Friday, November 30, 2012

5 noteworthy things to do in portland's powellhurst-gilbert neighborhood

Originally farmland, East Portland’s Powellhurst-Gilbert is named for a pair of 1800s settlers, Jackson Powell and William M. Gilbert, whose names also appear on a trio of neighborhood elementary schools. As the city grew, residential development claimed much of the land, but pockets of flora and fauna as well as urban agriculture still exist within and nearby today’s Powellhurst-Gilbert. Consistently an area for new Portlanders, the population has transformed from the initial pioneer families to the present-day diversity where Asian, Hispanic and black citizens make up more than one-third of the area's residents, a characteristic that’s plainly reflected in the ethnically varied businesses.

SHOP: The International Markets

Powellhurst-Gilbert is home to a glut of markets that primarily cater to various Asian populations but are also popular with adventurous eaters and holistic health practitioners all over Portland. With the Fubonn Supermarket, Tin Seng Trading Company and Chang Fa next door to Tin Seng (which has been called a mini Fubonn), you can find a vast array of packaged goods and Chinese herbal medicines as well as a selection of fresh produce, meat and even live seafood. The substantial Fubonn (self-proclaimed "the largest Asian shopping center in Oregon") also provides shoppers with a proper mall experience where you can find bubble tea, a bakery, restaurants, a jewelry store, gift shop, bookstore, spa, salon, clothing stores and more inside the building. Focused on traditional Chinese medicine, the nearby Wing Ming Herbs offers additional herbs, spices, teas, ginseng and so on, while the Eastern European Roman Russian Food Store, features a deli and bakery with a much raved about honey cake and other pastries.

Fubonn Shopping Center, 2850 SE 82nd Ave., Ste. 80, 503.517.8899
Tin Seng Trading Company, 8350 SE Division St., 503.777.8203
Chang Fa Market, 8310 SE Division St., 503.788.8882
Wing Ming Herbs, 2738 SE 82nd Ave., 503.775.9895
Roman Russian Food Store, 10918 SE Division St., 503.408.7525

PLAY: Seek Skate Nirvana

Named in honor of statesman and community activist Ed Benedict, the almost 13-acre park that bears his name features the standard amenities (basketball, soccer, walking paths, picnic tables, playground) as well as an 18,000-square-foot skatepark with ledges, rails, stairs and banks. Artistically designed to feature Dan Garland’s multifaceted concrete art installation (“which provokes thought regarding the intersection between natural and man-made environments”) and constructed using recycled and sustainable materials, the skatepark features native landscaping and on-site stormwater treatment. It’s even “considered to be the first environmentally sensitive skate plaza ever constructed,” according to Portland Parks and Recreation (PP&R).

Ed Benedict Park, SE 100th Avenue and Powell Boulevard

Find three more things to do in Powellhurst-Gilbert on Neighborhood Notes.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

portland micro roasters fueling the local economy (p3)

Photo by Jelani Memory
As the weather turns colder and wetter and the days shorter and darker, it’s time for Portlanders to cozy up at coffee shops with a hot beverage loaded with caffeine. Therefore, it’s also appropriate to spotlight Portland's coffee culture, specifically our local micro roasters who are small businesses producing small batch, crafted coffees and sharing them in their own coffee houses as well as cafes across town.

Why frequent corporate coffee chains when every quadrant of this city features not only an abundance of local coffee shops but also locales where you can see your beans roasted before they become your brew?

With more than 30 local micro roasters in Portland, here are a couple more local alternatives to Starbucks that support local and in turn energize our economy through collaboration.

Sterling Coffee Roasters + Coffeehouse Northwest

Making his home in NW Portland, micro coffee roaster Adam McGovern is the man behind two compact coffee shops: Coffeehouse Northwest, which began in 2007, and Sterling Coffee Roasters, which opened on Valentine's Day 2010 as a 50-square-foot stand next to Trader Joe's on NW Glisan Street. But as the grocer looked to expand, McGovern teamed up with friend Jeremy Campbell, who owns the equally petite M Bar around the corner, and moved into a newly devised collaborative location on Father's Day 2012.

While we've loosely used the word "collaboration" in this series to signify local businesses and individuals supporting one another, whether that's selling local baked goods or featuring artists on coffee shop walls, McGovern likes to "reserve the word ‘collaboration’ for times where we work in some equal capacity with another business or individual to produce a good or service we both offer at a retail level, or at least to which we both supply branding.”

With that in mind, McGovern and Campbell’s shared space is truly collaborative and decidedly unique. Sterling is open each morning and afternoon while M Bar takes over each night.

“Because the space is so small,” McGovern explains, “Sterling will set up and break down the entire service area, except for the espresso machine, every day.”

From a handshake to a sublease and lease negotiation, the process “ultimately strengthened our commitment to working together,” McGovern says. “The lease gave us a chance to consider every aspect of the partnership and to codify the ways in which we'll support each other.”

Another Sterling collaboration includes the Coffee Roasters United project “where several small roasters pool buying power to purchase micro-lot coffees each could not afford on their own,” McGovern explains. Partners include Portland coffee shops and roasters like Red E Café, Case Study Coffee, Seven Virtues, and Clive Coffee.

But, there’s one other venture that McGovern would also consider, by his definition, a collaboration—and it has nothing to do with coffee. Sterling recently launched a “line of men's and women's ties, designed for us by Crispin Argento of PINO,” McGovern says. “We hope to continue collaborating with designers to produce apparel and accessories as we grow.”

Read the rest on Sterling and Coffeehouse Northwest plus Coava Coffee Roasters on Neighborhood Notes.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

i'm thankful for...

With Oregon Music News celebrating our third birthday just a month ago, it's truly amazing to look back on what we've accomplished in the past 36 months and the people who have made us what we are today.

I am most thankful for the bevy of names that you see everyday on OMN's homepage—they are the lifeblood of this publication and their tireless efforts have kept OMN flush with not just content but also encouragement and a good deal of friendship and fun. Whether our staff has been with us writing, photographing, interviewing, designing, promoting, editing, tweeting, emailing, consulting, performing, producing videos and podcasts, and doing countless other activities behind the scenes since day one or day 1,001, each and every individual has helped build what you see today, shaping OMN with their contributions. Thank you to everyone who's ever submitted story or snapped a photo, everyone who's ever been an ambassador for OMN in our rich northwest music community.

I'm also thankful for the outpouring of support for this endeavor from the music community—from artists to professionals, promoters, small business owners and venue owners to fans and social media friends—you've each contributed to the success of OMN as well. We're humbled and delighted each time you share a story, leave a comment, or pay us a compliment. Without our readers and supporters, there'd be no OMN.

