Tag Archives: League of Tough-Guy Arts Observers

My fellow Scatterers: the state of the blog

English: Lithograph by Edward W. Clay. Praises Andrew Jackson for his destroying the Second Bank of the United States with his "Removal Notice" (removal of federal deposits). Nicolas Biddle portrayed as The Devil, along with several speculators and hirelings, flee as the bank collapses while Jackson's supporters cheer.

On this very day two years ago — on February 8, 2008 — a fine strapping lad was loosed upon the world, and immediately started yawping. Yes, its name was Art Scatter, and it was born right here in river city: in Puddletown, Oregon, brave bubble of liberality, Do It Yourself center of the universe, fearless exposer of itself to art, curious keeper of the weird.

Call us sentimental, but we’ve been thinking a lot about our friend Art, this thing we call a blog. For one thing, why is it still here?

A lot of blogs burn bright for a while and then flame out. Many are simply places to vent steam, or casual public diaries, or vanity projects. Well, almost all, including this one, are the latter at least to a certain degree. After all, nobody’s making any money out of this thing.

English: Father Time and Baby New Year from Frolic & Fun, 1897Art Scatter has changed a lot over its two years. It was the brainchild of Barry Johnson, my friend and longtime arts section compatriot at The Oregonian, who was looking for a way to explore new approaches to journalism outside of the print world. Barry brought me and his friend Vernon Peterson, a lawyer and talented literary critic, into the project, which was planned to be not too taxing on anyone because there would be three people to fill the virtual space.

Life moved on, and both Barry and Vernon departed for other projects. That left me wondering what to do with the thing, and wondering, sometimes, whether I was letting it eat up far too much of my time. In a very real sense my wife, Laura Grimes, saved the blog when she began to post her own witty and moving observations, eventually under the nom de plume of Mrs. Scatter. How could I not keep Art Scatter going? I was fascinated by how Mrs. Scatter’s adventures were going to turn out. Besides, she injected a bracing shot of humor into the blog, the humor that I have known and loved for more than twenty years.

Martha Ullman West, the noted dance critic who had written a couple of pieces for us, began to contribute more, and that added to the conversation. But I realized that if the thing was going to keep going, it was going to be largely up to me.

So. Why was I doing this?

  • First, writing’s a habit. I do it reflexively, if not always reflectively. Just can’t seem to help myself.
  • Second, it’s fun.
  • Third, it allows me scope to write about a lot of things in a lot of ways that were rarely possible during my years in daily journalism.
  • Fourth, it keeps me connected to my community and allows me to have a voice in a few things that go on in this little corner of the world. Good lord, I’ve made friends through this thing!
  • Fifth, it helps me discover my post-newspaper writing voice. I can feel that voice waking up inside me, gradually realizing that it’s no longer bound by the newspaper straitjacket unless it chooses to be. I can hear it trying out new things, even whooping it up now and again. Good for you, voice. Let ‘er rip.

Slowly, mostly accidentally, the blog has developed its own personality. The characters of Mr. and Mrs. Scatter just sort of announced themselves. The Large Smelly Boys pushed their way into the mix. OED, the Older Educated Daughter, made brief visits. We talked about word games and secret societies and oysters on the half-shell. The League of Tough-Guy Arts Observers had its brief day in the sunshine and then wandered off to sleep in a cave: perhaps it’ll wake up and elbow back into the action again. We found we were able to be serious, and flip, and amused, and reflective, and serious and amused again, and somehow get away with it. We began to take a very broad view of just what the word “culture” means.

I’m sure Art Scatter will continue to evolve. It’s already changed in surprising and often delightful ways. It’s opened doors. I know people will drop in and out. Mrs. Scatter’s day job has been busy lately, and I’ve been missing her brilliant reports. (I’m sure you have, too.) Can’t wait for them to return.

