On the Town
I know there's nothing to this Friday the 13th stuff, but what in the world was the Washington County Republican Party thinking when it scheduled an appearance this evening in Tigard for White House adviser Karl Rove? … For the past week, liberal blogs have been waxing caustic over the spinmeister's impending visit. The aptly named Blue Oregon has even been running caption contests. … Stay cool, everybody. He's just here to raise a little money from the faithful. … Any fool could have told you it wouldn't work out at Bluehour, what with two of the strongest personalities in the local restaurant biz - super-suave Franco D'Amico and owner Bruce Carey, the soul of Portland chic himself - trying to run the show together. … But all's well that ends well: Franco has resurfaced as general manager of Aqua Riva, a new restaurant venture soon to open at the Avalon Hotel - which, in case you didn't know, is where the visiting stars go to hide out.
Half a million bucks of the taxpayers' money to send the Oregon Ballet Theatre to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.? … Yes, I know, it does sound a bit much, even for a city as undeniably classy as P-town. But that's exactly what Sam Adams is proposing to do with a share of a budget surplus the City Council is trying to dispose of. … And who do you suppose is pulling Commissioner Adams' chain on this one? None other than former Mayor Vera Katz. … According to a City Hall insider, she's the one who arranged all the meetings to promote this extravagance. … Who knows, maybe she'll even pull it off. … Must be something going on over at KMHD (89.1), the listener-supported jazz station, if they've signed up Tom D'Antoni to do their Saturday 10 p.m. to midnight show. D'Antoni says it'll be something like the new random 'Jack' format on pop radio - 'but with brains'. … J.D. Stubenberg, manager and barkeep at Jimmy Mak's on Northwest 10th Avenue, just back from the Big Apple where he 'ate a lot of good food, listened to a lot of good music.' In other words, a busman's vacation. … 'Just a reminder,' as he says, 'that there are more of them back there - but they aren't any better.' … Now, if they just had a few people like him writing for POVA, our so-called visitors bureau.
Of course, it's too late, but if the Rose Festival Association can't come up with any good ideas for grand marshal, the readers of this column sure can. … Leading the list: Matt Groening, creator of 'The Simpsons.' … And if he isn't available, which he might not be, how about former Mayor Bud Clark, wearing a trench coat? Or Thomas Lauderdale and his band Pink Martini? … So who says we don't deal with great issues here? Did Mel Blanc, who went on to fame and fortune as the voice of Bugs Bunny, attend Lincoln High - or as a number of readers have insisted, since that bit of local lore appeared in this space - Franklin? … According to Leonard Donin - who would know because he's Blanc's cousin - the answer is Lincoln. Blanc dropped out after his sophomore year - 'must have been '28 or '29,' Donin says - and went to L.A. to give show business a try. Sometimes I think these kids will never learn.