On Company Parties, Allergies; Onward to Los Angeles

April 10th, 2007. Categories / Portland

Thursday was bathed in sun. The warming rays activated a slumbering and watery town: cherry trees burst with pink blossoms, flowers bloomed in puffs of pollen, people shed clothes and stumbled dazed into the yellow light and swarms of heat activated gnats. Kids and dogs took over the parks and streets, as outdoor seating was rolled out of storage. Suicide rates remained steady. Welcome summer! Winter, you suck.

Thursday and Friday of last week were the 25th anniversary for my work, and all of the New York office was flown in for the festivities. It must have been an incongruous sight for the visitors to look at their pale and bloated hosts in such wonderful weather. A recluse can explain that the weather isn’t always like this, it had just been raining. But looking around, it must seem unimaginable that Portland could ever have been under 6 months of steady rain. In moments like these, you can never find a mildewed wall.

Day one of celebration was inside the office and consisted of break-dancing by the New York group Rock Steady Crew, pronouncements and Q&A by work bigwigs, speeches by Alex Steffen, Cameron Sinclair, Graham McReynolds, Daniel Gilbert and Arianna Huffinton, all broken up by snack breaks and the spoken word poetry of Rives. The day ended (for me at least) on the roof deck for cocktails between the people of both offices. Between the weather and the stylishly dressed people mingling to the music, it felt like what I call an “L.A. Moment.” These occur when an observer is participating with dreamlike detachment in a “situation that represents the common and falsest qualities of Los Angeles.” For example, “C. was sun bathing at the pool and talking on the phone to his agent when he realized he was unwittingly having an ‘L.A. Moment’.” L.A. moments are a dime a dozen in their homeland, but are pretty common in advertising. And the little building in Portland, despite its better judgement, has them to. Partly to blame is the neighborhood, which due to it’s pricey condo towers and fancy restaurants with addresses for names is increasing the concentration of people high on money and style but low in almost everything else. Walking by the outdoor seating of the restaurant in my office building, you get to see L.A. types trying to cling on to the illusion of being more important than they actually are. It’s subtle, but they look just a little too fancy for Portland. It’s as if they are trying for form their own cultural enclave in this casual town like the Cubans in Miami.

Digressions aside, Friday was a blast. The afternoon and evening was spent in a rented space that decorated to resemble a circus or carnival. Food stands had all manner of good fried food, there were people on stilts and trapezes, burlesque dances, a spinning ride (that was relatively vomit free) and Midway games. All of these activities were lubricated with free drinks. To end the night: a private concert by The Beastie Boys!

Photo courtesy of http://wkstudio.typepad.com

Here’s a clip taken from the spinning carnival ride:

It was an excessive and expensive two days for whoever had to pay the bill, but memorable. But for me, I’d have an equally fun time with a cardboard box and some candy.

More details/pictures of the event can by found at http://wkstudio.typepad.com

Also, apparently I get instantly sleepy if I take Nyquilâ„¢ like medicine for allergies.

Off to L.A. for editing!

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