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From her perch in front of Michael Grave's post-modern Portland building, this majestic copper lady kneels, extending her right hand to the residents and visitors of Portland, Oregon. In her left hand she boldly grasps the trident of Poseidon, clearly claiming her kinship to the ancient Olympian and asserting Portland's ties to the sea. Golden tresses and flowing garb stream out behind her.

Portlandia is the world's second largest hammered copper sculpture, second in size only to The Statue of Liberty. The creation of sculptor Raymond Kaskey, she is 36 ft high and weighs over 6 tons. 20,000 people turned out to welcome her as she was barged up the Willamette then trucked to her permanent home in October 1985. For a few, brief, shining moments before she was lifted to her installation site, the people could caress her copper skin. Never again, as she towers over 5th Avenue, facing West. Yet still she reaches towards us, ever yearning to touch us, her people.

A plaque bears this poem by Portland resident of Ronald Talney:

She kneels down
and from the quietness
of copper
reaches out.
We take that stillness
into ourselves
and somewhere
deep in the earth
our breath
becomes her city.
If she could speak
this is what
she would say:
Follow that breath.
Home is the journey we make.
This is how the world
knows where we are.


From his perch in front of Carrie Brownstein's post-modern Portland ethos, this majestic former SNL performer kneels, extending his right hand to the residents and visitors of IFC (and other distribution channels). In his left hand he boldly grasps the piercings of Brownstein, clearly claiming her style to be "too San Francisco" and asserting Portland's ties to Sleater-Kinney. Golden bearded men stream out behind him.

Portlandia is a hipster-critical, yuppie-critical hipster show for yuppies about alleged hipster-types and yuppie-types in Portland. It features Carrie Brownstein, a former member of Sleater-Kinney and her friend Fred Armisen, in a series of sketches about the city and its inhabitants. Part anthropological curiosity, part over-the-top drunken revelry-turned-TV-deal, this show embodies the brilliant ambivalence of modern social consciousness. Whether it's guest appearances by Sarah McLachlan and Aimee Mann or a quest to judge the animal welfare practices of the entire supply chain from farm to fork, the show strikes a chord for everyone who wishes society was still addicted to intentional whimsy outside of imgur.

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