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ISSUE 81 | FEB 2018






THE USUAL 4 Letter from the Editor 4 Staff Credits


FEATURES Local Feature 14 And And And

Cover Feature 18 NEW MUSIC


5 Aural Fix Sean Rowe Princess Nokia Rostam Kikagaku Moyo

COMMUNITY Literary Arts 26 Portland poet Chrys Tobey

8 Short List 8 Album Reviews Montero Nap Eyes Olden Yolk

Visual Arts 28 Portland artist Ashley Thomas

LIVE MUSIC 10 Know Your Venue Kenton Club

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


EXECUTIVE STAFF EDITOR IN CHIEF Ryan Dornfeld (ryan@elevenpdx.com) CREATIVE DIRECTOR Dustin Mills (dustin@elevenpdx.com)

While I pondered the contents to include in this month's missive, I managed to work on my truck, organize the garage, fix a wobbly chair, set up my NES that’d been in storage, walk the dog and feed myself. All that to say, often it can be easy to take our own time–and the things we can accomplish–for granted when we allow ourselves to become riddled with distractions, technology, laziness, etc. It’s something I need to work on and have been pushing myself to be better about. In our Local Feature [p.14-17], And And And touches on the technology-side of these distractions–the Internet to be exact, and it’s ever-growing sense of consciousness with completely alien goals that don’t have our best interests at heart. It’s fascinating and terrifying shit. On that note, thank you for taking the time away from life’s overarching technological distractions to read this piece of print media—we hope you find, at the very least, some bits of interesting information here. Dutifully yours,

- Travis Leipzig, Managing Editor

4 | ELEVEN PORTLAND | www.elevenpdx.com

MANAGING EDITOR Travis Leipzig (travis@elevenpdx.com) SECTION EDITORS LITERARY ARTS: Scott Mchale, Morgan Nicholson VISUAL ARTS: Mercy McNab GRAPHIC DESIGN Dustin Mills

ONLINE Mark Dilson, Kim Lawson, Michael Reiersgaard

GET INVOLVED getinvolved@elevenpdx.com www.elevenpdx.com twitter.com/elevenpdx facebook.com/elevenmagpdx

GENERAL INQUIRIES info@elevenpdx.com

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Rosie Blanton, Cassi Blum, Laurel Bonfiglio, Tyler Burdwood, Matt Carter, Crystal Contreras, Brandy Crowe, Mandi Dudek, Sarah Eaton, Eric Evans, Lou Flesh, 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, Henry Whittier-Ferguson

PHOTOGRAPHERS Patrick Chapman, Eric Evans, Alexander Fattal, Eirinn Gragson, Greg LeMieux, Molly Macalpine Mercy McNab, Andrew Roles, Todd Walberg, Caitlin Webb COVER PHOTO Eliot Lee Hazel

ADVERTISING sales@elevenpdx.com 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


up and coming music from the national scene



At 43-years old, Sean Rowe is far from an “up-and-comer” in the music world, and it’s not because of his age. The alternative folk singer-songwriter began writing songs as a teenager, thanks to his role model, Otis Redding, who inspired him to start singing. Rowe’s distinctive deep baritone voice hits you hard and without hesitation. His bone-rattling timbre calls to mind the likes of songwriting greats Johnny Cash or Greg Brown, but it’s perhaps most similar to the startling boom of Andre The Giant. Rowe has a rooted sense of sorrow to his voice yet it also feels like a warm, familiar comfort. An avid naturalist, Rowe’s songwriting stems dominantly from his fascination and spiritual connection with nature. He creates music with a raw truth and simplicity much like the qualities of nature itself. His vocals are consistently on display front and center, accompanied with minimal, complimentary blues and folk instruments like the harmonica, acoustic guitar and other ambient sounds. His lyricism often pokes fun at the bustling city life: “My city shakes its head at my wilderness. My heart has built a mind for itself…” and “Let’s leave these rusted old folks back in the city. Where they belong.” on the track “Surprise” from his 2011 album, Magic, Rowe creates a

Photo by Milah Libin



There’s a part of every rapper that’s still lost in the ‘90s, whether it’s the music or the memories, or some combination of both, floating back somewhere in that golden age haze. Princess Nokia is no exception, and though the reminiscent mode is hardly new, her studio debut, 1992 Deluxe, gives a new voice to a classic hip-hop concept. The album, released through Rough Trade Records, is an expansion of a 2016 mixtape, entitled simply 1992, her third self-released project since 2014.

Photo by Matt Dayak

humbling musical experience that is sure to remind each of his listeners about the importance and appreciation of humility. From songwriting to the finished product, it’s clear Rowe is deeply involved with each step in his musical process. He creates a wholesome mashup of blues, soul and folk that takes you on a wave of emotions, both happy and sad. One of the most impressive things about him is that he refuses to be overshadowed and clouded by unnecessary instrumentals and leverages the beauty behind the necessities to create music that can be appreciated from listeners young to old. » - Kelsey Rzepecki 1992 Deluxe speaks many tongues, a testament to Princess Nokia’s background as a multiracial woman from New York, as well as an MC who’s been honing her craft for the better part of a decade, just on the edge of the cultural eye. The album is in many ways a demonstration of her vocal chops, going from husky, heavily-accented braggadocio on tracks like “G.O.A.T.,” to a high-pitched trap delivery on “Kitana,” and “Brujas,” to a laid-back ode to New York’s underground on “Green Line,” “ABCs of New York” and Saggy Denim.” The latter boasts the album’s only feature, fellow New Yorker and frequent collaborator Wiki, of RATKING. The collection of voices, though varied, cluster around themes of femininity, otherness, identity and confidence, and though Nokia often gives us her best boastful facade, there are plenty of moments where the front breaks down to reveal a much more complex humanity behind the polished surface. “Tomboy” is a rare moment where we get both–a meditation on problematically common perceptions about body image and sexuality in rap, done in the trap banger style that typically espouses exactly those problematic images and attitudes. The song gets at the overarching message on 1992 Deluxe, which is Princess Nokia owning herself, controlling her image by repping the whole of it as hard as she can. It’s there on the cover for you to see, her on the court in the baggy sweats under an XXL NYC shirt. She’s holding the ball, looking at you, and she’s smiling. » - Henry Whittier-Ferguson

www.elevenpdx.com | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 5

new music aural fix



On Rostam’s effulgent and ablaze full-length Half-Light, the previous Vampire Weekend player Rostam Batmanglij melds his old band’s uniquely rhythmic indie rock ingenuity with the impressive production he’s provided for the likes of Carly Rae Jepsen, Hamilton Leithauser, Charli XCX, HAIM and in collaboration with Frank Ocean. Rostam does incredible things blending the strange allure of gleeful, sexy pop with a classic sense of rock ‘n’ roll song craft. You have to wonder how this works live. Half-Light comes two years after Rostam made three albums as the multi-instrumentalist, co-songwriter and inhouse producer for Vampire Weekend. He sang a sliver of a track at the end of their final album, introducing his vocal skills for this debut. It features songs he’d been writing since at least 2011, and it’s an astral, Bollywood-baroque tapestry, featuring sitar-kissed delectables (“Wood”), among groovy light power pop (“Bike Dream”), and twangy Neo-Classical rhapsody (“Thatch Snow”). This is a story of the romantic and existential explorations Rostam has made since he moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. He seems to be building his own choral city of sound; moving in and out of coherence and decay, letting strong melodies emerge from all kinds of collages with string arrangements and unique beats.

Photo by Alex John Beck

Rostam seems to be trying to shift uneasily from reality on Half-Light; the lyrics shapeshifting his personality, memory and fate through his creations–with various dimensions of perspective and expression. But this doesn’t make it oblique; the passion is strong, and emotionally backs up the complicated sounds. Though this album sounds nothing like Vampire Weekend, you can sense the strengths Rostam gave to that band for ten years, beyond the effortless play with polyrhythms and jangling West African guitars. Half-Light affirms why Solange and Ocean relied so hard on his input on their own progressive work. Will all this genius layering and tweaking make sense in the flesh? I’d love to find out. » - Lou Flesh



6 | ELEVEN PORTLAND | www.elevenpdx.com

new music aural fix

Photo by Jamie Wdziekonski



Flower children from the east, Kikagaku Moyo have been traversing this earthly realm, exploring inner and outer space, starting out in 2012 from their homeland of Tokyo, Japan and assisting listeners/experiencers to cross from the dark gently into the light from Greece, the U.K. the U.S. and nearly everywhere else in between. Since their start in 2012 they’ve recorded five successful collections, three of which have been studio albums and two EP’s. Stone Garden is the band’s most current EP (2017) and enticingly offers a spacey, yet enlightening playing field for the mind and spirit. Go Kurosawa (drums/ vocals) and Tomo Katsurada (guitar/vocals) pioneered the band and soon after joined up with Daod Popal (guitar), Kotsu Guy (Bass) and Go’s brother Ryu Kurosawa who travelled to India and studied Sitar under Manilal Nag, a renowned master. Upon his return to Tokyo, Ryu joined up with the psychedelic explorers. Kikagaku Moyo made themselves well known and appreciated around the globe as they set out on their 2014 tour appearing in the

U.K. for the first time and consequently selling out several shows in London. This time around we find them transmitting their geometric mind patterns in the blizzard of the Portland winter scene. The success and perseverance that Kikagaku Moyo displays and utilizes cannot go unnoticed and leaves traces of an introspective beauty that is bound to be welcomed with open minds and open hearts in PDX this month. » - Ellis Samsara

QUICK TRACKS A “NOBAKITANI” Gentle chant-like vocals, sparsely yet well placed while the ancient plucking and sustaining power of the sitar bless and encourage universal love, allowing one to let go and feel.