Finally, as already emphasized, there are oodles of artists and musicians, individuals and festivals, businesses and organizations in our community that are advocates for local art and music, and many of which are consistently giving back in one form or another. Since it's that time of year, we encourage you to give back to those that are in need or those that may be fundraising for the future. Many of the aforementioned arts and youth organizations are currently doing so via the yearly Give! Guide, so go ahead and make a donation to a worthy cause. Or, just pay attention for the next time an artist you love is seeking support through crowd-funding efforts or a nonprofit needs volunteers for an upcoming event—give back and give someone a reason to be thankful for you.

And if you're still not thankful for anything, just be thankful we didn't make you watch this.

See what else Oregon Music News is thankful for.

Monday, November 19, 2012

access to free community tools spawns a 3d film business in portland

Self-starter is a good way to describe Jesse Blanchard.

He’s a self-taught filmmaker working in stereoscopic 3D.

“I started making movies about 10 years ago,” Blanchard says. “Just picking up a camera and a Final Cut Pro manual. Since then, I've made 50 shorts films, which have played at Cannes and been picked up by George Romero and Dimensions Films.”

Oscar-winning animators have also sung his praises and his first “3D short took home the Best of the Festival Award from the 2011 Los Angeles 3D Film Festival,” according to Blanchard’s bio.

This success can be attributed to Blanchard’s attention to detail and the fact that he also designed, built and patented his own 3D camera system using tools from the Southeast Portland Tool Library—and is now selling the Robert Rig internationally.

Working under his production company, Goat & Yeti, Blanchard has employed public, community resources to bring his business and creations to life as he continues to develop innovative ideas, only hindered by the finite number of hours in a day.

NN: 3D filmmaking seems like such an amazingly complicated but fascinating process. Can you briefly describe what it takes to actually film in 3D?

JB: 3D is really easy to do, and pretty hard to do well. All you have to do is record independent images (left and right) and then deliver each stream independently to each eye. The brain is what does all the 3D magic. What's difficult about 3D is feeding the brain information in a way that's easy for it to put together. If you don't, you give the viewer headaches.

NN: It sounds to me like one of the things that has been integral to your success in the 3D world is of your own creation—you design and build your own 3D camera rigs. What led you to create your own rig?

JB: Necessity. I couldn't afford the pro [camera] rigs, which are very expensive. Since then, I've learned enough about 3D to actually build the rigs that I want. Metal work has been a great skill to pick up.

NN: Tell me about the role the Southeast Portland Tool Library (SEPTL) has played in this process.

JB: The SEPTL was really instrumental—pun intended! Most of the time, I wasn't exactly sure what tool would work, and sometimes, I knew what I needed but didn't have it. Often, you only need to put one hole in something, but it has to be at a perfect 90 degrees. So, having a drill press from the tool library was crucial.

Read the rest of this interview with Jesse Blanchard and see a teaser for his current 3D project on Neighborhood Notes.

Friday, November 16, 2012

5 noteworthy things to do in portland's historic irvington neighborhood

A 2010 addition to the National Register of Historic Places, Portland’s Irvington neighborhood is a slice of the American dream where luxurious porches and ornate entryways overlook expansive green lawns and sidewalk swings hanging from tree branches, sometimes with a secret treefort hidden high amongst the leaves as well.

SEE: Historic Homes and Lush Gardens

Originally plotted as an east side suburb in the late 1800s, Irvington was designed to be a middle- to upper-class residential district where commercial activity was prohibited. Wealthy residents flocked to the area during the early 1900s, building some of the largest houses in the city and flaunting common period styles like arts and crafts, craftsman, colonial revival, prairie style and bungalow. For the first 25 years of the neighborhood’s existence, there were also strict conditions placed upon builders aimed at maintaining the area’s exclusiveness, such as each residence must cost at least $2,500, lots were a minimum of 50 feet, houses had to be 25 feet back from the property line, and no liquor production was allowed at neighborhood residences. The grandeur of this legacy has mostly remained intact as the quiet, tree-lined streets still offer an impressive display of early 20th century residential architecture, with some 2,800 properties—the largest historic district in Oregon—“of which 85 percent are considered ‘contributing’ and retain their original appearance,” according to the Irvington Community Association’s home tour, and almost no commercial activity. Of course, you can stroll around Irvington any time of the year (or take a virtual tour, or, if you’re ambitious, make your own walking tour based on photo tours from previous years) and enjoy the beautiful period architecture, but each May on the third Sunday, the official Irvington Home Tour gives you the opportunity to go inside some of these amazing residences. Owners do their spring cleaning and then open their doors to the public to raise funds for the Irvington Community Association (ICA). Running for 30 consecutive years, “the Irvington Home Tour is the longest continuously running neighborhood home tour in Portland,” according to its website, and the sole source of funds for the ICA. Learn about the more recent history of the neighborhood and the genesis of the home tour.

STAY: In Georgian, Victorian or Greek Luxury

And if you actually want to take up temporary residence in one of these historic homes, take your pick of the refined, rustic simplicity of the bricked Georgian House, the opulence of Portland’s White House, or the Victorian charm of the Lion and the Rose. Each bed and breakfast offers a variety of gorgeous suites, standard amenities, and artfully adorned common areas, but The Georgian House is “one of only three true Georgian colonial homes in Portland,” according to its website, and features an English rose garden that was highlighted in Better Homes and Gardens. The Lion and the Rose also provides an English garden, but more impressive distinctions of the Queen Anne style mansion built in 1906 include the airy, Ionic-columned, wrap-around porch and the octagonal turret, visible between the tree branches to passing traffic on NE 15th Avenue. Yet, the grand approach up the circular drive to the Greek revival mansion style of the White House is a sight that welcomes you with 14 Corinthian columns and a three-tiered fountain.

The Georgian House, 1828 NE Siskiyou St., 503.281.2250 or 888.282.2250
Lion and the Rose, 1810 NE 15th Ave., 503.287.9245 or 800.955.1647
Portland's White House, 1914 NE 22nd Ave., 503.287.7131

Find three more things to do in historic Irvington on Neighborhood Notes.

Friday, November 2, 2012

10 noteworthy things to do in portland's old town-chinatown

Portland’s Old Town-Chinatown presents a dizzying array of shopping, sights, eats and events as well as characters and characteristics, from serenely traditional to outlandishly artistic to rambunctiously drunken. Historically home to significant emigrant populations of Chinese and Japanese, today’s Asian influence is mostly surface only as just a handful of gift shops, importers and restaurants remain in the neighborhood.

Yet, the impressive Chinatown Gate over Fourth Avenue still welcomes visitors to NW Portland with two imposing bronze lions sitting on their haunches. Iconic red lamp posts line the streets north of Burnside and the re-erected Hung Far Low sign endures just two blocks past the gate.

Amongst all the activity and weekend merrymaking, there’s a seedier side—strip clubs and an adult theater—and a blunt reality to the area where a significant homeless population lives and human services abound.

Nevertheless, a few things are guaranteed every night of the week: The echo of live music always hangs in the air as does the aroma of deep-fried dough and crystallized sugar, each welcoming you to your destination even before it’s in sight.

