David Harbour had a long run as a character actor before he showed up in Stranger Things, at which point he immediately became the best thing about Stranger Things*, and then everyone fell in love with him on Twitter (twice), and now, he is the best. In general. He was even the best when he was buried in 87 pounds of makeup in Hellboy, which is a remarkable achievement in more ways than one.
And now he's got a half-hour Netflix special, Frankenstein's Monster's Monster, Frankenstein, which is also the best. I encourage you to watch it immediately.
The less you know about Frankenstein's Monster's Monster, Frankenstein before watching it, the better, so I'll keep this brief: Digging into Harbour's family history, the documentary focuses on Harbour's attempt to learn more about his father, noted stage actor and famed Juilliard graduate David Harbour, Jr.
Focusing on Harbour, Jr.'s little-known, made-for-TV play Frankenstein's Monster's Monster, Frankenstein—a low-budget production that was sponsored by the gun store Chekhov Guns & Ammo ("You're gonna fire it") and the affordable steakhouse London, U.S.A. ("The finer things don't need to be fancy")—the film not only presents much of Harbour, Jr.'s play, but follows Harbour down a twisting journey into both the fine art of Acting and the meaning of that ineffable thing we call "family."
Frankenstein's Monster's Monster, Frankenstein reminds us that in life, a great many things—but particularly those that concern heritage, art, and the trembling vicissitudes of the earnest heart—are rarely as simple as we wish them to be. Such lessons have been well taught by other labyrinthine tales of troubled productions—such as, say, Orson Welles' The Other Side of the Wind—but the fearlessness with which Frankenstein's Monster's Monster, Frankenstein confronts such matters is cause for celebration.
Like Frankenstein's Monster's Monster, Frankenstein, the play from which it takes its name, Frankenstein's Monster's Monster, Frankenstein isn't for everyone. But for those who have enjoyed Harbour's past work—and for those eager to mine the gleaming treasures of knowledge that glitter from the shadows of hallowed history—Frankenstein's Monster's Monster, Frankenstein is a uniquely remarkable experience. Do yourself and your family a favor, and savor Frankenstein's Monster's Monster, Frankenstein.
Frankenstein's Monster's Monster, Frankenstein is now available on Netflix.
*Could one argue that, in fact, Steve Harrington is the best thing about Stranger Things, especially considering that in season three, everything about the escapades of Steve and Robin at Scoops Ahoy is just wonderful? Yes, one could, and it would be a convincing argument—but not quite convincing enough to disprove the ultimately indisputable fact that, in fact, David Harbour is the best thing about Stranger Things.
You must be new to instagram if you are unaware that everyone can see the photos you like and the recent people you follow. It’s like a compulsion every time you start dating someone new to check.
I realized early on the women you like and how consistently you were following new local women. Still dated you. After all you prompted the term dating, that was your convo, not mine. I gave you the benefit of the doubt. I waited. Because women like me are rare. Not stupid but secure in the information we know and in the confidence of who we are. Tik Tok the clock started when you cried during sex because I am pretty sure that was a guilt cry, not a ‘falling in love’ kind of cry. And when people like me give you the love and affection and we don’t get it back, we move on. Because Portland women are confident and we have this ability to read through bullshit and have other women’s back. XOXO P.s And yes I did want it to be something more, but I am not naive. We all have purpose and sometimes we just need someone to cuddle with.
I understand when things do not work out and ending things with someone. But when someone ends something via a text message it makes the entire connection and time spent together feel like complete bullshit. In a way it makes it easier to move on but it’s still hurtful. I see you now as a sweet talker who uses the word ‘special’ to manipulate women into thinking there is a connection. I am well aware of the lies men and women tell in the beginning stages to woo the other. It’s considered the most untruthful stage in dating, I am almost too aware of this. But I still feel dooped because for a lady like me who rarely opens her heart to anyone and although it’s a slow progression of vulvernability, there is a part of me that didn’t want it to be bullshit. And although my mind called bullshit then and calls it bullshit now, I 100% felt special when you were around. That conflict with my mind is why I find dating to be so confusing. So I hope you read this, so on your quest for kinky sex, the moment you do find a girl who you think is special, communicate and be honest with her.
