prettyarbitrary: (Fuzzy Cthulhu)
[personal profile] prettyarbitrary
It occurred to me that my international fellow Grimm peeps might not realize that Grimm being set in Portland is an in-joke.  Or a cultural commentary.  Kind of a bit of both.

Portland, Oregon is known as one of the great hipster enclaves of the US. One of the city slogans is "Keep Portland weird."  (Originally meant as a campaign to support Portland's idiosyncratic locally-owned businesses, but...well, it was embraced.) It's brimming over with counter-culture liberal hippies, weird artists and master artisans who practice the finer points of now-obscure trades everybody else in the US long ago gave over to mass manufacturing. Here is a brief story about Portland, a place where a singing taco on roller skates doesn't really surprise people.

In particular, Monroe: a flannel-wearing, gourmet-coffee-swilling, environmentally-concerned clockmaking werewolf with a passion for quirky family history and Old World memorabilia, who manages his 'inner wolf' via a vaguely New Age regimen of pilates and vegetarianism...  Honestly, if you take out the word 'werewolf' he's a quintessential Portlandian.  He's basically your typical Portlandian who also just happens to be a werewolf (hey, Portlandians don't judge; everybody's got their thing).

(There's a love of flannel that will not die in the Pacific Northwest.  It's such a perfect antidote to the damp, chilly winters they get up there.)

And there's a reason Rosalee and her alternative medicine spice shop with its trade in non-illegal mind-altering drugs doesn't turn heads.  It's far from the only one of those to be found in the city.

Also, the coffee.  You might have noticed everybody on the show is coffee-crazed (I mean, aside from the fact that half of them are either cops or medical professionals). Portland is one of the lynchpin cities in a belt of connoisseur coffee obsession that runs along the coast of the Pacific Northwest from northern California up into Canada.  Same goes for craft beers and microbrews.  Perhaps this is the reason Portland seems to attract so many specifically central European monster types; a migrating people can live without a lot of things, but good beer is hard to leave behind.

So really, if there's any city in the US that seems likely to play host to ethnic monster enclaves grappling to meld tradition with a monster version of the modern American dream, it's probably Portland.

Date: 2014-11-20 05:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I laugh every time Nick and Hank bring each other coffee, and wander around crime scenes with their ubiquitous paper coffee cups.

Doesn't "Keep Portland Weird" come from Austin's slogan? I'm pretty sure that's been a thing in Austin a lot longer. They're sister cities for sure. And yes, Rosalee's spice shop. We lived in Capitol Hill (Seattle's Hipster Central) for the last few years, and there were at least five "emporiums" and the like within walking distance.

Date: 2014-11-20 05:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yep, Austin invented it, and Portland borrowed it. :) I think some other cities did, too, for that matter, but Portland really made it their own.

Date: 2014-11-20 05:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My brother lives in Austin, and while I admit he and his city are both pretty weird, Portland wins for weird hands down.

Date: 2014-11-20 08:09 pm (UTC)
trobadora: (Nick Burkhardt)
From: [personal profile] trobadora
Hee! As someone who would completely have missed every bit of this, I can say that this makes everything even more awesome. Which is saying something. *g*

(Also, I'm very happy you're posting about Grimm! More people need to! :D)

a migrating people can live without a lot of things, but good beer is hard to leave behind

So, so very true. (She says, beer bottle in hand.)

Date: 2014-11-22 04:32 pm (UTC)
ext_3536: A close up of a green dragon's head, gentle looking with slight wisps of smoke from its nostrils. (Default)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you for that, my Grimm watching group in Western Australia, would never have known!

Date: 2014-11-23 03:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I don't watch Grimm, but I visited Portland last year for a conference and loved it. I was like, I HAVE FOUND MY PEOPLE.


prettyarbitrary: (Default)

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