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Graduation season is upon us, which means plane flights, parking lots and life milestones. And commencement speeches. Real talk, the commencement speech is one of our favorite things. The performance aspect, the frequent comic asides, the existential spring cleaning: we’re just suckers for the whole shebang.

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L-R: “Lance’s mom” (Gretchen Corbett), “Lance’s mom’s boyfriend” (Justin Long), “Lance” (Carrie Brownstein) and “Nina” (Fred Armisen); image courtesy Portlandia from “The Fiancée” episode 

As a business which started in the #upperleft corner of these United States, we at Nordstrom have a special appreciation for IFC’s Portlandia. That would be the sketch comedy TV show where stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein basically teach a master class in how to mock life in Portland, OR. It’s all there: the passive-aggressiveness, the self-righteous savior complex, the questionable style choices. And yet the show, currently in its fifth season, is a love letter.

“The Fiancée” episode aired Thursday, Jan. 15, and was partially filmed at the Lloyd Center Nordstrom. (That location is now closed, with every employee who wished to be relocated given a new home at a nearby Nordstrom.) Key scenes in the episode occur at Nordstrom and feature Armisen’s character Nina, with makeup done by Jessica Needham and overall style created by her sister, two-time Emmy winner Amanda Needham.

We spoke with the sisters while the two native Portlanders sat in their car in deadlocked traffic. Topics discussed: Nina, Portlandia and good versus bad style.

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The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) is the largest and most highly-attended event of its kind (and, in our opinion, the coolest—screening everything from alluring art flicks to twisted sci-fi). During the 39th-annual fest, now through June 9, we’ll be sharing favorite films hand-picked for us by the SIFF team. Nab tickets if you’re in Seattle, or look for them on DVD and in theaters near you if you’re elsewhere.

Director: David Gordon Green

From Stern, meditative Alvin (Paul Rudd) and his girlfriend’s insecure brother, Lance (Emile Hirsch), spend the summer together repainting traffic lines on country highways in this exquisitely crafted existential odd-couple comedy, a true return for David Gordon Green [of Pineapple Express and HBO’s Eastbound & Down] to the style of his early indie films George Washington andAll the Real Girls. (More info)

From Carl Spence, SIFF’s Artistic Director: “Quirky and hilarious, but also character-driven and intimate. Emile Hirsch and Paul Rudd are captivating as two lost souls stuck on an isolated and seemingly endless road to nowhere, with nothing to talk about but their relationships with women and each other. A film for men that women will also find thoroughly amusing.”

Screening in Seattle:
June 1 – 9:00pm SIFF Cinema Uptown – Director David Gordon Green scheduled to attend
June 4 – 4:30pm SIFF Cinema Uptown