TOASTY ROAST: Okay, so I guess I should've known by the second time that the cast of Glee came out to sing (actually it was a Grant High School show choir) that we were in for a long night at the 15th Annual Portland Roast Festival held Thursday night on the floor of the Rose Garden Arena to benefit the Portland School Foundation. In the good old days I remember this was all about the evening's centerpiece: The "Hacks vs. Flacks" roast. But last night, even though the event started at 5:30 pm, guests had to slog through several speeches, the aforementioned choir show, a veal and veggie dinner and a paddle raise before the main event even started tp commence at about 8:30 pm. Was it worth the wait? Yes, of course. This event is one of the only times that politicos (the "hacks": Sec. of State Kate Brown, City Commish Randy Leonard, Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler) can take a swipe at the fourth estate (the "flacks": OPB's [very preggo] April Baer, KEX's Mark Mason and Dave Anderson, The Oregonian's Anna Griffin) without it feeling like it might end up in a knock-down brawl or in The O's editorial pages. For her part, Brown (pictured above) dazzled with digs at both side of the podium and included the following visual I shot at last fall's Basic Rights Oregon Dinner. I guess her "kiss" with Storm Large caused a bit of a "stir" in Salem. Hmmmm...
And as for her fellow hacks? Chair Wheeler should stick to governing (he's about as good at stand-up as he is at skiing), and Leonard just seemed like the whole entire event was way past his bedtime. The "flacks" ended winning the competition [at nearly 10:30 pm] with a strong showing by Dave Anderson, who possibly got away with the best zingers of the long, long night.
BLONDE AMBITION: The cast and crew of the
gleefully received "Legally Blonde The Musical" were the first to arrive to Tuesday's opening night after-party at the Marriott Courtyard. In fact, they were there even before the cupcakes and crudite platters were placed for lucky show patrons as well as the seemingly famished cast. Portland Opera's Broadway Across America recent fetish for all things fair-haired (Xanadu also starred a buxom blonde) was as evident at the party as it was onstage, where a frenetic cast led by Becky Gulsvig as "Elle Woods" pulled out all the stops for the Portland opener. Other standouts included Natalie Joy Johnson as "Paulette" (pictured above with Gulsvig) and Tigard High grad Kathleen Elizabeth Monteleone . as "Margot" (later this week she will get to perform as Elle for her hometown audience). And let's not forget the "boys" in this show. As the girls say in about every other song in the show: "OH. MY. GOD!" The dancing dudes in this show are hawt...and definitely worth the price of admission. And, oh yeah, the dogs in this show are really cute too. Woof!
SHOW 'EM YOUR TIPS! Forget Fat Tuesday. Today is Big Ass Wednesday. That's right,Big Ass Sandwiches, is handing over ALL its tips and profits to Basic Rights Oregon. So do the right thing, and chow down the little food cart on Southwest Third and Ash Street. And don't feel guilty about biting into Lisa and Brian Wood's (pictured above) terrific sammies covered in fries (they put 'em on everything!), because as we all know, when BAS goes to the mat for BRO, the calories magically disappear. Riiiight.
EDIE GOURMET: "Someone's In The Kitchen With China" is neither a new reality show starring the president of the People's Republic of China Hu Jintao, nor does it have anything to do with expensive dinnerware from France. What it is rather, is a brand new cooking show hosted by Pink Martini chanteuse China Forbes (pictured above with indie-folkster Holcombe Waller). Although its still not quite ready for broadcast, China and her crew have already shot two episodes featuring such impressive Portland talents as Thomas Lauderdale (he was the first guest), Gruner chef/owner Christopher Israel, and the queen of haute couture rain coats Hillary Day. This week Forbes will tape an Asian-themed episode featuring Andy Ricker of Pok Pok fame, Steve Smith, the mastermind behind Smith, Tazo and Stash Teas, and fashion designer Michelle DeCourcy. Forbes became interested in the idea of doing the show after she was interviewed about what was in her fridge and found it be the easiest interview she ever did. "Forget music," says Forbes. "I want to talk about food." Keep yours peeled to Chinaforbes.com and Pinkmartini.com for her soon-to-be-released "Someone's In The Kitchen With China" show.
I HEAR A SYMPHONY: I didn't actually get to see Storm Large perform with the Oregon Symphony Saturday night at a concert billed as "Crazy Love," (I was still across the street at the Our House benefit) but I heard from everyone at the after-party the show was nothing short of spectacular.
"Oh, you should have heard her drop an 'f-bomb' in front of the ENTIRE orchestra," said one concert-goer. "It was genius."
And, but of course. What else would you expect from Portland's unofficial "first lady?"
The after-party, held on the Mezzanine level of The Heathman Hotel, attracted the likes of CongressmanEarl Blumenauer and City Commish Nick Fish—both big Storm Large fans—as well as Doug Fish (no relation) and his wife Michelle DeCourcy, who designed one of Storm's dresses for the show. Also in attendance were Large's piano man, James Beaton, and guest performers Holcombe Waller and China Forbes among others.
And it was nice to finally meet Storm's father, Henry, (she's pictured with her proud papa above) who couldn't stop gushing about his "little girl."