Monday, August 31, 2009

Did you see that?

I hear that Burning Man started today, which explains what all those freaky ass cars and buses were doing on I-5 southbound for the past several days. Mystery solved.


I'm not sure what it is about getting to visit the ocean, but I am feeling just right this morning. This past weekend I drove out to Westport, WA and met up with my dear ol' pals, walked on the beach, slept under the stars, played guitars, and otherwise looked like an ad for an aging hipster summer camp. What an ideal situation.

The next morning, we went over to the nearby commercial fishing docks, lured in by hand painted sign for the fresh catch of the day. After visiting a coast guard museum that displayed huge sea mammal skeletons, we walked around on the docks to check out all the boats and crab rings. Salty dog type fisherman guys and their twenty-ish sons washed fish guts off of decks, messed around with marine engines, and otherwise got all nautical. On Dock #3 we found another family operation that was selling fish off of their boat. Check it out: the hold was full of salmon and tuna. There was a scale on deck and a bunch of plastic bags. The tuna (weighed whole) was $2.25 per pound as is and $2.50 a pound if they fileted it. We split the cost on a $30.00 fish and each walked away with about 6 pounds of just-caught-this-morning albacore filets. Bargain! I made ceviche when I got home and it was delicious. If anyone has any tuna recipes I'll be at it all week so don't be shy.

The Waterboys - Fisherman's Blues

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Picking on Sculptures

My schedule has worked out for the past couple of weeks so that I could walk to work almost every day. I don't live too far away from my office and can hustle down there in about 14 or 15 minutes if I go fast. The weather has been exceptional and I've been taking alternating routes, passing all manner of public sculptures. I like to tease Portland because I think that a great many of the public sculptures are god awful. Maybe that is true in most cities, but it seems to me that in a place like this where you'd think the taste level is at least above average, there would be fewer stinkers. I am not the only one who ridicules the public art around here. Anyways, click through to see a few of these, and of course, because it is art and you are very contrary, you may disagree:

1. Han Solo with an Umbrella

2. Portlandia (pictured above). Yikes.

3. Scary giant face made of tape sculpture. And there are TWO of them, on either side of the ballpark.

I think it is safe to say that I could do a whole other blog just about public art in Portland. I think several people have already done so and they know more about art so can be truly scathing and bitchy. But I'm not like that. In fact, I think I might be a crusty old man because my favorite Portland sculpture is the Abe Lincoln in the South Park Blocks.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Don't Get Me Wrong

This week I added another year to my age and my, my, had a fun time with that. A bunch of especially smart and good looking Portland friends gathered at Alu, a great little wine bar on MLK. I got cake, a happy birthday song, and then the hardy remainder bundled me off to The Alibi. It is an old tiki lounge with a reliable karaoke scene and lots of charm. And in case I was not already overstimulated enough, Juliette Lewis was there with a bunch of her friends and she sang a song (does anyone remember what that was?) and I got my picture taken with her. I butchered Shirley Bassey's Goldfinger and went on home. I did not linger with the hollywood actress or get her number or anything because I knew I would be seeing her again.

Indeed, my birthday present to myself was tickets to The Pretenders last night. Catpower and Juliette Lewis were the openers. They were both fine but the Pretenders were so rock and roll excellent as not to be believed. And if there is something to quickly put the aging process into vivid perspective it would be watching 58 year old Chrissie Hynde wailing out Precious in her little rubber boots and just bringing the house down. It was as impressive a show by anyone that I have probably ever seen and I got to see it outside on the McMenamin's Edgefield lawn and that made things even better.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Art 21

Perhaps I am the last person to know about this because I so very rarely watch TV these days. It's not that I've become a bookish curmudgeon. It's just that I am not home all that much and when I am I have to wash the dishes or sleep. That's all. But anyways, on a tip from Ricky Lee's netflix queue, I decided to start watching the PBS Art 21 series.

It is sort of like a video magazine that rolls through all sorts of contemporary artists, many of which I hadn't heard of or did not know much about. What a treat to see an interview with Sally Mann at her farm, or to see Ann Hamilton put an installation together. And oh my gosh there are so many seasons of this show. So many artists and ideas showcased. It just keeps going and going and you see so much stuff and when you come across a blowhard jerkwad you can just hit fast forward.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009


I have stumbled into some fun stage performance situations this summer. First off, I saw Storm Large to her one-woman show and that was okay but I think I'm a little tough to impress/shock/move when it comes to hardscrabble stories because I hear it all day. The music was nice and now I can say I know who Storm Large is. Okay. The more exciting piece was back over at Milepost 5 which is AWESOME and you should hurry your ass over to this weekend because The Manor of Art show is coming down on Sunday. And last night that show included theatrical pieces in conjunction with the Hand2Mouth Theater group. Angela Fair blew me away with a funny, tragic, pitch perfect monologue sort of number that incorporated costume, video, a karaoke bar nervous breakdown, and an ethereal technical support call from the cosmos. I could get really into going to see performance art stuff all the time if it was all this good. Note to self: go see more theater.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ed Sharpe

While trying on a sweater in the dressing room of a downtown Portland clothes shop, I discovered this band playing, asked the clerk who they were, and went and got the album. And, as luck would have it, they are going to be playing in Portland in a few weeks. New band to like!

Ed Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Up From Below

Ed Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Home


Sunday, August 16, 2009

And We're Back

Sorry for the long absence. Between my vacation from the grid and a computer repair, its been a long time. But enough about me, how have you been? During this radio silence, the following occurred:

1). Michfest. My annual pilgrimage was so totally worth it once again. I visited my dear ones in Kalamazoo on the way in and borrowed a little kid-sized $10 guitar. I made my way on to The Land out in the middle-of-nowhere Michigan on Monday and played music all week. Harry Nilsson, David Bowie, Jo Carol Pierce, Freakwater, etc etc. I haven't sat down and played and played like that in about ten years but my fingers remembered the way eventually, and I was real happy to get home and try out all my new mad skills on my Takamine. As far as the festival goes, Sia was AMAZING.

2). Manor of Art! I'm not exactly sure what the deal is, but there's an old nursing home in NE portland that has been taken over by artists and bands. Every room is an installation or an artist specific gallery. Even the toilets were bedazzled by the art pranksters with action figures, paint and whatnot. HURRY. It's only going to be up for another 8 days or so. My favorite part was watching jack ass Portlanders run through the labyrinthine space playing laser tag. Perfect.