Portland, Oregon

Our friend Julia Gfrörer will be signing copies of her gorgeously macabre new graphic novel Black Is the Color tomorrow night at Floating World Comics. Julia’s funereal allegories are disarming in their austerity — bare-skinned and none-more-black tales of love and lust, all couched in quiet, dagger-sharp gallows humor. 

The signing marks the opening of Play Dead, a collection of Gfrörer’s work that’ll be on display through February 28. Black Is the Color is available now via Fantagraphics.

Portland, OR

Tobacco, whiskey, cedar, pine, black pepper. Heather Sielaff’s Olo started in a closet, finds its ingredients in earth and smells like heaven. Ask a sweet-smelling thing on either side of the street in Portland what they’re wearing and the answer’s inevitably “Victory Wolf,” or just “Olo.”

Now Olo’s fragrance laboratory has an IRL home opening this weekend in Southeast Portland. It’s called Milk Milk Lemonade. Heather and Jonathan Sielaff are in the back, blending up bottles of god’s gift to nostrils. The front’s sparse and simple, with complimentary tea service to the side, and Olo’s whole habit-forming line front and center — all bookended by specially curated treats from Dream CollectiveRill Rill, Hazel Cox, Erica WeinerNo. Studio, Morihata and more. 

They’re opening house tomorrow, with occasional hours through the summer, and regular hours starting September.

Portland, OR


Danniel Schoonebeek’s poems take back roads and veins to an American place filled with secrets in your ear. Where the barn behind you is lit with the most eerie Gregory Crewdson-like light.  

Last Saturday Ace New York hosted Bound by Chance. Danniel wasn’t there, but his words were. People used them to make stories and bound those stories into pamphlets. Tonight, Danniel reads from his book in Portland at Crema Coffee + Bakery before he sails back home to Brooklyn. It’s going to be an after hours poetry party. 

You recently completed a poetry tour in support of your first book, American Barricade (YesYes Books). Independent musicians tour all the time to support themselves. What was the experience like as a poet?

When I was seventeen I left high school and toured in a van with four other guys. We were a band, I was the drummer, and we toured the country for a few months, living in the van with our instruments. What’s startling to me is that I did this again ten years later. This time I was alone, I was reading my poems and not hitting a snare, and I took the trains across America instead of riding in a van. The tours were alike in that they were both these depleting, chaotic bursts in which you learn more about yourself than you knew was possible. You aren’t working hard enough are the words I came away with when I was seventeen. Our last date on that tour was at CBGB’s, and there was this holy feeling like we’d arrived. But nobody gave a shit about our songs, not the bands, not the people. I think that experience taught me that you have to demand to be heard, like a list of demands is heard in a hostage situation, and that list of demands is work. 

The tour I just finished leaves me to this day with jubilee. In some ways it was like playing a chess match against my own life. I’d just been kicked out of my apartment, I’d just been laid off, the love life was in the gutter. I booked the tour myself, no agents, no help from my publisher. I needed to see if a poet could do it alone. Friends came out to read and see me off, let me sleep on their floors. Strangers opened their doors to me, handed me their keys, helped me hunt down venues. These people are part of my life now, and they handed me small tokens along the way, tchotchkes and mementos, a little scratch some nights. The trains are their own crash course in how much American disgust you can tolerate within yourself. If you don’t have the constitution within yourself to wash your hair in the sink on a moving train, or deal with drunks, or fall asleep hungry on a dinner of tic-tacs, don’t get on the trains. But there was something unbelievable about waking up on the train, feeling like shit, drinking a styrofoam cup of coffee, and watching the landscape of America peel away outside while you’re surrounded by all these families and drifters and bulleting your way to a poetry reading in a different city each night. It was like not being a citizen anymore. 

I’m finishing a book about this last tour and that’ll come out soon. I’m working with two editors who are challenging the work and pushing it in directions I’m thrilled about. I can’t say who yet, but it’s coming. It’s called C’est La Guerre

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Portland, OR

Portland sonic institution Mississippi Records has just re-issued Harry Smith’s seminal Anthology of American Folk Music in its complete, original 1952 form. Like everything Mississippi touches, this four-part set has all kinds of love poured into it. The series is dressed in sturdy cloth-bound gatefold sleeves and housed in a hand-crafted wooden box; an object of serious beauty.

To celebrate the reissue of this still under-sung masterpiece, the label’s dedicating tonight’s Music & Film Series at Hollywood Theatre to Smith’s work and legacy over the decades, with Michael Hurley, Marisa Anderson, Dragging An Ox Through Water, Jessika Kenney, Lori Goldston and Jolie Holland re-imagining a set of songs from the collection. 

For more information on tonight’s event, visit Hollywood Theatre’s website.


Portland, OR 

Tomorrow afternoon Oregon Symphony’s Artist in Residence and cellist par excellence Alban Gerhardt will perform solo at Ace Portland. Planted atop our cozy lobby’s coffee table, he’ll send the sound of Bach’s solo suites waving through the hotel for all ears to hear. Come as you are; free as air. 

Portland, Oregon

Ace Hotel Portland is happy to host a night of art and revelry at The Cleaners this Sunday January 19, and all for an awfully good cause. Stereo Sound Agency’s Arthur Lindsey has put together a robust roster of local and national art luminaries for a silent auction to benefit Camp Starlight — a summer sleep-away camp for children of the Pacific Northwest affected by HIV/AIDS. 

With works by dozens of artists from Portland and beyond up on the auction block, the catalog’s got us checking on our checking accounts and chomping at the bit over pieces donated by Chris Johanson, Russ Pope, Rich JacobsSage Corson (pictured above), Thomas CampbellLori Damiano, Aaron Frisby, and more.

Festivities get underway at 5 pm and run til 10, with free beer, wine, and hors d’oeuvres thrown in.

This weekend, designers took over the second floor of Ace Hotel Portland for Content, creating audible, tactile and scent-based installations and blowing our minds for the fourth year running.

Among the many noteworthy appearances were Bridge and Burn’s clean and classic clothing, Cloth and Goods’ indigo wares and Norwood hats, the latest and greatest project from the inimitable Antonio Brasko. Crazy Wind swept us away with swaths of Japanese kasuri textiles, and OLO Fragrance raised a tent among the pines in which we contemplated their dark and magical scents. 

Bobby Bonaparte of LiFT Label had a good time, too — “Portland is burning with creativity,” he says. “The vibe of Content remains fresh and underground.” 


Photos from Lavenda Memory, Jen Vitale, Shelley Buche and Angela Tafoya, respectively. See #content2013 on Instagram for more.