It’s real. This is happening. I have so many feelings about the next four years. I can’t even form the words Donald Trump in my mouth or on this page and not get a cold chill up my spine and a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. I see his disgusting, hateful face and I see the face of a racist, a xenophobe, a dictator, a buffoon. I see the face of my oppressor, my abuser, my rapist, my enemy.
If you’re here reading this, I probably don’t need to go into detail about any of this for you, because you already get it. But I have to reiterate that now more than ever, we are ALL tasked with doing the work on ourselves so that we can become strong for our community. We have to listen to the people of color, women, immigrants and subjugated community members among us. We have to start having more conversations, and fewer broadcasts. We have got to goddam start fucking acting like the strong community we want to be. Let’s get outside of our comfort zones, put down our phones, wean ourselves off of fucking Amazon everything (Jeff Bezos attended Trump’s tech meeting in NYC, just a reminder) and SHOW THE FUCK UP TO DO THE WORK.
To be clear, I don’t think that means just activist events. In fact, I myself have a hard time with organized activism because I think that, often, dogma invades that space and becomes a burden to me. What I am trying to do now is strengthen myself. So that I can face down and destroy the enemy when it is my time. And I’m listening. I’m talking here, on HT:P! And listening everywhere else. Talk to me. Reach out to me. Come over and I’ll make you dinner and I would like to hear about your experience in our shared nation, state, city and neighborhood.
Until then, I hope to see you out, supporting your local artists. They need you more than ever.
Friday January 20
Excellent local songwriters - I mean that sincerely, in case you were wondering - Shanna Underwood, Ryan Halliburton (whose voice - not his songwriting - reminds me of Richard Marx, which is a great thing and also a thing that I love), Bucky Hayes from NYC, and the always heartfelt and deep-rooted Sam James are at Blue. Also, right now Blue has this cherry almond cream cocktail which is like, pretty perfect for this cold weather. There’s a super pretty blonde bartender who makes it perfect, whose name I can’t remember because I’m an asshole who doesn’t deserve cherry almond cream cocktails. Anyway, my point is that this seems like a pretty great night of music.
Aquarius Ballroom Dance is hosting a Salsa/Tango/Kizomba lesson-fest and dance party that looks pretty fun. I love me some partner dancing, as you guys already know about me, but Tango is a little intense. When I think of Tango, I always think of the Blue Oyster bar scenes from Police Academy, which are definitely very 1984 in the way that they portray these leather daddies, and obviously it's hurtful that gay men only show up as stereotypes in this movie, but also I find it strange and hilarious that they’re always trying to tango, like that was ever a thing or would ever be a thing:
Mayo Street Arts is hosting an alternative to watching the orange turd’s smug piece of shit face choke the reins of power oh sorry I mean the inauguration called the Unauguration, with the Half Moon Jug Band and the Wicked Good Jug Band, who will be raising money for the Maine Immigrant Musical Instrument Project.
Not music, but another important alternative to the inauguration - naked people reading at SPACE.
The Pubcrawlers, The Outsiders and El Grande are at PHOME if you feel like you want to recreate the Mighty Mighty Bosstones party scene from Clueless tonight. But why should you listen to me, right? I’m a virgin who can’t drive.
That was way harsh, Tai.
Rexy Dinosaur is at Starbucks for your afternoon coffee run from 3-5. Bluegrass trio The Gibson Brothers are at OLS. There’s standup comedy at Live at 212. Jerks of Grass are at Salvage. Pete Witham and the Cosmik Zombies are at Bayside Bowl. Asylum has your Plague and Flask has your Friction Friday. There’s a concert about food in a church. Singer/songwriter Ralph Arsenault is at Old Port Tavern.
At the bigger venues, bluegrass guys the Infamous Stringdusters are at PCMH and The Jones Family Singers, whose gib seems to be cut similarly to a Staples Singers situation, are at Merrill Auditorium.
Saturday January 21
There is a lot to do on Saturday night, but do yourself a favor and make time in your schedgie for Forget, Forget, Cape Cannons and Tall Horse at Bayside Bowl. I know it’s hard to get down there a lot of times, but these are three bands that are just quietly being so good here in Portland, and also it’s free, loser, so quit yer bitchin’ and just go. Stand close to the stage so you can drown out the sounds of bowling pins crashing.
The Other Inaugural Ball is happening at Mechanic’s Ballroom. This event features speaker Fatuma Hussein and has performances by HI TIGER, Theater Ensemble of Clor and Sudo Girls, followed by DJ sets with dancing from 32French and DJ Innox. Tickets are here.
Mathews is having a Rockabilly show, if that’s your bag.
The Thirsty Pig’s Prime the Pump series, which I love and is one of my favorite things to spend time at in the summer when it’s out on the patio, always has an interesting lineup of live musicians - this week it’s Nathan Polhemus, Dustin Bailey Saucier and Ben Kilcollins from 2-5 pm. Skip their weirdly disappointing hot dogs and spend your dollars on beer and tips for your musicians.
LOL Port City Music Hall, you’re one of three near-perfect venues in town and what is this, you have “Tom Chaplin, The Voice of Keane” tonight? I love you, but nobody is coming to this. Unless… wait, is this guy super popular? If he’s so popular, why does his tag line say The Voice of Keane? Was this a favor for The Voice of Keane’s agent? Did you have to take The Voice of Keane in order to get, like, some way more popular artist on the same roster? Tell me, anyone and everyone ever: name one other Keane song besides “Somewhere Only We Know” or whatever it was and also could you pick Keane’s singer’s voice out of a lineup against the dude from Coldplay, the dude from Snow Patrol and, uh… the dude from all the other bands that have dudes that sound like Coldplay’s dude. Anyway. The Voice of Keane is at PCMH. I’m out of touch though, maybe The Voice of Keane is about to blow up and I’m missing the whole thing.
I just really, really, REALLY like typing/saying The Voice of Keane.
Go hear the singing bowls at Maine Hatha Yoga. Blue has jazz featuring Savoir Faire, Acoustic Radio is at RiRa, The Grassholes are at Salvage, songwriter/comedian Stephen Lynch is at PHOME, The Cobblestones are at Dogfish, Live at 212 has Fistbump the Reverend (what? You guys should hire me as a band name consultant), Objet, Ripfence and Ock Cousteau. Singer/songwriter Davy Knowles is at OLS.
New Hampshire reggae act Roots of Creation, who have been around FOREVER and are pretty killer players, are at Empire with Zeme Libre.
Sunday January 22