And I’ve become convinced of one thing: The blog has to work with my writing career, not against it. I love the freedom and scope that Art Scatter gives me, and I love that it lets me try things out with a regular and forgiving readership. But I also need to make a living, and I do that by writing. This is not a hobby. It’s what I do. So if Art Scatter is my professional exploratory laboratory (and also the locus of a great deal of my pro bono work) I want it to look professional.

Which brings us to Modern, the new design theme that we’ve adopted, yes, today. And which wraps up this semi-impromptu State of the Blog address. Thank you, my fellow Scatterers. Good night, and God bless.


Illustrations, from top:

  • Not Mr. Scatter delivering his State of the Blog address. Edward W. Clay’s lithograph celebrates President Andrew Jackson’s destruction of the Second Bank of the United States with his “Removal Notice” (removal of federal deposits). Well done, Andy! Wikimedia Commons.
  • Not Baby Art Scatter. Father Time and Baby New Year from Frolic & Fun, 1897. Wikimedia Commons.

League of Tough-Guys secret handshake: Revealed!

From A Manual of Gesture, by Albert Bacon, 1870s.

O mighty carving of the air: From “A Manual of Gesture: Embracing a Complete System of Notation,” by Albert Bacon, 1870s.

We knew our man when we deputized
Mighty Toy Cannon, charter member of the League of Tough-Guy Arts Observers, to devise the League’s official secret handshake. A tough man in the double-clutch is Mr. Cannon, and we knew he wouldn’t let us down.

Creating a secret handshake is no simple deal. It must be exclusive yet simple enough to be easily remembered and readily manipulated by the members of the secret organization. This fundamental failure is the underlying cause for the demise of the legendary hippie handshake: easy enough if you can remember it, but after all those years of illegal stimulants, uh, what were we talking about?

An effective secret handshake should be impressive enough to keep nonmembers from snickering when they see it, yet nonthreatening enough to keep members from being arrested for creating a public disturbance. It should be snobby enough to signify innate superiority — after all, not just any bozo can belong to your club — yet appealing enough to reflect the true generosity of spirit that so embodies the virtues of your noble organization or sect.

In short, creating an effective secret handshake goes far beyond the simple challenges of Euclidean geometry. It is, ultimately, a spiritual quest — a conceptual challenge. And as all who know him will  attest, Mr. Cannon  is one of our finest conceptual artists. That’s why he’s a charter member of the League.

After his long and strenuous deliberations, then, we proudly unveil Mighty Toy Cannon’s elegant solution to the puzzle of the League of Tough-Guy Arts Observers secret handshake. Practice it in the privacy of your own home. Then, in the true anarchic spirit in which it seems intended, take it to the world.

Mr. Cannon’s final report:

Now thinking that the secret handshake for the League of Tough-Guy Arts Observers should be similar to blogging: Done alone without any real audience, but with hope that at least a few people will comment, “Say, that was an interesting handshake, IMHO.”

A letdown? We think not. Rather, a stroke of genius. To all the secret members of our society, then, the official secret word: Do your own thing, man. And don’t forget to put the check in the mail.

Now I’ve got that job: a back-breaker before it begins

The Crooked Man, Project Gutenberg

Bent beneath the weight of sudden responsibilities and an uncooperative lower back, Mrs. Scatter staggers to the first meeting of her Important New Job. Drawing: “The Crooked Man,” from Project Gutenberg.


Did you hear I got a new job? If you missed the first two installments, read …

Part 1: The short-lived dream of running for president.
Part 2: The bizarre, twisted tale of how the job found me.

A brief recap:

  • Blissful summer.
  • No job and no plans for a job.
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks.
  • A mysterious Jane nominates me for president.
  • White House hopes dashed.
  • Two Large Smelly Liabilities.
  • Love Jane.
  • Love Third Angle.
  • Love Ron.
  • Earflap hats.
  • Flying rockets.
  • Killer water fights.
  • Trick-or-treat.
  • Urinating dog.
  • FaceBook.
  • Frozen Music – City Dance.
  • Date night.
  • Sunny beach.
  • Typing into phone.
  • Junior Rose Parade.
  • Auto parts store.
  • Pickles!

