Youth, dissatisfied, search for the new, the wild, the mission of their generation. School holds the ideals of the prior generation, simply an institution designed to enfeeble your mind and choices. Family is discarded out of hand. The media, corrupt and facile, is something to be mocked. Church – no. Escaping enslavement is the motion of the moment. How far can I get before they catch me – is the only concern.

But the search for colleagues continues, for lovers of the future need each other more than water and air. They need confirmation, they need affection, they need shelter.

The map of the Portland’s underground has traditionally appeared on telephone poles. Stapled into the wood, some are artwork themselves, mixed with lost cats and lonely hearts. Once in a great while a Mike King appears, either Mike himself or another genius kid with a midnight obsession at Kinko’s.

Actually, when Kinko’s started using a better accounting technology, it wiped out a whole art form, xerox art, which was almost exclusively practiced by skinny kids after midnight with a wink and a nod in this chain.

King’s superlative work – like Art Chantry in Seattle – shaped performance rock in Portland for a dozen years or longer.

(Yeah this is from a show in Cincy but it’s got a rocket and it’s Built To Spill).

Merchants along the avenue hate this junk, sneak out occasionally and rip them down. The posters lay onto the poles in thick blankets, often 3 4 5 inches thick, date over date, sealed together with rainwater, a wadded coat of events.

Occasionally PGE or whatever it is now will call the city + local TV news and complain. In turn the Mayor will issue a press release and preppy newsgirls with claim the staples are slowly chopping down the poles, a reducto absurdum claim trotted as time filler between mattress commercials. The true terror is when some juvenile terrorist lights one on fire – that’s no good for anyone.

Here’s an inside, undercover look. The staples themselves make a wild, random pattern, an archeology of pop experience.

But the value of these posters far outweigh the nuisance. Any kid can make a poster, make an invitation to connect, promote their show or their sexiness. For just pennies any kid can be someone.

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