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ISSUE 69 | FEB 2017







THE USUAL 3 Letter from the Editor 3 Staff Credits



Cover Feature 17 NEW MUSIC

Angel Olsen

4 Aural Fix Fred Thomas Split Single Chicano Batman Hoops

COMMUNITY Literary Arts 25 Portland writer Jim Newman

7 Short List 7 Album Reviews Ty Segall Hand Habits King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard Tim Darcy

Visual Arts 27 Portland artist Christina Mrozik

LIVE MUSIC 11 Know Your Venue The Analog Cafe & Theater

13 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



Sitting in the backseat, I’m listening to Dumbo Get’s Mad’s Quantum Leap while Bud steers us towards Sacramento to play a house show. The rear side window of the truck we’re touring in was smashed last night in San Francisco outside the venue we played by houseless people who needed the blanket and bag of food that they took more than we did. Today, the red-faced fuckmuppet in the White House signed an executive order to temporarily ban individuals from eight Muslim countries from entering the country, effectively threatening the legal status of hundreds of thousands of immigrants. In times like these I’m more thankful than ever to have music in my life, both as a means of personal expression, and to be moved by other artists. Just as important as it is right now to support organizations working for social justice in our current political climate, we must also remember to support the arts. For me, that means going to see live music regularly and buying the albums of artists I care about. Dutifully yours,

- Travis Leipzig, Managing Editor


MANAGING EDITOR Travis Leipzig ( SECTION EDITORS LOCAL FEATURE: Ethan Martin LITERARY ARTS: Scott Mchale, Morgan Nicholson VISUAL ARTS: Mercy McNab GRAPHIC DESIGN Dustin Mills CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Matt Carter, Crystal Contreras-Grossman, Brandy Crowe, Sarah Eaton, Jameson Ketchum, Christopher Klarer, Kelly Kovl, Samantha Lopez, Scott McHale, Lucia Ondruskova, Gina Pieracci, Kelsey Rzepecki, Ellis Samsara, Tyler Sanford, Stephanie Scelza, Matthew Sweeney, Charles Trowbridge, Rick White, Henry Whittier-Ferguson

PHOTOGRAPHERS Eric Evans, Alexander Fattal, Eirinn Gragson, Greg LeMieux, Mercy McNab, Andrew Roles, Todd Walberg, Caitlin Webb COVER PHOTO Amanda Marsalis

ONLINE Mark Dilson, Kim Lawson, Michael Reiersgaard, Chance Solem-Pfeifer GET INVOLVED MAILING ADRESS 126 NE Alberta Suite 211 Portland, OR. 97211 GENERAL INQUIRIES ADVERTISING ELEVEN WEST MEDIA GROUP, LLC Ryan Dornfeld Dustin Mills SPECIAL THANKS Our local business partners who make this project possible. Our friends, families, associates, lovers, creators and haters. And of course, our city!


new music aural fix Photo by Jimmi Francoeur

up and coming music from the national scene



Angst knows no age, and for Fred Thomas it’s not a phase so much as an identity. It’s a never-ending feeling of dread and uncertainty that manifests itself in his grounded, devastating indie rock. The Montreal-based Michigan native finds himself perpetually on the verge of something bigger. From his work with His Name Is Alive, to Lovesick, to Saturday Looks Good

blown up yet, but you also sort of don’t want him to, for fear of

to Me, and his work released as a solo artist, Thomas’ break

success spawning change.

has yet to come, despite his name being on the tip of every

His approach to the sounds of his solo work help reflect

Michigan indie artist’s tongue. In total, it’s not absurd to claim

their overall aesthetic. Often, he abandons singing for spoken

he’s been involved with something approaching 100+ projects

word and spills out stories all at once, entirely undermining

during the past few decades.

traditional songwriting and structural practices. It’s these

This is where we find Thomas’ appeal. He remains

fast-paced, bumbling rants where Thomas is at his most

grounded, genuine, and personable amid his anguish. By

personal. He spends time re-framing past experiences,

the fifth minute of his last couple of solo records, you find

applying his newest perspective to them and questioning their

yourself thinking, “Man, I really feel for this guy.” And by

impact on his life.

minute 20 you’re crying alongside him. His ability to establish

With his latest album, Changer, we get a lot of the same

a relationship with a listener over the course of a song, and

Thomas, but he’s exploring new soundscapes. It’s remarkable

then emotionally demolish them on the next, is admirable. And

the detail Thomas is able to recall from his past, forever

that’s where Thomas’ solo music sits, right in between acclaim

finding the most profound revelations among his most

and apprehension. You love him and you wonder why he hasn’t

mundane moments. » - Tyler Sanford

Sex Pistols and Circle Jerks–he grew to

Photo by James Richards IV

become a pre-teen sensation in the city’s punk scene. These days, Narducy fronts Split Single and graces listeners with a dose of modern power pop. Formed in 2012, Split Single released its sophomore album Metal Frames last November. Besides an epic resumé, high praise for Narducy’s work has been given by many iconic artists, including Dave Grohl. He also dabbled in numerous bands at the height of ‘90s alternative rock, contributing backing vocals and bass for Telekinesis, Superchunk, Mould, and Pollard. Split Single is a reflection of Narducy’s



evolution as a punk artist in the modern era. The band presents a clean, polished sound with crisp guitar FEBRUARY 21 | DOUG FIR

and smooth vocals, yet still possess that classic, gritty, garage edge. Metal Frames takes the listener to a melancholy, but

Jason Narducy pretty much lived out every rebellious kid’s

poppy place with consistent moody melodies balanced out

dream, forming his first band, Verböten, at the humble age

by upbeat instrumentals. Narducy’s sheer skill and constant

of 11. Transfixed and inspired by the message and energy of

emphasis on collaboration proves to be Split Single’s biggest

punk rock–and bands from his native Chicago, like Misfits,

strength. » - Kelsey Rzepecki | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 4

new music aural fix

Photo by Josue Rivas

psychedelic soul, along with some cumbia and a dash of Jackie Davis, just to name a few, Chicano Batman has created their own unique sound and style. Although not all members of the group are Chicano (drummer Gabriel Villa is from Colombia), a huge part of being Chicanx means claiming your roots while moving forward and forging a community out of a cultural crossroads that is often difficult to navigate. I think it's safe to say this is something most of us have experienced, and this album is a much-needed touch of warmth during dark times. Freedom is Free is Chicano Batman’s third album, following their 2010 self-titled debut and 2014's Cycles of Existential Rhyme. The vocals are more prominent on this album than they have been in the past, allowing the lyrics to come to the front and showcasing Bardo Martinez's



incredible range. The band is joined by Mariachi Flor de Toloache, who adds the smooth backing vocals for the track “Friendship (Is A Small Boat In A Storm),” a song which explores the vulnerabilities of our everyday relationships.

It takes a special kind of band to make high-cut polyester

Overall, their sound is more upbeat than their past records,

pants and ruffled tuxedo shirts seem cool, but Chicano

with sun-soaked tracks like “Flecha Al Sol” providing a prime

Batman has been pulling this off and making it look easy

opportunity to forget it's winter for a few minutes. Chicano

since their 2010 debut album. Its cover is emblazoned with

Batman has always been known for effortlessly combining

their iconic Aztec eagle Batman symbol. Born out of East

the old with the new, and Freedom is Free is a full two steps

Los Angeles’ rich music scene, it's hard to pin the quartet

forward for the group, while still giving a hearty salute to the

down to one specific genre. Part-Brazilian Tropicália, part-

past. » - Crystal Contreras-Grossman


new music aural fix

Photo by Daniel Topete



Hailing from Bloomington, Indiana, the quartet known as Hoops appeared on the national scene in late 2015. Their EP Tape #2 was uploaded to YouTube, and was almost instantly showered with praise by music bloggers. The band initially formed in 2011 as the solo ambient and noise project from vocalist Drew Auscherman and expanded in 2014 with the addition of vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist Keagan Beresford, bassist Kevin Krauter and drummer James Allen. Using both traditional promotional methods and social media, the band started off anonymously and let the music speak for itself. Hoops combines the trending revival of lo-fi sounds (a healthy throwback to ‘80s college rock) with traces of dreampop and shoegaze. There’s an obvious influence from bands like Galaxie 500 and Slowdive, with more contemporary hints of Real Estate and Ariel Pink. Hoops uses fairly simple instrumental techniques to create mysterious and heavy melodies. It’s all tied together by murky, neo-psychedelia vocals. The band released two more tapes, shortly following the success of the first one,

increasing its fanbase. They signed to Fat Possum, and in mid-2016 they properly released their eponymous debut EP. The EP has a simplicity to it, but this isn’t to say these songs are minimal. They comprise layers of cycling guitar, steady rhythms and soft echoes. That said, there is a polished efficiency in their music and the end result is refreshing, constantly conjuring the feeling of sweet, summer nights. » - Samantha Lopez

QUICK TRACKS A “COOL 2” The perfect opening to Hoops’ self-titled EP, “Cool 2” is a sweet little pop tune–one minute and 52 seconds of pure, melodic guitar riffing that sticks in your head, alongside a decent hook.

