Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I spent the summer wastin'


I don't have any grand proclamations or interesting stories right now. What, with summer under way, I just haven't been much in the mood for blogging. I did go to Sun River this weekend which was just okay. It is in a pretty area (see above) but too wholesome-family-fun-resortish for my tastes. But it was a great place to see a triathlon. Stay tuned for more thrills.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Game of Pricks

This has been a soggy intense week that culminated with my first argument live and in person before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. I am very happy with how it went and while it is always tough to win a case there for my clients, I can say that I optimized the situation. And so it goes. I worked a gazillion hours getting ready and am so glad it is over.

And as my reward, I found this hilarious video of Owen Pallett (Canadian Final Fantasy guy) covering the venerable indie rockers, Guided by Voices. He says he used to really like them but seeing them live was scary! I miss/don't miss being in the midwest for this reason. Because rock shows out of Dayton Ohio are rowdy and you never know when meathead guy is going to flip out and start hurling beers at the band. This has not happened in Portland on my watch.


Owen Pallett covers Guided By Voices

The hat tip for finding this goes to End Hits, which has an equally hilarious post about whether the Jimmy Eat World cover of this song is better than the original. Such a quandary.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sasquatch 2010

I drove over 500 miles, slept on the ground for three days, and ate out of a cooler from items purchased at a Walmart because I have to rock! And that is just what happened at Sasquatch. After a lot of sun and wind, and not a lot of rest over the past several days, I will leave the detailed reviews of the shows to another writer. Imagine me, like a real sasquatch, pointing in the air and grunting the names of favorite shows from the weekend while jumping up and down: LCD Soundsystem!, Tune-Yards!, Nada Surf! Pavement! Avi Buffalo! And I was knocked out by the Vampire Weekend set and especially, most especially The New Pornographers. There is a deeply good thing that happens to my mind and body when I stand in front of the New Pornographers and they all sing The Bleeding Heart Show all at once in a loud and textured harmony.

The New Pornographers - My Rights versus Yours

I'm not going to tell you that camping for days with thousands of twenty-somethings is glamorous. But the music was great, and my brother and his wife came out from Texas, and we had a jolly excellent time and I dare say I would do it again.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I don't complain until May


But here we are in May, and the Portland weather can't manage to get above 60 and it rained every day this week. And most of last week. And it is supposed to rain next week. And be cold. No warm spring breezes. Lots of hail. The story goes that you can't count on the weather to be decent until Rose Parade, and then even then, not really reliably until the Fourth of July. The good news is that it doesn't start raining again until the beginning of October.




Black Rain, Black Rain - A.A. Bondy

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

When foodie passion attacks


If it were April Fool's day, I would be rolling on the floor, but here we are in May. This weekend, Portland hosted a prestigious annual food event, the Cochon 555. I did not get to go, though every year I sort of want to. It is for charity, but it is spendy. It goes like this: 5 pigs, 5 chefs, 5 winemakers. There's a contest to see who made the best dinner. Everyone gets to taste. All the money goes to a hunger relief charity.

But the whole party got way out of hand and turned into a melee because a non-participating local chef went berserk. While ranting about "the need to support local farmers" and use local ingredients, he started head butting people. In a very Portland fashion, he was escorted out and directed to cool off in the strip club Magic Gardens, a few blocks away. But he was still so very very angry! You see, the Prince of Porc award had been given to Jason Barwikowski of Olympic Provisions and his pig was from IOWA! INJUSTICE! FLASH RIOT! With three of the five pigs originating from Oregon, the angry young chef was inconsolable- how could any pig other than a local Oregon pig have won the contest. It is an abomination!

And so, while still screaming about locally sourced food, he found the 555 event organizer at the Magic Gardens, broke his leg and gave him a concussion. As he attacked the organizer, he was reported to have yelled, "Food doesn't come from San Francisco, food comes from Portland!"

I am not making this up. Everyone can make fun of Portland foodie ways for as long as they want starting NOW.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Reaching the Beach


I was more than a little nervous about getting on a bicycle and riding it 55 miles over the coastal range. I am quite glad that someone agreed to do it with me so that I could not back out. I did some training to get ready and held tight to the wild and crazy idea that I just might pull it off. Oh wow, was that an incredibly fun day and I would do it again right this very minute if somebody let me.

