This Week in the Mercury

Next Splash


Next Splash

No End in Sight for the Breeders

Art Invasion


Art Invasion

The Time-Based Art Festival Achieves Liftoff


Friday, September 12, 2014

TBA Opening Night: Flashlight Filmstrips & Glitter Glue

Posted by Megan Burbank on Fri, Sep 12, 2014 at 3:55 PM

With so much hipness, drinking, and so many white balloons in one industrial space, opening night of PICA's Timed-Based Art Festival gave me serious art school flashbacks. THEESatisfaction were on point, and Portland's Portraitist Michael Horwitz was drawing people in exchange for $5 in front of a gently-scrawled sign warning that "Glitter glue takes a while to dry."

But the best thing I saw was LA artist Jennifer West's "Flashlight Filmstrip Projections," a collection of 35mm and 70mm filmstrips suspended in the dark. Audience members use flashlights or their phones to illuminate the filmstrips, making huge, shaky projections out of text, rejected film from Hollywood productions, and film leader. There were also bright geometric patterns and kissy imprints. This is what it looked like:

The effect was similar to what happens when you actually print from developed film, by pushing light through a negative, enlarging the image, pulling it into focus. West's piece is inspired by the shift from celluloid to digital filmmaking—she actually worked with the last 70mm optical printer to put it together. But it's also vaguely goofy in the greatest way possible. If you ever played with a flashlight as a kid, you know what I mean.

Flashlight Filmstrip Projections will be up at Fashion Tech through Sept. 30 as part of PICA's Time-Based Art Festival.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Hello, I'm Your New Arts Editor!

Posted by Megan Burbank on Thu, Sep 11, 2014 at 11:15 AM

Pleased to meet you!
  • Pleased to meet you!

Hello! I'm Megan, your new arts editor. I moved here from Seattle about five minutes ago, and I'm so excited to start writing about books and visual art and pop culture here at the Mercury.

Before landing here, I obtained two (2) useless English degrees, forced art school freshmen to read Joan Didion, and wrote for some other places. I have written about the recent reissue of noted cranky old lady and 1970s literary hero Renata Adler, uncomfortably identifying with Britney Spears, why Broad City is great and everyone should watch it, Game of Thrones (TEAM DRAGONS), and Maggie Nelson's beautiful, horrifying prose. I've also spent some time with our cousin to the north, the Stranger, where I wrote about new evidence in the Green River Killer case, reproductive rights, missing pets, and apocryphal tales.

The first thing I found at my desk when I arrived is a book about making cool new outfits for your dolls. I won't be writing about it (sorry, Doll Couture! 9-year-old me would've been super into that!), but I am SO excited to build anew a graveyard library of strange, unsolicited books submitted for review, while actually writing about art all the damn time.

See you soon!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

TBA:14, the Pre-Game

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Wed, Sep 10, 2014 at 9:59 AM

It's hard to believe, given the endless summer, that it's almost time to pull your head out of that can of Ranier you're floating down a river with and put your Art Pants on. But lo, TBA:14 kicks off TOMORROW!

If you've yet to peruse this year's offerings, you're late! Luckily we'll have our own guide to the festival on the streets by the end of today. (Also see the new Agenda arts guide for our capsule descriptions.) In the meanwhile, there are two other ways for you to get your TBA pre-game on starting now:

Miranda July's Somebody app: The deal is you download this free app from iTunes, create an account, and then you are able to send and receive messages between other users. Except, when you send someone a message, it won't go directly to them. It will go to the Somebody user closest to them. They'll get an alert and be able to see the message, including the intended recipient's photo (so they can find them, because presumably this will be a stranger). Then the idea is they go over and deliver the message, to which the sender can add instructions like "crying" or "hug." As you can imagine, this only really works when there is a critical mass of users in the same general area or "hotspot." So ta-da, PICA and TBA are hotspots. While you're waiting, you can go ahead and download it to get started and practice. It would be helpful if some of you would do that, in fact, so I could test mine out. I already asked my husband and he said no before I could finish explaining it. :(

The project, by the way, launched at the Venice Film Festival along with a short demo film that's part of the (fancy, awesome) clothing brand Miu Miu's Women’s Tales Series:

Guess which part of that film I thought was the most awkward.