I made the big announcement on FaceBook:

Say hello to the new managing director of Third Angle New Music Ensemble! I’m excited to work with my old friend Ron Blessinger. It’s the one job that could have lured me back to the work world before I had planned.

And then I had a little exchange with one of my “friends.”

Mighty Toy Cannon:
“Hey congratulations. Welcome to the arts administrators’ club.”

Miss Laura: “Will you show me the secret handshake?”

“Once I’ve learned the handshake for the League of Tough-Guy Arts Observers! I’d also be happy to pass along the code book and the secret map to hidden treasures.”

Miss Laura: “I hope finding the secret treasures doesn’t involve dark passageways filled with giant spiders and booby-trapped blades that take heads off.”

OK, so I didn’t fully disclose on my resume that I had once worked as a clerk in an auto parts store.

I really don’t think that’s any excuse not to be up front about the booby-trapped blades.

Everything amazingly clicked into place. My grand scheme was to take the summer off, then come up with a whole new career. So I went on vacation, drove home on Labor Day and went to a meeting that night.

It was to be my first job duty. My first impression. My first official act of my Whole New Career.

But first … the day before my big debut I woke up in a nice cottage in Ashland, walked across the hall, stepped on the cold tile floor of the bathroom and suddenly went HOLY MOTHER OF GOD I’M SORRY I WAS BORN WITH LEGS!

My entire lower back seized up and wouldn’t let go. I could hardly walk.

I thought a nice warm shower would take care of it. No such luck. I took a couple of ibuprofen. Mildly better.
Continue reading Now I’ve got that job: a back-breaker before it begins

How did I get that job? Alvin and the Chipmunks (Part 2)

Frozen Music II: The City Dance of Lawrence & Anna Halprin. Photo: Alicia J. RoseSo sorry. Art Scatter has been experiencing technical difficulties. Mr. Scatter was in the far-flung parts of the state hanging with people who raise peacocks and donkeys. His absence meant he couldn’t run interference with the Large Smelly Boys, who at times can be chihuahuas for attention.

Then Mr. Scatter got back and wrote about mules (note a trend?) and other thinky things like the League of Tough-Guy Arts Observers. There’s just no way I’m going to get in the middle of that, especially when I have upper respiratory yuck and I’m busy hamstering to get out front of my new job.

Oh, did I tell you I got a new job? How did I get it, you wonder? Let’s see … the story so far, posted way last week:

  • Blissful summer.
  • No job and no plans for a job.
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks.
  • A mysterious Jane nominates me for president.
  • White House hopes dashed.
  • Two Large Smelly Liabilities.

At this point in the story, the mysterious Jane didn’t know this (and I didn’t know her), but I now considered her my new best friend.

In the meantime … on Aug. 13, Mr. Scatter posted something brainy about the National Endowment for the Arts and its new leader, Rocco Landesman. The post got a lot of thoughtful comments and then the mysterious Jane popped up again.

She said, “I think we should invite Chairman Landesman out to the provinces for a look-see. I’d be delighted to have him hear a Third Angle concert.”

I immediately put on my Sherlock Holmes hat, went to the website for Third Angle New Music Ensemble and checked out its list of board members. Sure enough, there was a Jane.

This is the point of the story where I should divulge Jane’s last name, but I think I’ve dropped enough clues that you can put on your own fancy earflaps and find out for yourself. You don’t even have to light your pipe, because I’ll make it easy for you. Here’s a link.

Sherlock Holmes statue in Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo: Siddharth Krish/Wikimedia CommonsWhen I spied Third Angle in mysterious Jane’s comments, my ears pricked up. Or at least they would have if I hadn’t been wearing the fancy earflaps. I love Third Angle. And I love Ron Blessinger, the company’s artistic director, who happens to be an old friend. We used to live a few houses apart. Our kids used to swing around in trees together.

