ISSUE 93 | MAR 2019
ELEVEN VOLUME8,8,ISSUE ISSUE59 ELEVENPDX PDXMAGAZINE MAGAZINE -- VOLUME
INSIDE: REPTALIENS | PALEHOUND | AMERICAN FOOTBALL AND THE KIDS | IAN ANDREW NELSON | AWP CONFERENCE 2019
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ELEVEN PDX MAGAZINE VOLUME 8 ◊ ISSUE No. 9
March 2019 THE USUAL 4 Letter from the Editor 4 Staff Credits
FEATURES Local Feature 14 Reptaliens
Cover Feature 18
5 Aural Fix
And the Kids Methyl Ethel Better Oblivion Community Center Palehound
COMMUNITY Meet Your Maker 24
NEW MUSIC 8 Short List 8 Album Reviews Ex Hex TEEN Delicate Steve American Football
Literary Arts 27
AWP Conference 2019
Visual Arts 28
Ian Andrew Nelson
LIVE MUSIC 12 Musicalendar An encompassing overview of concerts in PDX for the upcoming month. But that’s
not all–the Musicalendar is complete with
a venue map to help get you around town.
MORE ONLINE AT ELEVENPDX.COM SOCIALS @ELEVENPDX
HELLO PORTLAND! I am delighted to say my first “Hello Portland!” from the pages of ELEVEN! Travis has officially passed the torch of Managing Editor off to me, and he truly deserves a roaring round of applause for his many years in this position. These are some big shoes to fill, but I am honored to be onboard this passion project alongside so many talented humans who also find comfort in music. As we bundle up and wonder whether or not to believe the weather forecasts – “Snow? Eh, I guess not,” – this winter has still proven to be a fruitful time for many musicians. Through the dark clouds and seasonal depression, the local scene is ablaze with the power of art and creation. While the music scene has been hot (seriously, check our website for some fresh new tracks and music videos!) the political climate has, unfortunately, started to boil over. As most of you know, the queer community in Portland have been under attack, with blatant hate crimes becoming public and not much help from law enforcement. While it can be easy to feel helpless in times like these, there is strength in numbers. The outreach of people and businesses offering rides and support to those feeling threatening has been inspiring. We can always be doing more for our fellow humans. I encourage you all to check in on a friend, even just to ask, “How are you feeling?” Delightfully yours, Eirinn Gragson
R.I. P. 'Oppy' Special!
EXECUTIVE STAFF EDITOR IN CHIEF Ryan Dornfeld (email@example.com)
ONLINE Michael Reiersgaard Kim Lawson
MANAGING EDITOR Eirinn Gragson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
FIND US ONLINE www.elevenpdx.com social channels: @elevenpdx
COPY EDITOR Chance Solem-Pfeifer SECTION EDITORS LITERARY ARTS: Scott McHale VISUAL ARTS: Mercy McNab MAKERS: Brandy Crowe CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Nathan Royster, Charles Trowbridge, Anthony King, Ellis Samsara, Matthew Sweeney, Liz Garcia, Henry WhittierFerguson, Laurel Bonfiglio PHOTOGRAPHERS Mathieu Lewis-Rolland, Molly Macapline, Katie Summer, Todd Walberg
GENERAL INQUIRIES email@example.com ADVERTISING firstname.lastname@example.org ELEVEN WEST MEDIA GROUP, LLC SPECIAL THANKS To all of our friends and family that make this project possible, and to those that champion tolerance, equality, generosity and kindness in the world. We love you best.
COVER DESIGN Katie Silver COVER PHOTO Courtesy of Def Jam Recordings VINCE STAPLES LIVE PHOTOS Darin Kamnetz and Elijah VanDeen
Y LA BAM BA
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Bridgeport Village · Hawthorne NW 23rd · Portland Airport · West End tlerecords.com
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up and coming music from the national scene
1 AND THE KIDS MARCH 15 | MISSISSIPPI STUDIOS
And The Kids members Rebecca Lasaponaro (drums) and Hannah Mohan (vocals, guitars) started playing together in music class growing up in Northampton, Massachusetts. “When Rebecca and I were teenagers, we just lived on the streets and played music, and people in town would always call us kids—not as in children, but as in punks,” Mohan says. There’s comradery in that history, leading to candid lyrics, swelling vocals and a wealth of emotional cache. And The Kids’ debut, Turn To Each Other (2015), is a selfproclaimed “Apocalyptic-Pop” album. It rings inside a three-piece rock penumbra, brooding with bright guitars and lyrics straddling silliness and clever naked truths like, “Let us take off our pants and we’ll argue less” (“Secret Makeout Factory”) and “Glory, glory, I’m a drinker,” (“Glory Glory”) affected with Mohan’s amiable vibrato. Their sophomore release, Friends Share Lovers (2016), added bassist Taliana Katz for a fuller mix. This record cranes into partly-cloudy synth territory, working further into the “pop” part of the Apocalyptic-Pop label.
Photo by Xan Thorrhoea
2 METHYL ETHEL MARCH 22 | MISSISSIPPI STUDIOS One of the beautiful things about art is its ability to challenge and confound. Artists that demand audience engagement tend to create layered work, rewarding a closer look to those willing to take the dive. Methyl Ethel, the brainchild of Jake Webb, wants to make you work for it but also have a little fun along the way. Underneath the veneer of the airy vocals, shimmering chords and driving kick drum lies a complexity, both lyrical and
The newest album, When This Life Is Over, is their smoothest yet and still manages to shuffle in a few lo-fi bedroom recordings: “When This Life Is Over” and “Get to That Place.” Those recordings were done in the spur of the moment while at percussionist Megan Miller’s house in Canada. “We recorded them right away, and there was a really strong feeling of ‘don’t touch them again,’” Mohan says. And though Miller was recently deported, Lasaponaro and Mohan are committed to continued work with her. Even in the face of the hardships that go with trying to keep a dual-nation band going, they refuse to let their friendships and art be defined by borders. » – Nathan Royster musical, that asks the listener to sit up, pay attention and think a little. Webb pulls listeners from sleep to wakefulness, to gentle lucidity and back. He wants to know why we do what we do, why he does what he does, unpacking the contradictions inherent to an examined life. He writes, “I challenge the idea of friendship and trust. I think because I am untrustworthy. At least I’m honest about that.” Triage (2019) embodies that thought process. Webb challenges the idea that complex music needs volume, proving time and again on tracks like “Scream Whole” and “Post-Blue” that a light touch and purposeful structure are just as enticing. Other times, he invites you to nod the head and undulate a bit. “Hip Horror” plows through an ominous chord progression with a backbeat that sounds like it came out of a tracking scene from Blade. You can’t help but engage. “Trip the Mains” goes a little bigger with its meaty synth chords and a bass line that makes you want to step. Earlier Methyl Ethel records like Everything is Forgotten (2017) and Oh Inhuman Spectacle (2016) offer their own versions of Webb’s challenge to the listener. For him, each album is an opportunity to creatively attack something, be it an internal feeling, the bigger “why” behind an existential question or just what it takes to make music that adheres to his standard of craft and puzzle. It’s not a head trip he’s taking you on, but it’s a trip you’ll find yourself unable to resist. » – Charles Trowbridge
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columns aural fix
3/1 WELLES AND AND AND
3/17 KING WHO DEATHLIST HELP
3/2 RKCB + SHOFFY JANELLE KROLL
3/19 1 YOUNG MICAH KAYELAJ • SIR NAI DC CAPITAL CUDDIE WHOMPUS SHRISTA TYREE
3/3 THE JACK MAYBE PROJECT THE SAM CHASE & THE UNTRADITIONAL LILI ST. ANNE
3/20 HER’S THE UNDERCOVER DREAM LOVERS
3/5 JULIA HOLTER TESS ROBY 3/6 THE MONOCHROME SET THE PRIDS SOLD OUT!
