While my preference for warm temperatures leads me to regard the winter as simply the unfortunate opposite of summer, I applaud the problem-solving positivity behind Winter Is the New Summer, a project creator Devin Gallagher calls "a citywide initiative to get people to not hibernate during winter." For the past month, Gallagher and his creative partner Nilina Mason-Campbell have been posting one full-screen photo every week of a coy Portland music maker or fan holding a handwritten poster listing live music events for the upcoming week on winteristhenewsummer.com. True, show listings are hardly unique, but portrait-based design and playful embedding of hidden DVD-style "Easter eggs" like downloadable podcasts from guest curators and videos of local musicians telling the "Bad Joke of the Week" add character (last week's, told by Rocky Tinder of Wampire: "Where does General Grant keep his armies? In his sleevies!").
Winter Is the New Summer's real contribution to the community, however, takes place not on the internet, but on the dance floor of some of the shows featured on the site—specifically those that have a little coat hanger icon next to them. Mason-Campbell explains: "The weather is pretty much the barrier in between summer and winter and going out. So at one or two parties a week we offer a free clothes check so that people can strip off their layers and party down in their summertime clothes without a care." The collective will be putting on its own events in coming weeks and through the cold months, only to seasonally shut down when the sun returns in spring.
Of course, there are those of us who are sustained through the rain and E. coli of winter by memories of warmer times—among us is local multi-instrumentalist and singer Heather Woods Broderick. Lucky for us, Broderick documented the sounds that defined her Portland summer as she biked from basement to porch to living room, recording single-microphone, four-track, acoustic takes of her folkie friends—including Kele Goodwin, Sarah Winchester, and recent Spanish transplant Rauelsson. With the help of Berlin-based boutique label Sonic Pieces, Broderick is releasing a limited run of 369 papercraft-enclosed copies of Portland Stories, the album that compiles the nine audio snapshots she took over the summer. The release show is at Valentine's on Tuesday, December 8. Fittingly, it was at Valentine's that Broderick initially hatched the plan for Stories while at a concert featuring and attended by the close-knit musical community she was inspired to record.
Though a creative community revolving around a specific venue is undoubtedly close, a band that forms at a wedding surely takes the cake for intimacy (let that be next week's WITNS Bad Joke of the Week). Such were the circumstances for the founding of Portland's newest proudly un-cool instrument-specific ensemble: the Portland Ukulele Project (or PUP for short). Currently a nine-piece, the group—led by Rachel Blumberg and Scott Magee, of Norfolk & Western and Loch Lomond, respectively—came together to cover Paul McCartney's ukulele love song "Ram On" at a friend's wedding. Blumberg's torrid affair with the ukulele is long, dating back to her days at Russell Elementary School, but blossomed publicly while touring as M. Ward's drummer, when she would perform Elvis songs on the instrument whenever he needed to change a string mid-show. Blumberg and Magee bonded over their ukuphilia and soon discovered it was a condition shared by many of their friends who were then enlisted into the band. The Portland Ukulele Project will play one of its first shows on Friday, December 4, at the Aladdin along with namesakes the Portland Cello Project. The potential for music nerd gang turf warfare is high.
While the PUP/PCP show will unfortunately be inaccessible to minors not in the company of a parent due to the Aladdin's bizarre, new, occasionally all-ages-unfriendly policies, there are plenty of other options out there for Portland's youth, notably including new venue the Parlour. Located at 2628 SE Powell, the all-ages space, which opened in late October, is dedicated to local music, art, crafts, food, and garments. With a capacity of around 85, hospitality to growing bands, and a license to sell wine and beer to adults, the Parlour could be an important new link in Portland's all-ages chain—even with its puzzling Bill-the-Butcher-style moustache logo.