Friday, May 30, 2008

The Pop Stars of Con Law

The New Orleans trip was for the annual federal defender conference. The highlight for me is the Supreme Court Round Up session with constitutional law scholars that come in to catch us up on the cutting edge of what is going on with the criminal law and the high court. Erwin Chemerinsky and Susan Herman are rock stars in the constitutional law field and they spent the morning breaking it down. When they started bantering back and forth about this year's big cases, it felt like the room was going to lift off the ground from the brainpower being brought to bear. Being super sharp is one thing, but being able to communicate and breathe life into a subtlety about federalism is pretty thrilling to behold. I resisted the urge to throw a little white stuffed bear holding a heart at the podium.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

New Orleans Music Overdrive

Went out carousing with able running buddy Gordon tonight. We started off at Lafitte's Blacksmith Bar, the oldest bar in north america, so they say, since 1779. Its a dark little decrepit place with a piano. From there we made our way to Club 300 where we lucked out and saw trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis and a bunch of other musicians who are quite well known in jazzworld according to Gordon. All I know is that they were really good and played a bunch of standards that i knew by Miles Davis and Ellington. Very classic and really amazing. Invigorated by our musical outing, we decided to hit the Maple Leaf Bar to see what was happening there. What a great little venue. i was totally rocked by Guy Forsyth. He scratched that tingly itchy itch that did not get very rocked at Sasquatch. that was great, don't get me wrong. but the good stuff was pop, not rock. And if there is such a place as purgatory, Death Cab for Cutie and Matt Costa may very well provide the soundtrack. So it was nice to be truly and seriously rocked by Mr. Forsyth.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Plum tuckered.

So now i'm in new orleans, staying at the Sheraton, souless convention district hotel. i took a red eye last night after driving back from Sasquatch (which I'll write more about later). Right now i need a nap.

Friday, May 23, 2008

That does it.

It's official. Hilary Clinton has really, seriously gone too far. She makes me sick to my stomach.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Signing off for the weekend, my pretties. I'm headed to Sasquatch Music Festival with brother, sister-in-law, friends and the rabbit.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Commie Indie Rock! NOOOoooooo!

Coming soon to a right-winger talking point near you: forget Rev. Wright. What about Obama's association with communist glorifiers? Will they demand that he denounce and reject The Decemberists? The commie-named band that opened for his 75,000 person rally in Portland on the eve of the Oregon primary? And if 75,000 Obama supporters showed up to see him and this Trotskyist ensemble, what does that say about Obama voters? All good Americans must stand down the bolshevik musicians! Down with the Decemberists! Down with them!

The Decemberists - My Mother Was a Chinese Trapese Artist
The Decemberists - Red Right Ankle
The Decemberists-16 Military Wives

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Portland is Ninja Friendly

Just so you know, the mayor of Portland recently declared the town a ninja-friendly zone. So that means its okay to move here if you are a ninja. or a samurai. or a perpetual adolescent with a weird thing for swords. Letter from the mayor's office, as reported by the Portland Mercury:

Dear Mr. Wood: Thank you for emailing about the samurai you observed on a motorcycle. Mayor Potter has asked me to respond on his behalf. I can appreciate your concern. By all appearances, the samurai is not breaking any laws (including carrying a sword) and does not pose any immediate threat. Provided that the samurai does not engage in threatening behavior, the samurai is welcome in Portland. Sincerely, Jeremy Van Keuren, Public Advocate, Office of Mayor Tom Potter, Portland, Oregon

On the other hand, Columbus is not that into ninjas, albeit for good reason.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday Night Soul

Luther Ingram - If its all the Same to You Babe

Scrabble Throwdown

I participated in a charity scrabble tournament this afternoon to benefit Oregon Literacy and completely got my ass kicked. Oh well. And I missed seeing Obama because i couldn't get in line fast enough though the rabbit and over 73,000 of my fellow Portlanders braved the historic crowd to hear him. No, i was busy getting my assed kicked at scrabble. fine. but i went to work early that morning and since my office overlooks the place where Obama spoke, I got to see The Decemberists do some sound check. So that was kind of cool. And Modest Mouse was eating lunch next to me at the scrabble thing because they rented the practice space upstairs. But its not as cool as seeing Obama. I admit that. Maybe he will come back later.

