Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers -- doing what they do best!


I lucked out on Saturday and managed to park about 100 feet from the corner where my sons live in SE Portland. You see, I had been driving around, looking for a way through the blocked streets so that I could continue doing errands in the Zipcar McMinnville last Saturday. My original plan was to drive by their house and holler at them, then I heard the drums through the open driver-side window, just before I noticed a parking space on the opposite side of the street and saw a Portland Police Bureau motorcycle officer directing traffic at the upcoming traffic control circle. He gave me permission to reverse my direction around that circle so that I could park. I grabbed my camera, stepped out and started taking photos.

I had happened upon the Division Clinton Annual Street Fair & Parade! Well, the parade part of it at least. So happy to hear the approaching Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers! Right after I took this photo, they changed from a sort of rhythmic drumming and stick clicking into a booming, loud, wonderful drumming that set off nearby car alarms! Whoopee! On the far left, Greg Odell, LRSD founder and the man who gave me my drumming lesson last October, a perk for my support of the LRSD's Kickstarter campaign. What a fun thing to get to do!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Festival of Flowers, Pioneer Courthouse Square, downtown Portland


I took these photos on May 29, on my way home from work. The Festival of Flowers fascinates me, every year that I've seen it.

Found on the World Wide Web: This year's design, Tattoo Portland created by local landscape architecture firm Lango Hansen, will celebrate the love for all things Portland. The Square will be 'inked' with a giant heart composed of nearly 20,000 begonias, impatiens and pansies. Portland's living room will be red hot with larger than life flames formed from marigolds and zinnias. Show your undying love for the Rose City with a temporary tat in the Square inspired by this classic imagery. The tattoo rebellion will continue along the downtown transit mall with an anchor design at the Congress Center and a pair of dice at Unitus Plaza. The event will be open to the public for two weeks beginning May 31st followed by the annual flower sale on June 12th. To see a rendering of the design please click here. This event is made possible by Multnomah County Cultural Coalition, Oregon Cultural Trust and Union Pacific Foundation.

Here's the tattoo. I didn't get a photo of the pair of dice.

Wide shot shows Pioneer Courthouse across SW 6th and two MAX light rail trains at the stop--one must be a Yellow Line, one a Green Line. Those are the only two which use that station.
  DSC_0096_2 See that person in white, up high on the concrete shape beneath the US flag? That's where I stood to take the first and third photos in today's post. This photo gives you a close view of the letters--from www.adxportland.com: The installation is made up of a tattoo heart containing P O R T L A N D lettering. Lango Hansen came to ADX for CNC services for the lettering.

Here's a wide shot, looking basically the same direction as the photo just before this one.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

July 4, Waterfront Blues Fest - serendipitous bubbles and shadows


As I watched this young girl blowing bubbles from my shaded bench, I smiled, remembering fun times blowing bubbles with neighborhood girls on sunny summer days back home in Jackson, Mississippi. We were five elementary-school-aged girls whose houses made the corners of a right triangle, mine at the 90-degree corner. Certainly none of us wore lipstick while blowing bubbles, nor did we paint our fingernails periwinkle. She's very pretty, a young girl of the 21st century, complete with a brown scarf decorated with silver charms, tied around her hips. I imagine the vibrant colors decorating her left arm are the product of a lady I noticed sitting at her face-painting station over the four days of the festival. I wonder if the paint itched in the bright sun. Or if she ended up with a design in her tan.

Do you see the two circles to the right, one on her shoulder, one on her forearm? They are bubble shadows. Honest. No where in the other photos that I took of her do those circles appear. And you can see, if you look closely, a bubble there beside her right cheek which has made the shadow on her shoulder. I've looked and looked and cannot locate the other bubble. I wonder if it burst just as I snapped the photo?


No bubble shadows in the very next photo. I am thrilled with the serendipitous capture of those two shadows in the first photo in today's post. And I have to ask if anyone thinks that her fingernails are in the French manicure manner, complete with the periwinkle-colored polish? And do you love how her sunglasses are color-coordinated with her T-shirt and the umbrella?

Friday, July 12, 2013

July 4, Waterfront Blues Festival, Oregonian Front Porch Stage: "Catch a blues buzz"

Franco Paletta and The Stingers, Journey to Memphis 2012 Winners: Band. After catching their set, it's easy to see why they won last year. Wow! Sorry that I don't know who's who. I hope that doesn't cause you not to enjoy the photos. Maybe someone who knows will comment and give me the info. Or I might have the chance to ask the band members myself because I saw on the band's Web site this superb announcement: Saturday, August 31, Blue Diamond PDX. Yea! Within walking distance!

