Black thorn masquerade ball/art show

Sat Feb 1, IWW Hall, SE 7th & Burnside

$4 with mask, $10 without 8 pm

Portland has an obnoxious problem with overusing the "benefit show" theme. While some benefit shows are held to fund a cat's spaying or to pay for airfare, other benefit shows go towards respectable causes, like paying for someone's brain cancer operation. Because of this, the life-or-death benefit show suffers for the gross overuse of the self-serving ones. HOWEVER, Black Thorn, a newspaper developed locally by the Blackthorn Collective, is disseminating information you really can't find anywhere else. I mean, where else are you going to get a firsthand account of anarchism in Buenos Aires, or a history of radical press in Portland from 1870-1940? That's why this fundraiser, to help cover the printing costs of issue three, is a cause worthier than most.

If nothing else, you could praise Black Thorn for its sheer artistic value--it's got a textural, handmade quality, printed on chalky newsprint with art primarily rendered in woodcut prints. It's all dark and weighty, as if they're letting you in on a secret. More interesting, though, is the content. It focuses not only on "radical DIY culture" such as DIY Mental Health and Fertility Control (using natural methods such as herbs, and the ludicrous but intriguing suggestion for men to bathe in 105-degree water for 45 minutes a day, to curb sperm production), but also includes radical critique and interviews (including fascinating Q&As with Israeli hardcore band Dir Yassin and Argentinian activist/artist collective Eterna Inocencia). I love it--it's a little like in actual newsprint, which is somehow more satisfying to your fingers. Plus, it's activist literature printed by a microcosm of people in our community.

Okay... that's not the only reason to attend this fundraiser. It's a masquerade ball, and everyone knows what happens at masquerade balls: made anonymous by masks, people get confused and go home with someone who's not their actual spouse. Isn't that funny! Also, The Inquisition will play live, and The Phantom Hillbilly will spin danceable tunes. (Since everyone will be dressed in costume, no one will feel stupid about dancing.) In addition, they're selling art "at working class prices" (hopefully, some of the beautiful prints they include in the publication) and pints of Pabst for a dollar. Pabst is a union beer, in case you were wondering. JULIANNE SHEPHERD