The whole excursion involved over 3000 cyclists and was put on by the American Lung Association. The route started in Portland (for those wanting to cycle 100 miles) and ended in Pacific City, Oregon. I hitched up my padded bicycle shorts and headed out at about 9:15am or so from Amity, Oregon and rode west through Sheridan (past the prison) Grand Ronde (past the indian reservation) up through the Siuslaw National Forest, and down the most exhilarating curving hills ever at 35 miles per hr? Not sure. I was going FAST. I wasn't worried since I had a helmet on. No problem. It was a gorgeous day and between the mountains and the farmland and forests and the ocean, the views and terrain were amazing.



After about 30 miles, my legs started to hurt like a bastard. Not muscle hurt so much as lactic acid crampy hurting. It went away about 30 minutes after I finished the ride. The old timers said it was because I did not have enough electrolytes and that I can "power through it." I'll work on that.

My favorite parts of the ride involved trying to keep up with the Lazy Tarantulas, pedaling past little waterfalls, and my friend yelling at cars in traffic to ask how fast we were going, according to their speedometers. OH YEAH and seeing the guy in the green spandex body suit who did the whole 100 mile ride on a unicycle.



The whole ride was to benefit the lung association, and it sure did feel nice to breathe all that clean air on my way down the road. My two inspirations for the ride were quitting smoking last year and going to my cousin's funeral after she died from a very fast moving lung cancer called mesothelioma. Bad business. She was just 22. The lung association is all over that problem, along with general air quality efforts. They are awesome. If you are so inclined, kick a few bucks towards my fundraising (it's not too late!) by making a tax deductible donation to the American Lung Association here.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Waypost


There is the most darling little community space over on Williams called Waypost. It's not really a bar, and not really a coffee house, and not really a living room, but a lot like all three. I've been to a couple of readings there, and then last night I attended a history lecture of sorts called Northwest Passage. It was put on by the Dill Pickle Club, which is a quirky people's history buff's group. First, Calvin Johnson told us about the history of the Portland punk scene as he experienced it and how much he loved Clockwork Joe's. Next, Vanessa Renwick showed a film and recording from her House of Sound installation about an old record store that was torn down some years ago that was a bastion of groovy R&B excellence. And then it was late and I had to go and I missed the last speaker. Oh, and one of the guys who owns Voo Doo Doughnuts was right next to me and he is quite a unique person. He piped up a lot during the lecture and offered to fight someone who told him to stuff it. But he seems like his heart is in the right place and he's very Portland. Definitely one of the top 10 town kooks. I love town kooks. Maybe I can be one when I grow up.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Charlotte Gainsbourg


Hi blog friend. I know I neglect you. Lots of interesting things have been happening but the thing I most long to tell you about was from a few weeks ago during my Week of Rock. I saw Eux Autres, Micachu and the Shapes, XX and some other bands all in one week. But the highlight was Charlotte Gainsbourg. Every French person in Portland was in attendance, along with the guy from the Shins and his model skinny girlfriend and Exene Cervenka who was standing right next to us. To look at, Charlotte Gainsbourg channeled Patti Smith. As a performer, she was more in the mode of Chan Marshall. Shy and quiet and moving through the song list in a workman like fashion. Kind of labored and awkward but very earnest, which made it nice. As if you criticized the understated way she occasionally tapped the snare in in front of her mic, a man in a beret would wheel around on you and berate your horrible American need to have Hannah Montana dance before you like a trained monkey. Spit. Anyways, it was really good to be there, not so much for the performance, but for every other out-of-place or quirky thing about it.

Charlotte Gainsbourg - Trick Pony

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Iowa on a Saturday


This past weekend I was hurtled through the air and transported to Minnesota/Iowa for a family wedding. My dad's side is from this area and so off into the heartland I descended. Here is what I can report.

-The people were a little bit friendlier in the midwest, not that Portland is unfriendly. But maybe my practice of shaking hands and grinning a lot when I meet people owes its origin to this region.