Modest Mouse - Dramamine

Friday, May 16, 2008

Obama in Portand

well looky who is coming to town. there has been much consternation and anticipation about what cool ass band would play a show for barack obama. What, with Ohio getting an Arcade Fire show and North Carolina getting a Superchunk obama-rama. All was revealed today. Obama is going to be at Waterfront Park noon on sunday. With the Decemberists! Yay, I'm going,

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ra Ra Riot

Going to see bands that you haven't heard before is like mining for gold. Even if you like them already it might be a crappy show (though i must say they don't tend to phone it in in portland like they lamely tend to do in the great continental interior). But i digress. Tonight i went to a show at the friendly neighborhood rock club the Towne Lounge, a former funeral home where the stage is the late great casket display area. i showed up to see a band called the Little Ones and they were okay but were totally shown up by the best new band i've seen in a while called Ra Ra Riot. I hit the mother lode. They played their first song and i turned to my friend, in tiny rock club, and said "they are going to be famous." and he said, "yeah." But that all depends on whether they get along, and get the right breaks and a bunch of other factors, but yeah, if all goes well, they are going to be a hit. So look for them. Imagine two women driving the show on violin and cello. and then a bunch of guys playing and singing who look like they just rolled out of Math Club and who are so precise with their musicianship. i hate to use derivatives but its a moderately useful convention. so imagine final fantasy meets the strokes. more or less but totally original and SO GOOD LIVE. And apparently they are coming out with a real record in a couple of months. Right now its just the ep and a tour. Godspeed Ra Ra Riot!

Ra Ra Riot - Each Year

Ra Ra Riot - Dying is Fine

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Don't worry, the fish are quite safe.

I dragged out of bed at 5 am to go fishing on Hood River with Paul. We got started a little later than that because we stopped to buy me some wader boots. I knew about waders (big waterproof overalls) but I didn't know there's a special kind of foot gear that goes with them. Its a canvas boot with a felt bottom. Turns out that is super helpful when you are standing on wet rocks in a river. . So we got out there with sand shrimp (which are gross) and tuna balls and fished and fished and fished but caught nuthin. In fishing lingo, I am told this is called being skunked. We were skunked. But that's okay because it was a beautiful day, a gorgeous river, and I got to do something new by standing in a river in waders trying to catch a salmon. I felt like a real tough ass oregonian. And I did see a gigantic steelhead trout swim right past me. It was at least 2 feet long. I screamed.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

behind the wall

All this time as a federal defender, but today was my first time in a federal prison. i've been to many a jail, state penitentiary, and the federal detention center, but today was the first time i was in the fed prison. in the biz of justice and lack thereof, i notice the architecture a lot. is it built to heal? or variously control, intimidate, demoralize, etc. Foucault wrote a book touching on these things called Discipline and Punish and it described a particular variety of prison design called the panopticon. i'm always interested in the industrial psychology of how to control a large number of people, perfected over the years from the Tower of London to the victorian models, to Gitmo, etc. Dark stuff. i see the panopticon a lot, even at county jails. The basic idea is a prison in the round, with all the cells facing towards a control tower in the center. The critical element is the two-way mirror shielding the control tower which allows the guards to see out, but prevents the prisoners from seeing whether they are being observed. The social control concept is that the prisoner does not know when he is being watched or not, which leads to a constant state of vigilance and paranoia about being watched, without being sure what is happening. the idea is that it will promote compliance at a greater efficiency. Countering this effort is the human will to be free and to push back against this sort of oppression. So even in under the tightest security, with the greatest degree of scrutiny, people still find a way to defy authority and jack with the system. My main encounter with this involves prisoner litigation. The last refuge of self defense is the inmate's knowledge of the prison rules. The procedures, the disciplinary standards, the limited rights afforded to confined people. The smart inmates become experts on the intricacies of prison regulations, become important within the prison for their knowledge, and they litigate the deprivation of their due process rights as ad hoc class action representatives for the grievances of their fellow inmates. There has to be an outlet and that is it. This is a bit of what i'm doing these days and i'm glad i went into the prison, met the staff, and saw the buildings, talked to people in person, felt the pressure. it wasn't bad at all as far as prisons go. Some people super duper need to be there. But it's still a prison and given its power, somebody has to keep and eye on it.

Bonnie "Prince" Billy - I See a Darkness

Yo La Tengo - I Heard you Looking

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Kate or Cindy?

Isn't that the eternal question? Since i was a wee lass, I have pondered it. The light sexy fun of Kate Pierson or the dark sexy fun of Cindy Wilson? After seeing them live tonight, I am no closer to an answer. That Kate was so groovy and dancy and that Cindy was so cool and rockin out. The show was totally sold out and the B-52's completely worked it. i was persuaded to pony up for the pricey ticket after reading Carrie Brownstein's blog about the new album being good and the band being great. And at the show I did indeed have my Sleater Kinney moment. 2/3rds of the band were there, though weirdly located away from the crush of the sold out masses down in the smoking lounge watching on closed circuit. they don't seem to be smokers, so i think it was a crowd refuge thing. I said hi in my spastic way, said I read the thing she wrote about the band. she said "I hope it works out for you" in the please-go-away voice and I beat it. My ego can take it. Okay. And the crowd was indeed weird. It was a bunch that would have been perfectly at home at a Dave Matthews show. I guess with the planning ahead months in advance and the entry fee, the grown-ups ran the table. i think i expected it to be gayer, but then just because the B-52s are a gay band for me doesn't mean they are for anybody else. just as silly as showing up at a Clay Aiken show expecting queercore. But boy was it fun to be in a huge room full of people singing My Own Private Idaho and Roam. The Cosmic Thing record came out when i was at the end of high school and I wore that disc plum out. So now they've released a new one and i've heard that its good for the getting. Fred Schneider barking, “Tell your skirt to take a hike,” and Cindy Wilson singing, “I’m your day-time waitress at the Taco Tiki Hut/I’m your day-time waitress, here’s your stupid 7-Up.” I mean really, can't i have a nice record to drive around with the windows down and reminisce about 1992 gas prices?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sunday Night Soul

The Watts 103rd St. Rythym Band - 65 Bars and a Taste of Soul

Otis Redding - Pain in my Heart

Alternate Universe(ity)

What if Antioch was a well funded liberal arts college instead of a decrepit and mismanaged heap of bricks? The rabbit and I took the bus down to Reed College last night. We have a friend on faculty who invited us to come over for the Renn Fayre. It has nothing to do with renaissance fair, instead its an annual three day party they have to commemorate the end of the term complete with fireworks, music, all sorts of strange installations set up on the commons and general mayhem. It gets kicked off when the seniors hand in their final papers and then burn the notes in a big fire in the middle of campus. Tonight Girl Talk is going to be playing to close the whole thing out. We wandered around the heavily decorated campus and I was amazed by how opulent the place was and how much money the school plowed into this party. At one point they threw hundreds and hundreds of glow sticks to the kids, free food was everywhere, and the vibe was very cool. What if, indeed.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

From the archives

about a bazillion years ago, I made a hour long documentary about women in music and politics called Radical Act. It showed just a very few places, but did get into the big les and gay film fest in LA called outfest in 1996. i got to fly out for it and it was at the Director's Guild of America and i felt very glamorous and this was long before I actually glamorous, back in my awkward school days. I found a few little traces of Radical Act's existence on the web, including in a compilation that Miranda July used to put together called Break My Chain Letter which was a video zine. ANYHOW, a friend dusted off her old copy of the movie recently and encouraged me to put it on DVD and get it out there as a little time capsule of what was going on in 94-95. So I submitted it to the Siren Nation film festival here in town and I hope it gets in.

Swearing at Justices

The rabbit and I went down to the campus of Willamette University to get sworn in as lawyers this afternoon. All the supreme court justices were there and screaming babies and free cheese at the reception. Hooray!