Also, head over to the Mercury's TBA blog, which is waking up from its long slumber since last year's festival for one more way you can play with tomorrow's TBA... today!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Patrick Rothfuss Coming to Portland

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Mon, Sep 8, 2014 at 11:29 AM


Here's some good news, fans of fantasy books and readings that are actually entertaining: Best-selling fantasy mega-author Patrick Rothfuss is coming to the Newmark Theatre on October 28. (If you need some brushing up on your best-selling fantasy mega-authors, here's the Mercury's 2011 interview with Rothfuss.) He'll be in town to read from his new novella, The Slow Regard of Silent Things.

You should go! Assuming you can stomach two things about the venue*, it should be a good time, and the Newmark is a solid spot to have Rothfuss: The last time he came to town, he was out at Powell's Cedar Hills location, where the crowd was so massive that it filled up the reading area and spilled into the mall. It was still a great reading; Rothfuss is charming and affable and enthusiastic, and his books—well, there's a reason people who've read them tend to get pretty excited when they come up in conversation.

(For those curious about those service fees I mentioned: I just bit the bullet and picked up two tickets online. Tickets to the reading, which include a copy of the book, are $28.95 each—steep, but reasonable enough given the fact the book is included. The Portland Center for the Performing Arts then charged me a $10.35 service fee for each ticket, and then charged me a $3 "order charge," for... having the gall to place an order, I guess? Which means two tickets to a book reading just cost me 80 bucks.)

*Those two things being 1) that the Portland Center for the Performing Arts obnoxiously keeps trying to get people to call it "Portland'5 Centers for the Arts," and 2) that the Portland Center for the Performing Arts charges ridiculous service fees.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Adam Arnold Has Taken over the Fashion Safehouse at MoCC

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Sat, Sep 6, 2014 at 11:29 AM

While the Museum of Contemporary Craft’s Fashioning Cascadia exhibit has almost a month left to go in its run, most of its associated events, residencies, and lectures have already passed. Over the course of the summer its visiting artists have created a “Fashion Safehouse”—a physical studio space within the exhibit that has been added to and inhabited with each rotating participant. In a last minute, impromptu addition, acclaimed Portland designer Adam Arnold will be taking a break from his spacious eastside studio digs to spend every Thursday working on a collection there that will debut with a runway show October 1, also at the museum. His own studio has rules, like “no shoes” and “must have an appointment,” so this is “the first time in history” you can drop in on Adam at your own whim. (If you enjoy a game of cat and mouse, Arnold reports that he’ll also be there “most days… unless I am at yoga or getting something to eat”). Museum of Contemporary Craft, 724 NW Davis, Thursdays through Sept 25, 11 am-3 pm

  • via PNCA/MoCC

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Design Week Portland: Time to Plan

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Wed, Sep 3, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Ah yes, the edification of early fall in Portland, with TBA's ponderous challenges and—as of a couple short years ago—the network-y expo of regional talent that is Design Week Portland. While you were barbequing hot dogs on Monday, registration for this year's events (running October 4-11) opened, which means it's time to peruse the schedule and make a plan.

One thing to always make note of is the citywide series of open houses, ranging from behind the scenes peeks at advertising agencies to galleries and design-focused shops. It's spread out over by date and neighborhood, but it's a lot, and maybe worth plotting out the ones you want to make it a priority to visit. As for the 100 more event-y events, a couple highlights:

—A "Made in Portland" walking tour collaboration between Know Your City and the Museum of Contemporary Craft.

Metropolis magazine editor Susan S. Szenasy will give a "highly interactive" talk built around pre-sent questions from audience members, related to ethics and sustainability in architecture and design.

—Portland's chief planner, Portlandia's art director, Live Wire's Courtenay Hameister, and more are creating an event in "words, music, pictures" at Mississippi Studios that asks, "What do the buildings we choose to construct, demolish, restore, and inhabit tell the world about us? How does Portland's character find voice in our buildings and the relationships between them?" Plus there will be DJs spinning "songs about buildings and cities."

Our Portland Story will pay tribute to three of Portland's most important "designers in the Mad Men era, when "advertising agencies and commercial artists worked with local brands such as Jantzen, Reed College and Pendleton to lay the groundwork of the design profession for generations of creatives to come."