B “IN A COIL” Rubber feeling elasticity mixed with persistent drums and bass pick up the beat while pulling us into the whirpool of this gentle, yet lively psychedelic experience.

www.elevenpdx.com | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 7

new music album reviews


Woman). Montero's music suitably accompanies its creator's other artistic work, which evokes an LSD weekend of children authors Stan and Jan Berenstain. With cover art in distinctive Mondo style, Performer has Montero


drift with Ziggy Stardust-like face


paint from dream pop to classic rock


to what he calls Shmoopy pop. This begins with a surreal bon voyage

Short List Kyle Craft Full Circle Nightmare


to reality upon a fictional airline

Montero Performer Chapter Music

Superchunk What A Time To Be Alive Screaming Females All At Once Toothbone Toothbone


DZ Deathrays Bloody Lovely Justin Timberlake Man of the Woods Field Music Open Here

“Montero Airlines,” back in the days when travelers could smoke on airplanes. “Quantify” would be the only reason to put this band under the dance category, as it's synth-

Drop “Montero band” into any

laden builds find a middle ground

search engine and it's likely to come

between John Maus and Ariel Pink. It

up as dance/electronic music. This

may take a suspension of belief, but

isn't a complete misunderstanding

by the time you land and disembark,

of the band's abilities, but it is an

your afterthought might be of Bjenny

understatement. The project's

Montero as a lost space man of the

namesake is Spanish for “huntsman”

‘70s. Oh, and that Peter Frampton's

and the surname of bandleader and

talk box effect is still bitchin’. »

cartoonist Bjenny Montero (Early

- Matt Carter

Rhye Blood I'm Bad Now is a supposed final

Franz Ferdinand Always Ascending

installment of what has been an album trilogy featuring first Whine of the

MGMT Little Dark Age

Mystic and then Thought Rock Fish

Belle & Sebastian How to Solve our Human Problems

Scale. Chapman wrote the album almost in its entirety in his home in

Dashboard Confessional Crooked Shadows

Halifax and then met up with the band in Montreal to have them add some

Marlon Williams Make Way for Love

meat and potatoes to the tracks. The album itself is a cosmic experience,

U.S. Girls In a Poem Unlimited Buy it

Stream it

Toss it

verging on the throes of an upbeat personal crisis. This idea is hammered

Nap Eyes I'm Bad Now Jagjaguwar

home on tracks like “Everytime The Feeling,” with the lyrics “I can’t tell what’s worse / the meaninglessness / or the negative meaning” and

With a name like Nap Eyes you

facebook.com/elevenmagpdx @elevenpdx

8 | ELEVEN PORTLAND | www.elevenpdx.com

“Judgment,” with “Think of every

can’t help but wonder if the Nova

single moment in time / that would

Scotia quartet are teasing at their

have faded from your mind / if not for

own downtempo, mildly sleepy sound.

the rewiring process / the synaptic

Their music is a laid-back tip of the

protein fold caress,” which are

hat to ‘60s and early ‘70s rock 'n' roll

paired with tight, tic-tac drums and

in the vein of Velvet Underground and

shimmering, sweet guitar jangles. »

Lou Reed, with whip-smart, timeless lyricism replete with existential dread.

- Rosie Blanton

new music album reviews contradicting lyrics live up to the

compromised spaces their protagonists

obtuse name.

inhabit: “When they wake you nearly

It could be taken both as mild

dirt/With Don Quixote in the common

criticism and praise bordering on

room”… “Like any place just the

preciousness to say that Olden Yolk’s

same/A prayer, a bottle, a wandering

self-titled debut for Trouble in Mind

sensation/…Of leaving.”

would fit well as a soundtrack for a

Song by song, those lyrics that

Wes Anderson film, particularly one

zig-zag through layers of abstracted

of his newer ones that feature those

meaning lead us through a vision

befuddled stop-motion-animation

of urban dwellers cycling through

animals. How better can you say,

relationships, friendships, personal

though, that it’d be an understatement

struggles and homes. Harder-rocking

to observe that the album sounds

moments like those in “Espirit De

nostalgic, to the point of utterly out of

Corps” and the more lyrically-direct

this time? For the first few songs, at

“It Takes One to Know One” inject

least, it’s all so cozy and down-tempo,

some fire into the album’s slightly

so deliberately reminiscent of tried-

repetitive, lulling flow to awesome

and-true folk-rockers of the late ‘60s

effect. Textural details like the

and mid ‘70s that it borders on being a

mysterious transmissions at the

like the name of some experimental

little too safe. The enveloping guitar

beginning of “After Us,” as well as the

British folk band of quiet, shaggy

tone washes of the opener “Verdant,”

driving rain that creeps in towards the

intellectuals from the ‘70s. In fact,

and the brisk, krautrock-influenced

middle of the track, show Olden Yolk’s

they got their start as the brainchild of

pulse of “Cut to the Quick” are equal

attentiveness to experimental-leaning

Quilt’s Shane Butler, which eventually

parts calming and infectious, but

sound, though it all just ties in with the

germinated into an artistic partnership

perhaps lack muscle—not unlike

straightforward pulse of the music.

with Caity Shaffer with a backing

Butler and Shaffer’s coolly-delivered

It’s an album that seems as reluctant

band containing members of both Quilt

lyrical lines that seem to double back

to give up its secrets as it is eager to

and Mutual Benefit. And as you might

on their arguments as soon as they’re

please, and that's not a bad thing. »

imagine, the band’s soft-spoken psych-

made. Nonetheless, they get some good

folk and ruminative, self-defeating/

ones off–funny little snapshots of the

Olden Yolk Olden Yolk Trouble In Mind

The moniker “Olden Yolk” sounds

- Matthew Sweeney

www.elevenpdx.com | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 9

live music finding Raquel Welch donning a number 11 jersey as a roller derby champion in Portland. It was filmed in entirety here, with many of the delectable B-quality scenes inside the Kenton Club. But aside from the roller skates and movie posters on the wall, the bar is famous (or infamous) because it’s been around since 1947. It was predominantly a biker bar before being purchased by Scott and Doreen Waitt a little over a decade ago. It really hasn’t changed much, but The Waitts restored all of the geometric diamonds and teardrops of the original woodwork and built a

Photo by Molly Macalpine

KNOW YOUR VENUE Kenton Club | 2025 N Kilpatrick

comfortable, pup friendly patio. They also started having shows. “The no-nonsense attitude of the Kenton Club has always appealed to me as a customer and performer, as well as bartender and booker” says new music booker Toby Edelhart, “Part of what makes the Kenton Club unique is it is a bar that has shows, not a music venue that has a bar.” Upon entering there’s a pool table, a well curated jukebox, and usually a very long (but fast-moving) line to get famously stiff cocktails, craft pints, or perhaps


a lemon ginger CBD soda. At night you can order up a ay up in North Portland, the Kenton neighborhood has a feeling of Portland’s working class past.

corndog or some other fried food to take into the dining room, where people hold hands in dark corners or fill the tables under a huge Spanish-style chandelier. The

The neighborhood

originated from a meat-packing company and held the Vanport community. It sits between industrial areas and the interstate, and holds an international raceway. Old buildings now hold new businesses, but the history resonates. Walking towards the glowing lights and wood panels of The World Famous Kenton Club, I pass young people in vintage clothes, smoking on their stoops. For a moment I wonder if I’ve slipped into another decade. So why is the Kenton Club “world famous?” It has to do with a film called Kansas City Bomber, a movie

