Tag Archives: portland

Portland: A World In Windows

-Whitney Menefee

After spending a weekend in Portland I remembered just how much I love window displays, especially around the holidays. I have always been interested in interior design and the visual creativity derived from it and, after a day of walking around the Pearl District, one of the most creative areas in Portland, I saw some very creative and fun window displays that I thought I would share. Ready to see and hear about some of my favorite Portland window displays?

French Quarter Linens is a high-end linens store on Northwest 11th Avenue. Each month, French Quarter Linens changes the bedding and pillows in their window display according to the weather and season. This month they chose cozy darker colors that make it hard for shoppers (me in particular), not to jump in the bed and take a quick nap before heading to the next store.

The top window display is Anthropologie’s 2012 November winter-themed display. Anthropologie always has the most creative window displays during the holiday season because all of their decorations are hand done. The polar bears in the display are made out of paper mâché and white confetti paper.

This window display is in Jonathan Adler, a new modern furniture store located on NW Everett Street. I love the red chain links that border the window–they are so festive and really get me excited for the Christmas holiday.

Thea’s Interiors Vintage Living is a vintage furniture boutique on Glisan Street. When I walked by Thea’s Interiors, I was curious about the wedding dress in their window display, being a furniture store. Despite knowing the store’s reasons behind showcasing a wedding dress in their furniture store’s window display, I discovered that the dress was made out of paper, which was incredible to hear. This window display is the reason for why I have such an appreciation for window displays. It takes a creative team to make a wedding dress out of paper.

The Pleasure of Print

[cap]A[/cap]fter ten years of graphic design with creative firms in Boston, Beth Kerschen decided to uproot her entire life and head out West. She settled in Portland, Oregon, and traded the high-pace life she knew for a new life of observation and creativity. Today she practices the craft of a multi-disciplinary artist by combining photography and printmaking to produce prints, cards, and shirts with digitally manipulated urban landscapes.

With a bachelor of fine arts, Beth reflects, “The irony is that what I really wanted to do was exactly what I did in college and the degree that I did got.  I needed to get that because that’s exactly what I’m doing now.”

Beth’s career as a graphic designer was simply a hiatus from what she truly loved:  photographic illustrating.

Whether to seek a stable job or pursue her true passion was a dilemma Beth knew all too well.

“There’s all this pressure; like, you have to make a lot of money, and you have to be practical, and you have to find a good job—a solid secure job.  I always had that fed to me for so long,” she says.

Everyone struggles with conjuring up the confidence to believe in his or herself, and Beth is no different.

“I’ve always felt not enough confidence to feel like anything I did people would like.  And there is that risk.  You do something and you hope people will like it,” she says.  Beth took that leap of faith and decided to follow her heart, diving in headfirst.

After ten years of personal conflict, Beth has since come full circle and is doing exactly what she did in college, printmaking. She loved it then, and she continues to love it now.

“When things aren’t right for you, there are so many obstacles—everything feels like an obstacle—but when you love what you’re doing, it flows better. It made me happier . . . It’s that simple.”

My Weekend with Sasquatch: The Journey Begins

-Mike Munoz

The weekend of Sasquatch is finally upon us. Four and a half long days of musical bliss and camping out with friends, and I am fortunate enough to be attending only a few short weeks before I graduate and say goodbye to the Pacific Northwest. While I couldn’t think of a better way to end the year, my Sasquatch send-off got off to a bit of a rough start.

Our first mistake was leaving Eugene later than we originally planned. We were aiming to start our journey at around 2 in the afternoon; however, due to last minute errands and forgotten items, we didn’t hit the road until around 3. Finally, with our trunk stuffed with food, camping supplies and beer, we were on our way to the Gorge.

Things only got worse when we got onto the I-5. As soon as we got on the road, the rain Gods of Eugene decided they were bored and felt like shaking things up by giving us some heavy showers. The rain drastically slowed down everyone on the highway and made the first hour of our trip pretty frightening. Each time we got next to an 18-wheeler, our car was completely engulfed in a cloud of mist, with nothing guiding us but the red glow from the tail lights in front of us. Luckily, the rain died down as we approached city limits.

