PdX: “Portland is like, ‘We’ll try anything twice, maybe three times…'”
video by Reviewer TV
Reviewer TV documentary interview: World Naked Bike Ride 2016 Portland, Oregon, is a legally permitted form of protest allowed under the First Amendment and is a local version of the same worldwide event that takes place annually.
Two participants of the Portland version of the worldwide protest talk about why they got involved and what it means to them.
Pardon the out-of focus-nature of the video. I need to buy a proper video interview camera and not rely on this Nikon SLR which originally I thought would be an upgrade but actually a CoolPix or my Samsung 7 would be a better choice due to the center-point auto-focus features. The sound is good here tough because I had a camera-mounted shotgun mic. But yeah the image needs improvement.
Even out-of-focus the girls look good though. Love these girls.
World Naked Bike Ride PDX 2016, best friends. Click the pic to be taken to the video on Reviewer TV.
So I arrived at Mt. Scott Park in Portland at 8 p.m. to cover the World Naked Bike Ride and first thing I wanted to do, since I stood out like a sore thumb with my two Nikon SLRs dangling from my shoulders and my relatively obtrusive state of overdress, was find the organizers to establish press credentials and get a video interview. Luna was the official “Volunteer Coordinator” and although she was very nice and willing to supply me with any information I wanted she was unwilling to be interviewed on-camera. The media rep was a girl named Megan I believe but she wasn’t to be found amid the jostling crowd of people near the volunteer signup tents. So Luna began to ask around for a second choice. That’s when Stephen Upchurch came to our assistance.
Originally from Chicago I think he said he was, Upchurch described the World Naked Bike Ride in Chicago as being about equal in popularity to the hugely crowded affair that Pdx’s is. He gets into a bit of detail about how in Portland there’s a uniquely permissive legal status due to Oregon’s liberal view about public nudity as a form of protest. Later on I’ll add some pull quotes to this post from the interview but for now I’m hoping that Youtube viewers don’t rat on it for the naked people milling around in the background. This is a news video, people. It’s not a porno. Give it a rest.
Anyways, the World Naked Bike Ride (A Protest) happens every summer in various cities throughout the world and will be held again in 2017 in Portland.
The annual Portland Naked Bike Ride is a legally protected form of free speech.
For a long time now public nudity in Portland has been tolerated by the authorities as long as it was a protest, and this is what the World Naked Bike Ride officially is. The point is to demonstrate against oil-dependency and to protest for body positivity and also demonstrate how dangerous it can be to ride a bicycle on the road alongside cars. What better way to protest how vulnerable one is when sharing the road with cars but by riding in the nude?
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
~wording of the First amendment.
The World Naked Bike Ride is a globally organized effort to stage these protests in various cities but few have as much cooperation as in the City Of Portland, Oregon, whose police, it seems, simply wanted to know about it ahead of time, get a heads-up.
I arrived at the meet-up point, Mt. Scott Park, at the appointed time of 8 p.m., and since this was late June the sun still had about an hour left in the sky. The ride was scheduled to begin there at 9 and the six mile route was secret so the huge crowd (of roughly 10,000 as one estimate called it) would follow the leader to a distant point. The ride would not be a loop. Participant were asked to plan accordingly and most had backpacks and in some cases milk crates tied to their bik racks for holding a change of clothes as they peddled along wearing only tennis shoes and a smile. The ride motto was “As Bare As You Dare”.
The impression I got from the vibe of the crowd was one of real warmth and community. I was working fully clothed in a shorts and a t-shirt with two Nikons hanging off my shoulders by straps — one for still photos and one for video interviews — but when I told the naked people I approached that I was doing research for coverage in Reviewer Magazine nine out of ten of them smiled and enthusiastically agreed to be photographed and in several cases also do a video interview. The few who demurred did so kindly.
More than half the people in Mt. Scott Park were already undressed and seemed to have been that way long before the 8 p.m. meet time as I arrived for the, let’s call it, “pre-party”. People were already hanging-out, body painting, talking and listening to boom boxes. Some people discretely smoked and drank in various groups and a large impromptu naked dance party erupted on the dirt baseball diamond. This went on for quite a while with escalating intensity.
I’ve seen many public protest on the streets before, from union picket lines to church boycotts and political rallies. But none had as much pure comeradic fun for its participants as the World Naked Bike Ride in Portland. These people really enjoyed eachther’s company. Ages ranged broadly from college people in their twenties to families with kids to grey haired geriatrics. Everyone mingled freely. And despite the throng of naked flesh it was surprisingly tame and community-conscious in that there was absolutely zero salaciousness. In media law there’s something called “lascivious display”. It’s what men pay dancers in stripclubs for. But people shot photos of oneanother with their cell phones but I witnessed no sexually intended behaviour at all, no sexy posing, no obvious leering or otherwise weirdness. It was a normal day at the park, except for the nudity.
The ride kicked off at 9 p.m. and the group was crowding the streets for a six mile route that was kept secret until the appointed hour. Standing in one area that was less than a block long to shoot the photos of the rise itself the line of cyclist kept coming for more than an hour. It was an amazing thing, really. Portland is some kind of magical town for this to happen and for everyone to be happy and safe in doing it
Later that night during the event’s afterparty at an upscale Portland bar, the White Owl Social Club, many people partied and danced naked — “as bare as you dare” like they described it — and in the urban streets surrounding the venue people walked to and from their cars, in various states of undress from partial to complete, totally unmolested by the police. They were all part of an official civicly endorsed event that occurred only one day a year.
