On the heels of a successful official launch event for Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before, the book’s project team played host to a second celebration—this time, at Jones Bar in downtown Portland. With its neon and starburst lighting, 4-Player Pac-Man console, and Cure posters, this retro-themed venue was the perfect place to cut loose and celebrate Forgive Me, a book that takes place in early-nineties Oregon and is alive with references to the music of the era.

Though normally closed on Thursdays, Jones Bar gave the Ooligan crew a warm welcome, even creating a playlist based on the music that winds its way throughout the book. (Joy Division! Pet Shop Boys! Bauhaus! And of course, Madonna!) In all, nearly 100 people—friends of Karelia, past and present Ooligan folks, and curious passers-by—came through to mingle, dance, talk shop, and revel in the glow of our latest title.

Kicking off the event, author Karelia Stetz-Waters read a pivotal scene from Forgive Me—fittingly set in the City Nightclub, an all-ages space that once thrived in a nearby neighborhood. The book is based loosely around Karelia’s own coming-of-age experience, and the author maintains that Triinu, her goth-loving protagonist, is Karelia “had [she] been cool.” As she read, wearing knee-high boots in tribute to Triinu, her voice full of love and humor and fury, no one could deny that whoever she was as a teenager, Karelia, is now one very cool woman—and we’re so proud to call her an Ooligan author.

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