With the weather and traffic clearing up, the morale of our car was temporarily restored as the reality of our journey began to sink in. We made great time and hit Portland at around 4:30, but our spirits were quickly dashed when we found ourselves in bumper-to-bumper to traffic. We all tried to hide our frustration, but it was pretty clear that nobody was happy about losing an hour in the gridlock.

Once we got out of Portland, the rest of our trip was smooth sailing. We made excellent time to The Dalles and it wasn’t long until we found ourselves in central Washington. Our full tank of gas got us all the way to Toppenish, where we made a quick, mandatory McDonalds stop. With full bellies and the knowledge that Sasquatch was only a couple of hours away, we made our final push to the Gorge.

At 10 pm, we finally found ourselves at the Gorge. Morale was at an all-time high as our endless journey seemed to be at an end; but we soon found our patience was going to be tested one last time. As we approached the entrance to the campgrounds, we found ourselves in a line of cars that stretched back for miles. We all tried to keep our spirits boosted by convincing ourselves that the flow of cars we definitely keep moving. Fast forward to 3 hours later, and we had finally arrived.

So we may have had to set up our tent at 2 in the morning, and there may have been stretches of the drive in which I thought we might all die, but all that matters is that we’re here. The sun is out, our neighboring campsite is blasting Earth, Wind and Fire and I couldn’t be in a better mood. Be sure to check out the blog all weekend to keep up with our live coverage of Sasquatch!

Neskowin, Oregon: A Coastal Gem

-Diana Roure

Week six has finally come to an end.  Midterms are over and finals are still a ways away.  It’s the perfect time to escape your dull routine and give yourself a much-deserved break!  So why not head out to Neskowin, the most picturesque coastal community Oregon has to offer?

Neskowin, located in unincorporated Tillamook County, is home to only 170 residents.  It’s nearly a three-hour drive from Eugene, so I would recommend staying for at least a few days.  In my opinion, Neskowin is absolutely Oregon’s best-kept secret.

Neskowin is famous for its stunning beach containing remains of an ancient forest, and is also where Slab Creek meets the Pacific Ocean. In the middle of the beach, there are giant prehistoric trees atop a massive basalt sea-stack called Proposal Rock. Honestly, pictures don’t do it justice–you really have to see it for yourself.

In terms of where to stay, there are many options.  There are numerous rental homes and condos–big or small, expensive or cheap–all of them have unforgettable views.  There are a few charming bed and breakfasts in the area as well.

You may want to plan your trip in advance since space is limited as the city of Neskowin is actually only 1.4 miles wide.  Prices are reasonable–less than you’ll pay in Sunriver or Portland–but more than other coastal cities like Florence. Booking in advance will help save you money, and the beach is large enough that even on popular weekends you’ll never feel cramped.

There is only one restaurant and one general store in Neskowin, although Lincoln City, another coastal community with several restaurants, is just thirteen miles south.  I would recommend picking up the necessary supplies on the drive to Neskowin (I did in Corvallis). Most rental homes and condos come with a fully-stocked kitchen, so utensils are not an issue.

Regarding activities, plan on being outdoors for the duration of your trip.  If you just want to relax, bring a blanket or chair and some reading material and enjoy the pristine views and calming sound of the waves crashing. The Cascade Head bike and hiking trail is opportunely close to most beach properties as well.

Those brave enough can take a plunge into the Pacific or settle for the less freezing and not-so-rough creek. More adventurous visitors can kayak or canoe in the Nestucca Bay estuary, which is just five minutes away.  Come evening, it is impossible to miss the gorgeous sunsets. As the moon comes out of hiding, feel free to stargaze by the warmth of a bonfire.

I went to Neskowin last Memorial Day weekend for my twenty-first birthday.  I stayed in a condo on the beach and had the time of my life.  I strongly encourage you to make the trip for an experience that will forever be etched in your mind.

Follow Diana at @dianaroure

Under Your Skin: Vegan Tattoos

-Hannah Doyle

When considering a tattoo, most people think about where they want their tattoo, how they want it to look, if they should get color and how much pain it will cause. Rarely does it cross the mind to wonder what exactly is in the ink that tattoo parlors use. It seems pretty straightforward; ink is ink. However, most don’t know what is used to make tattoo ink, and for some, knowing might alter their decision entirely.

