Wow, something exciting finally is happening in Salem! Twitter aficionados are tweeting about how un-exciting Oregon's capital is, using the "#Salemia" tag.
I first caught sight of #Salemia on my Twitter feed without knowing what it meant. When I read the tweets, I wasn't sure whether they were for real, or a joke -- which, of course, speaks volumes about Salem's well deserved reputation for being a blandburger sandwiched between spicy Portland and Eugene.
Later in the day I came across Salem blogger Emily Grosvenor's post, "The rise of the #Salemia meme." Thanks to her, I learned what this is all about.
What’s the deal with all of the #Salemia hashtags being typed out by Salem’s most active Tweeps?
The short story is that my filmmaker friend Mike Perron decided it might be fun to envision what a Salem-centric version of the Fred Armisen pet project “Portlandia” might look like. “Portlandia” is an online web series, conceived, written and starring Armisen, that skewers some of the more ridiculous hipster pursuits and lifestyle choices of a city where everyone seems to be a bike messenger/barista/struggling artist/tattoo landscape.
I just spent an enjoyable half hour or so browsing through all of the "#Salemia" tweets that a Twitter search was able to turn up (some of the earliest ones may not have been available, according to a Twitter message).
Below are my favorites, naturally including the three posted by me (oregonbrian) in a burst of #Salemia enthusiasm that swept over me last night. For a while I couldn't stop thinking about ways to capture Salem's boring'osity in 140 characters or less.
Then I got worried that I'd never be able to stop, since there'd be no end to this project. I've lived in Salem for thirty-three years, so have a lot of blah stored in my memories to tweet about. Thus I decided to let others carry on with exploring the further reaches of #Salemia.
The selections below range from most recent to least recent. Some of the best tweets hit the Twittersphere right off the #Salemia bat, so I urge you to read all the way through this list (or start from the bottom and read up).
PerronBrothers RT @scriptdave: Salem-Keizer School District students learn about the Oregon Trail. Not the pioneer trail, but the food stamps card.
emilygrosvenor New York Times feature 36 Hours in Salem only features must-hit pawn shops.
PerronBrothers Drug dealers happy to return to Courthouse Square. Say goodbye to temp jobs at Honeybaked Ham.
scriptdave In keeping with Portland's "Keep Portland Weird" mantra, Mayor Anna Peterson's staff purposes "Keep Salem Stagnant."
PerronBrothers Transient snatches $10 worth of beer from Safeway. K-9 Unit rolls out. $1,000 search ensues.
MnLs To boost tourism, City exploits "Bush" Park, erects statues of GHW and GW, converts Bush House to "G-Dub's Folksy Cowboy Funhouse."
scriptdave Salem Hospital builds sky tram to help patients locate parking structure.
scriptdave Struggling artist enraged when crayon drawing on butcher paper at Willamette Burger Company is not displayed on wall.
scriptdave WU Freshman confused why Court Street Dairy Lunch isn't opened for dinner.
oregonbrian Statesman Journal publishes editorial not cleared by Salem Chamber of Commerce. Publisher immediately replaced by Dick Withnell.
oregonbrian National Guard called out for crowd control after opening of 148th Subway Restaurant in Salem creates frenzied joy among locals.
oregonbrian Woman in persistent vegetative state at Salem Hospital makes miraculous recovery after being moved to Portland.
SalemFM WordOfMouth Bistro hires waiting patrons as Valets. Wait time for brunch cut down to 75 minutes.
PerronBrothers Courthouse Square closing "really sucks" according to local meth dealer who considers selling door to door.
GinoCorridori A pet clothing store opens next door to the souvenir shop in the new commercial wing of the state hospital.
KandN Boise Cascade ruins make national top ten list of "best places to Rapel up and Down Walls".
KandN Salem Man discovers Douglas Fir wood fiber is secret ingredient in ALL fast food. Giving new meaning to being a "Tree City".
BillFarmer Train no longer stops in Salem due to lack of pedestrians to hit
KandN West Salem destroys Marion Street Bridge. Changes name to East Rickreall.
GinoCorridori Salem man lost 4 days in Keizer Station parking lot. Saves himself by smoke signal from burning tires. Never gets to Round Table.
aaronjamesyoung fourteen coffee shops open successively in the same location, each lasting about a month and a half
aaronjamesyoung restaurant next to shopping plaza is demolished to make room for... another shopping plaza (oh wait, that's real)
MelinaTomson City of Salem converts hole in the ground left by Boise demolition to a tent city aptly named the hell hole.
GinoCorridori Jerry Seinfeld signs on to play @perronbrothers in #salemia, another sitcom about nothing.
MelinaTomson City of Salem buys the Meridian for $1 and converts to Section 8 housing
GinoCorridori A grassroots campaign in the state penitentiary elects prisoner to the city council.
MelinaTomson Homeowner converts meth lab to grow lab and gets community improvement award.
GinoCorridori CCTV televises Muchos Gracias City Hall grand opening.
MelinaTomson @LaCapitale opens up and Salemites get confused when the word French is used to describe it, and it isn't followed by fries.
MnLs In an effort to combat sex-trafficking reputation, City changes nickname from Cherry City to Cougar Town. Curves memberships soar.
teqstar Man ventures out across U.S. by car. After many wks, he travels back to hometwn just to be cutoff in traffic 1st time since leaving
scriptdave Marion County DA sends Eugene residents to Oregon State Hospital in an attempt to make Salem the second largest city in the state.
