Archives for the month of: November, 2013

Bagdad Neon

When a historic neon movie marquee joins together with a rainy Portland evening, a wonderful union is formed: Glowing, abstract, colorful and astmospheric forms take shape, and interesting photo opportunities are born. The Bagdad Theater on Hawthorne Boulevard provides the subject, Mother Nature provides the ambience.

A Perfect Way To Spend The Day

With all the chaos and insanity of “Black Friday” in full swing on this day after Thanksgiving, pdx|cept offers an alternative view on how this day might be spent: A comfortable chair, a good book, and great background music—all while in the company of thousands of classic vinyl albums. A perfect way to spend the day…

Photographed outside The Vinyl Resting Place, a wonderful resource for vintage vinyl, located on North Lombard Street in the historic St. Johns neighborhood of North Portland.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and many thanks to the followers and viewers of pdx|cept. Cheers!

(Painting by Scott Young, photographed in the wonderful gallery halls of McMenamins Kennedy School)

Enchanted Oregon

A favorite movie to view around the Thanksgiving holiday is the Laurel and Hardy film “March of the Wooden Soldiers”, originally released in 1934 as “Babes In Toyland”. In this musical comedy, we follow the characters Stannie Dum (Stan Laurel) and Ollie Dee (Oliver Hardy) who live in a shoe and work as toymakers for Santa Claus in the fantasy town of Toyland, where nursery rhymes and Mother Goose characters come to life. Little Bo Peep, Goldilocks, The Three Little Pigs, The Cat and the Fiddle and many other fairy tale favorites make an appearance, and the happy Humpty Dumpty pictured above could easily fit right in on this fantasy movie set. This jovial Humpty Dumpty, however, is not a movie star; rather, he is the greeter of visitors at the beginning of Storybook Lane, one of the many amusing attractions at the Enchanted Forest theme park just south of Salem, Oregon, a short and scenic drive from the Portland metro area. A complete step back in time, the wonderfully unique Enchanted Forest was created as a labor of love over many years by owners Roger and Mavis Tofte and family, and officially opened to the public in 1971. The many features of the park include winding forest trails with interactive attractions such as the rabbit hole from Alice In Wonderland; a European village, Western town and comedy theater as well as a log ride, a spooky haunted mansion and a classic bumper car arena. Take a step back in time and visit the fantasy-filled Enchanted Forest—and be sure to say hello to that happy egg-shaped guy perched precariously on the castle wall.

Coffee That Goes To 11

In a city brimming with outstanding coffee roasters, the attention to detail, love of craft and great pride exemplified by Coava Coffee Roasters kicks it up even one notch higher. In the world of craft-brewed coffees, Coava doesn’t just make 10 louder; they go to 11. The Coava Brew Bar on SE Grand Avenue is the tasting room to the roastery, and is a fitting location to present their outstanding craft coffees—a combination of hip industrial coffee house and showroom for the beautiful creations of the stellar craftsmen at Bamboo Revolution, who share the space with Coava.

The Coava philosophy in their own words: “At Coava Coffee Roasters, our philosophy is simple: We focus on quality, complexity, and balance in the cup. We decided a long time ago that if Coava was going to be involved in something, it was going to have to be excellent. Not sometimes, but all of the time. Whether it’s the farmers we partner with, the importers who help us transport our coffee, the amazing small coffee shop baristas who use our beans, or the non-profits we are honored to support; they all carry an undeniable work ethic and care for quality. Our long term partnerships with amazing coffee producers combined with the diligent refinement of our craft has allowed our family to roast some of the highest scoring coffees in the world. We are honored to share them with you.”

Up In The Air

For today’s post, pdx|cept takes to the air for a new perspective…

“Located about 50 miles east-southeast of Portland, on the border between Clackamas and Hood River counties, lies the majestic stratovolcano of Mount Hood. In addition to being Oregon’s highest mountain, it is one of the loftiest mountains in the nation based on its prominence.The peak stands at a height of 11,249 feet and is home to 12 named glaciers and snowfields. Mount Hood is considered the Oregon volcano most likely to erupt, though based on its history, an explosive eruption is unlikely. Still, the odds of an eruption in the next 30 years are estimated at between 3 and 7 percent, so the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) characterizes it as ‘potentially active’, but the mountain is informally considered dormant.”

