Sneaker Wave: The Latest in Portland Hip-Hop

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Is there anyone who is able to keep up with the insane amount of quality music being released, both in the mainstream and regionally? There’s stuff coming from so many angles, and I am limited on space. While struggling to find the time for repeat listens of Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s brand-spankin’ new collaborative album Everything Is Love (it’s perfect), straight-up ignoring the rollout of Kanye West’s Ye, and only kind of paying attention to that unsavory Drake/Pusha T drama, I’ve also been hearing a lot of whispers about forthcoming hip-hop and R&B projects from Portland musicians. If you want an intro to the scene, you’re in luck! On Saturday, June 30, Mississippi Studios is hosting Portland Hip-Hop 101: How the Game Is Played, with an excellent panel of local artists that will include Rasheed Jamal, Mic Capes, O.G. One, Cool Nutz, Vursatyl, and Karma Rivera. Hosted by DJ Klyph, the conversation will be recorded for a live episode of Kill Rock Stars’ music business podcast The Future of What. Here are four other dope developments I found in my inbox recently.

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She Doesn't Really Care

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ZARA

Marie Claire:

In a The Onion-style moment, Melania Trump boarded a plane to visit immigrant children apparently wearing a jacket that said, "I Really Don't Care. Do u?" according to The Daily Mail. The jacket she appeared to be wearing is $39 from Zara.... Melania wore the jacket as she boarded a plane en route to Texas, where she visited an immigrant children detention facility. [It's] worth mentioning that the First Lady didn't wear it in Texas or anywhere close to the immigrant facility. Still: Melania must have known where she was going when she put on the jacket and boarded the plane.

The Daily Mail isn't always, erm, a completely reliable news source. But the First Lady's spokesperson has confirmed that, yes, she was wearing that jacket when she left for Texas. CNN's Jim Acosta tweets...

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Floating Room's Sophomore Album Navigates the Crags of Emotional Trauma

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Lance Bangs

Floating Room’s sophomore album False Baptism is an uber-confessional crusher that neither singer/guitarist Maya Stoner nor her multi-instrumentalist bandmate/boyfriend Kyle Bates was in a rush to release, though it’s been finished for about a year.

Stoner wrote Floating Room’s 2016 debut, Sunless, in the aftermath of an abusive relationship. That album’s self-described “gray pop” grapples with her confusion and distress amidst a wash of heavy-lidded synth and warbling guitars.

“That record was more like shell-shock, like not being totally clear about what happened,” explains Stoner. “I was subconsciously putting off [releasing the new record] because I didn’t really wanna talk about the meanings of the songs... I was also feeling kind of self-conscious about putting out another album that’s slightly related to the same depressing shit I was already writing about.”

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Portland Playhouse Extends Its Run of August Wilson’s Fences

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BRUD GILES

I almost missed Portland Playhouse’s presentation of Fences because I came into my new position as the Mercury’s arts editor during the middle of the production’s run. But I still wanted to see it, because everything I’ve seen at Portland Playhouse has been good, and because I remembered previous arts editor Alison Hallett calling Fences “one of the finest American plays ever written.” Now I’m glad I did, because the success of the show caused Portland Playhouse to extend its run through July 1. You now have two more weekends to see this dynamic exploration of a Black 1950s Pittsburgh family. If the show I attended on a Thursday with a packed audience is any indication, you should get tickets sooner rather than later.

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Portland Wing Week: Eat These $5 Wings June 25-30

Listen, Portland. We love you. And we love wings. So the Portland Mercury is teaming up with our pals at Jim Beam, TsingTao, and dozens of local bars and restaurants to bring you the second ever Portland Wing Week—6 wings for $5, all over town! Here are just a few of the delicious options:

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Spicy PB&J Wings at Alameda Brewing Co.
Heat level: 3/5

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Bourbon Berry at Local 66 Bar and Grill
Heat level: 3/5

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Food Review: Pie Lovers Rejoice! Paiku and Painted Saints Are Serving the Pies of Your Dreams

Paiku
Paiku Cameron Browne

What do you think of when you hear this question: “Do you want to get some pie?”

Bourbon pecan, lemon meringue, mom’s apple? Pepperoni, margherita, supreme? Or do you get that heady, room-filling, buttery-crust-baking, potato-and-stew-meat aroma of a savory meat pie? Whether it’s a frozen chicken pot pie, a crusty handheld pasty, or a deep-dish cottage pie—I don’t have time for sweets or pizza when I’ve got pie to eat.

One purveyor of such a pie is Paiku, a longtime staple at the food cart pod and beer porch next to Kruger’s Farm Market on North Lombard, which earlier this year started pumping out pies from a brick-and-mortar shop in downtown St. Johns.

