Pranksters, Fun, and the Aftermath

My, what a weekend.

I suppose it all really started Thursday night with the Portland Prankster Ball, only to continue through Sunday at Knuckleheads’ weekend-long blues fest.  It wasn’t all fun and games, though, in what was supposed to be a weekend filled with Foster pride, free spirits, good music, and community-driven events.

As the pranksters rolled into FoPo late Thursday, the Further bus in tow, many were excited about the prospects of a full-scale music festival and the positive impact it might have on surrounding businesses.  By early Friday morning, as the scene evolved (devolved may be more accurate), that sentiment had disappeared.  The music, which went until 4 a.m. Friday morning, kept many nearby residents up through the night, and came as a surprise to those who anticipated a much earlier finish.  But that wasn’t the worst of it.  Due to the scene that unfolded Thursday night and early Friday morning, Bar Carlo, for example, had no choice but to hire a door man to keep the crowds outside in check.

What they witnessed:  public urination on the sidewalk and in Laurelwood Park; people using their tables outside to drink the six-packs they purchased at Plaid Pantry, and when asked to leave, being told “no” or to “fuck off;” Yakisoba noodles from a pop-up food cart spilled all over their sidewalk; and stolen pint glasses, as they were carried into the park or back toward the Bobwhite.

So why did Bar Carlo have to hire a door man to monitor this?  Good question…that surely should have been provided by Nick Storie and the Bobwhite staff, right?  Well, apparently they weren’t so responsive to community feedback, which flies in the face of everything we’ve been told about the Bobwhite’s resurrection.  I mean, this was about building community, yeah?  Unfortunately, that proved to be a farce this weekend, as the good music, festive mood, diverse following, and occupied theater turned into more of a headache and collective cringing.  To be honest, the tents, painted travel vans, pranksters, campers, and general followers who descended on the neighborhood were quite fun to have around.  And the Further bus was a sight to be seen, if not a taste of history that we were fortunate to experience.  However, the lack of planning and oversight of this event left many questioning Nick Storie’s true commitment to the neighborhood.

Fortunately, that wasn’t enough to taint an otherwise wonderful weekend in the neighborhood.  Knuckleheads grooved their way through the weekend with blues and booze, and mostly jovial bikers.  And the constant roaring of motorcycles was a nice reminder of what character our neighborhood has.  Sure, the throttling bikes sometimes annoy; and on bad days they keep us awake at night.  But sometimes, that rumble is a bit refreshing…and a nice reminder that FoPo is still a little rough around the edges (sorry to those of you hoping for Hawthorne).

The real (yes, I’m gonna say it) magic, though, was Fun on Foster.

The yearly street fair finally managed to impress.  Perhaps it was a long time coming, and the combining of Oktoberfest at the cart pod, blues fest at Knuckleheads, and an abundance of hippies, just managed to bring the energy to a peak on the right day and at the right time.

Ok, Foster as a whole wasn’t “poppin,” but there were certainly pockets.  And to see that many people out and about was great.  The vendors in Laurelwood Park were treated to a nice turnout of visitors, residents, and other colorful characters who awaited the next jam band at the Bobwhite.  There was also good music, with a DJ in Laurelwood Park, several bands between Meticon and Torta-landia, and a beat-boxer who added a little flair to the corner of Holgate and Foster.  Oh, and free ice cream courtesy of N.W.I.P.A..

And by day’s end, as the booths came down and vendors left, there were still remnants of a good time had.  People were still out in full up and down Foster, whether reveling to the sounds of old school soul and R&B at the Eagle Eye; on the sidewalk soaking in the waning warm evenings at Gemini, Da Hui, O’Malley’s, or Slingshot; or simply beholding the spectacle of technicolor, bare feet, and poor hygiene.

And when Sunday rolled around, little remained beyond a few blues bands performing at Knuckleheads and the scraps left behind from those who made Foster their home for the night.

