Nearly a year ago, there was a benefit for the Portland Radio Authority (PRA), a pirate radio venture aiming to provide a forum for what isn't ordinarily heard. The anonymous co-founders finally launched it in May, but after only one week on the air, they accidentally busted their transmitter and had to cobble together a new one.
Since its reinstatement in August, the PRA has amassed a diverse, relatively organized schedule of DJs. From 5 pm to midnight, Sunday through Friday, Portlanders can tune to 96.7 FM for hiphop, post-punk, underground indie, '70s soft rock, electronic, even esoteric children's records--whatever the DJ's whim. According to one co-founder, "We're mostly about freedom--If you want to throw on Justin Timberlake, you can." They've also broadcasted live performances, something they'd like to pursue further.
As politics become more heated, the PRA has started to include talk radio, working with local activists. "I think it's really important for us to do that, and the times are calling for us to become more political." However, PRA politics are not all about sticking it to big stations or the FCC--it's simply too expensive to operate legally. Besides, it's fun. "We're definitely going to get caught," they admit. "Like if an old lady happens to tune in while someone's playing something with 'fuck' in it, or we step on someone else's signal." Until then, "it's crazy. A lot of times people get wasted when they do their show, and it's like listening to a party."
Sounds great, right? Well, the catch is that you need an antenna, and it'd be best if you lived between Killingsworth and Hawthorne, but no farther east than 82nd. You might have a decent chance picking up the frequency in your car, but don't even bother tinkering the knobs on a cruddy boom box.
Because radio piracy is illegal and, if pursued at the federal level, the PRA could potentially face fines of around $5,000 for each day of broadcast (including retroactive air time), as well as jail time, so they haven't been doing much advertising. To help spread the word, and get people to listen, they're having another benefit. The cover charge includes an antenna, and they're planning on distributing a schedule of their DJ lineups, accompanied by descriptions and reviews. It's also an opportunity for them to compile an e-mail list, and the PRA co-founders said that they would definitely be open to the possibility of giving new DJs a slot. Playing are the Dutch Flat, Laserhawk, Chevron, and Spooky Dance Band. Between sets, five PRA DJs will also be spinning. The profits are going towards a new set of turntables, but it's of equal importance just to rally some attention.
Hopefully, the station will be able to build up more momentum, more listeners, and a stronger signal before it gets the old "shut down." And if you live in a hole or behind a mountain, you can still catch PRA DJs at the Blackbird's new bi-monthly foosball tournaments. MARJORIE SKINNER
Portland Radio Authority Benefit Show, Thursday, February 6, Blackbird, 3728 NE Sandy, 282-9949, 10 pm, $5
100 Artists, 100 Works, 100 Bucks
Are you getting tired of staring at that poster on your wall of Bob Marley puffing on a big spliff? Well, chances are your friends are, too. Or do you think you're fooling anybody with that giraffe print you bought at Pier One when you moved into the dorm? Honey, you're only kidding yourself with that fake African crap. What you need to do is take down the Taxi Driver poster and get some real art for those walls, something to impress the ladies (or the fellas), and have something to zone out on when the cable gets turned off. What you need to do is mosey on down to Soundvision Gallery and pick up some real art for $100 a pop.
100x100 is a fundraiser for Soundvision, where 100 artists each kicked in one piece of art priced at a hundred bucks, with the proceeds going directly to the costs of maintaining the artist-run space. Normally, a Franklin doesn't go very far in the art market, so this is a great opportunity to snatch up some good stuff dirt cheap. Their show features work by Cary Leibowitz, Charm Bracelet, Jeff Jahn, Natascha Snellman, and 96 others, so there's bound to be something up your alley. And even if you don't think so, I promise it will look better than your stolen Pabst Blue Ribbon neon sign hanging above the bed. CHAS BOWIE
100X100 Fundraiser, Soundvision Gallery, 625 NW Everett, 238-7007, First Thursday, Feb 6, 6-9 pm
Are You The Next Mrs. Portland Mercury ?