B “GEMINI” The EP is a bite-sized teaser of only 16 minutes, and it ends on an especially calm and laidback note with “Gemini.” The song delivers warm instrumentation, with shimmering guitars that evoke sunrays peeking through branches and reflecting in pools on a hot August day. | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 6

new music album reviews



Short List Big Sean I Decided Balto Strangers


Marilyn Manson Say10 The Orwells Terrible Human Beings Ryan Adams Prisoner Los Campesinos! Sick Scenes Hippo Campus Landmark

Ty Segall Ty Segall Drag City Ty Segall’s wild and woolly travels in psychedelic rock haven’t gotten enough credit for their stylistic twists and turns over the years. Starting out with the feedbackchoked madness of records like his selftitled 2008 debut and 2010’s particularly snotty and noisy Melted, you might not have predicted the coming of one like 2014’s bittersweet, almost poetic Manipulator. And, in a way, last year’s

Lupe Fiasco DROGAS Light Steel Panther Lower the Bar Old 97's Graveyard Whistling Surfer Blood Snowdonia Clap Your Hands Say Yeah The Tourist Teen Daze Themes for a Dying Earth Buy it

Stream it

Toss it

Hand Habits Wildly Idle (Humble Before The Void) Woodist @elevenpdx


On the track “Actress” by Hand Habits, singer/songwriter Meg Duffy proclaims, “It’s hard to be an actress, but I’ve been trying.” Being a struggling actress can be likened to trying to gain new fans once you’ve signed to a label. But on Hand Habits’ debut, Wildly Idle (Humble Before the Void), released by Woodsist, there’s really no charade: We’re clearly buying what Duffy is selling.

Emotional Mugger seemed an exercise in confounding fans of Slaughterhouse. What should we expect, then, from the second self-titled Ty Segall solo album, which features a backing band of Emmett Kelly, Mikal Cronin, Charles Moothart, and Ben Boye? What immediately stands out about the new Ty Segall is that the band recorded the songs live—something not done before on any of Segall’s solo albums. Yet for an organic turn such as this, the record feels like it is the first interesting step before a great one, rather than something self-evidently great. On both the opener, “Break a Guitar,” and the last song, “Take Care (To Comb Your Hair),” we get the sense of an artist who still loves rock ‘n’ roll, but is getting tuckered out with what comes along with it all the same. Nothing wrong with that, though. To its credit, the record has one truly great one song: the witty, country-infused “Talkin’.” The Robyn Hitchcock-esque “Thank You Mr. K” goes down easily as well. It’s a solid, though somewhat underwhelming effort from a consistently magnetic presence— doubtless the hint of more powerful stuff to come. » - Matthew Sweeney Bedroom projects are often judged on the success of their debut albums, and the multi-instrumentalist known best for Seattle’s Mega Bog has produced an unusually full and wellpaced first album of psych-folk and warm indie guitars. The single “All the While” is melancholic romanticizing of the Old West that ends in siren-like twangy guitar and intermittent swells of high-frequency distortion. Duffy’s unique production style has been influenced by great songwriters: not taking direct cues from them, but rather by knowing what makes them worthy of complete creative control. The album’s personal feeling of desirous brooding is segmented by three sound collages that meander between chapter marker and the fodder of sound design hobbyists. But since nearly everything about the album (down to its cover art) is the epitome of a shimmering bedroom opus, you don’t have to think twice as to why Duffy does everything herself–and easily gets our attention. » - Matt Carter

new music album reviews

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard Flying Microtonal Banana ATO Records Calling King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard prolific may be a bit of an understatement. With nine albums under their belt since 2012, and five more expected to be delivered in 2017 alone, the Aussie psychedelic rockers never seem to be short on material or inspiration. In early 2016, they released Nonagon Infinity, which plays as a permanent loop, with each song running

Tim Darcy Saturday Night Jagjaguwar In Tim Darcy’s first venture as a solo artist, the Canadian musician sheds the swagger, measured aggression and clangy dissonance that defined his previous band, Ought, in favor of more classic pop arrangements and an earnest vocal timbre that lends the record a distinct autobiographical air. Darcy’s voice is alternately jubilant and somber, accompanied throughout

into the last, including the first and final songs. February’s Flying Microtonal Banana, while not quite as ambitious from a conceptual standpoint, more than makes up for it musically. As the title may give away, Flying Microtonal Banana plays with a nonWestern tonality that stems from a microtonal guitar modified to play in a 24-tone equal temperament (24-TET) tuning. The 24-TET tuning is identifiable as an Arabic tone system that is based on dividing an octave into 24 equal divisions, rather than the Western 12, giving it quarter tones instead of half steps. After experimenting with the guitar, the group found such music could really only be played with other microtonal instruments, so each member of the band was given $200 to buy instruments and turn them microtonal. The album features these modified electric guitars, basses, keyboards and harmonicas, as well as a Turkish horn called a zurna featured prominently on several songs. The resulting album is an intense melting pot of psych-rock ragas. Beginning with the groovy “Anoxia,” the group aggressively runs through the sounds and themes that pepper

the album throughout. From the jump, the confidence and execution of the trip down the rabbit hole (as most King Gizzard albums seem to be) is as entertaining and provocative as you would hope. “Flying Microtonal Banana” oozes through funky scales and trancey undertones, with the zurna adding an overpowering accent to the main themes. Accompanied by a tabla and flowing over Turkish-inspired rhythm, it is the most traditional-sounding piece on the album. “Rattlesnake,” the first single from FMB, is a garage-rocking pounder that grinds away for a solid seven minutes. The minimalist lyrics and the spacey extraneous sounds give it an otherworldly feeling that finds humor in the slithering tonality. The music video for the track is a must-see. Flying Microtonal Banana might slip through the cracks for some, but it shouldn’t. The attention to detail and general raucousness alone are worth your time. There’s a little something for everyone here, and the infectious energy will draw you in and spit you out the other side wondering what the hell just happened. » - Charles Trowbridge

by the infectious chug of a crunchy rhythm guitar. Most of the record’s first half is a straightforward brand of upbeat guitar pop with moments of lush psychedelia provided by an angelic choir and runaway delay feedback. As the album progresses to its midpoint, it veers into more solemn terrain, at times incorporating abrasive bowed guitar, pensive finger-picking and melancholic piano. Lyrically, Saturday Night is a meditative and confessional journey that chronicles Darcy’s attempts to reconcile apparent optimism with existential anxiety. Throughout the album he poses questions, confidently answering some, while leaving others floating in a cloud of reverb. In the first track, “Tall Glass of Water,” Darcy asks, “If at the end of the river, there is more river, would you dare to swim again?” He answers, “Yes, surely I will stay, and I am not afraid.” Here, he suggests that in life and art there is no stagnant pool in which to rest around the bend, only a never-ending swim, navigating obstacles, punctuated by milestones that, from far enough away,