After all of course we all want that endless non stop kind of love where you grow old together and then when the other dies, you sit alone at a pancake house looking sad
For now, I feel sorry for you and yes I am still rooting for your happiness. Cuz that’s just who I choose to be. Sassy, caring and empowered.
Portland Opera is undergoing a major shift in its leadership with yesterday’s announcement that Christopher Mattaliano will be stepping down as general director.
Mattaliano, who was hired as general director in 2003, will instead become an artistic consultant for the opera company, starting with the upcoming 2019-20 season. Effective immediately, Sue Dixon, Portland Opera’s current director of external affairs, will step in as interim general director.
In a statement accompanying the news announcement, Mattaliano says:
“[The] past 16 years have been among the most satisfying and meaningful years of my life. I have formed deep, lifelong friendships within the Portland community, and have been very blessed to work with a great staff and extraordinary artists. Completing the framework for a new strategic plan that will build Portland Opera’s future created the right time for me to step aside.”
Mattaliano came to work with Portland Opera after years directing productions for companies throughout North America and a previous position as artistic director of the Pine Mountain Music Festival in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. He became Portland Opera’s fifth general director in July 2003. Since then, Mattaliano has helped to expand the company’s creative purview, embracing less canonical operas—with their 2005 presentation of John Adams’ Nixon in China—and the work of modern composers like Laura Kaminsky and Philip Glass. He worked with other Oregon classical music entities to take opera outside of the usual theatrical setting with live simulcasts and free recital series at the Portland Art Museum. Mattaliano and the city can take pride in his legacy.
While Dixon is set to jump into her new role, there’s still plenty of discussion to be had about who might step in as general director beyond the upcoming season. According to Marketing & Communications Manager Silja Tobin, the Portland Opera’s board of directors are going to work with Dixon to figure out the transition and the potential search for Mattaliano’s replacement.
Whatever the case, Portland Opera looks prepared to weather these changes. The 2018-19 season is about to wrap up its final performances: La Finta Giardiniera and their forthcoming presentation of Philip Glass’s In The Penal Colony. Their calendar for 2019-20 is already full, with a season-opening Madama Butterfly, a collaboration with the Portland Baroque Orchestra on Vivaldi’s Bajazet, and the Portland Opera premiere of composer Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers.
A growing number of Oregon prosecutors have joined the race to replace outgoing Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill.
In the month and a half since Underhill announced his retirement, three candidates have formed political action committees to begin fundraising for the 2020 election. Here's what we know about the current contenders:
Knight, the first to file a PAC (just two weeks after Underhill's announcement), is easily the most recognizable candidate. As assistant US attorney, Knight served as the lead prosecutor in Oregon's most noteworthy federal cases in the past decade. In 2013, Knight successfully convicted Mohamed Osman Mohamud for attempting to detonate a bomb in Pioneer Courthouse Square, and in 2016, unsuccessfully fought to convict Ammon Bundy and other militants involved in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge standoff.
Knight joined the US attorney's office in 2007. He's the only one of the three candidates who hasn't already worked in the Multnomah County DA's office. Thanks to his involvement in high-status cases, Knight's been the focus of several colorful articles that offer these curious details about the candidate:
"Tall and lean, the assistant U.S. attorney is partial to Brooks Brothers suits and pocket squares. He speaks with a commanding and clear voice — 'almost like he's yelling at someone who is deaf,' one former boss said," wrote Energy & Environment News in 2016.
Here's how Knight described himself in the O story: "For starters, the only time I'm probably the smartest guy in the room is when I'm working alone in my office. This office and the (Federal) Public Defender's Office are crawling with people with, I think, infinitely better understanding of the body of law that we practice in."
Due to his early PAC filing, Knight's the only candidate who's reported campaign contributions to the state. Since June 17, he's raised $25,850 in donations—the majority of which have come from attorneys located both in Oregon and out-of-state.
Mota is a deputy district attorney for Multnomah County, a position she's held since 2015. Mota previously served as the director of community safety for the Rosewood Initiative, a nonprofit that advocates for the low-income, high-crime Rosewood neighborhood that straddles Portland and Gresham.
