Kathryn Kucera’s Exploring Portland+Music

What do YOU think of the new Black Lips Album?

Prince covering Joni Mitchell’s “Case of You” is arguably one of the weirdest things I have ever heard…

In other news, life is rolling along as usual. A few cool things have happened here and there in the past week: in spite of the craze of my overly packed schedule, I found out today that I managed to make the Dean’s list! This is just evidence that there is definitely time to do everything and try anything in addition to the demands of one’s academic load at Lewis & Clark.

On Friday we had a beautiful sunny day, and after classes there was a mass migration of students to South Campus to bask in its loveliness, play guitars and drums, throw Frisbees, and climb trees.
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Over the weekend, I saw a couple of shows. One was at a house in Northeast PDX- a band whose drummer was also its singer and, at times, seated guitarist stole the show. There was also a guy making some beats with a soundboard and three floor toms lined up in front of him that was really fun to dance to. However, in the crazy crowded house-show-ness of it all, the names of both of the bands completely eluded me. I promise that if I find out more info, I will follow up on that. Portland is acclaimed for its music scene, and it is perpetually amazing to be living where music history is happening. The latest Portland band I have become fond of is The Dead Trees. Lovers of bands like Little Joy ought to check their Myspace and listen to the shoulder-swaying, ankle twisting grooves. Also, for those of you in the Bay Area, they will be playing Noise Pop on February 28.

For my Qualitative Methods of Research class, I have to conduct an ethnographic study as my final project. I have decided to study the vegan community in Portland, specifically through the lens of a vegan grocery/convenience store called Food Fight! located downtown. I will keep you updated on my progress and adventures! Check out their website, if you feel so inclined. They have some pretty cool stuff, including vegan caviar and vegan ice cream. www.foodfightgrocery.comyhst-17800188898367_2044_563297.jpg

Best of wishes, friends. As always, feel free to send me a pigeon about anything from dream-déjà vu to sushi to dreadful first films by now-famous directors (ahem, Peter Jackson and “Bad Taste”). kkucera@lclark.edu

26 February 2009

If I had words to make a day for you, I’d give you a morning golden and true

It’s that time again: midweek. Stress levels are high at the moment but the weekend is in sight, and boy, is that a relief. Last week, I mentioned that Brandy, a friend from home who is a senior interested in coming to Lewis & Clark, was coming to stay with me for the weekend. It was lovely to have her here, and fun to show off all my favorite parts of our campus and the city to someone. On Saturday we spent the day downtown, excavating vintage stores and admiring the sunshiny view from the bridges. I know that this is the time for seniors to be narrowing down their school choices, and I’ve seen many of you around campus in the past week. Please don’t hesitate to say hello to me if you recognize me- I’ll only be mildly creeped out and mostly really excited to answer any questions you have.

This week feels like it has been non-stop: between classes, papers, work (I have a work-study job in the ceramics studio), French conversation group, my radio show, writing for the Umbrella and spending time with friends, life is quite like a big colorful blur. However, I have managed to find the time to pour all the creative energy that builds up throughout my busy week into a new project. My friend Ben and I, along with our other friend Hanna, have started a band. We are called the Internet, and we performed at an on-campus show last weekend for the first time. Ben writes great songs: sort of folky, sort of Velvet Underground-esque, and Hanna and I craft vocal harmonies along with him. We use a guitar, a banjo, a floor tom, a tambourine, and various percussion instruments. We seemed to get a good reaction at our last show, and we’ve been practicing quite a bit since. It’s so much fun to be making music! I am honored to be playing amongst the many talented students at LC. I will keep you guys posted on this endeavor. Hopefully video soon?