might be confused for endings. This sentiment is optimistic, affirming that the rewards of effort outweigh the risk of exhaustion. However, by the time Darcy arrives at the middle of the album, he’s struggling with the artificiality of identity, questioning the motives behind the performance of art and ego: “Does a bush ever think, ‘Where do I grow to be seen?’” The album’s form reinforces its lyrical content with ebbs and flows in mood and energy, left compellingly unresolved with a dark and droney instrumental aptly titled “Beyond Me.” After the last bleating guitar gives way to a disorienting emptiness, a ghostly artifact of some forgotten pop song wavers like a dim memory of the sober optimism that started the record. The outlines of the murky refrain never come to full form, leaving the listener with the impression of that bittersweet moment when we’re at our lowest and most confused, but we realize that reconciliation, however far downstream, is possible if we just keep swimming. » - Christopher Klarer | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 8

live music Photo by Alexander Fattal

KNOW YOUR VENUE The Analog Cafe & Theater


t the east end of the Hawthorne strip, just before crossing the bridge into downtown, lies The Analog Cafe & Theater. It’s a little spot with a simple facade, but inside are quirky artwork, huge plates of hot food and two floors where parties gather and new bands perform their first shows. In the past, the building had served as a couple of small clubs, a sushi restaurant, and a kung fu studio, before members of local pop-punk band with a funny name, Smoochknob, eyed it for a restaurant and music venue. For Smoochknob’s vocalist and drummer Donnie Rife, it was an opportunity to expand musical passions into entrepreneurial endeavors. “I wanted to do music, but I also wanted to do other things involving music to support a family,” says Rife, a father of four. “The Analog was also my baby. DRD Records [has] been amazing. I asked them to help me open a club and they did. We wanted to spend some time and money putting in nice things for the artists that bring people in. We want to give the bands the best hospitality. They deserve it!”


Rife is part-owner and show booker for The Analog, and he also holds a stake in the local label DRD Records, which helped bring The Analog to life. It became a full entertainment enterprise, as Rife and his partners also invested into related businesses, such as Liquid Steel Talent Agency, Rock Star Printing and Supernatural Sound Recording Studio (located in Oregon City). As for its outfitting, The Analog features a $10,000 PA, a Midas Verona 480 Board and Avalon 747 and 737 processors, but is named after the analog based recording studio. “Our recording studio is equipped with three 24-track tape machines–two Studers and one MCI,” Rife says. “We use Pro Tools with them, but believe in the analog sound. Hence the name, The Analog.” Photo by Alexander Fattal

live music

Local band Awkward Energy playing Analog. Photo by Alexander Fattal

The club’s layout is divided into two floors with two stages. The Little Theater upstairs (the Jim Beam Stage) is an in-yourface rock venue. The downstairs lounge (the Portland Potato Vodka Stage) is a more intimate space with a taller stage. This setup allows The Analog to offer all-ages shows until 10 p.m. There are bars on both levels, and an open kitchen downstairs. The menu offers huge helpings of mac-n-cheese dressed with a Sriracha pentagram, and the Gojira Burger is made with Painted Hills grass-fed beef. Javier Canteras, the lead guitarist of Smoochknob and a world renowned chef from Spain, sometimes stops in from his Portland restaurants (he recently opened Urdaneta) to serve as guest chef. With his venue playing host to more than 500 shows a year, Rife says he loves the diversity of artists that he books. This includes metal, School of Rock showcases, Bridgetown Comedy sets, and burlesque (The burlesque version of The Nightmare Before Christmas has played at capacity for four years now). February brings a Bollywood Dance Party, local band Foreign Talks, and nationally rising emo-punk band You Blew It!– strategically booked for Valentine’s Day. The Analog has also earned a reputation as a venue/ marijuana dispensary, with events like Free Marijuana Mondays scheduled to return in March. Meanwhile, Smoochknob readies to release a new album and tour through Europe and Japan in support of Everclear. » - Brandy Crowe

Singer/Songwriter Dana Sipos playing Analog. Photo by Alexander Fattal | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 10



1332 W BURNSIDE 2 Switchfoot | Relient K


3-4 Sabertooth Micro Fest

6 10 11 17 23 24

Run the Jewels | The Gaslamp Killer | Gangsta Boo Lotus Galactic | Bright Light Social Hour Angel Olsen | Chris Cohen William Singe | Alex Aiono Temples | Night Beats | Deap Vally | Froth | Door

17 Circa Survive

18-19 Rebelution | Passafire

25 Bass Cube | Gastly | Cesqeaux | Francis Derelle




10-11 Dark Star Orchestra




8 NW 6TH 7 Tove Lo | Phoebe Ryan 8 Reel Big Fish | Anti-Flag | Ballyhoo! | Pkew Pkew Pkew 9 Falling in Reverse | Motionless In White | Issues






830 E BURNSIDE 2 The Lemon Twigs | Savoy Motel 3 The Prids | Daydream Machine | The Secret Light 4 Barracuda | All Fired Up

6-7 Pinback





128 NE RUSSELL 6 The Knocks

8/10 Cody Jinks | Paul Cauthen | Ward Davis

11 Elephant Revival | Dead Horses 15 Jojo 16 Thundercat














25 18







Sam Coomes | Dr. Amazon | Galaxy Research 3 For Silver | The Sam Chase | Austin Quattlebaum Ayron Jones & The Way | Foxy Lemon | Redwood Son Mark Eitzel | Howe Gelb Christie Lenée | Krista Herring | Laryssa Birdseye Boone Howard | Aan | Kulululu | Ah God Tyvek | Fred Thomas Sam Roberts Band | Hollerado Slim Cessna's Auto Club | Chuck Westmoreland Sera Cahoone Hear For Charlie | Máscaras | Copy | The Wild Body Landlady | Cassandra Jenkins | Mike Gamble Jeff Austin Band Vetiver | Kacy & Clayton Sallie Ford | Jenn Champion | Weezy Ford Milemarker | Big Jesus Chad Valley | Computer Magic | Leo Islo An acoustic evening with The Joy Formidable Weyes Blood The Minus 5 | Lewi Longmire | Don of Division St. Mike Watt + The Missingmen | Toys That Kill Adia Victoria | Amenta Abioto




1 2 3 4 5 7 8 9 10 12 14 15 16 17 18 19 21 22 23 24 25 27




Mike Doughty | Wheatus Cherry Glazerr | Slow Hollows Cover Your Hearts (Jeremy Wilson Foundation Benefit) Muna | Lo Moon The Doubleclicks | Joseph Scrimshaw Léon | Jacob Banks Lost Lander | Melville | Spirit Lake Cloud Nothings | Itasca Noname | Ravyn Lenae The Lower 48 | Cedar Teeth | Skating Polly John Brown's Body Hurry Up | Split Single Los Campesinos! | Crying Tash Sultana | Josh Cashman Dead Winter Carpenters | Scott Law & Ross James The Radio Dept. | Germans


8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 21 22 24 25 27







J Boog | Jo Mersa Marley | Jemere Morgan | Westafa The Staves | Mikaela Davis Leftover Salmon | Locarno Tennyson An evening with Dawes Electric Guest Hippo Campus | Magic City Hippies Tennis | Hoops
















S 21





3 11 6













Eye Candy VJs (Mondays) The Thesis All The Apparatus | Poor English | Headwaves Oh Gawd Release Party Party Damage w/Folk Lore Brotherman | Alberta Paper Company | United Suns High Diving Horses | Furry Metals Dirty Looks Mood Beach | Pleasure Curses | Small Skies Speaker Minds | Mighty | Deadly D | DJ Zinker Purusa | Lumbercat | Shoring NW Selects: Femcee Edition Tumbledown | Matthew Lindley | Nathan Earle Ricky Fest Amber Russell Party Damage w/AM Gold Lauren Kershner | Groovebirds | Camille Rose Pat Kearns | Bees in a Bottle ACLU Benefit Show Party Damage w/Skull & Bones


2 3 4 7 8 9 10 11 14 15 16 17 18 19 21 23 25 26 28


Young in the City 11 Billy Strings 16-17






5 12 19 26



The Revivalists | Con Brio Yellowjackets & Mike Stern Mel Brown Big Band fea. Jon Faddis Roy Ayers | Farnell Newton & The Othership Connection John Scofield John Beasley's Monk'estra & TS Monk Sextet





