There's no question about it: Portland, Oregon, is AMERICAN HIP FAMILY CENTRAL. Oh, yes it is. Out-hips Seattle, New York City,San Francisco, Los Angeles. The cool-per-capita here is NOTICEABLE. I have never seen more hipster/hippie folks in one's like everywhere you turn, there's a a couple or a family dressed in bohemian/vintage/ironic chic, doing awesome stuff. It's possible that male facial hair may be mandatory in the Portland city limits, from disaffected day-stubble to Fleet Foxes/Amish beardage. Women sport razory rock grrl hair of all colors and bold highlight dimensions, carefully-chosen vintage clothes with stompy boots. Skinny jeans and tats for all. Babies and kids in one-of-a-kind whimsy knitwear, soft suede booties from Germany, band shirts, pattern mismatches.

I loved it, of course. And I love a place that sponsors cool things for families to do, like You Who, a monthly kids' rock variety show. When I heard that one of my bestest favoritest bands in the whole wide WORLD would be playing a You Who show -- THE DANDY WARHOLS --it was a great reason to hop on the freeway and head down to Portland with the family for the long Memorial Day weekend. I mean, how could I miss a Dandies show played for kids, with the setlist chosen by the young daughter of bandmember Zia McCabe, played in an old converted schoolhouse? Come on! MissSeven is a fan as well; she likes to sing along to "Plan A" and "We Used To Be Friends."

The Kennedy School is AMAZING and totally unique. From the website:
Since its 1915 opening, this historic elementary school has been a beloved fixture of its Northeast Portland neighborhood. McMenamins renovated the once-abandoned scholastic gem and turned it into Portland's most unique hotel. Here you'll find 35 comfy guestrooms fashioned from former classrooms (complete with original chalkboards and cloakrooms, private baths and telephones), a restaurant, multiple small bars, a movie theater, soaking pool, gift shop and a brewery (just wait until the principal hears about this!). Extensive original artwork and historical photographs cover the walls, ceilings, doorways and hallways.
It really was something just to walk around and look at. The mosaic artwork, the big tall windows and dark warm woodwork and long halls and old photographs of former Kennedy schoolkids was funky-beautiful and I would recommend any travelers to the area to check it out.

Around noon we joined the line of INCREDIBLY COOL FAMILIES (and a few die-hard rock stragglers without kids) and entered the big old school auditorium, which maybe was once also the gym, I am guessing. Huge folk-art style murals lined the walls with comfy fat chairs around the perimeter of the room. Babies and toddlers and preschoolers were everywhere, including Zia's daughter Matilda (in a tiny red Dandy Warhols shirt) and Dandy frontman Courtney Taylor's new baby son in a car carrier. For as many kiddies as there were, the vibe was happy and mellow, as the very tall and furry You Who owls came out to dance with the little ones pre-show to the cool East Indian beats of DJ Anjali. Several boys around the age of two or three were attempting major b-boy moves, and many of the children came in costumes, from superheroes to princesses to HIPPEST BABY EVER. Miss Seven and Mr12 watched the crowd in some awe, not exactly sure what to expect. Funky Kennedy School in Portland was a LONG ASS WAY from their last concert experience, Vampire Weekend at the prim and proper DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. Ha ha! It's fun to MESS WITH THEIR MINDS.

The show began with host Aaron Ross doing a Pee-Wee Herman-ish thing -- sort of the wide-eyed friendly guileless guy, which was sweet. Nothing tougher than working with kids and animals, and he did a nice job with both (if you count the giant owls).

Ivy Ross was out first with a short alphabet song, aided by some of the older kid audience members. The owls really do have some fine dance moves, I must say.

The Cardboard Songsters did a very cute number with large walking cardboard animals. I liked these animals a great deal and would display them proudly in my home.

Y La Bamba was next with a couple of sharp Latin-flavored songs with multi-players of many percussions. The lovely female singer had the best shag haircut I have ever seen, shooing Florence Henderson's RIGHT OUT.

Hip hop man of the hour Vursatyl came out with his three daughters and totally energized the crowd.

The cartoon inserts were TRIPPY.

I don't know who this was, but she sang in a high voice and a toddler kept knocking the mic stand into her mouth. Other toddlers were amused.

And then, at last...make some noise for the THE DANDY WARHOLS! Watch the kids go nuts when the bubble machine starts, and the band just keeps humming along. YAY!

The ten-song set went very well, with no major meltdowns, preschool stage diving, or projectile milk-vomiting. That I saw. Here's "Solid."

Mr12, feeling his old age in the crowd, moseyed back to a comfy chair, and MissSeven stood in front of me, tilting her head up and back to smile at me often. I imagined, or tried to anyway, how these little ones were experiencing the show, how loud and glorious and strange and colorful it all must seem to new eyes. (And no, it wasn't too loud, you finger-wagger types.)

