An itch you can scratch

If you’re anything like me—and I consider myself to be a typical Portlander—your Saturday nights have become…a little mundane.

If you’re anything like me—and I consider myself to be a typical Portlander—your Saturday nights have become…a little mundane. There’s only so many times a person can get lost in Powell’s, see the free movie of the month at Fifth Avenue Cinema, or huddle up in their favorite coffee shop before madness sets in. I’m speaking, of course, of the mid-winter madness.

You know how it goes. First, you get tired of seeing soggy trees and grey sky. Then, you become unreasonably angry over the lack of sunlight as your skin blanches to the color of a fish’s belly. Next, you begin to fantasize about summer and all the things you could do outdoors, in the extra sunlight. Finally, you wind up walking around in your shorts and flip-flops claiming it’s a beautiful day outside. Thankfuly, there’s a cure for the madness. It’s available right here in Portland, on the second Saturday of every month through May, and it’s called ScratchPDX.

Currently in its fifth season, Scratch is a platform for Portland performers of all kinds to develop and show off their work. This month’s show should be a good one. It features a storyteller, two dance groups and a couple performers singing torch songs. For those who don’t know what a torch song is, it’s basically a love song which bemoans love lost or unrequited love—about as universal as it gets. The best part about Scratch is you don’t have to be a professional to take part.

When you come to Scratch, you know you’re in for a memorable night. Acts often include singing, dancing, storytelling, puppet shows, clowning, stand-up comedy and short plays. Performers run the gamut from seasoned veterans to acts that are taking the stage for the first time. Set in a close, cabaret-style theatre, each act is given 10 minutes to strut their stuff in front of the audience. ScratchPDX concentrates on promoting artists of all backgrounds and experience levels, and extending the understanding between the audience and performers.

This month’s Scratch event is extra special, because as a Valentine’s treat, admission is free. It’s happening on Saturday, Feb. 12 at the Hipbone Studio at 1847 E. Burnside, space 104. The show starts at 11 p.m. and ends at 2 a.m. There will be complimentary made-from-scratch snacks served at the event, and a dance party with a live band following the performances.

If you can’t make it down to the studio on the 12th but still want to see what Scratch is all about, you can watch this month’s performance on Comcast or Verizon cable channels 21 and 32 at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 13. Or, if you want to see ScratchPDX uncut, watch it at midnight on Sunday, Feb. 20 on Comcast or Verizon cable channels 11 and 12. If you don’t catch the live show this month, there’s no need to worry! Scratch will be back at the same location on March 12, April 9, and May 14. Doors open at 8:30 p.m., and the show starts at nine. Tickets are $10 at the door. If you want to see more, check out the ScratchPDX Facebook page. If you want to sign up for a Scratch event, send an e-mail to [email protected].

It’s high time to shake up your boring Saturday night routine. So grab a friend and ditch the coffee shop and books. Avoid the mid-winter madness with a night of culture, fun and classic Portland frolics. Come spend a few hours at ScratchPDX. ?