During her time at Rosewood, Mota worked with the Multnomah DA's office to co-lead RENEW (Rockwood/Rosewood Enrichment Neighborhood Enforcement Workgroup), a DA program created to engage the public in conversations around crime in the neighborhood.
Mota is the only candidate who current works at the DA's office.
Schmidt, a former Multnomah County prosecutor, is the director of the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission (OCJC), a committee created by the state legislature to study the effectiveness of Oregon's criminal justice system and oversee recommended reforms.
The November 2020 elections are over a year away and, at the national level, most candidates are months into intense campaigning. But in Portland, candidates vying for one of the three City Commission seats that will be up for grabs have only just begun to poke their heads up.
The city won’t accept official candidate filings for the May 2020 primary election until September 12, but that hasn’t kept several Portlanders from announcing their plans to run. So who are these eager candidates? And, more importantly, do they have the chops to hold a public office?
The positions currently held by Mayor Ted Wheeler (who also serves as police commissioner), Commissioner Amanda Fritz, and Commissioner Chloe Eudaly will all be in contention in 2020. Out of the three, Fritz is the only one who’s announced she won’t be running for reelection. Mayor Wheeler has yet to definitively say whether or not he’ll run for reelection (but odds are he will) and Eudaly is vying for a second term.
Thus far, only one candidate has stepped up with intentions to fill Fritz’s vacancy: Carmen Rubio, the director of the Latino Network, a nonprofit that advocates Portland’s Latinx community. If elected, Rubio would be the first Latinx on Portland City Council. As of the Mercury’s press deadline, Rubio’s political action fund has yet to report any campaign contributions.
Banker Kevin McKay intends on challenging Eudaly with a pitch to develop more housing in Portland—a subtle rebuttal to Eudaly’s focus on improving housing affordability with zoning changes and strengthened renters’ rights. McKay has reported $140 in campaign contributions.
Wheeler has already attracted three challengers: police accountability advocate Teressa Raiford, progressive urban policy activist Sarah Iannarone, and environmental scientist Ozzie González.
Iannarone is one of Wheeler’s most pervasive critics, and previously ran against him in the 2016 mayoral race, collecting 12 percent of the vote. She’s reported $5,000 in campaign donations.
Raiford, who founded Don’t Shoot Portland and led an unsuccessful run for City Council in 2012, has collected around $4,400, while González, a political newcomer, has raked in nearly $10,000, mostly from construction and engineering representatives. Wheeler’s political action fund, meanwhile, has accumulated nearly $140,000 in contributions.
And then, of course, there’s the speculation: Are the recent donations to Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson’s campaign war chest meant for her mayoral run? Does Oregon Rep. Diego Hernandez want to bring his state-level progressive policies to City Hall? Will Wheeler nemesis Daryl Turner, head of Portland’s police union, make his long-anticipated sprint for the mayor’s office?
Portland’s last two city council elections were marked with unique victories, with Eudaly, an activist representing displaced renters, and Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, a staunch police critic, disrupting City Hall’s politically moderate tenor.
It’s too early to tell if 2020’s election cycle will keep this trend going. But with a national eye geared on Portland politics and divisive city council votes on the horizon, we’re not counting it out.
The new compilation album from TLE includes an array of artists from Portland’s fertile underbelly, zeroes in on consistent production by New Move, and displays a communal effort from the city’s music scenes.
by Ryan J. Prado
There may have been some sort of overarching “Portland sound” at one point or another—who knows? It’s a pointless debate, and besides, the cross-pollination of genres—not just in Portland but all over the world—has broken those arguments wide open. Paradise Hotel, a compilation of songs by various artists from Portland’s fertile underbelly, proves this ethos handily.
Out on July 26 through local imprint Tender Loving Empire, Paradise Hotel is produced by the newly formed New Move Studios—a music- and video-centric collaborative space/studio helmed by guitarist/vocalist Jesse Bettis of pop quintet New Move, and Night Heron leader Cameron Spies. The 13-track compilation zeroes in on consistent production and displays a communal effort by an array of music scenes—all existing in a city that longs for the kitschiness of its past, even while setting its sights to a presumably glossy future.
It begins demurely with Dan Dan’s synth-heavy pulsations, which get some extra headroom thanks to a fully bloomed backbeat and Sarah McKenna’s sultry vocals. The song sets the rhythmic precedent well, with “Good Heart and Full Support,” a gem from the Domestics’ Michael Finn that coils sneakily around another fuzzy, funky drum beat.
