Come one, come all to Portland, Oregon and enjoy die hard cyclists dressed in tutus, dancers twirling fire in the park, and parades of zombies, pirates, and santas walking the streets of Ptown. Yes it’s true, here in Portland you barely need an excuse to put on a costume or a clown nose and parade around town, rain or shine.
The premier of Portlandia, from the Independent Film Channel (IFC) and creators Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen, sold out at the Hollywood Theater last week bringing a crowd of Portland lovers including Mayor Sam Adams. Reviews are mostly positive. Tweets declare it hilarious. Facebook users are laughing their asses off (LMAO). Hulu has seen an influx of traffic watching Episode 1 – you don’t need cable to see this show.
During an interview by David Miller on OPB’s Think Out Loud, Carrie Brownstein divulged the conception of the show (there is no indication that Brownstein and Armisen are lovers). I find it particularly interesting that it takes talent from outside our metro area to create a hit sitcom. Yes, Brownstein was a Portlander for 10 years, but she had to leave the City of Roses to find fame and money. I wonder how many people in Portland are benefiting from this comedy? Are there any Oregonians on the show’s payroll? Or will it be infusing our economy through a residual effect.
OPB didn’t address the show’s impact on the economy, and Willamette Weekly only gave us a hint of dollars spent in Oregon: One million “was enough to pay 56 Portland crew members for a 19-day, 68-location shoot, after Oregon gave the show a 20 percent rebate on all money it spent in the state,” says WW. (Yeah! 56 people were employed for 19 days. Unfortunately, by my calculations that is equivalent to working two months in a feminist bookstore).
During the annual Oregon Film Board meeting at PSU in December 2010, Executive Director Vince Porter and Governor Ted Kulongoski, emphasized the amount of revenue the film and televisions industry brings to Oregon. It was reported that hundreds of millions of dollars penetrated our economy during the Kulongoski era.
The fact is, no matter how much IFC spends on producing Portlandia, this show will increase our tourism. Tourism will increase job creation. Job creation will increase household cash flow. The time is ripe for us all to take advantage of instant fame.
The Circus Project, a Portland nonprofit helping homeless and at-risk youth, offers clown lessons and aerial acrobatics. In Other Words, a nonprofit supporting feminism, provides literature, knowledge and culture to the community. New Seasons Market, a local and sustainable grocery chain, is launching an app to give customers insight into where their food comes from. More business need to come to the forefront and show their Portlandia colors.
There are countless nuances within our community being highlighted (and dramatized) by these people in the spotlight. Portland is a special place and the time is right for us to stabilize our economy while becoming known for who we are: a quirky town that cares about the environment and celebrates diversity.
Come on Mayor Adams and Travel Portland, get a strategy going to boost the economy in light of our stardom. We need it!
Read more about Portlandia at http://oregonconfluence.com/?s=portlandia