Plus, this good news pairs well with beer.

🌈 Into the rainbow of weird with Strawberry Pickle

Plus, this good news pairs well with beer.

It’s Wednesday. 

So let’s get a little weird, shall we?

Each week, we celebrate elements of Portland’s wonderful weirdness in collaboration with the fine folks at Weird Portland United (WPU).

If you haven’t read them yet — you can find our February Weird Wednesdays here, where we interviewed The Unipiper, local artist Cedar Lee, and The Portland Sleestak. And if you missed our interview with magician Spencer Sprocket, peep at that here, check out our chat with designer Sundari Franklin, and read our skating adventures with Carlos the Rollerblader from last week

Today we’re putting on our favorite go-go boots, our blacklight masks, and pastel wigs, as we wander among triceratops, unicorns, and three-eyed clouds. Join us as we enter — as the Portland State University Vanguard put it — “a kaleidoscope of bouncing lights and neon graffiti, like a bowl of Fruity Pebbles filled with MD 20/20,” with none other than ingenue and creator of Rainbow City, the one and only Strawberry Pickle!

🦄 Dreaming of the Weird with Strawberry Pickle

Strawberry Pickle created Rainbow City for dreamers, wonderers, artists, and any and all Portlanders striving to live their weirdest lives. (📸: Courtesy of Strawberry Pickle)

Strawberry was one recipients of WPU’s Keep Portland Alive grants in 2020 for her work on Rainbow City, a colorfully eclectic events space for public and private events. We reached out to learn more about herself, her creativity, and the magic behind it all. What follows is our interview, edited for length and clarity. 

Tell me a little bit about yourself?

Hi there, I'm Strawberry Pickle! I grew up at a time when Portland was really at the peak of stone weirdness. I spent my days wandering the streets and popping into dollar punk shows, dancing till 4 a.m. at The City Nightclub, or getting married at the Church of Elvis.

How long have you been practicing your weirdness here in Portland, and what got you interested?

I have been weird my entire life and always felt like a misfit toy. I found that I often struggled with regular 9-to-5 jobs and was always trying to bend the rules or put a twist on everything. That isn't always appreciated in the corporate world so it eventually took me on a path of creating a place that would host others like me, and enable them to work for themselves, on their own terms. I just had to find them.

Rainbow City is an events space for both private and public events, including (and not limited to) bellydancing. (📸: Courtesy of Strawberry Pickle)

What does contributing to the wonderful weirdness of Portland mean to you?

Portland is amazing. The energy from so many wonderful humans can be felt as you walk through the streets and see all the details and absolute love that creators have put into their businesses. My goal is to give others a platform to nurture their unique talents and turn it into a full time job. I feel that the tourism industry is going to be a huge opportunity for so many talented and eager artists to show the world a different perspective, while doing what they love. So far, I have over 100 creators actively involved at Rainbow City. Some have even become full time. Others have involvement such as volunteering, or hosting LGBTQ events, promoting awareness of community issues we can work on, or just coming in to stay in the flow by painting or building something to blow off steam and network with others. 

We currently have about 20 vendors with varying scheduled, food carts, a licensed mobile tattoo bus, and a beauty salon. The diverse backgrounds of everyone seem to work very fluidly because we all want the same things, and to share it with others. 

I want to break the stigma that you "have" to find a regular job. I believe people are at their very best when they’re doing what they love, and it's something that can positively affect and inspire those who witness it. I have watched so many people light up when they walk inside and see other artists thriving in their element. I like to think of us as bright candles that gently re-light others who are feeling burnt out. The butterfly effect is a real thing. 

Where can folks find you online, and do you have any upcoming events, news, things you want to shout out?

I can be found online on Instagram and Facebook — and I strongly encourage people to reach out with their talents and services so I can help connect them with others or help them find their home at Rainbow City.

You can find Rainbow City east of the Willamette and nestled in between the Buckman and Kerns neighborhoods. (📸: Courtesy of Strawberry Pickle)

For more pictures and the rest of our interview with Strawberry, follow this link

Thank you to our Bridgeliner Unabridged members; your support helps make Bridgeliner, and original features like this, possible. 

🍷 Sip & learn

De-mystify wine tasting with Mallory and Martin of Sunday School Wine this Sunday. (📸: Courtesy of Sunday School Wine)

Join Mallory and Sunday School Wine for an un-stuffy, virtual wine class this Sunday. In the class, they’ll demystify all that tasting stuff and show you what you really need to know. You'll learn how to taste wine properly, how to distinguish specific aromas and flavors, and how to describe the wine you're tasting so you can shop for what you like. The first two readers to hit reply to this email will win a ticket. Happy sipping and good luck!

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🙋 One more thing …

Thank you for reading all the way to the end. 

You’re getting a three-for-one special before we sign off today.

(📸: Courtesy of Weird Portland United)

  1. Remember to send in your applications for Weird Portland United’s call for artists to help create a “Welcome to Weird Portland” mural. This is an amazing opportunity to celebrate and honor Portland’s weird and unique spirit. The deadline is April 15 — so get your applications in soon! Know a local artist who would be perfect for this project? Forward this email and information onto them so they can get involved!
  2. As of yesterday, all Oregonians 16 and older will be eligible for a vaccine on April 19. You can read the details of Gov. Kate Brown’s announcement here. The OHA’s Get Vaccinated Oregon tool can also help you find pharmacies and vaccination events in your area.
  3. So if you’re looking for more reasons to raise a glass to point #2 — how about the fact that today is National Beer Day? If you’re looking to snag some of your favorite suds to go, we definitely recommend hitting up Johns Marketplace for nearly any beer you can think of. If you need some help getting started, here’s a great list from Eater PDX of some of Portland’s standout breweries. 🍻

That’s all for today Portland, stay safe, enjoy the sunshine, and we’ll see you back here tomorrow.

-Cassie at Bridgeliner

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