—Adam Arnold, Carrie Strickland, Sam Adams, and Rick Potestio will be given quite a bit of leeway in presentations on "the historical and contemporary aspects of design, architecture, and community" at an event called "The New Structure."

—A hilarious looking "Design Roast" (examples: Comic Sans font, Crocs shoes, the Pontiac Aztek, Apple earbuds, Carl's Jr advertising, Phillipe Starck juicer, black-on-black watches).

A talk by Stefan Sagmeister, who's designed album covers for the Rolling Stones, Lou Reed, and Talking Heads.

And so much more. Check it out and get started, because it's a lot to wade through, but totally worth it. The organizers always do a great job of representing the spectrum of design happening around us, and as such I can safely say there's something in there for everyone.

Friday, August 29, 2014

There Needs To Be More Forest For The Trees

Posted by Alex Falcone on Fri, Aug 29, 2014 at 1:29 PM

The Portland mural extravaganza Forest For The Trees wrapped up last week and the whole city is roughly 3% cooler because of it. I absolutely love this project. It feels mischievous and whimsical at the same time, which I enjoy. I especially enjoyed it because I was out of town for the week of the painting so I just came back to more hairy serpents and warring cartoons on buildings around town.

My only suggestions to the organizing committee for future iterations (aside from "Please have future iterations") is more. Specifically, more outreach to people who didn't hear about it and wonder why this cool new painting is gracing their buildings. It would be great if every mural had an informational plaque giving people more information on the artist and the whole FFTT project.

Take, for instance, this mural from last year's festival.

In process mural from the 2013 FFTT festival.
  • In process mural from the 2013 FFTT festival.

This sad woman staring into the middle distance was painted by an Australian artist named (?) Rone. Rone's thing is painting large pictures of sad women on the side of things. He painted his name nice and readable next to her so I could see that he does that, but not all artists did that. And without that info, it's not clear why this woman is here and what I've done to upset her.

This year, another piece appeared on the same block as her (done by South African artist Faith47, who is artistically coy about any biographical info).

New mural by Faith47
  • New mural by Faith47

Now this whole block has the theme "pensive women who refuse to make eye contact with you." Did the FFTT people intend that?

I'd also love it if the website did a much better job showcasing the work. While the bike tours of the new murals are great, it's been 90 degrees outside and I'm made of like 80% ice cream, so there's no way I'm gonna do that. If there was a virtual tour I could take that included before/after photos and links to more work from the artists, my ice creamy center and I would view the shit out of it.

Both of those suggestions come from the fact that I think it's an awesome thing we're lucky to have. And they both cost money. So if they put up another Kickstarter next year, I'll gladly contribute. Keep up the good work, guys. There are lots more buildings that could use paintings of sad women on them.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Posted by Alison Hallett on Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 4:54 PM

The last picture of my cat youll ever see.
  • The last picture of my cat you'll ever see. YES. THAT IS, INDEED, A BOW TIE.
It's my last day as the Mercury's Arts Editor! I started interning here 10 years ago and now I'm leaving! I'm trying not to be too sentimental about it! It's been a great job and now I'm starting a new great job at Sheepscot Creative and change is good, most of the time, except for when it's really really not. But um... this is good! I'm going to miss having the best co-workers in the world, though. Seriously. No one is better than these guys. The arts were pretty great, too.

If you are an arts-person and need arts-things done, email your calendar listings and press releases to: That goes to a bunch of people on editorial who will be able to resolve your issue, probably.

The identity of my successor remains shrouded in mystery, but be nice to them, whoever they are.

Oh, and don't forget to check out the fall/winter issue of Agenda, the Mercury's arts guide, which hits the streets today. It's the last big thing I got to work on here and I'm proud of it.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lookbook of the Day: Lyon Falls

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Tue, Aug 26, 2014 at 10:59 AM

You can't hardly turn around in this city anymore without bumping into some sort of flea/open air/maker market. So who are all these vendor people, anyway? Well, here's one, our submission for lookbook of the day: Lyon Falls, AKA "treasure hunting power couple" Jessica Comfort and Jevon LaBar. Find them at the Grand Marketplace Flea (next one: September 13), Insta, and in these photos featuring jewelry by Hazel Cox.

  • Lyon Falls

Head to MOD for a few more from the set.


