Armisen meets OES
Fred Armisen has helped put Portland on the indy entertainment map, joining with Carrie Brownstein in writing and playing a character in the IFC TV hit 'Portlandia.'
So, when the senior class at Oregon Episcopal School sat down with ideas for a commencement speaker, Isabelle Platt spoke up: How about Fred?
Platt's father, Jay Platt, of the family that owns Platt Electric, knew somebody who knew somebody who worked with Armisen, who also stars on 'Saturday Night Live.'
Contacts were made, Armisen agreed and 'Portlandia' meets OES at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 10, at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral as the seniors bid goodbye to the Southwest Portland private school.
He's certainly one of the more famous commencement speakers in OES history, says publicist Marty Jones.
Nothing like reaching for the sky, shooting for the moon. The OES seniors started the year with a theme of 'Hollywood,' with the number '11' (as in their graduating year) replacing the Ls. Now, it ends with Armisen telling them all about life.
'True to our kids, who are very self-aware and self-realized, they put it on themselves to make something happen,' Jones says. 'They have a lot of initiative, which we hope they have after departing us.'
Armisen has become a member of the community with 'Portlandia,' even though the show depicts a wacky slice of counterculture that swirls around the Rose City.
'We have a very vibrant student body that interacts with all different areas of the community, from science to service and learning,' Jones adds. 'They're dialed-in active citizens. When somebody like Fred became a part of the community, that became of interest to them. A lot of people in Portland are aware of the show because of the obvious homage to Portland.'
The second season of 'Portlandia' returns in January 2012.
It'll be interesting for the OES folks to see what Armisen does and says at the graduation ceremony. He does great impersonations of President Barack Obama on 'Saturday Night Live.'
Says Jones: 'Maybe he'll just be himself.'
Mt. Hood stories
Kudos to a former Portland Tribune writer, Jon Bell, who has written 'On Mount Hood: A Biography of Oregon's Perilous Peak' ($22.95, Sasquatch). It features Mt. Hood stories full of adventure and tragedy, history and geology, people and places, trivia and lore. Bell combines some first-person narrative with interviews that depict the stories of countless climbers, scientists, historians and characters.
The book launch will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 9, at Powell's, 3723 S.E. Hawthorne.
Portland musician Holcombe Waller, featured earlier this year in the Tribune, plans a national re-release of his acclaimed CD 'Into The Dark Unknown,' June 21, via Napoleon Records. He's currently on tour, and the re-release, because of popular demand after a successful showing at the year's SXSW Festival, will coincide with a swing through the East Coast, South and Midwest with Haley Bonar and Daniel Martin Moore.
He'll appear with Laura Gibson June 17 at the Aladdin Theater.
When 'Mary Poppins' plays at the Keller Auditorium, June 22 to July 10, a native Oregonian will be playing the lead role: Steffanie Leigh, a recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University who hails from Talent in Southern Oregon.
Some really rich Northwest people with really nice cars have stepped up to lend their classics for the Portland Art Museum's 'Allure of the Automobile' exhibit, which opens June 11. The generous donators and their rides:
• Jolene and Bruce McCaw, Bellevue, Wash., 1930 Bentley Speed Six Gurney Nutting Coupe
• Tom and Susan Armstrong, Issaquah, Wash., 1931 Duesenberg SJ Derham Convertible Sedan
• Jon and Mary Shirley, Bellevue, Wash., 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C2900B Touring Berlinetta
• The LeMay Family Collection, Tacoma, Wash., 1948 Tucker Model 48 Torpedo