January 2007

Local media has been quiet about the AK Media – which is Clear Channel – v City of Portland law suit. Here are some items which may have flown under the regular radar.

In April and October of 2006, muralist Joe Cotter responded to a post from Arlene Goldbard with some great insights into the long running AK Media (Clear Channel) v City of Portland suit, in which Joe is an intervenor.

Several comments from Joe Cotter about the lawsuit 12.2005

Katz plans way out of mural mire – Portland Tribune, 10.2004

Mayor’s mural proposal maddens local muralists – Portland Alliance, 10.2004

Trivia of the day? Tracy Reeve, council for the City in this case, is the daughter of the late Jerome Pool, former CEO of Jantzen.


Download AK Media V City of Portland 2004

Last November Clear Channel and the City of Portland asked Judge Michael Marcus to make a complicated set of decisions about how Portland’s billboards – and awkwardly its public art – will be regulated.

His decision is due any day. Tomorrow I’ll reprint intervenor and Portland mural artist Joe Cotter’s commentary, written during the November trial.

Get ready for Judge Marcus’ decision by reading the first suit, AK Media v Portland, available online, I think, here for the first time.

192 Ore. App. 204; 84 P.3d 1088; 2004
May 29, 2003, Argued and Submitted February 18, 2004, Filed

AK MEDIA GROUP, INC., a Washington corporation, dba AK Media/Northwest, Respondent, v. CITY OF PORTLAND, Appellant. AK MEDIA GROUP, INC., a Washington corporation, dba AK Media/Northwest, Appellant-Cross-Respondent, v. CITY OF PORTLAND, Respondent-Cross-Appellant.

Anonymous artist – January 23, 2007 – N Vancouver @ Fremont, SE Corner. A paper application with wheat paste of a man reading a newspaper, with a red stencil etching “Remain Silent” replacing the headline.

Political speech, protected by the first amendment of the US Constitution.
January 27, 2007 – this artwork has been painted over by either the building’s owner (unlikely – but the City can fine building owners who do not remove unauthorized markings within ten days) or more likely a band of roving art vandals, aka the City’s graffiti abatement squad.

Fascinating how the graffiti abater skipped the paper applications with wheat paste on the switch box on the SW corner. The lower poster references the killing of James Chasse by Portland Police officer Christopher Humphrey, Sergeant Kyle Nice and Multnomah County Sheriff’s deputy Bret Burton, September 17, 2006. These posters and many others went up all around Portland and many – if not most – are still up four months later. The upper poster references the tasering of Tim Grant by Portland Police officer Paul Park. Grant died after being tased four times in the back.

Political speech, protected by the first amendment of the US Constitution.

The speech about James Chasse to date has been all hot air. Humphrey, Nice and Burton are all back on duty. The city and county have promised to not do it again. Just like they promised after Mari Lynn Sandoz, Patricia Sweany, Joyce Staudenmaier, Janet Smith, Bryan French, Michael Henry, Dickie Dow, Jose Santos Victor Mejia Poot, Kendra James, James Jahar Perez, Fouad Kaady, Lukas Glenn, and others.

Basically a better wheat paste job and the abater doesn’t have the paint to blot this point. Appreciate though the effort made with a knife – or perhaps fingernails?

14B.80.030 Definitions.

A. Graffiti: Any unauthorized markings of paint, ink, chalk, dye or other similar substance which is visible from premises open to the public, and that have been placed upon any real or personal property such as buildings, fences, structures, or the unauthorized etching or scratching of such described surfaces where the markings are visible from premises open to the public, such as public rights of way or other publicly owned property.

Use the comments below and name where this artwork is!

Extra bonus points if you can name the purpose, artist or porn star model.

Or check back for the answer tomorrow.

Hint – fire house! (of course it’s in Portland.)

ANSWER – Michael and Mary Sue figured quick this image above is only a portion of Rip Caswell’s 9/11 memorial sculpture, which stands on the corner of SE Belmont and 34th Avenue, in front of the Belmont Firehouse.

Caswell’s work has been in PPA before. He’s quite good at large animal sculptures, suited for parking lot turnarounds in suburban office parks – as seen with Exalted Ruler, a robust elk in the Casey Eye Institute lot near OHSU.