Monday, August 18, 2014

The Textile Hive Base

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Mon, Aug 18, 2014 at 10:14 AM

A while back I wrote about Blue Rider Design, the astonishing textile library stashed quietly in downtown Portland. Caleb Sayan, the caretaker of the collection (most of which was first established by his mother Andrea Aranow in New York during the late '80s) has been busy digitizing each piece—there are over 40,000—and once complete it will most likely be the largest single textile collection to exist in digital form.

Sayan is driven to have the collection be made not only useful to designers, but to be used in an educational context as well (they're launching a pilot program with local colleges this fall). One piece of that, the Textile Hive base, went live earlier this month, and you can hop on to learn about, say, American woven coverlets from the 18th and 19th centuries through text and video featuring textile scholar Annin Barrett (videos were made by Andy Chandler). There will eventually be a ton more information online in connection to the collection (some of which will be by membership, launching Sept 2), so if this is the type of thing you love to nerd out on, consider it an appetizer.

It's also a good wind-up to this year's Design Week (Oct 4-11), which will feature Past Future Textile Design, an exhibit of select materials from the collection at the Steven Goldman Gallery at The Art Institute of Portland, opening Oct 9.

Examples of Shibori from the collection.
  • Textile Hive
  • Examples of Shibori from the collection.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Interviewing the Woman Who Wrote the 1994 TMNT Christmas Special: A Mercury Public Service

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Fri, Aug 8, 2014 at 2:44 PM


It fell to me to review the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. A lot of people hated it. I was pretty sure I was going to hate it. I didn't hate it.

Why not? Because, while not an objectively good movie by any stretch of the imagination,TMNT shouldn't be judged against all other films. It only needs to stand up against various other projects carried out in the TMNT name in three decades. And 90 percent of those have been less than stellar.

The original cartoon series was great if you were six at the time, but have you checked back on it lately? There's a lot of casual racism going on. (Don't believe me? Explain the clientele of Woo's Oriental Palace. And check out these impermeable disguises.)

The original movies were far sillier than the new one, which at least has nefarious villains. And there was the ill-fated "Coming Out of Their Shells Tour"

But all of this is just preamble for our actual purposes here today.

Erik warned me not to revisit past Turtles works in preparing for my review, and this admonishment led me to delve deeper than I otherwise would have. Dwarves-in-the-mines-of-Moria deep. In so doing, I awoke a forgotten, slumbering leviathan: "We Wish You A Turtle Christmas."

At an efficient 25 minutes, the straight-to-video production came out in 1994, as that first enormous Turtle wave was cresting and America was coming to its senses. The plot is boilerplate holiday fare: It's Christmas Eve, and the turtles are feeling smug about having all their shopping done. Then they realize no one's gotten anything for Splinter! There are mere hours left in the holiday shopping season! To avoid breaking their master's heart, the turtles have to brave a New York populated chiefly by bucket drumming children, inline skaters and one very credulous Santa.

And along the way? The turtles sing their hearts out. With insane grins frozen to their teenage faces, Mike, Leo, Raph and Don put down reggae and opera, a rap about wrapping, and this.

The YouTube description calls it "a Christmas Special so awful that it makes 'The Star Wars Holiday Special' look like 'Citizen Kane.'" I'll let you draw your own conclusions, since I find myself suddenly partisan.

On Thursday, I interviewed the woman who wrote "We Wish You A Turtle Christmas," and she was perfectly lovely.

Read all about our very pleasant chat after the jump.

Continue reading »

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Monkey Owns Copyright on Selfie, Wikimedia Foundation Says

Posted by Ansel Herz on Thu, Aug 7, 2014 at 9:44 AM

And the selfie is amaaaazing.

"A monkey pressed the button, but I did all the setting up,” grouses British nature photographer David Slater to The Telegraph. He's suing.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Lookbook of the Day: Xtabay's "American Beauty"

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Mon, Aug 4, 2014 at 3:14 PM

This is it: the apex of summer. Today's lookbook highlight comes from one of Portland's vintage grande dames, Xtabay, whose "American Beauty" shoot is flooded with crimson roses, ladylike frocks, and very responsibly SPF'd pale skin. Click over to MOD for more of it.