Paiku specializes in meat dishes ranging from pot pie to cottage, as well as sandwiches and salads, charcuterie boards, pancakes, omelets, and... okay, you get the picture, they’re doing too much. Yet some of the sneakier highlights are slightly off the beaten path: a surprisingly bright, tomatillo-y wild boar chili ($4 for a cup, $2 to sub it in for a salad on a dinner plate), and slow-cooked venison in either a cottage pie or sandwich (each $11).

Yes, 14-hour days are awfully ambitious. And no, Paiku’s not balancing all those things perfectly. Limited beer and unbalanced, oversweet cocktails mean it’s not a happy hour spot, and the breakfast menu just isn’t as compelling as lunch and dinner.

They’re at their best with (surprise) pie, including a very classic slice of chicken pot pie—chicken and veggies in a rich thyme gravy—and a rotating list of dessert options, all framed by a consistently impressive crust: perfectly flaky and never dried out or soggy. (This baking mastery is also apparent in the best part of the breakfast menu: the biscuits, which alone are worth the morning visit.)

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How an Experimental Village for Homeless Women Defied Portland’s Expectations

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Meg Nanna

Jan has spent so many nights sleeping on pavement that the cushion of a thick twin mattress feels foreign.

Standing in her new home—an eight- by 12-foot hexagon-shaped building—she hesitates before spreading a brown blanket over the bed’s crisp sheets. Since moving in over a week ago, Jan has been falling asleep tucked inside her familiar sleeping bag over a thin camping pad. Tonight, she says, she thinks she’ll sleep under the covers.

“It’s the decompressing that gets to a person,” says Jan, 58, who spent the last year sleeping under an Interstate 405 overpass in Northwest Portland, and who asked to be identified only by her first name. “It takes a while to get used to the fact that I’m inside a place—that I have a bed, that I don’t have to keep my eyes open all the time. You gotta learn how to be around people again.”

Jan’s cautious acceptance of her new home is a transition that her neighbors, members of her new community, Kenton Women’s Village, are all familiar with.

The village, a collection of 14 tiny buildings (with enough space for a bed, shelving, and a solar-powered electrical outlet) in a secluded lot just north of Kenton Park, is meant for cis and transgender women transitioning out of homelessness—and the trauma that comes with it. When it opened in June 2017, the village was meant to test the efficacy of a women-only “pop-up” shelter that would serve as a stepping stone between homelessness and permanent housing. The pilot program, backed by both public and private dollars, wasn’t meant to last longer than a year.

But the village has exceeded its founders’ cautious expectations. Of the 23 women who’ve lived in the village, 14 have successfully moved into permanent housing with the help of on-site case workers. All current residents are enrolled in a health insurance plan—allowing many to be treated for chronic health issues—and all have replaced missing or lost identifying documents that have kept them from finding work or applying for housing aid. While four residents have been asked to leave for violating village rules, the Kenton village hasn’t brought with it an uptick in crime in the North Portland neighborhood, nor an influx of other homeless camps in the area.

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Good Morning, News: Justice for Antwon Rose, a Useless Executive Order, and Portland's Child Detention Center

Stay up to date on Portland news and politics. Looking for fun? Here are the best Things to Do in Portland today.

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Scott Olson / Getty Images

Good morning, Portland. It's going to be a drizzly/cloudy day in the mid-70s today. Here's some news to start your day:

Not Good Enough: Donald Trump signed an executive order yesterday, reversing his decision to separate immigrant children from their parents after crossing the US' southern border. The order does not end Trump's "zero tolerance" policy, which places all incoming immigrants (even those seeking asylum from domestic violence, religious prosecution, or gang warfare) into detention. The only change? Kids will be held in cages with their parents, instead of by themselves. Oh, and there's absolutely no plan to help the 2,400+ kids who've already been taken from their parents reunite with their family members. Trump, who's yet to claim any responsibility for this traumatic policy, is forcing Congress to consider another border wall bill today.

For the Record: Trump's executive order misspelled "separation."

Portland's Not Impressed: This order doesn't affect the group of protesters camped out in front of a regional ICE office in Portland. They don't plan on ending the protest until ICE leaves Portland or the US starts following international asylum standards.


Neither are Trump's Friends: Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer and confidant, has stepped down from his position with the Republican National Convention, citing the GOP's "heart-wrenching" family separation law.

Up in the Air: Hundreds flocked to New York City's LaGuardia Airport last night after rumors spread that Texas flights containing immigrant kids recently split from their parents were en route. It's unclear if those flights ever made it to LGA, perhaps because most major airlines have refused to take part in Trump's forced separations. AIR LAW!