I keep going back to the idea that this is a unique event happening in Portland even though it is a branch the World Naked Bike Ride. Many other cities have the summertime event, to varied levels of local appeal, but PDX seems to take it to another level. LA’s reportedly went off as scheduled but was largely ignored by the media. San Diego’s was likewise negligibly received in Reagan’s Lucky Town. Las Vegas had a ride but it followed preemptive warnings that public nudity would not be tolerated and was in fact a serious crime in Sin City, go figure.
But the youthful spirit of Portland is strong, so the ride is a huge event there, and a good indicator of a rich future for a city of creativity and innovative thinking. Great cities are liberal at their civic core, and only stifle social independence and freedom at their own detriment. If people are free to safely express themselves and do new things that’s when an environment of newness is formed and a wealth of inventiveness and progress is born.
I plan to come back next year to the WNBRPDX, and may even be bold enough to ride a bike with a banana hammock or something.
So, I attended a Trump University seminar in early 2007 at an upscale San Diego Mission Valley hotel in San Diego. The big advertising buzz that at the time was that you’d “Learn from the Master”, Mister Donald Trump.
Now keep in mind, nine or ten years ago Trump’s hair was much less thin and he was still riding the wave of television prime-time fame of The Apprentice and had yet to be associated with the Obama-hating “birther movement”. At the time I listed him on Myspace as someone that I admired for being a self-made success. I was also naive enough to think that Trump might be at the seminar — that’s how the hype read — if not to teach a class at least to help sell the course to the real estate developer hopefuls crowding the auditorium.
Out of respect I came dressed well in a three button jacket and a white dress shirt, and upon entering the room to find a seat was immediately shadowed by a tall, grey haired old gentleman who bird-dogged me with small talky questions about what I did for a living and other inquiries designed to determine my socio-economic status. The dude even sat next to me and kept prying in-between speakers. From the moment he showed up I had him made as either a member of Trump’s sales team or some freelance scammer looking for an easy mark.
I told him I really just came there to find out more about this new Trump school, get the free book they were offering (a paperback reprint of the 1980’s bestseller The Art Of The Deal was offered as a gift to lure seminar attendees, if I remember correctly) and hopefully meet Donald Trump. He laughed like the others did who told me, “Mister Trump has more important things to do” than attend this seminar in San Diego.
‘Well that’s a fine how-do-you-do,’ I thought. If Trump University wanted this hefty tuition The Donald could make a personal appearance himself for it.
Anyways, I stuck around till the end of their multimedia sales pitch and when they funneled everyone in a slowly moving cluster line out the back like the remnants of last night’s buffet the tables that were stacked with the mini pulp versions of The Art Of The Deal awaited. But there was a catch: you had to get through the sales reps’ predatory wrangle face to face before walking out with your free copy. When my turn came at the table I was honest with well dressed goon standing there, a man in his mid-forties or so with a slightly graying goatee, short salt and pepper hair and large muscles under a sport shirt that looked like he spent a lot of time in the gym lifting heavy weight earning.
Unpretentiously I told him I came for the free book they advertising for attendees. The stacks were on the far side of the table, out of reach unless you reached way over. He didn’t say anything for a while and glared at me angrily. We went back and forth like this and although it was uncomfortable I was as polite as possible and tried to laugh off the momentary threat vibe, but he looked off to the exit and I could sense he wanted to have me thrown out rather than give me a book.
I left with the book, which I still have somewhere. I tried reading it and it sucked, a ghostwritten example of 1980’s self-help dribble. Trump was born into wealth, not self made. His words rang hollow.
Recently, in the days before the final Republican Primary in early June, Trump’s rap spun around the Mexican-American identity of the federal judge presiding over his Trump University fraud case. The Donald thinks Judge Gonzalo Curiel should be recused, eliminating himself from the case because of his ‘Mexican’ ethnicity. “We’re building a wall. He’s a Mexican,” Trump has said to Jake Tapper on CNN.
Colloquially, he’s right. Unfortunately from a sociological street-level standpoint, just like if a person looks negro they’re referred to as African-American. In California as well as much of the USA if you look strikingly Hispanic people will say you’re “Mexican”. This is nothing new and it’s even more so when a person identifies himself as being of Mexican heritage, as Judge Curiel has done. Same thing if you’re Asian, Arab, or a descendant of people from the Indian subcontinent. When it comes up in conversation that’s how they’re described. All this is not in Trump’s defense. Despite formerly professing admiration my opinion today is he’s a dirt bag and a con artist. Trump University was not a university at all but a bait-and-switch scam that ripped off vulnerable people with worthless tuition whom Trump knew were hoping to make money off the housing bubble. I’m just saying, racial identity is always a separate thing from citizenship UNLESS you’re white. This judge can still weigh the case fairly. Many of Roosevelt’s highest ranking officers were of German descent in World War Two, including Eisenhower. No one questioned their loyalty. And if Trump wanted to have his fraud case tried in a court without an Hispanic jurist he could have been more careful to avoid Southern California.
San Diego Sheriff William D. Gore after the police shooting video release community meeting. A local network new outlet was interviewing him for TV and then when he was finished with them at about 3:35 he came my way and I wanted to get a photo but then it occurred to me to ask him about the Coronado mansion deaths that were big new a couple of years ago. You should be able to hear him well although I was not pointing the camera at his face. There was no tripod and were were very close so rather than stick the lens up there I just tried to maintain proper eye contact (he was so friendly and smiling). Anyway, it is what it is: