Our series returns to the west coast, and to a state I know from personal experience. I have traveled through the western part of Oregon multiple times. It is a state that at first glance has much in common with northern California, politically and geographically, but has its own unique characteristics.
Traveling north on I-5, one crosses an arbitrary line the separates the spectacular landscape of far-northern California from the spectacular landscape of southwestern Oregon. The highway weaves through the mountains and valleys of the Cascade Range, including numerous volcanic (or formerly volcanic) peaks.
At the town of Medford, one can continue north, or take a detour east on state highway 62 to Crater Lake. Crater Lake fills a caldera in the Cascade Range, and is the deepest lake the United States. It's circular shape is quite distinctive, as are its internal landmarks, including Wizard Island (the pointy island to one side of the lake), the “Old Man of the Lake“, and several volcanic formations. I had the opportunity to visit Crater Lake many years ago.
More recently, I traveled the other route from Medford, on I-5 north to Portland, while I was on tour last October.
We experienced Portland's famously variable weather. Fortunately, many of the city's attractions are indoors. This includes Powell's Books. I could have spent the whole day in the Pearl Room, which contained the art and architecture offerings, as well as their extensive rare book collection.
Portland also has abundant public art. Across from Powell's is this “brush,” a noted landmark:
This building brings to mind the city's nickname, Rose City.
Portland is someplace I could see living, and indeed the idea crossed my mind during my period of unemployment last year. Ironically, it was en route to Portland that I took the fateful phone call that led to my current job and new life in San Francisco.
We also performed in the coastal town of Astoria, which can be reached by traversing the coast range or traveling along the Columbia River on US 30. This is actually the western end of US 30, which starts at a junction with our friend US 101.
Astoria was cool and rainy and very green, as one would expect along the northern Pacific coast. The people we met there were also very welcoming to a group of Bay Area musicians playing weird experimental music. Again, you can read more about our visit at the original tour article.
I have never been to the eastern part of Oregon, which is a very different place altogether. I am quite intrigued by the descriptions of part of eastern Oregon as a desert landscape. But it seems like one has to be very motivated to visit, as it is far less populated and less accessible via major highways. The east-west divide also seems to extend to politics, with western Oregon being more liberal in the “northern California” sense, and eastern Oregon being more conservative. I wonder how this divide is going to play, at least in the media, given the patterns of this election…
A nice follow-up to my recent visit to Astoria with Polly Moller and Company.
A track from my CD Aquatic may be played on Coast Community Radio in Astoria this morning (10am to noon, PDT). This a folk program, which should be interesting. It is hosted by Carol Newman, who was very supportive of our visit and also hosts the “Arts: Live and Local” program, where Polly and our host Paul Hoskin had a chance to discuss our music and our show.
Coast Community Radio streams live online, for those who may want to check out this program as well as their other locally produced programs.
UPDATE: My track Open and Shut Case appeared on the program, you can here a clip of it here. There was an interesting segue into Paul Hipp’s “I am the Decider”, a great parody of Bush, Cheney et al. based on the Beatles’ “I am the Walrus” (Koo-koo-ka-choo). I got a nice mention of the piece and the album, along with reminder of our Polly Moller and Company show and the AVA music series; and “Death and the Maiden” (PM&C) was played as well.
Just a quick note this afternoon, from Astoria, Oregon. Our second show of the tour (third, if you count 1510 in Oakland) will be here in Astoria tonight, at the Astoria Visual Arts center. And I will also be performing a solo set to open, again with electronics and my folk and toy instruments.
We have posters all over town, and a great write-up in the Coast Weekend, a local paper.
Astoria itself is an interesting little town, at the mouth of Columbia River on the Oregon coast:
The coast highway runs through and north across the river into Washington state.
Here are a few photos from town:
And here is the band at the “Astoria Column”:
More on the performance itself after it actually happens. Also, I might go backwards in time to our show and day yesterday in Portland…but in the meantime, Polly has already journaled the first two days of our tour…