Here's Where Those Kids Are Ending Up: At least one of the Texas facilities paid by the feds to hold immigrant children has a record of injecting kids with heavy sedatives. This is only one of many federally-funded Texas shelters for immigrant kids with a history of child abuse and neglect.

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Trump's Order to End Family Separation Won't End Portland ICE Protest

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Kelly Kenoyer

This afternoon, Donald Trump signed an executive order to end his administration's decision to separate immigrant children from their parents at the border. But, for the growing group of protesters gathered outside a regional US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Southwest Portland, that's not going to cut it.

"That doesn't effect our vigil," says Jacob Bureros, a spokesperson with Direct Action Alliance.

Trump's order allows children to stay with their parents while held in an ICE detention cell—but does little to decriminalize families seeking asylum.

"This isn't an end to the 'zero tolerance' policy," Bureros says. "This isn't an end to holding families in concentration camps."

The protest, dubbed "Occupy ICE PDX" online, began on Sunday, June 17, and has only grown in size since. Last night, hundreds of people gathered outside the facility to show their support—and dozens set up tents to spend the night. The occupation has forced ICE to close the regional office building today, citing "security concerns." In a media statement, the agency said its "normal operations will resume once security concerns have been addressed."

Judging by the growing momentum behind the ICE protest, that may take longer than a day.

Bureros says the protest doesn't plan on wrapping up until one of two things happens: Either ICE leaves Portland or the US upholds international asylum standards. The group is also called on the feds to offer mental health services to the hundreds children and families who've already been separated by ICE agents.

"Just because these children have been reunited with their families doesn't mean they don't have lifetime of trauma," says Bureros, who has children of his own.

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Portland Wing Week: Eat These $5 Wings June 25-30

Listen, Portland. We love you. And we love wings. So the Portland Mercury is teaming up with our pals at Jim Beam, TsingTao, and dozens of local bars and restaurants to bring you the second ever Portland Wing Week—6 wings for $5, all over town! Here are just a few of the delicious options:

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Chesapeake Confit Wings at Wayfinder Beer
Heat level: 3/5

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Mama's Harissa Wings at Bar Maven
Heat level: 3/5

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Romance Dies, but Merman Sex Lives on in Melissa Broder's The Pisces

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HOGARTH PRESS

In a June interview with Hazlitt, Melissa Broder claimed she hasn’t seen the Guillermo del Toro film The Shape of Water. She admits she skipped through it on a plane, but gave up when she couldn’t find any sex scenes. The Shape of Water isn’t all that similar to Broder’s novel The Pisces, but it’s unlikely the two artworks will escape comparison: Both contain a romance between a woman and a fish-man.

“My agent was like, ‘No, it’s good,’” Broder says in the interview. “‘People will be prime[d] for fish sex.’” Unlike The Shape of Water, Broder’s novel has sexual situations and interactions that feel alarmingly realistic. There’s no romanticism. Instead there’s only delusion and inevitable embarrassment. Thumbing through it, I realized I was anxiously grinding my teeth, but also thinking, “Yeah, that’s Tinder all right.”

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Solo Guitarist Marisa Anderson Reflects on Finding Personal Peace in Chaotic Times

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JASON QUIGLEY

For years, Marisa Anderson has lived a double life of sorts, as both one of the most skilled and adventurous solo guitar players on Earth, and also as a relative secret, hidden away in her longtime hometown of Portland.

Even within the solo guitar scene—which has grown over the past decade—Anderson’s work often feels overlooked by all but the most committed enthusiasts for dusty, six-stringed sounds. But that’s changing; with the thrust of the mighty Thrill Jockey Records behind her new album Cloud Corner, Anderson can feel an increase in interest and attention for her music.

“I’ve just been me doing me my whole life, and things attach or fall away,” Anderson says. “Honestly, I don’t know why it’s happening, [but] it is happening. It’s fine. I like doing what I do. It’s not the reason I do it. But I don’t want to think about that too much. I just want to do what I do.”

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Good Coffee Company Opens Third Location in Slabtown

Good Coffee is Now Open in Slabtown
Good Coffee is Now Open in Slabtown Chad Walsh

Before brothers Nick and Sam Purvis teamed up to bring Portland their Good-branded roasted coffees and cafes, they were both competitive baristas competing in regional and national drink-making championships. (In 2011, Sam won the regionals in these parts; Nick placed in the top five nationally in 2013.)

But since 2014, the brothers have been opening Good cafes featuring their own roasts, first on Division and then on SE 12th.

On June 16th, they opened their third cafe at 2175 NW Raleigh in the Slabtown District where they provide workers and tenants in a rapidly expanding neighborhood with espresso drinks, teas, and Bakeshop pastries, as well as more experimental seasonal coffee drinks like blackberry-walnut lattes and salted honey cortados.

