Heading into the weekend, Portlanders had a spring in their step and a smile on their collective face. The sun was out (in January), the new year was off to a splendid start, and all seemed right with the world. This was going to be a good weekend, by golly, like the last few had been.
At least, that was the plan.
Then, slowly, an indefinable sense of angst and anxiety began to spread. That springy step slowed down a bit, the smile became more of a straightish line (half way to a frown). Otherwise “normal” Pacific Northwesterners looked up from glowing mobile screens while waiting in line at Trader Joe’s with an almost palpable sense of physical dread. And a most inexplicable gloom started to cover the town.
What on earth was wrong?
And then, one by one, the citizens realized.
Oh shit. Folks had been hearing about it and planning to see it (some for the 2nd or 3rd time), and they just kind of took it for granted that it would be on for a while. Even those who weren’t going to see it got a strong sense of security knowing that at least four nights of the week, the mega hit was going full bore, sanding the paint off the back wall of the Winnie with the audience’s laughter. They knew if they really, really needed to, they could get a ticket (if they were lucky) and be comforted by hearing Dave Bodin go on about “strife and uncertainty”. Or Damon Kupper talk about… “you know”. Or Karen Trumbo declare “I’ve only got one leg”. They knew that as long as the show was on, sardines, bags (or the lack – or not lack – thereof), tax exiles, whiskey, flowers, doors that don’t open or won’t stay shut, pants that won’t stay up, “Richard 3”, fire axes, plates of gravy, et al were just a few steps away, down at the PDX5 Art Performance Centers.
But not any more. Now it’s all gone.
As this harsh reality set in, the city observed a moment of silence to mark the first NOISES OFF-free weekend. Down at City Hall, the occupy movement briefly revitalized and started a hunger strike to demand an extension for the show. Mayor Hales appeared at a hastily organized press conference to calm the citizens and assure them there will be other Third Rail shows. Some quite soon. He also suggested people go home and maybe “watch some TV”, to which a heckler responded, “This is Portland! We don’t have TV’s!”