Some Dude Tries to Kiss Alvvays Frontwoman Molly Rankin, Reminds Us All to Not Sexually Harass People

Dont kiss her unless she says she wants to kiss you!
Don't kiss her unless she says she wants to kiss you! Rick Kern / Getty

On Saturday night in Antwerp, Belgium, a stage crasher took things way too far and sexually harassed Alvvays frontwoman Molly Rankin when he tried to kiss her. During their performance of “Party Police,” some dude waddled on stage and leaned in for a peck, and when Rankin ducked away from the mysterious bro, he looked genuinely shocked that she wasn’t interested in kissing a complete stranger. The incident was caught on video, and happens around 3:30.

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Watch Out: Zombie Obamacare Repeal Is Back, On the Move, and May Be Close to Having the Votes to Pass

Senator John McCain, Obamacare savior-turned-nemesis?
Senator John McCain, Obamacare savior-turned-nemesis? Mark Wilson / Getty Images

If you thought the Republican effort to repeal Obamacare had already failed so many times that it had been absolutely, totally dead and done—nope.

Everyone from Paul Krugman to Jeet Heer and David Leonhardt is warning that if the citizen activists who rattled Congress's cage in support of Obamacare earlier this year don't get back into the game quickly, a new repeal measure known as the "Graham-Cassidy bill" could actually pass the senate.

Graham-Cassidy would, those writers warn, "radically overhaul health care and roll back the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of coverage" and "would eliminate the individual mandate, undermine if not effectively eliminate protection for people with pre-existing conditions, and slash funding for subsidies and Medicaid."

Leonhardt, amid concerns that John McCain himself might get behind this effort, describes this moment as yet another defining, highly consequential test of McCain's principles—you know, the ones he made such a big deal about when he dramatically returned to the Senate to kill Obamacare earlier this year.

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Jeff Sessions Delivers a Drawling, Hysterical, Fear-Mongering Message to Portland

Probably emphasizing some point about how youre about to be attacked by an undocumented immigrant.
Probably emphasizing some point about how you're about to be attacked by an undocumented immigrant. Dirk VanderHart

Jeff Sessions had fear-mongering tidings of doom for Portland's immigrant-protecting officials. So where better to deliver it than the Pearl District room where the country’s newest citizens are sworn in?

Before a packed audience of dark suits—many of them from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement—the attorney general paid a special visit to our defiant sanctuary of a city this afternoon, railing on about the dangers of protecting undocumented immigrants who might be "pedophiles, rapists, murderers, drug dealers, and arsonists."

Sanctuary cities like Portland, Sessions insisted in a speech that lasted roughly 20 minutes, are "a trafficker's or smuggler's or undocumented gang member’s best friend."

It was a chiding message of despair delivered in an appropriately ironic location. The room where Sessions spoke is known to employees of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as the "Oath Room" or "Ceremony Room." When new citizens are sworn in in Portland—two or three times a week—they often do it here.

Strong signs in the Pearl District, as demonstrators protest Jeff Sessions immigration jeremiad.
Strong signs in the Pearl District, as demonstrators protest Jeff Sessions' immigration jeremiad. Doug Brown

As the attorney general railed on about a society he says has "eroding" discipline and a "disturbing disrespect for law," a crowd of more than 150 gathered near the Pearl District USCIS field office to decry the message. It was pretty obvious, after all, what Sessions was going to say.

Since taking over as attorney general, Sessions has railed repeatedly against "sanctuary" jurisdictions that decline to cooperate with immigration agents.

Portland and Multnomah Count are no different than liberal bastions around the country that have earned the Trump Administration’s ire for expressly refusing to cooperate. Portland even joined up with a lawsuit against administration threats to cut federal funding to sanctuary cities—a point Sessions noted in his speech.

Sessions has reason to be particularly interested in our city and state, which he repeatedly called "wonderful" (or the closest approximation of that word his deep drawl will allow). The arrest this summer of a 20-time deportee who’s now accused of sexually assaulting two women has become a point of emphasis for people who support Trump's ugly characterizations of undocumented immigrants as rapists. It's become a go-to anecdote for Sessions too. During an August 16 speech in Miami, the attorney general used the Sergio Martinez case to argue the dangers not cooperating with the feds. He repeated much of that speech today.

