Suzette Smith, Portland Mercury

Suzette Smith

Portland Mercury

Portland, OR, United States

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Past articles by Suzette:

17 Blocks Review: A Searing and Uplifting Portrait of a Black American Family

You can't take your eyes off 17 Blocks for even a second. The raw, home video footage documentary offers an intimate view into the lives of the Sanford-Durants, a Black family struggling to find joy and stability in Southeast Washington D.C. So many of the documentaries we watch now are slick mash-ups of stylized reenactments and moody voiceovers, assuring us that history can be mapped neatly… → Read More

Takeout Club: It's Gumbo Season!

Boy oh boy, is today a cold one. Portland usually gets warmer for a few weeks in February—BEFORE IT SNOWS IN FREAKING APRIL—but until we get to that bizarre thaw, we're all in the business of keeping warm. You know what time it is: It's gumbo season. Gumbo can be many things and involve many ingredients because the much beloved dish comes from the interplay of African, Indigenous, Haitian,… → Read More

Takeout Club: Downtown Burritos For Cold Weather and Pioneer Square's New Mexican Food Truck

Here come the rains, Portland! As always, we shall endure this wet sky rage and don our damp rainwear with pride. It’s still traditional to fret for the first week or so before settling into frizzy hair and the low ocean-like roar of rain pants. While your internal furnace shifts from cooling to hottening, treat yourself to some cheesy carbs. Now that we're on the other side of daylight savings… → Read More

TBA:20 Begins This Weekend to Make Note of a Time We'll Never Forget

If you didn’t know that Portland’s annual Time Based Arts Festival (TBA) is STILL ON, STILL HAPPENING, and STARTING THIS WEEKEND, don’t stress. The organization that puts it on—the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA)—didn’t know if it would be possible either, until this past June. “We certainly didn’t know at the beginning of the pandemic,” Artistic Director and Curator of Public… → Read More

This Week in Food News: Farewell to Ford Food and Drink, Gin in a SE Alley, and the Pearl's New Italian Market

Labor Day weekend signals the end of summer, but it's nowhere near time yet to break out your sweaters. Portland fall stays warm and mild through ding-dang November, so we still have plenty of outdoor time to enjoy—in fact we're bracing for 90-degree days this weekend and SCORCHER 100-degree highs next week. I've been watching Portland's outdoor dining bloom for the past few months with… → Read More

Portland Institution Le Bistro Montage Is Closing Forever

Le Bistro Montage, the well-known and beloved late-night eatery famous for ooey-gooey mac 'n' cheese and wrapping their leftovers in tinfoil swans, announced via Facebook that they’re permanently closing and will not reopen. “We have been so honored to serve Portland for the past 27 years,” the statement read. Located beneath the Morrison Bridge in the Southeast industrial area of Portland, Le… → Read More

Lidia Yuknavitch Interview: Anti-Memoir, Carrie Underwood, and the Second Vagina in Her New Short Story Collection Verge

Lidia Yuknavitch is a creative force in Portland’s literary scene. Not only are her books award-winning best sellers, but they’re often groundbreaking, like her Oregon Book Award-winning anti-memoir The Chronology of Water, or her novel The Small Backs of Children in which she strove to break the novel’s form. To discuss her new short story collection Verge, Yuknavitch invited me to Corporeal… → Read More

The 2020 Fertile Ground Festival Dismantles the Patriarchy, Plans for Death, and Channels Osho

Patriarchal ghost stories? Eeeeeeeee! → Read More

Carmen Maria Machado Interview: Difficult Questions about In the Dream House

In a notebook Machado wrote “Gaslight the reader?” → Read More

Cats Review: Ah, So This Is What It's Like to Have a Nightmare While You’re Awake

Everyone who saw the HUMAN FACE/CAT BODY NIGHTMARE that was the first Cats trailer balked at the weirdly flat faces that seemed to slide off the cast’s half-humanoid, half-feline, all-horny bodies. Some thought Universal Pictures might cave to fan pressure, much like the Sonic the Hedgehog brouhaha that unfolded last spring, and manage to stick those faces on by Christmas. They did not, and as a… → Read More

You Fools! Don’t Miss Greta Gerwig’s Perfect Adaptation of Little Women!

Every hater on my block asked why we needed another Little Women movie when the 1994 version is “perfectly fine” and “has Winona Ryder in it.” My answer: You don’t know how good you can have it! You don’t know how good Little Women can be, you poor fools! A less inflammatory reason is that every generation deserves its own damn Little Women and we are a bunch of lucky suckers that get to see... → Read More

Watching Watchmen: Is This the Best Show of the 21st Century?

HBO’s Watchmen shouldn’t be as good as it is. In the three decades since the debut of writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons’ genre-shattering comic, DC Comics has done everything possible to exploit it—always poorly, and always against the will of Moore. But every time I watch this new, wildly imaginative iteration of Watchmen, I wonder what Moore would think of it. And not just because this… → Read More

The True Horror of the Holidays: Check Out the Mercury’s December Picks at Movie Madness!

They kill David Bowies, don’t they? → Read More

Why Did Merce Cunningham at 100 Make Me Cry? I Mean, They're Just Birds!

At the intermission of White Bird’s latest production, Merce Cunningham at 100, tears began falling out of my eyes. And at first, it was hard to pinpoint what was happening or why. Why did “Beach Birds,” performed by French troupe Compagnie Centre National de Danse-Angers (CNDC-Angers), create such intense feelings of emptiness and loneliness? → Read More

Darcelle: That’s No Lady Review: A Messy Look at One Man’s Fantastic Life

A musical about the world’s oldest drag queen? Sign me the hell up. → Read More

Ahamefule J. Oluo's SUSAN at TBA 2019: Wonderful Music, Not Enough SUSAN

Were I a native of Seattle, I would be more familiar with Ahamefule J. Oluo, the comedian and musician behind SUSAN: a part stand-up, part memoir, part live music performance which appeared as an in-process work at this year's Time-Based Art Festival (TBA). In 2015, Oluo received widespread acclaim for Now I'm Fine, his comedic memoir jazz musical that explored his tenuous relationship with his… → Read More

Locally-Made Snacks Every Portlander Should Put In Their Mouth

Let us raise some snacks onto our shoulders as kings. → Read More

Portland’s Best Bagels

We ate a lot of bagels so that you... can also eat a lot of bagels. → Read More


The 2019 Time Based Arts Festival (TBA) opens tonight! There's so much going on. Almost everything about TBA's opening night is free and programed to intersect with downtown's First Thursday gallery openings. Here are our picks for the fest, one of which you can attend this evening. At 6 pm, Eiko Otake performs a variation of her solo project A Body in Places at the Center for Contemporary Art &… → Read More

Victory For Samoas/Samoans! Portland's Funniest Person 2019 Is Adam Pasi!

Last night was the much anticipated conclusion of Helium's Comedy Club's annual Portland’s Funniest Person contest. (Full disclosure: This year I was one of the judges.) It's a fun time and the show is a veritable smorgasbord of hot, upcoming local comedy talent. The 2019 line-up was robust: Bryan Bixby, Christian Burke, Adam Pasi, Shaine Brendan, Lance Edward, Diana Potter, Ben Harkins, Seth… → Read More