wonderful band/orchestra, homegrown in Portland, Oregon!

Read my other A to Z posts here, and stay tuned for tomorrow: Queens and Quimby.


  1. Love your youtube choice of Fred Armisan! We are fans! Enjoyed your entire post very much. :)

  2. I love Pink Martini! Thomas Lauderdale actually facilitated the first date I ever had with my husband by giving him tickets to the Portland symphony. My husband is in the Army band and they have played with Pink Martini on several occasions, so that's how he knows Thomas! Funny, the only concert I've ever seen them in was one that we traveled to Reno to go see...but they are amazing. One of my favorite bands! :D