Is art an imitation of life, or is life an imitation of art? This is an existential musing that’s plagued anyone with a lot of free time on their hands for centuries, and one that comes into sharp focus as Oregon’s annual Pickathon festival approaches. Pickathon is a festival that strives to function as a sustainable event, center on independent folk, soul and roots music, and welcomes families and all ages. These goals are so very Oregon. But you probably know that, as Oregon is mostly discussed in the popular culture through the lens of a facetious TV show called Portlandia, a series that pokes fun at some of the state’s best characteristics with varying degrees of humor and success.
As a native Oregonian, I’ve often told people that I can’t really watch Portlandia because it flattens the beauty of my state into one easy rendering, but I’ve also said I can’t watch it because it’s too close to the truth. So, when it came to my attention that the show will be filming an entire episode at Pickathon this year, it felt like another inevitable step in the cycle of self-mockery that Portlandia has bestowed upon Portland and Oregon itself. So it goes.
Pickathon will be held in two weekends starting Thursday, 7/30 in Happy Valley, Oregon. If you’re going, keep your eyes peeled for Carrie Brownstein, I guess.