Thanks to Franco for FB messaging me with the names of these great musicians!

No. 1 - Franco Paletta on vocals and harmonica

No. 2 - Jason Thomas on guitar


No. 3 - Eric Rabe on sax, Miles Thompson on trumpet

No. 4 - Jon Barber on drums, Kenny Goldstein on bass, Steve Kerin on keyboards

Found this info at the Waterfront Blues Festival Web site:

Since breaking into the Portland Blues scene in the Mid-1980's, Franco Paletta has become one of the mainstays of the city's blues scene. His dynamic harp style and unique vocals have made him one of Portland's favorite blues personalities.

Franco’s Harmonica influences include Sonny Boy Williamson, Paul Butterfield, James Cotton, Little Walter Jacobs, Big Walter Horton, Kim Wilson, William Clark, Rod Piazza and others.

As good as his harp playing is, Franco's strong vocals are what thrills the listeners. He has a unique vocal style that lets you know that you are listening to a true bluesman.

In 2007 and 2012 Franco & The Stingers won the Cascade Blues Association's "Journey to Memphis" Competition and was privileged to represent the CBA at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis Tennessee. Franco has received several Muddy nominations for “Best Harmonica Player” from the Cascade Blues Association, and won the Muddy Award for “Best New Act” in 2007.

In 2010 Franco & The Stingers released their first CD “Can’t Kick Love.” Franco’s newest CD released in 2013, “I Like It Just Like That,” gained attention at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis from several radio stations and has been in their Top 20 Charts since its release.

Franco has also been seen at festivals regularly around the Northwest including the Waterfront Blues Festival, Winthrop Blues Festival, Tri-Cities Blues Festival, Big Sky Festival, Grey Sky Festival, Walla Walla Guitar Festival, and the Bronze Blues and Brews Festival.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

July 4, Waterfront Blues Festival, The Mysti Krewe of Nimbus

So, when I lucked out and found myself on the sidelines of the scheduled "Off Street Processional by The Mysti Krewe of Nimbus," I figured I was a shoe-in for some beads. See me to the right in this photo that I took when I paused the video that I had found on the krewe's Web site--I was shocked to see myself--with my camera in one hand, taking photos, and the other hand held out to gracefully accept strings of beads?

Let me tell you, that wide-brimmed straw hat thought I bought years and years ago in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and moved up here with me to Portland, Oregon, really came in handy at the festival! And my black fanny pack, veteran of my last trip-with-students-and-teachers-to-Europe-in-2000 bit the dust--the zipper coil separated from the zipper cloth. Rats. Now I have to figure out something else to take to Las Vegas on Saturday when I go for the first time ever!

I knew that I'd never catch that string of red beads flying by that man's brown fedora.

Someone must have caught them! Look how happy that lady is who tossed them!

Ah, here comes my chance!

Alas, I fell victim to the dreaded tease which I call "Here you go. Why don't I drape some beads over your out-stretched hand--psyche!"

There she goes, twirling those beads. I'll bet lots of folks caught 'em once she let 'em fly! Not to worry, though, 'cause I wore my own strings of beads on the 4th of July, red, silver (for white), and blue. 

Wondering about The Mysti Krewe of Nimbus. Here's a bit I found at their Web site:

The Mysti Krewe of Nimbus brings the traditional Louisiana Mardi Gras experience to Portland, Oregon. We give Louisiana expatriots an opportunity to celebrate Mardi Gras in a traditional manner, as well as to extend the tradition to people from here in the Northwest who have a Joie De Vivre and affinity toward Louisiana culture.

The source of the word Nimbus in Greek Mythology means a cloudy radiance said to surround a diety when on earth. We find this name particularly appropriate, since it also is a rain cloud — and we live in the rainy Northwest. We have even changed the traditional “Mystic” to “Mysti” to further reflect this rainy condition. Mardi Gras falls during the rainiest time of the year, but this gives us an opportunity to bring together family and friends and celebrate as if it were the middle of the summer. Laissez les bon temps roullez! Bienvenue!

About them at the Waterfront Blues Fest

July 4th 2013 Look for Mysti Krewe of Nimbus Mardi Gras “Processional” second line parade at the Safeway Waterfront Bluesfest July 4th. We’ll parade around 3:30 – 4pm. Bring your hanky, parasol, and joie de vivre! Watch for the Skull and Bones Gang, Transcendental Brass Band, and The Brass Roots Movement. We’ll have beads and, please, don’t show us *anything* to get them.