3/21 YVES TUMOR 3/22 HÆLOS
3/7 PARCELS PENTHOUSE BOYS
3/23 NAKED GIANTS BLACK TONES ANEMONE
3/8 & 3/9 IAN KARMEL SEAN JORDAN DAVID GBORIE
3/24 BRONZE RADIO RETURN WILDERMISS
3/8 JACOB MILLER LEMOLO SHEERS (SOLO HARP PERFORMANCE) 3/9 SEPIATONIC HIGH STEP SOCIETY 3/10 DKOTA BOOK OF COLORS 3/11 ADIA VICTORIA DICK STUSSO 3/12 COOL KIDS COMEDY FEATURING ANDIE MAIN 3/14 SHING02 CISE STARR 3/15 THAT 1 GUY SOLD OUT!
3/16 BETTER OBLIVION COMMUNITY CENTER SLOPPY JANE CHRISTIAN LEE HUTSON
3/25 PRATEEK KUHAD 3/26 RED BARAAT VIDYA VOX SOLD OUT!
3/27 COM TRUISE JACK GRACE GINLA 3/28 LAURA JANE GRACE AND THE DEVOURING MOTHERS MERCY UNION CONTROL TOP 3/29 ARKELLS DEAR ROUGE
3/30 KOLARS ALEX LILLY 3/31 ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE & THE MELTING PARAISO U.F.O. YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN
(503) 231-WOOD ALL SHOWS 21+ 830 E. BURNSIDE SERVING BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER & LATE NIGHT HAPPY HOUR 3-6 EVERYDAY & 10PM-12AM SUN-THURS TICKETS AND MORE INFO AT DOUGFIRLOUNGE.COM
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Photo by Nik Freitas
3 BETTER OBLIVION COMMUNITY CENTER MARCH 16 | DOUG FIR “Better Oblivion Community Center” sounds like a building you might drive past every day on your way to work and not really have any idea what it is. For those unfamiliar, the album might be something you skipped past back in January when the group’s debut dropped without fanfare. For an innocuous title, the power behind the band packs a punch. Better Oblivion Community Center is a side project of indie stars Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) and Phoebe Bridgers. Following their 2017 solo releases — Salutations from Oberst and the critically acclaimed Stranger in the Alps from Bridgers — they joined forces after a classic happenstance meeting at a show in Los Angeles. Throughout 2018, the duo honed its collaborative skills, pulling together an album that, by nearly all critical accounts, is an example of both at their best. The partnership works in part because both are talented songwriters, but there is an intangible chemistry that arises from the vocal harmonies and intentionally spare instrumentation. Oberst’s classic quavering and hint of rasp complement Bridger’s deceptively sweet alto. Their instrumental sympathies skew toward the acoustic on BOCC although traditional “rock band” sounds dot the album from all-star hands like Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and Carla Azar (Autolux). Nowhere is Oberst and Bridgers’ chemistry more evident than on “Dylan Thomas,” an alt-rocking tribute to broken souls. It’s a fairly straightforward song, structurally speaking, but Oberst and Bridgers match vocal lines throughout with an infectious hook that pushes Bridgers to the forefront and uses Oberst as a lyrical shadow that brings depth and extra emotion. And opening track “Didn’t Know What I Was In For” could just as easily be about the genesis of the partnership, but the duo’s harmonies and underlying soft acoustic guitar are really scene-setting for the rest of the album. It’s a gentle track that rolls back and forth, as if in a boat. Both Oberst and Bridgers have been coy about any future collaborative possibilities, but if Better Oblivion Community Center is any indication, they may have tapped into vein of gold with no discernable ending. » – Charles Trowbridge
columns aural fix
Photo by Shervin Lainez
4 PALEHOUND MARCH 06 | WONDER BALLROOM New England native Ellie Kempner has a knack for taking melancholic moments of loss and anxiety to a level of tender, easy-listening contemplation. The Boston-based artist formed Palehound in 2014 with Jesse Weiss on drums, and more recently joined by new bassist Larz Brogan. Kempner’s sound is very real, with a bedroom style that leaves listeners feeling closer to her heart with each listen. Dry Food, released in 2015, showcased Palehound’s musical talents in the public eye, drawing attention with the quirky and lovable song “Pet Carrot.” Friends with other indie artists of the East Coast such as Speedy Ortiz, Palehound offers a similar cadence, yet really knows how to take a sad moment and put a positive twist on it. Kempner’s ability to weave intricate guitar pieces and upbeat chord progressions alongside somber and thought-provoking lyrics is a true skill. She embraces personal anxiety, something relatable and true to her, and uses it as a way to create and connect. In heart tugging anthem “If You Met Her” on Palehound’s 2017 album A Place I’ll Always Go, Kempner sings about a friend who has passed away, recounting joyful memories in with bittersweet candor. “A lot of it is about loss and learning how to let yourself evolve past the pain and the weird guilt that comes along with grief,” Kempner says about her 2017 release. Starting out playing basement shows around Boston, Palehound has grown to acclaim in the past few years, playing festivals around the world. It is evident there will be much more of Kempner to look forward to! » – Eirinn Gragson
A haunting call from a friend in solidarity, offering a soft kill to “the man who hurt you, darlin’.” In this dreamy punch in gut, Kempner is out to seek vengeance in the way everyone hopes their closest friend will have their back.
Kempner rocks out on this track, speaking truth about dating and self-doubt while daydreaming of self-care. It’s accented with groovy, dissonant guitar riffs and a tinge of dark humor.
