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Portland Pop Culture

Portland first gained national attention for its music scene in the 1960s, when the Kingsmen and Paul Revere & the Raiders helped establish the city as a Northwest center for frat and garage pop. Today, Portland has a reputation for leading indie bands—among them Floater and the Decemberists—and its Waterfront Blues Festival is the second largest in the nation. The Rose City is a creative hothouse for independent filmmaking; Feast of Love and My Own Private Idaho are on the lighter side; grittier pieces include Untraceable and the apocalyptic saga The Road. Among works of literature, perhaps none sum up Portland better than Reading Portland: The City in Prose, which explores the city’s past and present through memoirs and short stories. The Lathe of Heaven, by Ursula Le Guin, explores Portland’s future, and Ken Kesey’s masterful Sometimes a Great Notion explores the relationship between Oregon’s landscapes and its psyche.