As you can see by the accompanying photo, the Brothers Purvis have opted to closely hew to the clean Scandinavian design, including white marble countertops and subway tiles, with bursts of color from the many plants strategically placed around the space.

After a small soft opening, Good Coffee is now officially open daily, from 7 am to 7 pm.

Good Coffee: 2175 NW Raleigh


Black Milk's Fever Is an Example of His Continuously Inventive Spirit

BLACK MILK Wed 6/20 Jack London Revue
BLACK MILK Wed 6/20 Jack London Revue Delaney Teichler

Black Milk has been killing the game for more than a decade. Known for his innovative approach, the Detroit-born rapper/producer’s new record Fever is his seventh studio album since his 2005 debut, Sound of the City. During his rise, he’s collaborated with and been cosigned by living legends like Royce Da 5’9 and the Roots’ Black Thought.

Lead single “Laugh Now Cry Later” is just one example of how Fever feels like scrolling through an infinite news feed. The song’s lyrics provide spot-on commentary about the ways in which the news cycle and social media impact the mental state of young people of color and their relationships. The characters in the music video burn sage, fill their home with plants, drink tea, light candles—hopeful gestures of supposed self-care. Yet they spend the bulk of their time interacting with their phone screens, video games, or absorbing TV instead of each other. An image of a Black man’s tears and eerily bright eyes at the end of the video ends up feeling simultaneously terrifying and relatable.

But Fever also delivers sonically: Electronic soul production is layered with heavy guitar riffs on tracks like “True Lies” and “DiVE,” while “Could It Be” and “Will Remain” feature smooth, danceable production. Perhaps my favorite song on the album is closing track “You Like to Risk It All / Things Will Never Be,” with its beautiful keys, synth, and euphoric vocal effects. Black Milk’s Fever never sounds abrasive or explosive—with topical lyrics and fleshed-out melodies, it’s an example of his continuously inventive spirit. Now on his “Fever Tour,” Black Milk is bringing along the Nat Turner live band from 2016’s The Rebellion Sessions and having Portland’s cosmic-soul outfit Brown Calculus open the show.


Good Morning, News: Welcome to the Dystopia

Stay up to date on Portland news and politics. Looking for fun? Here are the best Things to Do in Portland today.

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Mario Tama / Getty Images

GOOD MORNING, BLOGTOWN! Better be street if he's looking at me. I need a soldier that ain't scared to stand up for me. LET'S GO TO PRESS.

ICE agents in Oregon are refusing to let immigrants that are being held in federal prison have access to any legal counsel.

Meanwhile protesters outside Portland's ICE offices are camping out and refusing to leave unless Trump revokes his insanely cruel "No Tolerance" policy.


A person set themselves on fire in a Portland park yesterday, after reading aloud their manifesto on mental health and homelessness.

A new report issued yesterday reveals that the hateful, dim bulbs of the Trump administration may have lost track of 6,000 unaccompanied migrant children. Expect this situation to get much, much worse.

The AP reports that babies and preschool-age children are also being taken from their parents' arms and sent to "tender age" shelters in South Texas. This is news that rightly made MSNBC's Rachel Maddow break down on camera while reading the story.

Then there's this headline: "A 10-year-old with Down syndrome was taken from her immigrant mom under Trump policy, Mexico says."


HERE'S HOW YOU CAN HELP STOP THIS MADNESS.

Meanwhile Trump is separating children from their parents and imprisoning them as leverage to force congress to pass even more strict immigration laws, and it looks like the GOP is playing right into his tiny hands.

THIS:

Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, a senior adviser to the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), announced early Wednesday that he is leaving the Republican Party, which he decried as “fully the party of Trump” and “a danger to our democracy and values.”

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, who lied about there not being a family separation policy, and then turned immediately around and sternly defended the policy (?), was dining in a Mexican restaurant when a group of protesters came in, confronted her, and heckled her for 10 minutes. (And just in case you're wondering, the other diners loved it.)


Meanwhile Pope Francis and British PM Theresa May have joined the chorus of world leaders that have denounced Trump's child stealing policy.

To the shock of absolutely no one, the Trump administration announced that the US is leaving the UN Human Rights Council—and why would they want us anymore?

In some actual positive news, Canada is the second nation to legalize cannabis.

Now let's look up at the WEATHER: Expect a high of 87 degrees and a possible late thunderstorm today.

And finally, sorry for all the bad news today, but this is the dystopia we now live in. But rest assured, WE WILL BEAT THESE PEOPLE. In the meantime, take some cool down time by watching this puppy getting stuck until you can no longer watch it. (That may take awhile.)