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12 Responses to Pranksters, Fun, and the Aftermath

  1. Jack Straw says:

    Prankster’s Ball = Dry humping a dead dream…Old burn outs and clueless wannabe ‘lot trash’, most of whom probably couldn’t name a single song. Street cred doesn’t come from being homeless, nor does wearing patchwork, tye-dies, and a never-shower-stink make one a Deadhead.

  2. Aaron says:

    I propose a decibel/frequency tax on Harleys and boom cars; proceeds go toward neighborhood improvement.

  3. E says:

    Im glad to miss the Pranksters Ball, Sad that low lives that think they are above the law and have to ruin events like this for people. Pretty disgusting to think people are urinating and drinking alcohol in areas families walk through on a regular basis. Clearing the scum off the street I think is priority BEFORE having an event like this, and be prepped with security on the boarders of the event to secure it more of this happening again. Its not quite Hawthorne yet, but I see the potential with positive movements! I personally enjoyed the Fun on Foster and will be looking forward to future events like this. We had the best live music in front of Torta landia! (60th and Foster) Which I felt brought a great happy, responsible, FUN crowd!

  4. Robert Bierma says:

    @Aaron, a tax would be difficult. If you wanted to do something petitioning for enforcement of the existing laws that prohibit vehicles from producing over a certain decibel level would be that way to go.

  5. Danae says:

    This was the best year yet for Fun on Foster. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of booths and activities. I actually love the Knuckleheads crowd – they are always the most polite gruff characters who say hi and smile as I walk by with my two-year-old in his stroller (how did I get so old and square?). And even though I live around the corner, if they stick to Foster Rd I never hear the bikes. It’s great to have a thriving business in that space. Too bad about Bob White Theater. I had planned on taking a peak inside but was put off by the unfriendly vibe. The crowd in front of that place did not smile much less move aside for me to get by. I actually wrote to McMenamin’s that night with the suggestion that they take over the building…

  6. MattSE60th says:

    Sad to hear about all the problems surrounding the Pranksters. I too thought it was a great FOF event. But I spent most of the day listening to the music on 60th, since I live right there. We did venture down to the park and to O’Malley’s later in the day. Didn’t notice any issues at that time. Looked like a great turnout at the park. I wish we could bring back the trolley for future FOFs. That was a great way to get between the hot spots. And having live music on board – brilliant! Anyway, my friends and I had our fair share of Fun On Foster for sure!

  7. Rachel says:

    We enjoyed FoF this year too, but wish something could be done to slow or re-route traffic. We had close calls during two different street crossings (in crosswalks, at lights, with the right-of-way.)

  8. David Thomas says:

    lettin a few bad apples spoil the bunch really. a few out of towners with no money to get into the show made a messy look of your side walk for a few days. not cool i know but i shopped and ate and enjoyed talking to everyone i met in that community. neighbors and patrons attending and not attending the bob white. they were all as well then as i am sure they are today. 🙂 I enjoyed a pleasant weekend of merry making and found no trouble. security was planned as they saw fit im sure and did not know so many would just sit right outside with all that beauty inside the theatre. all is well that end well good sir. you missed quite a happening by trying so hard to sleep. nah nana nah boo boo.

  9. ell kay says:

    as one of those traveling hippies, i thoroughly enjoyed the prankster’s ball. i came down from canada for the shows, and i can say that my crew of merry pranksters were respectful of the community we came to. sure we were up late and looking a little…disheveled, but i can’t imagine pissing or littering on the sidewalks or parks of my hometown, let alone those of a community i’m a guest in. i spent money (such good food on foster!), i behaved myself accordingly, and i had a blast at the ball! a few bad apples indeed, my experience and that that i observed was of happy, loving, grooving folk, but in any large group, there will be jackasses. please don’t paint all deadheads, or hippies, with the same brush!
    Jack Straw, throw a lyric at me! i betcha a miracle i can tell you the song, and probably my favourite live version of it too. 😛

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