Monday, July 7, 2014

Comedy in the Streets of Portland, Oregon

Comedy in the Streets of Portland, Oregon Lex Loeb Contributor Network . Shortly after I first arrived in Portland, I made my first bad decision of becoming a street artist.. I liked the idea of being downtown and having the freedom to promote my art work . I sometimes did have galleries representing me but that never kept me and my art off the street. I was possibly the very first artist to camp out on the sidewalk and sell my work along the high brow art walk founded by the Jamison Thomson Gallery Owner. Back then, that gallery billed it self as having "Primitive art," It opened in the pearl district and at the time was pretty much the only gallery in the area of rough and tumble warehouses , part supply stores and low rent shops. There were also smelly factories including a galvanizing plant and of course the old Blitz Weinhard brewery which was a real brewery back then. People hardly ever ventured across West Burnside into the great north west then. It was a neglected wonderland then compared to now. The Jamison Thomson gallery was a big commercial fuss that was later followed by a number of other art galleries into the area. The marketing scene hype that went on never appealed to me. I was involved with the Where's the Art Gallery across Burnside at SW 11th and Washington while it lasted. For me that was the only real art gallery in town. It was run by now legendary Stevie Pierce who later founded the 24 Hour Church of Elvis ( ) There was not one white wall in that gallery after her first exhibit. I was one of the first exhibitors and I made the mistake of demanding white walls. As a result I sold none of my work there but I did have my first art garage sale there.. Stevie and I decided to crash the first Thursday art walk party where we infiltrated the galleries themselves to distribute flyer's. That is not what these stories are about. I am just trying to explain why it was I spent so many hours of my life on the streets downtown over the years and how I got to meet all too many amazing people I might rather never have met. If you stand around in one place long enough trying to sell art that won't sell you are going to become acquainted with the regulars. Over the years I learned a lot about street comedy just being there. I now offer pan handling classes to anyone interested. Of course there is a fee to take the class. The sad thing is that pan handlers often make more than artists their art on the streets. First Thursday with its street artists is nothing like it used to be. Alberta street Last Thursday now has the freedom and the charm that first Thursday used to have. The city want to cash in on street artists and created a new Saturday market venue for first Thursday which is a awful shame. You can't fight City Hall, and I did try, as it happens pan handling in Portland is completely legal if you keep moving your art down the street. I called the city bureau responsible and they told me it is legal to pan handle your art but not to sell it. The city has it's own comedy team. That is just my introduction and here are the true stories: (not in chronological order if that even maters....) When you are selling on the streets you attract pests just like a fruit cart attracts flies. That is where I met Michael. Michael wanted to give me stuff to sell. He has a bad reputation all over town. He looks something like a turtle without a Shell, balding with big smiley eyes and a sinister smile that goes with it. I try not to turn away people baring gifts so Michael starts hanging around.and some of the stuff he is giving me is selling. Then suddenly the gifts turn into a need for money . I make a deal with him to sell the junk he is bringing for a percentage. Michael is overjoyed with cash and disappears coming back with a 6 pack of tall Milwaukee's Best Beer. He is drinks all six down in 15 minutes. I have customers looking at my art work and Michael is out of his head drunk and interfering, shop lifting and needs to be chased away. Michael won't go. The customers from New Zealand are amused because I have a high powered water cannon and water balloons ready to discourage Michael who has been given notice not to return. He like getting wet and keeps coming back for more. The guy is so piss drunk he inadvertently gets his revenge because as he walks up and down the side walk he is pissing straight though his short pants all over the side walk. The New Zea landers can't believe their eyes. This is the real America. To make matters worse while he is doing this. Michael is telling everyone that he is my wife. Never accept gifts from strangers. Michael was living in his mini van at the time.,. he came from Wisconsin where he might have once been a professor of something before he became a street recluse and drunk and queerer than gay. Because of the cold winter weather he was able to attract much younger men to live with him in his van. The first one was Johnathan, was in his early twenties. Johnathan was completely unlike anyone one ever meets. Michael had been living