Archive for June, 2010

Portland Mini Staycation

June 24, 2010 Comments off

One of Portland’s top industries is travel. It’s no wonder – our food, lifestyle, transportation system and sights are frequently covered in The New York Times, Travel Channel, FoodTV and other national media outlets. From late May through September, Portland sees a surge of visitors from around the world.

Living in Portland, it’s easy to overlook some of the amazing things that the city has to offer. With busy lives, it’s hard to carve out time to get away, so we decided to do a mini staycation – one evening after work through mid-morning the next day – something most people could do time-wise and within a modest budget.

The cornerstone to our mini staycation was the Garden Spa room at the Hotel Vintage Plaza [422 Southwest Broadway, (503) 228-1212].  Situated right in the heart of downtown, this hotel was a perfect base camp for our quick break.

We signed up for the ‘romance package’, which was just a little more expensive than the standard rate but well worth it. Mid-week room availability was really good and so were the rates.

Hotel Vintage Plaza Rose Petal Covered Bed

Hotel Vintage Plaza Rose Petal Covered Bed

The Garden Spa room at the Hotel Vintage Plaza was perfect – quiet, clean with every detail taken care of. As part of the romance package, the bed was sprinkled with rose petals, we had a complimentary bottle of champagne, and a $30 credit to Pazzo Ristorante or for room service.

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The Lion King Broadway Tour in Portland Review

June 20, 2010 4 comments
Lion King in Portland

Lion King in Portland

As a musical, The Lion King doesn’t measure up to a lot of its contemporaries. Outside its three signature songs “Circle of Life“, “Hakuna Matata” and “Can You Feel The Love Tonight“, the music of The Lion King is pretty clunky, uninspired and sometimes even awkward. Oddly enough, the music of The Lion King really isn’t the star of the show. Many of the musical numbers act as connective tissue between grand scenes awash in color, movement, dance and puppetry. It’s this wondrous magic and not the music which makes The Lion King the grand spectacle that it is.

Following fairly closely to the film, The Lion King Musical tells the story of the ‘circle of life’ of one lion cub from infancy through adulthood including his life challenges and adventures. The story is a fairly dark one where characters are often put into peril. One of the most important things to know about The Lion King Musical may be that is NOT really good viewing material for younger children. At least half of the show contains content that would be very challenging for kids under the age of 7 and some of the scenes are downright graphic. One scene depicts a fairly graphic death onstage, something far more intense than in the animated version. Read more…

Sting Symphonicity Orchestra Concert Review

Sting Symphonicity Orchestra Concert

Sting Symphonicity Orchestra Concert

I wasn’t really planning on seeing Sting on his current tour. After a ho-hum show a few years back at the Rose Garden, I decided that perhaps the best shows for Sting were behind him. I find it extremely difficult to watch some of my favorite performers from my childhood struggle to try to recapture a spark they have lost. Musically, there’s almost nothing worse than listening to a song you love, sung by someone you used to love hear singing it, and having it sound like someone doing a karaoke version of their own song.

I’m extremely grateful that I ended up seeing Sting in his latest tour “Symphonicity” on its first US stop in Portland, Oregon. Not only was Sting’s Symphonicity show a fantastic musical experience, it was a rare opportunity to see an extremely accomplished performer celebrate his work in a way that enhanced the memory of it rather than denigrate it.

Backed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sting seemed to be right at home on stage with 48 other musicians. Sting has always been attracted to great music and musicians, from the mad genius of Stewart Copeland in The Police, Branford Marsalis in Bring on The Night, and more recently Chris Botti. Playing with talented people always seems to elevate Sting’s performance. Read more…