April 2011

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Another Portland Blog

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


A snapshot from yesterday's protest

Before the window breaking and the arrests and all of that, of course.

More here.


Friday, March 26, 2010


Roadhouse: The Play

Roadhouse: you may think that this meme jumped the shark when Family Guy devoted half of an episode to mocking the 1989 Patrick Swayze action flick. Yeah, well, there's still some life left in the dang thing. Road House: The Play proves it.

Uhhhhh.....that totally wasn't a riff on the untimely passing of "The Swayze" last fall, I swear.

The movie transitions to the stage pretty well and the local cast does a great job of capturing the goofy spirit of the source material. It isn't an outright parody, although Portland Mercury editor Wm. Stephen Humphrey does play the part of Carrie, the sex-starved bartendress. And a guitarist on the side of the stage plays "She's Like the Wind" twice. And the actor playing Dalton hams up the tai chi scene. And the narrator gets it on with Wade at one point. And....all right, fine. It's a parody.

Anyway, it's a fantastic production, even if the cast resorts to using a panda bear costume for the *polar* bear scene. Yeah, yeah, we fans can be total asshole sticklers about these sort of details.

Road House: The Play will be back on stage at the Someday Lounge tonight and tomorrow night. Details and more can be found over here.

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Part of the reading selection at the Woodstock Papachino's

Just thought you might like to know.


Thursday, March 25, 2010


Cats singing. And dancing. Mass hysteria

Sometime in the '90s, my then 13 year-old sister Shanna convinced my parents to let her adopt a kitten. He was a "tuxedo kitty." I'm sure you've seen the type before. Black all over with the exception of a large, white spot across his chest and stomach. Add a red collar and they're ready to go for a night on the town.

Having just seen a touring Broadway production of Cats at the Civic Auditorium, she insisted on naming the kitten "Magical Mr. Mistoffolees." While completely lovable, he never quite managed to live up to his namesake. Instead of being adept at magic and card tricks, his primary skills were limited to jumping on the kitchen counter, gorging himself on Science Diet and making weird, gurgling noises. Within a year, Magical Mr. Mistoffolees weighed over 15 pounds and only Shanna could pronounce his name properly.

ME, CIRCA 1996: "Shanna, Magic Mr. Miserdorfer..."


ME: "Yeah, Mystical Senor Magefeline...."


ME: "Whatever his name is, he just puked on the bean bag chair. Again."

Why do I bring this up? Well, if only to awkwardly point out that the only people in this country that are psychologically capable of enjoying Cats are women, or males of a certain persuasion, between the ages of 6 and 14 or over the age of 45. For everyone else it's an endurance test. During the intermission at the Keller on Tuesday night, I overheard no less than four different matriarchs contending with a husband or a son that desperately wanted to flee the building.

Is it that bad? Not really, if you're willing to overlook the fact that Cats doesn't really have a describable plotline, has a synthesizer soundtrack heavily cemented in the early '80s and consists entirely of castmembers dressed up as feline versions of David Bowie circa 1972 jumping all over the place. Also: the set is cool and when Mister Mistoffolees rolls out for his number he sends streamers shooting out into the crowd.

Streamers! Just like at a Blazer game! Very exciting!

Cats is playing at the Keller through Sunday, March 28th. Tickets and further info can be found over here.


Thursday, March 18, 2010


Snapshots of an early spring in Portland, sans context


Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Scenes from the 2010 Portland Urban Iditarod

On Saturday the annual Portland Urban Iditarod was....run? Staggered through? Ok, I can't come up with an appropriate verb. Nevertheless, here's some snapshots from this year's beer-fueled hipster melee:

One of the most inspired entrants this year was the Last Supper cart. A member of their team was wandering through the crowd at the race's final stop with a "magic" water-into-wine jug, offering to perform miracles for anyone with an empty cup.

Remember Spaceballs? I remember Spaceballs.

My personal favorite: the JFK assassination team. While they were definitely contenders for this year's most offensive cart, the award probably belongs in the hands of "Team Greg Oden." For photos of their efforts, click here (NSFW). The JFK team had a President Kennedy, a blood-covered Jackie O, a Fidel Castro, several secret servicemen, a Lee Harvey Oswald and, yeah, a Marylin Monroe. They also brought two carts with them: a limo and a book depository. Although, the question must be posed: too soon?