10 | ELEVEN PORTLAND | www.elevenpdx.com

Photo by Molly Macalpine

live music

Local band Darkswoon playing Kenton Club. Photo by Molly Macalpine

Kenton also holds early hours, with Chef Nik Nice (also of Liberty Glass Bar & Restaurant) running brunch out of the KC kitchen on the weekends. As for the performance area, there’s lots of room to move. February is shaping up to host shows with Bubble Cats, Drunk Dad, The Lovesores and Whisper Hiss. “The hardwood interior gives bands a warm sound and the open space makes the shows very intimate,” says Edelhart, “The Kenton Club has always hosted a wide variety of shows being home to country, Americana, punk, rock and indie. We are also home to many birthdays, tour kick-offs/homecomings, benefits, staff parties and even memorials. In this way the Kenton Club is as much a community space as it is a venue, and we try to make our space available to a wide variety of demographics and subcultures. I am just trying to keep my finger on the pulse of the ever changing Portland music scene and try to bring in new acts and also try to focus on diversity.” » - Brandy Crowe

Local band Teleporter playing Kenton Club. Photo by Molly Macalpine

www.elevenpdx.com | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 11





2-3 Phill Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band

9 Super Diamond | Petty Theft 11 Dan Auerbach & The Easy Eye Sound Review

12-13 Walk The Moon

15 Lotus

16-18 Sabertooth Micro Fest

22 Mat Kearney 23 Typhoon | Wild Ones | Amenta Abioto



Gramatik | Haywyre Majid Jordan | Stwo MØ & Cashmere Cat Datsik | Space Jesus | Riot Ten | Wooli Dua Lipa | Tommy Genesis J Boog | Jesse Royal Lettuce | Chali 2na Black Rebel Motorcycle Club | Night Beats Judah & The Lion | Colony House | Tall House Black Label Society | Corrosion of Conformity Gogol Bordello Miguel | SiR | Nonchalant Savant Black Veil Brides | Asking Alexandria | Crown the Empire Snarky Puppy | Banda Magda Neck Deep | Seaway | Creeper Ty Dolla $ign | 24hrs | TC Da Loc | Dre Sinatra



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Fernando | Trujillo | Edna Vazquez Curtis Salgado | Alan Hager & Friends Get Out & Fly | Baby Gramps | Hairy Mary & The Barrys Prawn | Caravela | Sol | Lowglo Yacht | French Vanilla Miss Rayon | Planet Damn | Cool Flowers Hot Buttered Rum Solillaquists of Sound | Marv Ellis & We Tribe The Wind + The Wave | Haley Johnsen | Rachel Price Clap Your Hands Say Yeah | Steady Holiday My Body | Dreckig | Mini Blinds Scott Amendola | Jeff Parker | Paul Bryan Holiday Friends | Paper Brain The Builders & The Butchers | Federale Langhorne Slim | Twain Mary Timony | Allison Crutchfield SLim Cessna's Auto Club



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Jessica Lea Mayfield | Sun Seeker Kyle Craft | The Shivas | Ghost Foot Summer Cannibals | Kelli Schaefer | Roseblood Evan Thomas Way | Matt Dorrien | Slater Smith Daru Jones x Galaxe | Brown Calculus | Abyss Infinite Boink | Toothbone | Surfer Rosie The Belle Game | Blue J The Moody Dudes | Lost Lander | Melville Dr. Theopolis | Jonah | Bran Free & Jacob Van Auken Kevin Leigh Robinson | Sunbathe | Risley R.Lum.R | Gibbz The Coronas And And And | Tribe Mars | Melt Sean Rowe | Anna Tivel Bruno Major Shame | Dreamdecay The Album Leaf | Vakoum Rostam | Joy Again The Blasters | Roselit Bone Sean Hayes | Jacob Miller Skinny Lister | Will Varley Good Old War | Justin Nozuka | River Matthews




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9-10 Dark Star Orchestra



8 NW 6TH 7 Hippie Sabotage | Melvv | Azizi Gibson






















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DJs in The Taproom (weekends)


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Nasalrod | Kulululu Brown Calculus | Soot Uros Matt Dorrien | Lorain | Rainwater



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Two Feet Flor | Handsome Ghost Simian Mobile Disco | Matthew Dear | Ben Tactic Drama Duo | Reva DeVito | Fritzwa Visible Cloaks | Bryon Westbrook | Dolphin Midwives Slay: DJ Automaton | DJ Ronin Roc Saint Wknd | Jerry Folk Uniiqu3 | Dai Burger



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Of Mice & Men | Blessthefall | Cane Hill | MSCW Lights | Chase Atlantic | DCF Kimbra | Arc Iris Alo & Monophonics Mike Gordon Sabaton & Kreator | Cyhra Adan Jodorowsky | Y La Bamba | Rude de Anda LP | Noah Kahan Ron Pope | The National Parks | The Heart Of Princess Nokia Girlpool | The Hotelier | Special Explosion Theory of a Deadman | Spirit Animal Tune-Yards | Sudan Archives Betty Who




Jacob Jolliff Band | Front Country No Age | Flesh World | Antlr'd Theo Katzman | Bridget Kearny Mike Doughty Grails | Daniel Higgs | Abronia Superchunk | Bat Fangs Kikagaku Moyo | Don Gero Helvetia | Blesst Chest | Wet Fruit


Eye Candy VJs (Mondays) Flickathon: Sets from Years Past (Tuesdays) KPSU DJs (Wednesdays) Blossom | The Paraiahs | Covi | Hot 16 | Verbz Tom Ghoulie | Tino's Dream | Wild Kingdom Green Luck Media Group Presents: The Juice Comedy Trivia Night Sus | Scooty | Sxlxmxn | Lemoss The Adio Sequence | Louder Oceans | The Skeleton Keys Spec Script: Star Trek The Next Generation The Shrista Tyree Variety Show Rocketship | Bad Guys | Andrew Kaffer & The Stuffed Shirts Red Forman | Sunsout | New Not Normals Centaurs of Attention Mobilities | Childspeak | The Von Howlers Float On Presents : Comedy Out of the Dark


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Vourteque | Nara Reicher | Whiteaker Hot Club 90s Dance Party Mr. Moo Volac Ardalan | Pezzner | Max Ulis Bodywork Monthly by Jason Burns Pan African Gala Mandela's Centennial

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www.elevenpdx.com | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 13


Photo by Molly Macalpine


11 1300 SE STARK 2 3 14 15 16 17 18 20 21 22 23 24 25 26

John Hiatt & The Goners Beth Hart Benjamin Clementine Art Abrams | Ernie Andrews | Barbara Morrison Kurt Ellington & Friends Luciana Souza's Word Strings | The Dave King Trio Regina Carter | Bill Frisell | Thomas Morgan Duo Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton | Tahirah Memory Trio Abdullah Ibrahim & Ekaya Real Estate | Bedouine Why? | Florist Miles Electric Band | Christian Scott | Darryl Jones Jazz By 5 | Domo's Delight Margo Price | Blank Range

TOFFEE CLUB 12 1006 SE HAWTHORNE 2 4 9 11 16 18 23 25

Sticky Toffee:House & Disco Indiepop w/My Lil Underground Waves: Hip-Hop, Trap and R&B w/DJs Nate & Mark Indiepop w/My Lil Underground Parklife: All-vinyl Britpop w/Huff & Green Indiepop w/My Lil Underground Old Skool: Classic Funk & Soul w/Drew Groove Indiepop w/My Lil Underground

13 1036 NE ALBERTA


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im Ditson tells me over coffee at my place that the Internet is a conscious entity whose needs and desires do not align with our own. I’m unsure how seriously to take the band’s convictions. You can hear them carefully narrated over their latest spotify single, “Bragi.” It’s not so much a song as a manifesto detailing why the band’s new music will no longer appear on streaming platforms. Anyway, the next evening I heard Bill Nye float the idea, or at least its unknowability, of an Internet superconsciousness on his new show. So who’s to say? THE SECRET SOCIETY To hear And And And’s powerful new 116 NE RUSSELL full-length LP, Idiot (out February 13), Salsa Social (Tuesdays) you’ll need to get thee to their website Zydeco (Wednesdays) or buy a hard copy. The lyrics are bleak, Swing (Thursdays) Buddy Jay's Jamaican Jazz Band | Postmodern Pirates philosophical and–when delivered Red Valentine's Salsa/Bachata Ball by the strained voice of Nathan Countryside Ride | Sarah Gwen Baumgartner–punk AF. The music itself Joytribe | Mr. Musu | Soul Progression Pepe & The Bottle Blondes | 3 Leg Torso is tougher to pigeonhole. The band Tbone Funk Fridays Feat. DJ Sugarfoot attests their sound is the result of their WHITE EAGLE long friendship and their individual 836 N RUSSELL tastes, which cover a broad spectrum. The Desert Dogs (Tuesdays) Jaycob Van Auken Midnight Honey Nathaniel Talbot | Fellow Pynins | Lake Toba KMUZ Local Roots Live Series Lousy Bends | Mink Shoals | Salo Panto Freddy Trujillo Madjesdiq The Minders | Bitches of the Sun Phil Ajjarapu & His Heart Army