-People eat a lot of summer sausage in this part of the country. Way more than you would expect.

-The Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Highway is very very pretty in early May. That's the Little House on the Prairie lady.

-They light a lot of candles at Lutheran weddings and the proceedings are brief.

-In a twist of genetic destiny, it seems that all the athletic ability went to my Uncle Lyle and not to my dad. All of my cousins on that side went to college on athletic scholarships and all their kids are doing the same thing. These are great big hulking norwegian people. My second cousin Drew Clark is a linesman for the Iowa State Hawkeyes and very polite. His GPA was 4.12 and he benches 315 lbs. Look out world.

-Iowa isn't necessarily politically conservative. The motor hotel we stayed at had a framed picture of Obama and the hotel manager above the front desk, taken when Obama stayed there on the campaign trail. Much to my surprise, my dad still agreed to check in.

-In further service to my history mystery, I learned that my norwegian great grandparents were named Albert and Agnes Pederson and lived on a farm in northern Minnesota which is still in the family. Neat.

Monday in Ohio



Columbus. Not entirely un-gay.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Live Wire!



I have formed a minor and harmless addiction to going to Live Wire shows. It is a little like Prairie Home Companion perhaps, involving a radio show recorded before a live audience. Every week it seems to be at a different venue and Oregon Public Radio puts the show on and broadcasts it. It has variety acts, little skits, a couple of great musicians, and best of all, a really good poet. I am ever so fond of wordy modern American poetry delivered by its author. I have yet to find the "poetry scene" in Portland where I can reliably sit around in a beret while grooving to the poems of the locals, but Live Wire does the trick for me just as well. In the past couple of months, I saw Matthew Dickman and Derrick Brown read on the show. I am told the producers are very picky about which poets they choose. Good.

This week I went and did not get any poetry because instead, Live Wire had a bunch of comics on that were in town as part of the Bridgetown Comedy Festival. I do not have cable and am the last person on earth to hear of Maria Bamford and Tig Notaro. But I got to see them live and up close and that was a good introduction. The show also involves submitting an audience haiku based on the theme of the day and if they pick your haiku, you get to read it on the air. I'm going to keep going and writing haikus until it happens. If you are curious about this LiveWire business, episodes are free on itunes.
The photo above is Matthew Pidgeon's. He made me say it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Squirrel Holler (or something like that)



In my history mystery quest, I found out that one of my Danish great-grandmothers came to the United States around the turn of the century from a place called Eckernfoerde. It is in the peninsular part of northern Germany that connects to Denmark called Schleswig. Schleswig was a fiefdom of Denmark. Although this part of Denmark was considered part of Germany between 1864-1920, World War I resolved the issue, along with two other wars creatively titled First Schleswig War and Second Schleswig War. A little web research on why Danes were leaving Germany:

Denmark had been forced to surrender Schleswig to Prussia in 1864. Some 150,000 residents of North Schleswig were thoroughly Danish and many bitterly resented their area's new status. After Wilhelm I, King of Prussia, became Emperor of Germany in 1871, the policy of Prussia in Slesvig was essentially that of Germany. This meant the abolition of the Danish language in the schools and the conscription of young Danish men for the German military. Between 1864 and 1920, when North Schleswig was returned to Denmark as a result of a plebiscite following Germany's defeat in World War I, some 50,000 North Slesvigers immigrated to the United States. Ironically, most of these Danes appear in census statistics as immigrants from Germany rather than Denmark.


Fascinating. Although I guess Great Granny Hansen wasn't too flipped about it because she married my thoroughly German-named great-grandfather from the other side of the border (maybe near Hamburg), Fritz Droege. My great aunt told my mother he was bad news, whatever that means. At any rate, Great Granny Hansen spoke Danish along with my grandfather and his brothers, and she told the Census man she was Danish when he came around asking. Regarding the Schleswig Question, perhaps they all had an extra helping of aquavit (just before prohibition) when the matter was finally put to rest, placing Eckernfoerde on the German side in 1920.