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new music album reviews
that you might as well turn whatever device you’re listening to it on all the way to 11 before pressing play. Channeling post punk, garage rock, and power pop (à la The Replacements, Richard Hell & The Voidoids, and Th’ Faith Healers), It’s Real is dense with
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Pond Daisy Helado Negro This Is How You Smile Little Simz GREY Lion Babe Cosmic Wind Gang of Four Happy Now Billie Eilish When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? Andrew Bird My Finest Work SASAMI SASAMI Stella Donnelly Beware of the Dogs Weezer The Black Album Ty Segall Deforming Lobes Amanda Palmer There Will Be No Intermission
Ex Hex It’s Real Merge Records Five years after their fists-in-the air debut, Washington D.C. power trio Ex Hex return with the increasingly raucous and ambitious It’s Real. Comprised of veteran indie-rock guitar titan Mary Timony (Helium, Wild Flag, Autoclave), drummer Laura Harris (The Aquarium) and guitarist Betsy Wright (The Fire Tapes), Ex Hex have crafted a rock album so cavernous and expansive
TEEN Good Fruit Carpark Records
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Putting words to hurt as practically as possible, TEEN’s Good Fruit allows total access into a stable mind and heart. More than that, the band accomplishes this feat of emotional excavation with unquestionable style and composure. One of the particularly enticing tracks on the album is “Ripe.” Its lyrical structure is undergirded by a bass line
muscular riffs, shimmering power chords, sidewinding guitar solos, anthemic choruses, and catchy-as-allget-out hooks. Layered vocals modulate between rollicking (“Diamond Drive,” “Cosmic Cave”) swaggering (“Another Dimension,” “Tough Enough”) and downright phantasmagoric (“Talk to Me”). For an album whose lyrical drive stems from shaking the shackles of toxic relationships, forging more worthwhile friendships, and just having a blast, It’s Real is an unapologetic celebration of rockin’ out with reckless abandon. Ex Hex have delivered a denim and leather-clad 10-song masterclass in what a great rock n’ roll record should be. It’s real? Damn right it is! » – Anthony King
that punches upward, accentuating an extremely funky synth and guitar tracks. Those create a perfect setting for the lyrics, “That’s all I wanted, that’s all I needed, only once, only once.” It all leaves the listener begging for more. There really is no escape from the heartache that occurs between two people, only to disconnect and recoil and question why. In so many ways, this sentiment is conveyed in the track “Connection.” The lyrics, “A loving friend is all I need, all I need,” infuriates but reconciles a tender and longing heart that has had enough of a painful game. This carefully and artfully abundant album covers a vast spectrum of musical ability and thought. After experiencing Good Fruit in its entirety, the realization becomes apparent. This one rhythmically dives deep into the funky trenches, pulsating over the dance floor and concisely illustrating a sharp lyrical perspective. » – Ellis Samsara
new music album reviews
Delicate Steve Till I Burn Up ANTI- Records Multi-instrumentalist Steve Marion’s project remains a creature comfort in a music menagerie saturated with louder, shinier, less-melodic sounds. On Delicate Steve’s last effort from 2018, The Christmas Album, the band was audaciously anachronistic enough to present fans with nine relatively mellow holiday covers, nearly all of them in the mold of calming Hawaiian steel guitar
American Football American Football (LP3) Polyvinyl Record Co. On their third self-titled LP, American Football still very much wears their hearts on their sleeves. However, the emotion evoked by the music has shifted from angst to concern. The music has clearly grown up along with the Urbana, Illinois-based band. The opening track, “Silhouettes,” starts off with chime sounds, like something you would expect to hear in a child’s tune, but quickly changes as mallet instrumentation quickens and is
and surf guitar instrumentals. There was even a proggy, 15-minute rendition of “Frosty the Snowman” at the tailend. On the band’s wildly popular 2011 debut, Wondervision, they were a bit more stylistically diverse and focused on melding Marion’s guitar-driven melodic sensibility with electronic beats. Delicate Steve’s new album, Till I Burn Up, is named for a misheard line from a Dr. John song, in true throwback fashion, and is closer to that earlier sound, where Marion’s deep love of rock’s roots in country, surf instrumentals, and exotica was cloaked in comfy electronica and electro. But unlike previous efforts, the winking, laid-back soul at the heart of Marion’s music now has more darkness lurking at its edges. You can get a hint of that darkness first in the song titles: “Selfie of a Man”…”Vacant Disco”…”We Ride On Black Wings.” Comfort has given way to apocalyptic melancholy. Sometimes that feeling comes across in a down-tempo pace and emphasis on atmospherics, like on “We Ride on Black Wings.” The bright
electronics of earlier albums are now ominous, cutting bass synth lines. On songs like “Selfie of a Man,” “Freedom,” “Rubber Neck” and the title track, Marion’s guitar-playing is anchored by jaunty electro/disco that comes across as almost mocking in its aggressively upbeat feel, which fits the grim cheek of the titles. The album’s mood is as strangely inspiring as it is downcast, with its eccentric combination of post-rock melancholy (see the soulful closer “Dream”) and modern electro that feels a little out of place. Maybe the collection’s most poignant moment is the brief “Ghost,” with its gossamer, unhurried guitar lines and cold sound design. It is a strange album to be sure, like Peter Green guesting on a Ratatat album and pulling off something that’s pretty listenable but still altogether one of the weirdest collaborations you’ve heard in your life. Nevertheless, Delicate Steve’s passion shines through; it’s a cohesive, appealing and cinematic effort. » – Matthew Sweeney
accompanied by what sounds like a digital alarm clock ticking. About 90 seconds in, we get that familiar American Football sound. While one of the longer tracks on the record (7 minutes and 22 seconds), “Silhouettes” doesn’t lose momentum at any point, demonstrating the growth the band has undergone. One of the standout tracks on LP3, “Uncomfortably Numb,” reflects on past experiences and how they shape one’s perception of new and current times while entering the epicenter of adulthood and the uncertainty that comes with it. Elevating the track even further, Paramore’s Hayley Williams sings alongside American Football’s Mike Kinsella. Then, despite its morose title, “Doom in Full Bloom” offers a sense of hope. The song starts off with Steve Lamos on trumpet and a guitar melody eventually joined by Kinsella singing “doom in full bloom” in sustained, whispery notes. If you listen closely, “Doom in Full Bloom” is an unlikely love song, though not necessarily a romantic kind of love. Instead, it revolves around
the places and people you love and the sanctuary they bring when you need it most. Finally, on “I Can’t Feel You,” we again hear the chimes and clock-ticking along with an alluring humming trying to form sounds into words. At the heart of this song lies an overwhelming sense of frustration that comes with trying to align what you say and what you feel, which in turn leads to miscommunication. It’s an internal struggle that never goes away despite growing up. However, coming to terms with those unavoidable struggles of living is a possibility American Football explores throughout LP3. This record shines a new light upon American Football. Perhaps the most refreshing aspect of LP3 is that the guys aren’t, at any point, trying to bury the old with the new. They reminisce on the past and recognize that it has been and still is a part of their journey. LP3 says one thing for sure: American Football is in full bloom. » – Liz Garcia
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MARCH CRYSTAL BALLROOM
1332 W BURNSIDE 4 MarchFourth 16th Anniversary Spectacular 13 Noname | Elton.
22 Mandolin Orange | Mapache 23 Galactic ft. Erica Falls 25 Citizen Cope | G. Love & Special Sauce
THEATER 2 ROSELAND 8 NW 6TH
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Atmosphere | deM atlaS | The Lioness | DJ Keezy Jungle | Houses James Blake | Khushi Action Bronson | Roc Marci | Meyhem Lauren LP | Lauren Ruth Ward | Slugs YG | Mozzy Big Wild | Robotaki | Mild Minds Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness | flor | Grizfolk Foals Jacquees
23-24 VINCE STAPLES | JPEGMAFIA | Channel Tres
25 Catfish and the Bottlemen 28 Terror Jr. – Unfortunately, The Tour
FIR 3 DOUG 830 E BURNSIDE
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RKCB | Shoffy The Sam Chase & The Untraditional | Lili St. Anne Julia Holter | Tess Roby The Monochrome Set | The Prids Parcels | Penthouse Boys Ian Karmel | Sean Jordan | David Gborie dKOTA | Book Of Colors Adia Victoria | Dick Stusso Cool Kids Comedy ft. Andie Main Shing02 | Cise Starr That 1 Guy Better Oblivion Community Center | more King Who | Deathlist | Help Her’s | The Undercover Dream Lovers Yves Tumor Hælos Naked Giants | Black Tones | Anemone Bronze Radio Return | Wildermiss Prateek Kuhad Com Truise | Jack Grace | ginla Arkells | Dear Rouge KOLARS | Alex Lilly Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O.