Source: Wikipedia

Icarus Falling

The Greek myth of Icarus tells a cautionary tale of excessive pride and failed ambition, and at the same time, it expresses mankind’s perpetual desire to invent, explore, and be creative. Icarus attempts to escape from his imprisonment in the labyrinth on Crete by means of wings that his father, the master craftsman Daedalus, has constructed from feathers and wax. Icarus is warned not to fly too close to the sun, but with his youthful ambition and sense of invincibility, he does not heed his father’s warning, and the melting wax causes him to fall into the sea where he drowns.

Icarus Falling, a striking representation of this myth crafted of cast iron, copper and wax is one in a series of nineteen works by sculptor Simon Toparovsky on display in Lake Oswego’s Millennium Plaza Park. Two additional Toparovsky sculptures are featured on pdx|cept: Fortuna (October 16, 2013) and The Three Graces (October 26, 2013).

The Thompson Elk

Situated on its own island that literally splits SW Main Street in the Plaza Blocks area of downtown Portland stands a majestic bronze statue of a mighty elk perched on a platform that rises out of a fountain base. Known as The Thompson Elk, this beautiful statue and fountain, designed by sculptor Roland Hinton Perry, honors the lifetime achievements of David Preston Thompson (1834-1901), a celebrated businessman and politician of the Pacific Northwest. To name just a few of highlights of Thompson’s amazing life: Governor of the Idaho Territory from 1875 to 1876; Served in the Oregon Legislative Assembly as both a Republican and a Democrat; Joined the United States Army during the American Civil War; Father of three children; Mayor of Portland; and United States minister to the Ottoman Empire. Thompson also served as a regent to the University of Oregon, was the first president of the Portland Public Library, and was also president of the Oregon Humane Society. The proud elk statue and fountain base, which was donated to the City of Portland by Thompson himself in 1900, is flanked by Lownsdale Square on one side and Chapman Square on the other, which provide a picturesque tree-lined background that is particulary scenic in the fall months.

November 22, 1963

An exception to the typical format of ‘all things Portland’ on pdx|cept today, in honor of the 50th anniversary of that terrible day in Dallas—November 22, 1963. This post is not specifically about Portland, but about every city in this nation and around the world that reeled in shock upon hearing the tragic news of the assassination of our 35th president, John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Nine Jackies (detail,1964) by Andy Warhol, photographed at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Industrial Abstract #3

Industrial Abstract #3
Location: Southwest Industrial District

See also:
Industrial Abstract #1 (November 10, 2013)
Industrial Abstract #2 (November 15, 2013)

An Imaginary Landscape

A recent exhibit at the Portland Art Museum entitled Cyclepedia: Iconic Bicycle Design, featured some 40 bicycles from the collection of Austrian architect and designer Michael Embacher, who has collected bicycles with a passion since 2003 (and has since amassed a collection of about 220). Embacher designed the exhibit, which was impressive both for the number and range of bicycles on view and for the innovative way in which they were displayed.

Bicycles were represented in many forms—from racing, mountain, single-speed and touring, to classic, tandem, urban, folding, cargo, kids’ and novelty. In a large, open gallery on the museum’s ground floor, the bicycles hung in midair at about waist height, suspended from snaking, elegantly curved ceiling tracks, “giving the bikes the appearance of moving through an imaginary landscape of gently rolling hills”. This installation technique allowed the viewer to be led on a journey of discovery while tracing the developments and evolution of this versatile vehicle.

With more cyclists per capita than any other city in America, Portland seemed like a natural selection to be the only U.S. city to feature the Cyclepedia exhibition. Although the show ended its run in September and has moved on to other venues, pdx|cept takes a glance back and salutes yet another example of the creative and innovative exhibitions of the Portland Art Museum.

The ABCs of PDX

Navigating the streets of Portland’s Alphabet Historic District is made quite simple due to the alphabetical progression of street names beginning with West Burnside and running the entire distance to Northwest Wilson Street. To get from NW Davis to NW Irving, simply recall your ABC’s and cross Everett, Flanders, Glisan and Hoyt to arrive at your Irving Street destination.

