Saturday, February 28, 2009

Nikki McClure

There's a show of Nikki McClure's original works up on the top floor of Powell's Books right now. Am I totally the last person to know that all of her work is made from paper cuts? Did you already know that? I didn't realize it until I saw them up close and then I asked somebody and they were like, "Yeah, dude, they are all like that. Duh." Learn something new everyday. And then last night I saw this little vox populi documentary about Olympia called 9 Weeks by Kanako Wynkoop and Stefan Simikich. Its about the various characters around town, one of whom was Nikki McClure. She had scissors and exacto. Is everyone in Olympia famous? Is that were you go for your 15 scenester minutes? It was just one creative genius after another.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Wonder Twins

I think about the Wonder Twins all the time. I'm serious. But it wasn't until last night that I realized I could just summon them up on youtube. And its just like I remember. The girl, Jayna can turn into animals. The boy, Zan, very often turns into a bucket. They have a monkey, they fight crime, and they are purple. It's obviously a very exciting lifestyle, hence my longstanding interest. I came across one episode in which Jayna turns herself into what sounded like an "Exxorian Yeti." I had to replay it a couple of times. Tried looking up different spellings: uxorious yeti? exorbanant yeti? And then I reached deep down into a geeky fan boy place that I did not know I had and figured out that the Wonder Twins are from the Planet Exxor and the Exxorian Yeti is a creature from their homeland. Wow.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ski Bowl!

I only fell down twice and did not break any limbs. This is a successful ski trip in my book. It was raining down at the bottom of the hill, but when we took the lift way, way to the tippy top, into the spooky mist, it was sort of snowing. The scene was all the more ghostly because barely anyone came skiing this weekend. It hasn't snowed in weeks and so the skiing was mushy like creamed sugar. My favorite part was watching my daring six-foot novice companion point her skis straight down the hill and go hurtling full bore down the mountain. Without brakes, until smashing into into the snow and then getting up and doing it again. Amazing.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Lo Fi Basement

Deep down in the cold basement of re-purposed house in southeast is The Artistery. Its all ages, they give out free tea and lemon cake, and all the patrons gather near the stage on worn out carpet and broken down couches. I saw three really great acts for a couple of dollars. Bognor played first and he was just a guy with a guitar who wrote great pop ballads. He said that night he was playing with the band for the first time ever and you wouldn't have believed it. Next was L.A.K.E., a band from Olympia that makes breathy multi-instrumental choral danceable jangle rock. They look like a basement band but sound like euro-pop in the manner of Weekend. And then Karl Blau played and he was the reason I showed up in the first place since he is awesome. He played the most beautiful cover of Tom T. Hall's That's How I Got to Memphis and then L.A.K.E. was his backing band for the rest of the night.

Bognor - Unison

L.A.K.E. - Oh, the Places We'll Go

Karl Blau - Slow Down, Joe

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cabaret with a Q

I haven't been much of a correspondent this week, but I HAVE been doing all manner of fun stuff. Take last night for instance. I went to the Q Center here in Portland, which is the gay community center. Once a month they have this great showtunes night called Cabaret with a Q which is the gayest thing ever known to exist and which is also totally wholesome. Songbooks are handed out, page numbers are announced, and the queers sing showtunes in unison in front of a red velvet curtain while the charming and talented Glenn plays the piano. It felt a little like church and a little like what a gay old folks home would be doing as an alternative to bingo night. People take turns leading the songs and then sing Cabaret at the top of their lungs for the closing show stopper. Always leave them wanting more. That's show biz!

West Side Story - Gee, Officer Krupke

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Japanese Garden

You know, the weather hasn't been half bad for Oregon this winter. Again, today- sunny. It was like this Monday, inspiring a hike to the Japanese Garden which was open for free on account of the holiday. Going into Forest/Washington Park inevitably involves my getting lost, but at least this time is was morning and not dusk when I took the wrong path down the wrong winding trail. In other news, I finally finished a habeas project that I have been working on, sporadically, for months. Let my people go. I kinda have a little cold I think. I need vitamin C and naps. Bleh.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Blossom Dearie

Missed this last week. Blossom Dearie, one of my very favorite performers ever, passed away last week at the ripe old age of 84. She was one of the last of the great NYC supper club players.

Blossom Dearie - Peel Me a Grape

Blossom Dearie - Everything I've Got

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Late Night Grind

It was part 2 this evening of some seriously long nights at the office. Will likely have another one tomorrow, though I hope not. Habeas corpus is holding me hostage. It's a good case though. I'm TIRED. Writing is SLOW. The deadline draws near...

The Heartless Bastards - Hold Your Head High

Devotchka - Too Tired

Guided by Voices - As We Go Up, We Go Down


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Unintimidated by the Year of the Ox

Last night the Chinese Garden down in the Pearl District was open to the public for free on account of the Chinese New Year celebrations. It was dark, wet and packed. The main event was the blossom looking LED lit things floating on the water but mostly I was interested in the giant porous rocks hauled over from Lake Tai that they fashioned into grottoes and presented as sculptures.

I was born in the year of the Ox and this is the year of the Ox and so maybe that means something for me? Here's what they say about Ox people: "People born in the year of the ox are good listeners and have strong ideas." I am down with the strong ideas part. The listening is intermittent.

Ox - Surrender (Cheap Trick cover)

The Deep Dark Woods - Where Have The Summers Gone?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

House Show

I feel like a real queer Portlander now. Last night I went to a house show with a friend that was being put on to raise money for a top-surgery. It was held in this big punk/hippy sorta house with a vast porch and all sorts of nice people came to hang out. The kitchen contained a donation jar and a remarkable assortment of vegan and sugar free baked goods. The carob brownies! And the music was REALLY very good, which I wasn't necessarily expecting. It was a treat to hear the musicians play a living room gig because it was pretty obvious that they do much bigger venues most of the time. They were both recent Brooklyn transplants and extolled the virtues of Portland where the people and life are so much nicer. As an unforeseen consequence, the pleasant life offers less consternation for songwriting. Good problem, I say. Malcolm Rollick is a drifting troubador who seemed to write a lot of her stuff on the fly and sounded great doing it. I talked to her a little and learned that she's about to ride her bicycle, with guitar, across the fruited plains, perhaps all the way to the Atlantic on a tour. Wow. The second set was Katie Sawicki, who played a very beautiful Gibson Les Paul. We were stacked on couches and the floor, eating our vegan cookies and getting our singer-songwriter on. Lucky.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Kirk the Busker

So there's this busker who has a trumpet and a keyboard on a cart, and a bunch of odd little toys. Every afternoon at rush hour, he hauls his cart and a chair up to the western on-ramp to the Hawthorne Bridge and plays his songs. I can hear him from my desk up on the 16th floor and he always gets my attention when he bleats out the theme from Star Wars. I can't imagine that he rakes in too much because it is a busy on-ramp and he's rather busy playing. The cars go by pretty fast there. But whether it is for love or money, he is very consistent, and always decked out in a white suit. Sometimes mickey mouse ears. I did a little research and found out his name is Kirk Reeves. Anyways, I was at Safeway the other night buying groceries and he was ahead of me in line. He had on his suit and was still wheeling his cart of toys and instruments even though it was after 10pm. He was skimming the National Enquirer's article about the octuplet mom.