Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Venture Brothers

The first episode of the Venture Brothers I ever lay witness to was one Sunday night at the Jolly Inn, back when Jeff Bastard used to wage-slave there and when C. Collision still used to get intoxicated. Being a public house of the lower order, the television was always on. Invariably, the channel was frozen on Adult Swim, w/ closed captions. This was the medium of my first Venture Bros. exposure. Despite closed captioning, my usual distrust of all things Adult Swim was tempered by visual images so bizarre my interested was thoroughly piqued.

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I experienced a second episode when aforementioned Collision and I grabbed a 6er on the way home from the more upstanding Basement Pub after it closed (it closes at 1:30, giving the intelligent inebriate one full hour before beer-thirty to procure after-hours entertainments). Upon viewing the opening credits with sound, it only took few stanzas into the theme for me to declare, "this is J. G. Thirlwell!"

J.G. Thirlwell, of course, is a musical fave of mine since shadowy past days of high school. At the time I was an insufferably devoted NIN/Minstry fanboy and was looking for more of the same ilk. Thirlwell's work, all under the various Foetus monikers, was not the same ilk (nor, as it turned out, was PWEI, which also remains my other musical fave). I dabbled in several Foetus albums, but I recall the Sink album, consisting of old singles and various instrumental pieces, being the first to really get under my skin.

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Around my senior year of high school Thirlwell's first and only album for Sony came out: a Foetus disc entitled Gash. That album rocked. It rocked even more when I became a sexually frustrated college freshman, the de facto soundtrack to my year of dorm life. This fit all the better when Thirlwell interviewed and said Gash was about a breakup.

I believe I may have never seen another episode of the Venture Brothers on television, but Collision was way into the show, and would pass along tidbits when the fancy struck him. We both pined for the dvd release. Collision later related to me that investigations had revealed none other than Ben Endlund was also involved in the Venture Brothers as a writer as co-creator Jackson Publick's college roomate.

Ben Endlund is the artistic and writing genius behind the Tick comic book, which I had read in the even more mist-enshrouded and spooky days of middle school, and, of course, watched the still rather bizarre, surreal, what-the-hell-is-this-doing-on-TV-anyways Tick animated series on Fox when I was in high school.

When Venture Bros., Season One finally hit dvd last month, I didn't notice. I was busy setting myself up for heartbreak by falling for Dirk Nowitzski and Josh Howard. But when that was over, I was ecstatic to find out that a TV series I'd seen one actual episode of (the muted one doesn't count), scored by one youth hero, written by another, well then, dammit, I'm going to the viddy rental store!

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13 episodes of bliss.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Oaks Tavern.

(1905 – 1920s?)

The Oaks Tavern, located at the northwest tip of the Oaks amusement park, was a feature attraction of the park when it opened in 1905, serving Weinhard's beer for five cents a bottle along with a fine dining experience, a view of the Willamette and live music.

In as little as a year, however, the temperance crusade began to move against the Tavern. In 1906 an attempt was made to designate Sellwood a dry neighborhood. The measure failed in an county election that June, but in the wake of defeat it was reveled that the Oaks' Superintendent of Construction had paid for Oaks and OWP employees to stay overnight in a Sellwood hotel, the address of which they used to register as Sellwood resident voters. Certain prominent Sellwood landowners further colluded by swearing (falsely) to the veracity of the employees' resident status. Despite a grand jury indictment booze remained king at the Oaks.

In the following year however drunkards from the Oaks managed to accomplish what democracy could not. In the remaining months of 1906 an off-duty police officer threatened an employee with his revolver, and in another incident a inebriate attempted board a moving trolley and predictably miscalculated his leap, resulting his skull being crushed beneath the steel wheels. In 1907 management declared the Oaks dry.

The Oaks attempted to lift this ban in 1908 and again in 1909, although the City refused to grant new liquor licenses. It might seem that the third try was the charm in 1910 but the reality was that new owner John Cordray's local celebrity had more to do with the Oaks' new designation as "Portland's adult playground." But the looming national nightmare of Prohibition was clearly on the horizon and in 1914 the Oaks' went dry once more. By 1916 Prohibition was law in Oregon.

I'm not sure when the Oaks' Tavern was demolished. I can't believe that the building was that structurally long-lived in the first place. The Willamette flooded to varying degrees regularly and lack of patronage due to Prohibition would probably see the Tavern torn down prior to the second world war, if not the first.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Silas Christofferson Flies from Roof of Multnomah Hotel.

(June 11, 1912)

Christofferson prepares for takeoff on ramp atop the Multnomah Hotel.

Silas Christofferson flew from the roof of Portland's Multnomah Hotel across the Willamette and Columbia rivers to Pearson Field in Vancouver in his 40-horsepower-engine biplane in 12 minutes.

Christofferson's biplane takes off from roof of the Multnomah Hotel.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Willamette Shore Trolley.

A few colleagues and I sessioned upon the Willamette Shore Trolley a weekend past ago.

The 1932 J.G. Brill Co. "Broadway" Trolley Car (No. 813) is maintained and operated by the historical hobbyists over at the Oregon Electric Railway Historical Society, and the trolley fares (10bucks round trip, 6 one way) are a primary revenue stream for the Society.

The trolley has a schedule of sorts, although since this is most definitely a tourist and enthusasist's mode of transportation, the Conductors & Motormen are not adverse to running late. The trolley itself is comfy and airy, and rocks, sways, swings, creaks, squeaks, and rattles as it rolls down the old Red Electric tracks from SW Moody & Bancroft to downtown Lake Oswego. One fellow remarked the trolley was rocking him to sleep with its rhythmic swifting and swaying, which is notable if only because there are none of the bumps associated with riding a bus and a fraction of the noise.

The trolley itselfs sort of a queer-looking thing. My colleagues noted it was a blocky and ackward looking vehicle. I have to agree insofar as its definitely resembles little the what we think of as a "traditional" trolley, by which we're really thinking of just about anything built between, say, 1890 and about 1915 or so. It is these trolleys which grace the fronts of ready-made rice boxes and sit in family Italian restaurants.

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This later-day Broadway car, however, resembles something I'd expect to see in a Miyazaki film. It’s a strange breed that mixes something distinctively old (a trolley) with a lot of features I'd frankly expect to find on a 1950s autobus. Bizarre!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Lewis & Clark Centennial and American Pacific Exposition and Oriental Fair, Issue 0.

June 1, 1905 - October 15, 1905.

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Photo from Oregon Historical Society collection.

After hemming and hawing quite a bit I've finally just started plopping locations from the 1905 Lewis & Clark Centennial Expo into a new map over on Platial. Hopefully some additional photos and text end up here at the Tinzeroes mothership, but we shall see.

The 1905 Expo is a big reason I liked Platial in the first place. Guilds Lake, where the Expo was held, is what we call today "Northwest Industrial Portland" and I still remember the first time I saw a photo of the Expo and exclaimed "where was that?" So, here we go...