“The street names in the Alphabet District reflect a veritable who’s who of Portland’s founders. An example: Lovejoy, Overton, Pettygrove: These three names are linked together in Portland history because the three men (Asa Lovejoy, William Overton, and Francis Pettygrove) were among the area’s earliest landowners. The story goes like this: In 1843, lawyer Asa Lovejoy purchased a land claim at “The Clearing,” the future site of Portland, with wanderer William Overton. A short while later, Overton sold his share of the land to a storeowner named Francis Pettygrove. Lovejoy and Pettygrove later flipped a coin to decide on the town’s name. It was between Lovejoy’s Boston or Pettygrove’s Portland, Maine. Pettygrove won and became the proprietor of Portland’s first store.” [1]

“Several characters in Portland native Matt Groening’s television show The Simpsons have names based on these alphabetically named streets: Ned Flanders, the bully Kearney, Reverend Lovejoy, Mayor Quimby, and possibly C. Montgomery Burns[ide] (also named for the large neon sign at Montgomery Park (formerly Montgomery Ward).”[2] 

There area two exceptions to the alphabetical naming: The street that should begin with an ‘X’ was named Roosevelt, in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903. The street that should begin with a ‘Z’ was named Reed in 1883, after Simeon G. Reed, a merchant, investor and benefactor of Reed College. This took place before the grand renaming of the streets in 1891, so ‘Reed’ remained.

Sources: [1] article, June 20, 2009. [2] Wikipedia.

...A Planet Without Flowers

A beautiful quote by Irish-born British writer Iris Murdoch presented in an interesting window display on Mississippi Avenue, typical of the wonderfully creative displays on view while strolling this long avenue in North Portland.

A Fish Story

A ‘fish story’ is an idiom that is defined as “an exaggerated or incredible story“, or sometimes more bluntly as “a great big lie”. But this fish story is neither exaggerated nor a lie; rather, it‘s a very truthful tale of the best fish—and the best calamari (a personal favorite)—to be found in Portland.

A little backstory: Growing up in Green Bay, Wisconsin­—an area with an abundance of fish fry taverns—Greg Boyce searched high and low for the same in Portland after a move to the Pacific Northwest in 1980. When his search proved unsuccessful, the idea was formed to change that situation. Enter Dana Boyce, with an entire career background in the restaurant business (and a talent for making great soups), and the idea turned into a reality. Greg and Dana combined forces and opened Corbett Fish House on SW Corbett Street Avenue in the Johns Landing neighborhood on October 1, 2002. The restaurant became an instant success, creating the demand for a second restaurant—Hawthorne Fish House—to be opened on Hawthorne Boulevard in Southeast Portland.

So, what makes their fish taste so good? In their own words: “We simply dip it in brown rice flour and flash fry it. The breading is super thin and light, with perfect fish inside, instead of the thick, greasy batter found on most fried fish. We also use a very high quality rice bran oil (no trans-fats!). And we filter the oil twice a day for an extra clean taste.” Because they bread their fish in rice flour, which has no gluten, Corbett Fish House also proudly offers a menu filled with delicious gluten-free selections.

This fish story is the tale of a great Portland restaurant success: Nice people, comfortable atmosphere, delicious food. Go to their website to read more about their story and check out their menu…and if you are a Portland resident or visitor, make the trip to Corbett Fish House or Hawthorne Fish House for the best fish (and calamari) in town!

Across The Universe

The date was November 16, 2010, and the place was Apple stores all ‘across the universe’—like this one at Bridgeport Village just outside of Portland—proudly displaying a very big event in the world of digital music: Now, for the first time ever, the entire Beatles catalog would be available for purchase on iTunes. As was well-documented, this was a personal victory for Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs, as The Beatles were one of the most prominent holdouts from his online music empire. In a press release at the time, Jobs said: “We love the Beatles and are honored and thrilled to welcome them to iTunes. It has been a long and winding road to get here. Thanks to the Beatles and EMI, we are now realizing a dream we’ve had since we launched iTunes ten years ago.” In stark contrast to this exciting and happy event, less than a year after this announcement, the world would lose the visionary entrepreneur, marketer, and inventor­—but his remarkable legacy of innovation will be felt for generations to come.

