From time to time I say I have a crush on Portland. It seems that every time I go back I have more friends there. I lucked out to have a room to myself as I stayed with Karen and Max, friends from New Orleans and Asheville.
A few days in, Karen and her insanely adorable daughter Blanche took me to a restaurant. I don’t really remember much about the food. The unforgettable part was the artwork that covered a large portion of the walls. Simple variations on a theme. Felt tip marker on notebook paper. Repetition, large simple shapes depicting nearly a hundred limousines. Reading the artist’s info, I learned that the drawings were part of a collection of work by the restaurants custodial arts expert. Hired from a local vocational rehabilitation center, Leroy Ryan Mill and his father recently took a ride in a limo. Thus the inspiration for this series that he hopes will help raise money for him to buy a limo of his own one day. I bought a brightly colored one and contributed to the fund. A representation of simplistic innocence. I also left him one of my homemade sandwich flutes.
There was a lovely backyard show hosted my Meddle Cascade (former sound engineer for the Paper Crocodiles album) and his duet partner Erica. Together they form Stone Crowe. www.facebook.com/stonecrowemusic It was at this show that I started to admit the ridiculousness of touring with a shadow based show in the Pacific Northwest in the summer… when it doesn’t really even start to get dark until 9pm and many of my audiences are made of families with kids… with bed times. This has however made for some fun creative moments of trying to get a space dark enough for the shadow theater box to really shine. On this occasion we crowded the whole audience into the tiny yoga studio shack in the back of the yard. Definitely my most intimate show.
The shadow theater has been a delightful bit to share. It’s such a basic design. My hope is that folks will realized how easy it is to make their own and create their own shadow stories and songs. All I did was cut the front out of a box. TV style. Then I hot glued a white thin sheet over the hole. I placed a mirror the size of the back of the box, into the box and propped up a little flash light to shine on the mirror which then dispersed the light onto the sheet. Voila. Miniature shadow theater. This summer I made several of these with campers and we had a show where each box showed an interpretation of a camp songs called Seven Golden Daffodils… but that’s jumping ahead about a month.
Other highlights of Portland included sitting in a hot tub with 14 people singing every patriotic song we could think of on the 4th of July, a barn dance next door to some goats, playing a kids show at Daybreak Co-housing, spending more time with what I call the family of E’s (Elzza, Eric and their 7 year old son Eamon), and watching a traveling variety show from Florida called “Deep Space Showcase” which included a man in a sparkly blue dress and giant brain mask playing accordion and hosting a series of vignettes about space. Song, synchronized dance and shadow projections and crankies made up a very special, sometimes shocking and often beautiful show. Crankies are shadow shows turned on a scroll to scroll reel, similar to an old player piano. They’ve become a “thing” with indie, visual imagery type music shows but I still hadn’t actually seen one in person so I was pretty excited for this element of the show.
So, it’s a funny point in this blog. Knowing that I have more stories to tell. More little tidbits of adventures. Working at the camp this last month has set me behind in my writing. Right now I’m in the process of quickly driving back to the east coast. I should be back in Greenville in about a week and a half. I’m excited for the moment when I again have time to reflect on all that’s happened and can share these stories. Perhaps you will be able to hear some stories first hand as I play the Sans Souci Garden concert series www.facebook.com/SansSouciCommunityGarden September 22nd. I’ll also take this moment to plug the new CD again which is still awesome, still rockin’ road trip music, still features many great Greenville musicians and still makes a fun gift for all ages. http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/lynneclideholcombe