THRILLVILLE: Will "the Thrill" Viharo's weird, wild world of Pulp Fiction, B Movies, & the Lounge Lizard Lifestyle.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Seattle Five-O: My 50th Birthday Trip

My future home base
I have an announcement to make: I am moving to Seattle. Not sure when, but basically, ASAP. I've just returned from our swing through the Pacific Northwest via train, stopping for a glorious Easter weekend in Portland and then celebrating my 50th birthday in Seattle, the Emerald City. It's been one long yellow brick road, but I believe I've finally discovered my ultimate home.
The Space Needle and I are both 50
and aesthetically stuck in the early 60s

One reason I decided on Seattle for my big birthday celebration is because of the Elvis connection. His movie It Happened at the World's Fair came out the day after I was born - April 3, 1963. So on April 2, 2013, I felt like I had come full circle, clear across the country and a half century removed from my birthplace in Manhattan. I actually showed a faded 35mm print of It Happened at the World's Fair (the one where young Kurt Russell kicks The King in the shins) at The Parkway back in August 2000, with special guests Yvonne Craig and Gary Lockwood, who had never even seen the movie before, despite the fact they were co-stars. (They didn't make it all the way through this time, either - more on that event here.)
Toasting 50 in the Sky City Restaurant on top of The Space Needle

Also, I had originally planned for years to spend my 50th in Hawaii - you know, Hawaii Five-O and all. But as the date quickly grew closer and I gradually grew older, I decided I wanted to experience something and somewhere new to my lifetime experience. I've already been to Hawaii twice - first on our honeymoon back in 2001, and then again for our 5th wedding anniversary in 2006. Plus with Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge nearby, I had my fill of tiki culture without ever leaving the island of Alameda. Nearing my half century mark, I felt strongly it was time for a change of course. 

On the train to Portland, March 30, 2013
Monica and I had always talked about taking a train trip up through the Pacific Northwest. Though I lost my full-time blogging gig just two weeks before B-Day, I decided to put the whole thing on credit, a leap of faith in my financial future. I really needed the creative and spiritual inspiration, and something in my soul told me my dreams and desires would meet their ultimate destination with this journey. The culture and climate of Seattle have always appealed to me. I'm an indoor cat by nature. I dig my weather cool and cloudy, with coffee and cocktails on the side.

I was not disappointed.

Monica had actually been to both Portland and Seattle before, and we have friends in both towns. The culture and climate of this region has always appealed to my artistic sensibilities. The Tiki Goddess prefers the more cosmopolitan vibe of Seattle, as compared with the more casually collegiate-hipster atmosphere of Portland. Both suit our tastes and we could live quite comfortably in Portland, but Seattle is simply more our speed and style. Of course, when we arrived in Portland, it was unusually warm, while it was raining back in the Bay Area. A little cosmic irony at my expense. But on my actual birthday, it was a typically chilly, overcast day in Seattle. So I escaped the bright sunlight after all, just in time to celebrate.

Below is a pictorial overview of our epic, life-changing, and life-affirming journey, a reconnaissance mission to our future home...

At Powell's in downtown Portland - the most incredible bookstore in the universe
Voodoo Doughnut in Portland casts its evil spell...
Portland's original tiki lounge, The Alibi
A new classic Portland tiki lounge, the Hale Pele (formerly Thatch)
At the fabulous Trader Vic's in downtown Portland (who needs Hawaii?)
At the amazing Bagdad, Portland's Parkway (well, one of many)
With my old pal, famous cartoonist Shannon Wheeler, having too much coffee at Powell's satellite store...
Dinner at the Hotel Deluxe in downtown Portland - very classy, comfy joint
Portland is a mini-paradise
In the Portland Rose Gardens 
The MarQueen Hotel in the Queen Anne district of Seattle

Ridin' in Space Age Style on the Monorail
Pike's Place is the most amazing market I've ever visited
Spectacular view of the Olympic Mountain Range
The Tiki Goddess fits in with the beautiful scenery
On the Great Wheel
With burlesque aerialist Tanya Brno at The Pink Door
The Underground Tour (as seen in The Night Strangler)
Have coffee, will travel
At the incredible Elliot Bay Bookstore on Capitol Hill
At West 5 in West Seattle 
Downtown skyline as seen from West Seattle
50th Birthday Dinner in the Space Needle
Classic sci-fi exhibits at the EMP Museum
Monica at the museum

At the "real" Twin Peaks:  Snoqualmie Falls/Salish Lodge and Twede's Cafe in North Bend, WA - it was
positively mystical
Here's to my first half century, cheers
Here are a few of the choice birthday cards I got on Facebook:
Of course, my dream of living in Seattle depends largely on making enough money to move there. With Christian Slater's film of my novel Love Stories Are Too Violent For Me still stuck in the development stage, I've decided to have the novel republished so it's available for any interested investors, actors, and of course, readers. Here is storyboard artist Matt Brown's mock up cover concept, featuring Christian as Vic Valentine, with his permission, offering the public their first look at the Hollywood legend as the hapless private eye hero of my out-of-print (but not for much longer) book:
It should be out this summer, in print and ebook editions, exciting details to come, stay tuned...Meantime, I have THRILLVILLE'S 16TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW at The New Parkway on Sunday, April 14, 6pm, featuring the sci-fi classic This Island Earth (1955). I'll also be selling signed copies of my latest novel It Came From Hangar 18 with co-author Scott Fulks. My own pulp fiction is the true Thrillville these days. But B movies will always be one of my passions, too...
Images by Bob Ekman

Here's to The Future, cheers.