botc game night
Image: Daniel Root


Rock Band Tuesdays at Ground Kontrol

You’ve always wanted to bask in the glow of an adoring crowd, but thus far the aching power ballads, furious windmilling, and gnarly drumbeats have happened only in your basement, courtesy of video games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero. It’s time to take the show on the road, rock star. Thanks to the arcade aficionados at Ground Kontrol, cyber-riffers now have their own tiny stage at the downtown video-game bar. Beneath a spinning, sparkly mirror ball, take your lyrical cues from the giant projection screen, wave to the crowd, and fake-rock-out like you’ve never fake-rocked-out before. Just remember that here, unlike in your basement back home, pants are required.


The Velveteria

Nothing says gaudy like a velvet painting, which, in our books, makes the Velveteria the most fabulously gaudy place in the known universe. Among the hundreds of velveteen masterpieces on the walls, the usual suspects—Jesus, Elvis, buxom seductresses—are in ready supply, but it’s the rarities that lend the gallery the proper pinch of weird: a sad-eyed circus clown smoking a cigar, or Jimi Hendrix igniting his guitar at the Monterey Pop Festival. There’s also a work dubbed The Unicorn Comb-Over. It’s exactly as ugly and awesome as it sounds—which is why you should buy the T-shirt bearing its likeness in the gift shop. Bad taste never fit so well.


The Grotto

The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother, aka the Grotto, might be the most beautiful (and tranquil) juxtaposition of nature and religion in the country. Its main altar is carved into a 110-foot-high basalt cliff overlooking the grounds, and includes a replica of Michelangelo’s Pietà. Atop the cliff, the glass-and-granite Marilyn Moyer Meditation Chapel offers jaw-dropping views of the Cascades. The rest of the Grotto’s 62 acres are dotted with various rose gardens and groves of trees, stone chapels, more than 100 works of rare religious art, and several thousand feet of footpaths—one of which re-enacts the 14 Stations of the Cross. Even for the nonbeliever, finding solace in this fir-lined slice of heaven won’t be difficult.