Bullet points

  • I had a three-day weekend. So far I have managed to accomplish absolutely nothing productive. At this rate, I may as well cultivate a drug addiction -- it wouldn't make much of a difference.

  • Say hello to Bye and Bye, my new favorite neighborhood bar on 10th & Alberta (only a few blocks away from my house). Just opened last week in a nicely renovated mid-century building, cool art, big patio, attractive staff, but the vegan menu strangely lacks any shareable finger-food (except for $2 chips & salsa). C'mon, it's a bar, serve some french fries. I'm not so sure about southern style fake meat, but I'll go there to drink, not eat. Approximately 75% of the bikes I counted parked outside on "Portland's biggest bike rack" were fixies.

  • Maybe I'll have to take a trip to New York before the year's over -- I just read about the Richard Prince retrospective at the Guggenheim. I've been meaning to make a replica of one of his muscle car hood sculptures to hang out my wall. I'm sure he wouldn't mind if I copied him, since he became famous after "re-photographing" other people's photographs as part of the 1980s Appropriation Art trend.

  • While browsing the Guggenheim website I found an announcement for the upcoming Cai Guo-Qiang exhibition. I need to pay more attention to the art world, because I'd never seen his spectacular work before. This is "Head On", an installation of 99 wolves crashing headfirst into a glass box:

    All I can say is, holy shit.

Sold out

Friday evening I saw Andrew Dickson deliver his presentation, "Sell Out", which was part of PICA's TBA:07 festival. Using PowerPoint slides and pacing back and forth with a microphone and huckster's mannerisms, he described "the 27 steps to selling out". I'm not sure what to say about his schtick -- not funny enough to be stand-up comedy, not scholarly enough to be a lecture, not over-the-top enough to be motivational speaker, almost but not quite critical enough to be satire. (Here's a good review, and a caustic review.) It was thought-provoking though, and entertaining, especially since I've known Andrew for years, back when he was a starving artist surviving on cheap burritos and maxing out his credit cards to make Good Grief, an endearingly corny coming-of-age/roadtrip feature-length film in which I played a small role (the shoot was great fun, although I'll admit I'm kind of glad my name is misspelled in the imdb.com credits). Now he's getting paid handsomely to write copy for death star ad agency Wieden+Kennedy, where his performance took place. Along with its main client Nike, W+K attracts more than its share of haters, but the interior of their building sure is nice, designed by Portland's highest-profile architecture firm Allied Works.

Later that night I came to Holocene just in time to see the end of Captain Ahab's set. Their music is a balance of dirty, smart, and stupid, with an emphasis on the stupid. But you gotta love that one half of the scruffy duo is solely responsible for dancing, sweating profusely, stripping down to a blue Speedo, and getting the crowd live (or molesting them, depending on your point of view). Punk rock for the age of laptop computer music.

photo swiped from Impose Magazine (click for more pics)

Headliners Yo! Majesty attracted a capacity crowd. I don't know if they're the only out lesbian hip-hop act around, but they're definitely the best. They were seriously good regardless of identity politics, and deserve to blow up huge.
Apparently continuing the night's theme of sweaty exposed skin, one of the Y!M MCs performed topless, which was probably intended as a confrontational move, but since we're kind of jaded around here, the audience was unfazed by the exposed boobs. Her stage presence was hard and butch, but in an odd moment at the end of the set, she got a little verklempt at the crowd's enthusiasm, almost like she had never seen so many happy white people dancing and cheering in one sold-out room before.

Beth Ditto of the Gossip interviews Yo! Majesty:


I went shopping for a bike yesterday. I have a rusty old J.C. Higgins 3-speed cruiser collecting dust in the garage, which I bought 10 years ago for $10 and a pitcher of PBR, but I haven't ridden it in a couple years. But since I'm going to participate in the Bike Commute Challenge like a good Portlander, I ought to have something a little more rideable.

Revolver had the type of bike I was looking for, and the non-snobby bike-hipster punk salesman set me up with one to take for a test spin. I immediately learned that despite what you may have heard, you can forget how to ride a bike. Or at least how to mount one. I crashed on the sidewalk outside of the store, and got laughed at by a carload of gangsta thugs.
The dudes in the shop must have seen me, but were polite and didn't say anything about it when I returned after a quick ride around the block. I bought the bike and rode it home without incident. It's nice.

Maybe someone can tell me if this coincidence is significant: the guys at the bike shop were listening to a post-metal band called Isis. Later that evening I crossed paths on the sidewalk with a woman walking her pit bull, which ran up to sniff my leg (the dog, not the lady). The woman scolded, "Isis, no!". Maybe the ancient Egyptian goddess of magic and life is trying to tell me something? Regardless, I downloaded some tracks from Isis, the band, which I am listening to right now. I like their heavy crushing songs better than their arty ambient songs.

I'm going to go ride my bike now.