IMAGE: Courtesy of the Rose Quarter
When winter hit Tucson in 1977, Brent Densford’s dad wasn’t ready for the dirtbike season to end. So he and his buddies took the next logical step: plugging sheet-metal screws into their motorcycle tires and racing on an ice rink. The crazy idea was an instant hit. Word spread through the town, and 500 people showed up to watch an event nobody had even bothered to sell tickets for. The surprise success led to the formation of International Championship Events, which Densford later inherited from his father. The company has been bringing motorcycle ice racing to cities across the United States ever since. On Saturday, it will come to Portland for the fourth time, taking to the ice at Memorial Coliseum. Between 25 and 30 racers, including locals Kevin Conord and Shane Donaca, will tear around the rink, completing a series of heats, last-chance qualifiers and main events.
If you’re thinking it sounds dangerous, you’re right. “I’m a prime example,” Densford says. “In 2002, I was racing and I hit the wall head-on. I fractured my elbow, broke five vertebrae and lost a kidney.” Densford doesn’t race anymore but says all the competitors taking to the ice are racing professionals. “Ninety percent make their living off racing,” he says. ICE has also upgraded from the sheet-metal screws used in the early days to custom-made Silver Rocket racing studs, and each motorcycle is equipped with at least 2,000 to provide traction on the slippery surface. “They can do everything the same vehicle can do on asphalt or dirt,” Densford says. Fans in attendance will also get a less life-threatening treat: wheeled barstools powered by six-horsepower engines. Sure, racing furniture sounds silly, but when you think of Densford’s injuries and the risk riders take, barstools don’t seem so crazy.
GO: Motorcycle Ice Racing takes place at Memorial Coliseum, 300 N Winning Way, 797-9619. 7:30 pm Saturday, Dec. 19. Tickets are $10 to $40 and can be purchased through the Rose Quarter Box Office, 877-789-7673, rosequarter.com. Prices increase $2 per ticket for day-of-show purchases.
WEDNESDAY DEC. 16
[MUSIC] SIC ALPS
San Francisco’s Sic Alps is the king of the lo-fi genre, and tonight it headlines a crazy bill of raucous noisemakers at a spot that usually hosts rummage sales. Eagles Lodge, 4904 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 232-7505. 9 pm. $6. 21+.
THURSDAY DEC. 17
[HUMILIATION] PRESENTATION KARAOKE
You’re on the stage. There are slides on the wall behind you. You have to give a presentation on a subject you know nothing about, and you have to start talking right now. Presentation Karaoke combines my darkest nightmares with A/V club and a lot of booze, to comedic result. Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th Ave., 248-1030. 6-8:30 pm. Free.
[MUSIC] THE FIX
Portland’s premier hip-hop DJ night celebrates its three-year anniversary in style: With DJ Maseo of De La Soul helping out on the wheels of steel. Happy birthday, fixies! Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th Ave., 248-1030. 9 pm. $10. 21+.
FRIDAY DEC. 18
[DANCE] WALTZING + WASSAILING
The stellar local movers of Northwest Dance Project celebrate the holidays with a handful of new works from a local choreographer, soundtracked live by the Vagabond Opera. Northwest Dance Project Studio, 833 N Shaver St., 421-7434. 7 and 9 pm Friday-Saturday, Dec. 18-19. $27 advance, $30 door.
[SCREEN] THE THIRD MAN
Forget George Clooney. Ditto for blue alien ladies. The movie you want to see this weekend is the movie with Orson Welles and the rad zithering. NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 SW Park Ave., 221-1156. 7 pm. $5-$8.
SATURDAY DEC. 19
[MUSIC] PORTUGAL. THE MAN
After touring Europe for most of the fall behind its sublime new disc, The Satanic Satanist, Portugal. The Man returns home to headline two shows at our favorite log cabin. Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside St., 231-9663. 9 pm. $12. 21+.
SUNDAY DEC. 20
[holiday] 3-D PHOTOS WITH SANTA
Best idea ever. 3-D Center of Art & Photography, 1928 NW Lovejoy St., 227-6667. 1-5 pm. $6 for 3-D souvenir photo with viewer. Center admission fee $5, kids under 14 free.