off Johnathan's mental illness disability welfare checks. Johnathan came from some upper middle class family of renown back east somewhere as he also had trust fund checks coming to him. Johnathan was dependent not gay and the old man , Michael was taking advantage of him. The two of them living in the van parked around the northwest. There had been a falling out between the two of them and one day Johnathan appeared on the street. He was riding his skateboard back and forth on the street for more than an hour keeping an eye on Michael. I am my friends were getting in the middle of a street brawl. Johnathan could not be missed because he wore his extra baggy pants low low, low, with no under ware on so some 5 to 6 inches of hairy butt crack was visible on one side and public hair was visible on the other side. Another day Johnathan arrived and did the same thing on a bicycle, passing by over and over again. We later met face to face when Michael was not there pestering me. I convinced Johnathan that I was not part of Michael's conspiracy against him and he calmed down and told me his story about the abuse he was suffering from Michael living in the Van and how he needed how is welfare checks were in Michael's bank accounts. Johnathan got really angry and thew his skateboard at the side walk and it bounced over 10 ft high then he tossed the big steal garbage can lid in a crash loud enough to wake up a sleeping bum on the sidewalk I could not get to move on. His violent streak was pretty scary. He was cold and hungry and wanted his money kicked out of the van and wanted to find the van to get his $500 bicycle out of it that Michael had stolen. So I let Johnathan hang around and wait till Michael returned. Since the van had no locks I could distract Michael and Johnathan could get his bike and other stuff back. Meanwhile, Johnathan told his story about Michael which was a lot different than Micaela's story. He said Michael dressed up in high platform shoes and wore a dark long hair wig, looked exactly like Cher and kept him prisoner in the van. Johnathan was totally psycho. Michael's van passes by and Johnathan hides to see where it will be parked to raid it. The next moment Johnathan is totally naked and says it makes him invisible. Yes naked right out in the streets of Portland under the street light. He would do the same thing in broad day light. Great way to become invisible. Michael returns and is offering me trash from dumpsters he just raided including some half eaten sandwiches from the McDonald's dumpsters and new York times newspapers he stole from a Starbucks earlier in the day. There was hardly anything Michael would not eat or drink that came from a trash can or a dumpster. I was amazed. There many things I did not know about street survival till i met those good at surviving in Portland with no money. A few minutes later Johnathan rode away naked on his bicycle with some plastic bags full of stuff he salvaged from the van. That was not the last time we saw Johnathan. A few weeks later when the weather warmed up he was sitting in the sun mid-day at a sidewalk café drinking beers some girls were buying him. He was wearing his pants far too low the same way again but was shirtless this time. Way too revealing. One of the girls later came over to me and explained that she had just met a Hollywood producer who promised to put her in his films. She was not the first one to fall for that. Johnathan had perfected a way to get food and beer from strangers, The more naked his character the more willing women were to believe his insane stories. Before going back to the east coast Johnathan probably fathered a few children in Portland who might grow up to be as crazy as he is. Those women will be telling their children in the future that the father was an important Hollywood producer. Johnathan later gave me a disk of his music he produced on his computer and I listened to some of it and never touched it again it was so bad. That brings me to Dave. Dave was a methhead. who started hanging around. He wanted to prove to me that he was an accomplished artist,poet and musician. One day he brings me these little scraps of paper where he jotted down his poems and reads them to me. It sounds horrible he is making words rhyme that don't rhyme in odd combinations.. " I am a great genius" he tells me. as he continues reading. The poems are charming because they are so very bad and because he feels the weight of his mastery of the English language when he reads them. It is a great act but poetry should be flushed down the toilet. The next day he comes back sober and asks me what I think of his great poetry reading. He takes the crumpled up mass of scraps of paper out of his pocket and starts to read them again. OH NO. Fortunately as he reads the poems as he is sober he looks as perplexed as I did when he read them when he was stoned. Without reading further he is tearing the clump of scrap papers into shreds and saying No this is not my best work. Dave had long been a Portland Street kid who ran away from various foster families and