Art Beat-Down 

It's October, which means the Portland arts train is chugging at full steam. Last weekend's Affair at the Jupiter Hotel was dampened slightly by nasty weather. Art dealers from all three coasts (East, West, Gulf) huddled in their makeshift hotel-rooms-turned-art-galleries as local collectors and looky-loos sloshed from room to room "soaking in" hundreds of pieces by emerging artists. Although at least one floor sculpture was accidentally trampled beyond repair, sales were up from last year, helping to ensure the sustainability of Portland's most high-profile visual art event. Competing for visual art-hearts across the bridge, the Portland Art Museum's Mark Building grand opening raged simultaneously, with public tours and a Saturday night dance party. Sources described the party as "yuppie hell" replete with "techno-reggae" music and visuals. Meanwhile, the real party took place outside as protestors picketed in response to the labor practices of developer "Mark," whom, uh-oh, the "Mark" Building happens to be named after (see News, page 6, for full story). No worries though—those nasty ol' protesters won't keep you from actually entering the museum, which, incidentally, if you're going to do, you'd better do soon. The celebratory FREE admission PAM is offering ends Sunday, October 16. Just a skip and a jump away, last Saturday's Stumptown Comics Fest on the PSU campus was a Real Event, as opposed to last year's debut fest, which Wasn't Much of Anything. Blankets stallion Craig Thompson made a surprise appearance, cool graphic novelists like Aaron Renier and Ezra Claytan Daniels flew in from cool places like Brooklyn and Chicago, and tons of people from the general public streamed through to sift through stacks and stacks of rad indie comics. The Portland comics scene is getting so big, it might be time for the Oregon Book Awards (OBA) to make a new category. The OBA 2005 finalists were announced this week, and once again comics were off the list. On the list were novelists Marc Acito (How I Paid for College) and Phillip Margolin (Lost Lake), poets Vern Rutsala (A Handbook for Writers) and Judith Barrington (Horses and the Human Soul), and in nonfiction, essay master Charles D'Ambrosio (Orphans). Oddly, the short fiction category only had TWO finalists, local fave Barry Lopez, and literal "David" to his Goliath, the little-known David Pinson. What, is the short story dead? If it's not, at least theater is, or at least it is this week. But hey, at least Frankenstein opens this weekend at Northwest Children's Theater (that was sarcasm). One highlight: Hand2Mouth physical theater mastermind Jonathan Walters was awarded what every theater-maker lusts after—an NEA grant that lets him study for two years with any American theater company, plus a stipend. Essentially, he has a new job description: "Become master of the craft." Don't be jealous, be happy—good things happen to people who deserve them.

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