DO: Tour By Foot or Bike

Jump in an orange PDX Pedicab for a 45-minute tour guided by an audio recording, or set your own pace with the Old Town-Chinatown walking tour. While each will take you by many of the major historical sites of “Portland's oldest neighborhood,” according to the Old Town-Chinatown Neighborhood Association, there are two more stops you can add to your list: Take a stroll up the north side of the Burnside Bridge and turn around once you’re over the water to view the neon White Stag sign, which welcomes you to Old Town as you drive across the river; and then head down to what remains of the oddity-filled 24 Hour Church of Elvis, on NW Couch Street between Fourth and Fifth Avenues, to push the buttons of the coin-op kiosk, which offers fortune-telling and marriage ceremonies.

24 Hour Church of Elvis, 408 NW Couch St., 503.226.3671

PLAY: Game On at the Barcade

Founded by lifelong pinball and classic video game enthusiasts, Ground Kontrol “celebrates and preserves arcade gaming's ‘golden age’ by operating over 100 of the best video games and pinball machines from the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s,” according to its website, as well as offering a full bar and snacks, which you can put away while seated at glowing tables. Bask in the warmth of buzzing, chiming machines and the luminescence of the retro-futuristic, TRON-inspired interior where white- and indigo-hued fiber-optic lighting and LEDs line the stairs and archways as DJs spin a fresh variety every night. The long-running Rock Band Tuesdays, dubbed “karaoke for gamers,” will allow you to pick up plastic instruments and rock out using pro gear (microphones, guitar and keyboard controllers, drum mod), lights and sound (PA system, audio monitors), but before you head home for the night, be sure to make your way to the restrooms to check out the floor mosaics—Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man, respectively.

Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade, 511 NW Couch St., 503.796.9364

EAT + DRINK: Imbibe and Consume, Outdoors and In

Taking a page out of the old town playbook of Europe, Portland closed off SW Ankeny Street between Second to Third Avenues to traffic in 2011, effectively creating a communal, open-air space where the surrounding bars and restaurants set up picnic tables. Sit outside with your bright pink Voodoo Doughnut box while mulling over the stained glass likeness of a bacon maple bar and the faces of Voodoo’s owners, as well as the late Ted Papaioannou, owner of neighboring bar Berbati and music venue Ted's, and then wash down that cereal-, cookie- or candy-covered sweet with a drink from the uber-hip art space Valentines, or a craft libation from Central as you watch the chef work a compact kitchen through the restaurant’s one alleyway window. The dim recesses of the new-ish industrial chic, speakeasy-style bar may be blocked by a curtain, but the large windows of next door's 105-year-old Dan & Louis Oyster Bar—Portland’s “oldest family-owned restaurant”—reveal shucked oysters and nautical paraphernalia, like a massive wooden ship's wheel that hangs above the bar in the The Old Shucking Room.

Voodoo Doughnut, 22 SW 3rd Ave., 503.241.4704
Ted’s Berbati’s Pan, 221 SW Ankeny St., 503.226.2122
Valentines, 232 SW Ankeny St., 503.248.1600
Central, 220 SW Ankeny St., 503.719.7918
Dan & Louis Oyster Bar, 208 SW Ankeney St., 503.227.5906
Berbati, 19 SW 2nd Ave., 503.248.4579

Find seven more things to do in Old Town-Chinatown, including art galleries, drag shows and live music, on Neighborhood Notes.

keeping stars’ family spirit alive up ‘north’

After more than a decade of making passionately intimate indie rock together, Stars' drummer Pat McGee believes the group's familial dynamic has been what's kept the Canadian five-piece collaborative, creative and successful over the years.

"I think that we really act like a family. And that's what keeps us together. Your family can drive you nuts, but you can't get rid of them," McGee laughs.

"They can drive you to the brink of insanity, but you can't shake them," he continues. "They're always going to be there. And I think that's what Stars has kind of become. We're five people who have done this for so long and been through so much ridiculousness together that I think that is where the intimacy comes from."

The band's sixth full-length album, The North, released via ATO Records in September, is laden with an abundance of these innermost lyrical and musical moments, the kind Stars have become lauded for.

From love lost ("Lights Changing Color"), to attempting to save or reignite love ("The 400" and "The Loose Ends Will Make Knots"), and even just cherishing love ("Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It"), Stars typical topics are present, but they're reaching a wider audience than ever before as The North earned the group their highest Billboard chart debut to date.

Something familiar to long-time Stars fans are the sporadic audio samples scattered throughout the record.

"It's something that's been happening since the very beginning of Stars," McGee says. "We kind of wanted to get away from it somehow but it doesn't seem to disappear; it just a thematic thing, it was always on our records."

And the samples allow Stars to "create a synthesis of people and places and sounds that reflect things we're thinking of," he says.

With the clanging of locomotive bells in the background, the opening audio sample to The North, from Glenn Gould's 1967 CBC radio documentary "The Idea of The North," reflects "the idea of the future and the idea of the north. The idea was sort of about hope and a mythical idea of what the north was and what it could be. I think now, we've lost a lot of that and I think that's what this record is about a little bit… we've lost this sort of hope, a sort of fantastical and mythical, beautiful idea of what a utopia the north could be. Now we just talk about pipelines and ice caps melting and shit, and it's kind of depressing. It's not as philosophical or artistic or creative as it used to be."

Yet, Stars found a way to creatively diversify their own vision of The North. Containing both anthemic and delicate songs,  The North is full of contrasts—from the recognizable tug of war between dark, moody lyricism and bright, poppy music to the play of singers Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan guy-girl vocals, which often tell two sides of the sentimental story, or complete each others' sentences, or just naturally harmonize, complementing one another.

Overall stylistically, The North is less than cohesive, much less so than their previous effort, the demure The Five Ghosts. But maybe this is exactly the strength of the record.

"I never listen to our records and I really liked this one," McGee laughs. "Once we've finished the record, I don't really want to listen to it anymore. I've listened to it maybe 400 times already; the last thing I need to do is listen to it again. But I don't know what it is about this one; it does jump around a little stylistically, but I find there is a continuity in there somewhere—there's something that ties it together. Maybe it's the way we recorded."

Read the rest on OMN.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

reviews on multiple sites amplify smbs presence in local search

To call the myriad offerings on the Internet extensive may be a slight understatement. And while it’s tempting to generalize the growth of the Internet as exponential, the reality is the Internet’s growth is actually sigmoidal (apparently), or S-shaped.

In this choice-filled online world, small business owners know best that the vast number of options available, in everything, online are overwhelming. Whether choosing a social media platform or seeking reviews for your business, it’s important to diversify.

Local reviews of your business build credibility, help your rank in local search, and act as a form of word-of-mouth marketing but, as if you haven’t heard this enough, you can’t be content with just one review outlet online.

“The reality is that to 'get found,' they [businesses] need a profile on every citation source and review site that they can get,” says Ben Lloyd of Amplify Interactive.

