Gus Van Sant (center), The Von Trapps. Thomas Lauderdale and Oregon Symphony
ODE TO OREGON: My apologies for not posting since late December: I've had what are called "technical problems" that have kept me away from the blog.That said, I did want to make sure and post about Oregon Symphony's "Ode to Joy: A Holiday Spectacular" event on Dec. 30 and 31.
It was simply amazing. The first half of the night was a "cavalcade of stars" under the incredible guidance of Thomas Lauderdale and the Oregon Symphony's amazing conductor Carlos Kalmar. Each performance was a special moment, from the 234th Army Band to Storm Large and China Forbes to the Von Trapps to Cantor Ida Rae Cahana to the Gov's Ted Kulongoski and Barbara Roberts alongside Terry Bean. But I guess the most special moment for me was listening to Gus Van Sant sing "Moon River" with a full symphony and the Von Trapps backing up him and his guitar. It was just beautiful.
The second half of the night was devoted to Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in D minor. And, with several area choirs, and four incredible opera singers, it was nothing short of stunning. What a night. Actually what an incredible couple of nights. I will never forget it.
Diane West, Thomas Lauderdale, China Forbes, Elaine and Jacob Tanzer, Brian Wannamaker, Holcombe Waller, Chuck Barnes, Lois Leeven, TJ, McHugh, Robert Goman, Randy Gragg, Jill Spitznass, Sharon Kitzhaber, Sandy Rowe, guest, Earl Blumenauer, Bill Foster, Rob Sample, Allison Blythe, Marty Hughley, David Cress, Eric Edwards, Byron Beck, Juan Martinez, Karen Brooks, Robin Mullins, Jason Mitchell, China singing
THE PARTY: It has become so legendary many people simply refer to it as "The Party."
As in "are you going to The Party?" and more importantly "what are you wearing to The Party?"
"The Party" is the party of the year. It's when that amazing musician and band leader Thomas Lauderdale—with the help of his friends and fellow hosts Bill & Karen Early, Paige Powell, Karen Brooks, Terry Bean, Sandy & Gerard Rowe, Storm Large, China Forbes, Nate Overmeyer, Sarah Dougher, Matt Jaffe, Josh Billeter, Jennifer Yocom, Ben Nystrom, Peter Parisot, Bill Tennant, Jason Mitchell, Laurie Hillibrand and August, Amanda, Melanie & Sofi von Trapp (yes, those Van Trapps)—opens up his home for his annual holiday sing-a-long.
Where else might you see a congressman croon next to a stilt-walker who just finished serenading one of the world's top runway models who is standing next to that nice rabbi and his wife? It's always a sight to behold and makes me often think of those wonderful party scenes in movies like "Auntie Mame" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's."
Although there was no "breakfast" a la Tiffany's in sight there were all sorts of delicious nibbles courtesy of Nong’s Khao Man Gai and sweet treats from Salt & Straw. And, as always, Mint's Lucy Brennan manned the cocktail bars featuring a "Pink Martini," a fruity concoction perfecting for sipping. Yes this group was well-fed and well-fueled.
And yes, there was a holiday tree that stretched three stories high.
Somehow, on that night, and at this party, everything seems possible. It's nothing short of magic.
CELEB-U-WATCH: And there he was. Actor Jeremy Sisto was spotted in Portland (*by moi) walking across one of the busiest intersections in downtown: SW Washington and Broadway.
It didn't seem like anybody recognized him. That was except me. "I love your show," I gushed to the actor who was crossing the street and is currently starring in the under-rated ABC sitcom, "Suburgatory." He smiled, and said, "thanks."
It's safe to assume Jeremy Sisto is in Portland for the holidays. I've heard his sister lives here. And, from the number of kids trailing him on the streets of downtown Portland, he looks like he has a pretty big family himself. Truth is, the dude fits right in here. His pants were covered in paint, he was wearing some beat-up jacket and his hair was anything but tame. Perfect "Portland" style.
TOP GIFT TRENDS: Christmas is less than a week away, which means it's the final marathon mile for shopping.
I've turned to Downtown Portland's stylist and shopping guru Kevin Lennox for gift trend tips, all of which can be found downtown too. That way you'll only have to park once, and you can check out Downtown Portland's yarn-bombing arts campaign while you're at it. Hopefully this makes shopping for your mom/cousin/brother a little easier. For even more ideas, Kevin's been stocking the Downtown Portland Pinterest page with tons of cool finds. Check it out here http://www.pinterest.com/downtownpdx/. Happy Holidays!
HERE ARE A FEW LAST MINUTE IDEAS!
1. Pixels (as in 64 bit inspired things that look like they are from the original Nintendo)
Pacman pixel art at Crafty Wonderland (808 SW 10th Ave)
Bowties galore at Boys Fort (902 SW Morrison)
3. Anything made out of wood (tables, candle holder, coasters, etc)
Wooden coffee table at Nordstrom (701 SW Broadway)
4) Anything drinking related (flasks, cocktail shakers, bar glasses, etc)
Flasks at Fuego (Pioneer Place, 700 SW 5th Ave)
5) Sparkling things (scarves, ipad/iphone holders, wallets, etc)
Sweater at Banana Republic (710 SW Yamhill St)
and one extra...bike tire belts!
Handcrafted belts by the Rebicyclist made from bike tires that road the streets Portland. Available at underU4men, 800 SW Washington St.
k.d. lang (left) and guests, Bill Dickey, Thomas Manley, Jennifer Williamson, Richard and James Meeker, Juan Martinez, Deborah Kafoury
K.D. IN THE HOUSE:Bill Dickey and David Wagner, once again, opened their Southwest Hills home for their annual holiday "Party With a Purpose" on Wednesday night.
The party this season was in support of Planned Parenthood of Oregon and included a plethora of guests—including one celebrity guest Dickey even know was coming.
"Is k.d. lang in my house?" Bill asked as he passed me in the dining room. "Yes," I said. "k.d. lang is in your house."
k.d. was likely the guest of Thomas Manley, the Executive Director of PNCA, and someone who seems to be always in the company of Ms. lang whenever I see her at parties. And yes, everybody was cool with k.d. She was not hounded for photos (I think me and Marty Davis were the only ones who took photos of her) and she seemed to be enjoying herself as she hung out with her friends.
Bill and David always throw one of the best parties of the season, and this year was no different. It was nice to see so many politicos in the room, many of them running for office including Deborah Kafoury, Rob Nosse and Brian Wilson. And, as always, I ate my body weight in crab claws.