Industrial Abstract #2

Industrial Abstract #2
Location: Southwest Industrial District

See also: Industrial Abstract #1 (November 10, 2013)

An Elegant Perspective

A highlight of the 20th century collection at the Portland Art Museum, Girl With Braids (1950) by German sculptor, draughtsman and printmaker Gerhard Marcks (1889-1981), is an elegant bronze sculpture that suggests innocence and modesty as well as boldness and strength. This uncommon view­, enhanced by the perspective of the long, narrow gallery, accentuates the graceful lines and shapely stance of the tall, athletic figure.

Marcks worked under Walter Gropius, founder of the influential Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany, a school founded on the philosophy of bringing together all arts—including architecture, graphic design, interior design, industrial design and typography— to create a ”total” work of art. Marcks established a ceramics workshop for the school where he “set out to create a Bauhaus ceramics ethic of simplicity and honesty of design as determined by the materials used and the function of the object.” After World War II, Marcks became Professor of Sculpture at the Landeskunstschule (Regional Art School) in Hamburg, where he taught before retiring to Cologne.


Characterized by trendy restaurants, upscale shops, art galleries, theaters, cafés and breweries, Portland’s Pearl District is also home to an eclectic mix of historic brick warehouses converted to lofts and modern high-rise towers featuring stylish condominiums. Known simply as ‘937’, one of the best examples of these contemporary wonders takes its name from its location—in the heart of all the Pearl District action—at 937 NW Glisan Street. Developers Patrick Kessi and Geoff Wenker note: “Our desire was to innovate the current Pearl condominium inventory by introducing a handsome exterior, innovative floor plans and modern interiors.” The highly distinctive exterior features of the building are described by the 937 website: “The building features cream-colored brick set against translucent, wine-red balconies with a varied pattern of window sizes and spacing for visual interest at different scales. The playful balcony pattern, designed to create an abstract expression of art, is symbolic of the creative history of the Pearl.” In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, the 16-floor, 114-unit project is also a leader in sustainable environmental features, garnering the distinction of being the third high-rise condominium in the United States that is LEED Platinum certified, the highest rating from the U.S. Green Business Council. Seventy-five percent of demolition and construction waste was recycled and diverted from landfills, and among its environmentally-conscious features is 4,000 square-foot vegetated roof and stormwater planters which filter rainwater and insulate the building in all seasons.

The Little Prince

Created by Israeli-born sculptor Ilan Averbuch in 1995, The Little Prince is a partially buried, 15-foot tall copper crown that appears to have fallen from the sky and landed near Portland’s Rose Garden Arena. It is one of three large-scale public art sculptures by Averbuch, acquired by the City of Portland and located in the surrounding areas of the Rose Quarter, a 30-acre sports and entertainment district on the east bank of the Willamette River.

The Little Prince is a piece about imagination, desires, aspirations, conquests and struggles. It is the job of the viewer to create the story that goes along with the crown. Is it a victory and position of honor waiting to be claimed, a symbol of a triumph to come, or is there another story? Only the viewer can say. Averbuch’s inspiration was the French children’s story Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry­—in particular, the first chapter where he talks about his drawing of a boa constrictor swallowing an elephant being misunderstood as a hat.” (Excerpts from the cultureNOW website)

The Benson Bridge At Multnomah Falls

With eight bridges traversing the Willamette River of Portland’s downtown area, it is easy to understand why the city is often referred to as “Bridgetown”. A scenic 35-minute drive east of downtown Portland along Interstate 84 (or along the Historic Columbia River Highway) brings both locals and tourists from around the world to the site of another famous bridge—this one with the stunning natural wonder of Oregon’s tallest waterfall as its dramatic background.

The Benson Bridge at Multnomah Falls was financed by lumber baron and philanthropist Simon Benson, and crafted by Italian stone masons in 1914. The magnificent setting of the bridge, suspended between the two major steps of Multnomah Falls’ 620-foot waterfall, assures its place among the top photographed landmarks and pieces of architecture in the state. The 45-foot long footbridge allows the nearly 2.5 million visitors each year to stand in the center of the action and snap a bird’s-eye view picture of the beautiful Columbia River Gorge vista while perched 105 feet above the lower falls and being sprayed with the mist of the cascading, roaring upper falls behind them.