Most tattoo parlors offer permanent, traditional tattoo ink. The colors of tattoo ink depend on the ingredients in the pigment. Carbon or iron oxides make up the pigment of traditional black tattoo ink. The Carbon is commonly made from charred animal bone or bug excrement. The pigments are suspended in a carrier like alcohol, distilled water, or glycerin. Many traditional inks are suspended in an animal-based glycerin that contains animal fat.

The FDA doesn’t regulate traditional tattoo ink and the ink supplier isn’t required to list the ingredients of the ink on their product. This can be troubling to some, especially those who are vegan or have a conscience about bits of animal permanently sitting in their skin.

Fortunately for those who don’t want to use traditional tattoo ink, there are alternatives. There are vegan tattoo parlors that use vegetable-based glycerin and have black tattoo ink pigments made out of logwood. Vegan tattoo parlors are not common but many are located in areas like Portland, Los Angeles, and New York.

However, some tattoo artists question the quality of vegan black tattoo ink versus traditional. Since vegan tattoo ink isn’t Carbon-based, which is where the animal bone comes in, artists don’t think it works as well.  Although, most vegan tattoo artists say that there is no difference.

When it comes down to it, it’s all about personal preference and doing research. Just be sure that before emblazoning “Vegan” or “PETA” on your back, you understand what is being embedded under your skin.

Photo taken by Gene Coffey at Tattoo Culture

Deftones Rock Portland

– Sarah Walters

Last weekend provided a rare treat to rock fans in Portland, Oregon. Grammy-award winning metal band Deftones played not one, but two shows at the Crystal Ballroom on consecutive nights, and gave a free autograph signing to the first one hundred fans that bought their limited-edition “Covers” EP or their new “Diamond Eyes” album at Music Millennium on Record Store Day April 16th.

The last time singer Chino Moreno, guitarist Stephen Carpenter, drummer Abe Cunningham, keyboardist and turntablist Frank Delgado, and bassist Sergio Vega were in Portland was fall of 2010 on the BlackDiamondSkye tour with Mastodon and Alice in Chains. This time, however, the concert was all about Deftones.

Before Deftones took the stage Saturday night, Los Angeles band Funeral Party played a set list showcasing songs off their debut album “The Golden Age of Knowhere.” Their upbeat tunes were a literal calm before the storm. Funeral Party played an energetic set, but the next band, mathcore group Dillinger Escape Plan, was a bat out of hell. The band members made their way on stage as an epilepsy-inducing strobe light pulsated. The band matched the intensity of their songs, many from their latest album “Option Paralysis,” with an epic on-stage presence and thrashing energy that was contagious with the audience. Both bassist Liam Wilson and guitarist Ben Weinman crowd-surfed at separate occasions while holding their instruments in hand. Singer Greg Puciato wasn’t afraid to jump into the crowd and scream right into fans’ faces. And the fans ate it up.

And then, as quickly as Dillinger Escape Plan had arrived, they were gone. And I was left in the front row amongst other Deftones fans waiting for one of my favorite bands to take the stage. An antsy feeling hit me like a brick wall. I basked in the anticipation: anticipation for the next ground-shaking riff, the next face-melting scream, the next pause of silence before the crescendo into the abyss. Great music is all about anticipation.

Deftones’ recent years have been a long waiting game. The Sacramento-based alternative metal band, who have been making music since the 1980’s, released their sixth full-length album “Diamond Eyes” in May 2010, one and a half years after bassist Chi Cheng’s November 4, 2008 car accident left him in a coma. Cheng is now in a semi-conscious state and his family, friends, fellow musicians, and fans are donating money for his hospital bills to pay for a treatment in New Jersey that has an 80 percent revival statistic. Hopes are high, and fan support has been incredible. The Crystal Ballroom holds 1,500 people, and every fan who bought a concert ticket to the show was charged an additional two dollar fee; one of those dollars was donated to the One Love for Chi fundraiser. The Portland concerts were nearly sold out.

