Ross Blanchard

St. Patrick’s Lament

By Ross Blanchard St. Patrick sits at the edge of Heaven looking down at Earth. His bare legs stick out from his white, flowing robes and dangle over the edge of the cloud upon which he sits. It is March 17th and he watches the multitudes bedecked in green begin to gather as evening approaches. St. Peter wanders up. The head of security and Heaven’s main bouncer has just finished with his shift at the Pearly Gates. He’s holding a cigarette and a martini, wearing sleeveless robes to accentuate his muscles and to show-off his banded tattoos. His hair is pulled back in a ponytail. He leans over St. Patrick’s shoulder. “What’s happening down there, Paddy?” St. Peter asks, exhaling puffs of smoke into space. This startles St. Patrick slightly. He half looks over his shoulder frowning, grunts, and looks down at the little planet again. “Oh,” says St. Peter observing the mass of green spreading out into city streets. “It’s your day again, huh. That’s right. Your people took quite a liking to you. It’s pretty much only you and the big Junior who get celebrated down there anymore.” “Mmmph.” grunts St. Patrick, not taking his eyes away from…

Theatre Troupe Seizes Control of Art Salon, Hurls Offenses At Audience

By Ross Blanchard Photo by Reuben Broadfoot. Foreground: Corey O’Hara. Background: Evan Corcoran A few weeks ago at a Ford Gallery event in Southeast Portland, five actors slipped into the venue, seized the microphone from the event’s host during a presentation, and began to shout offenses at the startled and silented crowd. The art salon in PDX Magazine‘s Mechanical venuewas paying tribute to artist Olinka Broadfoot whose show had launched that evening in the Ford Gallery one floor above. Broadfoot had just delivered a talk about her exhibit and poet Dan Raphael had read, when a man in his early thirties, shaved head, and wearing a yellow nylon jacket burst onto the stage and wrested the microphone from the event’s host. “You are under review by us,” he shouted to the stunned crowd. Another man, dressed in a TSA-style uniform, walked through the audience and shone a flashlight in their faces as a third man pointed a video camera at them. “You don’t have to watch inactively any more,” the man on the stage continued. “You feel the discomfort of being watched and addressed, since you came prepared to watch and make yourselves comfortable in the shelter of the dark. Your presence…

Art Carts hits Hawthorne this weekend

Look around your home for a moment. Who’s hanging on your walls these days? Still have your M.C. Escher print from college in the study? Any vintage liquor ads in the kitchen? It’s time to roll up Le Frou Frou and the Campari poster and hang some new art. If you’re anywhere near Portland this weekend, it’s the perfect time to start or add to your collection of works by local artists. Stop by the first annual Art Carts fair at the far east end of Hawthorne Boulevard in the East Portland Eagle Lodge’s parking lot (4904 SE Hawthorne Blvd.) on Saturday, September 13, for what may be Portland’s first art fair on wheels. As one of the major sponsors of this event, PDX Magazine believes every Portlander should have local art hanging in her home. And bringing local art out of the brick-and-mortar setting and into the neighborhoods in mobile galleries is a great way to introduce artists to the public. More than a dozen art carts will be present, and ours will offer a mix of original, one-of-a-kind works as well as affordable high-quality prints from a variety of artists including: Richard Melloy, Eli Lewis, Jennifer Mercede, Emily Kosta, Linda Rand, Gesine Kratzner, Kate Altermatt, Kelli MacConnell, Sylvia Mann…

‘Sex Ed’ to world premiere at Portland Film Festival

The second annual Portland Film Festival kicks off Tuesday, August 26, at the Crystal Ballroom with the world premiere of its main film Sex Ed, a coming-of-age comedy directed by Isaac Feder and starring Haley Joel Osment. “I can’t wait to see this movie with a big audience,” says Feder about the premiere. “It’s going to be an unforgettable night. I’m psyched about Portland and the cast and crew are excited to come to Portland for this. Portland feels like the right place to play it—the right place to get the movie started.” Sex Ed is Feder’s first feature film, and he, Osment, and other actors in the film will be present for the premiere and the after party held at the same venue. Sex Ed is the story of a recent college graduate and aspiring educator Eddie (Osment), who settles for a position teaching an after-school detention class of middle-schoolers. Once Eddie discovers that the students are tragically misinformed about sex, he decides to instruct the class in sex education. And, of course, chaos ensues. But not exactly in the traditional story arc of your typical Hollywood movie. Sex Ed has all the ingredients of a Hollywood comedy; it’s…

Inaugural GirlFest NW to highlight female contributions to music on Aug. 2

Last year, local musician Madison Sturdevant felt there was a lack of support and opportunity in our local community for female musicians. From her involvement in the local scene, Sturdevant noted that “music created by girls and women was given less of a chance, and that expectations placed on female artists to look and sound a certain way were heavier than those placed on men.” She started GirlFest NW to change that. This Saturday, August 2, the inaugural GirlFest NW will take the stage of Lola’s Room at the Crystal Ballroom (1332 W Burnside St.) in downtown Portland. The festival not only welcomes music lovers of all ages, but of both sexes too. While the musicians on stage are all ladies, both men and women are invited to come and show their support for the festival’s impressive lineup. The night will include performances by Bed., Blossom, Little Warrior with guest Goldini Bagwell, Daughters of the Dead Sea, Tuff Shet, and Neko + Kahlo. Highlights include Portland-based Little Warrior, which creates a unique sound by experimenting with recording and production techniques, and Daughters of the Dead Sea, a rock-punk outfit hailing from west Seattle, reuniting just for the festival. Tickets are available…

