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Paris Pays Homage To ‘Alternative City’

Paris is paying tribute to the influence of Portland on alternative culture.

The six-day Keep Portland Weird festival got under way on April 24 at the Gaite Lyrique and its features might appeal to those with a penchant for things out of the ordinary.

Long considered the champion of alternative culture, Portland is synonymous with underground music, independent labels, environmental activism and farmers’ markets.

Furthermore, Portland’s inhabitants’ affinity for riding bikes has resulted in the League of American Bicyclists heaping praise on the city.

The city’s notoriety has increased in the past year or so with the emergence of cult TV show Portlandia, which has received rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

Keep Portland Weird features five nights of live music from the likes of Stephen Malkmus and Tara Jane O’Neil, while there is also a plethora of other attractions to keep visitors occupied.

These include screenings, discussions and broadcasts of Experimental Half-Hour, a bi-weekly television programme which features musical performances from Portland bands and other acts from farther afield.

Those food lovers attending the homage to the Pacific Northwest city might want to sample some of its culinary delights, with locally produced, organic and vegetarian cuisine on the menu.

Festival-goers travelling from the UK or other nearby countries might want to commemorate their visit to the event by purchasing a special vinyl album featuring songs by treasured Portland underground heroes such as Elliott Smith.

Do not despair if you are unable to visit the Gaite Lyrique while the festival is in full swing, for additional concerts and art installations will be held at the Centre Pompidou, the Centre Pompidou-Metz and the Lieu Unique in Nantes.

This is not the first time Paris has honoured different cultures from around the world, with the way of life of Istanbul and Berlin featured in recent festivals in the city.

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