But as veritable proof that these must be the ancestors of my homeland, I learned that the official crest of the town of Eckernfoerde (pictured above) is the squirrel. The sort of squirrel that stands on top of a castle on top of water. This must be my spirit animal. Eckernfoerde roughly translates as squirrel (eckern) and fjord (foerde), which is a bit like a holler. Squirrel Holler.



What if there was a submarine from Eckenforde that was full of squirrels? I can't understand the Russian over-dub of this video, but I think they have zeroed in on the question:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Children's Hour

The xx are from the UK and have a minimalist thing happening so there was a reasonable chance they were going to infiltrate my music collection one way or another. Tonight, I went to the big show with a pal to see them play live. They made a very interesting first record that is terribly whispery and off-the-cuff cool. I was skeptical of seeing them at the gigantic venue. The only problem was the crowd, so much as I can tell.

I pointed out to my friend that we were likely the oldest people in the room and she pointed out that it means we would have more basic space in the 21 and over designated area. For those readers outside of Oregon, its a double wide ropeline institution here that gets the youngsters in the door and against the stage while the liquor and beer is dispensed in a separate area back from the stage a bit more. The bifurcated grownups area was just more obnoxious from what I could tell. I heard a young woman with high maintenance hair say that she really hasn't curled it to go out since she was on dance team. She said it like I might say I haven't really worn a vest with a short sleeve shirt since the last time I shot pool at Cafe San Marcos.

But the XX were soft and charming. There was a coordinated light show that went along with the music that took me right on back to seeing Disintegration Tour on a warm May night in Dallas. Stacatto guitars and black clothes and thought-about-it song craft.


XX- Basic Space


XX - VCR





.
I'm in the midst of a mystery history hunt. My mother mentioned some years ago that my great grandparents lived in Portland for a little while and that my grandmother ran a hotel and coffee shop someplace near the train station. Finding out about that has been on my to-do list for some time and this week I finally started looking into it.

According to the 1910 Census Record, my great-grandparents spoke German and Danish, were recent immigrants, and had two children. One was Victor and the other was listed as "Baby Droege." That would have been my grandfather. When the census people came around on April 17, 1910, he was just 9 days old and maybe they hadn't settled on a name yet. They spoke Danish at home and had a hotel that was lodging some theater performers, a swedish family, and telegraph and telephone engineers on the day of the recording. The sheet says the place was on Sixth Street and there is no Sixth Street in Portland's downtown now. I am going to go to the historical society so that I can look at old maps and hopefully figure out just where this place was and the name of it. I also found out that my grandfather is buried in Portland at the Willamette National Cemetery, pictured above.
Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Astoria Scum River Bridge from Jason Eppink on Vimeo.


Astoria, Queens, not Astoria, Oregon.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Runaways


I knew about Joan Jett when I was a kid at the Skate Ranch roller skating rink, but I did not know of The Runaways until later. Tonight I went to the movie premiere in Portland to benefit the Rock n Roll Camp for Girls and Cherrie Currie from the band was there, which was pretty brave since the movie is somewhat about her personal destruction and drugged out lameness, followed by getting clean and becoming a chainsaw artist. She did an interesting Q and A afterwards and the movie was okay but sort of uncomfortable because it was about exploiting 15 year old girls as sex objects. And in telling that story they used 15 year old girl actresses and exploited them as sex objects. But after the screening there was a raffle! The winner got to meet Joan Jett at a nearby indian casino later this month. Speaking of which, one of the ways I can definitely tell i am getting older is that suddenly the casinos are booking musicians that I would like to see. The AARP and a Liz Phair musical at Chinook Winds are next. I have never been to Las Vegas but could be talked into it if Guided by Voices was going to be there.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My month in rock

What have I been up to lately? Well, I got a road bike in hopes of becoming one of those people in Portland that goes on epic bike trips. Even with my shiny new wheels, it is harder than it looks. I will keep trying and report back. I admit this month was not much for correspondence, but it is only because I have been busy. Let me recap:

Acid Mother Temple: Japanese psychedelic noise rock band requiring earplugs and good humor. It was a completely sold out show full of serious rock and roll geeks. So incredibly loud and idiosyncratic and great.