Diversify: Seek Reviews Across Multiple Sites

As previously recommended, it’s necessary to create review-ready business profiles that contain real, up-to-date information about your business—and important to create these profiles across multiple sites.

“Never put all of your eggs in one basket,” advises John McPhee, the vice president of Formic Media, a Portland firm that specializes in search and social media for small businesses. “Give your customers options on where to leave reviews. Try to get reviews from Google, Yelp, Yahoo/Bing Local, and any other review sites relevant to your industry.”

Encourage reviews during an interaction in-store, via email and social media, or by using links or badges on your website, directing customers to your profile on review sites.

Find out more about where you can go to diversify and why hyperlocal search matters on Neighborhood Notes.

Friday, October 26, 2012

5 noteworthy things to do in portland's foster-powell neighborhood

Portland’s Foster-Powell neighborhood sits at the center of several southeast neighborhoods whose borders blend together and the people share parks, bars, bike lanes, and food carts. Affectionately dubbed FoPo, the area is rich in diversity and the variety of businesses in the community reflect this. As new venues crop up to complement neighborhood staples, a flux of new and old, youthful and aged, Vietnamese, Eastern European and American residents come together to shape a district in transformation.

EAT: Transcontinental Coalescence

Originally a commercial supplier, FoPo’s An Xuyen Bakery might be most popular for its $3.99 bánh mì and Vietnamese iced coffee special. Yet, the expert provider of fresh, daily, natural French bread still supplies loaves to bánh mì joints, restaurants and grocers all over town, as well as the next door Foster Burger with speciality brioche buns. Stop in for a to-go lunch, add a pork or veggie (cabbage, carrots, noodles) bao if you’re extra hungry, and top it off with a selection of fresh-baked sweets—choose from a variety of tropical cookies (like guava or pineapple), towering puff pastries, red velvet cupcakes, or sugar-covered, deep-fried Hawaiian doughnuts.

An Xuyen Bakery, 5345 SE Foster Road, 503.788.0866

SHOP: Multifariously Eastern European

Besides a handful of easily recognizable brand names, most of the products lining the shelves of Good Neighbor European Deli Market are utterly foreign—and that’s not just because many of the labels are written in Cyrillic. With an impressive selection of canned fish, herbal remedies, teas, and sunflower seeds, Good Neighbor offers more than 70 varieties of meat with a cold case dedicated to baloney, two for salami, one for smoked and dried fish, and another for Eastern European cheeses, as well as a freezer full of pelmeni and perogi dumplings. A rear corner features a wall of colorfully wrapped, assorted candies in bins, but owner Alex Shkurov, who runs the grocery with his brother Slava, says he’d “take a pickled cucumber over candy” any day. Pickled goods, like cucumbers, tomatoes and green beans, are amongst the in-house specialities made using old-fashioned recipes that don’t use vinegar, while other rarities include jars of pickled apples and watermelon. Other highly recommended and hard-to-find items include house-baked Georgian flat bread and German rye-based breads as well as cheesy puff pastries. And if anything starts to feel too unfamiliar, ask for a sample and the staff will gladly oblige.

Good Neighbor European Deli Market, 4107 SE 82nd Ave., 503.771.5171

Find three more things to do in Foster-Powell on Neighborhood Notes.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

portland credit unions : local alternatives to big banks

Portland’s Occupy movement and like-minded activists around the nation have highlighted, using various methods, the benefits of transitioning from big banking to small during the last 12 months. And while some 6 million Americans have switched "their banking business from corporate-level, for-profit banking institutions to not-for-profit credit unions that strive to promote economic growth in our communities," according to the official Bank Transfer Day Facebook page, the reality is that those millions of people still represent only 3 percent or so of banking consumers.

Increased fees and poor service have definitely helped convince many Americans to choose smaller banks and credit unions, but, as Stacy Mitchell, a senior researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, points out, there are plenty of constructive reasons for choosing a community bank or credit union over a big financial institution—like growing your local economy, supporting productive investment, and keeping decision-making local amongst institutions that are committed to your community.

While the Occupy movements and Bank Transfer Day were capturing headlines almost a year ago, Neighborhood Notes would like to remind you about some of the community-based credit unions around town that offer support for your local economy and neighborhood.

But first, let’s spell out the basics: A credit union differs from a bank in that it’s a not-for-profit financial cooperative that’s owned and democratically controlled by its members, allowing for competitive, low interest loans from the pooled savings of members.

Now, here’s a selection of five Portland- and Oregon-based credit unions that actively support their communities and the local economy through charitable service, small business programs, and community support.

Advantis Credit Union

With four centrally located branches in Portland, Advantis is a credit union with an 84-year history and a core value of making “a difference in the communities it serves,” says Community Relations Officer Misti Rooney. With a reputation for community involvement and charitable giving, “Advantis has been recognized as one of the top 10 small companies in Oregon for supporting charitable projects in the community,” Rooney says, including the launch of GROW: The Advantis Community Fund in 2011, which “awards local nonprofits with funding for locally identified needs,” Rooney says. Donating $50,000 in grants per year, “Advantis awards grants to seed projects that offer the most potential for long-term benefits in the community,” Rooney adds, plus the credit union recently initiated some innovative work with the Leaven Project to create a crowdfunded lending program. “Advantis also offers a very unique loan program that is addressing a very real community problem of many abandoned, foreclosed, distressed homes in our neighborhoods,” Rooney says. “The Advantis Rehabilitation Mortgage Program allows homeowners to purchase abandoned and distressed homes and turn them into their dream home. This program is new, and as far as we have learned, [we are] the only credit union in the country offering this program. It’s a mortgage loan that covers the purchase of the home plus the upgrades needed to make it an attractive, livable home, while revitalizing the neighborhood and community.”

Advantis Belmont Branch, 3010 SE Belmont St., 503.785.2528
Advantis Downtown Branch, 120 SW Taylor St., 503.785.2528
Advantis Fremont Branch, 3515 NE 15th Ave., 503.785.2528
Advantis Lloyd Center Branch, 825 NE Multnomah St., Ste. 110, 503.785.2528

Find out about four more local credit unions on Neighborhood Notes.

Friday, October 19, 2012

new portland memories in the making : a q/a with other lives

Like so many burgeoning bands out there, it's not surprising that Other Lives has spent the better part of the last two years on the road. But, unlike most bands out there, the Stillwater, Oklahoma, five-piece has already had the opportunity of a lifetime—honestly, opportunities of lifetimes—as their haunting sound has impressed the likes of Bon Iver and Radiohead, which has resulted in the band opening for both in the last two years.

Unable to be simply classified as some brand of folk, the complex and swirling melodies of Other Lives are layered with multiplicitous harmonies and multifaceted instruments played by multi-instrumentalists. On stage, band members grab and swap instruments many times throughout the course of single song—trading a trumpet for a violin or a few touches on the vibraphone, drum sticks for a woodwind, complemented by harmonium and harmonica plus cello and a mellotron. Needless to say, they travel with a lot of gear, but it allows them to deftly recreate their intricate works live.

