And that means we’re getting weird with you today.
Every week, we celebrate elements of Portland’s wonderful weirdness in collaboration with Weird Portland United.
If you haven’t read any features in this series yet, you can find our archive of Weird Wednesdays here, featuring The Unipiper, the Portland Sleestak, Spencer Sprocket, Carlos the Rollerblader, Strawberry Pickle, and many more colorful local characters.
We are currently interviewing the board members of Weird Portland United (pssst — be sure to read our first interview with VP Michelle Jones here), and today we’re chatting with the group’s secretary and communications manager as well as local children’s book author Nico Seabright. Scroll on for some superb weirdness.
What is your position on the board of Weird Portland United and what are your responsibilities?
I work as the Secretary and Communications Manager for Weird Portland United, lending my support toward newsletter, social media and marketing communications for the organization. However, like most of us at WPU, I really am a Jack-of-all-trades. In the early days I organized our amazing Spirit of Portland photoshoot with icons of Portland weird such as Darcelle, Elvis, Mayor Bud Clark, and Daria Eliuk. Most of 2019 was dedicated to working with the board to produce the Weird Portland Gala, an event I would love to see reprised in years to come.
How did you become involved with WPU?
I started working with Weird Portland United in the very early days in 2018 when we were tossing around names, designing the website and learning what it takes to run a non-profit.
(Pssst… 👀 Here’s a little insider intel on names that didn’t make it past the cutting room floor: Encyclopedia Portlandica, Portland WeirdAid, PDXcentricity.)
I really loved those early days of intense collaboration and late night brainstorming sessions. What inspired me most was the Unipiper’s laser-like focus and unbridled passion for tapping into Portland’s weird undercurrent. It has been a real joy watching this organization grow and begin to take on a life of its own.
What does keeping Portland weird mean to you on a personal level?
Social media is flooded with influencers who produce remarkably polished videos and creative projects that do a lot to intimidate folks like you and me who might not be as marketable. There needs to be room for people to experiment with their art and creative output in a safe environment that encourages individuality. Weird isn’t always immediately instagrammable, and it is certainly not designed for mass consumption. Keeping Portland Weird means making performance, art, and self-expression accessible to anyone who feels they have something to share, regardless of how they may or may not be perceived. Everyone deserves a voice.
Nico works in children’s publishing and helps foster creativity for other Portland artists. (📸: Courtesy of Nico Seabright)
When you’re not working on WPU tasks, what passions and hobbies do you get up to around Portland?
I work in children’s publishing. You’ll most likely find me digging through stacks of books at the Goodwill bins, attending literary events around town, or perusing the shelves of some of my favorite bookstores in Portland. (Shoutout to Crooked House Books and Green Bean Books) I manage Moshow the Cat Rapper’s publishing business, as well as my own line of children’s books called The Cultured Chef.
What is one of your favorite weird features / people / events here in Portland and why?
I am quickly becoming a huge fan of Una the Mermaid. I met her while producing the Spirit of Portland photoshoot in 2019, and I’ve collaborated with her on several projects since. She really embodies the spirit of weird Portland in the sense that she opens her heart wide to those who have experienced adversity in their lives, and she is dedicated to helping those folks tap into their own creativity and imaginative play. At the moment, Weird Portland United is working with Una to help promote the Portlandia Mermaid Parade taking place July 31st… stay tuned for more details.
“I really loved those early days of intense collaboration and late night brainstorming sessions. What inspired me most was the Unipiper’s laser-like focus and unbridled passion for tapping into Portland’s weird undercurrent.” (📸: Courtesy of Nico Seabright)
What is something you’re working on right now, big or small, that you could use reader support on, and how can folks get involved?
I love books! I love the texture, color, smell, and history of books of all shapes and sizes. My dream is to one day build a weird/creative bookmobile that I can drive to community events and help support literacy efforts around town… if any Bridgeliner readers have intel on a vehicle that could be used as a bookmobile, please let me know! At the moment I am working on a much smaller project. It’s an itsy-bitsy, tiny project really. I am in the process of opening the world’s smallest bookstore called Booksprocket. Specializing in miniature books (Books four inches and smaller) and children’s literature, the bookstore is slated for public viewing once social gatherings are reinstated. In the meantime, I’ve created a social media presence to document the entire project from concept to creation.
Thank you to our Bridgeliner Unabridged members. Stories like these are made possible with your membership and support.