-noun, plural -sies.
1. rapturous delight.
2. an overpowering emotion or exaltation; a state of sudden, intense feeling.
3. the frenzy of poetic inspiration.
4. mental transport or rapture from the contemplation of divine things.
Sure, after reading this article describing the growing prevalence of ecstasy in the Yay Area, it's obvious that the word is being used to describe the drug MDMA, or Thizz.
But what if it wasn't? What if the news item was really using the word ecstasy as it's meant for hundreds of years...
15-year-old Tyiesha Farr of Richmond said ecstasy gave her a rush: "Whoo - it was fun!" she said. "I'm not going to lie, it was fun."
...Oakland Police said they have been seeing more homicides related to ecstasy.
"A lot of our homicides, if you talk to the suspects, a lot of them are under the influence of ecstasy when they're committing these crimes..."
...[T]he May 19, 2007 shooting of Oakland officer Kevin McDonald is one of many examples where the suspect admitted to...ecstasy.
Future Ecstatic Murderer
No, not one of my relatives...J.B. Obrien's is an Irish pub in King City, cleverly serving as a front for the faithful Philly fanatics who have migrated west. Every Sunday during football season, Eagles fans flock to J.B. Obrien's to root for their beloved team. The group, officially called the Eagles Nest, pay a membership fee of $35 for the season and, in return, get a weekly orgy of drunken, football-viewing revelry. With the $35 fee, members also get a yearly gift (for example, this year's members all receive an Eagles rain jacket). In addition to buying yourself entry into the club, as well as a cool gift, the $35 goes back to the group to pay for random free prizes and general upkeep of the club (such as maintaining the website).
Initially, I was excited to watch the Niners as they attempted to push their record to 3-0. However, I was so overwhelmed by the chants, banter, cheering, and harassment, that I had a hard time focusing on the small TV that showed my team getting beat by the Steelers. Rather, I found myself more entrenched in people watching, as well as witnessing an epic, 56 point, offensive romp by the Eagles.
Frantically written by luckygreen circa 9/24/2007 10:10:00 AM
Yaaaawn...two weeks later, and I'm still recovering my life force chi energy from this year's MusicfestNW, an annual music festival hosted by the guys and gals over at Willamette Week. Unlike the free, all ages, all local PDX Pop Now! festival, this one is comprised of local and national acts, is spread across seemingly every good venue in town (most of which are 21 and up...sorry kiddos), and costs an elitist $40.00 for an all access festival pass, which while much more than most cats in Portland spend on shows (most are in the free-$8 range) really isn't a bad deal when you do the math. Four days of solid music from 8pm onward, one could theoretically hit ~20 separate concerts. I felt like a gangster for dragging my exhausted ass to 15, which works out to $2.67/show. Not too shabby if I must pat myself on the back. Anywaay...
Thursday, Sept. 6th:
Venue: Roseland Theater
-A few months go by, and boy do I forget how poor the sound system is at the Roseland. Extremely unsophisticated tweaking of the board, heavily favoring copious amounts of bass, which apparently is what a hip hop show is all about right? Wrong. I like to be able to hear the beats and, heaven forbid, the lyrics, not just a throbbing chest thump that makes my eardrums bleed. The next few hours would leave me with a ringing pain in my right ear that I'm only now beginning to recover from. Alas, Sandpeople, I'm sure you were dope, but I couldn't understand a single line spit and it didn't help that seemingly all eight of the emcees on the stage rapped over each other's versus, creating an extremely muddled echo effect. I know these locals are better than this...go see their CD release show at Berbati's on Oct. 6th with The Grouch, which will be a much better show, I'm sure.
10:00pm: Blue Scholars
-This duo is one of my favorite groups doing hip hop music at the moment. Unrelenting energy and intelligence with the most solid style I've heard in years. These cats are so personable, they even got a Portland crowd to cheer for Seattle (where they hail from)...that's got to be a first.
11:00pm: Aesop Rock
-If you don't know about this dude, please wake up from your 10 year coma, go purchase Labor Days or Float, find a quiet dark dank place to relax in, and prepare to be intrigued. This show was my motivating factor for going to the festival in the first place, and homeboy didn't disappoint. By the way, Portland, what the fuck is up with throwing shit at the DJs and emcees at rap shows...I swear, I'll sodomize your ear hole if I catch you perpetrating like that again.
