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


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


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.