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'Spokesfish'

The state that brought you the PDX carpet as a parade grand marshal now has this:

Travel Oregon has a new spokesperson — er, "Spokesfish." The Travel Oregon Salmon has been brought in to help promote the state and the "We Like it Here. You Might Too" campaign.

"It is a real honor to be chosen as Oregon's official tour guide," says the salmon. "Ever since I was a fry, I've dreamed of being a spokesfish. I love Oregon and can't wait to share my adventures around our beautiful state with everyone."

Developed with advertising agency Wieden and Kennedy, the new addition to the campaign will include five 360-degree videos about activities in the state — vineyards, cycling city streets, dune-riding and more — and online content at TravelOregon.com. The "We Like it Here" broadcast spots will be resuming in big markets.

Company bands

The Regional Arts & Culture Council's "Battle of the Bands" features bands from companies competing to raise money for the Work for Art program.

It takes place 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 17, at the Crystal Ballroom. For more: www.workforart.org/bob.

Six bands have been chosen to compete. The lineup: Petty Crimes, from Hampton Lumber; Members Only, from Kaiser Permanente; Hair Nation, from KeyBank; Copper Goddess, from Portland City Hall; The Bears, from Stoel Rives; Pencil Skirt Paula and the Straight Edge Rulers, from ZGF Architects.

Portland city Commissioner Chloe Eudaly and ZGF Architects principal Sharron van der Meulen will co-chair the event, and the bands are being mentored by jazz musician Christopher Brown. Judges are Valerie Day of Nu Shooz, Rindy Ross of Quarterflash, and Latin American artist Edna Vazquez.

OzCon International

This promises to be a big deal: "Wizard of Oz" enthusiasts from throughout the world will gather in Portland for the 53rd annual OzCon International, June 30-July 2 at Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel.

Attendees of all ages will discuss the "Oz" books and movies, swap collectibles, display crafts, listen to guest speakers, and share their love for all things "Oz."

A highlight will be a live performance re-creating the 1933-34 "Wizard of Oz" radio program originally sponsored by Jell-O.

There are two special guests: Washington-based director/animator Doug Aberle, who worked on the 1985 Disney movie "Return to Oz" for Will Vinton Productions; John Fricke, regarded as the pre-eminent Judy Garland expert and historian of the 1939 MGM motion picture "The Wizard of Oz."

Portland's Inanna McGraw is the sole surviving author from the original "Oz" series. She'll sign autographs and meet fans July 1 at OzCon.

For more: www.ozconinternational.com.

Music mentoring

Portugal. The Man, an Atlantic Records band with Portland natives, will work with Ron Russell Middle School jazz students to perform and record their latest single, "Feel It Still," at their studio to benefit the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation, 9:30 a.m. Thursday, May 4.

Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation donates instruments and supports underfunded school music programs.

'Oregon Total Eclipse Guide'

With the total eclipse of the sun coming up Aug. 21, and best viewed in parts of Oregon, author Aaron Lindsau has published the commemorative "Oregon Total Eclipse Guide," which details where to view and take photos and includes information on lodging, travel and local secrets.

It's available at amazon.com. For more: www.sastrugipress.com/oreclipse.

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