Ron once wandered down to our house to check on his two kids and they were lined up with my two in the side yard. As I aimed a plastic hose, the four of them were taking turns jumping on an air pad that would send a plastic rocket sailing down the end of our driveway where I had parked the van sideways and opened the door. Ron looked at us and his eyes followed another flying rocket down to the van. He asked if we were trying to hit it through the door. We all nodded and grinned as another kid jumped on the air pad with both feet.

Our kids went swimming together, played on the beach together, watched parades together, had killer water fights together. Ron and I have trailed behind our trick-or-treating kids on Halloween drinking bad red wine. When he and his family were out of town, I occasionally watched their dog. She once urinated in our basement. So Ron and I were like that.

In fact, we were so close we recently became FaceBook friends.

A few days after the now-not-so-mysterious Jane weighed in on the NEA post on Art Scatter, Ron posted a status update on FaceBook that he was “wrapping up a grant while on vacation … how stupid.”

I almost posted a comment saying that he needed me. And I meant it.

Continue reading How did I get that job? Alvin and the Chipmunks (Part 2)

All the world’s a stage, especially the halls of Congress

Cultural types who complain that the mainstream media never pay attention to the arts just haven’t been reading the news pages, where it’s theater, theater, theater, hour after hour, day after day.

Daniel "Black Dan" Webster, heartthrob of the political stage. Portrait: George Shattuck, 1834/Mational Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.No figure in history is more honored in our news coverage than the revolutionary Russian set designer Grigori Potemkin, and his ingeniously adaptable Potemkin Villages are inhabited for our entertainment purposes by similarly interchangeable Potemkin People.

Somewhere back there behind these pop-up people and prop-up set pieces a real world no doubt languishes, waiting for its moment to step into the spotlight and state its case that a little attention must be paid. Never mind. The comedy onstage is just too delicious to abandon for the dreary drama of the broken-down kitchen sink.

Herewith, program notes on just one new show in a typically hectic season:

A Comedy in Too Many Acts

“You lie!” the gentleman from South Carolina shouted as the President spoke and the greedy cameras rolled.

Henry Clay, political performer par excellence. Engraving: John SartainAnd the House came tumbling down.

On Tuesday, United States Representative Joe Wilson, Republican from the Sovereign State of Secession, was formally rebuked by his fellow inmates for breaking up President Obama’s speech to Congress on health care reform with an outburst of what appeared to be actual passion. Following the traditional pattern of this highly ritualized form of theater, Wilson than prostrated himself before the President in shame, apologizing for his transgression and begging forgiveness. According to the time-honored script the Wise Leader graciously absolved him, with a parting, “Go, and sin no more.”

But unusually — don’t you just love it when a performance breaks through the fourth wall, and we all get pulled into the action? — that wasn’t enough. The neat pattern didn’t address Wilson’s true crime, which was this: He broke character. He was performing in a comedy, but he adopted a tragic tone. That practically guarantees a bad review.

It’s not that Wilson acted like a horse’s behind. That’s standard operating procedure in Foggy Bottom. It’s that he did it with so little finesse. According to the traditions of Congress it can be a natural advantage to be a horse’s behind, but you’re supposed to emit your credentials behind your opponent’s back, not blow them in his face. Republicans in Congress immediately jumped into damage-control mode, accusing the Democratic majority that forced the rebuke vote of playing politics — shocking! — and suggesting that it’s time, as Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia so nobly put it, to “get on with the business of the people.”

John Randolph, fiery orator and erratic marksman. Wikimedia CommonsPerhaps the show’s most intriguing plot twist is the revelation, as the New York Times review puts it, that “House guidelines on the rules of debate say it is impermissible to refer to the president as a liar.”