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Marissa Nadler | Hilary Woods Tango Alpha Tango | Kulululu Sidney Gish | The Shivas Alex Zhang Hungtai | Visible Cloaks Mansionair | Beacon Jesus Christ Superstar: OK Chorale Singalong Shadowlands | Forest Veil Jeff Crosby Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds And The Kids | Cardioid Ripe Tour 2019 | The Brook & The Bluff The Suffers Amyl and the Sniffers | Mr. Wrong | B.R.U.C.E. Westerman | Puma Blue Methyl Ethel | TEEN Viagra Boys | Pottery Delicate Steve | Thick Paint Hand Habits | Tomberlin | Mega Bog The Lowest Pair | Austin Quattlebaum
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MISSISSIPPI STUDIOS 3939 N MISSISSIPPI
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MARCH MISSISSIPPI STUDIOS 3939 N MISSISSIPPI
Susto | Frances Cone Revel In Dimes | Marisa Anderson Sweet Spirit Nocturnal | Slang | Hurry Up Layperson | Iji
WONDER BALLROOM 128 NE RUSSELL
Andrea Gibson | Janae Johnson Albert Hammond Jr. | In The Valley Below Cherry Glazerr | Palehound Moon Hooch | Kulululu | Elena Shirin Jukebox the Ghost | The Mowglis | Arrested Youth Twiddle | With Iya Terra Alo Spafford Chelsea Cutler | Anthony Russo Wet | Kilo Kish | Helena Deland Mt. Joy | With Wilderado
1001 SE MORRISON
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Princess | E*Rock | Notel 2
Crumb | Video Age | Plastic Cactus Charlotte Lawrence | Meg Mac Tobe Nwigwe Pulp Romance | Holidae House | Forty Feet Tall Sasha Sloan | Lauren Aquilina Mija The English Language | Jane Machine | Xibling Nina Nesbitt | Plested | Sophie Rose Gibbz Pow Film Fest x Fin De Cinema: Salome Shitholes of the World, Unite! (Poetry) Chai | Haiku Hands
600 E BURNSIDE
Bryson Cone | Amenta Abioto Coastlands | !mindparade The Stargazer Lilies | Vibrissae Roselit Bone | OVER
KELLY'S OLYMPIAN 426 SW WASHINGTON
Crooked Looks | Indigenous Robot | Manx | Star Suit Scotty Motorcoat | Low Flyer | Draves
[brackets] The Lazy Universe | Daily Decay | Dr. Something A Mass Extinction Event White Knife Study | Spiller | Melville
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Party Damage DJs (Tuesdays) KPSU DJs (Wednesdays) Soccer Babes | Alive and Well | Noise Brigade Ugly Boys | Mood Beach | Easy There Tiger | Arlo Indigo La Fonda | Crystal and Quiet | Stephanie Mae The Thesis Subterranean Howl | Frankiie Spec Script: Riverdale Pleasure Curses | Jame | Sheers
635 N KILLINGSWORTH CT
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One Bad Mother 2 Laura Veirs 8 XRAY.FMâ€™s 5th Birthday Party 9
ft. Sassyblack | Blossom | DJ Ambush | DJ Kevin Berry Ben Morrison | Ben Larsen Whiskerman | Tommy Alexander | Taylor Kingman
15 21 Jeff Austin Band 22
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features MARCH REVOLUTION HALL
10 1300 SE STARK 8 9 10 11 13 14 15 16 20 22 23
Ian Karmel Donavon Frankenreiter | Matt Grundy Herb Alpert and Lani Hall Samin Nosrat: Salt Fat Acid Heat Pod Save the People Mountainfilm on Tour Savage Love Live Rebirth Brass Band Isaac Mizrahi - I & Me Rock & Roll High School Dave Mason & Steve Cropper Rock & Soul
CLUB 11 TOFFEE 1006 SE HAWTHORNE ALBERTA STREET PUB 12 115 NW 5TH
The Alliance Comedy Showcase (Sundays 9pm) Pretty Gritty Three for Silver | The Van Rontens Vinyl Gold The Goods Do Ra Single Release | Mink Shoals | Jake Allen The Goods The Hillwilliams Q’s Days presents Grant’s Greats Open Mic Jeremy Ferrara EP Release | Special Guests Davi & The PSA Sam Hill The Weather Machine | The Breaking, Molter Yellow Room Recording Presents 15-16 Casey Neill & The Norway Rats | Betsy Olson Band 25 Driftwood | Them Coulee Boys 28 Melissa Ruth | Go Fever | Green Mountain Guild
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THE SECRET SOCIETY 13 116 NE RUSSELL
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Honky Tonk (Tuesdays) Zydeco (Wednesdays) Swing (Thursdays) Brizzleman (EP Release) | Vinyl Gold The Cat’s Meow! ft. Mod Carousel Pete Krebs and His Portland Playboys The Reverberations | Charts | True Primitives The Sportin’ Lifers ft. Erin Wallace Melao de Cuba Salsa Orchestra Deepest Darkest | Camp Crush | Subways on the Sun Smut City Jellyroll Society Little Hexes Fundraiser
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Open Bluegrass Jam (Thursdays)
Matthew Lindley | Danny Wilson | Emily Scott Robinson
Wasted Words Harvest Gold | Richie Bean and the Midnight Travelers Sons Of Silver | Elwood Micah McCaw | Matthew Fountain | Alex C. Mills Covenhoven | May Arden
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by Christopher Klarer
Photos by Eirinn Gragson
eptaliens’ meteoric rise from bedroom recording project to the Captured Tracks roster is pretty much the best-case scenario for a band in their universe. It’s the kind of ascent everyone wishes for, but no one counts on.
Their first record, FM 2030, fits well into the Brooklyn label’s assortment of slick and dreamy pop nostalgia. For that record, married couple and longtime Portland music scene vets Bambi and Cole Browning wrote sparkling pop songs set to Bambi’s counterintuitively dark lyrics about serial killers, kidnappers and transhumanist philosophers. It’s catchy and inventive enough to make it resistant to the tired “dream pop” descriptor. Their latest single, “Echo Park,” bears more of an outsider pop vibe, a la Ariel Pink – or R. Stevie Moore, if you wanna look farther back – and foreshadows an aesthetic shift toward more lo-fi production for their next release, VALIS, out April 24 on Captured Tracks.
ELEVEN: You’ve been touring pretty extensively. When you’re out there, are you in party mode or Zen mode? Cole Browning: We’re kind of a party band. Bambi Browning: We just like to have fun. CB: Our friend group happens to also be our band. Plus, we quickly become really close with the bands we tour with. We’ve known Starfucker for a decade—so we’re old friends, and that’s why they took us out—but even with other bands like Cults and Of Montreal, within the first week, we’re drinking beers with our arms around each other being like, “I love you guys!” BB: We take our love of music seriously, but when it comes to touring, we’re not
features like, “Oh no, I gotta get a full eight hours of sleep so I can be rested and shred!” 11: I wanna hear specifics. Let’s hear some wild road stories. BB: Oh my god. There are so many. OK. I won’t name names. We were stopping in Nashville and someone really wanted to try Nashville hot chicken. So he started eating it and every pore in his body is just dumping sweat, and he’s just crying because it’s so hot. When he’s done, he’s feeling really good because he’s all zapped up with spicy brain syndrome. Then we get back on the freeway and pretty quickly he’s kind of casually like, “Hey, I need to find a bathroom.” We’re in the middle of nowhere, but like less than a minute later he’s like, “NO! Stop the car right now!” So we pull over and he runs up this embankment while cars are flying by on this busy freeway and takes a huge shit. He was a good distance away but it was totally wafting into the van. Then he gets back in the car all like, “Alright, let’s go,” like nothing happened. CB: I got another good one. Our friend gave us some acid to take in Joshua Tree and have this whole Jim Morrison-style desert trip. Instead, we ended up doing it the next night in Las Vegas, thinking it would be this cool “Fear and Loathing” thing or whatever. It was so the opposite of what we originally intended. It was supposed to be this whole nature, self-healing thing, and instead we went to one of the shittiest, bro-iest, douchiest downtown parts of Vegas. It was just a really claustrophobic environment. We kinda lost our minds. It felt like a lifetime in one night. I don’t recommend it. BB: Instead of having that beautiful nature trip in Joshua Tree, we ended up drinking a giant bottle of whip-cream-flavored vodka. By the end of the night, our actor Austin [Smith] was chasing our guitar player Julian [Kowalski] around the desert with a chair held above his head. Julian drove him crazy whispering part of this William Blake poem in his ear for like three hours. 11: Sounds like you flipped the vibe. You should have had the whip cream vodka night in Vegas and the acid night in Joshua Tree.
