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Six-year-old local firm ALO Audio battles the earbud era with premium headphones and related gear. From its new Central Eastside headquarters, the company offers the PanAm ($599), a headphone amp with both tubes and transistors that promises to ennoble even lowly MP3s. “People don’t know how good personal audio can be,” says company “maestro” Ken Ball. aloaudio.com

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Wieden & Kennedy sells things to the culture, but it’s equally adept at shaping the culture it sells to. The ad agency’s latest project, Sharp Stuff, is an effort to “explore the boundaries of storybuilding.” First result: American Dreamers, a nonfiction collection about optimists, inventors, and innovators, available via print-on-demand or e-book. “So much of current culture portrays the future as dark and difficult,” says W&K’s Jake Dockter. “We want real stories that can get us excited.” Subjects could range from “space travel to urban gardens to the future of sex.” Scheduled for November release; makesharpstuff.com

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The Oregon Symphony goes Anglophile with This England, including Elgar’s sprightly Cockaigne, Vaughan Williams’s wartime Fifth Symphony, and two works by Benjamin Britten, all recorded in Portland. Released November 13

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The fall collection from St. Helens–based (and aptly named) fashion line Saint Elyns reflects designer Jessie DeSue’s palette of retro influences and of-the-moment feminine sensibility. saintelyns.com 

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Division Leap stocks archival zines, rare art books, and other esoterica. “We’re fascinated with what’s influential, but not widely available,” says co-owner Adam Davis. Recently on display: a Yoko Ono sales list from 1965, a Patti Smith drawing, and a vintage Black Flag poster by Raymond Pettibon. 211 SW Ninth Ave, divisionleap.com

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Gaston farmer and food advocate Anthony Boutard weighs in on the New World’s greatest (and most controversial) grain in Beautiful Corn: America’s Original Grain from Seed to Plate. New Society, $20

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