Obligatory Christmas Letter

Happy holidays dear Culture Shock readers. Like most Portlanders, I've been slowed by the snow and now the slush. I've spent quite a bit of time out in the weather this week, rather than sitting by a toasty fire with a warm laptop atop my lap, lapping up nogs and grogs and topping up the blog posts.

A few times this past week, I ventured out to accompany the Dog Walkerer on her holiday rounds to visit dogs and kitties. We slip-slided through Portland streets to provide food and comfort to lonely animals. Like TriMet, UPS and nonprofit performing arts companies, the sloppy weather has given Portland's burgeoning pet-care industry a sleighful of challenges: from clients adjusting work and travel plans from moment to moment to the issues of mobility and access. The interweb petsitters network has been abuzz with horror stories, cries for mutual assistance, and friendly tips.

I've also been out walking our own hound for hours on end. Seems he needs to find just the right spot to "do his business" (as my grandmother would have politely said), and the snow has covered up all the familiar signals. I managed to stay upright, not falling ass over tea kettle, though I came close a few times. Snug in bed on Christmas Eve, it wasn't visions of sugar plums dancing in my head, but the strange sensation that my body was still slewing, as if I'd been on a boat for days.

Before all this holiday business got going in earnest, I started a post titled, "Robot Report!" that had nothing to do with arts and life in Portland. I lost track of what little point I may have originally had (probably none). Instead, I'll repurpose a few of the items from that post with some fabricated context:

(1) Christmas Toys: Imagine upwrapping a present from under the tree and finding these delightful wind-up toys. Both are vintage French automatons (the first is an unrestored leopard).






(2) Harold Pinter Tribute: In honor of the late, great playwright, here's a machine by artist Michael Kontopolous that captures all the tension and silent pauses of Mr. Pinter's finest works:

3 comments:

Mead said...

Lovely. And apt.

And reminds me: whatever became of Mark Pauline?

MightyToyCannon said...

Thank you Mead, for the reminder about Mark Pauline. Maybe I'll finish the "Robot Report" post after all. While I was idly working on that, I was trying to remember the name of the outfit that Pauline founded in S.F. in the late 70's: "Survival Research Labs" (with the tag line, "Producing the Most Dangerous Shows on Earth")-- Performance art with dangerous heavy machinery spitting fire and making mayhem. Now it seems very Burning Man-esque, but it was quite novel at the time.

Bob said...

San Francisco in the '60s and '70s had some pretty amazing things (I seem to recall through a haze), not least of which was the Mime Troupe. Personally, I loved the Pickle Family Circus,even more than I loved Puget Sound's Flying Karamazov Brothers, and that was quite a bit. I remember the first time I saw Cirque du Soleil, before they'd really hit it big, and I thought, "Well, that's the end of the Pickle Family." Cirque amped it up and picked up the professionalism and, to my mind, lost the charm. It took what with the Pickles was heart and soul and turned it into a product. And in America, product trumps heart and soul most of the time.