pimped himself out on the street, now in his thirties, He could still be found with his broken guitar working stark street in the gay entertainment district across Burnside. I think he might have still been working that street. Like Johnathan he definitely was not gay but when the weather turned cold and unbearable to sleep outside He found himself living with Michael in the van. These two did not even get along as well as Johnathan and Michael did.. My friends and I were amazed at the desperation of Dave. I would not invite him in from the cold to live with me. He smelled so bad sometimes He had to be shooed away from my sales area . The fact he was a meth addict was another great reason not to offer any invitations. For a while the two of them were a perfect match for living in the tiny van together but then a few weeks later they were not talking to each other. Dave would just leave if Michael appeared and Michael was scared to death if Dave was around. That is about the time that Dave came to me to to try selling his guitar for him. I bought the guitar for an advance small payment of $20 reluctantly as a favor to him in about a week some guy appears and is playing with the guitar , garbs it and tells me It is his stolen guitar. I said OK . he said that Dave stole it from him when he was drunk rolling in the street. People came over and sided with the guy who said it was his guitar. So I let him take it. Dave later reappears and I tell him I want my twenty dollars back . Dave admits he stole the guitar from the other guy because "he was an ass hole". I later got my $20 back from Dave and had to forever after bare the guitar playing of the other guy across the street. Now I know why Dave stole the guitar in the first place. Then comes the Anti-gravity rabbi, This guy is definitely something else entirely. I had no idea that there were astrophysics rabbis on the streets of Portland. This guy was a sloppy portly guy. Definitely Jewish and scholarly like a rabbi but he had the same weakness for Milwaukee's Best that Michael did but he could drink ten times as much. I learned from the street alcoholics what they do to maintain their street stasis. They need to maintain a certain amount of alcohol in their blood stream until they eventually pass out from drinking. If they have enough money to get beer they need at least a six pack and they drink the first few very quickly and there after maintain the level of alcohol with small intermittent sipping over long periods of time while the supply lasts. When not drunk or just in alcoholic maintenance the anti-gravity rabbi was brilliant.. He had an aluminum tube and some magnets he dropped in the tube that showed how electric resistance from the aluminum could cause the magnets to slowly resist falling though the aluminum tube. It proved nothing to me but the street audience seemed to love the scientific experiment. The Rabbi was scheming to make billions of dollars from anti gravity and wanted me to make a major investment in it. I think he thought i was a mark for conning? The hell if I was going to invest anything in a parlor trick. I suggest he sell anti gravity hot dogs on the street. He insisted that they must be kosher. We did try selling anti gravity rabbinical hot dogs but they were not flying. One day this homeless 19 year old girl arrived on the scene . She had just gotten off the bus from California and had not realized how cold Portland was going to be. the Rabbi offered her his coat and free anti gravity hot dogs. The poor young girl amazing fell for the disgusting older man who was himself homeless. I did not know that sort of romance was possible. Meanwhile Dave returns. Dave is now living with this woman who who escaped from an insane asylum from Southern California. The State of California has laws that allow her family to have her committed and it pays to have her committed because he father left her a swell trust fund. Having escaped to Oregon and living in a better than average apartment in the pearl she manages to seduce Dave who is less than half her age into living with her. A new Dave love affair begins and the Rabbi somehow ends up moving in with the two of them. The state of Oregon is working on extraditing her back to California to be put back in the insane asylum. The fact that she instantly fell in love with a street creature like Dave certainly was proof that she was crazy. Dave went from living in the van with Fem fatal gay Michael to the posh digs of this lady living in style. Meanwhile Michael was arrested and his van taken away from him after driving it drunk while sleeping in it. Johnathan was on a first class flight back to the east coast to his own private insane asylum. The rabbi is probably a multi millionaire by now having invented something with God's help. Did you know how many rich crazy people are on the streets of down town Portland? That is only part of that story. Enough of it. I was dining with friends in a Restaurant with plate glass windows that wishes to remain anonymous. We had a window table and were ordering fare like entrées that