Just got back from a whirlwind tour of Portland and Seattle to sing with the PNW version of the Industrial Jazz Group. It was great to spend time with Durkin, Daphne and Thandie in their new home in Portland. I keep forgetting that Thandie is only 2 years old; she's so animated and inquisitive, just a blast to watch. It will be very cool to see her grow up, because she's already super-cool and very musical.
I could see myself loving Portland. There is so much green, plus mountains and water and bridges and all the stuff I love about a city, but with all the comforts of suburbia. I think Matt would wet his pants if he saw the place-- being greeted by three huge mountains and forests would have him house hunting in about 20 minutes, I suspect.
The IJG shows went well, considering we are entirely unknown up there and that Durk and I were the only veteran band members to do these gigs... everyone else was essentially playing this stuff after only one or two rehearsals at most. We had the pleasure of sharing the bill (and some players) both nights with Reptet, who are based in Seattle and a crapload of fun. Go see them and shake your booty!
The Portland venue, The Someday Lounge, is brandy-new and really beautiful. If you live or know people in Portland, do whatever you can to keep the place open. Great space, good sized stage, helpful staff and sound guy, funky decor, good drinks. They have an all-vegetarian menu, and I had a righteous green quesadilla (monterey jack cheese, green chiles, cilantro, faux-chicken (or "ficken" as Hamlet taught me)).
We played in Seattle's Lo_Fi on Thursday night. Another interesting venue, and I think I'd like to play there again on a night when there'd be more people. One thing that's rough about having a big band is that sometimes the folks on the stage outnumber the folks in the audience... Anyhoo, DrJohn and Sharon briefly reviewed the shows here and here, respectively. (Thanks!)
Not to slag these Portland/Seattle musicians by any means, but I sure did miss the band members from LA, and I can't wait to play with them in Cali at the end of the month.
After the gig, I got to chit-chat with with Adams, Sharon, DrJohn, Corprew and Elsner, and we firmed up plans for the following evening.
The next morning (Friday), I helped DrJohn find his new Seattle digs. The lessons learned in San Francisco were recalled, and now John will be living blessedly close to friends and social things, as well as the required tasty treats and bus lines. His house is beautiful, soothing, roomy, and has wonderful light. His uber-cute (and seemingly single and oh did I mention she's a radiologist too) landlord rocks socks, and I am predicting a September 2008 wedding for them. 1
The three of us (John, Michelle (the landlord) and I) ate lunch on Friday at Thai Tom, which is this hole-in-the-wall Thai place with essentially just counter seating. I know I speak in superlatives, but his was probably the best f-ing thai food I've ever had. Sadly, sum tom was not on the menu, but the chicken/spinach/peanut thing and the orgasmic tom kha gai more than made up for it.
After we got everything signed and delivered the landlord back to her place, John and I swung over to a cute burner neighborhood to visit with Gwen and Tom. It was great to meet/re-meet them, especially after hearing so much about them for so long. Was also cool to see Enigma and Julia too, even if just for an hour.
After some naps, we headed to dinner at Buddha Bar with the list of folks above plus Tim and Pinball Jamie. The Great Lengthy Debate was settled thanks to my impartial judging of camera phone pictures... and that's all I can say about that. After dinner I finally got to check out the legendary hot-dog/pinball joint Shorty's. It exceeded my expectations (the tables I played were in great shape), but the shoving and accidental bumping from the other patrons really messed with my game. I'd like to get back there on a weeknight, when there are less drunken tottering people 2. Anyway, I learned a new game: Champion Pub that features pinball jumprope. No lie!
We were supposed to head to Lebowski Fest, but it was sold out; so after a few more games of pinball, Adams, Sharon, Jamie and Tim headed home, and the rest of us went to the Hurricane Café for more pinball that featured less drunken shoving. John and I popped South Park a bunch, which sure did feel good. I think we even saw a nine-assed monkey at one point. Whoa! After some late-nite snackages and futzing with wifitti.com, we ambled up the hill to our car and headed home.
The airport schlep and subsequent layover was uneventful, and I was very happy to be back home, even if it's just for a day and a half...
1 Can I just say how awesome it is to be able to play wingman for my ex-boyfriend without it being all weird and achy and stuff? When we were hangin' with the landlord, she asked us questions about how we knew each other and why I was spending so much time in San Francisco with John... and the two of us immediately and instinctively went into "nothing to see here mode," avoiding all references and suggestions that we ever dated ever... just so the landlord kinda could figure out that he's single... or at the very least not dating me. I also made plenty of references to my biker boyfriend. Rock.
2 Overheard in the bathroom from two girls in the handicapped stall: "Oh my god... I have to shit so bad... will you hold my hand?" (Now that's friendship, yo.)
* TSL = Three Stupid Letters