Eugene was peaceful. We stayed downtown. I took baths at the hotel. It was gray and rainy. Flowers were busting out. We walked everywhere, to the natural foods store, to dinner, to the train station to look for Jason's lost phone, to our gig at the Downtown Initiative for the Arts.
Something about Portland had Jay floating on a cloud of most genial enchantment. His temperament was of unsurpassed conviviality, most likely due to nostalgia brought on by his having lived there for a couple years, and it put him in the sweetest mood.
Portland was a marvelous convergence of people from different times and places in both our lives. We stayed with the 2 Gyrlz, Llewyn Maire and Lisa Newman, who I met during a residency at Hotel Pupik last year.
Llewyn and Lisa flank their comrade Noah Mickins, who set up our gig at Rotture.
We got to see Vihn Nguyen, our old friend from Ann Arbor who masterminded the av-battles that we were a part of back in 2005.
noteNdo (Jeff Donaldson) came out to play with us, as he'd been traveling around the west coast with Portland-based Carl Diehl, and so did Chris Kubick who was impelled to make the Portland journey to visit an old friend from high school. The sound system was awesome, and noteNdo's set was forceful and tough-- what had been difficult to hear at the ATA show now unfurled in true form. (This youtube clip from a different noteNdo gig gives an indication of his sound.)
Kubick's set evolves significantly each time. His piece renders many recorded sounds of clapping both audibly as well as visually. Chris' live claps into a microphone trigger audio and video samples. As far as I know, the piece was first performed as a work-in-progress when he was our Visiting Artist for the spring 2007 term at UTSA.
A local VJ (Mark?) who accompanied the DJ between the acts had some really striking black-and-white interludes that I found to be quite beautiful. Dancing with Vihn and Kubick was superb. It was truly satisfying to get such a deep dose of Llewyn's DJ groove, and we carried on until they kicked us out.
The weather was amazing. One day grey, and the next one uncharacteristically sunny. Everybody seemed to be taking advantage, hanging around outside by the water... or, at least I was, and there were many others there too.
Central Cinema is special cozy neighborhood microcinema sporting a small but excellent menu of food, beer, wine, and movies. We enjoyed the program the night before our gig, STORY by the Seattle Neutrino Society, which alternated between live storytellers and videos of storytellers (sometimes a straight head-shot, but often expanded beyond this), a live cinema experience very different from what we've seen before.
On the way back down the coast, the Cascades made a 35-minute stopover in Portland. We de-boarded and ran through the market under the Burnside Bridge and Chinatown shops, managing to find a little embroidered pouch for the fortune cards and get back on the train before it pulled out of the station. This ride through the Pacific Northwest was stunning.