  • Cory Burnsed and Jade Sheldon-Burnsed

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Tonight: Adrienne Antonson at MoCC

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 11:59 AM

If you like alpacas, clothing, art, bugs, felting, and... uh, environmental responsibility, You should take advantage of the current residency Adrienne Antonson is currently absorbing herself with over at the Museum of Contemporary Craft. I spoke to her for my column this week, and learned a few things I really, really like about her: 1) She makes perfect human-hair sculptures of bugs. 2) She used to live on an alpaca farm. 3) Her attitude toward creating her clothing line, STATE, in a responsible manner is that, "If I'm bringing new objects into the world, I want them to be an improvement." 4) She's fearless about growing an apparel line that doesn't conform to the norms of the retail hustle ("The typical fashion calendar has never clicked with me.") 5) She made herself this outfit yesterday:

  • Adrienne Antonson via Instagram

Antonson's artist talk is this evening at 6:30 pm at the museum and totally free to check out. This whole series of residencies and lectures has been stimulating enough to forfeit a summer evening for, and I'm particularly excited for this one. Maybe I'll see ya there.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Help Wanted: We're Looking for an Arts Editor!

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Wed, Jul 30, 2014 at 12:59 PM


It is with a heart full of grief that I must announce that our beloved Arts Editor Alison Hallett is leaving the Portland Mercury after 10 years of meritorious service. On the upside, she’s not pissed at us, and will be taking a very interesting job with the marketing firm Sheepscot Creative, which has worked with lots of great arts organizations including Oregon Humanities. Also, she’ll be with us through the entire month of August, and ushering the latest issue of Agenda out the door, as well as working on coverage of the TBA Fest—so nobody panic immediately!

With all seriousness, Alison is one of our (and Portland's) funniest, smartest writers, and while my heart is broken, I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say, “Thank you so much for all your hard, brilliant work, Alison! We wish you nothing but the best!”


Okay, get it together, Steve... it's time to get back to business. (Ahem!) The Mercury is looking for a new arts editor. Are you that person? Is someone you know that person? Read the employment ad below, and yell it from the social media mountaintops! FINALLY, A JOB FOR YOUR USELESS ARTS DEGREE.


The Portland Mercury is currently hiring a full-time ARTS EDITOR to join our fun and energetic editorial staff. Considered one of the most innovative weeklies in the country, the Mercury is looking for a writer/editor filled with passion, hustle, and the desire to share their love for the Portland arts scene with the rest of the community. This is a good position for a strong writer with a literary or fine arts degree—a background in journalism is not required (but it doesn’t hurt).

Qualified applicants must possess the following:

• Previous and demonstrable editing/management experience (working in an arts-related field is a definite plus).

• Snappy, smart writing paired with a passion for digging deep into an arts scene (including theater, visual art, books, comedy, and more). Must respect and be interested in all forms of culture, from highbrow to low.

• Must be extremely organized and able to produce a weekly arts calendar, while writing reviews, meeting daily blog deadlines, and managing freelancers.

• An ability and desire to build relationships within the art and performance community.

• Extra points: Proofreading skills, love of reading, social media expertise, a flexible schedule, and a thick skin (needed for writing honestly about those you may run into on the street).

• And of course, enthusiasm, professionalism, people skills, and a good sense of humor are a must.

This is a full-time position, with competitive salary and excellent benefits. Evening and occasional weekend hours are sometimes necessary. Interested applicants should electronically submit resume, web links for at least three relevant writing samples, and a cover letter describing goals, story ideas, and local topics that you’re passionate about to, and please put "ARTS EDITOR JOB" in the subhead. (Or, if you're old-timey, via snail mail to “Arts Editor Job,” c/o Wm. Steven Humphrey, Portland Mercury, 115 SW Ash Street, Suite 600, Portland OR 97204.)

Deadline for applications: Sunday, August 10.

The Portland Mercury is an equal opportunity employer.

I know you're not leaving yet... but we'll miss you desperately, Alison!!

Lookbook of the Day: Machus Private Label

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Wed, Jul 30, 2014 at 11:29 AM

Today's eye candy comes from Machus, which has cornered Portland's market for a certain brand of modern casual menswear that—and I mean this in the best way—involves a lot of very fancy sweatpants and almost nothing in the way of color. The store recently added its own in-house line of basics to complement this aesthetic, called Machus Private Label, which is the subject of this summer lookbook shot by proprietor Justin Machus himself, in the moody bowels of Lower Eastside Industrial. Click over to MOD for the whole thing.

