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Arts should be worth it

by: Sarah Toor, Portland gallery-goers checked out Josh Arseneau's ”Blam!” at the Portland Art Center on First Thursday. One readers wishes for events that are more about art and less about partying.

If Portland seriously wishes to attract the artists, technicians, money and patronage required to become a 'world-class' contender in the arts, then it needs to grow up and stop dumbing down its performing arts and visual arts events (Rethinking Portland, Sept. 25).

We always have supported the arts wherever we have lived by subscribing to the opera, symphony, ballet and theater, and regularly visiting museums and galleries. But after two years in Portland, we've given up on the local arts scene.

This year, we have only renewed our subscription to Oregon Ballet Theatre; it is the only Portland arts ensemble we've encountered that has performed consistently well.

Our first attendance at the Portland Opera, for the disastrous 'Macbeth,' was followed (with the notable exception of the very fine 'Norma') by a season of mediocre performances, derivative stage design and the sort of acid-trip lighting effects favored elsewhere in the early '70s.

Offerings from the Oregon Symphony seem to consist almost entirely of either pops concerts or Music Appreciation 101 classics.

We have attended the Alberta Arts District's Last Thursday event, only to find it so mobbed by drunken partygoers that we couldn't even get through the doors of several galleries.

We attend gallery events to contemplate, with an intent to purchase, art - not to get pissed and pork out on canapés. It is the collector who is made to feel unwelcome at these events.

Only when the classical arts receive as much attention and support in Portland as such trendy and ironic art forms (and I use the term loosely) as pole dancing and graffiti will this city even take a baby step toward becoming a world-class center for the arts.

Until then, the only 'Night at the Opera' we will be having will be spent in the company of the Marx Brothers.

Elise Morris

Southeast Portland

Let yard sales, local shops fill your needs

I'm a member of the 'Nothing New' revolution (Some simplify by saying bye to buying new, Sept. 18). Without a doubt, the best resource is garage sales. There is no middleman, and there is the added bonus of meeting the person who had the stuff before.

I had a very pleasant chat recently with a woman when I bought her chair that fits perfectly in my living room, and I paid one-tenth the price of buying new. If you tire of something, save it for your garage sale and put it back out into circulation.

In the winter months when garage sales all but disappear, there are Value Village and Craigslist.

As for things like toilet paper and soap, there are other options besides the big corporate chains. There is WinCo, an employee-owned business based in Idaho. Or the co-ops and small businesses like Sheridan Fruit Co., where you also can buy local produce after the farmers markets close for the season.

These places may not make the dish soap, but buying from them still helps them stay open.

It has been years since I went to a mall or was even tempted to go shopping. I much prefer the adventure of 'Nothing New.'

Kate Mytron

Lents

Setting the record 'straight' on Adams

The moronic online comments by straight men on the Sept. 18 story 'Mayoral hopefuls rise, then fall' exemplify why a young gay man would need an older gay man as a mentor.

How can a straight man relate to the coming-out process or integrating into the gay community? However, one needn't be taught to be a homosexual, as someone pathetically suggested. Beau Breedlove knew that much before he met Sam Adams.

The entire allegation here is that Adams had dinner with a 17-year-old, who then showed up at a public function for Adams. Even the most prudish would not consider that a sexual assault.

It's a shame that with issues regarding sexuality, people's brains fly right out of their heads.

Sean C. Hayes

Northwest Portland

Burgers beckon on the west side, too

Regarding Phil Stanford's Sept. 28 column, 'Do you want fries with that lawsuit?' I grew up on the west side of Portland … heard about Yaw's, but never ate there.

The best burger around is at Helvetia Tavern in Hillsboro. Head west on the Sunset (Highway 26) past 185th Avenue, then head north on Helvetia Road. After you pass under the railroad trestle, it's on your left. Try the Jumbo burger with a half-order of fries and a brew.

Davidson's Casual Dining in Tigard is still good. A real plus … you can get Tater Tots and a root-beer whip there.

I tried Mark Lindsay's Rock and Roll Cafe recently. My Yaw's 'regular' was smaller than I expected. The shoestring fries were a plus … both were good.

I noticed all the Paul Revere and the Raiders record memorabilia as I was exiting. I spoke with ex-KISN legend Tiger Tom Murphy in L.A. recently. I told Murphy we played all those Raiders records when they were current.

Lindsay should offer comps to old DJs.

Robin Mitchell

Tanasbourne

Turn grain elevator site into HQ hotel

'HQ hotel on shaky ground' (Sept. 25) left me wondering about the rules of eminent domain. How much longer will that grain elevator on Interstate Avenue (across from the Rose Garden Arena) occupy such prime riverfront real estate while the city of Portland searches for a means to create a viable headquarters hotel for the Oregon Convention Center?

I understand that the grain elevator does a lot of business, but it's now out of place there and would be worth relocating. It's a blight on what should have been a beautiful city vista a long time ago.

Couldn't a publicly owned hotel lay claim to that land? The hotel's location there on the waterfront, surrounded by the restaurants and shops that surely would follow it, would make it a viable public enterprise.

Tourists would love to stay at that location. It's within a few minutes' walking distance of the arena and convention center, and would spur further growth in the area.

City subsidies for the hotel's operation could decrease dramatically by using that location.

Keith A. Getchell

Southeast Portland