17 26





Ice Queens | Ice Princess | Bleach Blonde Dudes Psychomagic | Kera & The Lesbians Emilie Weibel | Post Moves | Philip Grass Devy Metal | Fire Nuns


8 13 14 15 16 20

DJs in The Taproom (weekends)




PWRHAUS | Secrets | Schaus Austra | The Range B. Bravo | Barisone | DJ Lamar Leroy | The Last Artful, Dodgr Sama Dams | Heatwarmer | Reptaliens Matt Pond Pa | Flinn | Completions Clipping. | Baseck


17 18 19 21 22 23 25 27



17 19 22 23 24 25


Sticky Toffee w/Bald Eagle (house, disco, electro) Dilla Tribute Night w/Guy Featherstone Black Hearts Party w/DJ Meryl Streep & Friends Thug Luv (new millenial hip hop love balads w/DJ MV) Parklife (Britpop Night) Sticky Toffee w/Nathan Detroit (house & disco) One Drop w/DJ Sicoide (reggae & roots) Sticky Toffee w/Jason Urick (house & disco)

4 5 10 14 16 17 23 24 | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 12


13 1036 NE ALBERTA 9 10 11 15 16 17 22 24

Fox & Bones Left Coast Country | Dylan DiSalvio Corey Foster Collective Maurice & Stiff Sisters The Wilder Society | The Pearls Noah Kite | Paper Gates | Ellis Pink Mimi Gilbert Joytribe | Soul Progression

THE SECRET SOCIETY 14 116 NE RUSSELL 3 4 11 17 18 24

Drunken Prayer | Mink Shoals Pink Lady | John Bennett Jazz Band Jesse Lege & The Foghorn Stringband Glass of Hearts | Rock Gaga The Libertine Belles | Pink Lady & The Tramps The Minders | The Secret Sea

WHITE EAGLE 15 836 N RUSSELL 8 9 10 11 12 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 28

New Dew The Toads | Motorcoat | Hostal Riviera Garcia Birthday Band Mexican Gunfight Biddy on the Beach Will West & Groovy Wallpaper Pig Honey | Comanche Joe Joytribe | Quadraphones Suenos | Coco Columbia Kontext | Human Ottoman Anthony Presti | Haley Lynn & Friends The Plutons Parsonfield Blake & Janita "Mic Check" hosted by Starchile, music by Trox Shelby Lanterman | Shelley Segal | Karyn Ann Melville | Black Sheep Black | Old Mill House of Angles | Joel Swensen Wonderly | Taylor John Williams | Rachel Taylor Brown



4 5 9 11 16 17 18 19 23 24

Kulululu | Loveboys | Toothbone Haley Heynderickx | Lola Kirke | Wyndham Wait & Shackle | Saroon | Holy Tentacles | The Hague Tashi Dorji | Plankton Wat | Social Stomach Captain vs. Crew | Viking Skate Country Blesst Chest | Sad Horse | Lithics Dovecoats | Norman | Paper Brain The Dreaming Dirt The Crenshaw | Gooo | Comet Talk A Volcano | Rader | Young Hunter

HAWTHORNE THEATRE 17 1507 SE 39TH 7 9 17 18 22 23 24

PROF | Finding Novyon | Metasota | Willie Wonka The Griswolds | Dreamers | Patternist Philthy Rich Ugly God | Wintertime Lucero | Esmé Patterson Overkill | Nile | Valiant Bastards | Damage Overdose Born of Osiris | Volumes | Within the Ruins


Photo by Mercy McNab



tepping into the candlelit

Max and Mercy and I get a table.

darkness of the Red Fox,

Max sits holding the picture of Tony,

things take on a velvety

who seems to watch the conversation

quality, smoother and

from just behind the frame’s glass. Tony

softer, like flames behind

is incredibly shy, Max explains. Max is,

tinted glass. I meet Max Stein, the

in addition to playing bass, the band’s

bassist for PWRHAUS, at the bar. He’s

spokesperson. Max tells us that Tony is

already talking to Mercy McNab, our

grateful that we’re taking an interest

photographer here to shoot for the

in his music, but he didn’t feel he’d

feature. Max has with him a photo in

be able to give the interview himself.

a thick silver frame, adorned with a

Apparently, he dropped the photo off

pattern of vines. “This is Tony,” he says,

at the bar before Max even got there,

holding out the photo, which I now see

and subsequently vanished. The man is,

is of a young boy.

even to his own bandmates, something

PWRHAUS’ future-soul comes in a wash of sound, thick synth over distant

of an enigma. The boy in the photo is holding what

drums, acoustically electrified guitars,

might be a stuffed dog, or a rabbit. The

and everything half-melted, flowing

creature’s head is mostly obscured by

viscously, gleaming in the lights. At

the boy’s hand. The boy’s hair looks

the center is reclusive frontman Tony

impossibly soft. His gaze is almost right

Schatz, whose vocals float there in

at the camera, and the hint of a smile

layers, reverberating back and back,

plays on his lips.

creating a strange presence that always seems to be receding, drawing you into

ELEVEN: I wonder if you could tell

its depths. The way he crafts his songs

us about your introduction to Tony,

speaks volumes about the man. It’s the

and how you ended up in the band.

sound of someone ensconcing himself within his own sonic landscape, a place

Max Stein: I play bass in this band

over which he has perfect control, a

called Wild Ones, and we were taking

place he’d probably never leave if he

a break. We were touring a lot, and we

didn’t have to.

basically took 2016 off. I knew about

Tony because I had seen him play a

and this is his first release with a label.

couple times. I’m a big, big soul music

This is the beginning of a new chapter.

junkie. Tony does this kind of future-

Also, I think Tony likes being

soul, and I saw him play at Turn! Turn!

mysterious. But there is a conflict of

Turn! years ago. He had like a ten-piece

interest when you’re trying to get a

band and it was just this spectacle, very

career going and you’re this mysterious

glittery, very Bowie-y, if that’s a word.

man, so that’s kind of why I’m here. I’m

That’s how I got hooked.

just a big chatty Kathy, and I just wanna

I know that Tony has been working

use my gregariousness to promote him.

on this project for about the last

I always feel weird being like, “Hey,

ten years. He’s released ten records

check out my band,” but I feel much

or so himself, and he has hundreds

more comfortable being like, “Hey,

of unreleased songs. He’s just this

check out his band.” And his soul music

little hermit that I know about,

is the shit.

that I happened to meet. I met him officially at my house. We were having

like to talk about the compositional

Devo cover band called Debo that he

process of these new songs. This new

was playing with, and I recognized

EP feels more electronic than the

him. He dresses like Prince; he’s really

previous albums I was able to get

soft-spoken; you can barely hear him,

my hands on. How did Tony go about

but he sings like a motherfucker. Live,

writing these songs?

it’s like, holy shit, you know? And so MS: Honestly, I don’t know too

We started talking, and I pretty much

much. But there was definitely more

hustled my way into the band. But he’s

emphasis on synthesizer. For a while

been working at home forever, making

there was a lot of strummy guitar stuff,

song after song after song. I’m trying to

but I think he wanted to leave that

use whatever I have to help Tony do his

sound. The concept we use to describe


the band is future-soul, and the synthesizer fits that idea really well.

11: There isn’t much out there on PWRHAUS aside from a handful

11: What’s it like for you when you

of YouTube videos and a few digital

go in to record these songs? Does he

releases available through your

have charts for you? How does Tony

website. Several of the albums only

translate what he’s written to you?

exist physically on vinyl, which is rare in this day and age. Can you speak to

MS: He’ll show us the tune, like,

the decision to keep a lot of the music

“Here’s the chord changes,” but

off the internet?

recording with Tony is interesting. You’ll go in and do like seven takes of

MS: You know, it’s funny, I feel like

a thing, thinking that he’s only going

I know about as much as you guys. Like,

to use one, but he’ll use all seven. He

I play with this guy, and I spend so

affects them, morphs them into one

much time with him, but he’s just this

track. You’ll see a song and it’s got a

thing. I do know that he’s incredibly

hundred tracks on it. Really there’s

self-conscious. He’ll release something

only five parts, but it creates this kind

and everyone’s like, “This is great,” but

of wall-of-noise sound.

a month later he’ll take it down. I think

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11: Speaking of the new record, I’d

a Halloween party, and there was a

I found him to be really interesting.