  • Justin Machus

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Adrienne Antonson

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Portland's summer of fashion rages on in part thanks to the Museum of Contemporary Craft's Fashioning Cascadia (up through Oct 11), and while Portland's own Cassie Ridgway's residency at the exhibit's "Safehouse" runs through this Saturday, I'm also looking ahead to the next visitor, Adrienne Antonson.

Antonson went from Charleston to Washington's Vashon Island (where she worked and lived at an alpaca farm) to Seattle to New York City, where she pursued work as a sculpture artist who mostly worked with human hair, and developed the State line of clothing, through which she coined the term "farm-to-hanger," which is used to describe a number of clothing lines now, including Oregon's own Imperial Collection.

For her time in Portland she'll be working on Fully Clothed, a project that "makes use of entirely salvaged garments and textiles to create an entire wardrobe" and presenting a (free) lecture at the museum on Thurs, July 31 at 6:30 pm. In the meantime I've been filling up on the eye candy of her past work, from her curious, delicate sculpture work to her clothing design, which runs the gamut from cute printed "britches" and other intimates to the types of big-pocketed smocks that seem to be on many designers' minds right now.

Made from human hair--Im impressed.
  • Adrienne Antonson
  • Made from human hair—I'm impressed.

Head over to MOD for a few favorite images of what happens when Antonson turns her attention to apparel.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Milk Milk Lemonade

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Someone desperately needs to open a candy store around the corner from Olo Fragrance's new joint (at 1407 SE Belmont) called Chocolate's Made. C'mon Portland, you do this kind of shit all the time. Do this one for me.

Olo's Heather Sielaff says she chose the dirty kids' limerick for the storefront/studio space because it's been an earworm for her since childhood, plus she "makes her shit in the back," so it "makes sense," She also says that if the name turns people off they're probably not her kind anyway. Sielaff's line is one of a handful of boutique fragrance companies coming to prominence in Portland, and it's quite arguably leading the pack. You can already find their scents in shops across the country (and locally at Beam & Anchor, Frances May, Nationale, and more), but the shop will be home base and the only source (at least out of the gates) for an in-production line of lotions and other body care products. For now it showcases apothecary items (which currently lean Japanese) and jewelry from the like of Rill Rill and Hazel Cox, among others. It's worth stopping in just to huff on everything, and hours are loose. If the lights are on and the door's unlocked, go in!

  • Olo via Instagram

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mag-Big Lecture at MoCC Tonight (and the Explorers Club Launches Tomorrow)

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 1:14 PM

The Museum of Contemporary Craft is doing a bang-up job of keeping attention trained on its ongoing Fashioning Cascadia exhibit, maintaining activity with artist residencies and lectures throughout its run (it's set to close Oct 11). Mag-Big's Cassie Ridgway took up the residency mantle this week (a dispatch from which you can read on MOD, where she is also a regular contributor), where she is working on the foundation pieces of a new collection based on the idea of a uniform, called ""In the Working Woman's Uniform," which exhibit curator Sarah Margolis-Pineo says is, "a way to bring visibility to—and, in a way, to valorize—the women who have a hand in PDX's grassroots garment industry."

This evening Ridgway, along with her Mag-Big design partner Becca Price, is giving a free lecture at the museum at 6:30 about the history and relevance of uniforms as well as the process of designing a collection. Check out my article on it here before ya go! Also mentioned there is the launch of the Explorers Club, an ADX collaboration with Stargazer Farm, a series of meals and conversations centered around Portland's (and its surrounding area) manufacturing "ecosystem." The first weekly lunch is tomorrow (noon-2 pm) at ADX, and will be followed by dinners/brunches out at the farm. It's an exciting time for discussions of local product, from the city as well as its farmland outskirts, and increasingly the focus is becoming larger than just the food or fashion and craft scenes. Get in on it!

The new uniform.
  • Cassie Ridgway via Instagram
  • The new uniform.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Can A Proposed Nonprofit Reverse Mayor Charlie Hales' Reforms of Last Thursday?

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Tue, Jul 15, 2014 at 10:14 AM


It's been more than the year since a nonprofit group that for years helped organize Alberta's Last Thursday festival held a press conference to announce they were quitting.

Friends of Last Thursday (FoLT) resigned over new strictures on the freewheeling event proposed by Mayor Charlie Hales—changes that have since been realized—and left the mayor's office looking for another organization to take up the cause.