This disclosure, late in the third act, strains credibility. As a member in good standing of the League of Tough-Guy Arts Observers I’m compelled to report that Wilson’s little outburst of jackassery simply can’t hold a candle to the ones you can find in the classics. One of our better theatrical critics, the historian David S. Reynolds, recounts several instances of supreme congressional jackassery in his book Waking Giant: America in the Age of Jackson, including this sketch of Virginia Senator John Randolph, a hard-drinking goliath who regularly put the screws to President John Quincy Adams and others of his many enemies:

“In a high, squeaky voice, he delivered rambling speeches that sometimes lasted ten hours. Every fifteen minutes or so he paused to swig from a glass of malt liquor or a brandy-and-water concoction; he would go through several quarts in an afternoon. Well lubricated, he lambasted his enemies with abandon. He did not shrink from calling Daniel Webster ‘a vile slanderer’ or Edward Livingston ‘the most contemptible and degraded of beings, whom no man ought to touch, unless with a pair of tongs.’ “

Once, Reynolds reports, Randolph’s abuse was so egregious that Secretary of State Henry Clay challenged him to a duel:

“Clay’s bullet ripped through Randolph’s white flannel coat without wounding him. Randolph’s hit a tree behind Clay. In a second round, Clay again missed Randolph, who raised his gun and fired into the air. The men talked and reconciled. Randolph joked, ‘You owe me a coat, Mr. Clay.’ Clay replied, ‘I am glad the debt is no greater.’ “

Ah, sighs Gus, the Theatre Cat. Now, that’s what I call acting!

Like so many political comedies, The Fall and Rise of the Sharp-Tongued Congressman ends with a mordant twist — a deus ex machina, if you will, setting everything aright and showering blessings on all the characters in the show. Again, from Carl Hulse’s review in the New York Times:

“The episode has become a political bonanza for both parties as Mr. Wilson and his Democratic challenger in the 2010 election, Rob Miller, have each raised over $1 million in the aftermath, and the two parties have benefited as well.”

Now, that’s a happy ending.

The bottom line: A pretty standard medieval morality play, with a veneer of coarse frontier comedy. Vividly drawn characters and some choice moments of burlesque, but a week from now you’ll be hard-pressed to remember any details of the plot.


Illustrations, from top, all from Wikimedia Commons:

Daniel “Black Dan” Webster, “vile slanderer” and leading man of the 19th century political stage. Portrait: George Shattuck, 1834. National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.

Henry Clay, fearsome performer in the political theater, always up for a good stage duel. Engraving by John Sartain.

John Randolph of Virginia: Prodigious feats of provocation on the congressional stage. Artist unknown.

League of Tough-Guy Arts Observers: Join the club!

1864_0227_discussion_280It’s not often that a person starts a full-fledged organization with a casual flick of a typing finger, but I appear to have done just that in an August 27 post in which I defended my fondness for a good chick flick.

I found myself typing the following throwaway sentence:

“Yes, I like the movies of Nora Ephron, and if that drums me out of the league of tough-guy arts observers, so be it.”

Mighty Toy Cannon, the Sage of Culture Shock, immediately took me to task for not capitalizing the phrase, and out of that finger-wagging the League of Tough-Guy Arts Observers was born.

advokater_avbildade_av_den_franske_konstnaren_honore_daumier_1808e280931879Some didacts will argue that it should be “Tough-guy,” on the basis that a hyphenated word is by definition a single word and a single word can have only a single capitalization. To them I say: “Tough-guy” looks dumb. Start your own club.

Since then both Mr. and Mrs. Scatter have been scattering references to the LTGAO in our maunderings, always linking them back to that original chick-flicks post. Trouble is, you have to check high and low in the chick-flick story to discover the coinage of the term.

And there are deeper problems, such as:

  1. What the heck is the League of Tough-Guy Arts Observers, anyway?
  2. Who’s in charge?
  3. Can I join?
  4. Can I join if I’m a Tough Gal?
  5. Is there a secret handshake?
  6. What is the official League drink?
  7. Is there an official League logo, and do I get a membership card?
  8. Where do I pay my annual dues?