Midnight: Roky Erickson & the Explosives
-Roky has a fascinating story (click on the link above for the wikipedia entry), and tonight's show was hyped the fuck up. In the 60s this guy enjoyed a great deal of counterculture fame, then underwent a dark couple of decades of paranoid schizophrenic and electro convulsive therapy, and is now back on the comeback wagon...unfortunately, he seems to have lost some of his edgy creativity in the process. Sure this is some good ol' rock 'n roll, but
Friday, Sept. 7th:
Venue: Doug Fir
-Only caught the last minute or two of their last song, but was impressed with what I heard...nice experimental folk mood noise.
10:00pm: Tiny Vipers
-Jesy Fortino sang some hauntingly beautiful and melancholy songs. The crowd at Doug Fir sat silent and intently focused on the broken bird plucking at strings upon the stage, inwardly betting on how soon she'd fly away in frightened delight.
11:00pm: Eric Bachman
-Eric and Co. couldn't quite capture my imagination with the whole Bruce Springsteen/Bob Dylan shtick. Took the opportunity to capture my daily intake of gin and tonics. Spent the next 45 min. kicking myself for not going to see Laura Gibson instead.
Midnight: Grizzly Bear
-Wow. Heard mixed things about this Brooklyn-based folksy-experimental group, but I think I'm sold. Maybe it was the temporary alcoholism, but I was really feeling these guys. Not sure I'd hang out and spin their CD, but this is some very engaging shit live, the harmonizing voices giving me goosebumps at times...and I really hesitate to admit that.
Saturday, Sept. 8th:
Venue: Mission Theater
Noon: About a Son
-Still not sure how I managed to drag myself to this event so goddamn early in the day, but sure am glad I did. It's basically a series of interviews with Kurt Cobain, given a year before he committed harikari, played over some truly beautiful video of the Washington locales that Cobain spent time in throughout his life (Seattle, Olympia, etc.). More interesting than Last Days, for sure.
6:30pm: Ghostface Killa
-Arrived at 5:30p to see Ghostface, and found myself in a line of hundreds, circling all the way around the block. Expressing my incredulity, I shouted out that Ghostface was played out a decade ago. Then I jumped in line, though I really should have just gone home. Appropriately, there was an ice cream truck handing out free popsicles and drumsticks to ward off the heat...if you don't get the reference, you never were a Wu fan. Got inside, and realized that I was an hour early, and was forced to listen to LA's The Bronx, some crazy death metal punk that did nothing for my Shaolin audio-cravings. Ghostface took the stage finally, and subjected me to the worst hip hop show I've ever been to, and likely will ever till the end of my days. Tony Stark rapped intermittently, leaving most of the MCing to his Killa Bees crowding the stage. One of his new "jams" had this lyrical gem of a hook: "Pop your colla/get your dolla"...so original, so inspired. For the last few songs, Ghostface invited ten 14 year olds up on stage, and proceeded to launch into songs with hooks like "get yo pussy wet" and "stuff shit in your vagina"...that's game? The best tracks of the night came when the DJ threw on ODB's Return to the 36 Chambers and let the crowd rap along to Shimmy Shimmy Ya, and Brooklyn Zoo. Ah, the memories.
[Took a break over at Shanghai Tunnels to slurp down a delicious noodle bowl, and chatted it up with a recently-returned Iraq-war vet who said he had "lots of fun blowing shit up."]
Venue: Roseland Theater
9:00pm: The Cool Kids
-So "Cool" that they didn't even show up for their set.
10:00pm: The Lifesavas
-Really, I've talked enough about these guys in previous posts for you to realize that you can't sleep on these dudes. Go buy their albums, show some love for the locals, do right by God or some such shit.
11:00pm: Girl Talk
-I'd never heard of Greg Gillis, but apparently he's the maestro of mashup music...think mixing Lil' Wayne, Cypress Hill, The Pixies, and New Kids On the Block together into a danceable orgy of ear fun. Folks rocked out so heavily that half-way through his set you could see a delicate multi-colored mist hovering above the crowd from evaporating sweat. A thing of beauty to behold.