And for more about The Mysti Krewe of Nimbus, found on the Waterfront Blues Festival Web site: 

The Mysti Krewe of Nimbus is a Portland based social and pleasure club that brings the traditional Louisiana Mardi Gras experience to the Pacific Northwest. We extend the tradition of Mardi Gras to people here in the region who have a Joie De Vivre and affinity toward Louisiana culture. We also give Louisiana expatriates an opportunity to celebrate Mardi Gras in a traditional manner. Since forming in 2011, we have thrown three Mardi Gras Balls, won the best community float our second year at the 2013 Starlight Parade, held a foot parade along Mississippi Avenue last Mardi Gras day, and second-lined across the festival grounds the last two years at the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival.

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

July 4, Waterfront Blues Festival, Fried Chicken.

Read it all--you'll find out about the fried chicken, I guarantee it.

For my first ever Waterfront Blues Festival, I decided to take advantage of the Blues Benefactor Pass option.

  • I wanted four-day early entry (turns out that I could arrive as early as 10:30 a.m., if I had the energy which I did on July 4 and July 5--hey, two outta four aint' bad for an ol' lady); 
  • I didn't have to use priority re-admission (in the case of the festival having been closed due to the size of the crowd by the fire marshall--I never left until I was actually ready to be gone)
  • I wanted a seat and shade (turned out to be a metal bench with a back in the Benefactor Tent with the walls rolled up and tied out of the way on all sides except to our backs, therefore shade and a breeze when one arrived, plus the tent's central location between the Miller Stage and the First Tech Stage meant I could hear everything from whichever stage had an act performing, plus the fireworks went off right in front of me on July 4--I managed to get a seat on the front row each time I came back to the tent from the Honeybuckets or the other stages);  
  • I wanted to go to at least one of the Waterfront After Hours All-Star events across the street at the Marriott Hotel Ballroom (turns out I had access to all three but only had energy for one--July 4th Patrick Lamb Allstar Revue--waiting until 2:45 a.m. to get a cab wore me slap out); 
  • I didn't know that I wanted Smart Park parking garage validation (until I rode with a friend in her car on Saturday);
  • I wanted plenty to eat and drink that I didn't have to bring with me to the park or have to carry around the whole time (turned out to get four meal tickets, four beverage tickets, one Sunday a.m. omelette with Dave's Killer Bread minus the included mimosa because I desired no alcohol headaches, as well as Frito Lay snack bags, iced Pepsi products and bottled water for the taking, at a table at the back of the Benefactor Tent in front of that closed wall); 
  • I wanted a festival T-shirt and poster (turned out to get the size I wanted and that the poster was rolled up in cardboard tube after having been signed by the artist Gary Houston because I purchased an additional poster from him which he also signed); 
All of that to say that after my first early entry on July 4 and the discovery of how the Benefactor Tent would work, which by the way should be renamed the Benefactor Oasis, in my humble opinion, I took advantage of picking up my merchandise early on, then walked over to see where the other two stages were, the FedEx Crossroads Stage and the Oregonian Front Porch Stage--they were, respectively, nearer to or north of the Hawthorne Bridge. 

That's when I discovered the Jackson Square food vendor, complete with a huge banner emblazoned with Fried Oysters, Fried Chicken, plus a menu that included sweet iced tea and ice cold watermelon, along with other items. It was too early for cooking to be going on, but I liked the look of the place and determined to come back later on. After all, I had ended up buying a wonderful soft-sided cooler with an adjustable strap in which I put a bit of cheese and crackers, applesauce, some peanut butter and crackers because I really had no idea what sort of snacks were provided, plus I knew I'd be at the festival way longer than one included meal ticket would take care of, and I had no desire to spend money on food--whew!

So, I stopped by a few hours and loads of great music later to take a look at the fried chicken. Yep, a look. While I was not the least bit interested in waffles, even less in syrup, all it took was a quick glance to make up my mind to try the chicken. It was the right brownish-golden color and coated-crispy texture. So, I handed over my meal ticket to Nick, the personable young man at the cash register. In a moment I had the paper plate you see in the photo above. I had handed back the little container of syrup. Why anyone wants waffles and syrup with fried chicken, I'll never understand. Thank goodness I was able to find a seat at a nearby table and chow down! The best fried chicken I've eaten since I was in McComb, Mississippi, in 2009! For real. Tasted like my Mama or my grandmothers had cooked it--me, even, back in the day when I fried food. And you don't get yourself messy by dropping anything from fried chicken on yourself, so I made up my mind to return again and again, a decision I didn't regret for one second, period.