Headlining the Wonder Ballroom on Saturday, October 27th, Other Lives will have a few pieces of new (or previously unreleased) material to share. Jesse Tabish (vocals, piano, guitar and percussion), Jenny Hsu (cello and backing vocals), Jon Mooney (violin, horns, piano and percussion), Colby Owens (clarinet and percussion), and Josh Onstott (bass and percussion) are set to release a four-track EP, Mind The Gap, out on October 23rd via TBD Records.

Recorded this past summer on the road as well as during a brief stint in a studio in Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire, England, the EP's opening track, "Take Us Alive," is "based on a violin loop that was written in my parents’ backyard," Tabish explains. Plus, the EP features a remix of the second album title track "Tamer Animals" by none other than Thom Yorke under his band moniker Atoms For Peace, as well as the song "Dead Can," which was written during the band's recent world tour and was “mostly recorded in the van using a laptop, because we were touring so much. That's what gives it an electro feel," Tabish says.

OMN caught up with Jonathon Mooney in anticipation of the Portland gig as Other Lives kicks of their fall tour dates today.

We're excited to have you guys back in Portland again, headlining your biggest gig here in town. Looking at all the festivals you've played and the bands you've opened for during the last two or so years, it all seems crazy to me. How does it feel to be in your shoes?

We're excited as well. Portland has always been one of our favorite stops. It's definitely been a long road, but also a good one. We've been going almost nonstop for the last 16 months, but the bands we've gotten to play with and the places we've gotten to visit make up for how little time we've gotten to spend at home.

You've got a new EP out soon, much of which was written and recorded on the road. After meticulously crafting your last album at home, how does it feel to be writing and recording on the road?

Almost all of it was written on the road. We did stop for a week to record in a studio in England, but even parts from the demo we intended to re-record ended up on the final tracks. We've always been believers that it's usually a waste of time to try and recreate parts you've already recorded.

What's the story behind "Dust Bowl" from the new EP, and how does it relate to "Dust Bowl III" from your second album?

The dust bowl was a huge visual inspirations for some of the songs on the last record. We were obsessed with the imagery and story at the start of recording Tamer Animals. We would even project footage on the studio walls while we were recording. "Dust Bowl I," "II," and "III" were a result of that obsession, but only "III" made it on the record.

Watch the video for "Dust Bowl III," created by music video competition winner NOAMIR:

So, "Dust Bowl II" is still somewhere out there?

Yes, "Dust Bowl II" is out there. It's the only one we don't have a studio recording of, but we do play it live sometimes. Perhaps at the Portland show?

Read the rest on OMN.

Friday, October 5, 2012

5 noteworthy things to do in portland's kenton neighborhood

Located in the shadow of Paul Bunyan, Kenton may feel sleepy on certain days of the week when the antique and resale shops are shuttered, but there’s always plenty of activity within this North Portland neighborhood that feels like you’ve stepped into a small, tight-knit community where neighbors know each others’ names.

SEE: Stumptown’s Patron Saint

Built to celebrate the Oregon Centennial in 1959, Kenton’s towering concrete and metal Paul Bunyan statue has become a symbol of the neighborhood and was even added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. Originally slated for demolition following the Centennial Exposition, state officials ultimately decided to allow the 31-foot sculpture remain standing, and over the years, it was relocated 50 feet to a new plaza when TriMet needed to make room for a new MAX line. And although there’s no Babe, TriMet also commissioned bench-sized imprints of the Blue Ox’s feet at the base of the statue.

Paul Bunyan statue, corner of North Interstate Avenue and North Denver Avenue across from the North Denver Avenue light rail station

SHOP LOCAL: "One Man's Junk Is Another Man's Treasure"

A worn wooden sign above a doorway reads "One Man's Junk Is Another Man's Treasure" in the symbiotically crafted retail space affectionately dubbed The Fort, where the owners of three independently owned businesses—Salvage Works, Solabee Flowers and Boys' Fort—have come together to share not only their space but also their manpower and talents. Packed with salvaged and recycled curiosities, Salvage Works offers vintage building materials and custom, handmade furniture while Boys’ Fort peddles everything from bowties to lighting fixtures to oil can and voltage meter robots by Dean Freiman of Tin Bones Manufacturing, and Solabee Flowers brightens up the place with botanicals and floral arrangements. If all that sounds just uniquely lovely, don’t miss the grotesque display of decapitated Cabbage Patch and Chucky-esque doll head planters by Tim Brock, which make good reuse of discarded (and mutilated) children’s toys.

Salvage Works, 2030 N Willis Blvd., 503.285.2555
Solabee Flowers, 8315 N Denver Ave., 503.307.2758
Boys' Fort, 2030 N Willis Blvd., 503.886.9077

Find three more things to do in Kenton on Neighborhood Notes.

how to write quality consumer reviews that help local business thrive

By writing quality consumer reviews, you have the opportunity to contribute to the success of locally owned businesses, not just by influencing others' buying decisions but also by providing critical feedback to business owners. Your input will enable businesses to provide better services or products, which will in turn help them stay open and thrive.

The reviews that you write also help local businesses gain online credibility with other consumers as well as search engines.

But that doesn’t mean all reviews are good reviews—and we’re not talking about glowing versus scathing reviews. While often good intentioned, many reviews are simply not helpful.

If you want to write reviews that truly help businesses in your community, then consider what makes a quality review from the perspectives of the business owner, the search engine and the customer. Because really, no matter if you’re an independent proprietor, an Internet robot, or a living, breathing consumer, you all want the same thing: relevant, accurate, usable information.

What Kinds of Reviews Are Helpful to Business Owners?

Winemaker and Hip Chicks do Wine owner Laurie Lewis says “factual unbiased information” is most helpful in customer reviews.

A review is valuable to her if it answers questions like: “Were you greeted in a timely fashion? Did you get the information you were looking for? Was our staff helpful, informative and pleasant?”

An important point about these questions is that they are all things that Lewis can control, not subjective opinions.

“Writing a review saying, ‘I didn't like this wine,’ is not helpful to the business owner or consumers looking for information,” she explains.

Lewis stresses the importance of being specific with your feedback: “Things like, ‘this packaging was hard to open’ or ‘the food was cold.’ Those things are helpful because a business can improve on them.”

Business owners want to know if their products or services meet a consistent level of quality, especially when they are not present. Being absent from their businesses means they can definitely miss out on certain customer experiences, so it’s important for Jenna Forzley of Atomic Pizza to get customer reviews that allow her “to hear if our quality of food and service are consistent.”

Lewis also recognizes that there are often things business owners don’t want to hear—like my server “spent more time on his or her cell phone than assisting me,” “the bathroom was dirty,” etc.—but those “are all things that show where some attention needs to be focused.”

Whether you’re leaving a positive or negative review, it’s important to remember to be constructive, offering factual, rational information or examples to support your accolades or criticism.

