Sunday, April 12, 2009

Mostly Downtown Stuff

My reader has commented that it's been since March 15 since I've posted. It's true, Robert, guilty as charged.

Here, in no particular order are:

How 'bout that Shep Fields? A dinner guest that Dad brought home, maybe. Someone from out of town. How'd you like to see him staring at you across the table? His beady eyes seem to be saying that he'll be getting around to you as soon as he finishes that drink.

Bloggers seem to be a secretive bunch. In Bend, I've met Duncan, of "Best Minimum Wage Job a Middle Aged Guy Can Ever Have" fame. But he's hardly a moving target, sorta pinned down by his location in Pegasus Books downtown; I've had lunch with one or two guys who post on the Bend Economy Bulletin Board; and Brendan, who writes "THE ADVENTURES OF TOTORO AND HER PILOTS", pulls shots at Bellataza downtown every so often...but that's it.

It could be that a lot of bloggers are just intraverts -- I know I am -- and shy when in public. Or they are alarmingly unattractive, or crazy, or just disinterested in meeting folk. I can understand someone who is in a position of prominence or responsibility here in town who has a reputation to protect wanting to stay anonymous if he's posting about local politics or the economy, but I enjoy meeting the faces behind the words.

Dudley's Bookshop ( on Minnesota seems to be working hard to keep things happening. I dunno if the downtown needs or can support a used book store and coffee house, but they have a lot of square feets and are using them for events. On Friday they had a sorta Celtic music jam. Mrs Elliott, who is taking guitar lessons from Bend's Chris Huffine watched the various mandolin, (one) banjo, several fiddle and six or so guitarists and was able to pick out most of the chords they were playing. They meet on the third Friday of every month and we'll show up to sit in the back and jam along. Dudley's has a spacious upstairs is available for meetings.

About Chris: I know music theory and used to be a professional bass player (folk, blues, disco era-- don't ask) and I can say without reservation that he's an excellent teacher who knows how to take a student from beginner to somone who can read chord charts, figure out a song, and has enough theory to transpose a tune in just a few months.

Back to bookstores. The only other bookstore downtown is Pegasus, which is, according to my 18 year-old daughter, the kind of place "for guys without girlfriends." Duncan is keeping the place afloat, and apparently doing fairly well doing so, according to his popular and oft-quoted "More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About Running A Specialty Book and Comic Store In Downtown Bend While Staring a Really Big Recession Squarely In the Face (Plus Optional Grousings About Customers Who Don't Buy Anything But Get Their Grimy Fingerprints All Over The Stock)" blog (

And since I'm rambling about downtown events, Melanie Betti of The Wine Shop and Tasting Bar, pulled together an outdoor music event called "Alley Oop" on Friday night in the alley between her shop and and Kent Chapple's Thump Coffee. I reckon she had about six artists, and the place was packed when I went in for my traditional Friday evening glass (or two) of her excellent Côtes du Rhône. In addition to her usual helpers, Carla Miller (producer of KOHD's 5 o' clock news) and the lovely Bree, a largish nice guy named Kevin had been roped in to assist with pouring the house wine and keg beer. Like any good wine bar, Melanie as plenty of nice stemware, but I prefer to drink from Jack's glass. $5 cover which includes a house wine or keg beer. She plans on holding the event once a month.

However, it's unclear whether the Oxford Hotel (opening across the street from the alley Real Soon Now) will have a problem with the music. Kent tells me that the downtown noise ordinance kicks in at 9pm, which is kind of early for summer weekend nights. We'll see how this one plays out.

Part of yesterday's downtown Earth Day event was the Procession of the Species parade. Reminded me of when I was a kid in Santa Barbara
and my brothers and I got to dress up in costume to walk in the annual fiesta parade. The youngest brother was dressed as an American Indian with hands tied behind his back, and the middle brother and I as conquistadores marching behind him, prodding him with our swords. Enslavement was apparently considered jolly good fun in the 50's.

The actual Earth Day event was held at Troy Field. I'm not a fan of themed events which mainly provide a venue for vendors and businesses to set up canopies to flog wares, services, or "presence" to punters. But the field was crowded and it looked like everyone was having a good time in the warm sunlight.

How 'bout this weather, eh? I've been sneezing a lot (juniper and aspen pollen, apparently), but hey -- two weeks ago it was raining heavily, while on Tuesday there was a freakin' blizzard which iced up my bicycling glasses so heavily that I had to stop riding and seek shelter in the nearest warm tavern (Westside Tavern -- if you haven't been inside, it's exactly like you'd expect) until the sun came out again, two beers later; and today we're expecting mid 70's with low 80's predicted for tomorrow. Ma Nature has plenty of mood swings in Central Oregon.


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