Category Archives: Portland

ON BLAST: Twin Shadow

Twin Shadow's George Lewis Jr.

I enjoyed Twin Shadow’s debut album, Forget, in 2010, but I wasn’t obsessed with it. Still, I ranked it my No. 14 favorite record of the year because it featured two of my favorite songs of the year, “Castles In The Snow” and “Slow”, and I enjoyed its gritty vibe, in general.

In hindsight, my ranking of Forget was way, way too low. I should have ranked it in Drake’s spot at No. 3. (YES!!!! Another New Year’s Resolution broken — the one about not admitting I ranked Drake too high.)

That quip about ranking Forget at No. 3 is not hyperbole. I’ve been listening to Forget non-stop the past few weeks. I’m enthralled by frontman George Lewis Jr.’s suave voice, his tales that hang between wishing for love and wishing for anything but, and the record’s darkly penetrating synths.

Continue reading

TV Review: “Portlandia” Ep. 1

Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen. Photo Credit: IFC

SPOILER ALERT: This post features spoilers. If you plan to watch the show but haven’t seen it, what are you waiting for? It is incredible! (Yeah, I lifted that from Aziz Ansari. Aziz, I love you!)

The debut episode of Independent Film Channel’s new comedy “Portlandia” is a pitch- perfect ode to the city it skewers.

Portland residents should be able to recognize themselves in at least one of the skits that comprise the show’s first episode. I recognized myself in the second verse of the show’s opening song montage. And I’ve only lived here six weeks.

However, I wonder if the show is too much of an inside joke to be appreciated by people not living on the west coast. My friends in Louisiana might be amused by the show, but I doubt they would find it ROTFLMFAO funny. (Hooray for Internet acronyms!)

“Portlandia” stars “Saturday Night Live” alum Fred Armisen and Sleater Kinney guitarist/songwriter Carrie Brownstein in a variety of roles associated with Portlanders weird behavioral peccadillos, many of which I’ve observed first hand. The first of the show’s six episodes is playing on hulu.com and premieres on IFC Friday night at 10:30 EST/9:30 CST.

Continue reading

For The Jobless In Sufjanland …

Sufjan Stevens looks lost without his banjo

Ed. Note: I started this post Tuesday night. My job search update and comments on fatigue from the BCS title game reflect upon this. My list of favorite Sufjan songs was compiled across parts of Tuesday and Wednesday (today). Fun times.

I spent most of this afternoon and evening reading descriptions of jobs from coast to coast, most of which were associated with the black art of journalism. Part of me wishes that newspapers weren’t dying. We could have been a good NBA Jam-style team, newspapers and I.

JOB SEARCH UPDATE: I applied for two jobs. It’s not time for a ticker tape parade. I didn’t apply for a job in Portland. I applied for jobs out of state. I have no plans to move.

As absurd as the logic in the preceding paragraph must read, it makes sense to me. I needed to apply for jobs. I didn’t see any jobs locally that caught my eye. To not apply for a job today — any job — would have been a failure. I might not have a bee-line on a job, but I don’t feel like a failure.

Tomorrow is a new day. It holds the potential for magic. I wield the wand, aka the pen.

Continue reading

Miles’ Decision Makes Me Smile; BCS Finish Makes Me Sad

The Mad Hatter abides! Photo by Associated Press

I am happy Les Miles will return as LSU’s head football coach in 2011.

I never envisioned writing that sentence after the Tigers nearly suffered disastrous losses against North Carolina and Tennessee early this season.

Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. Miles personified this in 2010 while leading LSU to its third season of 11 or more wins during his six-year tenure.

I felt apprehensive when, on the eve of LSU’s Cotton Bowl victory over Texas A&M, reports from big name media outlets circulated that Miles would take the head coaching position at his alma mater Michigan if offered the job.

However, I woke Tuesday morning to welcome text messages from friends in Louisiana informing me Miles decided to stay at LSU. Later in the day, Michigan announced it had hired San Diego State coach Brady Hoke.

I heard the collective sigh of LSU fans here in Portland. Or maybe that was the unforgiving wind on a terribly cold day.

How is it possible LSU fans, like myself, are so excited for another year with Les “The Mad Hatter” Miles?

Continue reading

The Wait Is The Hardest Part

For a football fan, the day before your favorite team, whether college or pro, plays for a championship is excruciating. Anxiety runs through your veins. You just want the day to end as soon as possible.

