Published by Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: November 13th 2012
In 2011 the realm of sketch comedy was turned on its ear through the wacky genius of Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen. In a small Pacific Northwest town called Portlandia they birthed a roster of characters that were found to be unanimously funny by millions in America and funny in that too-close-to-home way for those of us who live in that real world city, Portland.
In an effort to be as helpful as all Portlandians are, Armisen and Brownstein have followed up their success with a new book called Portlandia: A Guide for Visitors. Beloved characters such as Nina and Lance, The Mayor, and Peter and Nance join forces to explain their beloved city and throw open their arms in welcome, should you choose to visit.
Even if you shot a bear in cold blood or accidentally killed him by feeding him honey only to find out that he’s allergic…Portlandia would be like “Come on in, dude! We welcome you!”
But be advised there are those who are not so thrilled by the prospect of visitors. Kenneth Richards asks that potential tourists consider the following before hopping a plane to this fair city:
Are you bringing contraband or invasive species into this city? Contraband includes but is not limited to: wheat, hair dye, California, a PhD, confident driving skills, and any album other than the first album. Invasive species include: pure-bred dogs and, most likely, you.
If you do fit the criteria for visiting and are comfortable with leaving a carbon footprint then Portlandia is a necessary prelude to your visit. Armisen and Brownstein break the city down by neighborhoods, with the exception of North Portlandia abut which nothing is written—to save a tree. Besides, no one goes there anyway. Readers will get loads of options on food carts, fun places to take the kids, and brunch restaurants but there is also helpful advice on finding an adult babysitting services, especially ones where all the sitters have been in failed long-term relationships involving someone like your adult in need. For those with children Malcolm and Chris include a Guide to Raising Confident Children. A key takeaway for those difficult years (age 20-50), if you’re lucky your child will still be living with you and you can micromanage him…
The guide will also answers question you have about the city such as its status as one of the dog loving-est cities in the U.S. Namely,
…in a very real way, dogs are substitute children to Portlandians—many of whom are infertile, impotent, or simply unwilling to commit to a mature adult relationship.
Driving is another topic of concern. First of all, you shouldn’t even ask, because they don’t drive and they don’t want you to. However, if you press the issue, you’ll learn that most Portlandians don’t “drive”, by most definitions of the word. They coast, roll, meander, and veer—but the word driving conveys an urgency that is considered uncouth in the laid- back environs of Portlandia.
And so it goes. Portlandia: A Guide for Visitors is filled with all the outrageous, comical idiosyncrasies that distinguish this mythical city by the sea (sort of). Armisen and Brownstein cast their razor sharp eyes across the multi-layered, kind-of-diverse landscape of Portandia and, in a way that is intensely funny, gently mock all that is weird and wacky about this city. For those of us who live in the real PDX it’s a bit like your aunt showing up at your prom in her slip, drunk, and dancing with your date. Hilarious to everyone else but a bit embarrassing to you. Portlandia is eccentricity as art.
A great escape from whatever realities ail you, A Guide for Visitors will also keep you from Portlandia withdrawal symptoms until the show resumes on IFC January 3rd. So, read the book, laugh, maybe come visit, but don’t stay, OK?
p.s. The publishers have asked me to let everyone know: Please note, and point out to your best friend, that this book is printed on 130% recycled paper in a peanut-free, smoke-free plant by local workers in a friendly and fair environment, free of sudden noises and unnatural light. You’re welcome.