Last night, I holed myself up in the library for a couple hours to write a paper, but when I emerged, I stumbled upon my friends having a lovely collaging party. They are so precious. Here’s a picture. n743660436_5958352_3166.jpg

The weather is lovely this weekend: cold and clear. I think I shall have to pay a visit to Tryon, the gorgeous state park located just down the street from campus. We are so lucky to have such a beautiful retreat from academia so nearby. Also, this weekend there are a couple of awesome house shows in the city, so I will try to post some pictures and report back on the local acts next week. I hope everyone has a lovely weekend. As always, feel free to email about anarchist-veganism, mochi, or to discuss the unlikely amazingness of the Dirty Projectors. Oh yeah, or any questions about the school too. kkucera@lclark.edu n1047840031_30172317_6403.jpgn1047840031_30172320_7284.jpgn1047840031_30172328_9727.jpg

20 February 2009

hot pink long johns, oh yeah!

img_0520.JPGLife at LC has been like living in a snow globe lately. Where a couple of days ago, I was basking in the sunshine on our little hill, this morning I awoke to fat white flakes descending on the unsuspecting forest outside my window; by the afternoon, however, nature had shaken things up in Portland and the snow morphed into icy rain. The decision of what shoes to wear in the morning isn’t any easy one, and I sit here now in the student run Co-Op with wet socks and hot tea, studying with some friends. img_0526.JPGimg_0527.JPGimg_0528.JPGimg_0529.JPG

 

Starting this Wednesday, lovers of music and puns may tune in to the new radio show- ironically dubbed “Quiet Hours”- I have with my friend, Logan, at KLC. Several of my friends have had radio shows and I have had the pleasure of subbing from time to time, but now I am excited to join their ranks on the airwaves. KLC is LC’s student-run radio station that streams online, which means complete freedom of speech and music and lots of fun. The kids at the station often put on in-studio shows and other functions, the main one being the annual music fest, Sunburn, in April for which we’ve already booked the funky D.I.Y. act Ponytail. I’ve also gotten involved with KLC’s publication- centering on music and the haps in the greater PDX community- called the Umbrella. I am looking forward to writing show reviews, editorials on topics ranging from vegetarians eats to roller-skating hotspots, and perhaps some art here and there. Be sure to stop by the station and pick up a copy when you visit campus. design_02.gif

 

On Thursday my friend Brandy is coming to stay with me through the weekend. She is a senior at the high school I went to and planning on coming to Lewis & Clark next year. I can’t wait to show her around the school and the city! Valentine’s Day looms on the horizon, which may or may not be good news for all, but I am choosing to look on the bright side this year. Today the kids of S.U.R.F. (Students United for Real Food) and I got together to make some valentines with romantic messages about the importance of healthy, natural, toxin-free food and caring for the environment! (i.e. “Your butt looks like two ripe tomatoes from my garden”, “Yerba hotté”, “I love you too much to put poisonous toxins in your produce,” and “More trees mean more tree-house sex”) These will be sold along with fair trade organic chocolate bars from a chocolate company based out of Portland.

 

This icy/snowy day was spend most cozily with dear friends, snuggled up in bed together listening to episodes of This American Life… these times are the ones so dear to me.

I’m sure this is quite enough for this week, although there is always more to tell! Have no fear, my friends. You can always send me an email to discuss ideas for phrases to put on your valentines, the joys of belting “I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight” with friends, or the unpleasant lip-chapping that comes with catching snowflakes on your tongue. kkucera@lclark.edu

11 February 2009

Adventures in Weirdtown ‘09!

It is only the second week of classes in the second semester of my freshman year here at LC, and already so much has happened. I spent break back home in California where it is lovely and warm, quite a contrast to the snow I had left behind in Portland in December. I was able to spend lots of time with family and friends, go camping, go to the beach, and leisure-read, a luxury I had nearly forgotten in the shell-shock that is post-finals.dsc00046.JPGn567882041_1216467_5018.jpg But, man, is it good to be back in Portland. After six months of developing a family of my own here at LC, a month is a long time to be away from all of my darling friends! Anyway, here are the happenings so far of spring semester 09:

 

1)    Still no rain! Upon returning, Portland was cold and sunshiny… until it decided to snow again at the beginning of this week. ckbu_25.jpg

2)    My roommate and I both got into PDX the day before the dorms opened, so we spent our first night in a hostel downtown on Hawthorne Boulevard. It was adorably eco-friendly, img_0486.JPGimg_0487.JPG and the staff and other hostelers were all very friendly and colorful. I highly recommend staying there to all you prospies if you would really like to get a taste of Portland culture.