Find out what makes a good review in the eyes of consumers as well as search engines on Neighborhood Notes.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

94.7 knrk announces 2012 december to remember lineup including rose garden bill with the killers + m83

Passion Pit's Michael Angelakos at the Crystal Ballroom during MFNW 2012.
Photo by Anthony Pidgeon.

This morning, 94.7 FM announced the lineups for their yearly holiday music series, December to Remember, which runs from December 2nd through the 6th, plus a final straggling show on the 10th. With six nights of music, KNRK has added more shows than ever with performances at the Crystal Ballroom and Roseland as well as a huge Rose Garden bill. Here's how the gigs are shaping up for this year's ever-popular series:

Sunday, December 2nd
The Lumineers
Crystal Ballroom, $20

Monday, December 3rd
Roseland Theater, $25

Passion Pit
Crystal Ballroom, $30

Tuesday, December 4th
Crystal Ballroom, $32.50

Wednesday, December 5th
The Killers
Tegan and Sara
Rose Garden, $29.50-59.50

Of Monsters and Men
Crystal Ballroom, $25

Thursday, December 6th
The Joy Formidable
Crystal Ballroom, $25

Monday, December 10th
The Shins
Crystal Ballroom, $35

Presale tickets are on sale now! Get the password on OMN.

10 noteworthy things to do in portland's west end

Less polished than the abutting Pearl, the West End maintains a bit of its viable grit as it experiences a rebirth of sorts. Representing the craft and culture that’s become the definition of Portland, the district is a den of fashionable boutiques containing handmade goods and art, where dining, drinking and dancing abounds at night, and a quiet corner, good book and mug of coffee awaits in the morning.


Pull up a chair to sip your in-house roasted coffee from a locally made ceramic mug at Courier Coffee Roasters. And because you took a seat, you can also enjoy some of the shop’s baked goods, which are made from scratch on-site using as many locally sourced products as possible.

Courier Coffee Roasters, 923 SW Oak St., 503.545.6444

SHOP LOCAL: Accessorize

Focused on the quality and sustainability of the products it sells, look beyond the selection of dresses, tops, pants and jackets at Radish Underground to the one-of-a-kind, hard-to-find accessories: Go for Rad Bad Lands jewelry (made locally with dinosaur bones and ancient fossils from Hell City, Mont.), or Portland-made Martine leather satchels and Jonny Sport bags, a “man-tastic,” 100 percent vegan, basketball-textured accessory.

Radish Underground, 414 SW 10th Ave., 503.928.6435

SHOP LOCAL: Skim the Illustrated Editions

Specializing in the little guys, geeks and independents of the publishing world, Reading Frenzy stocks a bounty of scarce small press and self-published books, art, local comics, graphic novels, and zines, like The D.I.Y. Guide To Drums by local musician Lisa Schonberg and a guide to edible weeds as well as one to help you discover Portland by bicycle.

Reading Frenzy, 921 SW Oak St., 503.274.1449

SHOP LOCAL: Listen Local, Too

Amongst the array of handmade art, clothing and jewelry at Tender Loving Empire lies a record label. The DIY retail consignment store and screenprinting studio stocks indie releases on vinyl from Portland up-and-comers like Radiation City, Typhoon and Y La Bamba.

Tender Loving Empire, 412 SW 10th Ave., 503.243.5859

Find six more things to do in West End, including more shopping, happy hour and live music, on Neighborhood Notes.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

about face : robyn tenenbaum : live on stage for an airwave audience

For more than two decades, Robyn Tenenbaum has been captivated by the spontaneous and unexpected moments that happen on the live stage, as well as the audience’s reaction to those sudden bursts of artistic expression, humor, theatrics, or improvisation.

Whether promoting concerts or producing radio variety shows, one of Tenenbaum’s core principles is the idea that live entertainment should not just amuse people but also incite discovery. As the co-creator and executive producer of her own show, Live Wire! Radio, which airs weekly on OPB, Tenenbaum ambitiously translates this unique live experience to the airwaves.

Branding Live Wire! as “radio variety for the Jon Stewart set,” Tenenbaum sees her show as “a cultural curator for the rich arts and culture scene here in Portland, throughout the region and beyond.”

“It’s hard to put the words to the feeling you get—that sense of community you get when you come to a show, that sense of knowing you can get a lot of your culture in one night,” Tenenbaum relates.

Nevertheless, “It really is a radio show,” Tenenbaum says, grounding herself. “There’s so many more radio listeners, so we really always try to remember that, and that the live show is then sort of a bonus.”

Hailing from San Francisco, Tenenbaum spent the '90s working for Bill Graham Presents, studying the way the storied impresario and concert promoter was able to arrange different acts together—whether it was rock with jazz or just an unlikely pairing—to expose audiences to new sights, sounds and schools of thought. “People would come for one act and would be exposed to another,” she says of the bills Graham used to book.

Falling in love meant moving to Portland in 2000, where Tenenbaum likes to say, according to her official bio, she “gave birth to a boy, a girl and a radio variety show.”

Tenenbaum says the concept came together serendipitously in 2003 when mutual friends and random connections introduced her to Jim Brunberg, Live Wire!’s technical producer as well as the owner of Mississippi Studios, and Kate Sokoloff, the show’s other co-creator and “the driving force in the early days,” Tenenbaum says.

Entering its ninth year, Live Wire! is looking to push more boundaries as well as revise and rejuvenate old routines in ways that will engage both the live and listening audiences.

But, as Portlanders, the best way to truly capture the experience is to attend a live show. Tenenbaum states, “Our mission is to harness the intimacy of the theater experience and the power of the public airwaves to enliven, inspire and engage communities.”

How often do you encounter people that just don’t understand what you’re doing? How do you explain the show to them?

It seems that many people in Portland have either heard Live Wire! or heard of Live Wire!, because people in Portland love their OPB, and with great reason.

When we do encounter people who don’t know what we do, we try to explain it a few different ways:

“It’s a radio variety show that incorporates live music, interviews, performance, and original comedy.”

“It’s a radio show taped on stage and it’s a live theatrical event.”

“It’s radio variety for the ADD Generation.”

It’s one night of great arts and culture. In one night, because we tape two shows back-to-back, an audience member will get exposed to two bands, two interviews with a filmmaker or author or thought leader, and essayists or storytellers or a piece from a local theater production. Plus, they will get some comedy from our talented cast as well as a few unexpected elements that we don’t even plan for—that’s the really fun stuff. All of this occurs at the Alberta Rose Theatre, which is a beautiful and intimate venue that’s a great place to spend an evening.

We like to entertain people in a way that makes them think differently. We love when Live Wire! becomes the conversation around the water cooler the next day at the office, or when something sticks with someone enough that they want to share it with friends. Inevitably, people’s minds are opened to a new idea or band or something they didn’t know about before. That’s the best part. And because there’s so much variety, everybody takes home a different favorite part of the show. It’s all just a smorgasbord of great entertainment that’s provocative too.