-Cocaine raps, plain and simple. This Virginia duo does it better than most, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I'd heard it all before. Not that I didn't enjoy their shit, but I felt slightly guilty for not sticking to my original plan by going to see Pierced Arrows and The Obituaries. Ah well.
Sunday, Sept. 9th:
-Yeah. Right. There was no chance in hell that I was going to pull myself together to make it to the final smattering of shows (Swim Swam Swum, Holy Fuck, and Wolf Parade). Just didn't happen. Slept like 13 hours instead and have no regrets. A great festival...man, I love this city.
Frantically written by Oldie circa 9/21/2007 08:16:00 PM
For our next poll (the current one is not done, so keep voting), we want you, the readers, to provide us with some ideas. The poll will survey where Portlanders take out-of-town guests to get a sense of the city and it's environs. We're not looking for, "When my parents come to visit, we usually go out for pastries and coffee." Rather, we want a more Portland-specific theme, such as, "When my parents come to visit, I take them to Voodoo doughnuts to get a 'cock and balls' pastry." Get it.
We're looking for unique Portland experiences that you share with out-of-towners. This will also be a chance for our readers to engage in dialogue via our comments section. So, if you will, please leave comments on what is a unique Portland destination point. We will then take your ideas and form them into a poll for next month.
P.S. If you are not local to Portland, you can still comment on places you like to go when visiting...or even would like to go if you ever make it to the Stump.
Frantically written by luckygreen circa 9/15/2007 10:13:00 AM
As I've gradually (reluctantly) become a Blazers fan, I can admit to getting caught up in the hype of a new era of basketball in Portland. Last year's draft produced a trio of players (Roy, Aldridge, and Rodriguez) that brought a hope and excitement to Portland that hasn't been seen since the days that Clyde glided and before the team earned the moniker, Jail Blazers. Of that trio, one earned Rookie of the Year honors (Roy), and another (Aldridge) made enough of an impression that management felt comfortable he could fill the shoes vacated by the since-traded Zach Randolph. Rodriguez showed enough potential and glimpses of pure brilliance, that he earned the nickname, Spanish Gypsy Magician. Oh wait, that's just what Old and I call him...but he is good and, indeed, a magician with the rock.
Frantically written by luckygreen circa 9/14/2007 07:26:00 PM
The scene laid out before us is something born of an anarchic nightmare. Hundreds, if not thousands, of certainly-drunken teenagers are mulling about in an orgy of frustration and destruction. Bottles are being smashed against the apocalyptic-stark warehouse walls, voices are crying out in protest, men with badges swaying from their irate necks are screaming orders into the seething masses.
Frantically written by Oldie circa 9/13/2007 01:32:00 PM
Peep the tales from my recent cross-country drive at the following address:
You'll find the account to be a work in progress. There is too much to write in one sitting, so it will be a day by day progression. Check on it from time to time to capture the 16 day adventure in its entirety.
Frantically written by luckygreen circa 9/12/2007 11:48:00 PM
As the summer winds to an end, bringing with it the accompanying dread of 8 months of rain, Oldie and I took full advantage of a recent, warm summer's night. For those that know us, this could only mean one thing: a rendezvous on the Steel Bridge with the third member of our crew, Old English (could be St. Ides, Mickey's, or even 211, so long as there are no less than 40 ounces).
With the river beneath us, passing trains to our side, and the glowing downtown skyline as the backdrop, it was a perfect way to catch up. I had recently returned to Portland from a three week span of driving across the country and back, as well as a trip to the Bay Area for a bachelor party. Old had been pretty busy, too, for most of the summer, as he had done some travelling, hosted a lot of out of town guests, and began to prepare for his return to school. To say the least, we needed a night to catch up. So, we strapped on our 40 vests and made the Steel Bridge our living room.