cost between $18.95 and $28.95. We had a table right next to the street facing floor to ceiling window overlooking a lively Portland street scene. It was supposed to be a romantic evening. The waiter came and we ordered. The wine steward brought over the wine for a ritual uncorking and the dinner was on. This homeless guy comes to the window. My friend was a guilty east coast rich girl who had never been to Portland before . She saw the homeless guy and told me how sorry she felt for him and how horrible it was for anyone to be so destitute. blah blah blah. She also had that New York I am ignoring you elevator politeness where she knew he was there but did not want to let on to him that she did. I let him know I did not like him being there giving him the middle finger. He was after the girl I was sitting with and wanted her attention. He did not mind having mine. I was amused she was doing her guilt trip act while still ignoring him. The soup comes and he starts licking the window pane. He looks terribly hungry. Poor guy starving out there on the streets of Portland. I am trying hard not to laugh. she sees it from the corner of her eye but is completely oblivious. Then he is kissing the glass and winking at her. I start ignoring him the best I can and he goes away. The the main course comes and so does something that gets both of our attentions at the window. The here is a flood of water on the window at our seated eye level the guy is taking a prolonged 2 minute piss on the window. Had there been no window it would have been all over us and our table. I am laughing hysterically and she is just about to crack because the restaurant staff is going crazy. The whole restaurant is watching as the guy runs out of piss and zips up his fly but they are too far away to see what actually happened. the waiters know because it has happened before. We did not know we had a special table. No wonder there was no reservation required.. That was before i started telling the story. Now that table is the most demanded. For a grand finale before he disappeared he mooned us. I recommend this as Portland's most entertaining dining experience. So we leave the restaurant and she acts like nothing unusual happened at dinner. Later I hear from friends in NYC that she thinks I set it up to impress her as a prank. I get the blame! Like I go to restaurants that sell food for more than I earn per hour? We are walking down the street and there is this guy in a wheel chair with no legs begging with a tin can. She pretends to ignore him , We pass him and she hands me a $20 bill to give to him. "Go back and give this to him.:" I tell her that the guy is running a scam even if he has no legs he makes more money than a street artist does. She insists and drags me back to teach me a lesson in humility. She makes me put the twenty dollar bill in his tin can and he gets mad and tosses his coffee and the twenty dollar bill on me. He is sitting outside a café drinking coffee in his own cup and not begging. "You just ruined my coffee. You ass hole." I run to pick up the twenty dollar bill and we dash away as fast as we can. The story of the totally drunk woman who thinks I am Richard Gere is another story. She always loved me in my movies especially pretty woman. Who? Another one told me I was John Wayne. There are dangers of standing outside of bars at closing time in Portland. I have more than a few stories. It is illegal to be drinking on the streets of Portland but not necessarily illegal to be drunk. A friend from London was visiting his parents who were then my neighbors,I was driving him down to the 24 hour church of Elvis when it was in the upstairs place at the corner of West Burnside and SW Broadway. He is a tall guy who can really drink a lot of beer and he happened to have one in the car with him. I kept telling him that it is completely illegal to drink beer in a car when being driven in Portland regardless of the circumstances "do not open the beer. do not open the beer." I kept repeating it . He did not open the beer can. Then I found a place to park right in front of the church and warned him. "It is against the law to open a can of beer on the streets of Portland. DO NOT OPEN THE CAN OF BEER ON the street . do not open the can of beer on the street." He opens the door of the car and it is as if fate is listening to our conversation, he puts one foot on the sidewalk, then the other shuts the door and opens the top of the beer can. Immediately as he does this a Portland cop on a bicycle comes around the corner just as the beer can makes its characteristic refreshing sound of just being opened. The cop grabs the beer and starts pouring it out. My friend is dazed. All he has to do is start talking to the cop and his authentic English accent charms the cop out of giving him the usual citation with the stern warning not to do it again. That English accent of his was good for charming Portland ladies just as fast as it did the cop. Portland women fall faster for a tall good looking guy with a British accent then they do for rose festival navy guys in