Tune-yards- I know people who know people and got to chit chat with Merle before her show. I had heard some of the music before but didn't really get what she was up to with all the tape loops and complicated harmonies and compositions until I saw it live. New favorite. Yodeling. Really.

Tune-yards- FIYA


Explode into Colors and Quasi- So this show was also totally sold out at the Doug Fir. Both the bands have been on tour together and just got back and after broken vans and unpredictable Texas weather. Explode into Colors explained that they had also been suffering from something called the "morrissey flu." The symptoms are feeling kind of achy and self loathing, but also secretly thinking you are the shit. After all that touring and playing the band was incredibly tight. I was reading a few other reviews and my favorite sum up is, "this is the music we need to elevate from the underground." The band is playing a show with Spoon next and about to get famous, though right now they only have an EP on their website. Goosebump giving percussive goodness, and they don't sound like anyone else. I asked out loud at the show, "Where do they come up with this stuff? Mars?"

Explode into Colors - Paper

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Yelapa



I just spent the last week tucked away in the remote Mexican coastal village of Yelapa. No computers, no cars, lots of tacos, donkeys, various insects, isolated beaches, and excellent company. We rented a place at Casas Isabel which amounted to an arrangement of cement platforms covered by palm fronds that some might call a casita, but I thought of as a vast jungle porch. We had a kitchen, an outdoor shower, a hammock, scorpion issues, and a fantastic view of the Pacific ocean. I read the short stories of ZZ Packer and hiked to a waterfall way out in the countryside. Bromeiliad air plants hung from the trees above the falls and we went splashing in the swimming hole there and climbed on the boulders.

The next day we had an amazing fish lunch in a tiny ever-more isolated village called Pizota. We played volleyball at the escuelita in a hard-fought, unexpected USA v. Mexico contest announced by the town's teacher. We hung out on a gorgeous isolated beach, all to ourselves, except for a guy repairing a fishing net in front of his casa. Later we took a boat trip out to the Marietta Islands where we ate ceviche on the beach, snorkeled, and observed the blue footed booby. There wasn't much to buy or too much to spend money on in the little town but we had a great time going to the little food tiendas for farm fresh eggs in the mornings on our way to the town's tortilla factory. Breakfast, swimming, reading, tacos, sleeping, repeat.


Vendela Vida - Dinosaur Feathers

Thursday, March 4, 2010

He is making cups


I came across an interesting artist tonight named Ehren Tool. He makes cups. I didn't actually come across him, or his actual cups, but a depiction of a performative work. It was at the Museum of Contemporary Craft and involved 1) a letter from Ehren to Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove, a defense contractor, etc, explaining that he was a marine for several years during the first Gulf War and that he had made them a cup. The letter also contained a personal statement to the subject of the letter about the prudence of war; and 2) a picture of the cup he made and sent to the subject; and 3) a letter from Karl Rove, John Negreponte, etc, thanking him for the cup and his service in the United States Marines. Each of the three part letter/picture/response sets were framed together and he had at least 7 or 8 of them on display. The cups looked like they were terracotta and some had the presidential seal stamped into them and some had a relief of bombs and what not. In a few of the letters, he mentioned that the cup is food safe. This work was part of a larger exhibit at the Museum that is going to range over several months and is very ambitious called Gestures of Resistance. Looks like Ehren will be in Portland throwing his cups in June and I can go meet him.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Wallowa


Way the heck out in the northeastern most corner of Oregon lays the Wallowa County. I had the pleasure this weekend of being invited to a big fun party there called the Thrift Store Formal that involved a lot of beautifully decked out local yahoos whooping it up and carrying on. I met a retired 60's go-go dancer turned jazz drummer, a butcher, a documentarian, a baker, a brewer, a sheep rancher, and a modern day fur trapper. Earlier in the day, the fur trapper was messing around with a grinder or some metal equipment and got a piece of metal up under his eye. We helped him out in a minor procedure that involved one person holding his eyelid open while the other held a giant magnet over his face until the metal flew out. This was the first time I ever pulled a piece of metal out of a fur trapper's eyeball but I had rookie luck and it was a success. I also got to go hiking up Chief Joseph trail to one of the prettiest spots I've ever visited. It was near Wallowa Lake, below Eagle Cap, along a mountain creek that had carved out tunnels through the snow pack. I had chicken fried steak for dinner. I played with a new born baby goat. I am very much looking forward to getting out there again, perhaps this summer with a donkey to carry my tent and frying pan.

