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Bits and Pieces

'King of Pop'

It's been in the planning for a year, and now 'Michael Jackson, The Immortal World Tour' is only weeks away from arriving in Portland.

The Cirque de Soleil show starts on tour Oct. 2 in Montreal, Quebec, and stops at the Rose Garden Nov. 18-20.

Tickets range from $50 to $250 and are available at www.rosequarter.com or by calling 1-877-789-7673.

Long, winding road

Former Tribune photographer L.E. Baskow is resting comfortably in Portland after taking the summer months to go for a little bike ride - about 4,000 miles in all, riding from Portland to Astoria, and then rolling into New York City to conclude his cross-country trek across 11 northern states and Ontario.

Baskow, 46, who had transplanted to Hawaii for a year, wanted to move back to the mainland. The prospect of a long bike ride gathered momentum, and he took off at the end of May.

'It was one of those life-changing times,' says Baskow, who's working on a book about his adventures. 'On the road, it helps you put into perspective how simple life is, how basic it can be. It's the people and experiences, the journey, and not really 'the stuff.' Living life in the moment.'

Baskow says several flat tires and cold and rain going through Oregon and Washington made him second-guess his decision. But, he pushed on.

He says the 'hardest part was being done, because it was so spectacular. I got to see places I never would have seen in my life. I met such wonderful people. It taught me that I could overcome anything.'

Every day on the road, he heard something to the effect of: 'Are you crazy?'

Young novelist

A Portland teenager, Ashley Loomis Malin, 17, has released nationwide a fantasy novel, 'Shattered Peace,' a three-year project she started at age 12.

The story is about Louis Thorn, who feared dragons would die forever if they did not leave their home, so he created an everlasting peaceful world as a safe haven.

With the help of his crystal ball, he created three portals for the dragons to escape - one leading back to their Tarsha home, the second to the Fairy World, the third to the Portal of Mysteries.

Published by Tate Publishing and Enterprises, it's available at www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore.

Fun on the coast

Going to the coast this weekend? Well, drive your nice car and visit the Classic Cars and Sound Off at Surf City, at the Chinook Winds Casino Resort in Lincoln City.

Classic cars, vendors, live music and beer are part of the festivities, starting at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 17 and 18. The B-52s perform at 8 p.m. Sept. 17, tickets ranging from $25 to $45 (call 1-888-624-6228).

Fair Trade films

The Northwest Fair Trade Coalition has launched a monthly educational film series about Fair Trade and economic justice issues. The documentary-style film series looks at negative socioeconomic impact of conventional commerce on farms and works as a result of globalization, and introduces the principles of Fair Trade.

The first film, 'The Price of Sugar,' about the Dominican Republic, will be shown at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15 at Equal Exchange, 1033 S.E. Main St.

Next up is 'A Thousand Fibers,' which examines supply chain, Oct. 20.

A man in need

Friends and business acquaintances are stepping up to help jazz pianist Mark Simon, who's battling a life-threatening liver disease and needs a liver transplant. To raise funds, there will be a jazz concert at The Outer Rim, 10624 N.E. Halsey St., 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19 ($15 donation), and a jazz piano party at Classic Pianos, 3003 S.E. Milwaukie Ave., 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25 ($20 tickets).