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Rule of the Bone | Black Plastic Clouds | Daystar Polecat Jake Allen TK Revolution Jam Monterey Purple Caught Red Handed Black Sheep Black | Ian Moore | Old Mill Garcia Birthday Band Larry Campbell & Teresea Williams Sakumuna

14 | ELEVEN PORTLAND | www.elevenpdx.com

ELEVEN: Bim, let’s talk about Rigsketball. Bim Ditson: It started when I bought a basketball hoop at Goodwill and I was gonna bolt it to the side of my house. But

And And And

Berg convinced me that was a bad idea, as I am a renter. Then he and I put it on the van, like really shitty, not regulation height or anything. Then that got knocked off, so I put it back on, made it regulation height and then we started challenging other bands. I think we first played against Archers when we were playing a show with them, and it just sort of ballooned into a thing that I can’t seem to reign back. 11: Who’s won the tournament in the past? BD: The Rock and Roll Soldiers won the first year. 11: And is Treefort where it always happens in full? BD: No, it happens in full here in the summer. Here it’s a 32-band bracketed tournament. Single elimination. And then at Treefort it’s usually just one-offs because everybody is too busy to be coming back for games after. So there it’s usually 20, 24 bands that play. 11: Is this band good at basketball? [ALL]: No. 11: Is there a good player in the band?

Ryan Wiggins: Nate used to play in high school, right? Nathan Baumgartner: I played in middle school. Berg Radin: You jump really high though. RW: Nathan can jump. NB: I can only dribble to the right. After about five minutes they’re like, “Okay, we know what this guy can do and we’re just gonna guard against that.” And they defeat me every time. RW: We have good games, but we’re not good basketball players. 11: Your new single "Bragi" talks about Internet Consciousness, can you give our readers a dumbed-down version of this? BD: It’s hard to do a version that’s not nuanced because it’s a big, complex thing. But for me personally, I don’t see any reason why the Internet wouldn’t already be conscious and have its own reasons for self-preservation. It doesn’t seem like it has much regard for us. It also doesn’t seem like we have an effective parallel to the Turing test for this kind of consciousness. 11: We already have AI that’s passed the Turing test. BD: Yeah and the thing is AI that passes a Turing test is AI that we can understand. The question is, if something became conscious that was beyond us, how would we even know that it’s existing? Photo by Todd Walberg

11: The Skynet level. NB: And in the end, how has it helped us? It has to a degree, but…. BD: I think that’s where a lot of the nuance comes in because it’s like, with any powerful thing, it’s going to create all this good. And if it’s really powerful it’s going to be effective at obscuring the bad that it does. That’s a concern of mine. That’s a difficult thing to make simple because it’s not. 11: And people are seeing more and more of their same opinion or their taste in music reflected back to them as the data gets collected. BD: Yeah. And I think data-driven arts are not arts. Like data as a backwards looking tool for projecting business results is useful, but it’s not good for creativity. I don’t think it makes sense for people who want to make something novel and new to just be looking at numbers. 11: Understood. What’s the labor of running your band like? Jonathan Sallas: It’s tight. You do whatever. BD: Work can be obscured as an idea into something that’s bad, rather than work being something that’s good and fun and collaborative and explorative. And that’s how it feels to us to be able to just do stuff and not be so driven by results and more driven

features FEBRUARY WHITE EAGLE (CONTINUED) Adam Larson & Co. | Porches Tony Smiley The Euge Organ Trio | Portland Side Hustle Midnight's Children | Heavy Sugar CJ Hawley | Dallas David Ochoa Unlikely Saints Vega Black | Lindsey J | Stereo RV's | Jane Deaux Mic Check Hip Hop Showcase The Angry Lisas Tin Silver Sharlet Crooks | Pretty Drunk Global Folk Club The Half Hearted The Plutons



Peter Rainbeau | Jessica Dennison & Jones | OK Bird Soft Kamikaze | Piefight | The New Not Normals Brittain Ashford | Ritchie Young Birger Olsen | Adam Ostrar | David Dondero Ad Hoc Improc Millennial Falcon | Wild Jumps | The Vanity Project LoveBomb Go-Go | Cabbagehead Mascaras | Arteries | Guillotine Boys Barra Brown Trio | Hauser/Bernstein/Kotheimer Twenty Three Suns | Ron | Darcy Neal Neon Wilderness | Binary Marketying Show | Sun King Jack Wright/Evan Lipson/Doug Theriault & Luke Wyland Black Belt Eagle Scout | Pools | Layperson Wave Action | Grammerhorn Wren | Average Pageant The Dreaming Dirt Shae Altered | Bo Boskoro | Arbor Daze Sea Moss | Eaton Flowers Tom Brosseau | Shelley Short | Tomo Nakayama Dreckig | Similar Fashion | Luke Wyland Black Fruit | Mood Beach | Pat Moon | Another Afternoon Gulch | Alternative Milks Songwriters in the Round w/Nate Wallace


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10 Years | From Ashes to New | Against The Raging Tide The Original Wailers | Zahira & The Rising Buffalo Tribe Marty Grimes | Kurt Rockmore | Dave Steezy G Perico Von Doom | Morbid Fascination | King Ghidora Enter Shikari | Single Mothers | Milk Teeth The Holdup Grace VanderWaal Mr. Pickles Thrash-tacular | Exodus | Municipal Waste Dorothy Starset | Palisades | Grabbitz | Year of the Locust

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Eric Johnson | Arielle Orgone | Object Heavy Bermuda Triangle | Bells Atlas We Banjo 3 | True North Diet Cig | Great Grandpa | The Spook School Jesse Cook

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www.elevenpdx.com | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 15

features FEBRUARY ALADDIN THEATER (CONTINUED) 15 16 22 24 25 26

Los Lobos Jacob Sartorius Mat Kearney | Andrew Belle Daimh Bully | Melkbelly Shovels & Rope

GOODFOOT 20 THE 2845 SE STARK 3 7 8 10 12 14 15 17 22 24 28

Farnell Newton & The Othership Connection (Tues) Takimba & Friends Swindler | Alden & The Ambience The New Triumph Pyata & The Rhythm Ural Thomas & The Pain Family Funktion Mike Dillon Band | Amandla Skerik Band Motherlode | Klozd Sirkut McTuff (Goodfoot 17th Anniversary Show) The Garcia Project

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The Dovecotes | Point Juncture, WA | Paper Brain Ah God | BB | Toxic Slime Records Prettiest Eyes | Bombay Beach | Pennymart Apraxic | Hacksaw | Rednekk On Drugs | Scarves | Friskies | Die Fam Souvenir Driver | Leading Psychics Insignificunts | Born Sick The Translucent Spiders | Cult of Zir | Gooo Jessica Moss | Floom | Plankton Wat Despise You | Escort | Macho Boys | Acracy | Displaced THE FIRKIN TAVERN Located on the west side of Ladd’s, the Firkin Tavern features an astounding selection of craft beers to enjoy inside or on our patio. Art enthusiasts will enjoy a variety of local artwork on display and sold comission-free! SE LADD'S 1937 SE 11th Ave (97214) 503.206.7552 | thefirkintavern.com

THEATER 22 STAR 13 NW 6TH 15 16 17 23 24 25 26

Autograf | Ramzoid LDW Terrapin Flyer | Melvin Seals Ha ha Tonka | Purusa Zach Deputy Kontravoid | The Secret Light Shamir | Pardoner | Michete

LIQUOR STORE 23 THE 3341 SE BELMONT 1 EPV | Radio Phoenix | Just Pretend 15 Lost Ox | Conscious Nest 16 Deadcrow | Djedi

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Grand Royale | Shoot To Thrill | Trans Am Summer Coloring Electric Light | Photona | When We Met Bleeding Hearts Ball w/MR. Musu Saola | Lagoon | Forty Feet Tall Peter Case | Jeremy Wilson | Paul Brainard | Buzz Holland Zeke | Bomb Squad | The Sadists The Coathangers | Death Valley Girls | The Flytraps Dengue Fever | Winter | Summer Twins | Patsy's Rats

25 1937 SE 11TH


3 Havania Whaal | Supermoon | Husky Boys

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Photo by Todd Walberg

by what we’re stoked on. That’s part of the whole idea of self-releasing, and doing our own distribution, and we do all our videos, and we built our own practice space because we were sick of paying rent at practice spaces. There’s a million different little things to being a band. There’s a lot of learning that happens, but at the same time we find some things that we never would have stumbled on if we were relying on somebody else to make those decisions and tell us what we’re supposed to do. 11: Are there, formally or informally, different roles among you all when it comes to the non-music parts or engineering?

