Saturday, May 16, 2009

PDX v NYC, a Catty Analysis

I love New York. It's the sort of place where you can hear a resident assert, This is the cultural capital of the world with no hesitation. And no irony.

Even if that person has never lived anywhere except New York and Waltham, Mass. Not to diss the fine cultural assets of Middlesex County (sorry, typo there . . . should have been asset singular), but maybe a broader perspective is in order.

Sure, New York has Broadway theaters, the Whitney, MOMA, Carnegie Hall, countless galleries, and of course the Met of the opera persuasion and the Met of art museum persuasion (not to mention the Mets of baseball playing persuasion).

In a week, I saw work by Jenny Holzer, Chuck Close, Pablo Picasso, Claes Oldenberg, Sophie Calle, Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Cindy Sherman, and zillions of others. My feet hurt just thinking about all that art I shlepped around seeing.

And my throat hurts just thinking about all the friends in NYC I told about seeing it. On account of they never get a chance to cash in all that cultural capital for themselves. Because their time is spent elsewhere.
Like standing on line to get into the Trader Joe's.

Now, no one is mistaking Portland for the cultural capital of the world (well, no one who hasn't also mistaken an architectural landmark for a good place to put a minor league baseball stadium, a car turning right for a car turning left, and a seventeen-year-old for a consenting adult).

But still, I want to proclaim the glory of the arts in Portland, even at the risk of sounding like a rube from the provinces. Or a reporter from the New York Times.

Because everyone in Portland is a freaking artist. We may not have the Algonquin Hotel, but still, any friend of Dorothy (Parker) can be moved by my musings in the new Portland Queer anthology. My squeeze the Cheez is singing in the flash choir. The neighbor who was caring for our cats while we were in New York? She was also frantically finishing up the paintings for her first demi-solo show. The gallery had actually offered her a solo show but she didn't have time to do enough work to fill the space; apparently showing an empty kibble tub and a well-scooped litter box did not suffice as art.

But, you may be thinking, the artistic endeavors of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Perhaps you're wondering about the rest of the city, the public servants and the transportation advocates and the newshounds and the like. Can they too really all be artistes?

Keep your hat on, Humphrey, and cast your peepers on this:

Yes, that's Metro President David Bragdon, Bicycle Transportation Alliance Executive Director Scott Bricker, Oregonian reporter Peter Ames Carlin, Deputy Secretary of State Barry Pack, and (er, I don't know what he does for a living and I forgot to bring the program home so I can't check) James Harrison, donning cat toys on their heads and dancing to the choreography of the inimitable Linda Austin at Cabaret Boris and Natasha at Performance Works Northwest.

For a bunch of guys with no dance training and only two rehearsals, they were pretty good. But what made the evening purrfect was the festival of feliness fineness known as Cattitude.

And apparently big fans of transfats.

This is what it looks like when doves cry. And the audience laughs so hard they nearly pee their pants canary bird yellow.

I'm going to quit my day job and follow them, like people used to follow the Dead I remarked to a fellow audience member.

Then I remembered I don't have a day job. Because I live in Portland, the where-we-work-just-enough-to-support-our-creative-endeavors capital of the world.


Macaroni said...

This just in,Cattitude!

Ms. Mel said...

Did you know? CATTITUDE has a blog!

Macaroni said...

And now you can see their even greaaaaaater masterpiece here.