PerronBrothers The "Duck In" on State Street hopes to reopen. Waiting for Muchas Gracias customers to stop ordering Goddamn Oregon burritos.
scriptdave The Salem Airport returns non-stop shuttle service to PDX.
kidcapitale Trader Joe's finally opens to overwhelming crowds but soon closes because "the wine was too expensive"
scriptdave Employees at LifeSource Natural Foods protest arrival of Trader Joe's by building a wall of tofu and humus around building site.
scriptdave County also changes motto from "Where Good Things Happen..." to "Where Good Straight Things Happen..."
scriptdave Polk County changes name to President James K. Polk County for fear of being confused with popular gay street in San Francisco.
scriptdave Blogger discovers Re/Max building on Hawthorne hasn't been occupied in years. City plans to demolish & rebuild @ Courthouse Square.
PerronBrothers City Council votes to go *off the grid*. Pitches out all GPS and remote sensing data. Realigns city map with Mesopotamia overlay.
PerronBrothers City of Keizer fire bombs Salem Library. Salem residents forced to pay $500 per Keizer library card. Take that, bitches!
scriptdave Keizer Station relocates to Albany. City of Keizer vanishes after becoming insignificant.
scriptdave Statesman Journal increases readership by 2% following addition of page 3 dedicated to hipster emos.
ChrisHaganSJ Man with Decemberists ringtone receives call downtown after 6 p.m. Arrested for noise violation.
scriptdave @perronbrothers banned from Cinebarre after sneaking in Word of Mouth bistro burger and bottle of Seagram's 7.
PerronBrothers Salem-Keizer administrator wakes up with slight hangover. Sees snowflake. Announces SNOW WEEK. NO SCHOOL.
scriptdave Parents take autistic child to Vacuum World for birthday. Owner displeased when family only purchases Oreck bags. (True story.)
MnLs Due to state economic crisis, capital city is forced to sell City Hall; converted into a giant Muchas Gracias shortly thereafter.
scriptdave Mormon missionaries mistake Salem Capitol for Mormon temple. Baptisms for the dead in capital mall fountain are quickly halted.
scriptdave Founder of Salem Film Fest takes 30 minutes to introduce a 10 minutes short, leaving audiences comatose.
scriptdave Activists shut down Union Street Railroad Pedestrian Bridge due to pedestrian dander contaminating Willamette River.
PerronBrothers Downtown businesses blast The Book Bin for not stamping *First Wednesday* reminders in the 1/2 price 2011 calendars.
scriptdave The grand opening of a third Adult Shop within city limits brings out an army of gym teachers and former mayor Janet Taylor.
MnLs Visitors mistakenly believe zombie apocolypse has hit the town because shops close and streets empty before dark.
scriptdave Oregon Glove Company on 12th Street receives first customer in two decades. Shop attendant confused & closes store indefinitely.
PerronBrothers Regulars angry that they must wait for a 4:30 pm table after Olive Garden wins "best Italian restaurant" again.
scriptdave Pregnant woman enraged when King's Donuts closes early for the day. Spends afternoon ringing necks of ducks at Mission Mill.
scriptdave Unemployed father of three attempts to buy shells to end life at the Wal-mart on Turner Road. Wait, this sounds familiar...
Sean_Hollenhors 22yr. old woman choosing the right pajamas for going to Winco. At 12:30 in the afternoon.
scriptdave @perronbrothers Hipsters move to park under Center Street Bridge and wait with homeless to get free food from Adam's Rib.
PerronBrothers Flashback: Two sad people attend the candlelight vigil of the closing of TommyJohns (the one patron and John).
kidcapitale A couple of meth heads scratching tickets at a lotto deli.
PerronBrothers Salemia. Opening scene: five hipsters fighting over a half smoked cigarette outside Chelsea's place...
I'm not sure this means the capital is un-exciting. If anything, this proves that there are everyday scenes that we see on the streets or in our daily grinds that inspire storytelling (even if it is snarky storytelling). I love it, even if some of the scenes are oh so sad.
I believe you did get the first one (Mike's opening scene).
Posted by: Emily | February 07, 2011 at 08:45 PM
I am LOVING #salemia. I was literally LOLing Friday night when this started!
Posted by: Rebekah | February 08, 2011 at 10:45 AM
And just when I was thinking about things I will not miss when I move to Salem from Boston later this year - things like ice covered sidewalks, patches of black ice on sidewalks that look clear, lakes of melt water at corners where the storm drains are blocked by endless mounds of plowed up snow covered in grit and grime and dog piss lining every curb, sheets of ice at corners when said lakes freeze up at night, climbing over endless mounds of plowed up snow covered in grit and grime and dog piss to get on the bus, streets too narrow (for me anyway, others are more intrepid) to ride my bicycle due to endless mounds of plowed up snow covered in grit and grime and dog piss lining every curb, cavernous potholes that will be there waiting whenever I do venture out on my bike again. Did I mention the endless mounds of plowed up snow covered in grit and grime and dog piss?
For a brief moment in time and where the plows don’t go, the snow sure is pretty, though.
Posted by: Laurie Dougherty | February 09, 2011 at 10:26 AM
Laurie, it's sunny and in the mid-40s here in Salem. Hang in there. This should be your last Boston winter before you move to bland, but much more temperate, Salem.
Posted by: Blogger Brian | February 09, 2011 at 12:41 PM