Sunday, December 7, 2008

another weekend in portland

the weather has been brutal these past few days. no matter how tightly bundled you are, how layered your clothing, the wind still bites at your face and hands. and i ride my bike in this weather, leaving the house a little after five o'clock each morning. josh says, portland drinks in bars during the winter, becomes sluggish, avoids the cold. and that's true everywhere i suppose, but the weather will not stop me. there may be a point when i start riding the bus to work in the morning, but it's going to have to be pretty cold for that. i guess i just need to find that ski mask i have someone so that the tip of my nose doesn't freeze off during my daily ride. i pass so many others at five in the morning biking; what do they do to keep warm? i shall have to observe and report back. the only good thing i can say about the cold is that the portlanders i have talked to predict that it may get cold enough this year to snow here at least once which would be fun. i love snow! snow, and kittens, and brown paper packages tied up with string...

however horrible the cold wind has made us feel, it has not stopped us from going out these past three days. josh, booth, and i braved the cold thursday and friday to attend the first of the month gallery openings in the pearl on thursday and two random openings in the southeast and north. i actually saw some interesting art thursday night in the pearl, some of the first great art i've seen here in portland. i usually find myself walking around mumbling to myself, "if you can't make it good, make it big and red..." because the art i've seen here is almost always never good nor big and red. the trend right now in portland is toward small, comic, colorful, fantastical works. sometimes stylistically they resemble merrilee challiss' work, except the three trillion guys and gals here don't have the talent, don't concentrate on the detail, don't work on the scale that merrilee does. it's super disheartening. however, thursday night i was pleased to finally shift through all the bullshit and see some serious art with a capital a, including stuffed cats stitched with pornographic images, a series of photographs of fishermen in icy, tumultuous seas cradling fish, and another series of photos in the gallery next door featuring portraits of people hanging upside down, their eyes bloodshot, their faces slightly pinched. some snapshots of this art can be seen in the last photo post.

last night, after work (i took some extra hours; why not?), i took josh by the arm and met booth at the blue diamond where he had been hanging around for a few hours like the rest of the odd characters who feature into that establishment. i drank a martini and then booth and i went out to the holocene. josh didn't feel up to dancing with all the other hipsters in portland, so booth and i rode our bikes down there alone. it took awhile for the scene to pick up, but we danced a bit and drank a bit. i talked to one guy who was pretty friendly before he left to start dancing. and really booth and i left fairly early. i'm old: i work all day, get grumpy when i haven't had dinner (at 4.30), and get tired early.

what you'll notice is missing from this post is a description of the political rallies i attended, the shows i went to, the crazy homeless people i had to wrestle. i don't live in that city. recently, my friend antonio sent me a message which ended with this request: "you should post more things about your new life in portland, no more meditations on complacency either. post exciting pictures of you doing exciting portland things, like going to gay bath houses, protesting globalism, vegan bbq's, etc." however, my new life is a lot like my old one unfortunately. not a lot has changed here. and even all the cool kids in america think "portland is the new san francisco," this town is too laid back to do a lot. there aren't really many protests against globalism, not since i've been here. while i know where the vegan neighborhood is, where the vegan coffeeshop, the vegan bakery, and the vegan tattoo parlor is located, not a lot of people here in portland are vegans, and i can't name a single friend who is. i have met a female to male transgendered individual who works in a bathhouse, but i would never actually go to one. besides, that's not even a portland phenomenon. does anyone remember the article in birmingham's black and white concerning the screening room? please.

so while i'm up for experimenting and investigating new ideas and trends here in portland, right now, not a lot has changed. i've been here exactly two months and there hasn't been enough time to go out and really get a feel for the culture here. and a lot of what i have seen here of portland's culture either a. doesn't seem that different from everywhere else, or b. doesn't really interest me. it'll just take time. but i am committed to taking my camera out, going out more, and taking pictures of everything. stay tuned.

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