Thursday, May 01, 2008

May Day! May Day!

Happy May Day. Portlanders can celebrate at the Kennedy School where kids can dance around a May pole; Joe Mishkin (The Balloon Guy) will be creating insane balloon sculptures and hats; and the Freak Mountain Rambers will play in the early evening. It's all free--deal!

It's also my birthday but I'll probably be home, eating cake with my cake-obsessed six-year-old. He likes the ritual of birthday cake more than the actual eating of it and that's OK. I stopped celebrating my birthday pretty much around age 30, but that hasn't stopped other people from celebrating it for me. Thanks people.

There's so much going on here in the month of May, I just thought I'd make a tiny list here. The Cinco de Mayo Fiesta will start on May 2nd at Tom McCall Waterfront Park and go through to the 5th. That's quite a lot of celebrating. I don't recall the San Francisco Bay Area doing quite so much for Cinco de Mayo and let's just say the hispanic population in California is a little more pronounced than in Oregon. Be that as it may (heh--May), I think four days are more than enough time to celebrate Mexico's defeat of the French army in 1862. Disclosure: I am half Mexican and I celebrate that fact most days of the year.

Here are a few shows coming to Portland in May. Eclectic!

Northern State - Better Already: Wed., May 7 at Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside.
Who are these wacky gals? Their ad in The Mercury describes their music as smart-aleck hip hop from sassy Long Island emcees. Smart-alecks? Sign me up.

Quasi - Peace and Love, Fri., May 16th at the Hawthorne Theatre.
I met Sam and Janet briefly in San Francisco about ten minutes before they up and moved to Portland many, many years ago. And here they are--still playing. Janet is such an awesome drummer that every time I've seen her play, I hang my head in shame. I still enjoy it. I'm just very humbled. Hey Janet--if you ever read this--we were in the same Godard class at SFSU. What's your favorite Godard film? I can't decide between "Week End" and "Masculin féminin." I also like "Alphaville." Oh yes, here's Quasi.

Death Angel, Fri., May 30th at Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th Ave.
I'm not a big speed metal listener any more, but I'm excited to see that Death Angel have re-formed. In 1986 there weren't a lot of Filipino-American family speed metal bands. Come to think of it, there aren't a lot now either. Death Angel holds a special place in my heart because most of them are from my home town, Concord, CA--heavy metal capital of the world. In fact, singer Mark Osegueda went to my high school and was my little brother's class president. My brother says that he is the nicest, funniest guy--the class of 1986 LOVES Mark Osegueda. This is a video of young Death Angel, just starting out. Their new stuff is on their MySpace page. Viva Death Angel!

Caroliner Rainbow - Sat., May 31st at the Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th Ave.
Sorry, this video is a little loud, incoherent and dissonant, but so is Caroliner Rainbow. They've been at it for around 20 years now, still based in San Francisco. If you have a chance and want to experience a western fable from the 1860s as filtered through the lens of ergot poisoning, drop in and say hello.

jwbkmn gives a brief Caroliner Rainbow review on YouTube:
Saw these guys a a little space in the East Village (NYC) mid-90s. The singer seemed to be quite literally insane, yet at one point he hit me with the mike stand (it was a VERY little space!) and for the briefest second he paused, whispered "sorry" to me, and just as quickly resumed twitching and screaming incoherently. F-ing amazing. A very clear memory from a very fuzzy time....
This is the perfect description of founding member, Grux, whose musical aesthetic is all-together nutty, but who is one of the friendliest, most social people I've ever met. And last I visited (long ago), his house looked a lot like this stage show. Every room an experience--more homes should strive for this. It's all happening in the month of May.

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