Excellent questions. I’ll answer them as well as I can.

  1. It’s whatever its members want it to be. Members may join earnestly or ironically, with a passion for flaying or a weakness for whimsy. Or even because they think it might improve their social standing.
  2. In charge? Does that imply responsibility?
  3. Of course you can join. Please do. Just leave a comment with your name and serial number and a confession of your deepest, darkest desires.
  4. Tough Gals are especially welcome. We mean “tough-guy” in an all-embracing way. Even mules are welcome to join, although they might find it tough to type those comments.
  5. I am hereby deputizing Commissar Mighty Toy Cannon to devise and photograph one. When he has completed his task, we’ll post the pictures of the process.
  6. You’re free to drink whatever you want. May I suggest bourbon and branch water?
  7. All you designers out there, get off your duffs and design us one. Thanks.
  8. The League of Tough-Guy Arts Observers is a democratic organization — anarchistic might be a better word — and like most everything else, membership payments are not required. Still, donations to the good cause are appreciated. Anyone wishing to help us fight the good fight is encouraged to transfer truckloads of cash to Mr. and Mrs. Scatter’s secret Swiss bank account. Contact us. We’ll give you the account number.

We’re also in the market for a good motto. Please give us your suggestions. Something better than, “I heap your pitiful effort with scorn, amateur boy!”

Come join our happy throng.


Above: League of Tough-Guy Arts Observers official club illustrator Honore Daumier captures a couple of typical moments from League social gatherings.

How did I get that job? Alvin and the Chipmunks

Seriously. That’s how it all started.

I was minding my own business, blissfully enjoying the summer sunshine and occasionally writing goofy off-topic stuff for a blog that isn’t even mine.

The little choristers who stated me on my musical career.Sure, I had plans. Big plans. I had planned to apply for unemployment benefits just as soon as summer ended.

But before then I was going to be on the road, lapping up low tides, making pickles and hitting all the plays in Ashland.

I had mapped out my summer weeks ago and it didn’t involve getting a new job. No resume to fill out. No cover letter to write. No strategic plan whatsoever that didn’t involve swimming or hunting for agates.

But then the weirdest little chain of events started – events that were so perfect in their orderliness and happenstance that it was as if every tumbler in a vault lock had magically clicked into place.

How weird? Remember that post about Alvin and the Chipmunks?

Innocuous. Silly.

But someone named Jane made this comment: “First, I’d like to nominate Laura Grimes for president.”

Mr. Scatter and I briefly considered this exciting possibility. We imagined lining up push-polls and flying all over the country. We imagined using political party money to buy whole new wardrobes.

What’s not to like?

We imagined Art Scatter as the Mouthpiece of America to get the Good Word out about how art is, like, a really great thing, you know? We would stump on the Cultah Platform and hone sharp talking points using clever mottoes like:

Make art, not war.

By George: Mrs. Scatter plots to move the LSBs into the White HouseAs Mr. Scatter reached for his BlackBerry to call the League of Tough-Guy Arts Observers for a recommendation about a campaign manager, a hairy head poked around the corner and said, “What’s for dinner?” Followed closely by, “We’re outta milk.”

Mr. Scatter and I looked at each other and suddenly realized we had a slight liability. Two, actually.

And let’s just come straight out with it and say they’re really not very slight. Because they’re Large. And Smelly. And they happen to be our Boys.

When Mr. Scatter said months ago that he didn’t mind if the boys shagged out for the summer, I said, “Please tell me you’re talking about their hair.” Fortunately, he was. I wasn’t keen on the idea, but, alas, I consented. The boys now look like total mopheads. How were we to know they might have to be paraded before the adoring American public?

But then I realized that chauffeured limousines and a security detail would mean our sons wouldn’t need driver’s licenses for several years, and I immediately picked up my BlackBerry and punched in “barber” as my brain started running through which significant cultural site would make the best photo op to make the big announcement. The Portland Center for the Performing Arts? The Armory? Portlandia? That really nifty sculpture of Three Groins in a Fountain in front of the Standard Insurance building?

