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One of the most exciting events to pop up on First Thursday takes place in, of all places, a skatebowl (basically an empty swimming pool) nestled within an artfully designed building in Northwest Portland, just down the street from the Stepping Stone Cafe.

Named Deep. Happening., the monthly affair is organized by Revival Drum Shop owner and 1939 Ensemble member José Medeles, and features short performances by an array of experimental or experimental-leaning musicians and artists. And it’s just one of an array of activities taking over the Bodecker Building, a creative space dreamed up by the late Nike executive Sandy Bodecker.

“It still doesn’t make sense to me when I stop and think about how amazing this place is,” says Chris Funk, the Decemberists guitarist who helps run a recording studio on the grounds of the Bodecker Building. “I met Sandy through various friends and he talked to me about this building he had with a studio in it. I told him, ‘I don’t think I’m very interested.’ But as I got to know him and saw his vision about connecting Portland creatives and beyond, that’s when I got excited and started kicking things into high gear.”

The most high-profile of these endeavors has been the work going down at Halfling Studios, the recording space that Funk oversees. It’s there that singer/songwriter Kyle Craft tracked his 2018 release Full Circle Nightmare and where the Decemberists concocted their most recent full-length I’ll Be Your Girl. The studio was also where Medeles recorded the material for his stunning ambient recording Art of Slowness, and where he got the idea for holding the release show at the bottom of the 10-foot deep skatebowl.

That event sparked the idea for Deep. Happening., which kicked off last month with an evening that included short sets from Golden Retriever member Jonathan Sielaff and guitarist Ryan Miller, a performance by writer Tai Woodville, and a set by Joanna Wang, a Korean singer/songwriter who happened to be recording at Halfling at the time.

As proven by the poster above, this month’s event, which goes down this Thursday, June 6, looks to be another great night. There will be solo sets from electronic artist Graintable, percussionist Daniel Charles Hunt, and pedal steel player Raymond Richards, as well as abstract art on display from Micah Kassell. In between, Speck—AKA Michael Gersten, the man behind vinyl shop Speck’s Records—will DJ.

All of this is also helping to draw some attention to the work that the Bodecker Foundation, a relatively new nonprofit organization, is trying to do with the space and the resources left behind by its namesake when he passed away in October 2018.

According to the foundation’s executive director Abby Guyer, Bodecker started this endeavor in 2017 with the intent of creating “youth programming to empower kids to achieve their artistic, creative, and professional dreams.” They’ve only just gotten started on making that reality, but so far have done some awesome things. In April, they partnered with the Latino Network to host a youth recording and producing workshop focused on indigenous Latin American instruments. And coming up, Friends of Noise will be on site to hold a merch-making workshop for young musicians and bands to get started making badges, shirts, and stickers. They’re also discussing the possibility of an artist-in-residency program at the Bodecker Building and setting up a creative advisory board to decide on future projects and events.

“Everything is a test right now to see what sticks,” Guyer said. “We don’t even have a website or business cards yet, but we’re off and running and busy trying to actualize Sandy’s vision.”