And who could forget the roaring Godzilla cart and the big lizard's, uh, "little lizard"? The Hello Kitty ornaments were definitely an inspired touch.

This was my second urban iditarod and I'm still not too clear on how the rules work. Or if there are rules. I guess this guy was the MC and determined when the teams would stop, say, breaking windows on the second floor of the Barracuda Bar and Lounge and race off to their next destination. He did have a whistle with him.

Anyway, click here for an obligatory Flickr gallery and/or over here for photos from last year's iditarod.

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Friday, March 12, 2010


The South Park Blocks

For me, the past few weeks have mostly been a blur of take-home finals, essays, coffee shops and the PSU library. This doesn't leave a lot to blog about. The South Park Blocks, which run through the middle of the Portland State campus, do break up the monotony though. They're the closest thing the school has to a plaza or a courtyard. As with any school, there's the "campus characters," activists and others that keep things interesting and they all tend to hang out in the Park Blocks.

One bloke who immediately springs to mind is "Bible Guy." He's heavy-set, bearded and wears a multi-colored hat. I don't know what his story is but I've heard that he's a member of "Jews for Jesus." Bible Guy hangs around outside of the Smith Memorial Union, loudly preaching the gospel according to himself. On sunny days he can draw a crowd of dozens and graduate students in the school's science department love to bicker with him.

On the way over to the Market Street Pub the other day, I paused to watch one of them scream at Bible Guy about the true age of the planet. The graduate student became so frustrated that he began screaming, "there are rocks on Earth that are, unequivocally, millions of years old!" Bible Guy took this time to meditate until his debater ran out of steam before launching into a passage from the New Testament.

There's other odd sights and moments that make me wish I had my iPhone's camera drawn and ready to fire as I rush between classes. One morning, I encountered a preschool teacher leading a line of tots past a "Have You Hugged Your Local Abortion Doctor Lately?" kiosk being hosted by two students from Planned Parenthood. This past Wednesday, the first thing that caught my eye when I set foot on campus was a middle-aged gentleman pushing a stroller with a large, plush hot-dog sitting in the seat. Trotting alongside him was a dachshund in a white sweater. Behind them, six adorable puppies were rushing to catch up. It was another moment in need of further context but I didn't feel up to the task of running after this "Dachshund Pied Piper" to ask him what was up. Yesterday, a student activist dressed-up as a tree growled at me as I headed off in search of coffee.

I'm much better at capturing photos of stationary objects, like this fire-hydrant/toilet art display that someone left on top of a manhole cover. There's also this guy, who rolled onto campus last week in a Winnebago. He was with a hippie jam band that had been hired to play a set at a student protest over incorporating the Oregon University System. As I walked up, he spat a cigarette butt at me. Undaunted, I asked him if I could take his picture. He obliged and even smiled for the shot.


Sunday, March 07, 2010


Oscar predictions

Last year I went 10 for 16. I can do better this year, I just know it...


Jeff Bridges

Christopher Plummer

Sandra Bullock


BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: Up (sorry, Coraline)




BEST DIRECTOR: Kathryn Bigelow




"The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)"


UPDATE: Ok, 11 for 15. I've had worse years.


Wednesday, March 03, 2010


On the air at KPSU

I participated in a panel on KPSU's The Debate Hour last weekend. Among the issues discussed: should women in the military be allowed to serve on submarines, was PPD's actions in the death of Aaron Campbell racially motivated, should pole dancing become an Olympic sport and what's the best way to cure Greece's lagging economy. The panel's verdicts: yep, nope, yep and...I can only remember my own lame suggestion (that the former owner of Greek Cusina and the restaurant's inflatable octopus head overseas to host a bake sale).

It was interesting to compare KPSU's studio to the one I used as a KWVA DJ at the University of Oregon back in the day. Both have fairly spartan setups. KWVA is housed in a former bathroom on the nearly forgotten mezzanine level of U of O's EMU. KPSU is buried in the basement of the downtown campus' SMU. Students "run the board" while hosting shows and seem to have the same trouble operating each station's call-in system. I volunteered at KWVA for something like three years and never really got the hang of putting listeners on the air.

A tip of the hat goes out to The Debate Hour's host, Captain AP (the bloke in the Giants' cap). All sixty-two minutes of the show can be downloaded over here on KPSU's website. Like a lot of people, I can't stand the sound of my own voice so I only managed to make it through the first three minutes.

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