As a nation we’ll look back on our response to 9/11 in a decade with chagrin, I expect. So many decisions made from fear instead of facts; and some of these were aesthetic as well.

This Doc Savage mock up has his hands full, holding an enormous snake with one hand, and a kerosene lamp in the other. Adjoining him is a US flag and an eagle, wings out swept. For some reason he is shirtless, dressed in jeans and tiny work boots. Surrounding the base are roughed Plexi blocks with names of people killed on 9/11, and the lord’s prayer written in childish script and signed by Caswell.

It’s a blink and a silent WTF? Damn, you’ll say, that’s incongruous for Sunnyside. Then you’ll shift it into the context of 9/11 and list it within that long list of other bad decisions our nation made afterward, we as individuals made.

High art last night on local PBS, Mozart’s Magic Flute from the Metropolitan Opera via Great Performances, had a very Portland connection. Somehow the most famous opera was pushed aside by the amazing costumes, sets and puppetry of Julie Taymor and Michael Curry.

Curry’s magic puppets and costumes have brought life and fame to dozens of theatrical productions, including The Lion King, Spamalot, Disney live productions, the Winter Olympics (for which he won an Emmy), Cirque du Soleil, Grendal, and most recently the display areas of the richest casinos and hotels round the world.

His imagery, of wheeling long-necked birds spinning from high poles, or twenty foot armatured puppets manipulated by integrated dancers, has become a standard worldwide of surreal dream fantasy fun.

Incongruous as it seems – Curry’s design shop is located in Scappoose – 25 miles North and West of Portland. Why Scappoose? Evidentially Scappoose is a nexus of highly talented and loyal artisans and craftspersons who keep churning out high production ooohs and ahhs, and of a both civilized and remote place to get dreams rolled out onto the factory floor.

According to it’s fairly amazing web site, Die Zauberflöte has been performed 357 times at The Met – the first in 1900!

But even with René Pape as Sarastro and Cornelia Götz (above) as The Queen of the Night, all the music was completely blown off the stage by Taymor and Curry’s costumes and puppets. Magical on television, they must have been mind-blowing to witness in person.

Wiki – Magic Flute.
Great Performances – The Magic Flute / Die Zauberflöte
Michael Curry Design Studios

Use the comments box below and name where this artwork is!

Or check back for the answer tomorrow.

Hint – look up! (of course it’s in Portland.)

ANSWER – The mermaid / cherub is the cornice from the McCoy Building on SW 5th and Stark Street, former home of Portland’s first serious art supply shop, J K Gill, and current home of Multnomah County’s Health Department.

The practical history of psychiatry, or the organized care for the insane has a peculiar, discouraging and demoralizing history which for those who care to care for themselves will give a firm determination to evade capture and containment at all costs.

Which is doubly sad because then the illness gobbles up the brightest stars, dousing them with routine crisis, with fear and loneliness, with poverty and pedestrian demons.

Mad men and mad women have carefully tried to organize alternatives, but these too often suffer from a lack of imagination, of love or of patience – ironically the same virtues which institutional care cannot give. Most attempts have failed, or landed awkwardly, but in the midst of failure many individuals find their way to get well and stay well. Each prescription is completely unique, and though one can learn from another there are no shortcuts, no solutions.

So of the brightest stars, only the bravest survive. The rest perish, both body and soul.

Jessica Stein, author of A Long Walk Back To Myself, is finding what works for her – no doubt a painful process both for her and for everyone she loves. No doubt her friends and families know her odds and know her strengths. Stein’s zine is a bit of a travelogue, a bit of a Thoreau internal monologue; she hungers, she thirsts, she sweats, she finds friends and safety, a radical guardian angel gets her high, “It was so Portland,” she avoids a cloudburst in a cemetery.

The story is framed as a long walk – from Brooklyn, North through the city to Croton; three and a half days.

Stein attributes some of her strength to the amazing Icarus Project. If you’re mad too, and need both liberty and support to find your way, these are your butterfly caretakers.

You’ll probably meet some of these folk if you attend Stein’s reading from her zine at Reading Frenzy TOMMORROW on January 23 at 7 PM.

Here’s a nice MP3 of the whole event, just for you.

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