"Federal immigration authorities properly lodged a detainer against Martinez just a few months before, asking to be notified when he was set to be released. But authorities in Oregon refused,” Sessions said in the August speech (he said basically the same thing today, with minor changes). "These policies of sanctuary cities do far broader damage to the country than many understand. At its root, it is a rejection of our immigration laws and a declaration of open borders.”

Since 1987, the state of Oregon has had laws on the books that say local law enforcement won’t turn undocumented immigrants over to federal officials if the only thing they’re accused of are immigration violations. A 2014 ruling from a local federal judge went further, saying sheriffs could not hold people for federal immigration authorities past their slated release date, absent a federal warrant.

Since Trump took office, Mayor Ted Wheeler, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury, and Sheriff Mike Reese, and others have indicated they support going further in not cooperating with federal officials.

Wheeler, rather than meeting up with the attorney general on today's visit, instead sent a letter laying out his support for sanctuary policies. And Reese’s department currently refuses to tell ICE when undocumented defendants are being released from jail, and forces the feds to scour jail rolls to determine if subjects of interest are in custody—a policy that has Sessions upset.

"Think about that: Police may be forced to release pedophiles, rapists, murderers, drug dealers, and arsonists back into the communities where they had no right to be in the first place," he said.

The well-worn territory Sessions plumbed in his speech isn't likely to have much sway on local officials' opinions, which are based in the common sense belief that undocumented immigrants who are crime victims or need government services will go without if they're worried about being turned into federal agents. Sessions pooh-poohed that idea today, and his message explicitly ignored the harm that is being done to families who have undocumented members deported for low-level offenses.

Instead, he said, sanctuary policies "undermine the moral authority of law and undermine the safety of jurisdictions that follow these ideas. Whatever the crime rate is in a city, you can be sure it will be higher if these policies are followed."

To drive home that point, the attorney general engaged in a bit of cherry picking and obfuscation. Between 2013 and 2015, he said, " the city saw an increase in homicides of more than 140 percent."

That's not true. In 2013, the city saw 16 homicides, its lowest number in four decades. In 2015, the number had indeed risen markedly—but not by as much as Sessions claims. The 34 homicides that year amount to a 113 percent increase, not 140 percent. And by the way: 2015 appears to be an outlier. News reports suggest there were 20 homicides last year.

Update: We got official figures from the Portland Police Bureau, which says that in fact there were 32 homicides in 2015, not 34 (that figure doesn't include "negligent homicides" according to spokesperson Sgt. Chris Burley). That means the number of homicides increased 100 percent from 2013 to 2015—again, not 140 percent.

In addition, there were 16 homicides last year, according to PPB, precisely matching 2013's tally.

Burley adds: "Comparing July 2015 to July 2016 and July 2016 to July 2017 the homicide rate decreased 13% in Portland."

Food Review: Alto Bajo and Lo Bar Live Up and Down to Their Names

Jason Desomer

I’m not sure I get the name of the Hi-Lo Hotel. Online the hotel, from Marriott’s “Autograph Collection,” is billed in a half-assed buzzword mélange as being “crafted” as Portland’s “most relevant luxury destination,” with “Portland luxury” defined as “effortless, organic modern.” The Hi-Lo strives to represent Oregon’s “raw and refined” landscape.

The hotel’s restaurant is called Alto Bajo, more or less Spanish for Hi Lo, but otherwise branded separately from the above Marriott bullshit. It’s a “modern Mexican” menu from Chicago chef Chip Barnes with an assist from Oaxacan-American superchef Iliana de la Vega, though the two non-Northwesterners do an admirable job focusing the menu on local ingredients.

With a menu that changes as frequently as this one, you’re bound for hits and misses. My first meal at Alto Bajo was brunch—the time of day when Alto Bajo feels most like a hotel restaurant. We chose the wrong things on the menu: chilaquiles ($12)—tortilla chips swimming in salsa, crema, and eggs, unmemorable without some optional additions (we went with boar chorizo, which was a smoky, spicy delight, $4)—and an omelette a la poblana—with a splash of green poblano sauce, served with potatoes and totally dry toast. The $16 omelet’s saving grace was a streak of huitlacoche, a purply-black fungus-infected corn with a sweet, mushroomy flavor. (Huitlacoche is a rarity north of the border and a delicacy south of it, perhaps because in English it’s called “corn smut,” which sounds exceptionally unappetizing.)