Do you have what it takes to become "Mrs. Portland Mercury 2003"? Let's find out: Are you a single/married/divorced woman, man, or something in between? Are you at least 21 years old? Do you possess "an unconventional beauty"? Are you willing to accept the fame and drunken romantic advances that come from bearing the lofty title of "Mrs. Portland Mercury"?
If you answered "yes" then enter the "Mrs. Portland Mercury Beauty Pageant," for crap's sake!
Send us your name, daytime phone and email address, plus a recent photo, and a short essay describing the talent you wish to perform, and why you want to be "Mrs. Portland Mercury."
Then mail it to "Mrs. Portland Mercury," 1524 NW 23rd Ave, Suite 2, Portland, 97210 by FRIDAY, MARCH 6.
From these entries, 10 finalists will be chosen to compete in our funny-fun pageant scheduled for late May. Then a panel of drunk and probably belligerent semi-celebrity judges will choose Mrs. Portland Mercury 2003! Omigod, you'll be FAMOUS!!
So don't delay, enter TODAY! You'll finally be recognized for the beautiful bitch/bastard you are!
Burn My Eye!, Episode 1
Burn My Eye! is a San Francisco-based cable-access TV show that's been lighting small-scale but rather dangerous fires on the airwaves since spring of 2002. Something like a TRL for the underground, but with more adventurous music and slightly less midriff, the premise is simple: interview a band, and show some live footage. This concept might not be extraordinary on its own, necessarily, except for two overlying factors: the bands showcased are always uncommonly good (Erase Errata, Numbers, Deerhoof, Nigel Pepper Cock, The Locust, and Total Shutdown have all "burned one's eye," so to speak), and the interviews are always interesting, and sometimes, umm a little bit freaky.
Burn My Eye! started "after I watched a bunch of Target Videos and realized that somebody needed to be doing that today, because there is an overwhelming amount of mind-numbingly insane bands hanging around the Bay Area," says founder and infamous photographer, Virgil Porter.
"I had a little experience with video editing and absolutely zero experience with actually using a camcorder--watch the Pink & Brown interview segment for a fantastic example of my lack of skills in this department."
The first installment features two incredible yet sadly defunct SF bands: Pink and Brown (crazy spazzcore noisemakers) and Blectum from Blechdom (the quirkiest, most cut-up and bent laptop duo of this century). Because the bands are total hams, both the live footage and the interview are hilarious. Choicest cut: when Kevin Blectum tries to explain her intricate new language.
"This music scene is a big section of our culture that I honestly just love to death," explains Porter. "Some people get their rocks off by admiring old stamps and oil paintings; I guess this music is what does that for me." JULIANNE SHEPHERD
Burn My Eye!, Portland Cable Access, channel 23, Thurs Feb 6 & Sat Feb 8, 11 pm, or watch online at www.burnmyeye.com
Protesting Safely, 101
All right, so you want to make a difference, but you don't want to be labeled an "eco-terrorist" and added to the FBI's Most Wanted List. Sounds like you need to drop by Students for Unity's "Day of Tactical Trainings for the Urban Activist," an all-day affair at PSU featuring workshops on safe ways to do everything from "banner dropping" and blockading, to urban climbing (!!) and guerilla video making.
According to Students for Unity leader, Audrey Ward, there are all sorts of fun protest methods that make a difference and don't get anyone in trouble. "Banner drops are often done with the consent of the buildings we are dropping from," Audrey explains. "Blockading can be anything; sitting in a circle in the middle of a sidewalk. Guerilla theater is just art, and artistic expression is a huge part of [demonstrating]."
Payment for attending the event depends on what's in your wallet at the moment, and proceeds go towards divisions of the War Resisters League that are fighting to keep military recruiters from harassing vulnerable low-income citizens. There's going to be food on hand, as well as some music and dancing in PSU's Food for Thought basement cafe after everything is over. Attend, learn, and never get tear-gassed again... JUSTIN SANDERS
Sat 10 am-9 pm, Smith Center Student Union, PSU, 725-8777, $5-$15 donation