Keeping Portland weird is a tough job, especially considering the fact everyone in town's so down with NORML. Weirding up the Alphabet District: The Freakybuttrue Peculiarum and Museum.
From an oddity-obsessed couple that's been collecting bizarre ephemera for decades, Freaky's a side-show-esque art gallery/ ice cream shop/ curiosity emporium occupying an old general store, which's now packed with Ripley's-esque exhibits and an air of carnival wackiness inspired by the "yarn spinning" of P.T. Barnum, who claimed there was a seersucker born every minute. The core of Freaky's awesomeness is semi-permanent exhibits like a life-sized "alien autopsy" featuring black-eyed visitors ripping out the intestines of a hapless victim, Portland's largest kaleidoscope, and several items ostensibly from the collection of traveler/genius Dr. Conrad Elwood, who managed to acquire an "authentic" vampire hunting kit, Al Capone's "real" safe, and poisonous lizards said to be able to "kill 12 large men in minutes and 20 small men in seconds", and Kirstie Alley over a period of weeks. More strangeness can be found in a gallery rocking regularly changing shows of oddball artists, currently featuring the mutated comic-like painting of Colin Batty, a store of tiny pickled "bottle baby" sculptures, and a candy store featuring sugar-ized insects, gummy body parts, and candy urine, also what happens when Bow Wow Wow goes on a binge.
To make sure you have the strength to enjoy the wonders, Freaky also offers eats like hot dogs and sundaes, including one topped with crickets, likely because they're aware that in a seeming paradox, NORML people will eat just about anything.
Published: April 26, 2011 at 4:00am EDT
2234 Nw Thurman
Portland, OR 97210
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