I still don't regret eating fried chicken for my main meal of the day for four days in a row. And I'm planning to go back next year to the Waterfront Blues Festival; I'm hoping that Jackson Square will be there with this fried chicken. Anyway, I walked it off going back and forth at the festival and didn't eat all of the waffles.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

July 4, Waterfront Blues Festival


Portland Police Bureau Chief of Police Michael Reese on stage with the band The Usual Suspects.

Here's the info about the band that I found at a link on the Waterfront Blues Festival's Web site:

The Suspects number around eight pieces on a good day and play an eclectic blend of blues, country rock and classic rock and roll songs. Their original compositions are thought provoking dissertations on daily life, love and finding bail money.

The Line Up

  • Mike Reese: Various tattoos and scars tell a sordid tale of life on the edge. Mike is the Suspect’s founder and songwriter/guitarist, and most definitely the “Most Wanted” member of the band. 
  • Kari Pearson: Kari is the Suspect’s smooth voiced lead singer with many years experience playing penitentiary gigs. She has a great vocal range and can cover a variety of musical styles according to her probation officer.
  • Mel Tellinghusen: Mel just got back from his recent tour of northwest financial institutions where he proved he is a master of the sticks as well as stick-ups. He also loves laying down the groove on people deserving of it.
  • Mike Kuykendall: Also known as the “Bass Man of Alcatraz”, Mike has fought the law since getting his first guitar at age 12. His favorite movies are “O Brother, Where Art Thou” and “The Longest Yard.”
  • Tracie Andrusko: A concert violinist with a burning desire to jam in a rock band with convicts and play free concerts at local jails. Tracie has added a new dimension to the sound of the band with her subtle fills, soaring solo’s and arrest-free record.
  • Steve Andrusko: Steve drove wife Tracie to practice one night and abruptly announced he had a trumpet, could carry equipment and drive the getaway car. He was hired on the spot. Steve and Tracie are the Bonnie and Clyde of the Suspects, making this a truly unique family experience. Steve’s favorite quote is, “I’m just along for the ride.” 
  • Nathan Andrusko: Yep, you guessed it. Son of Steve and Tracie, Nathan is recognized state-wide in Oregon high school competitions as a master trombone player, and he recently got time off from the principal’s office for good playing.
  • Chris Azorr: Chris is the most recent band member to post bail and brings to the line-up a great keyboard. He loves to play the rockers when he is not actually breaking rocks.
You’re going to love this band….

And I did!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Waterfront Blues Festival, July 5, 2013


It's Friday, July 5, and I'm sitting in front of the Front Porch Stage--on July 4th, the home of all-things-local-blues-wise and the Journey to Memphis' International Blues Challenge next January and on July 5th the makes-your-body-move sounds of zydeco, actually the best of the three stages if you ask me 'cause you can get so close to the music and there is a huge, well-laid, dance floor beneath gauzy, shade-making cloth stretched from here to there. I'm taking zoom-lens-photos of strangers taking a zydeco dance lesson on the well-laid dance floor when a known face dances into my camera's viewfinder from the left, but a profile I know and love. Malcolm White!

That first second, though, I don't recognize Malcolm. It wasn't until this second photo that my synapses clicked properly and hollered at me, "It's Malcolm," sort of like Cat Deeley does on "So You Think You Can Dance"!

The two of them glided across the dance floor, right in step with the music!

Turning his partner, Malcolm dances out of the frame--too many other zydeco-lovin' folks between the two of us.

The music stopped. How many times have we who know, love, and appreciate Malcolm seen him animated like this?

For me, this photo is the best metaphor for Malcolm White that I could have ever hoped to shoot. Pointing upward toward a vision he wants us all to share, that's Malcolm, currently chairman of the Mississippi Blues Commission and the head of Tourism for the Mississippi Development Authority. Right after I took this photo, I waved madly at Malcolm who grinned and waved back. Bliss. A kind couple agreed to watch my seat on the metal bench and I quickly walked over to say, "Hello! Come on over and join me when you're done dancin'!" Malcolm's reply, "It will be hard to sit down with this music!" No surprise there.

