This Valentine’s day I spent the weekend in LA visiting friends and seeing my favorite band Sparks play at the Ace hotel. It was maybe the most ideal time to visit LA: the recent rains have spurred a fragrant greening of the hills, and the wintering songbirds gave the mornings a tropical feel. One of the best parts of the trip was my visit to the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City, a place I’ve been dying to see for years. It was incredible, like a Cabinet magazine come to life. There was a room dedicated to creepy superstitions (eating mice on toast to cure bedwetting?), TWO rooms of microscopes for tiny exhibits (one dedicated to Hagop Sandaldjian’s sculptures INSIDE the eyes of needles, and a row for Henry Dalton’s rococo floral collages made with individual butterfly scales) plus a rooftop garden with white doves and finches. I can’t recommend it enough. It reminded me a lot of Flutter. Note to self: more microscopes!
The Sparks show was at the gorgeously renovated Theatre at the Ace, and the creme of LA was there (I wish I was better with faces, all those well-dressed silver foxes were certainly distant rock royalty). Waiting in the line, I couldn’t help but notice that almost everyone was decked out in killer vintage and fancy perfumes. Like, really unusual, fantastic perfumes. I definitely, positively smelled Rien by Etat Libre d’Orange, and I’m fairly certain Jasmin et Cigarette was there too. It’s funny how you can tell sometimes not what a perfume is but only that it is a very fine and distinguished scent. Chandler Burr would have died.
I had an awfully friendly daiquiri at the poolside bar and watched the sun set over the city, then explored the nooks and crannies of the gold-on-gold Spanish Gothic theater (a sign on the wall of the ladies room said “Ms. Mary Pickford removed this mirror so, out of respect, we left it that way”). There was also this amazing sculpture in the lobby, her name is “Ladyfingers” by Kevin Will (photo by Spencer Lowell; not pictured: a posse of turquoise ceramic kittens). Sparks delivered a perfect set: their breakthrough album from 1974 in its entirety, played with a 38-piece orchestra… plus bonus material! It was heaven, if you like that kind of thing.
Well, hello there, Summer! The raspberries are so ripe they are falling off the cane. Neighbors gather and leisurely enjoy them while catching up on the local summer happenings. I’m picking shirt-fulls of strawberries every morning from my berry patch, each one dewy and sweet. We have swung fully into summer mode: beers on porches, happy hour on sunny patios, punk shows at book stores, and riding our bikes everywhere. There is a lot to celebrate this summer. Notably, this is the summer that we begin swimming in the Willamette. I’m not sure how quickly Portland culture will be transformed or in what direction this might lead us, but it feels big.
For years we were told that the gentle, beautiful waterway that bisects our town was too polluted to swim in. On hot summer nights we would ride our bikes across the Steel Bridge allowing the upriver breeze to cool us. Who didn’t want to wash away the summer sweat with a quick plunge from the banks? We all longed for moonlit skinny-dips or splashy romps at Cathedral Park with our friends. While riding along the Springwater corridor I imagined myself swimming bravely out to Ross Island.
Our city that works has completed the Big Pipe Project keeping those pollutants that once fouled the waters during heavy rains out of the Willamette and the Department of Environmental Quality has proclaimed the river to be safe for swimming. To celebrate and spread the word, the good people at The Human Access Project are inviting us to swim and float with them on July 27th. I can’t wait to see fellow Portlanders launch canoes, inner tubes, and rafts from Poet’s Beach. Whether you find us there, at Hawthorn Cove, Cathedral Park or the secret Swan Island spot, if you are swimming with us, you are diving into a new Portland culture.
- E. F.
Hello and happy spring! What’s that you say? It’s not spring? Well, Portland has fooled me, as it does every January and February, with its weird dry spell and sunshine. It’s great weather for an afternoon tromp through Forest Park (or the ever-evolving Mississippi Ave). We started the new year strong, adding some excellent (and exclusive!) local jewelry and photography into the mix. We also decided it was time to push some furniture out of the nest, so to speak. We’ve had these handsome pieces for a while now, and we’d love to see them go to good homes! Maybe your office needs a mod lucite bar? Maybe your bedroom needs a velvet armchair the color of a stormy sea? Maybe your living room needs a bright floral wingback? Just checkin. All of our furniture is 10-60% off til the end of January! Feel free to give us a call to check if a piece is still here, because they are going fast. In fact, while setting up this blog post I had to take down one of the photos (goodbye raspberry velvet couch!).
Portland has a ton of things to be proud about: good food, great coffee, acres of parks, the amazing climate… climate for small businesses, that is! This is our third year participating in the Little Boxes play & win Black Friday (and Saturday) shopping event, which showcases the incredible spectrum of locally owned shops around town. This year there are over 90 ways to win, and those geniuses built a free phone app to make multiple entries (and unlocking discounts) even easier. Check out the map and plan your route; this is a great opportunity to visit new shops, your old favorites across town, or the one you always spy on after hours; and while you’re having so much fun about it you can be GETTING ALL YOUR HOLIDAY SHOPPING DONE! We’ll be open from 10-7 both days, and in case all of that wasn’t a sweet enough deal, we’ll have hot cider and champagne.
Well, the gorgeous weather just keeps on going, and I’m not gonna question it. It’s not often that we have a proper autumn in Portland, and since it’s my favorite time of year I feel extra enthusiastic about it. Another thing I’m enthusiastic about: giveaways! We decided to partner with the amazing Honey Kennedy for a chance to win $100 in Flutter credit, which combined with October sunshine might take someone over the moon. Take note: if you’re our Facebook friend, you can enter twice. If you need inspiration, check out my favorites here. Good luck!