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Posts Tagged ‘rant’

Portlandia, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Portland

March 7, 2012 2 comments

Portlandia
When they first announced that Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein were going to be shooting a half hour sketch comedy show in and about Portland, I really didn’t think many people would pay attention. I mean, who actually watches IFC? Apparently the answer is a lot of people. Here we are a year later and the show, in its second season, is extremely popular.

When I travel, one of the most frequently asked questions I get is, “Is Portland really like Portlandia?” Yes, yes it is. Portland is an odd little city; in fact, I don’t see it as much a city as I do the biggest town in America. Portland is intimately connected with other parts of the country (we seem to have something of an affair going on with Brooklyn), and yet at the same time we’re fairly isolated. People think we’re close to Seattle, but those same people have never made the schlep up the I-5 – it isn’t close.  Read more…

Oregon: a one-party state? – Yellow Journalism at Its Finest

November 6, 2008 3 comments

7417375_300This morning I was reading The Oregonian and flipped to the Metro section.

Steve Dunn had a fairly wound licking piece about how Republicans in Oregon need to pick up the pieces and regroup. Dunn and I don’t see eye to eye, but his column is commentary.  So truth in advertising. Right?

Next I read the front page metro headlining piece (above the fold): Oregon: a one-party state? written by Janie Har and Bill Graves. If anyone is left out there that still believes that there’s such thing as the “Liberal Media”, you’ll want to sit down for this one:

Emboldened by Election Night wins across Oregon, Democrats now have unbridled power to raise taxes and fees when they meet in January

What the fuck?  This opening in an article that is labeled as a news story isn’t a quote or any other external reference by the authors, it’s an out and out slam against liberals as “Tax and Spend”. The article goes on to talk about how the Democrats are in control of the state legislature but might be restrained by the expectations of voters, some of which tend towards more conservative views.

At a core I think questioning a one-party dominated legislature is more than fair. Any time one party has a majority it’s important for the media to make sure there’s transparency and accountability. But this article is just absurd. It’s been one day since Barak Obama made his moving speech about people from both parties coming together and working together on the problems that face us. To have such an out and out partisan slam in The Oregonian as a news article is just out of bounds, so much so that I’d say it’s not Red or Blue but Yellow Journalism.

Interestingly you won’t find Oregon: a one-party state? online at Oregon Live anymore, the piece seems to have been pulled from their online edition.

Categories: Politics Tags: , ,

Can You Please Not Sing Along With The Music??!?

September 6, 2008 No comments

Vampire Weekend
I can’t say I’ve ever really been much of a fan of Vampire Weekend. When I hear their music I can’t help but hear how they’ve clearly lifted their musical influences (they’re a simple mix of 80’s ska band and Paul Simon). I had a spot in my MusicFest NW schedule so I decided to see what all the fuss was about. Could they deliver something live that expanded beyond the affable tunes on their debut album.

As I stood there tapping my toe to the music, realizing that the ‘we sound just like the album’ show wasn’t going to win me over an argument broke out between concert goers.

Could you PLEASE not sing along to the music!

While it wasn’t quite an altercation, the ‘discussion’ soon heated up into a full blown argument. The behemoth of a guy standing in front of me (and blocking much of my view as he constantly leaned over to give running commentary to his date) puffed his chest and looked like he’d charge at the scrawny guy who was belting out the words to one of his favorite songs. Could there actually be a fight over the right to sign at a rock concert?

This wasn’t the first time I had experienced something like this. When Arcade Fire came to town I was sitting up in the balcony. The couple next to me jumped up and started to dance to “Rebellion (Lies)”, soon after the couple behind them hollered over the music for them to ‘sit down’.

This whole phenomenon is astounding to me. I grew up in an era of music that measured a good show by how much you jumped around, sang and danced. A truly great concert was once which swept you up and made you a part of it, made you forget that you had shelled out some dough to watch someone stand on stage for a few hours and bang on instruments.

Music has changed, it’s become much more personal. Rather than getting together and ‘putting the record on’, people now listed to more of their music through little white iPod earbuds. It’s a pristine, unencumbered and solo musical experience which doesn’t translate when that music is transformed and shared by a large room full of people.

The iPod generation has had its impact with artists as well. Vampire Weekend played an extremely clean show, rarely deviating from their recorded songs. In many ways their reproduction of their pristine sound helps make them a hit with the crowd. It’s a neat and tidy relationship.

Soon after this incident I went down to Satyricon and saw the Israeli Punk Band Monotonix. It was the complete antithesis. As the entire room jumped and danced with the music, collided and collectively sweat I was reminded why I used to love to see music live. You go to a concert for the same reason you see a comedic movie with an audience, to share that experience. Something happens when people come together to share the music they love and I hope that the iPod generation can get educated about that.

Categories: Music Tags: ,

Nutshell Restaurant in Portland is Screwed

September 1, 2008 No comments

Even Bigfood Would Be Bummed

Even Bigfood Would Be Bummed

The restaurant started out of a simple proposition – create a unique place which served gourmet food that used fresh local and natural ingredients and didn’t have any animal products. The words VEGAN weren’t plastered across the sign or on the menu. The food was just Vegan by nature. The restaurant had its roots in a series of very successful Vegan family dinners run by then Tabla chef Sean Coryell. Coryell went to great lengths to produce intricate and flavorful dishes using a wide range of exotic ingredients. Speaking with Sean at those family dinners you’d hear his absolute passion for the food.

Coryell enthusiasm fueled a nearly year long effort to build Nutshell. Opened in late 2007 and located on North Williams, Nutshell won raves from the Veg community and even won over some hardened omnivorous Portland foodies. But no sooner had it opened than the signs began to show that things were not well behind the scenes. An ever changing menu and constant experimentation by Coreyell and almost manic fascination with expanding the restaurant to Tokyo, Hawaii… “global man” created an environment where food could be extremely hit or miss.

Coryell’s departure from Nutshell marked a significant change. The menu with a thousand revolving dishes was simplified down to just a handful, the portions cut back significantly and although the restaurant was built with an open kitchen as its centerpiece the men and women in the kitchen made it perfectly clear they were all about business.

This week Nutshell made another turn. With rumors circulating about its demise and increasing complaints about the food and service Nutshell added butter, eggs and cheese to just about every dish on the menu (There’s even an egg on their pizza). With a bad taste already in their mouth this move infuriated the Vegan community and signaled another clear step towards the end of this once beloved eating establishment.

So what went wrong? Were Coryell’s eyes too big for the patron’s stomach? Did the Tabla team bungle things behind the scenes as they did with the Ten 01 opening? Or is it too much to thing Portland can sustain a gourmet vegan restaurant? (or even a Vegan Strip Club?) I think Portland can absolutely sustain Vegan restaurants, even a gourmet one, but like all restaurants they need to be well run. Just because something is Vegan doesn’t mean it’s going to be an immediate success and adding eggs to your plates doesn’t mean you’ll stay afloat. I’ll be surprised if Nutshell didn’t shutter its doors by the end of the year or completely reinvent itself (ala Ten 01).

Categories: Food, Vegan Tags: , ,