Deftones have made a journey since Cheng’s accident – a journey of progression, support, and brotherhood that resulted in their recent “Diamond Eyes” album, winner of the iTunes Rock Album of the Year award. Saturday night at the Crystal Ballroom, Deftones played a set list that satisfied the palates of old and new fans alike. Every band member sounded like he was at the top of his game, playing classics like “My Own Summer,” “Elite,” “7 Words,” “Engine No. 9” and “Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away),” as well as newer singles like “Sextape” and “You’ve Seen the Butcher.” Moreno dedicated the band’s performance of “Head Up” to Cheng, whose back-up vocals and screaming can be heard on the studio version of the song.

The 19-song set list was a hurricane of passion weaving in and out of the history of Deftones. Every song reminded me why I love this band. They unleash melody in every record, whether a more mellow tune like “Minerva” or an up-tempo headbanger like “Feticiera.” The band brought an infectious energy on stage that resonated with the fans, who headbanged and moshed and sang in return.  The best parts of the concert were the grins and smiles on the band’s faces in between songs. Deftones are back, and more epic than ever.

After a two-song encore, Deftones finally left the stage. I couldn’t move for a while. Maybe it was because I had headbanged so much my neck was stiff, or because my purse was buried somewhere underneath the barricade, or because my arms were bruised from being pushed and shoved. But I think it was because I was stunned. I had to bask in Deftones’ glory for a moment before leaving the venue. As I finally exited the Crystal Ballroom and breathed the cold night air, I couldn’t help but wonder what’s to come for Deftones. Will Cheng be awoken, and when? Will the band finally get a Grammy award for best metal album? I can’t wait to see what the band has in store for fans next.

Avalon Nickel Arcade Keeps Old School Entertainment Alive in Portland

– Laura Lundberg

Few people think of going to an arcade when making Friday night plans. These game havens were at the height of their popularity in the 1980’s, yet times changed, and as console games came to be popular among consumers, arcades rapidly began to disappear from cities. However, there are still a few arcades left today that flash and pop and are accompanied by 8-bit music and bad 80’s theme songs. One of these arcades is located in Portland, Oregon.

Nickel arcades used to be much more old fashioned than the arcade games of today, but at the Avalon Theater just east of downtown Portland, the nickel arcade has kept the old-school gaming scene alive since 1925. Avalon is one of the six nickel arcade locations owned by the company Electric Castle Wunderland and houses over one hundred games inside its building, including video games and classic arcade games. With choices like the Japanese drift racing game Initial D, two pinball machines, skee ball, air hockey tables, claw games and rapid fire coin redemption games, an arcade enthusiast could be easily overwhelmed with the amount of choices that Avalon provides.

While video games do not give the player any sort of monetary reward for playing them, there are plenty of redemption games for people who wish to win a prize out of their experience at Avalon. For only 5 nickels, the price for one time playing many of the redemption games, one can play Jumpin Jackpot and win up to 150 tickets. These tickets can be turned into candy, Silly Bandz, army men, necklaces, light up glasses, clocks, lava lamps, and a variety of other prizes.

Avalon is not only an arcade. It also doubles as a $1.50 movie theatre in the small auditoriums adjacent to the arcade. Like the Cinemark 12 theatre here in Eugene, the theater shows movies that have just left the big screen theatre and are one step away from becoming DVDs. With such movies as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, Tron: Legacy, and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Dawn Treader, Avalon is sure to show movies that those that frequent the arcade will enjoy seeing.

According to Gina Blake, a frequent customer, the Avalon Theatre and Arcade location was originally a mortuary, and from there became a brothel and an adult theatre before it turned into an arcade. With such an interesting history, one has to wonder what it could become be in the future. However, until the Electric Castle Wunderland sells the Avalon Theatre, it shall remain a place of the past, with nickels as the commodity and fun as the trade.

Lost in Translation

A traditional mridungum drum.

-Neethu Ramchandar

The soggy Portland leaves squish beneath my Converse as I make my way to the looming brown house. My personal cloud of doom senses my anxiety and splashes beads of rain to rest upon my cheeks in jest. Today I have my first private class with Subash Chandra, a globally renowned drummer, and I have been warned of what is expected of me – perfection.