Drinks were less disappointing. In the AM, there’s a michelada (beer and spices), but for it to cost $11 and not include any liquor is a shame, and despite a nice, slightly warming freshness, it can’t help but taste of a lost bet. A breakfast margarita never hurt anybody, and Alto Bajo has a few: naturally there are “Alto” (fancy) and “Bajo” (less fancy) versions, but also a purple prickly pear option and a slightly pinker hibiscus one. A house horchata is the base for the rummy Abuela’s Nightcap (A+ name), which, despite its postmeridian moniker, is a great morning drink, all warm cinnamon spice.

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This Week on Nextdoor (with Special Guest Frank Cassano!)


Good Morning, News: Jeff Sessions Hits Town, Bumbling Trump Lawyers, and Washington Slaps Down a Gas Plant

JEFF SESSIONS: Likes to scold pot plants.
JEFF SESSIONS: Likes to scold pot plants.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is emerging from his cozy, cookie-scented tree bole to visit our fair city today, in what looks like it'll amount to a push for more stringent crackdowns on undocumented immigrants. There's a protest planned, of course.

Rainnnnn. We got drenched yesterday, and that means Multnomah County residents who've been displaced by the Eagle Creek Fire get to go home.

OH SNAP: Looks like Paul Manafort, a former top Trump aide, was wiretapped before and after last year's election.

You read this story about two Trump lawyers openly and loudly discussing sensitive White House business in a DC restaurant, right? They were sitting next to a New York Times reporter. "A reporter who happened to be at the next table heard Mr. Cobb describing varying views of how to respond to [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller’s requests for documents." Beautiful.

Speaking of White House attorneys, they're trying to force US Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley to accept Trump's choice for a new federal appeals judge. The two senators have said they'll block the nomination (using an informal process it's not clear Republicans will abide by).

ICYMI: The Merc's Doug Brown broke news on Friday that the secretive grand jury process is on its way out in Multnomah County. Instead of getting the thumbs up to try people for crimes in secret, local prosecutors will now have to convince a judge, in open court, that they have probable cause to move forward with a case.

A Washington State board has thrown a kink into the plan to build a massive gas-to-methanol plant in Kalama. From OPB: "In its summary judgement, the board wrote it is 'troubled by the project’s emission of greenhouse gases without further evaluation of potential mitigation measures...'" Makes sense.

A new Amazon warehouse is coming to North Lombard street—in an area of town that might offer the retailer a five year reprieve on real-estate taxes, according to the O.

Speaking of Lombard, it was the site of an awful crash last night that left two people dead and four more seriously injured.

Oregon legislators called three former state health officials to testify about an agency scandal yesterday. None showed up.

Protests continued in St. Louis yesterday over the acquittal of a police officer who killed a Black man. They were toned down compared to the weekend. Meanwhile, protestors there are calling foul on St. Louis police's use of a "kettle" to arrest them on Sunday. That practice has been used in Portland—most recently in an early June demonstration.

Donald Trump addresses the UN General Assembly today. And down in Washington, the latest effort to dismantle Obamacare might have a shot.

Now get out there in that rain!


TBA Review: Erin Markey's Boner Killer Lives Up to the Hype

Sean Schumacher / Courtesy of Portland Institute for Contemporary Art

There were lines out the door for both ticket holders and those waiting in standby for Erin Markey's TBA show. Nineties hip-hop bumped through the theater walls. People were spilling drinks and making new friends. Clearly, word had gotten out that Markey’s show, Boner Killer, was a hot ticket. Markey has built up a reputation for being one of the most original, off-the-wall, and funniest performers in Brooklyn’s tremendous comedy scene. She was named one of the borough's funniest people in 2016 by Brooklyn magazine and has been called a “magnetic diva” by the New York Times. Clearly, this show came with a lot of hype. Spoiler alert: It lived up to it.