He introduced me to Bev and I bade them good-bye. Later on Malcolm and Brandi Katherine Herrera, whom I had texted with my discovery of Malcolm on the dance floor, joined me and we rocked it out to Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band until we were completely out of gas. I could still hear them tearing it up as I waited a couple of blocks away for my first bus on the homeward commute. Last Waterfront Blues Festival sight of the night, looking from the eastbound bus window down on the Front Porch Stage, just north of the Hawthorne Bridge.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Waterfront Blues Festival, July 4,2013, downtown Portland at Tom McCall Waterfront Park


I've only had time to upload 45 pictures--a very late night after a long day of music, music, music, people-watching, fireworks, and the best fried chicken I've tasted since October, 2009, at The Dinner Bell in McComb, Mississippi! Here you see Lisa Mann and Her Really Good Band. I've seen them at the Blue Diamond, too. Fabulous, all-around fabulous. A bunch of talent packed into that woman. Now, I've got to get this posted and head out for today's music! Bye! Oh, I'll be at the Blue Diamond Saturday night for "Ladies Sing the Blues - Women of the Blues Festival." Can't wait--I'll have to leave the waterfront early--who cares! I might leave early tonight to the Blue Diamond's "Guitar Slingers of the Blues Festival." After an hour-long wait for a cab last night, being able to walk home after the music, all of 600 feet, sounds mighty fine!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July

PicMonkey Collage_RWB

A poppy, a dogwood, and an iris provide me with the proper patriotic, Happy Birthday to America! colors for today's collage. I found these beauties on my Zipcar trip to Schreiner's on Memorial Day, 2013.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Allium, Memorial Day, Schreiner's Iris Gardens


One of the many things I enjoy about Schreiner's Iris Gardens is the mix of flowering plants on display. Every which way you turn, you see colors, shapes, textures. All that to say, this will not the only photo of allium that I will share with you.

It had been raining most of Sunday night and into Monday morning. I decided, what the hey, I'll get in my Zipcar McMinnville, the Mazda 3, and head on down to spend some quality time among the gardens and to enjoy the superb chicken lunch, cooked by the Gervais Knights of Columbus.

Here's some info about allium that I found on the Internet:

Allium is a monocot genus of flowering plants, informally referred to as the onion genus. The generic name Allium is the Latin word for garlic. The genus, including the various edible onions, garlics, chives, and leeks, has played a pivotal role in cooking worldwide, as the various parts of the plants, either raw or cooked in many ways, produce a large variety of flavors and textures. The genus contains hundreds of distinct species; many have been harvested through human history, but only about a dozen are still economically important today as crops or garden vegetables. Many others are cultivated as ornamental plants.

Onions, shallots and gardlic are members of the allium family that belong in the vegetable garden. But there are many ornamental alliums that deserve a hearty welcome in your perennial gardens. Alliums are plants of exquisite beauty in both flower and leaf, with tough constitutions. These easy-to-grow bulbs come in a broad palette of colors, heights, bloom times and flower forms. They make excellent cut flowers for fresh or dried bouquets. Even crowded gardens can accommodate a few alliums because they don't take up much space. What's more, alliums are relatively resistant to deer, voles, chipmunks, and rabbits.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Fuschia, Memorial Day, Schreiner's Iris Gardens


I count myself blessed by the grace of God when I see such beauty. But I have to wonder, "How did this pretty flower end up with such an odd name?"

So, I looked and found some info on the Internet.

  • Fuchsia (/ˈfjuːʃə/, few-shə) is a vivid shade of red, purplish-red or pink named after the flower of the fuchsia plant, itself named after the German scientist Leonhart Fuchs. Fuchs' name is preserved by the plant Fuchsia, discovered in the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean in 1696/97 by the French scientist Dom Charles Plumier, who published the first description of "Fuchsia triphylla, flore coccineo" in 1703. The color fuchsia is also named for him, describing the purplish-red of the shrub's flowers. 
  • Leonhart Fuchs (1501 – 10 May 1566), sometimes spelled Leonhard Fuchs, was a German physician and botanist. His chief notability is as the author of a large book about plants and their uses as medicines, i.e. a Herbal Book. It was first published in 1542 in Latin. It has about 500 accurate and detailed drawings of plants, which were printed from woodcuts. The drawings are the book's most notable advance on its predecessors. Although drawings were in use beforehand in other Herbal books, Fuch's Herbal book proved and emphasized high-quality drawings as the most telling way to specify what a plant name stands for.