CB: Yeah, we did it all backwards. Which is kind of our go-to. We usually get it pretty wrong. We take our stuff seriously, and we work really really hard, but we have fun with it. Man… Hot chicken shits and LSD. Our parents are gonna love this interview. BB: Pooping your pants on drugs: the Reptaliens story. 11: Your new 7” sounds a little more lo-fi than your first album. Will the rest of your next record have the same style of production? CB: Totally. When we got in the studio with the first record, we felt really pressured to use all this nice gear and make a “real record,” so we produced it a ton. Don’t get me wrong: I love that record and the producer and engineer did a great job. I’m not trash talking that. But with the new 7”, we decided to do a lot of it ourselves at home because Bambi’s a super talented producer and engineer. BB: We just have our own way of doing things at home. All our gear is weird old stuff we love with all our hearts. We have this tape delay, an old Echoplex with real tape in it. There’s no cover on it, so the tape is covered in dust and all the knobs are gone. It’s a piece of shit, but because it’s so messed up, it’s like its own individual little creature. It’s so cool. We run the guitars though it with the delay all the way down because it just has this beautiful weird warm sound. I’ve never heard a tone quite like it. We just love all our little toys. Also, recording at home lets us record when it feels right. If we’re having a really good time, we’ll flip on our shitty gear and get the most intimate and heartfelt performances. Everything we record comes from when we’re having pure joy working together. I hope that comes across in this record. 11: Did you feel added pressure to make your first record a “real record” being signed to Captured Tracks? CB: Yeah. The first record we did with them was kinda first-date-style, you know? We were getting to know each other and all nervous, wondering, “Are they gonna be OK with this? Is this what they want?” It’s way easier now
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that we’re more comfortable. Also, we love them; they’re so nice and easy to work with. The label is like eight people or something, and they’re all friends. BB: You get to know every single person there, which is really cool. They’re all super hands-on and involved. They’re the best. 11: Why do you choose to pair such dark lyrical subject matter with such pretty, playful music? BB: Even though we write really pretty melodies together, the only thing on my mind is weird dark shit. Whatever we’re writing musically just becomes a vessel for whatever I’m reading and thinking about a lot at the time. After the lyrics are written, I’ve noticed we’ll adapt different sounds or production approaches that kind of push a song more in the direction of what the lyrics are about. 11: What’s something you’ve obsessed over that’s bled into the band? BB: FM 2030, the last album, that name came from this Iranian-American basketball-playing son of a diplomat who was a transhumanist philosopher. He’s in cryofreeze right now. He didn’t believe in the idea of names that aren’t
unique to the individual, so he changed his name to FM 2030, partly because he believed that we’d have the technology to reanimate cryogenically frozen people in the year 2030. 11: Writing music influenced by sci-fi and transhumanism could easily come across as pretentious, but your music totally isn’t. You seem to have a sense of humor about what you write about. CB: I don’t think we could be super serious and write epic poems even if we wanted to because that’s just not either of our personalities. But at the same time, there are songs about darker subjects that are actually pretty personal. I think the second album that’s about to come out feels like a more serious album lyrically. BB: It’s kind of flipped so that there are more personal, emotionally driven songs now with just a few of the obsessive topic-driven songs that made up most of the first album. There are still some weird characters though. 11: Touring again soon? BB: We’re touring for the next three or four months or something. CB: We were booking a little tour
features to get out to South By Southwest and Treefort when this band Turnover asked us to do a national tour with them right after. We’re definitely not at the point where we’re making a lot of money; it’s still a labor of love. We definitely get pretty broke when we tour for that long.
CB: That’s actually so smart. I don’t know why we don’t. That’s probably the only way to get paid on tour.
CB: Yeah, but I feel like unless you’re at that higher level, it’s always sucked. Like the industry just decides who’s the new superstar. Making a living off music has never been easy. You know you’re gonna be broke and have to do odd jobs, but that’s never stopped us. We’ve been touring in various bands for so many years. Uh, man. I’m kinda hungover. I went to the Blazers game last night and got a little rowdy, so I’ve just been chugging water all morning and have had to pee so much.
11: That’s so sad. Do you think it’s always been so dismal for musicians financially or is it worse now?
11: Are there any more bodily functions you all have that you’d like to talk about?
BB: I feel like it used to be different. It’s so saturated now that if one band won’t play a show for $100, there’s 50 other bands lined up who will.
BB: Yeah, we like to light our farts on fire. »
11: You should Airbnb your apartment while you’re on tour.
Reptaliens VALIS Captured Tracks Reptaliens are back! They’ve been studying you, learning your ways, and translating their observations into a special brand of moody psychedelic pop made to target the very base of your brain. With their second album, VALIS, the Portland group, helmed by the husband-andwife duo of Bambi and Cole Browning, has come upon a formula. Still, it plays more like a feeling, hovering in between the airy synths and loose guitar chords, over and above the subtly animated backbeat of drums that propel Bambi Browning’s little
starship of a voice through the astral dust of it all. If anything, that backbeat has slowed a little since their 2017 debut album FM-2030 (which yours truly reviewed way back then for this very publication). The songs on VALIS hum with the same energy. It’s derived by a careful cataloguing of feelings, relations and the ways that spaces seem to change the longer we stay in them. These are love songs, but they live far more in the minutia of loving than they do in any kind of abstract ideal. A little funny, a little sad, but most of all tenderly observant, VALIS is a collection of songs that builds upon the aesthetic Reptaliens have been cultivating. As their sophomore project, it hits most of the marks one would want. The album plays smoothly, the distinctions between tracks registering as slight reorientations, and although this creates an atmosphere that’s fairly monochromatic, the depth of that single hue is enough to sustain long after the music has come and gone. » – Henry Whittier-Ferguson
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BY EIRINN GRAGSON INTRO BY HENRY WHITTIER-FERGUSON LIVE PHOTOS BY DARIN KAMNETZ AND ELIJAH VANDEEN
of summer hangs over Vince Staples’ music like a single cloud
in a cloudless sky. It’s a symptom of an upbringing and continued residence in Southern California, that never-ending summer whose seasons are really just different degrees of heat, proceeding an attitude that’s as unmistakable as it is pervasive. Much refined since his days of features on early Earl Sweatshirt records, Staples has honed that SoCal attitude to a razor’s edge, and light spills out wherever he cuts in.