“Ya Yea Yeah,” a mid-LP track by powerhouse soul/hip-hop crew Tribe Mars, is a heavy-lidded slapper with heady flows just behind the beat and a menagerie of instrumental bells and whistles. Later, punky garage marauders Melt depart from the larger scope of deep, experimental pop, but still manage to sound weird and wonderful with the production of Bettis and Spies.
There are no low points here, which sounds like a goddamn lie, but I challenge anyone to listen to New Move’s David Byrne-inspired dance-punk track “The Situation” (featuring Night Heron), or the Night Heron banger “Astronaut Lover” (featuring New Move), and not come to the conclusion that, despite its inability to coalesce into one bite-sized genre nugget, Portland is a city teeming with insanely talented and fantastically chameleonic artists.
It’s only the third year of the Portland Queer Comedy Festival (PQCF), but it’s already beginning to feel like a local institution. For one thing, the fest keeps growing: Though they’re sticking to last year’s four days and five stages of programming, this year those stages are larger spots like the cavernous Rogue Eastside Pub and Kickstand Comedy’s new, bigger downtown theater.
The talent they’re drawing is likewise impressive. They’ve got Scott Thompson (Kids in the Hall), Nico Santos (Superstore, Crazy Rich Asians), D’Lo (Looking, Transparent), and many more quality-as-hell queer comedians performing multiple shows. Four-day passes start at $70, which is a little steep, despite the value (that’s good for 27 shows and an afterparty!), but many of the shows have one-off tickets as low as $12. So here are a few of promising picks:
Buddy Cole Monologues
This year’s festival opens with two shows of Scott Thompson’s Buddy Cole Monologues. Christ, what an opportunity. Thompson’s coy, worldly alter ego Buddy Cole is like the gay Indiana Jones. He’s lived a life of scandalous adventure, but instead of lecturing you about tribal customs, he’s opining on consulate etiquette and the benefits of traveling under an alias. This will sell out. (Wed July 17, 7pm & 9 pm, Curious Comedy, 5225 NE Martin Luther King, $25)
Corina Lucas: Skin Suit
A Mercury Genius of Comedy and second runner-up in last year’s Portland’s Funniest Person competition, Corina Lucas has been taking the city by storm with clever, fascinating sets about her experiences as a trans woman. Now she’s taping her first comedy special—an important moment in every comedian’s career. Show up and support (and shut up while they’re rolling)! (Thurs July 18, 7 pm, Funhouse Lounge, 2432 SE 11th, $12)
All Jane Showcase
Speaking of awesome Portland comedy festivals, the annual All Jane Festival always has a great selection of women comedians and gives them their due: one hundred percent of the stage! This showcase features past All Jane favorites like the Irene Tu, Heather Thompson, and Belinda Carroll (who is also the co-founder of the PQCF). (Fri July 19, 6 pm, Funhouse Lounge, 2432 SE 11th, $12)
Kickstand’s new downtown home is where Portland’s most dangerous comedy and improv is currently being born, making it the perfect locale for the bone-chilling show Disowned. A group of very fine comedians (Mary Jane French, Max Eddy, and Dylan Carlino, to name a few) will perform and then receive feedback from their parents. (Sun July 21, 3 pm, Kickstand Comedy, 16 NW Broadway, $12)
I’m a big fan of Portland comic artist Carolyn Main’s weird and original card game Pitch, Please. The goal is to come up with film pitches based on random genres and tropes. It’s fun/funny at home, but in the hands of actual comedians (like Kat Buckley and Jenna Vesper) this game sounds deadly hilarious. (Sun July 21, 5 pm, Ford Food & Drink, 2505 SE 11th, $12)
The finale packs a lot of star power on one stage: Nico Santos, Pallavi Gunalan, Jen Kober (who you may remember for her wildly hilarious Snap Judgement story about a skydiving trip gone horribly wrong), and more help close out the festival, wringing whatever laughter is left from your chest. (Sun July 21, 8 pm, Funhouse Lounge, 2432 SE 11th, $17)
On the multi-instrumentalist’s debut project Chalant, Laroue’s haunting melodies and emotionally raw lyrics are finally on display.
by Ben Salmon
One of Erin Jane Laroue’s favorite things to do is watch people play music. It always has been. It’s a love that might’ve started back when she was a kid in Massachusetts and her parents regularly took her to see what we now think of as classic rock bands. Or maybe it started one night in 1996, when Laroue discovered the existence of avant-garde icon Diamanda Galás via a poster on a telephone pole in Providence, Rhode Island. Hours later, she was at the show, having her mind properly blown.