MINDFREAK AUDIO. RW: All caps. JS: And all the art for the album is made by our friend in town, Magical. 11: The cover sort of looks like God with his hand cut off squeezing a human being and maybe losing control of the world? NB: The theme of the album is that there’s more to reality than what you can perceive. And there’s some themes about creation and original sin and the idea that God is sort of ambivalent to us. We’re searching for something, and the God character looks just looks vacant. 11: With like four eye sockets?

NB: Well, Bim essentially manages the band. BD: If you were to give it a term, it would be that. RW: As far as engineering, the only person who's worked on the album besides us... NB: Jeff. Jeff Bond is our friend who recorded it. BR: Mindfreak audio. 11: Is that Jeff’s thing? RW: We kind of named it for him. NB: Yeah, we named it for him. BD: For the record his studio is called

NB: He’s got three, and they’re all off center. He does not look wise or smart. 11: And it’s called Idiot? NB: Yeah. Idiot. So it’s about different levels of being an idiot. Like God could be all powerful and he’s holding the philosopher's stone, but his hand is detached because he still can’t quite reach it. No matter how hard you’re reaching for understanding you will never grasp it and neither will God, and there’s something bigger than him too. And meanwhile we’re in his grasp

and he does not care. We talked with Magical about it. 11: You’ve got this line: “To feed the flesh of the king to the ones he ignores.” Is this still in the theological realm? NB: That’s all anti-government stuff… just socialist shit. 11: I’m wondering if there’s anything about either a band member's biography or the band’s biography that would help people appreciate the new album more. BD: I’m of the mind that we’ve gotten a little too interested in biography and a little bit less interested in music as a culture. NB: As far as a band dynamic goes, I think what might set us apart is we’re all really long time friends. Me and Ryan and John went to elementary school together. BD: I met them when they were in college and my band played a house show with them.

L And And And

Idiot Self-released

And And And is the brainchild of five Portland-based extraordinary minds who joined forces in 2009 to become a badass entity that creates some “strut to the beat of your own drum” type of music. They’ve been compared to Modest Mouse and The Kinks in the past. They’ve drawn inspiration from bands like YES, The Clash and Pink Floyd. But to be honest, And And And pulls from the melting pot of life to bring the world extremely innovative music,

NB: He was like 15. BD: To be explicit about the function of the group too… this band doesn’t exist without this set of people. We don’t get a new guitarist every three months, it’s very much these specific people because we all want to be in this band because we are close friends. We don’t want to make a band that’s a mythos so Nathan can play with session players. NB: I’m not driven enough to do that. I need everyone to be like “Alright, this is what you do Nathan.” Everyone’s holding my hand. If I didn’t have this band I probably wouldn’t be doing music even. Well, I guess I would but it wouldn’t be listened to or heard. It wouldn’t be anything. » - Tyler Burdwood

features FEBRUARY FIRKIN TAVERN (CONTINUED) Avalanche Lily | Piefight Swimming Bell | Andrew Victor


which has brought us to their latest album titled, Idiot. After releasing The Failure in 2015, And And And has followed up their latest project with Idiot–a deeper excursion into the battle with depression and disappointment. Idiot dissects the direct message of failure and depression and turns it into anger, passion and healing. The guitar-riff heavy, raspy croon ridden tracks go through emotions of anger, disbelief and triumph. From “Get Off My Lawn,” to the oddly high-spirited “Lonely Life,” to the quirky “I Thought That I Thought the Thought,” And And And brings passion, lyricism and a sound that brings light to dark issues. After listening to Idiot–a unique journey of forgiveness from a band that’s so hard to put into words (think Strokes, White Stripes, Kinks, Allah Las and beyond)–I’ve come to realize that songs like opening track, “Get Off My Lawn,” to the closing track “I’m Not Looking,” take the listeners on a journey through the ingenious minds of the five masterminds that embody And And And. » - Mandi Dudek


Karaoke From Hell Erotic City Davi & The Fuzz


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HOLLYWOOD THEATRE A not-for-profit organization whose mission is to entertain, inspire, educate and connect the community through the art of film while preserving an historic Portland landmark. NE HOLLYWOOD 4122 NE Sandy Blvd (97212) 503.493.1128 | hollywoodtheatre.org



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The Subjectors | Tunnel Vision | Neutralboy | Purdy Spit Panzergod | Funeral Chant | Pandiscordian Necrogenesis Vegetable Revival Project | Cosmic Butter | Gravelroad Fake News | Lauren Lakis | Farm Animals | Millstone Grit The Holy Dark | Idea The Artist | Tyler Burdwood Grey Fiction | Xmelt | Light & The Black My New Vice | The Ransom | Bloodrat | Dr. Amazon InConfidence | Artificial Aliens | Us Underwater Augustus | Progress Band Get Married | Throw | Faster Housecat | Jay Levy Year of the Coyote | Hair Puller | Beach Party | She Disembowel | Encoffinized | Nekro Drunkz | Coffin Rot Kathartica | The Hague | Free Kittens & Bread | The Shifts Michael Trew Band | The Heavy Hustle | Bitches of the Sun Switch Blade Romeo | Weep Wave | Typesetter Lo' There | New Brighton | Marrowstone | Waterfronts



Ground Score | Sewage | Not a Part of It Kulululu | Arlo Indigo



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The Deep Dark Woods | Jacob Miller Little Star | Wave Action | Sweeping Exits Tezeta Band | Korgy & Bass Dent May | Moon King Pearl Charles Whitney Rose | Chuck Westmoreland

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www.elevenpdx.com | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 17

he search for identity is a theme that can be applied, today specifically, across a spectrum: from the ultra-personal exploration to the identity crisis that has our country engaged in social and political brinkmanship on a near daily basis. Musicians have unique means of exploring this theme, able to engage in both the physical element of music creation and the tool of metaphor (or sometimes literalness) in lyricism. Whether we agree to it or not, as an audience we are invited on this exploration, and when done well, we extract meaning from an artist’s personal questions to be applied to our own lives and worlds. Identity is the muse of tUnE-yArDs’ most recent release, I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life, which maps out an utterly personal track for Merrill Garbus, the lyricist and frontwoman for the duo. In the time between the last release, 2014’s Nikki Nack, and the new record, Garbus sought out myriad methods of ripping herself from comfort zones and confronting questions about her identity and place in the world. To kick-start that process, she picked up a DJ-ing gig without knowing how to DJ, took classical voice lessons, dove headlong into new beat making techniques and sounds and decided to try to better understand whiteness in today’s world. Garbus’s quest to “understand whiteness” permeates many surfaces throughout the album. The lyrics are nearly always pointed (“I ask myself, ‘what should I do?’ But all I know is white centrality.”) and are matched by jagged dance beats and

18 | ELEVEN PORTLAND | www.elevenpdx.com

aggressive vocal mixes. “Colonizer” opens with a particularly mechanical beat–chirps, blips and crunches–before segueing into a heavy, bass-driven instrumental to counter the opening lyrics, “I use my white woman’s voice to tell stories of travels with African men/I comb my white woman's hair with a comb made especially, generally for me” that are sung with an intentional lightness. The track may sound like an outwardfacing shaming of others, but, as Garbus noted in an interview with NPR: “I heard my voice speaking to a friend about this experience that I had in Kenya. A lot of people think that I'm making fun of another white woman in ‘Colonizer.’ No. This is me.” Exactly halfway through the album, the song is a poignant encapsulation of the project’s thesis statement: “How can I realistically understand my place in a world that has essentially been systematically built for me at the expense of others?” Musically, I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life finds tUnE-yArDs as daring as they’ve ever been, ripping open rhythms and harmonics to look for unexpected mixtures of sounds and tones. It can make you feel as though you’re watching a tennis match–whipping your head back and forth between the incisive lyrics and equally compelling instrumentals, unsure of when and where the action will stop. We sat down with Garbus to tear through her thoughts on the motivations of the record, the importance of the collaboration between her and bandmate Nate Brenner and the delicate nature of diving into the race conversation as a white person today.

Photo by Eliot Lee www.elevenpdx.com | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 19Hazel

Photo by Kimberly Lawson

features national scene

ELEVEN: You decided to take DJ lessons and classical

11: When you say "DJ," were you actually spinning vinyl

vocal training lessons when you started. Why were those

or were you kind of mixing songs and then going in and

two things that you thought needed to go together?

playing them via computer?