From the get-go, Markey’s one-woman show (accompanied by bandmate Emily Bate on bass and electric guitar) was all over the place. That's not a bad thing. In a style that I've come to understand and appreciate more in contemporary performance, Markey's comedic storytelling thrives on fast cuts. What can start as a direct address demanding that the audience become the event planners for her ideal funeral can quickly be interrupted by a raucous Whitney Houston or Fiona Apple cover, leaving the audience searching for meaning in the sudden change. Markey doesn’t get bogged down in explaining the shifts. Throughout the piece, she moved from one moment to the next with a wink and smile, luring the audience into thinking that all would become clear with time.

I’m not sure it ever did.

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ICYMI: Pics from Saturday's Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy Show!

Did you miss this weekend's amazing "Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy" showcase at Revolution Hall? If so, too bad—because it was gut-busting funny, and a great way to see Portland best local comedic talent and up & comers all in one place. Hosted by Nariko Ott, the show featured Caitlin Weierhauser, Anthony Lopez, Becky Braunstein, Isaac Pendergrass, JoAnn Schinderle, Adam Pasi, Whitney Streed, sketch comedy group The Aces, and an absolutely insane comedy PowerPoint display from Philip Schallberger, as well as the winning humor entries from the HUMP! film fest.

That was a whole LOT of funny. Here are just a few pics from the night taken by photog extraordinaire Caroline Smith. And if you missed it, don't sweat it! We'll be back next year! In the meantime, be sure to support all your local geniuses of comedy by attending their shows (courtesy of the Mercury's Things to Do calendar).

The Aces
The Aces Caroline Smith

Philip Schallberger
Philip Schallberger Caroline Smith

Wm. Steven Humphrey
Wm. Steven Humphrey Caroline Smith

JoAnn Schinderle
JoAnn Schinderle Caroline Smith

Caroline Smith

Adam Pasi
Adam Pasi Caroline Smith

Becky Braunstein and Anthony Lopez
Becky Braunstein and Anthony Lopez Caroline Smith

Caitlin Weierhauser Caroline Smith

Caroline Smith

Nariko Ott Caroline Smith

Whitney Streed
Whitney Streed Caroline Smith


Savage Love Letter of the Day: Love Isn't a One-Hit Wonder


I'm inching up on 49 years old with a girlfriend 20 years younger than me. I was married to another woman for 10 years before we split/divorced (amicably after a little time. She is non-negotiable family for me now. Loved dearly. Totally non-sexual.) Before my ex-wife and shortly after we split, I had an intense relationship with another woman. Let's call her Nina. We were together for two years and separated for two years when I met my ex-wife. The main issue, really the only issue, between me and "Nina" was her fear of commitment. After two years together she couldn't commit. After two years apart, she resurfaced on 9/11, looking for comfort in a dark time. We got together a few times then she disappeared. At the same time I was building a new relationship with the now ex-wife. As my marriage was crumbling for unrelated reasons, I coincidentally reconnected with Nina. She was partnered at the time, essentially married, but the spark was still there between us and we engaged in an affair I'm not proud of for a year before I broke it off when she made clear her intention to marry her partner.

As you can imagine, there are all kinds of details in between that I need not go into. And I had all kinds of personal growth and other relationships after my separation from my ex wife. I maintain an occasional communication with Nina. Though about two years ago she came clean to her wife and promised to cease communication with me.

All of this said, I struggle with the concept of the "love of your life." I feel that Nina is that for me. I get that we will never be together again in the real world and I'm not at all certain that it would be a happy ending if we could. BUT... when I think about life on the whole, she is the one I think of as the "love of my life." So when my current GF asks and says I'm the love of HER life, I just don't know what to say.

Am I a jerk if I tell her what she wants to hear, even if it's not really true? Lying has never been my style. (The affair was a short-term lapse I did not enjoy.) But also, I can't see the good in telling every potential partner that the "Iove of my life" position has been filled and might not change. Or it might. I don't think so, but maybe it could. What are your thoughts?

Only Nina Ever

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TBA Review: Half Straddle's Power Pop and Sisterhood

Bob Fortner / Courtesy of Portland Institute for Contemporary Art

A few years back, some friends moved to New York. I asked them what they most wanted to do there. Their response? As if it was a completely normal response: "Make a theater band."

