Best 2014: Editors' Picks

Our weird and off-the-radar personal faves (plus a few constructive criticisms)
By PORTLAND PHOENIX STAFF  |  May 15, 2014

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A lunchtime treat from Small Axe Food Truck.

Our ‘Best of’ categories are quite comprehensive (see our supplement in this issue), but there’s a lot of stuff they don’t cover — things that defy categorization, things we didn’t even know needed to be honored until we saw/experienced/enjoyed them. And that’s why we have Editors’ Picks. To recognize what’s off-the-radar, underground, and underrated; to celebrate alt-consumerism; to amplify the whispers we hear on the streets and in the bars. And, frankly, to give props to our personal faves. Because we all have our own unique experience as Portlanders, our own corners to cry in, our own hobbies to work at, our own go-to treats and treasures, our own nostalgia-inducing sights, smells, and sounds...To honor those, we offer these, a handful of personal Bests. 

Best Locally Sourced Porn: Fruit Punch Productions 
Tired of searching for titillation from the same old generic skin-flick production companies? Sick of seeing the same plastic body types boning away in the same tired positions, faking another run-of-the-mill climax? Simply frustrated by pornography that continues to perpetuate a misogynistic, homophobic, rape-culture status quo? Well, have we got an all-natural, local alternative for you. Fruit Punch Productions, run by a trans couple based here in Portland, is committed to safer-sex, consent-based porn that turns the lens away from the heteronormative smut that saturates the sex video industry. Fruit Punch delivers characters of different orientations, gender identities, races, and body types that talk about what they want, and how they want it. We think that’s pretty hot. Check out their first feature film, One Night Stand (which was nominated for a Feminist Porn Award, an honor bestowed by the Toronto-based Good for Her sex store), or browse their wonderfully NSFW Tumblr page. It’s sexy and super-informative. You might even see a familiar face. So switch off the YouPorn, stop trying to navigate another depressing pop-up disaster zone, and click your free hand over to Fruit Punch Productions for a good time. It’s like a fresh farmer’s market for your pants.
fruitpunchproductions.com

Best way to get outdoor gear without spending a fortune: Portland Gear Hub
Countless basements and garages across Maine are filled with bikes, skis, snowshoes, and other outdoor gear that hardly gets used. Meanwhile, thousands of Mainers can’t come close to affording the gear they need to safely and comfortably explore Maine’s forests, rivers, mountains, and trails. Brooke Burkett, a outdoor educator who lives on Munjoy Hill, came up with a solution for both problems: Create a gear thrift store where people can donate their underused sporting goods (it’s tax-deductible!) and other folks can buy them. Burkett opened the Portland Gear Hub last fall in the basement of the YMCA; it has since sold loads of outdoor equipment at affordable prices. Instead of dropping a few hundred dollars to try out cross-country skiing, for example, the Hub sells everything you need — boots, skis, bindings, and poles — for just $20. Ice skates go for $8, adult bikes average about $130, and climbing shoes cost roughly $20. The Gear Hub is about more than selling gear, though. It’s primary aim is to use its profits to fund community and youth development programs (there’s also a Gear Library, through which youth organizations, after paying a low membership fee, can borrow equipment for kids to use). The Hub has already hosted community workshops on bike repair and this month it starts holding regular “open bench time,” when anyone can pay a small fee to use the Hub’s bike shop for DIY cycle maintenance.
70 Forest Ave, Portland (below the YMCA) | 207.874.1111 | portlandgearhub.org

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