Saturday, February 20, 2010



Nicole Reynolds- "call the guard" performing in the western pennsylvania snow on a traveling pump organ in january, 2009.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Saturday, February 6, 2010

California Weirdness


I was in California this week and stumbled upon this van sitting near a vacuum repair shop. I fancy myself well-schooled in various conspiracy theories but I had no idea that Stephen King had anything to do with the CIA. This disturbing realization was mitigated by my trip to the Charles Schultz Museum. It featured an exhibit on the history of newspaper comics from way back. I saw a few old classics that were still in publication when I was a little kid and read the funnies. I was close to forgetting about Prince Valiant and the Wizard of Id. As for Peanuts, I'm pretty sure I read all of them in books that my Aunt Maxine used to send to me. I had also forgotten how Peanuts could get sort of intellectual. He ran a strip in 1978 referring to Christo in which Snoopy's dog house was wrapped in fabric. The artists sent the museum the real thing. I saw it on the second floor.

Monday, February 1, 2010

From my office window


I'm going to be able to lean to the left and spy an ugly old federal building with a verdant new facade. Its been getting national press. I saw something a lot like it, though smaller, in a few towns in France last summer such as the central market in Avignon and perhaps Nimes. A lot of the talk around here, or in the news seems to be about the cost of the vertical greenery, whether it is a good method of insulation, etc etc. I think it is art and it is high time that the United States Government did something interesting with architecture. It has been a damn long while since the WPA.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tweed Ride!

Oxford shirt, sweater vest, vintage tie, herringbone pants, argyle socks, cap with ear flaps, canvas jacket. This is how I attired myself for the Tweed Ride yesterday. It was a parade of biking woolens, ladies in hats, vintage bicycles, and deep Portland weirdness. We started out at Skidmore Fountain with about 200 riders and then went to the Overlook Park house for tea. Really good tea, with scones to go along. Lots of folks had wicker and leather bicycle baskets outfitted with picnic materials and I spotted a few proper bone china tea cups in the crowd, held atop bicycle, with pinkie up. Next we rode on to Laurelhurst Park where we had a fashion show complete with awards, as depicted below. I'm somewhere in the crowd...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Oh my god, Herman the Sturgeon!

There's a giant giant white Sturgeon that is over 70 yrs old at the Bonneville Dam fishery! You can look at it in an underground viewing area for free. This is the most fun you can have on a rainy day in Oregon. I hit this tourist spot on the way back from cabin camping up at the Government Mineral Springs Guard Station. Very interesting to stay in a place that is all lit with built-in propane gas lamps, dark even the the day because it is surrounded by deep, thick, mossy forest. We hiked up Bunker Hill, ran around in the woods for a few days and played Scattergories. I was not gotten by a trampling Roosevelt Elk or avalanche. I learned that the whistle punk is a novice lumberjack that is supposed to blow the whistle if something bad is about to happen. I learned how to split firewood with an axe. Rugged.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Awwww


It isn't just because I saw Faye Dunaway at a vietnamese place last night, or that the Gossip played a secret show, or that it stopped raining in time for me to walk home. No, the number one reason I love Portland today is because I went to a one-of-a-kind mindblowing show at Holocene. It was a benefit of sorts for Tom Tom magazine, which is all about female drummers. Boy do they have a lot of great female drummers in Portland. The women performed in pairs and played songs they composed for the drums. And I brought my earplugs, which I usually forget but not tonight. There was a little bit of singing and a little bit of xylophone, but mostly the beat ruled the night. Rachel Blumberg (M.Ward, Norfolk & Western) with Julianna Bright (Golden Bears), Sara Lund (unwound, Hungry Ghost), Tara Jane O’neil, Janet Weiss, Emily Kingan (Lovers, The Haggard), Emily Baker, LKN with Terrica (Palo Verde), Lisa Schonberg of Explode into Colors, sts of The Haggard, Ashey Spungin (Purple Rhinestone Eagle) with Justine Valdez (Lozen) and the Brooklyn band Hot Box. I did not see all the acts. I saw a lot of them. The Rachel Blumberg/Juilanna Bright piece was especially and insanely beautiful.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Thank You for Making Soul Night Special