"What's a theater band?" you might ask. I'm not sure if a real definition exists, but from my own experience, it's a group of actors who also happen to sing and play instruments, and get together to essentially live-score a play. My first exposure to this was in the mid-aughts when Sweeney Todd had an excellent revival on Broadway in which every player in the cast also played in the band that accompanied the show. There have been countless others. Taylor Mac might even fit into the category as his own theater band. Or Green Day, a band that made a musical about a band... sort of. In any case, the reason I bring up theater bands and my friends and Sweeney Todd is that in terms of theatrical experience mixed with a concert vibe, Half Straddle know what's up.

Half Straddle took the stage at Lincoln Hall last week to a large, enthusiastic crowd. They were to perform their latest, Ghost Rings, "an original song cycle that burrows and soars through the twisted layers of love among best friends and a family band of yesteryear," according to their website. I'd say that's about accurate. The curtain went up on the four-piece showered in light and glitter. Over a throbbing score of synth and drums, we heard playwright and performer Tina Satter explain a bit of context for the piece. It's an installment among several works she's making about her sister, and loosely based on a short-lived family band that she made with her sister. "Ghost rings" are also a type of candy she made up when she was a little girl. It was clear upfront that this was going to be a show focused on memories.

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There's a Protest Planned for Jeff Sessions' Portland Visit Tomorrow

From Facebook event page

Attorney General Jeff Sessions—who's looking to repeal protections for immigrants, crack down on legal weed, and give business owners the ability to discriminate against LGBT customers—might have thought he could sneak into our fair city unaccosted.

Not the case.

After news broke last week that Sessions will be traveling to Portland for a series of incognito meetings with local and federal law enforcement officials, a number of organizations—including Salem-based
Voz Hispana Cambio Comunitario and the anti-Trump Portland's Resistance—have begun planning a protest.

More than 150 people have said they'll show up, and there's not even a location yet.

The protest, scheduled for 10 am tomorrow morning, currently shows "TBD" under location—presumably because protestors don't know where the AG will be. Here's the event info.

Update: The protest is now scheduled from 11 am to 2 pm, outside of 1455 NW Overton.

The Oregonian, citing an anonymous official, says Sessions plans to discuss topics like "immigration, violent crime, drug enforcement and the opioid epidemic" on his visit. He's recently slammed Multnomah County's policy of not telling federal immigration officials when undocumented immigrants land in jail.

Update, 1:10 pm: Apparently Sessions is making public remarks after all. The US Department of Justice just announced that he'll be speaking at 1 pm at the local United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) field office, 1455 NW Overton. Sessions is slated to give "remarks to federal law enforcement authorities about sanctuary cities," according to the release.

Religious Moron: Gay Sex Unnatural Because Kids Find It Icky

The Friendly Atheist brings this idiot and his idiocy to our attention...

Conservative activist E.W. Jackson recently interviewed WorldNetDaily’s David Kupelian and both men agreed that homosexuality was unnatural because kids found it icky. “We now have 4-year-old kids in preschool where we have lesbian and transgender teachers,” Kupelian said. “They go in and they show two women kissing, two men kissing; there is a natural ick factor where children who have not been corrupted say, ‘Ick, that’s gross.’ I’m sorry, it is gross and the grossness is something that God has put in their mind. People may not like to hear this but it actually is gross and it’s a natural reaction of little innocent kids.” Jackson agreed, saying,”Let’s face it, you put before a group of 4, 5, 6, 7-year-olds two men kissing and of course they’re going to say, ‘Eww, eww, that’s gross.'"

Do you know what else kids find icky? Straight sex. Explain where babies come from to a group of innocent kids—or a group of guilty ones—and the typical reaction isn't, "My goodness, doesn't that sound lovely? I'm look forward to experiencing sweet, sweet heterosexual intercourse after marrying an opposite-sex partner who, like me, will be a virgin on our wedding day." Small children, even ones who grow up to be straight, think sex—gay, straight, and everything in between—is completely gross and utterly disgusting.

And if we're going to start declaring things unnatural because kids find it icky, if this is the standard, we're gonna have to get broccoli out of the supermarket.

At Feast’s Smoked Event, Marrow Reigned Supreme


Last year, Mother Nature tried to take the piss out of Feast’s very popular Smoked! event by taking a literal piss on it.