As far as for us though, it’s

he just lives in this world, and when

interesting. Most of the songs are only

you live in your own art world, it gets

three chords, but a lot of it is texture.

so close and sometimes people can’t let

So now he uses a sampler to capture the

it go, so he purges it. But I think that

most important sounds from the record

he sees this upcoming record as a new

and he can play them like that, and then

beginning. He’s made all these records,

he also sings. He’s a very good singer. I

but now we’re going on our first tour,

write a bass part, and the drummer and



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Tony have usually agreed upon what they’re doing before I get there. It’s

11: That’s fine. I’m just enjoying hearing about this dude

pretty loose. MS: Yeah, you know, I’m this big 11: I noticed the drums sound more

loud chatty motherfucker, and all I

electronic on the new album as well.

wanna do is help this dude do his thing,

Was he playing those on the sampler?

because I really believe in what he’s doing. It just knocks me out. And I’ve

MS: I thought they were synthetic

been really lucky to have some amazing

drums too, but they’re actually just

musical experiences. Even playing a

incredibly processed live drums.

shitty club with this guy, I mean, he’s got the thing, you know? It’s amazing

11: What is the recording setup like? Do you go to a studio, or is it a home setup?

to be a part of it. I have so much respect for him. Can he be a pain in the ass sometimes? Absolutely. Like, he

MS: It’s a home setup in Tony’s

convinced me to do this (gestures to the

basement. His house is like going to

portrait) and I was like, I dunno man,

Mardi Gras. This guy is like a hermit in

is this just the most pretentious thing

the middle of North Portland. Swear

ever? Like, I don’t wanna disrespect

to god, he has 12 cats. It’s just this

you guys–what you do is so important

psychedelic weird k-hole. And house

to me–so I was worried that me

shows have gone down there. He has

holding a picture like a psycho would

this huge property and in the back

be weird, but at the same time, maybe

yard–it’s so fuckin’ cool–he hooks up

that’s interesting. Whatever it is, it’s

all these twinkly lights and candles

definitely Tony.

through this little forest area. It reminds me of when I’d visit Portland in 2006, 2007, 2008, when this house

11: So you said this upcoming tour is the first one PWRHAUS has done?

show scene was happening here. It just felt really innocent. I’m sorry, I forgot the question. [Laughs.]

MS: Yeah. Tony toured in Europe once. He’s really good friends with Neil

Morgan. They went on a tour together,

it, I get good things from it, but I’m just

and Neil Morgan does a solo thing.

a fan. But yeah, a new person comes out

But this is Tony’s first American tour.

when he plays.

I booked the tour. We’re playing in Seattle, the Bay, Oakland, Sacramento,

11: Well I’ll have to make it out to a

and here. I’m really trying to turn this

show. I’m definitely interested to see

into an actual act, get a booker, and get

Tony in non-picture form.

people excited about this guy. And I’m willing to do the legwork, to just let him

MS: He’s a real treasure, and you

write songs and worry about making

know, people have been interested in

the best motherfuckin’ songs, and I’ll do

him. When I started booking this tour,

all the errands. I don’t mind.

I found out there are people who knew Tony somehow and were like, “Yes, good

11: You said he’s really softspoken, and clearly shy. What’s it like watching someone like that perform?

for you, let me help you.” People were really down to help Tony and [me] set up this tour. And I just hope people will come out and see this amazing guy. »

MS: When it’s on, it’s fuckin’ on.

- Henry Whittier-Ferguson

Sometimes he can get a little selfconscious, but it’s a guy who talks this quiet (whispering) and then he doesn’t even need a microphone in practice. It’s just a really amazing thing. It’s deeply moving. And for me, I’m just a soul fan; I’m a fan of the band, and like, I play in


PWRHAUS Golden Brown Records

PWRHAUS has flown under the radar for a while now, and its frontman, the self-proclaimed hermit Anthony Thomas Schatz (aka Tonality Star), probably likes it that way. This new self-titled EP might change things for him though. He’s created a collection of gorgeously soulful songs that borrows some old-fashioned tones but is very much modern, and even ahead of its time, in sonic quality. The plaintive horns, the smooth vocal affect and atmospheric

PWRHAUS CELEBRATE THE RELEASE OF THE NEW RECORD FEBRUARY 8 AT HOLOCENE production all bolster an elaborate array of songs. They feel very much alike, but add up to a neo-soul masterpiece. All six songs flow naturally into each other. It starts with the velvety smooth opener “Got You On My Mind,” which layers upon itself until it reaches a wonderfully pleasant pace. “Set On You” feels like it’s cushioned by an all-knowing warm pink fuzz (possibly Prince). This chilled-out vibe remains throughout the album, with the one exception being “Heartbeat,” with its heavy beat and infectious groove that will snap you out of a peaceful, dreamlike state. “I’ll Never Let You Go” starts with some mellow, melancholy horns that mesh beautifully with the layered vocals, gradually leading into a more lighthearted melody. While it may be true that most bands are best experienced live, PWRHAUS can be enjoyed from the comforts of your couch, or on the dancefloor with hundreds of people on the same cosmic wavelength. » - Scott McHale



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f you’ve never been introduced to

Beyond that though, this release was a

Angel Olsen before now, you’re

challenge in how committed Olsen was to being

meeting her music at a curious

part of every aspect of creating the album, from

time. The album for which she

writing to release. That included starring in

was first noticed in 2014, Burn

videos and directing them, recording the album

Your Fire for No Witness was likeable from every angle: It was moody, beautiful and raw. But it was, from Olsen’s perspective, immature. It painted a picture of Olsen she’s fought hard to change with My Woman, her most recent LP. This new release is experimental, emotionally deft and powerful. Lyrically, most of the tracks from My Woman fall in line with what listeners expect from Olsen–melancholy and passion. Song titles, like “Shut Up Kiss Me” and “Never Be Mine,” offer

and collaborating with producers to exact her vision. It seems this effort can be attributed to her maturation, both as an artist and an individual. Since the release (and significant national acclaim) of My Woman, she has expressed a need to present an image in line with who and where she is personally. Olsen’s success is tangible and it’s exhilarating to watch unfold. In Olsen’s brief time off before the start of

an expectation for the tone of the release. What

her tour this month–she plays Portland’s Crystal

isn’t easy to ascertain from a cursory glance is the

Ballroom on Feb. 17–she made a little time to chat.

instrumental depth and experimentation from

From life on tour to the stress of being so involved

song to song. Olsen takes risks and pushes personal

with this release, Olsen’s perspective was deeply

boundaries with piano, synthesizers and genre.

honest and inspiring.


Photo by Amanda| Marsalis | ELEVEN PORTLAND 18

Photo by Amanda Marsalis

ELEVEN: When you’re on tour, do you find time to write, or are you trying to focus exclusively on performing?