FEATURES Originally from Long Beach, Vince Staples stepped onto the scene circa 2010. It wasn’t until Stolen Youth, a 2013 collaboration with the late Mac Miller (under his producer alias Larry Fisherman) that Staples would truly enter the larger lexicon of West Coast rap. That mixtape, given a new relevance by Miller’s untimely passing late last year, still holds up as an exemplary project of that era. Going back to listen six years later, one can hear the foundation for a sound that’s become the go-to in contemporary hip-hop. Minimalist production featuring lonely piano lines and melancholy pads over subterranean 808’s serves as a backdrop for a lineup of L.A. talent in their early days, including Miller alongside AbSoul, Schoolboy Q and Joey Fatts. After another mixtape and the EP Hell Can Wait, Staples released Summertime ‘06, his 2015 debut double LP, cementing his sound as a darker counterpoint to the standard pop-rap saturating the market. Though strains of Staples’ seasonal obsession appear on earlier projects, Summertime ‘06 hammers the theme home, exploring the idea of summer in all its sticky, oppressive, jubilant heat. The parties, the fights, the kids off school, the lineups of pop singles battling for chart space, the wildfires, the beach, the money, the drinks and the drugs. All of these and more are rolled up into the single word, melting together, inseparable as the neverending days.
Photo by Elijah VanDeen
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Prima Donna, Staples’ 2016 EP, explores fame in all its strange machinations. The cover features the rapper’s head weirdly enlarged on his body — an apt metaphor for the public’s grotesque obsession with celebrities and for the warped sense of identity fostered in the celebrities themselves as they live longer and longer in the spotlight. Like most good rappers, Staples has always had a sense of cynicism regarding fame and the rap game, known almost as widely for his wry commentary as he is for his music, which also happens to contain a good amount of said commentary. More than ever, in a world of appearances and facades, having voices that undercut those appearances is refreshing. And that critical attitude is Staples at his best. In 2017, he released Big Fish Theory, a project that, while thematically consistent with Staples’ discography, explores new sonic territory. It features production from Zack Sekoff, Jimmy Edgar, Justin Vernon, Flume, Sophie, among others. Building off Prima Donna, Big Fish Theory cleverly marries Staples’ scathing take on modern American culture with the frenetic rhythms of Detroit techno and UK house, a combination both natural and unexpected. In his most recent project, FM!, released last November, Staples essentially presents a concept album. It’s a radio takeover featuring Vince and co., interspersed with DJ banter from LA famous Big Boy of Big Boy’s Neighborhood, which ties the project
together on multiple levels. Less out-there than Big Fish Theory and more concise than Summertime ‘06, FM! flows like a radio playlist. In that sense, it’s Staples’ poppiest project to date, but it’s by no means watered down. In fact, using the frame of the radio to contextualize the style Staples is working in allows him greater freedom and more of a basis for his criticism of the very style he’s using. Highlights include features from Jay Rock and E-40, both of whom add distinguished West Coast pedigree to the mix, along with some hot hooks, leaving Staples to do his work in the bars themselves, where he does it best. Despite its November release date, FM! still plays like a summer album. This is where we have to ask ourselves whether Staples’ fascination with the season is beyond just an ordinary love, straying into the realm of obsession. It’s a bold move. Releasing a project into November’s rainy cold (granted, it’s still sometimes sunny in LA) in some ways undercuts the project’s perceived importance. Then again, there’s a tension here that’s difficult to resolve, and it seems clear that it’s this tension, the one between days, between seasons, between lives and deaths and moods, that Staples is and has always been trying to foster. We caught up with Vince Staples to ask him about growing up, beats, Spider-Man, and more. ELEVEN: I hear you’re from Long Beach. What was it like growing up there? Vince Staples: Like growing up any other place; it’s pretty much the same. Kids do kid things. Grow up with a lot of friends, family, money or not, but everyone pretty much goes through the same thing. It was a unique experience, looking back when you’re a kid, you just a kid. Another day.
cause that’s when they started that whole Odd Future thing, they would hang out there. 11: Earl made an appearance on your most recent album. Do you still make music with Odd Future or any of them? VS: I never did, I don’t really make music with anybody, but I still talk to them a lot. 11: Were there any other big influences in your life that guided you toward hip hop? VS: I kind of just learned as I went. It just started as a way for me to kind of figure out how to try to make some money, and it kind of grew from there, and it became something bigger than that, obviously because I’m where I am today. My manager helped me figure out a lot of stuff, Mac Miller, DJ TY on the radio helped me with a lot of stuff, Earl -- just the people around me -- Matt Martians from The Internet, they helped me a lot. Hands along the way, and I just took that much. 11: Have you noticed any big changes in yourself since the release of Summertime ’06?
“Either I have an idea or I don’t. I don’t really try to force it. I keep it as simple as possible, as organic and pure as possible.”
11: Does your family still live there? Do you ever go back? VS: No, nobody live there. 11: Did you live anywhere else growing up? VS: I lived in Atlanta for like six months. I was in Compton when I was young. I lived in Orange County.
VS: I was younger. I’m 25 now, just getting older, mature – whatever you wanna call it. Not being that kid no more, seeing a world of opportunities. You know, just growing. Growing as a person. 11: What does your songwriting process look like? Do you make your own beats, or is it more of a collaboration with your producer?
11: When did you first get into making music? VS: When I was 15, I met some people, just being kids. People around you were doing things, hobby type things, eventually you’d do ‘em. If your friends played basketball, eventually you might shoot the ball once your twice, you know? Kinda my direction with music. I took it a little more serious when Earl came back and I met Mac Miller. He kind of helped me get it together. 11: How did you meet Earl and Mac and the members of Odd Future? VS: One of my friends went to Syd’s house, cause she had a studio there and me and Syd became cool and then I met Earl,
VS: I’ve never made a beat in my life. It just depends. Either I have an idea or I don’t. I don’t really try to force it. I keep it as simple as possible, as organic and pure as possible. I know where it needs to go right away. 11: When you write your lyrics, do you usually just freestyle it and write it down after, or do you write from your head first? VS: It depends, either-or. It depends on the beat, the mood. It’s a case by case basis: you can’t try to stick to one thing. That’ll kind of limit what you create. I just try to get to where I can have the most freedom to make what I want to make.
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11: What kind of music were you listening to when you were younger? Does any of that influence what you write now? VS: I don’t really listen to much. The music I heard was pretty much from my parents, television, movies, things like that. I wasn’t really into listening to music. At the point in time when I grew up, it was when Limewire was a thing, iPods. Anything I heard was whatever was popular!
“Be OK with kind of questioning things, questioning your feelings, questioning the world around you. If you find those answers, you find your music.”
11: Is there anything now that influences you, other than music? VS: Just life. I think if you doing music and you try to get influenced by other music, then you not doing your own music because you’re just creating something that’s already been created. You just gotta take life experiences, pay attention. Be OK with kind of questioning things, questioning your feelings, questioning the world around you. If you find those answers, you find your music. 11: Do you like going on tour? Is there any specific part of the world that you like traveling to the most? VS: For shows, it depends. Case by case. I like going to South Africa. I like New Zealand a lot. Southeast Asia was very interesting. Japan – I like Japan a lot. You can find something interesting every place; you just have to look for it. 11: And I have to ask – are you a Spider-Man fan? How did it feel to be part of the Into the Spider-Verse soundtrack? VS: You know what’s crazy? I haven’t even watched that movie at all! But I saw the Spider-Man with the … whoever the new Spider-Man is ... I forget his name, but I fuck with him. Tom Holland? Yeah, he’s tight. I’m not fucking with Tobey Maguire. 11: Were you ever into comics? VS: Nah, it wasn’t my bag. I know a lot of people who were, but I never really got around to that. You know, maybe one day. I’m gettin’ old, need to pick up an oldpeople hobby. 11: Is there anything you’d like to add for the readers of Portland? VS: I like Portland too; they got those donuts! I like Portland a lot. »
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MEET YOUR MAKER Rachel Corry by Brandy Crowe Photos by Mathieu Lewis-Rolland
Inside the historical Yale Union building in SE Portland hangs a piece of art. It’s an old folk piece of a woman shoe-maker. On the back it reads “A work-woman. Raising productivity through joining together small handworking and trades industries.” The building serves as a space for a number of artists, printmakers, and skilled trades makers, and this picture hangs in the nook of Rachel Corry, one of Portland’s few shoe-makers. There aren’t a lot of people, especially young people, making shoes these days. What was once a very important and local and customized process, has become lost to mass production and manufacturing. But Corry, whose focus is on sandals, is hammering and sanding and joining together colorful pieces of leather for her own brand Rachel Sees Snail Shoes, and shares the skills to create customizable shoes through workshops and DIY kits. 11: How did you get into making sandals and shoes? Rachel Corry: Years ago, I travelled to the UK. I went to a music festival called Green Man in Wales. There were lots of craft booths, it was very folksy. I unintentionally met a clog maker. He was older and culturally really different. He lived on the border of Wales and England, and knew a lot about the history of shoemaking. He was one of the few people who still hand carve wooden clogs with a long knife. I watched this man work, and it was exciting. But I didn’t think that I would come to do this. I just wanted him to remake my favorite shoes. And he did, he remade my favorite sandals and sent them to me in the States. You know, you get attached to a pair of shoes and you’re not ready to let them go, and these were falling apart.