After chopping game for a while, as well as listening to his boom box and the sound of passing trains, Oldie and I finished our 40s and headed downtown to meet some friends. Gretchen and her friend were with Nate at Dante's, where, on Monday nights, they host Karaoke From Hell. As popular as karaoke is in Portland, and as easy as it is to find a karaoke bar, Dante's takes the amateur singing experience to a different level with Karaoke From Hell. First, only serious contenders need apply...because if your game is weak, you get booed off stage. So to avoid the embarrassment of being judged and humiliated in front of a bunch of hipsters, resign yourself to just sitting in the audience. Secondly, what really sets this karaoke experience apart from places like Chopsticks and Galaxy is the live band that accompanies all the singers. So, instead of a cheesy, synthesized instrumental played through a stereo system, Dante's hosts a live band. What's more, there is no TV screen that lays out the lyrics and prompts you when to sing them. In other words, you have to know your shit.
While sitting in the audience, Jack and Coke in hand, Gretchen introduced us to another audience member sitting next to us. As the man writes for the Willamette Week, she figured Old and I, as aspiring writers, would be interested to meet him. As it turns out, the middle-aged, overweight dude was full of himself and needed an ego reduction. So, while figuring out a way in which we could lay down some harassment, as well as network for our "promising" writing careers, Old and I decided to kill two birds with one stone in the form of a note. With much deliberation, this is what our note said:
Frantically written by luckygreen circa 9/12/2007 11:20:00 AM
Lifesavas (L-R...Jumbo, Rev. Shines, Vursatyl)
Frantically written by Oldie circa 9/06/2007 04:00:00 PM
When driving down SE Powell Blvd, it is easy to cast it off as an ugly, depressing and overly busy thoroughfare. That's because it is. Especially in comparison to other arteries cutting through Southeast Portland, such as Hawthorne and Belmont Streets. Not only do you fear for your life when crossing traffic on Powell, but there is nothing aesthetically pleasing about the boulevard. It is flat out ugly and unwelcoming. This is true, as it begins at the Ross Island Bridge and extends east in to Gresham. Whether it's run down motels and apartment complexes, cheap fast food joints and strip malls, or a psychiatric residential facility, the street just does not reach out and grab you in a warm, fuzzy way.
In looking around, yeah, I saw a dirty gas station, a Jack in the Box, and an uber busy intersection (Powell and Milwaukie). But in looking deeper, I realized we were also surrounded by a popular all-night coffee shop, a cool music venue (The Aladdin) attached to a bar/restaurant and, further down the street, a large park. What's more, earlier in the evening, the same group (celebrating Gretchen's retirement) were enjoying themselves at another establishment, Vino Vixens, also on Powell. Vino's is a wine bar with expansive lounge seating sectioned off to accommodate groups of about 10-15 people. It is mellow, ambient, and very comfortable with it's seating array of couches, stools, and cushioned wicker chairs. What's more, there is a room that offers free pool and foos ball.
Frantically written by luckygreen circa 9/05/2007 08:50:00 AM
-Certainly. The city should purchase the SF Giants and move them north.
-Mos Def. Any old team would do, as long as they're not called the Beavers.
-No...as in you don't kNOw. I despise sports, and I must go now to see my favorite emo band, Feelings Hurt.
-Never ever ever. I'm a member of Mayor Tom Potter's "I Hate Fun" club.
-Completely ambivalent. Is baseball that game with the hoops?
Frantically written by Oldie circa 9/04/2007 02:01:00 PM
...was more like a clogged meteor sprinkler.
For the first time in personal memory, I actually set my alarm for 4:15 am in order to witness what was supposed to be one of the best meteor showers in the last 2 1/2 decades. In 30 minutes, I saw exactly 3 star shootlets. Not exactly breathtaking. Perhaps there were more than my eye could visualize, but due to the dismal urban light pollution in the NEP (that's Northeast Portland for all you suckas out there) I was apparently out of luck.
Two fortuitous things did happen in reward for my lost sleep:
-I discovered why my herbs aren't growing past the level of what can only be described as "scorched-earth"...apparently my killacat Frisco takes moonlight snacking seriously, God bless her ravenous heart.
-It still terrifies me to recount the horror of this event, but I was subjected to utter fearfulness by the repeated blood lust-filled wailing of the elusive Urban Yeti.
I did manage to snap off a few images of the hairy creature as he was shambling down the street...
Frantically written by Oldie circa 9/01/2007 11:31:00 AM