Merrill Garbus: They don't, they don't. It seems like they

MG: You know, I haven't gotten into the computer stuff

should go together, or do they? Well, I had been taking voice

as much. What I learned first and foremost, my friend James

lessons already. I had an understanding that I was really

told me, "You gotta know your records," and now I know

abusing my voice a lot towards the end of Whokill and as we

what he means. Like, you just gotta know your records. So,

started recording the Nikki Nack stuff. So, Nate [Brenner]

it could be vinyl. I did a lot of CDJ-ing because I have a lot of

very lovingly nudged me to take lessons with his classical

CDs from, you know, growing up in the ‘90s mostly and early

voice teacher. It's been a few years now that I've been doing

2000s, and the thing with CDJ-ing is that you can actually

that, so I continued that and just deepened that practice, and

loop on that. You can choose a start point and then an

it's been a practice mostly to care for my voice and learn how

endpoint and loop something, so that felt very familiar to me.

to use my voice better. But, you know, I ended up singing classical Italian

And I would do cuts where I would mix in, I would do either all vinyl or mix in vinyl with CDJ. I started mixing in

repertoire, and so that part just was kind of ongoing at the

drum machines, which is how "Look at Your Hands" and some

same time that I got my first DJ gig. I think I got the gig

other songs got written. I was trying to create drum beats on

before I really knew how to DJ, and, yeah, I had a few friends

a drum machine that could hold their own in a DJ set, and I'd

to kind of guide me along the way in learning how to DJ

sometimes sing over them to test out new material.

and then, you know, starting to do a radio show that got me listening to a lot of different new music that I hadn't heard

11: Were you like, "I'm going to go get a DJ gig and then

before. It was, as anytime between albums, it was like, "Okay,

I'm going learn how to DJ," or was it something that you

how do I grow as a musician in this time, as we make a new

kind of were already looking toward based on new music


that you had been interested in?

20 | ELEVEN PORTLAND | www.elevenpdx.com

features national scene MG: The gig came first, and then I realized that it was

following the election–these things were very day-to-day for

something that I was interested in doing. I think, you know,

me, a daily practice of sorts. It all was–as a record tends to be

I think the past two years, up until starting to DJ, my music

in my life–it was a record of my life. And I wanted my life to

intake was limited, actually. Like, the music that I was

actually be composed of something instead of writing about

interested in listening to was very limited, and I was more


focused on my personal music practice. I got into learning

Like, instead of writing about the nature of the rose or

Haitian drums, and that music filled my time a lot, just

whatever, I just… Especially in the context that we ended

spending time with that music.

the Nikki Nack tour at the end of 2015, it was a very loud

So, it wasn't like recorded music was making its way into

volume which the Black Lives Matter and other very skilled

my life. But DJ-ing is great. It was a great reminder of what

organizers were screaming about police brutality and police

it used to be like to listen to music as a younger person. Now

killing. There was stuff that I thought I couldn't ignore,

I have this list of records that I just love and want to hear

particularly in art, you know, as an artist.

over and over again, and, you know, now I get asked to make playlists quite a bit–that's different. I feel like that also

11: At one point you said that the album was an

takes a lot of just knowing your records, knowing what you

opportunity to “explore your place in the world.” Right

love, knowing what's out there.

now there is a pretty large percentage of the demographic

"I think if there's something I'm most proud of, it's the way that both of our skill sets have grown, how we really encourage each other to grow. It's really not lost on me how rare and special that is."

that's being forced to reconsider their place in the world. White males in particular whose privilege has always been so institutionalized and systemic that having light shined upon it has led to actual outrage instead of a willingness or a desire to understand why that privilege even exists to begin with. What did you find in some of the reading that you have done and conversations that you've had, why the response is so filled with anger from people that have historically been the most privileged?

11: With the record that you made it seems like you were doing a lot of like musical exploration, but it sounds like there was also a lot of like identity exploration. When you were working on it, did it start out as more of a musically oriented project and then the identity exploration came as a result of that? MG: It's hard to kind of go back and remember which came first. I feel like I've done so much learning honestly over the past year-and-a-half or so. I did a lot of reading that led me to a lot of the self-exploration. I did a lot of that. I met a friend who does whiteness training, and she pointed me to a lot of literature on stuff like white fragility which was a new concept for me. I delved into a lot of blogs and Black Twitter and really trained to listen more to what people of color were saying about race and about culture. And at the same time I was kind of digging more into my own meditation practice and committing to that more. And that was–all of this was while I was doing my daily commute to my studio and walking to work every day, which I am lucky enough to do. And you know, like hearing the news and reading the news and following the election and not

www.elevenpdx.com | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 21

features national scene Photo by Kimberly Lawson

MG: Right, and that's interesting. Interesting without

And it kind of happens across the board with white

being insulting. Well, I would say a short answer is white

people. That somehow takes it away from being such a

fragility. I think the concept that white people... I'm

personal attack which again, I think is another thing, we

presuming you're white, am I presuming correctly?

take it very personally. I think that I had no idea that you could actually scientifically name that phenomenon of white

11: Yeah.

people getting angry when faced with, you know, critique of their handling of social situations around race.

MG: That white folks are not used to speaking about race and being confronted about race, because of the way that

11: You went to the workshop, a workshop on whiteness

whiteness has worked in our culture for generations, and

at the East Bay Meditation Center. What was the evolution

that our first responses are defensiveness, anger, weepy

of the conversation like?

apologetic, overly-apologetic, that basically, we break down. And I hadn't had it put to me in that specific way, that this is

MG: Well, I can only speak for myself. I mean, it was

actually like study-able, like this is something that people

thankfully a long amount of time–we had a long six months.

have done studies on. In particular I read the work of Robin

And this is work that I'm still doing, so, you know, I'm still

DiAngelo, and to have someone to actually have just broken

doing reading, I'm still grappling with this stuff. And I should

it down into science, and just say like, "Yeah, there's a reason

be. This is work. It really feels like work and it feels like good

why you're feeling so sensitive. “There's a reason why your

work, really important work. But you know I think a lot of

reaction might be this."

it, for me, is slowing it down, like understanding... If I'm not

22 | ELEVEN PORTLAND | www.elevenpdx.com

Photo by Katie Summer

features national scene in panic fight-or-flight mode around these things, I have a better chance of kind of slowing it down and internalizing it in a real and skillful way. For instance, a lot of the work we did was very uncomfortable: "Here are the things that we might do in a workplace that are culturally insensitive." Part of the workshop was looking at white supremacy culture, like what is it specifically in the workplace, where things are geared to be in favor of white people. And I think we all had a lot of discomfort around looking at those things. A lot of the stuff we don't want to hear as white people. Like, I don't want to hear where I'm at fault. I don't want to hear where I've been unintentionally doing harm to people that I loved for years. And, so, what's allowed and what's encouraged in Buddhist meditation is allowing for whatever comes up to be there. If what comes up is defensiveness or anger, just sit with that ourselves and have patience with it. And then hopefully, it arises and then also passes; that's the idea. It's like these things arise and then we observe them as they also pass. You remain ever in the present moment. And this is from my very limited knowledge of Buddhist literature. 11: When you talk to other musicians or when you talk to your friends about the work that you are doing, what is the most actionable thing that you share with them? MG: We need the answer. You know, I think what I learned is, it's kind of like there's no wrong way to start this work as a white person, like just any, a book. I mean, I should take that back. I think one thing not to do is put the burden on people of color to educate us, right? So, like the idea of being that there are resources for white people out there that we can find on our own. And there are books, there are podcasts, and just this idea of, you know, intention to do less harm as white folks in the world. To me that's a very powerful thing. I think what's been important for me also is to know what am I doing–like what am I doing talking to you, and I'll be honest, mostly white journalists, about this music? You know? I don't know if this is useful. I don't know if the music itself is useful. And I presume that there'll be, and ought to be, critique of what I do. But what I have heard from my friends who do this work is that discomfort and feeling like we made a mistake and are doing it wrong all the time is part of this. It's not supposed to feel good. It's not supposed to feel heroic. In fact, that's probably a problem if it does. This is daily and incremental work, and I do think that there is value in keeping it that small. There is this great book called Emergent Strategy which I am really into these days. One of the things brought up in that book is this idea of fractals and the idea the power of one small piece. The butterfly effect, like this rippling effect. It might feel impossible and, as I have heard other people

