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👾 Land of the Weird: The Portland Sleestak

Plus, get in on this plant-based giveaway.

It’s Wednesday.

And cue that ‘70s Saturday morning theme music, because we’re going to be getting a little weird today.

For the month of February — and perhaps longer if this is your vibe — we are doing “Weird Wednesdays.”

Each week, we are going to highlight and celebrate elements of Portland’s wonderful weirdness, in collaboration with the amazing folks at Weird Portland United

We kicked things off with an interview with the Unipiper on the long history of Portland’s weirdness — which you can read here

Our second week focused on all the weird things that Portlanders like you, yes YOU, love about our city’s strangeness. You can take a peep at that one here

And today folks, we have a real treat for you — a heart-to-heart with a creature from lands lost long ago to time, and shrouded in mystery. A bipedal reptilian who lies in wait to bring both scares and joy to Portlanders. 

So buckle in for a Q&A with the scaled sensation himself: Portlander Brent Marr, a.k.a. The Portland Sleestak. What follows is our interview, edited for length and clarity. 

👾 Weird Wednesdays: Kicking back with The Portland Sleestak

An age-old question and mystery. (📸: Courtesy of Brent Marr)

For folks not in the know, can you give us a little background on yourself and your role as the Portland Sleestak?

I grew up in a time when there were only three television networks, children's TV shows were limited to a few hours right after school and on Saturday mornings, and the boob tube was basically our babysitter. 

I was totally a latch-key kid if anyone remembers what that is.

I was 6 when a combination live action / stop motion animation show called Land of the Lost premiered, and it was everything a first grade boy loves: Dinosaurs, bad guys, wacky adventures, and a terrifying race of humanoid reptiles called the Sleestak — a primitive species only capable of making weird hissing sounds and rudimentary, ineffective weapons, whose motivations were unclear but definitely hostile.

I decided a few years back to look for a Sleestak mask as a Halloween costume idea, but there just wasn't anything commercially available. The show ran from 1974 to 1976 and Will Ferrell's terrible parody was released in 2009, so the Sleestak weren't in the public eye in 2018. 

I decided to try and make my own. (To learn more about how Marr made his first and second Sleestak suits, go here)

I have to say, he (my second suit) looks pretty darn cool: At almost seven feet tall with an iridescent green skin, the new Portland Sleestak is definitely a sight I completed just in time for the pandemic.

The original suit was completed in September of 2018 — he took around five months to complete and I began the current suit in April of 2019, but didn't complete him until January of 2020. The original Sleestak has been mounted for display and resides now at the Secret Lair Action Figure Museum in Van Nuys California.

What is one of your favorite parts of being Portland’s resident Sleestak?

Easily the best part of being the Sleestak is getting a good scream reaction when I manage to surprise a poor unsuspecting Portlander, but my favorite part has to be the reactions of little kids. The vast majority are not frightened but rather fascinated and ask a million questions that I can't hear from inside, or they just stare as they're being dragged away by their parents.

A kiss for a Sleestak yields a hisssssss. (📸: Courtesy of Brent Marr)

Why is it important to celebrate Portland’s quirky weirdness?

I believe that laughter and fun are always an important part of life. With so many people struggling in so many ways, it's more important than ever to lighten the mood with nonsense as much as possible.

What is one of your favorite quirky-weird things about Portland?

Just the fact that it's a city that REALLY DOES celebrate weirdness! I'm overwhelmed by how well people respond to what I'm doing, even though I haven't fully figured out what that is yet. From random tiny parks to hidden unexpected art displays, it's a great place to live. 

What’s next for the Portland Sleestak? Also, where can folks find you online? 

Plans are in the works to use the existing molds from the current suit, but rethinking its construction to hopefully make a suit capable of much more dynamic movement. This time Team Portland Sleestak will video document the process and test to see if making a limited number of suits available for weirdos in other cities or even a few others here is possible. Perhaps an Atlanta Sleestak? Denver Sleestak? Who knows?

Until it's safe again for everyone to be out among people again, the Sleestak Attacks are on the back burner, but we'll continue to post Sleestak randomness on Portland Sleestak page and Team Portland Sleestak Group Page, which I'm hoping to be the hub of all things Portland Sleestak from fan art and stories to Sleestak discussion and future planned public nonsense.

Want to connect with the Portland Sleestak online? You can find him on Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram. To connect directly with the Sleestak, email him at PortlandSleestak@gmail.com. 

For the rest of our interview, go here. Did you enjoy this Weird Wednesday? Have a weird Portlander or feature about our great city that deserves a turn in the spotlight? Hit reply to this email and let us know!

Thank you to our Bridgeliner Unabridged members; your support helps make Bridgeliner possible. 

😋 The new milk

A mouth-watering red velvet shake made with Barleymilk. Check out these yummy recipes on the Take Two blog. (📸: Courtesy of Take Two Foods)

Barleymilk is the brand new milk on the block. It’s made from upcycled grain from the beer brewing process. Take Two Foods, the company responsible for this innovative technique, is helping catalyze the shift to a sustainable, plant-rich food system and is headquartered right here in Portland. Barleymilk is made from rejuvenated barley — a powerhouse, low-carbon protein.

Ready to try it? This week one lucky member will win a prize package with all four flavors (Original Unsweetened, Vanilla, Chocolate, and Chef’s Blend for cooking, baking, and frothing) delivered to their home! Enter now for your chance to win, and good luck!

📅 Things to do

Submit your events to our calendar.

Today

😆 Laugh it up — it’s Quarantine Comedy (Online)

Tomorrow

🌳 Wanna learn about pruning in the Japanese Garden? (Online)

🎥 See the works of Black filmmakers at the Portland Film Festival through Feb. 21 (Online)

🐉 Check out these beautiful lantern viewings (Downtown Portland)

🤔 Learn about Japanese sisterhood in pre-revolution France with the Rose of Versailles (Online)

Friday

😆 Get ready to laugh and enjoy the 5th Annual NW Black Comedy Festival (Online)

Tuesday

☺️ Stretch and breathe into Energy Yoga Tuesdays (Online)

Wednesday, February 24

🎉 Celebrate Black culture at this lunch and learn with Equitable Giving Circle (Online)

Thursday, February 25

📚 Prep your kids for the AP Exams in 2021 (Online)

🙋One more thing …

Thank you for reading all the way to the end. 

Get your votes in for the Ultimate Portland Doughnut Bracket by 10 a.m. today to see who makes it to our Final Four!

You’re all rockstars. Stay snazzy, and catch you here tomorrow. 

-Cassie at Bridgeliner

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