uniform. Taking about attracting women in Portland, I had some friends who watched the rose festival navy guy spree of local women at rose festival. They were amazed at how easy it was to get girls to come on to the guys in uniform so they went to the surplus store and bought some uniforms to find out for themselves what the navy guys already knew. They have been going out to rose festival in navy uniforms for a number of years now. Local girls who would never throw themselves at guy see those uniforms and go wild.. Three of my friends went out in uniform and brought back six girls to a party they had in their basement.. I was the forth guy and there were six women who fell for the uniforms . They were all over those guys but not me because I had no uniform. Now there is a group of about 15 guys I know , some married , who regularly put on navy uniforms and even one with a French foreign legion uniform costume who always are bringing uniform crazed women back to that same party every rose festival. Ladies I would like to let you on to the secret but I think I'd better not. The Moose verses Squirrel Riots is yet another strange but true Portland tale. I was there but not involved, just in the middle of it. There was once a place called the x-ray café on the South side of West Burnside. It was a hang out for the kids who tended to wear black and swore to punk and pre-goth fashion statements. I really did not fit in very well with that crowd as I did not much care for punk rock let alone the local scene sounds that were so loud I needed ear plugs to bare it. One afternoon some of the hang outs at the Xray café hung a big sign about Anarchist revolution or something like that over the entrance to the café space. Soon there were the x-ray café regulars , i think, facing off against as many police in riot gear. I was around the corner at the church but was often curious about the strangeness around the corner. The scene was becoming surreal because there was no riot and the sign was not inciting violence and it did not seem there was anything illegal about a sign promoting anarchy but still that was enough to incite the police to frame it as a riot and to get the sign removed. Later the whole episode emerges in the papers as the Moose verses Squirrel Case because the Chief of police Mr Moose was being sued by a guy beat up by the riot police for not rioting whose name happened to be Squirrel. The great thing about the scuffle was everyone on both sides was wearing black. The police gear was black and the Goths and the punks were wearing their informs in black. Real life on the street imitates cartoons sometimes. I also remember getting caught in traffic down town when Bush I called Portland Little Beirut. I got home turned on the television and there was video of protesters vomiting in different colors and getting arrested by riot police on horse back. Later I met a street photographer who got these great black and while photographs of all the protest fun on the streets. The photos are great because the cops take no sense of humor robotic like formations and the protesters are totally hippie disoriented. His photos will be famous some day if he ever has someone with any influence discover them. This photographer has an excellent record of the Portland streets that coincides with my experiences over the years. Maybe we should jointly publish a book on recollections some day. Ash, son of the shah of Iran , bicycle thief, jail bird and all round street crazy. Over the years I got to witness the local bicycle thieves in action on the streets of Portland. Once I was standing at a corner and a guy on a bike comes down the street passes a public garbage can and drops something in. curious what he tossed in I looked in the garbage can and there was the lock attached to the cut cable he had just freed the bicycle he was riding from, twenty minutes later he was probably riding on the other side of the river selling the bike he just stole for as much a $60 bucks for a quick fix. Bicycle thieves have an industry going in Portland. Watching them over time i started to figure out what they did and how their organized crime worked. The guy who thew the lock away was a small time character interested in a fast buck. More sophisticated bike thieves were later observed. There was a black guy with beaded dreadlocks I kept seeing standing at a west Burnside intersection with a bike. Then one day I saw a van stop at the island and he tossed the bike in the back of the van. He stayed there as it sped away. Not long after that I saw him with another bike at the same intersection doing the same thing. I feel sorry for the people who lost their bikes but it was fun watching what was going on. Later that bike guy actually arrived in front of my sales area offering me a bike for $40. I told him that looked like a nice bike but I was not going to buy it. Michael showed up and he did buy it. I am not a fence sorry but would not tell the bike thief. Then Ash showed started showing up., Ash the crazed Iranian , son of the shaw, would have a different bike every day he was offering to sell for $20. One of the assistants in the Portland Legal aid office would walk buy and knew ash by name and knew his bad record. She knew his bikes were hot. I made the mistake of letting Ash watch my stuff and he stole a basket of chestnuts i was trying to sell. He must have let one of his street friends steel it as he looked the other way pretending not to notice. he was sitting right next to the nuts and denied that they were gone. Never trust a bicycle thief. One day Ash parks a bike he is riding near where I am on a bike rack but leaves it unlocked. This guy and a girl come down the street and he grabs the bike and says , "thats my bike. I am taking it . It was stolen from my basement. Are you selling my bike. I said no I am not selling any bike. "that is Ash's bike, He rode it and parked it there. but chances are it is stolen." Ash returns later and is mad as hell that someone stole his stolen bike. He is wearing his gay fashion designer clothing he also must steal somewhere and is having a fit signaling he is masturbating to passing cars on the street. He leaves and comes back on a new bicycle he probably ripped off up on NW 23rd street. A lot of people in Portland really hate Ash. If bicycle owners who lost their rides knew they would not be fans of his. Multinomial county jail, the courthouse and the pro bonno lawyers know and love him because he keeps the system running. Then there was the guy who tried to sell me what must be a hot video camera because he wants just $40 for it. He wants to show me how well it works so I start looking though the lens and the guy is exposing himself to a naked guy on a bed he has just conned by offering sex to and robbed him of his camera and wallet. I told the guy I can't buy stolen goods , its illegal and he says,"I will do anything for 20 bucks." That must be the line he starts out with to steal someone's wallet and video camera. I would like to have seen him arrested by police and the tape used as evidence against him in a court room. Too bad. Another guy came to prove to me that he was a great artist. One day he comes back dressed in a Zorro costume including the wide brim hat and a red bandanna scarf. he is wearing mostly black save a white shirt with frills on it's front side. He is caring a big black artist's portfolio with him. "Let me show you my art." He unzips the sides of the portfolio and inside there are numb chucks, heavy duty bolt cutters, wire cutters, vials of acid for dissolving metals , hand cuffs and pliers and wrenches. "This is my art" he says. The fact he was wearing something like a black cape I did not really know what to think about this guy. Portland has many colorful thieves on and off the streets some with unusual stories that I best save for other articles. Although one that I had the unfortunate acquaintance with said he killed Michael Frankie and gave me information he said proved it. I definitely don't remember his name but his story goes on because there was this down and out postal office worker on leave for a sexual harassment witch hunt which is apparently something that goes on in our national post offices quite often. The poor guy was out of his mind from being falsely accused of harassing a supervisor at the post office who was angry that he had passed over her for a different woman. He was camping out in his car. One night he and the guy claiming to have killed Michael Frankie hit it off and he invited that guy to stay with him in his apartment. That night the police stopped him car because the car was being repossessed and they took the postal worker aside and told him that he was risking his life being in bad company. later that week he was evicted from his apartment for not paying rent on post office leave. Thank heavens he was such a stable guy if he were just a little unbalanced and had a gun Portland might have had a post office mass homicide. A few months later he got his job back and some back pay because there never was any evidence of any sexual harassment. Just as I suspected there usually are lawyers behind those postal rampage shootings that often appear in the news. Last and maybe least there are gun stories. Yes gun stories. From the girl with the tattoo of a black hand gun that looks as if it is tucked into her tight skirt to stupid people taking the real thing into local bars to show them off. It is America there are guns on the streets. There is the story i recently heard about why a guy went to prison for six months. He went into a bank and the bank confiscated the check he was trying to cash. That made him mad and he jumped over the bank teller counter to have words with her. His big mistake that cost him six months in jail was that he also happened to have a gun in a pocket. Another stranger Portland gun story is this guy who , home alone , accidentally fires a gun while cleaning it, there are no witnesses in the house besides himself. About two hours latter after a neighbor or two or three call the police, the SWAT team arrives at his house and they drag him out and arrest him charged with "intentionally firing a fire arm in the city limits." He could get a number of years in prison for a conviction. He gets a free court appointed attorney. His attorney wants him to plead guilty and go to jail for half the time he might other wise have to go away for if convicted instead of pleading. He refuses to cop that stupid plea. There is no way that a court can convict someone of intentionally firing off a weapon when no one else is there to verify it . If he does not confess to the firing being intentional there really is no way for the DA to prove it? It turns out he was right not to listen to his court appointed attorney because he only ended up with probation. If someone is alone on a desert island the Portland district attorney office will be able to tell you that he got there intentionally with no verifying evidence. Who needs evidence in court? There was the Gourmet Bum who pan handled for more money because he had better taste. I met both Jesus and the Pope at the tail end of the Christmas time parade of Santas. I also ran into God, a girl claiming she was God, camped out in Pioneer Square. Jada Mae Land gloss was a fixture at Portland City Hall commissioner meetings . She was the toilet queen of Portland, always concerned about the city sewer system she rarely missed a meeting. I somehow ended up on her cold calling telephone list. She did not smell very well and usually wore a wide brim hat with plastic fruits and flowers attached to it. She might have been instrumental in getting the City of Portland to waste several billion dollars on the combined sewer project hole in the ground that has so little capacity that the city is attempting to get everyone's gutters detached from the sewer lines. The national accademy of sciences recommended against the boondoggle but the propaganda mill and Jada managed to get it approved. Ricki the off Broadway shopping cart wino was a constant pest. He irritated night life pedestrians constantly singing off tune off Broadway show tunes on the streets and giving people wondrous gifts he found in dumpsters. I did like the gifts from the dumpster. Ricki would go into dumpsters I would not dare to and often had the most amazing things. He was definitely not indigent but seemed to have adequate means of support. One night he had an expensive bottle of Port. He had no cork screw so he broke the next off the bottle impatiently to gulp it down. He did offer me some but I was not going to drink out a broken bottle. Ricki had the habit of getting into fights with everyone and always loosing. I witnessed him getting thrown to the ground in a fight because he kept insisting on shaking peoples hands with smelly unwashed hands. Ricki had a private parking lot squat behind a dumpster for a while which he preferred to his stately west hills home just up the hill. The mental hospital on the street brought this bald frail woman to shop lift from me frequently. One night she arrived and the police arrive a few seconds later. the police had her lying face down on the ground right in front of my feet where I was sitting tying her hands behind her back. She looked like she was used to being in pain from that sort of thing. I never stood up and pretended to see nothing because the police probably had good reasons to nab her. Maybe it was police brutality ? Maybe not? How do I know? The Portland Pirates, the Family and the Anarchy house were people I was not very happy to run into They were professional groups of organized shop lifters. The Family was known to become violent. There was no honor between thieves among them. The Anarchist house members and the Portland Pirates were more generally "civilized" if you can call them that. The Family at one point was able to occasionally rent hotel rooms at places like the Hilton and have sex and drug orgies. I wonder if the hotel had any idea what was going on there? The pirates and the anarchist house people were famous for their group shop lifting outings. The Nunks are still sometimes seen late at night in downtown Portland, They are a catholic holy order of transvestite nuns. The go around Portland in traditional nun habit giving out brochures to get converts to their holy order.. Somewhere in Portland is the Nuckery where the Nunks cohabit. The Nunks have spunk -they got the funk -that's for sure. Several have goatees. If I never had become a failed artist in Portland I might never have had such rich experiences to write about. Of course there is a lot more to write about. There are the second hand stories other people told me and there is much more perverse side to the Portland downtown lifestyle. Recently I am trying to avoid downtown as much as possible. Not too long ago I was downtown and Michael was walking around in a white wedding dress holding an army green cylinder what was labeled as some sort of army ordinance a shell someone must have brought back from one of the Iraq wars as a souvenir. When you meet someone like that downtown in a wedding dress carrying a bomb it makes sense to keep your distance. .

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