Over the last year or so I’ve been bringing my running shoes with me and any chance I get, if we stay in a hotel or we’re parked near something safe, there are a few people

Angel Olsen: It depends. If I’ve definitely been getting into the groove of tour and I find some space to work on stuff, I definitely mess around and try to do some demos. But it’s hard with so many people in the van now. We’re on a bus, so we’ll use the back lounge sometimes to work on stuff. If you’re really inspired you find a way to record a demo or do a small version of something. 11: Now that you’ve been on several tours, do you find that you have any pre-show rituals you do to get read for a set? AO: It’s different night to night. I know some people like to warm up. I like to drink a couple bottles of water before I go on stage. I always worry if I’m not hydrated enough that my voice will crack. But I don’t do any warm-ups. I have practiced taking Vitamin C on tour every single day, even if I’m not sick, because if I get too tipsy and smoke

in the band who will run with me. And we’ll run a mile or something and come back and do some workouts. 11: Nice work! AO: It can be hard. Especially when you’re on the third week of tour. A lot of these first tours were super long, like months-long tours, which is great for getting to know everyone in the band, but by the second week you’re like, “Alright I give up. I’m not gonna do that anymore.” 11: There are a lot of musicians who really love the grind of tour life. Do you find that you’re one of those people? Or are you more interested in the songwriting aspect? AO: I like performing. I like playing and being with my band. I like the intimacy you have with these people. It’s different than anything else in your life. It’s not normal. It’s

a cigarette or do something I normally wouldn’t do I’m

like you’re at camp with these people. Nobody can have too

immediately sick. You’re just exhausted; your immunity is

much beef with anybody, or it at least can’t happen for too long

kind of low from drinking almost every night. You don’t even

because you have to confront it and play a show. But because

have to drink a lot. It’s just the fact that you’re tired already

of that you know how to keep your distance from people in a

and then you’re about to perform.

way that helps you tolerate each other.


features national scene You’re a personality when you’re on tour, and you’re a personality when you’re at home. And they’re very different. Just like you discover that you have friends who you love but never want to travel with again. There are some people on tour–I’ll be bunking away from that person. I love them, but I can’t see them every day or be their partner every day. But I think I’ve developed more of an interest in tour because we’re getting to the level now where it’s a bigger crew and there are more people to go around when you get sick of each other. But I do like being home and being able to have a life. I feel like I get to a point where I don’t want to be a dirty person with ragged nails, you know? I wanna go see the girls and hang and stuff. But I have this whole month off, so I’m sure by the time it’s over I’ll be ready to get out there. 11: In regards to your new album, you were heavily involved in the entire process, from production to directing. I wondered if you could pinpoint what some of the most important things you learned from the process were, both technically and artistically. AO: I feel like the person who’s mixing the record should in some way know about the style of the engineer who’s making it. I didn’t take notes on that stuff and had to figure out a lot of things after the fact. Which we did, but it took some work. This experience has been really cool, especially for this record. Being live on tape has taught me that tape is great. It’s a little noisy, but I’m fine with that. Do we need it on every single instrument? I don’t know if we do. I think on vocals and certain instruments, it’s a huge difference. Listening back in the studio to a digital recording of my voice versus a tape, it’s like a hundred times better on tape. And listening to a highend kind of guitar solo on tape is great because it manipulates the tape in a certain way. But if the instrument isn’t loud enough, the tape is louder than what’s happening. And that’s something I didn’t know about! I’d love to keep working with tape, and you know you hear all these indie kids talking about it: “It’s the only way, man!” And it’s like, what does that even fucking mean? But when I’m physically hearing the difference in the studio, it’s worth the money and the time. But for video, I think in the future, what I value more than a stylist–I can do my own makeup–is lighting. Or someone who is really great with a camera. I think [director of photography] Ashley [Connor] was really great with the camera, but we were really limited as far as help. She had to do the camera and lights with my friend Jethro [Waters] as an assistant. And we did it as a three-person crew. And the same thing happened with “Sister.” I feel like there’s a lot that I learned in the process that happened on these videos that now I feel totally comfortable knowing what each role is and what it means. Like, what does it mean when someone is a producer? It’s the person with all

the information. | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 20

features national scene 11: So you felt inspired

For “Shut Up Kiss Me”

by the process overall?

and “Intern,” I was doing all that work: feeding

AO: Yeah, I was exhausted

everyone and acting and directing. I was doing it

and still mixing my record. I’d

cheap and the budget was

lost like 15 pounds because

still high. Not because we

I was fucking stressed out,

were trying to get tons of

but there was something also about... I don’t know, kind of

money, but what I learned

a raw energy that you have

is that it takes about at

when you have a lot of ideas

least 10K to make a music

and for whatever reasons all

video. And that’s insane to me! And I don’t want to talk about money really, but it’s insane to think if you use proper gear and go to an editor, it costs money. There are some videos [where] no one wants to get paid, and everyone is doing it out of the love in their hearts... good for you. But at this point in my career I have to pay people because I’d like to make bigger productions. What I really learned is that if I have the money, I want to spend it on making a small feature or something. Something that has nothing to do with my music career. But that’s not going to happen tomorrow or anything.


these doors keep opening and Photo by Melanie Smith

all these creative people keep walking through them. And you’re like, “OK, so this is the

time for all these things to happen.” There were other times when I could have tried to make videos, but I didn’t know who to make them with or who to trust. But I think the thing I’ve learned that is paramount to any great production is working with good people. They can be really talented and big names, but as long as they’re people who are awesome and on your level, you’re going to make something good. Especially if they’re people who think critically and critique each other without insulting each other.

features national scene With Conor [Hagan], he co-directed “Sister,” we were back and forth on the phone and I’m like, “OK, I appreciate that viewpoint. I’m gonna look at the footage.” You treat it like a baby. You can’t be mad at each other for editing it a certain way. It’s the hardest process because you have to let go of your ego in some ways, and other people have to trust you with those decisions. There are a lot of egos in the process and navigating them–at a certain point you have to do what you think is right. That can be the hardest part. Especially with making a record. I sent the band an email that was like, “Hey, I know that no matter what happens you’re going to hear stuff in this that you don’t like, but I don’t want to hear it. You gotta talk to each other about it. What’s done is done. I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you feel this way. I’m happy that you care enough to feel uncomfortable, but I also think you gotta listen to it for the entire picture instead of hearing just your instrument.” I think even making these videos was an exercise in forgiving my image. Like, I’m not the tiniest most fragile being ever. I have a medium-sized body and I’d think, “OK, I don’t look the greatest in that frame but this frame works really well for this time so we have to use it.” If I had just been editing it and I hadn’t been in it, it might have been a totally different experience. 11: The whole album was more experimental in terms of style. Did you find that there is any specific style that's especially easy and enjoyable? And vice versa, any style you find challenging but rewarding, or challenging in a way you wouldn’t want to do again? AO: I really enjoy playing piano, but it’s extremely challenging for me. I feel like I have to find pockets for my voice to sit well with piano because it’s such a cold instrument. You either have to play simple chords, or you have to sing the minor versions of chords in between them. It feels like that challenge was really rewarding to me because I hadn’t played piano in such a long time. Am I going to make a piano record anytime soon? I don’t know if I am. But I feel like that sort of opened my mind to a different kind of writing. Using these different mediums has helped me challenge myself to write in a newer way. With [“Intern”], it was more of a challenge. Can I write something that I think is meaningful? Something that to me I think is modern and sort of pop? Can I write something where the lyrics are still reflective of my writing and my style? And the things that I would normally sing about or write about but with this new thing added. There were elements where I wasn’t ready to do a full synth record or anything, but it would be cool to do a short EP or something in that style. That is just me trying to write something that’s meaningful to that medium because it is so foreign to my voice, or it had been. But playing it live has been really fun! And I have all these | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 22

features national scene by certain things. I think there are still those arguments you’re going to have in your head your whole life, and I’m just trying to find something in my writing that touches on the themes I’ve written about before but in a new light. Something that’s a bit more positive and about overcoming them instead of just questioning them and stating that this is an issue, but finding a way to fight that issue. Specifically with me, I can sit around and be bitter about people making decisions for me, or in the past trying to help me and me misinterpreting it as doing it for me. And I think as a woman a lot of the time you read into things and you have to determine whether or not you’re reading into something or if it’s actually real. Especially with the people you work with–you don’t want to be dramatic or overly emotional. You don’t want to fall into that role that people pin on women. You also don’t want to ignore that it’s happening. Those were subjects I wanted to talk about. And I wanted to address them in this way that was like, you can still love those people as long as you address them. You don’t have to hate everything around you or quit your job. You learn how to confront people about it. But for me, learning how to confront people was learning how to just think, “Hey, I’m getting so upset about this and the way it’s done. If I really think I should do it better, I should try, and if I can’t I’ll be really humbled by it.” Photo by Melanie Smith

And mixing this record was an incredibly humbling thing that happened. The whole process was extremely hard work. Making a video that everyone sees

synthesizers now, so what am I gonna do with them? I’ve never

that’s over in five minutes or less, you spend hours and days on

really done that, where I try to sit down and write something

with people you love who deserve to get paid more, and then

that’s conceptual.