Zia ended the show with an acapella version of "The Tattoo Song." Her voice sounded so pure and sweet, and it was a perfect ending to a great concert. You can see the rest of the Dandies' set here.

We all filed out of the big room, some furry-faced daddies patting sleepy baby backs, to get some lunch at Kennedy's Courtyard Restaurant. MissSeven immediately grabbed the crayons and got to work. There was a Dandy Warhols coloring page in the concert program BUT I TOOK IT. HA.

MissSeven: I want to be in a band and be an artist. I don't know how I am going to choose!

Me: You don't have to choose! You can do both!

MissSeven: Really?

Me: Yes! You don't have to do just one creative thing. You can do as many as you'd like to try. Lots of people do.

MissSeven: Cool.

Thanks You Who, The Kennedy School, and the Dandy Warhols and Pals for a great family trip! Back to HICKSVILLE SEATTLE for us. Heh.


I've never been to Portland, Oregon before. But here I am, and quickly our the door to see a VERY SPECIAL EVENT, which I will tell you about later. But for now, you can see how we meandered our way into a colorful carnival. A muddy, colorful carnival.



My 83-year-old mother, talking about her recent MRI procedure:

"Well, I didn't really mind it at all except for this terribly whiny high-pitched metallic sound. The young man operating the machine put on some rock music, which was just terrible, terrible. I asked him if he could put on something else, like Frank Sinatra. The best he could do was Dean Martin, so I suppose that was OK. You can get by with fake Sinatra, but with rock music, don't play it for me unless it's GOOD rock."


I'd like to say that I haven't met guys like Freddy Mendoza, seen here in this video, but that just wouldn't be true at all. Usually, though, they would have mullets and Transmaros and a case of Pabst in the back seat.

Rock on, Mr.Mendoza...hope Mrs. Mendoza doesn't clock you in the head with Hendrix's broom. Enjoy.

(via Dangerous Minds)


How on earth does one describe the singular force-of-nature that is punk rock legend/writer/actor/activist Henry Rollins? Perhaps instead of words, I will offer this collage of images:

You get my point, I think. Henry Rollins is all of those things and more, and I gotta tell you, he puts on one helluva show. I left the Moore Theater last night feeling impressed, exhilarated, inspired, and entertained. There was no music. There was no opening warm-up act. There was no light show or multi-media backdrops. There was one microphone, a couple of stage monitors, basic white stage lighting, and one Henry Rollins, speaking non-stop for almost three hours. And I do completely mean NON-STOP – Rollins seemed to take not a single breath the entire night and not once stopped to sip water, sit, towel off, or break his flow in any way. I’ve NEVER seen anything like this. Rollins’ ability to speak with great eloquence and organization while easily flowing between stories about his many adventures and interests was seemingly bottomless.

Without missing a beat, he recited long and precise Constitutional passages (American, Canadian and South African), Cliff-Noted his commencement speech at Sonoma College, told of listening to death metal and the Stooges with a 15-year-old Sri Lankan kid, implored men to not look in a mirror while “relieving [sexual] tension” past the age of 40, his addiction to Amazon and Ebay, the unexpected consequences of an invitation from drag queen RuPaul, and more. Henry Rollins may be the highest-functioning person with severe ADHD in the world. Now, I don’t know that he does have ADHD, but I’d bet ten bucks and a venti Americano on it. But by GOD, he sure knows how to make it work for him, and for his audience. I had no idea that three hours had gone by when he finally waved and walked off the stage. I was not at all exhausted by his non-stop pace; I was lifted along for the ride, laughing and thinking and enjoying every bit.

I would imagine that most people still think of Rollins as the man he was 25 years ago, as the pugnacious lead singer for the California punk band Black Flag: always full of rage, purposefully assholish, prone to fighting. At 49, he has taken that aggression and fire and transformed it into something entirely more positive. Rejecting violence and crippling cynicism, he has earned the understanding that nothing is ever black-and-white, that there is change possible through education and a dedication to understanding those who are different from us, that love is still worth a foolish romantic letter or two and a few broken hearts along the way, and that humility and humor make just about anything bearable. His passion to experience rather than withdraw and to grab every last bit life has to offer before you leave the planet…man, I hear ya, Henry, I hear ya.

At the top of my wish list for someone I would love to see in government would be Henry Rollins, who was born in our nation’s capital. I’m sure this idea has been brought up to him more than a few times, and I am guessing it would be too difficult for someone as independent and with such a past to be able to function in the American political system. Oh, but how I wish he could. We so badly need people in politics who are whip-smart, well-informed, passionate, and have the gift to motivate and persuade, who are not coming from the same old-boy and old-girl networks. Well, who knows – maybe someday it will be a challenge Henry would like to entertain, and maybe it isn’t impossible. By god, you’d hate to be the lawyer questioned by Supreme Court Justice Rollins, huh? HA!

Henry Rollins tours the world with his spoken-word self just about every day out of any given recent year, and he’s something to see. Go!