My hand rests on the doorknob for a moment. I breathe slowly trying to exhale my jitters. In a dim hallway, I wipe at moist cheeks, no longer able to distinguish the sweat from the rain as the drops trickle down my neck.  I walk to the classroom – the only door with any light peeking from the cracks. I knock and nudge the door open. When the famous man sees me, he greets me in our shared mother tongue, Tamil. Great, I think to myself. No one mentioned to this percussion genius that, although I am bilingual, my fluency level is still infant in comparison.

The previously feeble jitters have now transformed into a distinct tremor in my hands. I let my thumb run over the calluses of my other fingers wondering if I am ready for this experience. His hands are much rougher with drumming experience than mine. They are thick and a dark brown with only the underside remaining a lighter white, stained with years of calluses. As my session begins I try not to look up. I focus on my hands and the quick circles they make as my fingers flutter across the drums. I force my mind to be a metronome, using the ominous tapping of the rain on the window to count so viciously that no other anxious thoughts may be entertained. One, two, three, one, two, three, one, two—and suddenly he says something.

Sabash,” he repeats and then adds in Tamil, “Why did you stop? Keep playing.”

Continuing the song, I wrack my brain for meaning. “Sabash” he had said. If only I could remember what that word meant. I knew his name was Subash, but he wasn’t nearly old enough to be dealing with Alzheimer’s and the need to repeat who and where he was. And then, it slowly dawned on me, hovering like a nimbus cloud. Criticism. I was a bit surprised that I had failed to meet his expectations of me so quickly. Within the first ten minutes of my tutorial I had let down all the people who had helped me reach this point; that’s quite an achievement on my part. As I wallowed in my pool of pity the word slipped out again.

Sabash” he says with closed eyes, either enjoying the song or hiding from the next attack of a melody. As I stop he opens his eyes and repeated in Tamil, “Sabash, Sabash, no matter what don’t stop.”

“No matter what?”  What was going to happen? Would he banish me from his classes? Would I be made the example of what a bad student was? Even worse, would he tell my dad?

And then, as quickly as the pool of pity had come, a high tide of determination washed it away. I straightened my back and focused on my fingers, striking so fiercely that each beat bounced off the walls and returned to invigorate the next beat. The next time the word slipped out, I ignored it. I was not going to let him so easily crush my efforts.

And yet, the harder I played and the purer the notes sang into the air, the more often he said “Sabash.”

I had been ignoring it for a while now and I wondered how many times I missed it. With my lesson coming to an end I try to study his face.

The skin sits loosely and he looks breakable with age. Only his hands looked steady, a reminder that as long as he lives, he will be a drummer. I know that after today’s lesson, no one would look at me and think the same. My drumming career is officially over.

As I walk to the car with my dad I hang my head in shame. My father glances down at me and asks what was wrong. Concentrating on the imprint my shoes leave in the sodden earth, I choke out “Dad, what does ‘sabash’ mean?”

He hesitates. I look up to see that every muscle in his face is fighting a smile. “Neethu,” he replies. “Sabash means ‘very good’.”

HOLYROOD PARK

When making my preparations to go to Edinburgh, I knew that, given the diet of fried foods that defined my trip, I would need to spend all the time that I was not eating being active enough to turn my body into a big, albeit slightly flabby, calorie furnace. Fortunately, Edinburgh is a city hilly enough to rival San Francisco, with the added benefit of a royal park full of giant hills smack dab in the middle of town.

Hiking is not exactly my deal. It’s actually pretty far from my deal.

God bless the hikers of the world, but I’ve seen trees and rocks before. I enjoy trees and rocks, and I like seeing them.

However, I don’t feel the need to spend several hours clambering over uneven terrain in order to see more trees and rocks. I know it’s a matter of personal preference, but whenever I hear my friends raving about how much they love hiking, I can’t help but think that maybe I’m not enjoying it because I’m doing something wrong. It’s like I’m playing Modern Warfare 2 without knowing that you’re allowed to shoot people.

However, after two days in which I consumed a haggis burrito, a deep fried cheeseburger, and a deep fried pizza, I knew that the only way I could make it out of Scotland without heart failure as a souvenir was to hike my nuts off, and the place to do that was at Edinburgh’s Holyrood Park, home to Arthur’s Seat and the Salisbury Crags. The fact that I did this on a day so hot that a runner in the Edinburgh Marathon died of heat exhaustion should also be noted.

