Back in the Saddle

Without a shred of guilt, I abandoned the blog and other responsibilities for a week of vacation. I don't know whether it was deserved or not, but I took it anyway. As I catch up with news from the local cultural front, it's like going back to school and finding everybody talking about their new best friends and all the great parties you missed.

First came the Drammy Awards. Culture Jock thoughtfully texted an update during the ceremonies, but it wasn't the same as being there. (I happened to be engrossed in a “House” marathon at the time. You'd be amazed at how many diseases cause bleeding from facial orifices). Faithful readers may recall that I made a few predictions a week before the award ceremony. Turns out I got a few right.

Am I prescient, or did my posts on Culture Shock affect the outcome? Might I be a “digital influencer?” I sure hope so, because Lincoln (of the Ford Lincolns) recently identified Dave Allen (and his Pampelmoose website) as such, loaning him a big red car in the hope that his digital influence would give the brand a hipster cachet. I’m not looking for a free car, but don't hesitate to send me books, CDs and tickets anytime you want. However, please DO NOT ask me to serve on the Drammy Committee because then I’d be forced to admit that I don’t really want to see that much theater in a single year.

Then came the Oregon Ballet Theatre’s “Dance United” benefit on Friday night. Those who were there have been swooning. Not only have I failed as an arts advocate by not attending, but I seem to have missed out on a memorable slice of Portland’s cultural history. Congratulations to OBT for pulling it off and for nearing its financial goals for the month. Special kudos to my colleague, Culture Jock, for writing his thorough synopses of the performances. I’ve also been reading Barry Johnson’s coverage at Portland Arts Watch, and am looking forward to Martha Ullman West’s expert review which will reportedly be out tomorrow.

I was also surprised to learn (again, via Culture Jock) of Jessica Jarratt’s appointment as Executive Director for the Cultural Advocacy Network (CAN). Just two days before I headed off for vacation, Jarratt helped facilitate a half-day retreat for the arts organization with which I’m associated. For the past year or so, she’s been lending us an independent perspective on fundraising strategies and serving as an able cheerleader. She’s personable and smart and her enthusiasm is infectious. She may not come from the arts community, but I doubt that will keep her from being a great leader for CAN--in fact, it might be an advantage. In a separate post, I’ll tell her what her priorities should be.

I know that what you really want to know is what I did on my summer vacation. Do you remember the 1994 Ang Lee film Eat Drink Man Woman? If you add the verbs “read” and “sleep” and the noun “dog,” then take away all the Chinese food and move it from Taipei to the Oregon coast, you’ll have a working title for my vacation. Did I do anything productive? Not really, but that’s not the purpose of vacations.

Before heading for the coast, I had a romantic vision that I’d spend time gazing out at the ocean while writing. This is how far I got: “I sit before a vast expanse of the sea-green Pacific as it stretches to the far eastern horizon smelling briny, like a large fishy ocean. The sunlight glints off the rippling surf while mighty whales frolic unseen amongst the plankton. How small are we before such vastness?”

Then I fixed another drink and opened a good book, one of three I finished at the coast. Inexplicably, all my reading choices involved the mysterious disappearance of children. (Last month, I happened to read three books in a row that were all ghost stories). Given the common theme, I thought I'd write a comprehensive review of all three. Now that it's Sunday afternoon and my remaining hours of vacation are dwindling, that seems like an awful lot of work. Until I get to that, here’s my reading list: “Polar” (T.R. Pearson); “In the Woods” (Tana French); and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (Stieg Larsson). The latter stands out thanks to its title character: A tattooed, pierced, uncommunicative, antisocial misfit who is also a brilliant investigator, computer hacker and nobody's passive victim.

Other cultural events of my week include finally seeing “Coraline,” which is playing in 3D at the Living Room Theatre. The concept of the venue is appealing: Watch a movie while supping on fine food. I ordered a Croque Monsieur (“Die, Mister” in French), which was served on a china plate with a green salad. It was a tasty meal, but awkward to eat without a table in front of me, and $9.00 for a grilled cheese and ham sandwich seemed steep no matter what you call it. Plus, no matter how comfortable the seating, you're still sitting in a movie theater with a few dozen strangers. The movie? I give it a B+.

The day we got home from the beach, we walked the two blocks from home to Pine State Biscuits for the first time. The tiny place was full, so we toted a pair of Reggie sandwiches home. The Reggie is a piece of fried chicken with bacon, cheese and gravy between two delicious biscuits. The chicken and gravy had a touch of peppery heat and the biscuits were perfect. The smiling sandwich in the picture below appears to be the Reggie Deluxe, which adds an egg to the mix. A heart attack in the making, but not a bad way to go--and not a bad way to be welcomed back to Portland.


Anonymous said...

That picture is disgusting.

MightyToyCannon said...

The dog or the Reggie biscuit? I presume you mean the sandwich. I'll admit that the concept seems outrageous, but the results are truly delicious (though I would skip the addition of the egg). I'm not a huge gravy fan, but Pine State Biscuits is da bomb.

Unknown said...

I had a dog once who loved to go to the beach but was afraid of the water. She'd scamper across the sand and into the water until the hair on her belly got wet. Then she'd yelp and race back to the sand, refusing to go back to the water again. She never learned, either. This whole thing repeated itself every time we went to the beach, which was pretty often.

She was about the color of chicken gravy, by the way.

Miss Laura said...

I'd probably react the same way if I had hair on my belly. And hopefully I would forget it every time I went to the beach. That's why God made the one-piece bathing suit.

Glad you're back. Biscuits always make a good welcome.

GeorgeTaylor said...

It doesn't have to have been a waste of writing time, MT. Just change the period in your sample to a semicolon and enter it in the Bulwer-Lytton contest. I think you've got a winner!

MightyToyCannon said...

Having had semi-neurotic dogs, I can just picture a chicken-gravy colored dog scampering away from the waves.

I should give the Bulwer-Lytton contest a try -- there's fun to be found in constructing a truly tortured sentence. Can I say "tortured?"