When I think of times spent in Portland East, and these last few days especially, I imagine a science lab where a hand full of lab-coated individuals finally perfected an experiment wherein they successfully created a full sized atomic explosion on a miniature scale.
That is to say an awfully big punch tends to get packed into any trip there, even if it’s only for a couple of days, and my recent excursion there was no exception.
As I’d mentioned, I had been brought on by Geno to assist in the current exhibition of Shellac gig posters, I guess due to the fact that I’ve hug a number of installations in this space previously. As it turns out, due to the fact that I couldn’t find a redeye out of Oakland and I wasn’t going to miss the Refused’s performance the night before I was scheduled to leave, I wound up in Minneapolis two hours after the poster show was scheduled to begin.
Lucky for me, cartoonist extraordinaire Roger Lootine stepped up to the plate so when I finally arrived, everything was looking better than I could have imagined;
Before I knew it, I had $250.00 worth of bids penned. If you would like to see the show and possibly throw a bid down for one of your own, it will remain available for viewing for another week.
After a short time, the members of the band stopped though to take a look around;
The installation was met with great approval and I took every ounce of credit I could for simply not missing my flight. As Bob Weston, Steve Albini, Todd Trainer and I sat around a table discussing topics ranging from home buying to antibiotics to riding bicycles, I had to secretly wish my seventeen year old self could stop in to see what had become of me. My guess is that he would approve.
After saying our goodbyes to the band, eventually the lot of us headed back into the shop to work on some bikes for the following day.
Once we sorted everything out, we made our way to the venue, which I had long anticipated ever since my first viewing of ‘Purple Rain’.
And what was really sweet is I was finally able to do the dance on the mezzanine featured at twenty-seven seconds of this clip;
I have truly lived a full life.
Sometimes dreams do become a reality.
Anyway, as was expected, the beer flowed like watery beer, and the band killed it in front of a quasi-hometown crowd;
Post-show, and upon the recommendation of the band, a number of us made our way back to the shop for an after party of sorts;
Finally turning the lock on the shop sometime between midnight and two, we all shot off in different directions. I had the envious commute of two blocks where I met my host and we held it down on her roof for another two hours before finally retiring to our respective corners.
A small but passionate group arrived to engage in battle. As we prepared to match wits and wills, Geno gave us a list of instructions per challenge. Complete those instructions as well as the feat, you’d maintain your spot in the running. If not, you face disqualification. The five challenges were as follows;
1. The Hill Climb
2. The Cyclocross Sprint
3. The Derby
4. The No Pedal Downhill (first wheel in the Mississippi wins.)
5. The Circuit Race
There were a number of D.Q.s right out of the gate and I was having a hard time keeping track of what place I was in. Gene runs a tight ship though, and was letting no one slide on any infractions. I know for sure I won the downhill and the cyclocross sprint, and in celebration, drank a can of beer.
Part of winning the downhill (by barely edging Tanner out, mind you), was sacrificing my lack of waterborne diseases and stuffing the entirety of my bike and most of myself into the shallows of the Big Muddy. As everyone prepared for the circuit race, I meandered around taking photos while my clothing dried in the sun;
The Catastrophe’s final event of the day was upon us so we all shuffled back up to the hill where five laps of a predetermined circuit was about to kick off. With a shot from an imaginary pistol, the warriors were off and a victor would soon be determined;
I don’t remember what happened after that. I think Chewy won. Or maybe it was somebody else.
Finally, as Todd and Geno took a few post race hot laps, I risked life and limb taking what at this point in my ‘career’ is possibly my best photo of all time;
‘The upper echelon of mediocrity’ indeed.
Getting back out of the basin, I turned on the gas and began mashing in order win my personal KOM, when the rear hub on my bike blew up and sent me top speed into, and then over my bars. My left knee took a brunt of the impact, while the bear trap platform pedal did its worst up the back of my right leg, resulting in an immediate crimson flow from both. Not listening to Gene earlier in the day when he said I wouldn’t need my lock was among the best times I’ve not listened to him, as I was now in possession of a handy tow line;
Clowns to the front of me, jokers to the back;
Being that this was the first summer time trip I’ve made to Portland East since the very first time I darkened the Twin Cities’ door, we made the call to stop by the seasonally operational Sea Salt where we saddled up with the Surly Brewing Company dames;
We hung out there until dark and spent time catching up with old friends and new;
Did somebody say ‘free beer?
We returned to Gene’s where we spent some time with the family and I promptly fell asleep on the floor. Upon waking up, I hadda make my way back downtown, so I gave hugs and hit the road to catch the train. Once at the light rail platform I opened my bag to take inventory only to realize I’d lost my shirt and pants. I finally retraced my steps to Sea Salt where one of the previously mentioned beer dames was holding them for me. Any trip where you are given free beer and lose your pants is a success. With soggy ‘draws secured, I looped back around to the train, and swerved my way back to my host’s house to prepare for an eeeeaaarrrllly departure a few hours later.
So in conclusion, while the aforementioned explosion might have been small, the resulting damage (collateral, and otherwise) was clearly equal to that of its full sized brethren.
And so goes any trip to my home away from home of Portland East.