Art Scatter Scattered

We trust that most readers of Culture Shock also mosey over to Art Scatter to partake in that site's cultural cerebrations. If not, go read this announcement, then come back here. The rest of us will contemplate a monkey on a bicycle while awaiting your return:

Okay, so now you know that Scatter co-founder and consummate cultural critic, Barry Johnson, has a new column gracing the pulp and fiber edition of the Oregonian’s “How We Live” section on Mondays. But wait, there's more! His new column, Portland Arts Watch, is paired with a companion blog of the same moniker at OregonLive. The online version has more, and it's free. (Sorry Oregonian ... why buy the cow and all that).

The word "Watch” in the title implies vigilance, so we're picturing Mr. Johnson with a sailor's cap atop his head and a telescope tucked in his belt. He stands facing aft on the larboard side of the quarterdeck, the green glow of a radar screen his only illumination. As he peers into the foggy night, he hears only creaking lines, the thrumming of the engines far below, and the slap of a signal flag in the sharp breeze. Soon, he espies faint shadows looming in the distance.

A fleet of ghost ships? Deadly icebergs? Or is it simply an illusion conjured by the unfortunate admixture of faint light, scurvy and strong rum?

Huzzah!” he shouts in sudden alarm. “Arts approaching portside! … Cultural anthropology to starboard! … Dead ahead, heaving close with fearsome speed, a great whale of an economic collapse is preparing to swamp our cultural institutions. All hands on deck! Prepare to provide commentary!

We thank Mr. Johnson for keeping a weather eye out for fascinating subjects, and expect to be reading his eclectic, thought-provoking musings with eagerness. Let’s hope that he gets his wish for lively conversation. Oh yes, he'll also continue posting his "more speculative (and off-topic, off-color or just plain off) posts" at Art Scatter.

Mr. Johnson has attended plenty of shows by Portland artists over the years, so how about reciprocating by visiting and contributing to Portland Arts Watch (PAW)? We're sure the bean counters at the Oregonian will be counting clicks. After all, this is part of the paper's strategy for adapting to the 21st century while fighting for survival. We've commented on the death rattle of the newspaper business before. Last week, we read alarming reports that the Hearst Corporation is threatening to shutter the Seattle Post-Intelligencer unless someone buys the 145-year old paper within the next two months. We should be thankful that the O has juiced up its arts coverage, rather than pruning it more. Perhaps they will arrive at a model that integrates new and old media while maintaining journalistic standards and making business sense.

While plugging PAW, did we mention that one of Mr. Johnson's first entries touted our own review of "The Motel Life" as part of his "Browse-Worthy Posts?" He called it, "our very favorite book review of 2009 (so far)." We are honored, and humbly accept the modifier.


Unknown said...

All of us Art Scatterers vow to continue scattering our seed -- metaphorically, of course -- even as our companion Mr. Johnson bisects, or perhaps trisects, his writing life. He will, as you note, continue to Scatter enthusiastically even as he PAWs the ground in search of fruitful encounters.

And, I'm with Barry: That Willy Vlautin review was the bomb!

MightyToyCannon said...

Ah yes, the scattered seed metaphor. I see that Barry is already strewing at both Art Scatter and PAW. Glad to see it.

Anonymous said...

Both Art Scatter and Portland Arts Watch are blushing. Ten thousand thanks!