The day of the big game is Christmas. The game is the present. It’s a present unwrapped over the course of three and a half hours and countless commercial breaks, and may ultimately end in disappointment rather than joy. There are no refunds, no exchange policies. Buy the ticket, take the ride, as Hunter Thompson often wrote.

The mood in Portland today, on the eve of Oregon’s BCS National Title Game appearance against Auburn, is one of nervous anticipation. The sky is filled with thick, navy blue clouds, and the forecast calls for snow tonight. The city’s eternally crappy winter weather doesn’t take a break for championship games.

Continue reading

Yes, I Listen To Maiden At The Coffeeshop … D’uh!

Robert "Silver Fox" Zullo and I at a Kiss tribute show.

Ed. Note: Technically, Robert Zullo is only a Prince of New Brunswick. However, I have taken the bloggeristic liberty of labeling him King of New Brunswick. Memo to the old King of New Brunswick, you have been dethroned by The Cajun Tomato. You’re welcome!

My friend and former In The Gravels bandmate, Robert Zullo, tried like hell to make me a metal fan while I was in south Louisiana.

He derided my love for indie music, forced me to listen to metal on car rides to New Orleans, and reminded me every chance he got that music existed before 2000. He’s correct there.

Zullo often showed his love for metal with a hand gesture reminiscent of grasping a golden chalice. He is a King of New Brunswick. I sometimes made my own golden chalice hand gesture. It wasn’t as kick ass as his, though.

On to the present: I almost made it out of south Louisiana with my apathy for metal intact. Almost.

Continue reading

An LSU Fan In Portland’s BCS Title Game Thoughts

This may disappoint my friends in Portland but there is an upcoming college football game I am more interested in than Monday’s BCS National Title Game between Oregon and Auburn.

The game I am referencing is LSU’s clash with Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl Friday night. Guest blogger and Oregon alum Ben Lundin might have been correct when he implied no one outside Louisiana and Texas cared about the game, except he forgot my mailing address also says Portland, Oregon.

Continue reading

Capt. Jack Sparrow lives in Portland! Woot!

A Public Service Announcement from The Cajun Tomato: (Ed. Note: This is not a PSA. SMH!)

I am a man of letters. True story. All it takes is paper, a pen, a stamp, an envelope and saliva. Today, I acquired all of the above — I didn’t pay for the saliva … it’s important to save money in hard economic times — and went to the Portland Post Office.

Some of you will receive letters or postcards soon. I wrote the first batch in cursive. That was my experimental phase as a man of letters. My cursive is atrocious. Have no fear, if you received a letter in cursive, I typed out the contents of said letter. I am a man of letters and a translator of my own made-up cursive language.

If only I could put such fantastical nonsense, such as man of letters and translator, on my resume, that would be wonderful. Maybe I’d get a job writing people ridiculous and inane letters — the type of stuff that lifts spirits and causes the occasional chuckle. Oh, dreams!

Continue reading

Cajun Tomato’s 2011 New Year’s Resolutions

Hello friend,

Here just hours before 2011 arrives is that noblest of pursuits: a list of resolutions I will brush aside during the first week of the new year. Anyone can brush aside one resolution, two resolution, three resolutions … but here I have listed 26 resolutions. I can’t possibly brush all of them aside, can I? Just watch. I’ve already said, “Thanks but no thanks”, to five of them while typing this intro. No, I’m not going to tell you which. You’ll just have to guess. You’ll probably guess wrong, though. The mind of the Cajun Tomato is a whirlwind, a friendly whirlwind, but a whirlwind all the same. Well, it’s time to post this baby. May you have a wonderful evening and may 2011 bring you all the health and wealth your megachurch pastor promises.

Cheers,

Ray

Continue reading

Cajun Tomato’s Favorite Music Shows of 2010

Are you ready to Tightrope, New Orleans? Photo Credit: Cajun Tomato

I love the live music experience. Seeing a band bring their sound and vision to the stage, no matter how big or small, is an exciting thing. There is so much that can go wrong, and yet the payoff can be incredibly high. To me experiencing a great concert is comparable to a food lover eating at a four-star restaurant. This year I was spoiled. I witnessed great performances in small clubs and at large festivals in the South, Midwest and Pacific Northwest. There were very few shows I wanted to attend that I missed. Well, there were two – the Strokes at Austin City Limits Festival (bought tickets but scratched my plans) and Florence and the Machine at Voodoo Music Experience (I was saving up for a move). It’s okay, though. You can’t see every show you want, right? Right????

Continue reading