Why Storm Large signs autographs and Mr. Scatter doesn’t

While Mr. Scatter lowers his head to the task, Ms. Large is charming and gracious with her fan base. Photo: CaroleZoom

It’s called, I think, charisma. The dress doesn’t hurt, either. One of the pleasures of being part of Friday night’s blogathon at the opening of Portland Opera’s Orphee was meeting artist and photographer CaroleZoom, who after chatting for a bit zoomed in with her camera (unobtrusively, I might add: good photographers have a way of being there but disappearing, creating a calm zone around their subjects) and later sent the results along. It’s not quite like looking through the mirror and spying Hell, as Orpheus does in the opera, but you can’t help noticing a certain physical disparity.

Mr. Scatter, lips pursed and head bowed to the task. Photo: CaroleZoom

Sitting between rock diva Storm and man-about-town Byron Beck was a little like being the shuttlecock in a game of friendly scatological badminton. The match had speed and competitive edge and affability: It was like David Mamet with a sense of humor.

You can see Byron’s wristwatch (a retrograde physical adornment, used as a timekeeping device in the days before cell phones) immediately behind Mr. Scatter, who’s the one in the retro green vest sweater. Leaning against the wall, in the even more retro argyle sweater, is PICA blogger Jim Withington, and that’s Portland Opera’s Julia Sheridan at the far end of the table in classic black. Portland Center Stage’s always elegant and always witty Cynthia Fuhrman flanks Ms. Large in the left (or stage right) foreground.

Years of sitting in the midst of ultra-noisy newsrooms allowed Mr. Scatter to absorb what was going on around him while simultaneously attending to his task. I was impressed by Storm’s graciousness as fans young and old, several of them starstruck, vied for her attention. Yes, she signed autographs. And she had a way of homing in on each person, asking questions, engaging them, knowing that you don’t talk the same way to a teenager as to a septuagenarian. This is celebrity, Portland-style.

Carole also snapped the inset photo of Mr. Scatter, which she labeled “Concentration.” When Mrs. Scatter saw it, she laughed. “That’s the way you always look when you’re writing,” she said. “Head down, lips pursed.” Mrs. Scatter concentrates at the keyboard, too, and every now and again breaks up in laughter over something she’s just wrought.

Enough for now. Mr. Scatter must hunker over his keyboard and write a review for his friendly neighborhood largish urban newspaper.


Photos: CaroleZoom