One of the things we hear from people who come to a show for the first time is, “I had no idea this was what this is. I’m definitely coming back and bringing friends too.”

Photo by Jennie Baker
In your experience, how do you make a show that’s engaging for the live audience but also translates well to radio?

That’s always the great challenge because the live audience is the only audience we can see, so we’re always tempted to make the show for the live audience, and yet, our radio audience is far bigger and far vaster. We’re constantly making sure that we’re not doing anything that alienates the listener or making the show feel too live—where people when they’re listening feel left out of a joke. We’ve definitely grown in this area throughout our experience.

For me, the biggest thing is not forgetting the radio audience and to really make it sound like something that you can listen to if you’re driving in your car or hanging out in your kitchen, because it’s just a really entertaining show and because things change up every five to seven minutes, in a true variety show format. You get that opportunity, both as a live watcher and a radio listener, to stick with it or leave the room and come back and get a restart button for the next segment. So, hopefully we’re achieving that, but that’s something that we’re always trying to hone.

You have to use your live audience to make the best radio show you can make. Because we’ve had so many people who are theater-oriented within our organization, it’s been really important to us to make a very polished live show.

We’re charged by every live show because they’re so much fun to make and they’re so much fun to be at. I always feel blessed and I get a front row seat for all of this amazing entertainment and wonderful talent. So, it’s fun to be able to see and be here, but again, that’s 1 percent of our audience, compared to the listening audience.

What are the most exciting shows for you?

The most exciting shows are shows that strike that perfect combination of funny, informative, great music, and totally entertaining. We love incorporating our guests in sketches or in something off the wall.

Have some recent examples?

I loved when Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) strapped on an accordion and sang (and danced) Prince’s “When Doves Cry” with the house band. He gave it a little Latin flair that sent the audience rolling in laughter. Comic book author Brian Michael Bendis was being interviewed by Courtenay while his colleague/illustrator Mike Oeming stood behind them and drew an amazing image. We then had an impromptu auction and auctioned it off to a lucky audience member. I love the unexpected, and fortunately, we get a lot of that in our shows. Sometimes more than we wish for...

Is there a conscious consideration to try and maintain a balance of local and nonlocal names on the show?

Yes and no. We cast our net wide, to local and national. We’ve got great, great relationships with publicists in New York for authors, and we have wonderful relationships with the arts communities here in town, so we’re always keeping an eye on what theater company is opening when and what’s happening. It’s kind of a combination of us putting our feelers out, and people calling us. There’s so much talent right here in Portland, and we’ve always tapped into that.

But what happens in the green room backstage at shows is one of my favorite, most remarkable things because there are so many different relationships and collaborations that are starting to brew backstage at a Live Wire! show. There have been quite a few things that have come from that, and it has just been people who meet people who share the same stage.

It’s all sort of a conscious decision. Like I said, there’s so much talent—there’s so much literary talent right here, there’s so much musical talent here—that it’s a great place to focus on.

What kind of exposure are you getting on the radio as well as through other outlets, like online?

We are currently heard throughout the entire state of Oregon through OPB, and in Southern Oregon and Northern California via Jefferson Public Radio.

Within the public radio system, we have garnered the attention of a few key people. This is important to us as we continue to distribute our show independently. Ideally, we would like to take on a marketing partner who can help us get heard by more station program directors. In the meantime, we will continue to grow through our current channels and by coming up with new ideas to be heard.

Social media has been a powerful tool for us as well. We are building our audience by splicing up the show into small segments so new audiences can get a taste of the show before committing to a full 59 minutes.

Are you finding that the rest of the nation outside of Oregon is interested in Live Wire!? Are people seeking it out?

Yes. I mean, it’s a big nation so we have a lot of territory to cover, and we’re one of very, very few shows that is an independent production. There are all these other shows in the system, and many of them are backed by NPR or PRI or American Public Media, but we’re really an independent production and always have been. It’s a bit of a challenge, yet certainly not impossible, and we’ve certainly made a name for ourselves across the country by being around so long and by doing what we do. We’ve been told that we’re the best of all the live variety stage productions out there. So that’s flattering to hear.

Does being completely independent give you some advantages or freedom?

Certainly. We still have to stick and want to stick within the FCC guidelines and regulations, and we don’t try and push the boundaries… well, we try [laughs]. We do try and push the boundaries, but not in any way that would get anybody into trouble… we hope. If NPR or PRI called us up tomorrow and wanted to help us distribute our show, that wouldn’t be a bad thing.

We’re open to all the possibilities of where Live Wire! can go, and our main goal is we want more ears to hear us. We want to be sustainable. We are a nonprofit and not many people realize that. We feel like we’ve always been the show from Portland, but not about Portland. We feel the spotlight has been on this town and this state nationally so much in the past few years that broadcasting a show from Oregon feels like it could be, and is, and should be, appealing to the rest of the country—because it’s not like we’re this provincial show—we’re not focusing on Portland so much as we are focusing on the voice of Oregon, Portland and the Northwest. We’ve had some good successes with it, and we hope to get out further in the world. We love what we do so much we want to be able to continue doing it.

As you look to update, allowing the show to evolve over time, what sort of values does Live Wire! adhere to?

We always want to be fresh, we always want to be engaging, we always want to stay relevant, we always want to have a sense of whimsy, we want to be provocative—these are the value words we talk about. When we book authors or write sketches or design the show, it’s important that it fits some or all of these descriptions: authentic, smart, provocative, innovative, fresh, quality, whimsical, informative, entertaining.

How might the show look and sound a little different this upcoming season?

As we do every summer, we take a look back at every aspect of our show and we ask ourselves what’s working and what can work better. Sometimes we get so used to doing something that it becomes routine and we don’t think to change it. This annual sit-down forces us to take the time to focus on the show as a whole, to pay attention to the little things and the big things, and it gives us the opportunity to freshen things up. Our hope is that it ultimately takes the show to a new level.

One of our main objectives right now is to continue to build our podcast audience and our radio listenership in other states. With this in mind, we try to listen to our shows with new listener ears.

We are experimenting this fall rather than making sweeping changes. This season in particular, we are going to change the way we open the show. Tune in or come to a live show to see or hear how we’ll execute it!

We plan to incorporate a new segment dedicated to food and food culture here in the Northwest and beyond. It’s such an important part of who we are and how we build communities that we would like to highlight this for the rest of the country. It’s something everyone can relate to.

We have a segment in most of our shows that involves the audience. This season we are going to try out a few different ideas to see what works for the show and what inspires the audience. Perhaps a “Dear Live Wire!” segment, where our audience can ask us anything, or a segment called “Badvice.” We thought about a segment called “Things you probably can’t say on public radio,” which may be funny. Until it’s not. Again, stay tuned.

