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I had to take care of some banking for one of Conquent's sister companies yesterday. After an unsatisfying conversation with a lying banker in a mind-numbingly dull building in an equally dull suburban parking lot, I needed a decent meal and some Southeast Portland culture.
The Press Club is over on SE Clinton and 26th -- Markie and I had a great lunch there in November, and it was just as good as I remembered. It has the basic coffee house vibe with lots of magazines, a menu of crepes and sandwiches, and this being Portland, a full bar. Don was doing some electrical work at New Seasons around the corner, so he came over and had a shot of Makers and some dessert crepe.
We then goaded our friend Julie into coming out for dinner and wandered over to The Savoy for some good happy hour fare, and then decided to wander back to the Press Club. And here's where Portland gets oddly Artsy on a Wednesday night...
The Clinton Street Theater had a live performance of Das Rheingold, you know, the first of Wagner's Ring series of opera. But it wasn't just an opera, no it was electric guitars and Baywatch. Damn I wish we had already had dinner, I'm sure I could have talked them into going in, but it's an experience I'll just have to imagine.
Too hungry for a two hour performance, we went back to The Press Club and found a podium and microphone set up, prompting the question, "Is there anything scarier than an open mic poetry reading?" Halfway through crepes the lilting droning started.
Look, I write in a prosaic, colorful way, my mother is a published poet, I have an ear for painting a picture with words, but I think there should be a rule: poets should not read their own poetry. First off, poetry shouldn't be explained, and certainly not mid-poem. But the other part is that most of these folks are introverted Intelligencia so their reading skills are... well, if you ever hear Morgan Freeman read IRS tax code, you'll get the basic verve, but even that might be more interesting.
And you can't just walk out on them -- it feels too much like walking out on someone's therapy session...
We skipped out when there was a break, back to the Savoy where we met up with Markie, only by then I was getting pretty tired from an afternoon and early evening of rich food and drink. Julie and I slipped out to find some espresso, but as it was a little after nine, prospects weren't good. We walked up to Division, saw some guy drinking a beer outside a non-descript building (except for the amazing light fixtures out front). He didn't know where there was coffee, but he invited us in to see the private opening for Martin Eichinger's bronze sculpture.
The event was for some sculptor's club and the place was teeming with sculptures and sculptors alike. The sculptures were mainly people frozen in motion, and some of his works reminded me of classic Rodin pieces. The sculptors were your basic Portland crowd, lubricated a little on wine. It wasn't the coffee we were looking for, but it was a surprising little side trip.
But then, that's just a normal, random Wednesday in Portland. Bourbon and crepes, poetry, Baywatch, Wagner, bronze sculptures... And then back to my desk to work for another three hours....