Richard Melloy’s ‘The Way I See It’ Opens at NWIPA Saturday

Richard Melloy’s new exhibit The Way I See It opens at N.W.I.P.A. (6350 SE Foster Rd.) on Saturday, July 18, from 6 t 10 p.m. For the exhibit, the renowned painter has produced one of his riskiest collections yet. Melloy is a veteran artist and an inspiration for creative longevity. PDX Magazine wrote of Melloy in Issue No. 1: “[He’s] bullheaded enough not to quit and smart enough to adapt throughout a long career.” Melloy, 57, graduated from Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts. He settled in Portland in the 1980s and was part of the nascent art scene in Northwest Portland that would go on to spawn the Pearl District. Now living in the Foster-Powell area in Southeast Portland, Melloy is a sought-after graphic designer, as well as a painter. “As a self-taught painter, it seems like everything I attempt is a risk,” says Melloy. “First, I decide where I want to begin the painting. Second, I figure out a way to paint it. Both the idea and the technique are never static so I am always open to change or refining it. Both processes push and pull until the painting arrives. I am…

July’s First Thursday Roundup

The Sam Roloff Abstract Retrospective, a look at the artist’s works from 2009 to 2014, kicks off this First Thursday with an opening reception at White Space (1439 NW Marshall St.) from 6 to 11 p.m. “I define many of my paintings as time capsules,” says Roloff. “Many of my artworks have 10 or more layers beneath the surface, indicative of the passage of time and the creative process, which are meticulously documented. “Like time and music, my work has movement that leaves a trail of evidence beneath layer upon layer of oils, wax, and glistening resins. Each series that I develop expresses the reality that each of us as individuals—and as citizens of communities, cultures, and nations—has a unique back-story that informs our present, even if only traces remain of what came before. “When collectors purchase one of my paintings, they are actually purchasing a multi-layered collection of all the paintings and scenes within their many layers of imagery, symbolism, ideas, and emotion. The crux of this approach harkens to the tradition of what the Italians call pentimenti: the ghosts of images hidden beneath a painting’s surface.” Pictured above: Equal Rights Marriage Comes to Oregon by Sam Roloff. Oil on canvas….

The Buzz at Maker’s Dozen, Peoples Art of Portland

4-H was a big summer activity in my rural hometown in the 1980s. While other fourth-graders raised calves, rabbits, poultry, and other farm animals, I hunted bugs. To this day I know the common names of a large number of insect species found in northern Michigan. I obtained this knowledge by chasing down field and forest critters that most people avoid touching. I captured them with a big white net, then either freezed or asphyxiated them with isopropyl alcohol in a mayonnaise jar, before finally affixing the corpses to a styrofoam board with very thin, black pins. This was 4-H Entomology. Besides the brutal, Victorian-era science lesson, this summer activity gave me an appreciation for insects—their vastness and varieties and even their beauty. I found this mostly with butterflies and moths, some fierce-looking beetles that had their own aesthetic plusses, but I largely ignored the more common insects. Ants, sawbugs, weevils, and especially common flies had no place in my collection. Anyone who wanders into Paxton Gate on Mississippi Avenue and examines its collections knows that a housefly as an artifact is not commonplace. Certainly not a single housefly…but what if it were thousands of flies? I saw something recently at the Maker’s Dozen…

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks play rare PDX show on 6/28

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks will play just one U.S. show this summer—and it’s in Portland. The gig, an all-ages benefit concert for Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC), will raise scholarship funds for its students, 95 percent of whom receive financial aid. On June 28, crowds will gather on the meadow of the OCAC campus on Barnes Road in Northwest Portland to witness the rare concert. Tickets are available at www.ocacconcerts.com. Malkmus, an Indie Rock Hall of Fame inductee and Portland resident, was the co-founder, lead singer, and songwriter of the influential 1990s indie rock band Pavement. He formed Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks in 2000, bringing together musicians Mike Clark, Joanna Bolme, and Jake Morris. They have six albums in their tenure, the most recent being Wig Out at Jagbags released in early 2014. Below is the video for the song from that album called “Cinnamon And Lesbians,” which was shot in Portland. About Oregon College of Art and Craft Founded in 1907, OCAC has earned a reputation as a leading college of art and craft in the United States.  Known for its exceptional faculty of artists and makers, the uniquely small, mentor-based community is comprised of approximately 180 students who pursue full-time bachelor’s…

Joshua Ferris and Narrative Mechanics

By Ross Blanchard Above: PDX Magazine Editor-in-chief Ross Blanchard (left) and author Joshua Ferris at Dave Weich’s Narrative Mechanics event. A couple of Sundays ago Dave Weich, president of Sheepscot Creative, invited around a dozen guests to his home in Southeast Portland for his first Narrative Mechanics event. The gathering focused on interviews and discussions with strategic communicators. His first interviewee was Josh Ferris, who was in town on a book tour for his new novel To Rise Again at a Decent Hour.  This was not a “meet the author, ask him about his typewriter” scene at all. From the moment I entered Weich’s home, I could tell that something different was about to happen. So could the other guests, most of whom it appeared, like me, didn’t have much of a clue what was going on either. There was a camera crew, a small staff, a bartender. Guests were handed tarot-sized cards with inexplicable quotes on the back. We were given small round stickers and asked to place them below similar quotes on posters hung on the dining room walls. The meanings of these activities would be revealed later, I was told (they were). Then we were invited to have a drink, to…