it’s just written about on blogs and it’s over. You’re supposed to feel the gratification in making it. And I think that’s the most

11: You said in another interview that you were ready to

important lesson to remember: If you can get lost in making it

be in charge of your own image in creating My Woman, and I

and enjoy yourself and the people who you’re making it with

wondered how this project helped you portray the person you

then it’s worth making. »

are or that you want to be to the world. AO: I think in the past, especially with Burn Your Fire for No Witness, that record is low. I feel very strong about that record, but it felt like an angry teenager version of myself. Whereas I feel with this one, as a person who’s getting older, I feel a little more self-assured and a little less bothered



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Thursday 23rd - ONE DROP Reggae and Roots with Sicoide


Friday 24th - STICKY TOFFEE House and Disco with Jason Urick 1006 SE HAWTHORNE BLVD, PORTLAND


Beneath Brine | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 24

community literary arts Jim Newman: I started working at a Minneapolis station called WCCO-TV in 1975 when Knight Ridder owned it. The job–I worked there for 15 years–was beautiful. It had a great reputation because of its journalistic integrity through the leadership of Mr. Ridder, who actually visited our newsroom often. When he did, people would salute him, and I always thought everyone was sucking up to him at the time. But it was only later I realized that he was the guy footing the bill for us to not worry about ratings, or how expensive it was to produce the news. He was the guy who made it possible for us to be real journalists. 11: From a journalistic perspective, this was at a time when the newsroom changed tremendously. Can you discuss witnessing the shift toward ratings-driven entertainment news, and away from hard news reporting?

Photo by Mercy McNab

LITERARY ARTS Writer Jim Newman


rom 1975 to 1989, anyone who tuned into the CBS affiliate WCCO-TV in Minneapolis saw Jim Newman delivering hard news with refreshing honesty in a time when entertainment stories started to drive ratings. Eventually, the ratings-over-facts approach in television newsrooms began to erode Newman’s enchantment with broadcast television, and in 1989 he returned to his home state of Oregon to become “The Voice” of Oregon Public Broadcasting’s (OPB) Oregon Field Guide. For 20 years and 250 episodes, Newman covered the majestic landscapes of Oregon, until he departed from OPB in 2009. These days, Newman is a Portland journalist-cum-novelist whose long career in television news and script-writing informs the fiction he writes. His first book, A Habit of Mind (North Star Press, 2015), gives readers a satirical look into the newsroom, using many of the same Shakespearean comic elements employed by the Coen Brothers. It’s an oddly prescient book that anticipates the current obsession with fake news, while also commenting on the media’s responsibility to report stories with honesty. Newman is currently busy putting the final touches on a new book called Visible Light that satirizes the U.S. Army. Visible Light will be the second book of a developing trilogy. ELEVEN: You have a long history in journalism, dating back to the 1970s. Can we begin by talking about your career as a television writer?


JM: Television journalism degraded in a severe way while I was there. The original premise in the newsroom was: “We don’t care about the cost. All we care about is the news and the facts.” But nationally, television stations started to realize that news can draw in ratings, and producers began to face the true cost of news production. Once the potential for profit was apparent to management, profits became the central focus for those at the top. After that, the news business changed tremendously. WCCO eventually went through a real crisis, even though we believed ourselves—and we were—the television news source of record. Whatever we said on the air, that was true and detailed. The FCC later changed the rules, and Knight Ridder had to divest, because they couldn’t own a television station and a newspaper in the same metropolitan area, so they sold WCCO. At that point, the journalistic dream of giving the public real news evaporated, and it wasn’t long after that numbers, and simple news stories told by good-looking reporters, came into broadcasting news. But that wasn’t my thing, so I left. 11: And you went on to work for Oregon Public Broadcasting on Oregon Field Guide. How was your experience working with them? JM: I was made for working with OPB. I got to go up mountains, and I saw places in far eastern Oregon I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. And as a writer and a reporter, working on Oregon Field Guide was great because it was magazinestyle programming where we did seven-to-10 minute stories. This format allowed us to delve deeper into all kinds of stories about aquatic life, volcanism, and the landscapes themselves. A big element of that reporting was capturing the landscape, or the research happening on that landscape, by traveling the state. For example, we did a story on the appeal of an ice age meadow. It looked like simple farmland to us from a distance, but as we walked into it, we found that it had its own surreal beauty to it, which we got to experience. There’s another place with a boring name called Leslie Gulch that is the remains of a super volcano, which is perhaps the size of Switzerland. Now, after millions of years of erosion, it’s sculpted into these cliffs and formations that are absolutely stunning. It’s one of the most spectacular places in Oregon we visited.

community literary arts what they needed to know from the news. Instead, what we get is a diluted information stream that everybody needs, which I was trying to bring attention to in that book. 11: It’s oddly topical, considering the media landscape of today. Was there a conscious attempt to draw attention toward what is now being labeled as “fake news”? JM: That was my primary concern in A Habit of Mind, which was to explain fake news through satire. Strangely, when I wrote that book in 2015, I thought of it as being over the top, but in 2017 it feels like I was right on with that perspective. But that is very much the subject of A Habit of Mind, and I think it’s important because this degradation of news with a diminishment of any concern for the facts is being played out in real life with Donald Trump, who has essentially created his own reality. Neither the news business nor the public seems to have the authority to put things back on track and say, “Wait a minute; there are things such as the truth here.” But my hope now is that the treatment of media will incite some sort of renewal in the agency of the newsroom by journalists who are seeing this stuff happen. 11: I saw that you are finishing up a novel that focuses on the U.S. Army. How is that going? 11: You’ve since stepped away from journalism in 2009, and you’ve dedicated much of your time to writing fiction. Can you talk about how you transitioned away from journalism and into becoming a novelist? JM: When I left OPB and stopped writing television scripts in 2009, I tried to write fiction that was straight-ahead and non-ironic, because that’s what I knew from writing on television. But I’ve found that when you have a lifetime of experiences, one beautiful way to engage with those experiences is to put them on paper in some form—even if it’s just fiction, which is informed by what’s happened to me over time. But it seems to me that my younger years from 20-45 were years dedicated to recording the experiences I’ve had, and what I’ve gotten is a library of data that I use for writing. I have this other added advantage of tapping into my subconscious that allows me to be more open, so one of the big motivations for writing is to learn consciously what I know subconsciously; kind of like a guide standing there telling me, “When this happened, it actually meant this.” All I am doing is unfolding it through the eyes of these fictions, aided by my subconscious, informing me what this stuff means. 11: One of those things is a novel you released in 2015 called A Habit of Mind, which satirizes the media. How was A Habit of Mind informed by your time as a journalist? JM: A Habit of Mind is certainly an attack on the financial architecture of the news industry, and how it degraded the accuracy and detail of television reporting. I also wanted to comment on how the media contributed to a dumbed-down public, who was flattered by how television presented itself in the way that leads people to believe that they were getting

JM: In Visible Light, a book I’ve recently finished, I am directing my attention toward people in the army who find a way to survive even though their limitations suggest they are unfit for the positions they hold. The main character, Tad, is essentially an honest person, but he’s willing to cut corners. He’s in a world where he is confronted by people who are very smart and honest, and other people who are looking for an edge that will get them ahead. But instead of focusing on the media, I am directing my attention on the army this time. I also have a third book about Vietnam that I am working on, and I like to think of those three as a trilogy. 11: How do each of your books relate to one another as a trilogy? JM: In A Habit of Mind, the main character is some guy in his twenties that satirizes the newsroom, where I spent most of my time. He’s wrong about a lot of things, and he makes mistakes, but the context of those mistakes is correct, and he’s just living it, only he’s not aware of what’s happening. The book I just finished, Visible Light, is also about a young guy who is inexperienced, but that world, along with the people in it, are a part of a landscape of my younger years from when I was in the military. My third book, Words from the Front, [is] about a time [of] some real trauma and conflict in my life: partly because of my sexuality, and when I was trying to make sense of what all of that meant when I was coming out, while also talking about an alcoholic father and what that’s like for the kid in the book. Those three books are about young men trapped in a world that they never made, who are trying to make sense of their worlds as they make all kinds of dumb-ass mistakes. But whether I’m making a satire out of the media or the military, these books are about being set free. » - Morgan Nicholson | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 26

community visual arts CM: I first came to Portland a couple years ago while on an artist residency in eastern Oregon. I was looking to try something new and it felt like a good fit. I love to explore, but had been feeling a bit restless and in need of a roost. After meeting the owners of Antler Gallery, where I often show, I thought I could be part of the art community here. I went home, packed everything I owned into my car, and headed west. 11: On your website you discuss how much you enjoy traveling and exploring new places as inspirations for some of your work. What's been an exciting new discovery you have made lately?