www.elevenpdx.com | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 23

features national scene say who do anti-racist work: this realization that racism and white supremacy most likely will not end in my lifetime, and just acknowledging the tragedy and the hugeness of that, and then also acknowledging that it’s necessary to do this work anyway. That's not an end goal. I'm not here for the end goal, I'm here in the effort of an end goal perhaps way beyond me by, even by a generation. 11: I also wanted to ask you about how you said that you were writing and rewriting lyrics well into the mixing stage of recording this album. Were you doing that because of things that you had been thinking about and different messages that you wanted to convey? Or, was the way that the music was evolving kind of making you rethink some of the lyrics that you had already written? MG: I think it was both. There were ways that the music was interacting with the lyrics that didn't always feel right. I think it's important that in “Colonizer” that it sounds creepy, like that there is the troubling aspect, that the music feels and sounds troubling. And when the music wasn't doing what it needed to in its interaction with the words, I would definitely tweak either the words or the music in those instances. And then also, just like with “ABC 123,” that song just kind of unfolded for months and months and months and, there was a lot of like, "Can I really say this? Can I really say ‘white centrality’ in the song? You know, can I really say ‘vote’ in the song?” So, a song like that really just… it reveals itself. “Private Life” didn't, and it was not on the album for a really long time. “Who Are You” nearly didn't make it to the album. So, constantly wondering, "What is this world of music and lyrics that we're creating and what fits here and what doesn't fit here?" 11: You explored a bunch of different sounds and ways of making new sounds. When you go back and listen to the music again, what stands out to you as the thing that you are the most pleased with the way that it turned out? MG: That's the hardest question of all: “Think about what you did.” That's a really good question. I'm proud of the whole thing, I have to say. Probably the whole thing because I feel like it fits together, you know? It fits, there's somehow a story and a not-story. It's enough–it's not a narrative but there's enough of a through-line. I really personally love the song "Home" a lot. I feel like we worked really hard on that one and that's one where, we haven't talked a lot about it in the interview, but Nate and I have really gotten the collaboration stuff down more and more over these years, and that really feels like one where we worked so much together to build that song. He changed it in ways that I never would have changed it. I pushed him and he pushed me.

24 | ELEVEN PORTLAND | www.elevenpdx.com

features national scene I think if there's something I'm most proud of, it's the

at the computer for a half hour," or "You were at the drum

way that both of our skill sets have grown, how we really

machine for a half hour," and then you switch and the other

encourage each other to grow. It's really not lost on me how

person takes over for a half hour and then switch again. It's kind of like almost making those drawings, where

rare and special that is.

you're only drawing the head and then you, you know, you get 11: When you say, "He changed it in ways that you

to unfold the next part of the body and then... It's kind of like

wouldn't have thought of," and the ways that you pushed

that song-writing process, and a lot of the time we would be

each other, do you have any moments or anecdotes that

writing in that way and thinking that the down-beat was in a

really leap to mind?

different place. Or, where it's the same harmonically, I would say, "Here's this chord," and give him a vocal part and he

MG: If you talk about the hundreds and probably thousands upon thousands of hours that we spent making

would re-harmonize it essentially by adding a bass line that was not at all in the same key that I was envisioning the song.

this album, much of that time was just me and Nate together

We've turned stuff upside-down for each other, and I

or was me and Nate in some kind of video setting. We had an

think there's something really interesting about the way that

engineer in Oakland before then, where we recorded a lot of

that works. It's kind of like instead of me making a song that

the tracks. We did a lot of recording just the two of us in our

feels right, we make a song that feels wrong and then try

Oakland studio, and then we mixed together with Blue, an

to make sense out of it. So, it's really interesting and really

engineer in New York.

challenging. I think we've both got really frustrated with

I do a lot of the interviews because I write the lyrics and there's a lot of me out there, but just to be clear about the

each other and with ourselves at times, but so far it's been working out. Âť

actual time that's put in, so much of that time is the two of us together, ironing out the musical details and production of the album. One anecdote is that a lot of the time, Nate and I share music inverse to one another. So we played this game often when we were writing and one would go, "You were


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community literary arts ELEVEN: You recently wrote the book A Woman is A Woman is A Woman is A Woman, and one of the Poems in it is “So Far, It Looks Like I May Live a Long Life” that deals with failure. Can you talk about this poem a bit? You say that you don't believe in failure?


Photo by Haley Lovett

Portland poet Chrys Tobey


hrys Tobey is a feminist poet who does not take herself too seriously. In her recent book, A Woman Is A Woman Is A Woman Is A Woman, She mentions the word penis twenty six times, in a relatively short poem. She laughs when she tells me it's her favorite poem to read out loud. Through this humor she connects with her audience before getting into some weightier subjects. In the poem “So Far I May Live a Long Life” she lists her failures without shame or regret but as proof of a life truly experienced. In ten years of living and writing in Portland, her poetry has been published in numerous publications and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. A self-proclaimed introvert, Chrys dreams of a life like Emily Dickinson's, where her sister (also a local poet) would wheel her groceries up to her bedroom window. I met up with Chrys over coffee in a bustling bar where we talked about her new book, her introversion and the ever growing problem of technology taking over our lives. In person, Chrys is very much down to earth and warm, like an old friend that you've actually never met.

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Chrys Tobey: I don’t believe in failure, and that was kind of the point of the poem. I was definitely approaching it with humor in a very tongue-in-cheek way. I was thinking of Beckett too, “Fail again, fail better.” So really what that means is try again, try better. So I was looking at my failures as trying. That’s all we can do is just keep trying. Failure is an American concept, right? Where we’re always in a rush to have a perfect life and get to the end product. I’m more interested in living and experiencing. I have never felt so vulnerable writing a poem before. When I first started writing it, I kept trying to justify all of my failures. So I’d list a failure, and then justify it. I'd write a reason for why I failed. When I went back and revised it, I thought, it’s the vulnerabilities that people are going to connect with, not my justifications. So I wanted people to connect with the vulnerability within the poem. I remember when The Cincinnati Review published it and I had a moment of nervousness and I thought, “Oh my God, It makes me feel so vulnerable.” I felt very exposed and raw. Then I realized, that’s part of why I write. That's the largest reason, to connect with others. That’s how we connect, through our vulnerabilities. And many of us have had failures. 11: That is a very accessible poem. Can you talk about your poetry? I find that some poetry is so abstract that you have to convince yourself that you understand it, but you don’t. Can you talk on that a little bit? CT: I can appreciate many different styles of poetry– poetry that’s more language driven or more abstract. But for me, I’ve come to this realization that I write out of loneliness. I have always been a lonely voyager. I write to connect with others. So I want my writing to be accessible. I think it was Coleridge who said “Poetry is for the common man.” That’s how I think about poetry for myself. Because I want people to be able to connect with me, and relate with it. 11: Not that people are hiding behind language, but poetry can be difficult. James Tate, for example, made poetry more palatable to the masses partly due to his sense of humor. CT: I love James Tate, and he’s a big influence. I use humor a lot in my poetry too. 11: You mean like in the penis poem? CT: Yes, that’s my favorite poem to read out loud, by the way. 11: Can you keep a straight face?

community literary arts CT: I’ve had some poems that I’ve been working on recently that I can’t because I’m trying to push the humor as far as I can. Even further than the penis poem, because I feel like with humor. But the reason I do it is because I feel like with humor, we turn towards it. And I’m interested in finding ways for people to turn towards my poetry. Instead of me saying, “Well we have a long history of men treating women like shit.” That’s going to turn the reader off. I want to find a creative and funny and creative way to make all readers turn towards it. I can’t look up when reading that poem, because there are so many penises. 11: What has the response been on that poem? CT: People seem to like it, they laugh. So I like to read it early for a way for them to laugh, and be more receptive to my work. Because I have a lot of feminist poems, I am a feminist poet. If I read that poem earlier, they are much more receptive to what I am going to read after that poem. 11: Can we talk about the poem “To The Guy Who Unfriended Me on Facebook After I Got Married?” What inspired that title? Was it anger? CT: I don’t think it was anger, it was this idea of technology. I was more humored by it. But this idea of how disconnected we’ve become through technology. My sister likes to say I’m a luddite. I just started texting for the first time in my life a year ago. I had a flip phone and had the phone company block text messages until they wouldn’t block them anymore. Then my flip phone died so I bought an Android. I don’t even know how it works yet. So it’s just this longing to connect, basically. 11: Can you talk about how disconnected we’ve become because of technology? CT: I feel that just since I’ve been texting in the last year, what it’s done to me. Basically the reason I have been a luddite is because I find I have the monkey brain. Even though my friends can get very upset with me for not texting and doing

all of these things on social media. It’s because I feel that I need that alone time and that solitude to create. I need that time to daydream. I need to spend five hours in the morning losing track of time and daydreaming. If not, I’m not going to create. So I try to limit my amount of distractions when it comes to technology. It’s hard. I have noticed that since I’ve started texting for the first time in my life a year ago, I can feel more anxious without my phone. I can feel more overwhelmed. 11: Do you think there will be poets and those sorts of people who will shun the overuse of technology and stay on the page? CT: I hope so. I’m a little bit of a nihilist these days. It’s not looking good, but I hope so. I think we need that. I think it is definitely making us feel a lot of anxiety, more alone, more depressed, more disconnected. When I was a kid I was definitely lost in my imagination. Every report card said “Daydreams too much.” So it will continue, because there will be people like us. 11: What about having your stuff online, for exposure? CT: Well that’s funny, when the Internet first started to become the beast that it’s become, online journals would ask me for my work and I’d always give them my crappiest work. Because I was saving it for the revered print journals and I didn’t realize that “Oh wait, this is going to stay online forever. Actually people are going to read my work this way instead of the print journals.” So it’s been an interesting revolution. Now I’m much more aware. » - Scott McHale

So Far, It Looks Like I May Live a Long Life Vivas to those who have failed! –Walt Whitman Failed first grade. Almost failed ninth. Failed to show up. Failed to stop smoking weed. Failed to pay a parking ticket. And then another. And another. Failed to write letters when we still wrote letters. Failed a business. Failed to understand poets fail at business. Failed my savings account. Failed to wash the worm from the lettuce. Failed my first marriage. Failed the man I should’ve left my first marriage for. Failed love. Again. And again. Failed my driver’s test, three times— actually, it was my sister, but genetically speaking. Failed California. Failed Ohio. Failed Oregon. Failed to close the stupid blinds as I stepped into the shower this morning. Failed to do the dishes. Failed to change the oil. Failed to make love in a houseboat. Failed to realize there would only be one night with a houseboat and the Pacific and her face barely visible under the failing moon.

