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'Portlandia: The Tour' hitting L.A., five other cities

November 21, 2011 |  5:23 pm

Portlandia
IFC’s comedy “Portlandia” may end up on some year-end lists of “cleverest shows you’re not watching,” but there’s time to catch up before Season 2 starts in January.

The six-episode sketch-based series, which stars “Saturday Night Live’s” Fred Armisen and Sleater-Kinney and Wild Flag musician Carrie Brownstein, airs on the cable network at 11 p.m. Sundays and 10:30 p.m. Mondays. The cable channel is planning to run a marathon of Season 1 leading to the Jan. 6 new-season premiere.

And now there’s a six-city tour that will mix sneak-peek clips from the upcoming season with live music and tales from the set. Armisen and Brownstein, who created the show, will talk about their inspiration for a revolving cast of characters that includes the passive-aggressive owners of a feminist bookstore Women and Women First (where they refuse to carry bestsellers) and diners so eco-conscious they ask for the name of the chicken they’ll be eating.

“Portlandia: The Tour” will carefully choose its spots, landing only in hipster havens like Brooklyn and New York’s Bowery Ballroom, San Francisco’s Mezzanine, The Hideout in Chicago and Los Angeles’ Echoplex in Echo Park (on Jan. 17). It will stop in the very town it gently lampoons, launching on Dec. 27 at Portland’s Hollywood Theater.

“Portlandia” jabs its finger gingerly in the Pacific Northwest town’s eye, with characters describing it as “a city where young people go to retire” and a place where “the dream of the '90s is alive.” Its inhabitants are free to nurture their slacker tendencies, hide-and-seek obsessions and clowning aspirations.

It won’t be the first time a TV show has taken to the road. Seth MacFarlane and the voice talent from Fox’s animated hit “Family Guy” have done live readings around the country, and “Mad Men” stars performed in a live revue, singing old standards in cocktail lounge settings.

For “Portlandia,” the exposure could be good promotion for a niche show that hasn’t caught on much outside of Armisen and Brownfield’s loyalists. Tickets for “Portlandia: The Tour” — which cost about $25 — go on sale Tuesday.

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Since 'Cosby,' diversity's not a laughing matter on family sitcoms

— T.L. Stanley

Photo: Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein star in "Portlandia" on IFC. Credit: Scott Green / IFC

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