TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLET GAME: Remember the flap over Memorial Coliseum? Tear it down? Fix it up? Turn it into the doorway to a suburban-style, cookie-cutter entertainment and shopping complex? Build a minor-league baseball park in its place, with a concession stand serving grilled architects on a bun?
Niel DePonte has another idea, and you can read about it on this morning’s Oregonian editorial page, under the headline Imagine the Rose Quarter Performing Arts District. I can hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth at City Hall now. Or is that the sound of stonewalling?
But DePonte — Grammy-nominated percussionist for the Oregon Symphony, music director and conductor for Oregon Ballet Theatre, president and founder of MetroArts, Inc., which is helping to find and train the next generations of artists — has some good ideas. And right now the Coliseum in specific and the Rose Quarter in general need some good ideas. Give it a read. And if you like the idea, or parts of it, pass it along.
FAREWELL TO FRANK: This morning’s New York Times has a good appreciation of Frank McCourt, the New York Irish character and sweet writer who died Sunday at age 78. In 1996 McCourt published Angela’s Ashes, his harrowing yet tender memoir of Ireland and America and poverty and drink and survival, and it became a phenomenon, staying near the top of the best-seller lists for two years.
A lot of bad writing’s been committed in the name of memoir. Let’s take time, then, to celebrate a man who did it right — who told the tale more for his readers than himself, and told it with an innate understanding of what storytelling means.
MTC TURNS 100: … and we’d be not just remiss but downright dumb to not point out Mighty Toy Cannon‘s perky celebration of his first century of blogging at Culture Shock. He’s mighty frisky for an old guy. Some writers have got in trouble for misrepresenting the past. MTC niftily sidesteps that problem by brazenly misrepresenting the future. Or is he dead right? Check back in 2109, when our great-grandkids might be comparing him to Nostradamus. Congratulations, old-timer.