Cheers and Jeers for March 18, 2010

Cheers: to event promoter Juan Carlos Hernandez, and DJ Prashant for bringing Mumbai’s #1 DJ (DJ Sulketu) here to Portland for an amazing Bollywood dance party at the Roseland.

Cheers: to Nathalee for giving Mary and me a ride back to Mary’s car Friday night after I lost my car key at the Roseland. And Cheers to Mary for giving me a ride back to my house to get my spare key. And Cheers to the cab driver who gave me a ride back downtown at 3:30 am to get my car!

Cheers: to Mother Nature for providing perfect running weather for the 15k Shamrock Run last Sunday.

Jeers: to people who use Facebook as a passive aggressive tool. Grow up!

Cheers: to Gina, who took me to the Portland Rock Gym last week for my first rock climbing experience ever! Great workout and great eye candy.



Jeers: to “The Frog,” who insists on dragging me to court for this mythical money I don’t have.

Cheers: to Jeff J. for giving me a Family membership to the Lan Su Chinese Gardens in downtown Portland. That place will be my escape from work in the middle of the day on a regular basis.

Cheers: to my new agents Option Model and Media and OMM Talent. May we have a long and fruitful relationship.

Pictures from the Bollywood dance party at the Roseland…


DJ Prashant, Nathalea, Me, Juan Carlos, Yelizaveta


Prashant, Me, Juan Carlos



Over 800 people at the event.


The gang. Armaan, Scott, Prahsant, Natty, Me, Eric, Mary, JC, Yeli, Allen.


Mary, Me, Nathalee, Yeli

The Twang at The Woods with The Muse

I am a bit of a music snob. What I mean by that is when I see live music I like to be within a few feet of the band so I can get the full experience. I am not going to pay a lot of money for seats in the attic when I could get that experience listening to a CD at home. No, I want to see them sweat.

And I have no tolerance for bands who suck live. I don’t want you to sound all produced like you do on your CD, but you’d better have some stage presence and know how to play those things you call instruments.

As an actress, I know how it feels to be really good but never make it. No one will ever know you’re any good if they never get the chance to see you work your magic. It is the same in the music industry. Plenty of great bands never get heard.

There is a local DJ named Greg on 94.7 KNRK. On a recent trip to the UK he came across a band called The Twang, and somehow convinced  them they should come visit Portland. Take a vacation! Come see the beautiful Pacific Northwest! So they did. Not only did they come to Portland on vacation, but they played a FREE show at The Woods (a former funeral parlor) in Sellwood, and they used borrowed instruments. And this was their first real show in the U.S.

I got to The Woods at 6pm on Friday when the doors opened, and found a line had already formed. I showed my I.D. (yes, they carded everyone), got my wrist stamp, and immediately procured a cocktail from the makeshift bar: a card table adorned with a bottle of vodka, gin, tequila, mixers, and a metal cash box. I had had a very stressful afternoon at work, and had been looking forward to a vodka and soda with a lime since about 4pm. I took a long draw on the straw, took a look around and waited for my friends to arrive.

The stage area was at the far end of what must have been the room where services were originally held when the place was a funeral parlor. In fact, the stage was right where the casket would have been had we all been there for a viewing instead of a concert. Creepy in a cool way.

My friend Peter was the first of my friends to show up, and I dragged him straight to the front of the “stage” and set my purse down right next to one of the amps.

“You’re such a groupie,” he said.

“Hey, you’ll thank me later,” I said, somehow knowing this band was going to be good, really good. “Mark my words. This is the last time you’ll ever see them in a venue this size.”

You see The Twang play to stadium-size crowds in the UK. They play at festivals and open for bands like Oasis. And here we were, seeing them in the “living room” of a funeral parlor for free!

The room quickly started to fill up. Right around 7pm, Greg (from KNRK) came up and introduced the band. The crowd crushed up, the band started to play, and I knew from the first bar that this little concert was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

My friends Joe and Jeff showed up somewhere around the second or third song and said they were the last two people to get in. They had started to turn people away at the door. The place was packed.

I’m not sure who to compare The Twang to, but Elvis Costello and a few other bands come to mind.

At one point someone in the crowd yelled out, “Do a Beatles cover!” to which the lead singer Phil replied, “How about if I just cover you with my fucking beer?!”

I love these guys. They are The Twang from Birmingam, England. The CD I bought at the show was well worth the $10. Go see them if you get a chance. As they say in Birmingham, fucking brilliant!

The Twang TheTwang2

TheTwang3 TheTwang4

TheTwang5 TheTwang6

Unplugging and Hugging

I started my week with a trip to the Doug Fir (one of my favorite live music venues) to see a little band called One Eskimo. I sent out an email the previous weekend trying to round up some friends to go, and I got a lot of responses saying things like, “I can’t make it because…” You fill in the blank.

I honestly didn’t care, because I was determined to go no matter what, even if I had to go alone. I had seen One Eskimo at the KINK Live Performance Lounge a few months back, and I wanted to come out to support them for the end of their U.S. tour. Besides, it is a kid-free week for me and I need to socialize!

My friend Michael ended up coming with me.

It was one of those really crappy rainy days that came on the heels of the deep freeze in Portland. We met at the Doug Fir bar upstairs a full three hours before the show was to start, and just ate dinner, had a drink and caught up.We hadn’t seen each other in person for many many months.

