Clarkchella 2018

*The Backdoor is a “work” of “humor” and “fiction”

By Lauren Keegan

As summer slowly creeps up to give us a good scare out of our seven-month rain-induced coma and the semester’s impending death has you itching to dance on its freshly dug grave, it is normal to want to let loose and have some fun with your friends before the loneliness of summer drags you under. If the joys of Suntan and Sunburn left you with a thirst for more festivity as Coachella posts clog your Instagram feed and fill you with a deep sense of FOMO, fear not! You can still have all the fun of Coachella right here in Portland with the Clarkchella festival.

Portland may not be an actual desert like Coachella Valley, but it certainly has the political dryness of a land long parched. Just as the valley is flat, seemingly never-ending and unforgiving, so are the rants and opinions from the radical communist in your E&D class. Who knew there were so many flaws in capitalism? After their class period-long tirade, you now know (a little too well). You don’t need to go on Le Grande Wheel or even have it in the background of any of your trillion selfies, because Clarkchella has Frank Manor house! It’s just as pretty and just as difficult to get into or spend a sufficient amount of time at in order to enjoy yourself. Clarkchella is also chock full of Californians unabashedly embodying their stereotypes, just swap flower crowns for beanies! You look out at a vast sea of socioeconomic privilege, of white preteens trying their damndest to look unique and all end up looking the same. No wonder it was so expensive! The best part is that the prices keep climbing year after year.

Upon arriving at Clarkchella, it is fun for about the first twenty minutes and quickly turns into a desperate search to find the motivation to keep going. You have to keep smiling through it, since it looks so good on social media. Your search for food quickly drains your funds, and the options are quite limited (no, the Troom isn’t open, not even for Clarkchella). The main sources of entertainment are taking photos and downing enough hallucinogens to kill a small elephant. Thank Heaven that your best friend’s feathered bra had a split seam you could hide the tabs in. You look around and ask, where are all the fabled, deified celebrities I heard so much about? They are, after all, one of the main reasons you came to Clarkchella. Turns out, they’re all part of a secret club that goes on bougie outdoor retreats that are way too expensive, even for you. A club with a hefty entrance fee and such prestige and social capital attached to the name sounds an awful lot like a frat, if you ask me.

It wouldn’t be Clarkchella if meme culture weren’t brought to life! Clarkchella is the product of Barry Glassner chewing up Tumblr and spitting it out onto some cobblestone roads and evergreen trees. Instead of Yodel Boy, we have Pio Dog, a living meme that no one has bothered to learn the actual name of.  No wonder LC students use Tinder so much.

Despite Clarkchella’s flaws, it persists and thrives. This strange circus of pop culture, liberalism and status symbols run by a not-so-secretly conservative board may be one of the biggest contradictions in existence. However, it is our festival and no one else’s, and a celebration of our youth is well-deserved as we emerge from the darkness of the Portland winter and a difficult semester. Come summer 2018, enjoy what you want, just leave me the hell out of it and get off my Instagram feed.

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