The annual al fresco event—which brings together chefs from around the nation who show up to show off their grilling skills—is held at the Fields Park which, because of some uncooperative weather last year, was turned into a muddy fairway that almost made it unsuitable for an evening of snacking.

Thankfully, Mother Nature spared the event this year—even though the Gorge wildfire cast a somber gloom over the event, and all of Portland in general—which gave you more time to savor these chefs’ one-time culinary treats. That’s good news. Even better? A lot of these one-time dishes might eventually make guest appearances on local menus, which means everyone who didn’t or couldn’t afford to attend Feast might have a chance to try them down the road.

Here’s what’s coming your way. Probably. Maybe.

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Good Morning, News: Sessions is Coming to Portland, Trump Speaks to the UN, and Spicer Rolls into the Emmys

GOOD MORNING, BLOGTOWN! (Oops) there goes the dreams we used to say. (Oops) there goes the time we spent away. (Oops) there goes the love I had, but you cheated on me and that's for that now. LET'S GO TO PRESS.

The Eagle Creek fire grew to 48,000 acres this weekend, but the heavy rains are expected to calm down matters significantly—though not completely.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions (BOOOOOOO!) will be visiting Portland Tuesday to talk with law enforcement about a number of his evil schemes. I'm sure he can expect a very warm Portland welcome.

A prisoner is the fifth man to die "unexpectedly" this year at the Twin Rivers Correctional Institution—an investigation is underway.

While our beloved Diego Valeri set a new record, the Timbers fell to Real Salt Lake this weekend. Check out the recap from our footy correspondent, Abe Asher!

White House lawyers reportedly got into a slap fight over how much they should cooperate with Robert Mueller's Trump/Russia investigation.

But the story behind this story is great—because the bickering White House lawyers made the poor choice of doing it in public... at a restaurant... right next to the New York Times Washington bureau.

Trump is speaking before the UN General Assembly this week (hoo boy) to inspire the world to get behind sanctions for North Korea's missile program.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is recommending that the Trump administration modify at least 10 national monuments, which include shrinking the boundaries of four of them.

The Washington Post spots a troubling trend: "Trump-owned hotels and clubs have long made money by holding galas and other special events. Now, their clientele is changing. Trump’s properties are attracting new customers who want something from him or his government."

Trump's pretty mad at Hillary Clinton for her new memoir What Happened, but deals with it in a mature way by retweeting a meme of him hitting her with a golf ball.

Riots erupted in St. Louis last night as 80 protesters were arrested for demonstrating against a white cop who was acquitted for killing a Black man.

Insurance companies may be partially to blame for the nation's opioid crisis, because they limited access to drugs that were less addictive.

And here we go again, as Hurricane Maria is on a collision course with the Caribbean islands.

Oh, and don't forget that the world is going to end (again) this Saturday, September 23. NBD.

Last night's Emmys actually got a few things right: Awarding deserving shows, including lots of diversity, and wait... umm... rebranding Sean Spicer? OH HELL NO.

Okay let's look at the WEATH... HEY, IT'S RAINING!!: Hey, it's raining! Showers and cool weather in the low to mid 60s through Thursday.

And finally, here's Sean Spicer rolling into the Emmys to compare crowd sizes. (I dunno... what do you think? Too soon? Yeah, like way too soon.)

TBA Review: Morgan Bassichis Attempts to Update the Protest Song

Morgan Bassichis - Me, But Also Everybody! (Part I) - MoMA PS1 from Morgan Bassichis on Vimeo.

PICA describes Protest Songs, Morgan Bassichis' TBA performance as "an evening of protest songs to soothe your despair and stoke your outrage." While those intentions were on display at last night's performance, I couldn't help but wonder whether Bassichis could have predicted how much soothing was needed. Especially for the average Oregonian—in the last few weeks, we have seen our state set ablaze while much of the country is flooded. We continue to bemoan the fact that a reality TV star sits in the most powerful seat in our nation, and we are also trying to process the local atrocity of May 26, even as recent events in Charlottesville stir up embers of rage again.

So Bassichis had an uphill battle. While he and his talented backing band, Senior Energy, did their best to engage the crowd through a bit of stand-up, some cabaret improvisation, attempts at crowd participation, and sing-a-longs, there was also a pervading sense of hopelessness.

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