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community meet your maker
He re-made them really well, but before I even got a chance to wear them, I had this little apartment fire. All of my shoes and clothes burned, including the original pair of sandals, and the ones that had been remade. But because of the fire, I could also I could see exactly how the sandals had been made. They had fallen apart from the heat, and opened up like a book. So then I just tried re-doing them myself, because suddenly it became very clear and I had this tactile connection. 11: How weird that a tragedy would lead to this artistic idea. RC: Of course it took years to realize that that was the chain of events, because in the chaos of the moment I thought, yeah i might try to remake these one day, and they were just like, in the corner. And then i did try remaking them and it was fun and satisfying but i didn’t think it would lead to a potential career. But eventually it did. 11: Did you go through any formal training, like craft school? RC: I couldn’t afford any of that stuff. And there were very few shoe schools, and the ones I did find just didn’t speak to me or the look i was going for. And they were all programs that were very expensive and and extensive, time consuming. And I was just wanting to dip a toe in. So I just started doing it on my own in the bedroom. When i was first starting out I took apart shoes from thrift stores and that was a great learning experience, because you see more parts in the shoes than you are aware of.
RC: It’s just kind of random. Like it’s a tongue twister, it’s hard to remember. But I was also working at a slow food bakery at the time when i got started, and snails were the mascot for the slow food movement. I feel like this craft is also a slow art. I was also kind of going off of my last initial, like “Rachel C.’s Slow Shoes”. 11: What else are you working on? RC: I’m really excited to spend this year writing a sandal book , it’s been a long term goal of mine and im trying to figure out the best way to communicate that. There hasn’t been a good sandal making book in decades. It’s been too long and I’m really excited to revisit it. I volunteer at an elementary school and helped a little girl design her own pair of sandals, a colorful pair she adorned with leather stars, hearts, and flowers. I’m excited to sand the edges and deliver them. The program is at the King School here in Portland. They bring arts programming to this school that had some arts cut from their curriculum budget. Several mentors go a few days a week, we just show up and do art. And then the classes, which are more than half of my business. And making custom orders. But while I’m working on my book and doing workshops, I’m cutting back on custom orders.
11: What style were you looking for? RC: The first style i was attached to is what people would call a Jesus Sandal, very strappy, seventies, unisex. I love folk shoes, that’s my true passion. I don’t actually tend towards Italian high-end tradition, and sandals are very folk. Design wise, i’m trying to make really straight forward, wearable shoes that aren’t overly designed. Kind of like less is more. 11: What do you see as a shoe trend for Portland in 2019? RC: I think people are getting more comfortable with statement toe shapes, pointy and square and such. I think bright colors are still going strong. I want to see a trend in men being willing to show their feet again, because i feel like everyone got really conservative about showing their feet. I just want them to wear bulky, cute, leather sandals, like they did in the 50’s and 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Hoping that comes around again. 11: Why do you call them Snail Shoes? Or why do you see snail shoes?
11: What about your workshops? RC: I usually have a few a month, i think they provide the most entry level instructions for someone that may have an interest in this or wants to become involved in shoes. That’s what
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community meet your maker
RC: You don’t need anything that’s not in here. There’s the most basic fundamental tools, patterns, leather, and instructions. I’ve shipped a ton of them all over the world. It’s hard to find all of these things together in some places, so it’s also a way to cut costs and time of gathering supplies. 11: It’s not something that people necessarily craft by hand anymore. I can imagine 100 years ago that this was a very important profession. Who else is making shoes in Portland?
i wanted when i was getting started. Just a very easy going shoecraft lesson. Classes are usually one day workshops, about 7 hours, so a long day. But this allows me to let people design anything they want, any colors any design, within reason. All of the materials are included. I’ve gotten to see so many iterations of sandals, more than I would have seen just working on my own.
RC: There are a handful of us here, and four that i’m really aware of. There’s Jeff from ExIT shoes, and Reid Elrod, who designs really high quality, high-end mens bespoke shoes--I actually took a class with him. And there’s Jason Hovatter, whose brand is called Laughingcrowe, and he also offers classes. We all share this craft but we are all so different that we don’t step on each other’s toes. Kind of the neat thing about the shoemakers of Portland, is that we are all relatively young. We’re not the old generation. I’m trying to drive a tiny little wedge in the normal consumer wheel. It’s fun to provide people a different way of seeing their footwear. A lot of people have never thought about how a shoe is made, and it’s really fun to introduce it. »
11: What’s in your Sandal Making Kit?
