New York City Blog July 20 – July 27 from Portland, OR.

Cris Land and I met at Doug Fir on Portland’s East Burnside. I wanted to interview Cris because he is transexual. I was nervous, feeling a little guilty because I was going to ask personal questions. How did he get that way? You know, changing body parts, especially the sexual ones. I had written down some questions: When did you become aware of your gender? What were your greatest sources of help and support? Do you connect your gender change with sex? How did your partner react to your transition? Did you have medical insurance? Do you have a transgender community? As soon as I’ve written the interview and received Cris’s approval, I’ll post it.

In reply to the Israeli lawmaker’s call for genocide of Palestinians getting thousands of Facebook likes, Tom Siracuse, the chair of the NYC Green Party wrote: I’m not surprised. I’ve heard these arguments from many:
1. Muslims in general and Palestinians in particular are incorrigible fanatics and are incapable of co-existence with Jews or negotiating in good faith. Either they are forced out or killed, or that is what they will do to the Jews.
2. “Palestinians” are a made up entity with no valid claim to the Holy Land. They are Arabs who migrated into the Holy Land from Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, etc. and should go back where they came from. Only the Jews have an historical and religious right to live in the Holy Land.
3. The Nazi Holocaust, Czarist pogfroms, Jewish persecutions and expulsions over the centuries prove that only an exclusive Zionist state for Jews can guarantee safety for world Jewry.

Did I leave out any other justification to get rid of the Palestinians?

Portlandia: Roses are grown in gardens, on sidewalks, in parks and honored in the public library carpets.

Portland Roses on Market Street

Portland Roses on Harrison Street

A rose covered carpet at the Portland library

A rose covered carpet at the Portland library

Cosy, civic, and charming: How about a library on a tree? This one is at Market and 34 Ave.

Portland Tree Library

Portland Tree Library

Some friends and I celebrated an important birthday at a restaurant in the 1883 Ladd Carriage House, one of the few remaining nineteenth century mansions.The Carriage House has been moved several times and is now on its original site.
We went to a charming Portland fixture, the Clinton theater, to see a very New York documentary about the venerable Nat Hentoff. The Clinton is in a little enclave of nineteenth century buildings. Portland is having a real estate boom. Good bye space and skyline.

New York City Blog July 13 – July 19 from Portland, OR.

The Portland, OR. week began at The Living Room, a combination eatery and movie house, so dear to my heart. Eating during “Life Itself” requires a strong stomach. It’s Roger Ebert’s story and many of the scenes take place after his jaw was removed. My favorite parts were between Ebert and Gene Siskel who cordially hated each other.

Dawson Park in Portland’s north quadrant sponsors free concerts. It’s very casual and friendly. Sometimes, there’s great music.

Dawson Park Singer

Dawson Park Singer

Michael Ellick is leaving Judson Memorial Church. He will be the senior minister at First Congregational UCC in Portland. The 1891 building resembles the Old South Church in Boston. It’s considered one of the few examples of Venetian Gothic architecture in the United States.

Sand castles on Pioneer Square! It’s a nineteen year tradition that takes place in Portland’s living room. The contestants begin early in the morning and build with sand and water until 4 p.m.

 19th Sand Castle Competition

19th Sand Castle Competition

 

New York City Blog July 7 – July 12

I’m taking my annual hiatus in Portland, OR. staying in the best apartment with the best landlady and visiting the best friends in the world. Nauseated yet?

Portland Pals

Portland Pals

Why do I love Portland? One reason is because it reminds me of the Oz books. L. Frank Baum was born in New York State but spent part of his life in the midwest. I think there’s a midwest sensibility about Portland: very middle class, work oriented, courteous and odd. I’ve observed people who could have been the inspiration for the Scarecrow, Jack Pumpkinhead, Ozma and Toto.

Ozma and Toto

Ozma and Toto

More Portlandia: a free Russian concert in Mt. Tabor Park.The band was Chervona and billed as Eastern-Euro Carnival Insanity. I didn’t understand what that means either. Lots of fun: kiddies and oldsters and everybody in between jumping up and down, swirling, whirling to Russian music under the glorious trees of the Mt. Tabor Park.

Tabor Park Russian Festival

Tabor Park Russian Festival

 

Isn’t this a charming stand? Everybody goes to the one and only Powell’s Book Store. Recently, my friends and I attended a book talk about impressed/shanghaied 19th century Portland lads.

Powell's

Powell’s

Mississippi Avenue in Portland’s northwest area celebrated its fair. It was huge, crowded, friendly and hot. The city is going through a heat wave.My friends chose to take a course on herbs. (Portland, you know.) I slipped away to the southeast and went to the Baghdad, a dark, cool movie house that sells food and booze to eat while watching the movie. What bliss. I watched Planet of the Apes, best movie I’ve ever seen. Maybe it was the surroundings.

New York City Blog June 29 – July 5

The ballet maniac and I went to our last ABT performance for this year. Because of a lovely coincidence, we were seated next to some friends I usually run into at a Chinese banquet.It was such fun listening to the gang toss around ballet names from the past and present and complain about the current New York Times dance critic. The performances on stage were equally wonderful. It was Shakespeare’s night: The Dream based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the eponymous The Tempest. The gang gave thumbs up for The Dream, Gillian Murphy and Herman Cornejo. I was the only one who was enthusiastic about The Tempest.

This bronze statue of Fiorello LaGuardia is in LaGuardia Place.I like his chubby figure and dated suit. Thankfully, he’s not draped in a Roman toga. I passed by it on a steamy, humid July 3 after ducking into Bruno’s Bakery to pick up July 4th goodies.

 

Laguardia's Statue

Laguardia’s Statue

Welcome to a gorgeous lush garden in the depths of Brooklyn.

An enchanting Brooklyn garden

An enchanting Brooklyn garden