Right away, I realized that this hike probably couldn’t be classified as a hike – not because it wasn’t difficult, because it definitely was, but because I was actually enjoying it. You see, while I don’t like hiking, I do enjoy panoramic views of major cities, and the advantage to these hills being in the center of a major city is… Well, really, do I need to explain?

The hike where I first learned that I was not a hiking enthusiast was a muddy slog through dense forests, affording no real views of the surrounding landscape and, more importantly, no way to look back at how far you’d come and think, “Well, I’m covered in mud and sweat and there isn’t a bathroom for miles, but look what I’ve done!

For all I knew, we could’ve been going in circles. Furthermore, there was no tangible goal to what we were doing, save for “Get to the end of the trail so we can hike the entire trail backwards and then go home.”

Climbing the steep, uneven path up to the top of Arthur’s Seat, 823 feet above the city, was an awe inspiring experience. No, like, literally.

I would stop and turn around and see the tiny brown path I’d taken snaking up the sheer edge of the hill with the entire city of Edinburgh laid out in the distance all the way to the North Sea, glimmering in the afternoon light, and awe was actually inspired within me. And along with that awe was ambition to keep climbing up to the top, which was also within sight, because the view only got better the higher I went. Refreshing cold winds off the North Sea also helped.

Maybe 50 feet from the summit, the hill leveled out into a wide, grassy plateau where several other hikers were sitting with books or lying on their backs for a high-altitude nap. From here, you could turn 360 degrees and see everything for miles in every direction.

I could see from the docks at one side of town all the way to where houses and deep fried pizza shops gave way to lush green fields and farmland. A city the size of Portland laid out underneath me, like I was some sort of sweaty alien riding on a floating grass disk.

Edinburgh is probably the second most beautiful city I’ve ever seen (after Portland, which, if it were a woman, would be Christina Hendricks). I don’t think I’d ever want to live outside the United States, for reasons I’ll elaborate on in a later update, but if I had to flee the country after pulling a massive casino heist, Edinburgh would be the place I’d go to start my new life.*

*Not that I’m planning a casino heist.

And what’s more, I’d use my newfound wealth to bribe city council members to let me build a modest house up on that grassy plateau, that little disk in the sky. Every morning, I’d be able to walk out my front door and see everything in the city I called my home, and at the same time, if the police tried to catch up with me, they’d be forced to run single file up a narrow path, which gives me a clear advantage, tactically speaking.

Truman Capps has all sorts of other interesting travel tidbits on his blog, Hair Guy.

Portland on Screen: Life Unexpected

[cap]I[/cap]n the realm of the Pacific Northwest, Portland is often shrugged off as Seattle’s geekier younger sibling, and we here at FLUX think that’s a cryin’ shame. More and more, Portland, Oregon is finding its place in film and on TV, both as a setting and a filming location, and to celebrate that fact, we’ve decided to highlight some of the city’s most shining moments in the moving pictures, starting with a new drama from The CW.

There couldn’t be a better subject to start this column with than “Life Unexpected”, a new teen drama set in the City of Roses that premiered on The CW Network in late January. Although “Life Unexpected” is primarily filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, it gets its references to Portland right: mentions of Voodoo Doughnut abound, along with surprisingly appropriate shots of the MAX light rail, the Steel Bridge, and Chinatown throughout the first two episodes.

And the show, which opened to solid ratings and positive critical reviews, may well become the first TV show set in Portland to last more than one season (I kid, of course – the 1970s McLean Stevenson sitcom “Hello, Larry” managed to survive two disastrous years before an unceremonious canning). It stars Kristoffer Polaha as a bartender and Shiri Appleby as a radio morning show host who take in their teenage birth child after sixteen years apart. The former’s job is a nod to Oregon’s tasty beer culture, while the latter’s is an apparently common Pacific Northwest profession, if one is to extrapolate from the title characters of Seattle-based “Frasier” and the aforementioned “Hello, Larry”.

A montage of some of Stumptown’s best scene-setting local cameos from the first two episodes is above.