We finally walked down the stairway to the basement venue and it was almost totally empty. We stood around the bar, looked around the room, and decided that this would make the most awesome party room in a house.

People slowly started filtering in to see the first band whose name I couldn’t tell you because when they had the chance to introduce themselves the lead singer said, “Hi, we’re blesd leits. Thank you for coming.” Obviously their name is not “blesd leits,” but that’s what we heard.

Michael turned to the bartender and said, “What was their name?” The bartender pointed to the poster above the bar that said something with the word lights in it (I still don’t remember).

“What is with these bands and their mumbling?” I said. “They have this great opportunity to get their name out, and they wait until the end of the set to introduce themselves and then they totally blow it.”

“Believe me I know,” said the bartender. “I have seen a lot of bands from behind this bar, and there are three things I want to tell them. One, get some decent publicity shots. Two, Banter with the crowd, Three, say your name clearly and say it multiple times.” Amen!

The first band never talked to the “crowd,” except to self deprecate when they messed up a song.

When the band had finished their last song, and the crowd of about 50 people started to buzz again, Michael and I began to observe. There was a group of 20-something friends at some tables against the wall. A dreadlocked girl approached the table. One of her male friends turned to see her approaching and they both smiled with enthusiasm and embraced in an unabashed bear hug. They were not a couple. They were just friends who were happy to see each other. And not one of them was texting. They were there with each other, and fully present.

“What has happened to us?” I asked Michael. “Why don’t people our age have that much enthusiasm for each other?”

“I know,” he said. “They seem so naive and innocent.”

So what has happened to us? Have we let Facebook and Twitter replace our need for real human interaction? We put our most intimate emotional needs out their in a status update and hope someone will comment and fullfill that desire to feel needed and loved.

It’s a bandaid for a fatal disease. Real social intimicy is dying.

I struggle to get my friends to go out to hear live music, find a new restaurant, taste some new wine.

If the Internet died tomorrow, where would you be?

One Eskimo came on at 10pm, and I have to say I was a bit disappointed at their lack of interaction with the crowd as well. Very little eye contact, no banter. I enjoyed the music, but I enjoy it more when the band interacts with the audience, especially in a small venue like this where you can actually see the people you are playing for.

Even bands have forgotten how to be social.

I stayed afterwards to talk to one of the band members (Pete Rinaldi). We talked about the tour, the fact that they’ve been wearing the same clothes for a year, and how they’ve been stuffed in a decrepit van traveling the U.S. We talked about what it feels like to go home after you’ve been away for a while.

I think a lot of us have forgotten.

Unplug more often. Hug more often. Remember what it feels like to go home.

John Doe, Kathleen Edwards, and Catfish

Originally published on MySpace on November 20, 2008.

My friend Peter called me yesterday to chat, and let slip that he and his girlfriend were going to see Kathleen Edwards at the Aladdin, blah blah blah. “Wait! Back up! Kathleen Edwards is in town?” I said with anticipation.

I immediately texted Mike (a.k.a. CB), “Kathleen Edwards is at the Aladdin tonight. Want to go?” to which he replied, “Sure as shit!” a direct reference to a Kathleen Edwards song.

We sat at the pub/bar/second-hand-smoke testing facility next door to the Aladdin and feasted on a meal of salad, soup, fried catfish and fries… and then another free salad. It was obvious that one of the requirements for working at that particular food establishment was to smoke a bowl before your shift. I ordered a vodka tonic and got a gin and tonic. I ordered a side salad, got that, and then got another giant salad when they brought the catfish. Just go with the flow.

We finished our meal just as Peter texted me to say Kathleen was coming on stage. He and his girlfriend Anna had saved us seats, but by the time we got into the theater it was too dark to find them. So, we just sat in back. Better for kissing and cuddling anyway.

Kathleen Edwards is one of those artists who loves to banter onstage. I like that about her. She just so happens to be on tour with an artist by the name of John Doe. Know that name? It didn’t ring a bell with me until he mentioned Exene Cervenka. I turned to Mike and said, “No way! Do you know who that guy is? That’s John Doe from the 80’s band ‘X’ and Exene was the lead singer. I saw them in college!”

I was now dying to meet this now middle-aged folk/rock artist who was once a punk rocker.

They bantered some more, and mentioned that the various tour names they had wanted to use. “We wanted to call it Hurtin’ and Flirtin’ but we’ve not been doing much flirting lately,” said Kathleen. Then John said, “And the other name was ‘We’re not fucking’,” to which Kathleen added, “Yet! And we were told it wouldn’t fit on the poster.”

Once the concert ended we went to the front lobby to buy some CDs and get them signed. While standing in the lobby I told Mike the story of seeing the band X in San Diego when I was in college, and how I even had a picture from that night. He encouraged me to tell the story to John Doe when I met him, and I did.

Luckily Peter had a camera with him, so we got the pictures below.

John Doe and Kathleen Edwards onstage

Kathleen Edwards and Me

Peter, Anna and Kathleen Edwards

John Doe, Mike and Me

The hideous outfit (All Goodwill) that I wore to the X concert when I was 18. Yes, that’s me on the far right.


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