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West End · Hawthorne NW 23rd · Portland Airport Bridgeport Village tenderlovingempire.com
community literary arts
AWP Conference 2019 by Scott McHale
here could not be a more worthy contemporary city to host this year’s AWP Conference and Bookfair than Portland, with its vibrant creative culture and active literary community. From March 27th-30th at The Oregon Convention Center, The AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) will hold over 500 readings, panel discussions and lectures. With such literary giants as Seamus Heany, John Irving, Joyce Carol Oates in its past, the event has established itself as the most important gathering in North America for writers, publishers, editors, educators, and literary influencers. This year’s keynote speaker is New York Times #1 Best Book author Colson Whitehead, who took the literary world by storm in 2016 with his book The Underground Railroad. As far as local writers go, Portland is well represented by such talented writers like Mitchell S. Jackson, Cheryl Strayed, and Samiya Bashir, to name a few. Mitchell S. Jackson received critical acclaim for his book The Residue Years about growing up in the 90s in North Portland. Cheryl Strayed is well known for her memoir Wild and the film adaptation where she is portrayed by Reese Witherspoon. Samiya Bashir is the author of three books of poetry including Field Theories, which won the Oregon Book Award last year. She is also a professor of creative writing at Reed College. While the AWP Conference itself will offer much for those who have registered for the event, it’s the myriad of exciting off-site events that will provide meaningful experience and enjoyment. Sort of like a music festival for the literaryminded, AWP has inspired many of the local book sellers and small presses to organize events of their own. The No Fair/Fair is a 2 day literary festival and book fair that will feature many of Portland’s small independent presses such as Octopus Books and Perfect Day Publishing. It will take place simultaneously at the Bakery Building and Outlet PDX, and will feature over 60 readers. Tin House Books is another local independent press that is having a fun event at Holocene that coincides with their 10 year anniversary. The Tin House AWP Partyyyyyyyy will feature Tin House authors Hanif Abdurraqib, Erica Dawson,
Mitchell S. Jackson
Morgan Parker, and Tommy Pico will be reading from their latest collections, with DJ Mami Miami providing the afterreading dance party. On Saturday, March 30th, Mother Foucault’s Bookshop is hosting The Bookseller’s Ball at Star Theater. The will host visiting writers with new books from national independent presses as well as beloved local poets and writers. One of the visiting writers is Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, who will be reading from Sketchtasy, which was named one of NPR’s Best Books of 2018 and described by them as “an instant classic of queer literature”. This event features some of Portland’s favorite poets like Ed Skoog and Alicia Jo Rabins as well recent Eleven PDX featured literary artist Sophia Shalmiyev. Expect this event to have a real raucous party atmosphere with punk-riot girl band the Ex Kids and the Savage Family Bands bringing the noise. The Bookseller’s Ball will be a perfect place to celebrate AWP Portland on the last night of the four day mega-event. »
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Ian Andrew Nelson by Laurel Bonfiglio Photo by Mercy McNab
ELEVEN: What do you find to be the most difficult and the most rewarding aspects of being an artist? Ian Andrew Nelson: For me, the difficulty is in keeping your art fresh while being true to yourself, all while avoiding the temptation to “sell out” to the trends that pop culture is currently buying. As paid artists we have to make a living but there’s something that feels like a violation when we have to lower our own personal standards of expression and artistic evolution for the sake of money. The ultimate reward for me as an artist is producing something honest that resonates with others. What an amazing occurrence when something produced from my place of passion could somehow intersect with someone else’s journey to inspire or fuel them along the way? 11: It looks like you take a lot of inspiration from the landscape of the Pacific Northwest. Are you originally from here, or what drew you to this part of the country? IAN: Yes, born and raised—I have my parents to thank for that. I lived in Washington until age 16 when I “crossed the border” into Oregon and have stayed here ever since. I love the mountains, ocean, and the tall trees. I love the open-mindedness of the people. Also I enjoy the gloom. I know many people who chase sunshine, but I’m actually the opposite— for some reason I’m happiest and most inspired as an artist when the weather is dark or moody. 11: Has photography always been a passion? How did you come to find yourself as a photographer? IAN: Actually no. Beauty itself, and specifically the beauty of nature, have always been a passion. I’ve always loved the way mountains make me feel small. I remember staring at sunsets in wonder as a kid. I enjoy being outside since I was little. Photography somehow popped up along the way, starting with my first iPhone about 8 years ago. I started capturing scenes on my phone camera and discovered that I enjoyed the process, and that others resonated with my work. From there I wanted to dive into more of the technical nuances of a DSLR...and the rest is history.
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community visual arts
Really, I found myself as a photographer amidst all the interaction with my audience who enjoyed my photos. I enjoyed pairing beautiful scenes in a photo with inspirational words I had written or that were impacting my own journey at the time. Once I realized that the same scenes and words I enjoyed or that impacted me, could also impact other people on social media or in art displays, that’s when everything clicked. 11: The color palettes in your photographs are often quite vibrant. What do you look for in the composition of creating a magical photo? IAN: I enjoy capturing drama and have always been drawn to colors for some inexplicable reason. A lot of people do the monochrome, faded, or black & white thing, but it’s just not for me personally. I love the dynamics of color and I typically look for scenes with complementary color tones. For me composing a “magic photo” usually consists of pops of color that grab my eye, combined with a vast or large scene. Placing a small person or object tastefully in the composition can really create a sense of scale that conveys magnitude. Those are the types of scenes I most enjoy because I see the world as a large and vibrant place for us tiny human beings to enjoy, experience, and make our impact. 11: What drives your experience in life as a photographer? How does travel play a role? IAN: I think there is enough bad news and heartbreak in the world, so most of my photography is meant to uplift and inspire people. Personally I believe in a God who loves the world, so I believe there is hope for anyone no matter their situation. This drives a lot of my photo work—I want people to feel that they are not alone in their experiences, and that there is still wonder and hope left in this world. Travel plays a big role for me because I am on the road a lot for my nonprofit work as well as commercial photography. I’ve heard it said before that if you want to take new photos, then visit new places. Experiencing new sights, new people and new cultures always brings fresh inspiration and, obviously, fresh scenes. I’ve had the privilege of visiting 35 countries and it’s amazing how no matter where you go, life is beautiful and people are searching for meaning and inspiration.
11: You also work extensively with an organization called Remember Nhu. Can you tell us a little more about Remember Nhu and the work you do with the organization? IAN: Yes I have the great joy of being the Vice President. We are an anti-human trafficking nonprofit that prevents children from being trafficked for sex in 16 countries around the world. We specialize in third-world countries. Being that we are on the prevention side, we do the same research that the “bad guys” do in order to identify at-risk children near major red light districts so we can remove them from harms way before they can be trafficked, and instead place them in a loving home where they will be safe. One child at a time, we are giving children who were once at-risk an opportunity to grow up happy, health & free while receiving a quality education to dream for their futures.
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community visual arts
At a macro-level, we are diminishing the “supply” of vulnerable children so that this horrible market can begin to diminish around the world. With the help of amazing supporters, we have prevented over 2,000 children from being sold. I feel like we are barely getting started and I can’t wait to see how many more children we can help. 11: How did you come to be involved in such an incredible cause? IAN: I had the privilege of meeting our namesake, Nhu, in Portland about five years ago. Over a decade ago Nhu was a Vietnamese Refugee living in Cambodia when she was trafficked by her grandmother at the age of 12 to pay off a debt owned to loan sharks. When Carl, the president and founder, heard her story, he travelled to Cambodia six times until he found her and removed her from harm’s way. Since then Nhu became Carl’s “adopted” daughter. She is now in her twenties, living here in Portland with her amazing new husband. Nhu is an incredible survivor and woman who has inspired so many, just as she has inspired me. Once I was connected to her dad, things took off from there and now I am on this adventure to save children from sex trafficking around the world. It’s such a devastating global issue, but it’s so meaningful to be on the side of bringing hope and a solution. 11: Where can we find some of your recent work? And how can we help join your cause and supporting your efforts through Remembering Nhu? IAN: That’s so kind of you to ask. My photography website is of course ianandrewnelson.com but you are more likely to find me on instagram: @ ianandrewnelson. Hit me up and I will say hi! As for Remember Nhu, a great way to get involved is by sponsoring a child: you can sponsor an at-risk child to live in a prevention home for $20, $40, or $60 per month. This assures the child will stay safe until age 18 in a loving home and receive a quality education. It’s an incredible way to make an impact! One-time donations are also huge for us, as well as spreading the word through advocacy. To find out more, you can visit: remembernhu.org »
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p.3 (Table of Contents) Autumn Strolls, October 2017 Boardman Tree Farm, Boardman, OR p.29 PNW Paradise, September 2017 Moulton Falls, WA p.30 (Below) Quiet Morning, January 2018 Mount Hood, OR p.32 (Back Cover) Something Good Lies Ahead, October 2017 Latourell Falls, OR
more at: www.ianandrewnelson.com
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Eleven PDX Magazine - March 2019 featuring Vince Staples, Reptaliens, Palehound, American Football, And The Kids, Ian Andrew Nelson, AWP Con...
Published on Mar 1, 2019
Eleven PDX Magazine - March 2019 featuring Vince Staples, Reptaliens, Palehound, American Football, And The Kids, Ian Andrew Nelson, AWP Con...