Now that organization is perhaps in the works. Michael O'Connor, a former FoLT member who took off in 2012 to begin a new street fair in southeast, sent out a release Monday night announcing a fundraiser this week for a new organizing group.

"Our current vision is to form an organization of artists, musicians, performers, and fun makers," O'Connor wrote.
"These are the people that make Last Thursday the incredible event that it is."

O'Connor says the group he has in mind will oversee the "infrastructure, management, and support needed to make Last Thursday the best that it can be." It would use grants and fundraising, apparently, to cover the sizable costs associated with Last Thursday. Hales' office estimates the city spent $75,000-80,000 running the event last year.

O'Connor also takes exception with Hales' handling of the event recently. He writes: "In particular, the City recently began fining musicians who can be heard from 150 feet away, and plans to charge participants fees and collect their personal information. We believe that a better solution is possible, and we will do everything we can to alleviate the City’s concerns while preserving the rights of our community."

But it's unclear whether the mayor's office would be willing to let its new regulations lapse. Officials and some neighbors view them as valuable to toning down what can be a raucous and problematic event. O'Connor says he's been in frequent contact with the mayor's office, and that he's not aware of any conditions on his group's stewardship. He says he'll push for different solutions than those the mayor has imposed.

"Any conditions they set, they'll have to have a legal right to do so," he tells the Mercury. "We have legal representation through the ACLU that is helping us make sure."

The group is holding a fundraiser at 7 pm on Thursday at two Alberta bars, The Knock Back and Cruzroom, hoping to raise $600 to register with the state and federal government and set up a website.

Update, 3:30 pm: The mayor's office says it's true O'Connor has called and e-mailed about his ideas. He even had an attorney call. But Hales' staff will need to see financial legitimacy before handing over the reins of last Thursday, says Policy Assistant Chad Stover.

"What it boils down to, for my side, is clearly understanding the logistics and the costs," Stover says. "We need a group that can step up and has the appropriate funding capabilities."

Just what all that means is sort of up in the air, Stover says. Police details for the event cost less now that Last Thursday ends an hour earlier, and there may be less police required overall. It's not clear exactly what costs will be associated with the event going forward, right now, so demanding a specific cash outlay from a nonprofit is tough.

"I'm hoping when we do get to that point we'll be able to say, 'these are some things that are recommended and need to be covered, and here are the costs for doing it,'" Stover says.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Liam Drain/Potter's Field

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Thu, Jul 3, 2014 at 11:59 AM

In this week's Sold Out, I got to profile Liam Drain, one of my... er, favorite ceramicists. (Why does it feel so much weirder to have a favorite ceramicist than it does a favorite painter or photographer? Oh god, is it an art vs craft thing? It is, isn't it.) I've actually known Drain for years, and we met long before he got into his current medium (back then he was more of a photographer). He's hilarious, and one of those people who always has a game-changing record or book recommendation, and it makes a certain lovely kind of sense that he's infusing vases and cups with meditations on "enclosure of common land, and the human misery that ensues from the invention of private property." It can be hard to do justice to someone's tone in print, so I let him do all the talking here. Hopefully it'll pique your interest enough to check out what he does, on Instagram (@liamadrain), Twitter (@DeathPots) or by checking out what he's currently got selling at Lowell.

  • Liam Drain

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Justin Hocking Steps Down as Executive Director of IPRC

Posted by Alison Hallett on Thu, Jun 26, 2014 at 4:27 PM

Big changes over at the Independent Publishing Resource Center: Justin Hocking just sent out a press release announcing that after eight years at the helm of the IPRC, he's stepping down as executive director to focus on teaching and writing. (He just published a well-received memoir, which we excerpted in the Mercury.)

In a not-terrifically-surprising move, IPRC Managing Director Pollyanne Faith Birge has been promoted to executive director. In addition to her work at the IPRC, Birge has worked in Portland's arts/nonprofit world for years, including stints with Know Your City, Stumptown Comics, Inc; she also served as Arts and Culture Outreach and Policy Coordinator under Sam Adams. She is well regarded by all, as far as I can tell.

Hocking, meanwhile, will continue to work with the IPRC in a "new, informal role as the Chairperson of the Certificate Program in Creative Writing."