Or perhaps Laroue cemented her love of live music over the past 18 years in Portland, where she’s well-connected within the music scene and has had a chance to see just about any killer band you can think of at least once, if not several times. The point is: Laroue has been going to concerts for a long time, and for about 30 years, those experiences were tied together by her feelings of admiration and awe for folks who could step onstage and perform for a crowd.
“I’ve been composing and making music since I was a teenager,” says Laroue, “and I always saw music and wanted to perform, but I could never imagine ever doing it in front of people. I was so intimidated. Some of it was fear and some of it was insecurity, but mostly it was just about being a very private person and very protective of my music because it’s really, really personal.”
That started to change about six years ago. Around that time, Laroue’s father decided to stop battling leukemia and start living the rest of his life, and on a snorkeling trip in the Caribbean, he encouraged his daughter one final time to start sharing her music with people. A couple of months later, at age 64, he passed away, leaving Laroue to grapple with the impermanence of life as she inched toward 40 herself.
“I was like, ‘God, I’ve waited all this time. It’s now or never,’” she says. “A lot of things happened in my life during that time.”
One of those was the relocation of her older sister, Melynda Marie Amann, from the East Coast to Portland. The two women started an experimental chamber-pop band called Jamais Jamais, and Amann helped Laroue move past her performance anxiety.
“She’s much more comfortable with a public display than I am,” Laroue says. “She was super supportive and encouraging to me.”
On her 40th birthday, Jamais Jamais played its first show, and so did Laroue. Since then, she’s played in other bands, and about four years ago, she started playing solo. Eventually, she realized she was missing one particular piece of the musician’s puzzle: an album that documents some of the songs she’s been writing over the past two decades.
Enter Dave Fulton, local producer and keyboard/synth master in the krautrock band Møtrik. Over a seven-month period, Fulton guided Laroue through the recording process at the Pinebox, a studio in the old La Luna venue space. Fulton took Laroue’s work and “made it magical,” she says, by helping her select the right sounds, making suggestions about arrangements, and encouraging her to keep the imperfections that give great records their character.
The result is Chalant, Laroue’s debut collection of keyboard-driven tracks that lives in the shadows near the intersection of folk, new age, gothic pop, and modern classical. Laroue played every instrument on the album. The opening track, “Alone,” uses an Edgar Allan Poe poem as its lyrics, while two other songs are gorgeous piano instrumentals. Laroue started writing one of the songs (“Uno”) in 1995; others were composed within the past couple of years.
Each song on Chalant unfolds slowly, providing ample space for Laroue’s haunting melodies and emotionally raw lyrics to bloom. Recurring themes include light and darkness, life and death, fear, redemption, and the uncertainty that always lies ahead.
For Laroue, the songs are not dark or depressed, but rather intensely heartfelt. The feedback she’s received, however, has often been that her music is heavy—but not in the traditional sense.
“People come up to me afterward and say, ‘I had to leave the room because it was just too much,’” she says. “And musicians message me and they’re, like, ‘Hey, we have this show. Will you play?’ and it’ll be black metal or neo-folk or new age or whatever. All these different people who play all these different styles ask me to play and I just say yes. I just kept saying yes.”
Laroue appreciates the appreciation, of course. And she’s quick to credit her support system—and those who have given plentiful opportunities to play live in Portland—for her progression over the last five years. But even if you stripped all that away, she says she’d still be happy now that she can hold Chalant in her hands.
“Ultimately, I made this record for me. I made a record that I would want to hear. If I found my record in a record bin and listened to it, I’d go, ‘Oh, this is awesome,’” Laroue says. “Sometimes I feel a little weird about that, but that’s because I made the record I wanted to make, and these songs are like my children.”