Photo by Mercy McNab

VISUAL ARTS Portland artist Christina Mrozik


he characters in Christina Mrozik’s work seem to transcend time and space. They create their own fantastical universe where life and death can coexist within just one frame. In each piece, the splendor of creation and color dance an elegant waltz alongside their partners– darkness and decomposing death. As the viewer takes in this metaphorical dance, the significance of balance and contrast begins to be understood through the artist’s perspective. An artist whose work expresses both a deep sense of introspection and social examination, Mrozik has contributed her art and expertise in the nonprofit realm and can be seen at the Antler Gallery in her upcoming showing in May. ELEVEN: I saw that you are from the Midwest–Michigan– and you said you always bring that aspect of yourself into your art. How would you say you do that? Christina Mrozik: We are all creatures of where we were raised. What I love most about the Midwest is the warmth of the people and the hard-working, open spirit that comes from growing up in the wide open fields of farm country. I’m shaped by people who have strong seasons to their lives, and I notice a similar trend in my art-making. I’m always continuing to practice while moving through times of both harvest and hibernation. 11: Why did you choose to come to Portland?


CM: In October, my sweetie and I traveled to Ireland for the first time. When I travel somewhere new, I find the landscape, people, and flora/fauna don’t necessarily directly translate and appear in my work; rather, the mood of a place starts to take hold. Ireland was full of green openness: a vast and somber place of song. When I feel that kind of spirit, it becomes a part of me and moves with me and out of me in a more subtle and natural kind of way. The discoveries are inward and I realize a piece of myself I didn't know before. 11: What is the significance of nature in your work? CM: This, to me, feels like asking what the significance of air is. An Irish poet I love, John O’Donohue, talks extensively of the effect of landscape on the human soul. He says that one’s outward experience with beauty directly and profoundly affects [one’s] own inner landscape. It’s something that almost vanishes when I try to put words to it, but it is a feeling we all know when we stand beneath a Redwood tree. If one could learn to carry that profoundness of the world [everywhere], I believe it would open the heart to empathy and the lesson that each human is also an endless landscape that can be walked. 11: You have said, "Humility makes great work," as well as knowing yourself. What do your pieces say about who you are? CM: Humility is often misconceived as not taking credit for something in order to be perceived as humble. What I think it actually is, is the powerful act to say, “I’m here. I have these abilities. How can I use them to serve my community?” If someone is brilliant at something but uses it only to serve oneself, they are drowned by ego and thus ineffective. If someone is brilliant but they downplay that ability to be perceived as humble, they help no one and are doubly under the influence of ego, as they are so worried about how they’re perceived that they don’t contribute. Humility is that sweet spot of working hard to master something and then offering it back to your community with

community visual arts and death interplay in your work. Why do you think it is significant to come to terms with death? CM: I’m not sure if one can really come to terms with life if they haven't come to terms with death. There is so much cultural fear surrounding the end that it shrouds the present. There is an awakening that happens when someone kisses death, as if all color is realigned, a shift in both focus and priority. For myself, I feel like it allows me to better sit with someone in their dark, being a listener rather than a fixer. It helps me think about longevity and what will be left behind for future generations, because the world doesn't end when I do. It also, strangely, makes me more comfortable with silence, because I’m OK with bringing the harder things into focus rather than drowning them out with noise. 11: One quote I really loved by you is "art fills the void "Anthesis" (Watercolor on paper, 2016)

that language can't." Do you think you can expand on that concept? Give an example where you felt like art has done this for you.

open hands, asking, “how can I help?” Just as powerful, humility CM: It’s a little funny to try and use words to explain is saying, “This is not the thing I’m brilliant at; where can I get but I’ll try. Language in a day-to-day sense is typically help? Who should be leading this and how can I support them?” used to convey specific understanding and communicate That is the power of humility, understanding that it is not only clarity. Art tends to remove that clarity and create a visual about you, but you play a vital role in a larger something. representation of the imagined or perceived. It exists Knowing yourself and what you are both great at and notprimarily in the world of metaphor, feeling, color and light; it so-great at allows you to understand where and when to step up or to let go of the reigns and get help. I try and use my art to affects the senses differently. tell these kinds of stories and use my own "The Axis of the Interior" ( Graphite and watercolor on paper mounted on a cradled panel, 2016) experience to be vulnerable about what I’ve learned and where I’ve failed. It’s a walk of honesty, sharing a piece of my diary through metaphor. I’m good at existing in the cracks that lack clarity and definition, so I try and bring more emphasis to the importance of the intangible. 11: You are an artist of several different mediums. Is there a type of visual artist that you would consider yourself to be? What is the name of the style of art that you make? CM: Naming styles has always been tricky for me because–I’ll say it–I don’t know my history well enough. I draw from the naturalists and add surrealist elements, but I work in paint and graphite and clay. As my pieces are paired with prose, they could be classified as illustration, so maybe I’m a poet-naturalist making surrealist illustrations and sculpture. Or something like that. 11: You have touched on the personal significance of coming to terms with death and disease and how the duality of life | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 28

community visual arts I love the famous painting “Christina’s World” by Andrew Wyeth. When I look upon it, I could write paragraphs expressing the feeling of the piece: the woman’s longing, the secret desire, the desolation and solitude. I could give the history of her disability and explain her situation and the memories of that barn she’s leaning toward. Instead, when I gaze upon the painting there’s a feeling, a kind of immediate knowledge about her, a common ground of the human heart in which I empathize with her hunger. Thus, through this process, this woman’s character becomes an icon of everyone’s hunger. It gives me a sensation with an immediacy and depth that is different from an article, novel or poem. It interacts with time differently. 11: You have also mentioned being part of nonprofit organizations and getting involved. Can you tell us about the type of work you have done there? Why do you like to be involved? CM: I’ve worked with a few different organizations over the years. Five years ago in Maine I was an illustrator for the Beehive Design Collective, an all-volunteer, activist arts collective dedicated to “cross-pollinating the grassroots” by creating collaborative, anti-copyright images for use as educational and organizing tools. In Michigan, I worked at a youth nonprofit arts center, CultureWorks, teaching kids

"The Weight of Beings" (Ballpoint, watercolor, graphite and ink. 2015)

comic-making and the importance of creative problem solving. Every year I go to Rabbit Island in Lake Superior with a group of incredible high schoolers, and we talk philosophy, discuss our imprint on the planet and submerge ourselves in beauty (they teach me how to laugh and fall in love over and over). I also donate art through Antler Gallery’s yearly “Brink” show to support our local Portland Audubon Society. It’s not simply a responsibility to participate–it’s a joy. It teaches me how to connect with my community. It sheds light on both problems that need fixing and movements focused on fixing them. It creates a space for shared experience, laughter and hope. Working with nonprofits helps me be a more collaborative human. 11: Tell us about your newest work and projects and what you have coming up. CM: I have a new solo coming up at Antler PDX in May. I’m still working through what that will look like, but there will be grass bodies, collaborative pieces, prose and magic. 11: Is there anything you would like to add? CM: Always remember to be so kind to yourself. Practice often. Learn what voice is yours and speak it. Take your time. Be good to your body. Ask questions. Listen well. Enjoy the mystery. » - Lucia Ondruskova


Please enjoy Christina's piece "The Quiet Place" (Acrylic on paper, 2016) decorating our inside back cover.







Profile for Eleven PDX

Eleven PDX Magazine February 2017  

Eleven PDX Magazine February 2017  

Profile for elevenpdx