Justin has done great work during his tenure at the IPRC, including moving the center to a bigger and better location on SE Division; I look forward to seeing what he gets up to next. (Oh, and? Look for his byline in the fall issue of the Mercury's arts guide, Agenda.)

Submit Your Arts Event to the Fall Issue of Agenda by July 30

Posted by Alison Hallett on Thu, Jun 26, 2014 at 1:29 PM

I know, it's barely summer, but we're already gearing up for the fall issue of Agenda, the Mercury's new arts and performance magazine. The first issue hit the stands in March, and issue number two's gonna be bigger and—dare we say?—better, with more articles, more calendar listings, and more profiles of local artists, writers, performers, and the things they make.

If you'd like to see your event listed in the fall issue of Agenda, submit event details to by Wednesday, July 30. The calendar will cover September through February; even if you don't yet have full details on all of your programming, get us what you can. (For tips on how to write a press release, check out this post.)

Please note:
We probably won't be able to list every submission in print, but we'll make sure everything makes it into our online calendar, which is what we draw from to generate listings for the weekly print version of the paper. (If you're interested in purchasing advertising in Agenda, direct your inquiry to

Related: If you're an Oregon author with a book coming out this fall, please let me know.

I'd also be interested to hear any feedback on the first issue, as I'm putting together issue two. Feel free to email me or leave a comment here. (If your feedback is "cover more film/opera/classical music/whatever thing you're into that we didn't cover", we're working on it.)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Win VIP Tickets to Back Fence, PDX

Posted by Alison Hallett on Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Our pals at storytelling series Back Fence PDX are gearing up for a big weekend: This Friday, their popular mainstage show moves to the Hollywood Theater, after a long and productive run at the Mission. (The Mission, like the Bagdad, is moving away from hosting live events.)

Back Fence invites interesting musicians, writers, and performers to tell true, unscripted stories based on a given theme. This week's theme is "Rituals and Superstitions," and the show features actress/writer Moon Zappa, performer Jessica Lee Williamson (featured in the video above), Blizten Trapper's Brian Koch, Black Portlanders founder Intisar Abioto, and Robopocalypse author Daniel H. Wilson.

And we've got tickets to give away! In addition to a pair of front row, VIP tickets to Friday's show, winners will receive:

-a $10 gift card to Bunk; you can use it night-of at the Bunk Truck, which will be on-site at the show
-Hollywood theater tickets
-A tasting certificate for two from New Deal Distillery
-a coupon from betsy + iya to receive a free ring

(Can I win? I want to win!)

To enter, email me no later than Wednesday, June 25 at 5 pm with "Back Fence PDX" in the subject line and your full name in the body of the email. I'll select a winner by the end of the day on Wednesday, June 25; you'll hear from Thursday morning if you won. May the odds be ever in your favor.

Back Fence PDX at the Hollywood Theater, 4122 NE Sandy, Friday, June 27 at 8 pm, $13-20, tickets available online here.


Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Maybe you've noticed that this rad former service station on N Interstate and Skidmore has been undergoing a transformation over the past few months:


It's been becoming Associated... again:

  • Associated via Facebook

The space was taken over three months ago by Aaron Hoskins, Corey Davis, Caitlin Troutman, and Amanda Yakisoba (full disclosure: Hoskins and Troutman are friends of mine), who have transformed the '30s-era structure into a cafe, antique/collectibles store, and HQ for "artistic services":

We wish to facilitate, encourage, and encompass the Creative economy:
the idea is to offer not only wares (antiques and collectibles) but a physical platform for ideas: to allow other merchants and creative artisans a place to come together and manifest their ideas in a community setting, while simultaneously offering a stylized events venue for film, fashion, photography, performance art, music, etc.

Associated had their soft opener last night, and are officially opening doors next week on July 4. Hoskins has incredible taste when it comes to design, and word is that Portland makers like Mike Spencer and Hazel Cox will be represented on the retail side, while Stumptown Coffee, Fressen Artisan Bakery (yum, pretzels), and Farina Bakery will be on offer in the small cafe space. They're positioned to be "a landmark for the rebirth of the NeonSignDistrict," and even if antiques, plants, and local small goods aren't your bag, it seems like that neighborhood is in need of a good coffee joint. Check 'em out while the sun is shining and the outdoor seating is plentiful.

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