Sunday, March 22, 2009

Two Awesome Things

1. Brunch at the Renegade Dinner Club. Billy came to visit for the weekend and as luck would have it, Colleen was making brunch at her dinner club. It's a loft space in an artist warehouse down near the river in southeast. You have to have a code to get in, and you climb up stairs through hallways that look like the set of Blade Runner. She's behind one of the many doors cooking up a storm. This morning she served gruyere toasts, a green salad with this amazing pickled carrot and allspice dressing, and eggs poached in red wine with bacon or something like that. There were a bunch of random people there and we drank strong coffee and chit chatted and generally felt incredibly lucky to be in the honey gold room on a rainy Portland morning.

2. The last time I ate at Colleen's I met an artist named Vanessa Renwick who operates as something called the Oregon Department of Kick Ass. She has a very cool installation up right now at the New American Art Union on Ankeny that goes something like this: a big room with some living room furniture on a shag rug. There's a record player with a bunch of great soul records. There's a little sign that says something to the effect of "You are welcome to play a record." Meanwhile, a large screen is playing a black and white film of a razed city block in north Portland where an old record shop used to stand called The House of Sound. The old sign from the House of Sound sits midway through the room, with votive candles spread out in front of it. Long matches are provided so that you can light a candle. I did. In addition to the sound of the soul music coming off the turntable, the house speakers broadcast a community radio program featuring two guys talking about the importance of the record shop in the black community in North Portland and reminiscing about the scene there back in the day. The whole exhibit is a touching elegy for lost space. It's going to be up through April 19.

Cymande - Brothers on the Slide

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