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community visual arts

"Portrait of Confusion" (self-portrait, graphite, 2017)

VISUAL ARTS Portland artist Ashley Thomas

ELEVEN: You completed your BA at Marylhurst. What was your degree and how has that education influenced your development as an artist? Ashley Thomas: I started going to Marylhurst University back in 2014, and I can definitely say that my experience there was life changing. My art education went well beyond color theory or shading; they taught about art community, deeper messages within art, art therapy, etc. I guess before Marylhurst, I only knew how to “see” art, now I know how to “think” like an artist. I also minored in psychology, which really opened my eyes to people; I’m a very shy, introverted person and that caused me to be stuck in my own thoughts and feelings before Marylhurst. Now I know how to effectively listen to others and put more effort into appreciating every person I come across, because everyone is important and worth time. This has inspired me greatly as an artist, and I think that’s why I love doing portraits so much. I’m trying to capture some resemblance of their soul through my perception and experience with that person or their own creations. 11: You’re well known for both your portraits and surreal imagery. Where does the inspiration for your surreal work come from?

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AT: My surreal work is a little tricky for me to explain because, if I‘m being honest with myself, I don’t fully understand them. But I do notice common symbolisms or motifs in those works that usually allude to anger and sadness; two very defining emotions in my childhood and teenage years. I grew up in a sheltered home in a materialistic community; not a day didn’t go by where I was not made fun of, teased because of my weight or simply ignored by most. I remember coming home everyday with the same pattern: staring at myself in the mirror as I sobbed and told myself that I was worthless and ugly. I remember getting angry with myself for thinking that way, but how do you escape that inner voice when your peers are saying it back to you? It reached its peak in high school when my sadness turned into complete depression and I stopped feeling at all. I lost contact with my few friends, I stayed in my room all day when I got home and just didn’t care about anything. Luckily, though, my depression stopped when I graduated and started attending a community college in 2012, started listening to music daily and began studying/creating art. My surreal works, I think, represent those years of hurt and despair, but there’s always some form of light and fight within those works as well; showing that I made it through the hardest years of my life. 11: Many of your portraits are of rock legends. Which is your favorite? AT: I get this question a lot, and it is still very difficult to answer. Picking a favorite painting feels like I’m picking a favorite child [laughs]. But, I guess if I think of a scenario where I am only allowed to keep one painting otherwise something bad is going to happen, then I would pick my Jimi Hendrix. It was one of my first portraits and I love everything about it.

"Chester Bennington" (graphite, 2017)

community visual arts 11: You have mentioned that art has been therapeutic and healing for you. Can you elaborate on that a bit? AT: I like to classify my work as emotional expressionism because I’m usually expressing deep, overwhelming emotion within my works. For my portrait collection of musicians, they are bright and vibrant because that is how I feel when I listen to their music. I’m completely happy and fully immersed when I turn on Nirvana or The Beatles for example, so I try to express that in those paintings. In my darker works, I’m expressing more negative emotions, which means I have to deal with those feelings while I paint or draw those images. This is very healing and therapeutic because I’m essentially forcing myself to process and release those emotions, thus leaving me in a better mood and state of mind afterward. I think it’s also healing to be able to take negative energy and transform it into a work of art. 11: You both paint and sketch. What is your favorite medium? AT: I love painting and the variety of color and stylistic options it offers, but I often pick up my pencils more than my brushes. Sketching comes naturally to me because I’ve been doing it since I can remember. I think I still have a lot left to learn when it comes to painting, so that can stress me out from time to time. 11: Both Goya and Dali are inspirations for you. How does their work inspire what you create? What of them do you fold into your pieces?

"Kurt Cobain" (acrylic, 2015)

AT: It’s so hard to talk about these artists and not write an entire essay about them, but to summarize, I love these artists because they both pushed the boundaries of art through very unique, shocking and brutally honest styles and imagery. What I would love to incorporate more from Goya is his honesty and intent to spread a message. Whether that message is about political plights or more personal, internal struggle, I just really want to develop what I’m saying within my artworks. What I am so inspired by from Dali is his amazing artistic skill and larger than life persona. I would love to create artwork that is so different, so shocking and yet so beautiful that everyone is left speechless, similar to Dali’s surrealist paintings and films. Both artists and their immense bodies of work just push me to be better and to keep challenging myself. 11: Can you tell us a little about your latest installation? What was the imagery and creative process?

"Paul McCartney" (acrylic, 2015)

AT: Last year, for a final project, we were asked to make an installation about anything we wanted. I immediately had a grandiose vision of a dark, ominous space that incorporated creepy sound and special lighting. There would be a wall that had a giant, 3D face with its mouth open and with dark, shiny liquid coming out of its mouth. The liquid would then pool in the middle of the space and begin to morph upward into metal and wood that creates a kinetic sculpture of a creature. As much as I wanted this vision to come to fruition, I was awakened by the fact that we only had three weeks to complete this installation and I remembered that I am poor and could not possibly afford the required materials for such a project [laughs]. Instead, my installation consisted of a 9 x 9 foot charcoal drawing of a screaming face on a wall within an

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community visual arts empty dorm room. From the mouth, I laid bundles of branches, sticks and scraps of torn paper that lead out and gathered in the middle of the room. I then created a dino/horse looking creature out of branches and wire. Now, my final work was nothing like what I had originally envisioned, but I was proud of it nonetheless! I definitely plan on revisiting this and other ideas of mine in the future! 11: You’ve mentioned that your goal is to get your masters and become a teacher. What age groups do you like working with and what draws you to teach? AT: My urge to teach art stems from my own varying experiences with teachers in my past. A lot of art teachers that I’ve had usually fell into one (or more) of three bad qualities: lazy with students, unenthusiastic about art, or graded/critiqued based on their own personal tastes. I’ve had a

"Jimi Hendrix" (acrylic, 2015)

number of teachers who didn’t care about my representational style because they were more abstract in their own work. I’m not saying that they needed to love my work, but they needed to interact with me and challenge me to develop (that’s the whole point of taking a class); but I felt ignored and like some classes were a waste of time because of those types of teachers. I’ve also had many teachers (beyond art) who just didn’t seem to care about what they were teaching, basically

leaving me feeling like I didn’t need to care about that subject. Overall, I do feel an urge to become an art teacher just so that I can be the teacher that I always wanted: someone who is enthusiastic, treats each student equally and someone who challenges them to develop and push their artistic boundaries. If I do become a teacher, I will want to work with either high school students or at college level. 11: On the path to your masters, you stated that you wanted to become a tattoo artist. What makes you choose that medium over others? AT: This is a very new goal of mine and I am very excited to pursue it soon. When I think about what it is I’m trying to do in my work (express emotion, capture resemblance of life, soul, etc.), I think tattooing would be a great medium for me to try out. There’s something very sacred about tattoos. I mean, a person is choosing or creating a design to be needled into their skin forever because it usually represents something very personal. I would love to be able to create these meaningful designs for people and to hear their stories. I love listening to people, and what better way to experience that than in a tattoo shop as I give them a gift of identity and unique expression. It’s hard to explain because this is all new to me, but being a tattoo artist just feels right and like the next step in my development as an artist. It will be a challenging journey, but one that I would enjoy every second of! » - Mercy McNab


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“The world’s biggest celebration of Portland music”

-The Oregonian

...is in Boise, Idaho


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Ashley Thomas's "David Bowie" (acrylic, 2017)

Profile for Eleven PDX

Eleven PDX Magazine February 2018  

Eleven PDX Magazine February 2018  

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