My index finger was poised to hit SEND when I realized we had even bigger trouble on our hands. It wasn’t just the hair. It wasn’t just because the Large Smelly Boys occasionally need reminders to brush their teeth and shampoo their hair.

Our high hopes for the White House were dashed when I realized that not one, but both of our sons have the great misfortune of not being pregnant.

But the real clincher? The one that made us put aside our BlackBerries and rethink our dreams of sticking an Eames chair in the Lincoln Bedroom? We could not imagine the Large Smelly Boys standing on stage at the inauguration wearing adorable coats from J. Crew.

Colorful ribbons in their hair? Matching socks that haven’t been shredded? Not gonna happen.

Mr. Scatter and I sighed. I got up to rummage in the cheese bin in the fridge to figure out a dinner plan while Mr. Scatter picked up his car keys to go buy milk. As he opened the front door, I called after him, “Who’s this Jane person?”

He hollered back, “I dunno. Beats me. How many gallons should I buy? Three or four?”


Next time: The weird happenstances and who is this mysterious Jane?

— Laura Grimes

Weekend scatter: taiko, missiles and OBT’s arts fair

Korekara, copyright Rich Iwasaki/2007

The Monday trifecta: Portland Taiko, a new CD, and sake. Photo: copyright Rich Iwasaki, 2007

The trouble with traveling is that you miss things at home. The trouble with home is that you miss things in other places, but that’s another story.


During our August wanderings we’re missing a lot of stuff in Portland, including Portland Taiko‘s big-bash Rhythms of Change CD release party at Sake One. It’s been reskedded from Friday to Monday, Aug. 31, because of weather, but by that time we’ll have spent our 36 hours in Portland and be on the road again. Still, you might be able to make it. Check the details here. The CD is good! (I speak, mind you, as a Taiko board member. But I really do like this CD.)



We’re missing Jerry Mouawad’s newest play, The Cuban Missile Tango, at Imago Theatre, which looks like a one-weekend shot, at least for now. Jerry’s been blogging about the process of putting this play together, and he gives some fascinating insights into how a creative person brings a vague idea into specific reality. It’s worth reading, here. The play looks at the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962, a “collision of two worlds” that came who knows how close to sparking World War III. But it looks at it through the lens of a Halloween party. Jerry wrote this in June, early in the process of assembling the play:

“I have an idea of a noisy swinging kitchen door inspired by Jacques Tati’s Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday. So with a big idea, the danger of World War III, I start with a couple of waiters and a swinging door.”

Looks like one show left at 2 this (Saturday) afternoon. Ten bucks at the door, 17 S.E. Eighth Ave.


We’re very sorry to be missing Saturday’s free all-day arts fair, Fall.ART.Live, in the studio and parking lot of Oregon Ballet Theatre at 818 S.E. Sixth Ave. across the Morrison Bridge from downtown.

home_fall-art-live_770pxThe intrepid Mighty Toy Cannon has the story at Culture Shock; check it out. From Josie Mosley Dance and Northwest Dance Project to Portland Opera, Do Jump! and Portland Actors Conservatory, a lot of good-sounding stuff’s hitting the stages and the booths. Plus, fancy sandwiches and beer!

It’s a good thing for OBT to be doing now, after Portland and the national dance community stepped up in June to stave off its financial crisis. If the ballet has a newfound sense of being a vital part of Portland’s arts community, that’s terrific: Certainly the company’s dancers and artistic director Christopher Stowell did their part to help Conduit contemporary dance center in its more recent money crisis.

Mighty Toy Cannon points out that Portland Mercury writer Stephen Marc Baudoin took a more snippy view of the whole thing. We think he misses the point. On the other hand, maybe he’s just bucking for membership in the exclusive League of Tough-Guy Arts Observers.