That night I also met up with my friend Jono to see a band called Truckasaurus play at Backspace. Backspace is definitely a favorite location of mine in PDX. It has multiple functions as a café, venue, art gallery, pinball hotspot, and all-around interesting space to hang out amongst oodles of creative energy. Truckasauras hails from Seattle, WA and the show we went to was the first night of their west coast tour. They are a trio of electronic musicians, featuring a tricked out Gameboy to supply the beats. http://www.myspace.com/teapartiesgunsnvalor Opening for them was a Portland band called Atole, also worth checking out, who put on a really danceable, high-energy show. http://www.myspace.com/atole

3)    Amidst all the fun of reuniting with friends and starting classes, LC hosted the 5th annual concert in Watzek Library, “Watzek Rocks!” First of all, it is awesome to be really loud in a library. Also, the concert featured some fantastic local acts. The standout for me was YM, a rap group whose members included some LC students/alumni who could spit mad rhymes and, at one point, opened the flow up to the members of the audience.158.jpg

4)    Classes are awesome this semester. My reading/writing load is really heavy, but it’s all very interesting, especially my E&D. My prof is Stephen Beckham, who also teaches History of the Pacific Northwest at LC. The theme of my class is “In Search of Wild Places: American Perceptions of Wilderness”, and we are reading a lot of amazing literature about the brave souls who ventured out into the wild and discovered all kinds of things that have made the world what it is, and how the human appetite for adventure and mystery has affected the land, plants, animals, and peoples who came before.

5)    Over the weekend, I went and saw The Walkmen play with Beach House at the Wonder Ballroom. It was a super show! The Walkmen play sixties-esque rock’n’roll and the singer delivered a very charismatic performance. www.myspace.com/thewalkmen. I really loved Beach House, though. The best way I can think to describe their music is “sparkly”… Don’t take my word for it. Check them out, and feel the sweet melodic goodness for yourself! beachhouse.jpghttp://www.myspace.com/beachhousemusic

6)    Getting back together with hundreds of kids from all parts of the nation means… I got sick already! On the bright side, not only am I better (thanks to my superhero lymph nodes) but that is one more virus to knock off on my immunity list.

 

It’s simply marvelous to be back on Palatine Hill. I hope you’ll be joining me on my spring adventure! Also, visiting prospies: do not hesitate to shoot me some electronic mail if you need someone to give you a tour of the public transportation of PDX, advice on what to wear according to the weather for your visit, or if you also love the new Animal Collective album. Peace! kkucera@lclark.edu

 

29 January 2009

Oh baby baby it’s a wild world

Is it possible to become claustrophobic in one’s own mind? Only during finals week, my friends. Today is the first of the two reading days, and my cranial walls are slowly caving in. I have four finals, ending on Tuesday, for E&D, French, Anthropology, and Acting. I am trying to keep my cool. After Tuesday, I will be free- and on Thursday I finally get to go HOME!

In the week leading up to now, I have managed to have a bit of fun to tie me over. Over the weekend, some friends and I had a cozy night in. We built a fort, drank hot chocolate, listened to music, and made snowflakes to decorate our rooms. Last night, my friend Emma and I went to the A Capella concert, or “A Cabrella”, since the concert umbrella’d all three groups. The performers are always impressive and the house was packed! Then we celebrated the semester with some friends before having to buckle down for the next 5 days. pic1pic2pic3pic4

I can’t wait to be home in my golden California. I haven’t been home all semester, and I really miss my friends and family. Plus, it will be nice to get a break from living in close quarters with a hundred other people. Reading days are supposedly “24-hour quiet hours” but apparently some people in the hall haven’t gotten the memo, or just don’t care. Therefore, I have basically set up camp in the library for the duration of finals. There is at least one thing to lift my spirits in the sludge of the academic bog: it’s forecasted to snow on Sunday! I totally have my hopes up now, so I better not be disappointed. From what I hear, campus and downtown (which is decorated in thousands of LED lights and ginormous tenenbaums!) are absolutely magical when blanketed in fresh snow. Joy!

I hope that the next week finds you all well. If you find a moment, send me your positive vibes… Or email me! I’m dying to hear about snow (love/hate?), holiday plans, or recipes for delicious (vegetarian) study break snacks. kkucera@lclark.edu

P.S. Ay dios mio! I forgot that this is the last post! I hope you have enjoyed or at least tolerated my posts. Stay in touch, and keep reading. Much love.

11 December 2008