You can catch bi-weekly Live Wire! performances at Alberta Rose Theatre from now through December, or the radio broadcast every Saturday night on OPB at 7pm. Please visit for more information on upcoming show lineups and ticketing as well as on-air schedules.

Read this interview in About Face Magazine.

Friday, September 21, 2012

persistently reshaping the hugs with danny delegato

The Hugs that recorded Dirty Gems; Danny Delegato at right.
Photo by Destiny Lane.
Young as they might be in age, The Hugs have seen some ups and downs in their days. Led by the only constant, Danny Delegato, since 2007, the Portland-based garage pop rock band has seen members come and go over the years. Their early days saw them signed to Columbia UK/1965 Records in London and touring Europe, England and the States, opening for bands like The Kooks, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Dandy Warhols, The Walkmen, and The Cribs—many of which the group has been compared to.

Releasing records in 2007 and 2009, Delegato says those "first two LPs were heavy, power-pop type songs—wearing our age on our sleeve. Time changes things and I think I've learned a lot."

The original band quit after the label dropped the band. Delegato stuck with it, just like he always has since forming The Hugs as a 17 year old in high school.

"It's been a long ride so far," Delegato says. "I decided to do this band no matter what happens. Most people would have just given up. But why would I end or break up The Hugs?"

The latest album, Dirty Gems, came out this past summer, featuring a new lineup—Delegato (lead vocals, guitar), Patrick Wilcox (guitar, vocals), Mitch Wilson (drums), Davey Appaloosa (bass)—and sound.

"Musically, we have gotten more edgier and rock 'n' roll on Dirty Gems," Delegato describes, yet the content of the songs seems to highlight a carefree immaturity with breezy songs about love and girls and drinking as well as "Sunshine And Cigarettes." The second single, "American Lie," has a roaring Dandys vibe while the poppy, catchy call outs on opener "Reykjavik" and "Dot Dot" recall a Brit-rock sound that was undoubtedly influential during Delegato's early years with The Hugs.

"We made Dirty Gems as sorta a dual songwriting album—with me and Patrick doing most of the writing. We basically collaborated to make Dirty Gems and helped each other finish songs one by one until we had a great album worth of songs," Delegato explains.

Now, the band's lineup has once again changed since the release of its third full-length. All 22 to 23 years old, Delegato and Appaloosa (guitar) remain, currently alongside Skylar Weaver (drums) and Michael Sterling (bass). Wilson and Wilcox left to focus on other projects but Dirty Gems remains as a "carefully crafted" album "and we are very proud of it. It was just time to move on," Delegato says.

"I'm all about making albums and playing shows for the people," Delegato says. "It's all about the music The Hugs leave behind in my opinion."

And as Delegato has moved on with a new configuration of The Hugs, he's also revealed a more intimate side of his songwriting on nine SE Portland basement-recorded tracks, self released under the name Lovesick. OMN caught up with an active Delegato about his two latest releases.

Dirty Gems was your third album but your first since 2009. What happened in the years between those records?

We did an album in London at the end of 2008 for Columbia Records UK/1965, and following the delivery of the album, the label's funding was taken and that little indie in London (1965 Records) folded completely in January 2009. We decided not to release the album we did with Liam Watson (The White Stripes) in London for the recording company, and we went back to Portland and did our second LP, titled Again & Again, and self released.

Also, three members left the group: Kelly McKenzie, Nicholas LoCascio and Brendan Welch. I reformed the band to make the album Dirty Gems and I wrote the songs in 2010-11 with Davey Appaloosa and Patrick Wilcox. We've been touring a lot on the West Coast and building our fan base one fan at a time. It was a gap between records, but we didn't want to just throw something out there that we didn't work super hard towards. It's a polished album and we wanted it to sound like that. So, that takes time. We really delved into structures, lyrics, song delivery, riffs, etc. We focused on the small things. I think we grew up in the years between those old records.

Read the rest on OMN.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

how to encourage real, genuine reviews + build trust in your business

Getting customers through your doors in today’s marketplace is really tough.

The business landscape is competitive, the economy is uncertain, and people are really picky about where they spend their money.

If trying to figure out how to make your small business stand out online is stressing you out, you’re not alone.

One of the most effective ways to build trust, rank in local search, and generate the word-of-mouth marketing crucial to your success is to get real, genuine reviews of your business.

An Econsultancy article simply titled "Online consumers trust real people, not companies" says it all: “Ninety percent of consumers online trust recommendations from people that they know, with 70 percent trusting the opinions posted online by unknown users.”

Besides just trusting in what others say online, 70 percent of Americans also say they look at product reviews before making a purchase, according to author Jim Lecinski in Winning The Zero Moment of Truth.

So, how do you get consumer reviews? It’s easier than you think. You just need to be proactive.

Create Review-Ready Business Profiles

Your contact details don’t say much about your business. Add as much real, relevant information about your business as possible to your profile on review sites: recent photos, up-to-date information about the owners and staff, your hours, menu, products, and any information that will help consumers write better reviews and/or help your business stand out when people are searching for businesses in your category.

Get more advice on how to encourage reviews on Neighborhood Notes.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

who’s the best dancer? get on the dance floor with hot chip

When Hot Chip arrive in Portland on Thursday, September 13th, the London seven-piece will have just headlined the Hollywood Bowl—an amphitheater with a capacity of some 18,000—with Passion Pit. But it's not their first time taking that grand LA stage—they co-headlined it a pair of years ago with LCD Soundsystem.

More than a decade in the making, Hot Chip multi-instrumentalist Owen Clarke is humble when he says, "We've been lucky in that we've been able to build up to this, and we feel really happy with where we are right now."

Recognizing the hard work they've put in over the years, Clarke recalls the "good education" that all the early years of support tours provided, giving the act a chance to "hit our stride" and "make our live mistakes on the small stage."

That slow build up is also perfected musically on the band's fifth and latest record In Our Heads with tracks like "Motion Sickness," "Flutes" and "Ends Of The Earth" where instrumental minutes pass and layer upon layer of percussion is meticulously, but flawlessly, balanced atop synth flourishes until the communal vocals of Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard kick in, offering yet another indelibly repetitive layer that revolves around the implausibly danceable core.

"We've always occupied a space between the dance floor and the home, and we always try and make records that work in both places—[ones that] sound good on headphones or sound good on great, big sound systems," explains Clarke who plays guitar, bass, synths, and percussion with Hot Chip (and claims to be the best dancer in the band—but more on that later).

While the band may pay close attention to all the little details, they didn't necessarily set out with the aim of making a dance floor record with In Our Heads.

"We try making a synthesis of different things we enjoy," Clarke says, and that fusion has produced a happy record—one that's upbeat, joyous and alive, as well as romantic and constantly seeking unabashed human connection—possibly the thoughts In Our Heads that we rarely express without inhibition. And being romantically inclined, tension is also expressed, although always under the guise of danceable pop music (and sometimes alongside a few geeky samples).

Listen to "Don't Deny Your Heart":

Read the rest on OMN.