I am a VIP. On Thursday night I did one of my all time favorite Portland things which is to go to Hole in my Soul night at Rotture. This week was special for two very bad ass reasons: 1) Ian Svenonius was the guest DJ. 2) The regular DJ and brilliant founder of Hole in my Soul Night, DJ Beyonda, called bullshit on the night fading into some plain old dance party scene where people don't get where she's coming from. She's spinning one of the greatest working collections of Sixties soul 45s on the west coast people! So she imposed a dress code and I was thrilled because that meant I got to wear a skinny little tie and a tie clip like a real mod. We walked right in like we owned the place. We didn't even have to pay! I wish this was the reception my cross dressing engendered in the rest of the world. Red carpets and guest list treatment suit me fine.

The dancing was great, the music was spectacular, and the crowd was lovely and dressed to kill. And when I saw DJ Beyonda I thanked her for taking the party back from the forces of the mundane and she gave me a VIP pass card that says Thank You For Making Soul Night Special. Its just about my most prized possession other than the little burnt hunk of the Waco Branch Davidian Compound that I keep on my dresser.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Blanchet House


In the old town part of Portland, near the train station, there are about five square blocks that are frequently occupied by down-on-their-luck homeless adults. On a particular corner on Glisan Street, I am accustomed to seeing a queue of bundled up cold-looking people waiting in line. This saturday I found out that the line was for Blanchet House, a "hospitality house" as I was told, that serves three square meals a day to anyone looking for something to eat. A friend from a lawyer group that I'm in suggested that we go and volunteer and help serve a dinner shift. So that's what happened (and I took my mom). I think we turned out about 250 plates of bread, stew, salad, fruit and really good looking cookies donated by Zupans.

There's something very satisfying to me about feeding people, whether it be to friends out of my own kitchen, or strangers in someone else's kitchen. That the Blanchet House was serving pretty decent healthy fare made it all the nicer. Later that night, completely unrelated, I was treated to a great dinner in the home of a local french chef. He is the honest to goodness real thing, and even apprenticed in a Michelin-starred Parisian restaurant many years ago. Thank you karma. Everything was good, but the basque beans are what I'm still thinking about. In September, he threw a huge party at his restaurant in honor of the basque chile that goes in the recipe. As he explained, every fall in the small village of Espelette in the French Basque country, over 20,000 chile fanatics meet to celebrate the Piment d’Espelette. I politely asked the chef for seconds because the beans were so good.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Weekend of Winter Wonder



My mother is going to be here any minute, in town for a Mary Kay function, staying for the weekend. I had a massage today and tried to relax. I don't ever go get massages but I think I might be coming around.

I'm going to try and take my mom snowshoeing up on Mt. Hood. I learned to snowshoe recently. (Not like it is some major achievement or something. I mean, it is just walking. I know). Maybe we will see the abominable snowman. Which begs the question, at least for me, what the snowman did that is so abominable. Usery? Buggery? Playing peruvian flute music? Cheating at cards? According to this article, it is because the yeti smelled bad. Lesson learned.

The Old Graveyard - Karl Blau (I fixed the bunk link)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hello 2010.

There's a whole lot of shakin going on in the house of Tex this holiday season and I have had nary a moment to catch my breath and be terribly reflective about passing a decade. Here's what I can say for sure: I didn't get a tattoo. I quit smoking. Music makes everything better. Good friends are really important. I'm vulnerable and imperfect. I'm mostly glad I spent the last 10 yrs busting ass at work so I can spend the next 10 years fine-tuning balance and stretching to wrest just a little more fun out of my week.


Look at Miss Ohio - Blind Pilot (Gillian Welch cover)

The Short Way Home - The Builders and the Butcher


My favorite popular culture moment of the aughts: