Friday, July 31, 2009

Back to the Midwest

I'll be spending the next week in the middle-of-nowhere camping and not listening to Guided by Voices. See you then.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

It was so hot out...

...that I reserved the cabin at the end of this road for a weekend in January. I'll have to remember how unbearably hot it was while I am chattering my teeth in that cabin.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Very Hot Out

The lady on 10th Avenue used her most diplomatic voice when she asked, "Are you a robot or a real person?" But it is extremely hot out right now in Portland. Almost no one has air conditioning. It was hot all night long and no one slept very well. Whereas normally the woman on the corner might have patiently replied that she was human and not humanoid, today is no day for niceties. So she screamed, very loudly, "I AM A HUMAN BEING NOT A ROBOT! NOW LEAVE ME ALONE!" The startled questioner was perplexed by all the hostility. (Was this robot programmed to attack when confronted?) She kept looking back over her shoulder and made her sweaty way on up the street. This is all true and I saw it on my way to work.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sallie Ford

I have been running my most recent Portland visitor through an obstacle course of musical performances this weekend. We went over to PDX POP NOW this afternoon and happened upon Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside's set. Wow wow wow. I think she's going to be a star.

Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside - Not an Animal

Friday, July 24, 2009

Musical July

I am continually preoccupied with music, but this July has been especially tuneful, and a lot has been going on at work, and I have fallen off a bit in my posting frequency. But please let me tell you about these three things:

1. Free shows downtown. I look a bit funny in my suit down there with the bands but that's okay. This week I saw Mirah and the Portland Cello Project play together and that was so pretty to see outdoors. The thing I like about Mirah is seeing her live and how much control she has over that amazing voice of hers. And a bunch of cellos backing her up, all the better. Earlier in the week was the PDX POP NOW kickoff show at city hall featuring Y La Bamba, Point Juncture, WA, and Yacht. The voodoo doughnut truck was there along with a whole mess of scenesters. I am way looking forward to taking full advantage of that POP NOW fest because last year it was an amazing cavalcade of great bands and this year's lineup is even better. Yes, it is like heaven.

2. Walking down Ainsworth Ave. on a Sunday morning and happening upon a full-on gospel service in full glorious swing at a tiny little store-front church. Not enough to witness me away from atheism, but the most persuasive reason I can think of.

3. Hosted a fundraiser for Siren Nation at Every Day Wine on Alberta. It was SO FUN and I hope I can do it again. We made a little money for the festival but more importantly, I got to hang out with a bunch of great ladies and Ashleigh Flynn played us a little set and all the wine that was featured came from women-owned vineyards.

More later... must go see more shows...

Mirah - Generosity

The Portland Cello Project - Travel (featuring Justin Powers)

Y La Bamba - Fasting in San Francisco

Monday, July 20, 2009


Tomorrow I am doing something at my office that we call a staffing. I have a tricky case and so I am hoping all the brilliant minds will descend into the large conference room on the 16th floor and read over some memos about the facts and brainstorm with me about how I am going to work it all out. Because it is a hot week here in Portland, in the 90's, I'm going to serve Texas-style limeade. I am hoping if the exciting subject matter does not bring in the crowd, limeade will do the trick. Wish me luck.

Also, I should probably get a fan for my apartment.


So this is why people like summer in Portland

I didn't plan too much for this weekend. I had some great birthday parties to go to, and I did a big giant hike up and down to Pittock Mansion. And then I got this unexpected invitation to go sit on the beach at Sauvie Island and eat sandwiches and watch the Columbia River roll by. I put on my best sunscreen and floppy straw hat and had a jolly afternoon. But then, it was time to go. But we COULDN'T. There was a brush fire somewhere and they closed the road. There's only one road and one bridge off the island. No escape. I'll tell you, this Pacific Northwest does not mess around when it comes to outdoor adventures... people get lost in the woods, fall off trails to their doom, all sorts of things. Since Sauvie Island is a bucolic slice of midwestern berry picking farm country, I thought it would be alright, what could happen so long as I did not go swimming? BRUSHFIRE! So instead of sitting on a two lane road of crabby traffic, we just went back to the beach until the fire went out or something. I am dirty with sand and sunblock and happy not to have been consumed by the flames and glad I spent the whole day outside.

WAVVES - Beach Demon

Goldfrapp - Happiness


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bluegrass Hippie Magik

A friend whisked me off into the woods south of Portland this evening for something called The NW String Summit and we had all access passes and I got to see The Bad Livers address a crowd of friendly hippies and their children. A very, very drunk seeming woman made me a pulled pork burrito for my dinner. And then I got to meet Dan Barnes, who could not be nicer. I am ready now, having dipped my toe in, for full summer music fest madness. All hail Bad Livers.

The Bad Livers - Jesus is on the Mainline

The Bad Livers - Ghost Train

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Rumor had it...

...last night that Dave Chappelle was going to do a secret show at Pioneer Square at midnight. I'm not clear on the details about how this rumor got started, but I got 2 texts about it from friends and headed down there where I found a huge crowd of 10,000 or so people who had gotten the same message. We waited for about 45 minutes to see if Chappelle was going to show up, but the tug of the day job won over and we went home. Sometime around 1am, Chappelle made good on the rumor and donned the stage with a tiny practice amp and a mic. Even though I left and wouldn't have been able to hear anyways, participating in this strange collective hysteria was worth going staying up for. Portland gone wild!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

40% Hearing Loss

Sure, yeah, I go to rock shows. Or at least I say I do, but quite often I'm actually at pop shows. or folk shows. Last night I crossed over a bright differentiating line and was definitely at a rock show. Subarachnoid Space has two guys from Ohio in it who are friends of the friends that are staying with me. I probably would not have come across them if I hadn't been tagging along. They were down in the basement of a bar, blasting instrumental psychedelic rock jams and an earthshaking volume. There were about 50 people in the room, all around my age, sending out a friendly "you must be pretty cool if you came out to see this" fraternal vibe. I recognized a couple of verifiable rock stars in the crowd. It was like this: everyone in the band was wearing white. They are led by a prog rock warrior goddess named Melynda Jackson who has the aura of a cult leader and is in charge of conducting the fantastically loud and roaring crescendos, stops, and feedback. She played the guitar with her teeth at one point. These folks are going on a tour soon and you should try to see them (or book them) if you aren't from around here. I think they play in Portland a lot. Oh, and there was this two-piece band I saw a couple of weeks ago which also blew my mind with rockness and they are called Mustaphamond. You should see them too.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I have been treated to many a visit this summer by friends from far and wide, and my futon couch remains booked through the end of the month. Work has been a little bit more challenging than usual, so I am extra lucky to have old pals waiting for me at home at the end of the day. And I get to show off Portland. Last night we went all over the place, the highlight for me being a gallery opening at worksound that featured a bunch of Portland photographers showing off their portrait work. Gus Van Sant was in the show, and I am pretty sure also in attendance. No time to blog with all this running around to do. So forgive me or come visit. In the meantime, there's something insane going on between two food carts near my apartment.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Just a Tuesday

I'm not sure why people in Portland aren't losing their minds for the restaurant on N. Williams called Lincoln, but I had a second really great, fairly priced dinner there tonight. AND I kicked ass and took names during my work day, AND I discovered I was born less than a mile from the Mississippi River AND I got to see Tara Jane O'Neil play esoteric atmospheric rock at Valentines AND I got to listen to an old Prince record while standing in line at VooDoo doughnut with my brilliant visitor friends from Ohio. All in all, a rather fine July day.

Tara Jane O'Neil - Pearl into Sand

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Full Tilt Summer

If I ever had a better 4th of July weekend, I don't recall it. And mostly I'm keeping track of this one by the way it smelled. There was an honest to goodness seabreeze blowing down the Willamette on Saturday night, so much that I expected to look out over the water and see the Pacific. My pals and I took the max down to the river and walked across the Burnside Bridge just as the fireworks were going off. My friend Joe used to have a professional gig as a fireworks pyro guy, setting off displays with a company out of Ohio. He said the evening was perfect for the fireworks because there was just enough wind to blow the smoke away, but not so much as to mess with the rockets. With all the sanctioned and outlaw explosives going off in town, the air also smelled like gunpowder, sulfur, city and hot dogs.

We spent the day driving around the Willamette Valley visiting wineries as part of a benefit for EcoTrust and their farm to schools program, geared at getting more local produce into the school cafeterias in Portland. We went to Anne Amie, Coelho, Four Graces, and Amity Vineyards. It was mostly about the pinot grape and a few others, and it was a totally beautiful hot day. All the mountains were out. This morning was a gigantic brunch and a bike ride and now I'm just going to watch the sun go down on Sunday.

Vic Chesnutt - Independence Day

Galaxie 500 - Fourth of July


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Not cool, Ft. Worth

The gist: A new gay bar in Ft. Worth called the Rainbow Connection was raided by police last week. The lovers, the dreamers, and a whole bunch of homophobic cops. One guy is the hospital in critical condition and seven others were arrested. The cops said they went to the bar to check on whether anyone was publicly intoxicated. They claim they had to get rowdy because someone "touched" them. Uh huh.

I grew up in the area and heaven knows why I left.