Sunday, January 2, 2011
Keep Portland Weird... Please!
We're currently en route to Seattle. Portland was a great time, I really feel like a got a good idea of the local cultural flavor, despite us being there for only a few days. I suppose if you see any city as drunk as the City of Portland was on New Year's Eve you get the full spectrum. The real, raw overall feel of P-town people was apparent- minus the inhibitions.
Portland is definitely... weird! They claim it, they own it and they want to stay that way. They even paint it on their buildings to show their pride.
While most people were nursing their post-NYE hang overs -- we were pounding the pavement looking for improv interviews with local creatives downtown. We had no idea if we were in the right spot at all. A friendly couple showed us the ropes on the free street car -- and where we might find some interviews. BTW, Portland rocks for public transportation!
It was quite freezing and actually really quiet. A lot of stores and shops were closed, and there weren't many people out. Just when the six-city-block walk in 29 degrees felt dubious, we spotted a street performer... bingo!
The older gentlemen looked a little rough around the edges, but was a hell of a bucket drummer. When I asked if we could film him, he looked at me like I was nuts and then shifted his eyes toward his tip bucket. He was much obliged to be filmed after the $5 bill was tossed in.
He put a little spin on the norm; I was impressed. Instead of just buckets he had a milk crate that cradled three empty bottles which were once Chardonnay, Jagermiester and Stoli Raspberry. They added some great makeshift symbol "tings" to his compilation. It was definitely a step up from Hollywood Blvd bucket drummers I've seen in the past. He refused an on camera interview, and later apologized and said he was too tired... damn... we just couldn't catch a break.
We started back to our RAWcross America wagon and I was a little worried that we wouldn't have any representation from Portland at all... then we saw her (or heard her, rather).
Zena Whittaker, is a Ukulele player and folk singer/songwriter with pink and purple dreads. Originally from Texas, she moved to Portland to be creative in an accepting community. She was the sweetest thing, with an honest, humble interview and an incredible voice. When we asked her for an interview she said "Well golly Yes!" Who says "golly" anymore? Apparently Zena, and she was fantastic. She sang a cover for us that mentioned almost all the cities we were going to, I had never heard it before, and the interesting thing was she didn't know at that point who we were or what we were doing. It was fateful and she was inspiring.
Artists in Portland are weird! I love them just the way they are.
RAW showcases open up at the Bossanova Ballroom on E. Burnside on February 17th 2011. Every month we'll be featuring the best of the best Portland artistic talent in film, fashion, music, art, performing art and beauty. Contact Mike.S@RAWartists.org or submit your work online to be considered at www.RAWartists.org/portland
Posted by Heidi Luerra at 8:16 PM