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The Coast tours the (west) coast Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A couple of quick pictures from The Coast's performance tonight at the Towne Lounge in Portland. Ben, Ian, Luke, and Jordan put on a full-energy show for the small Monday night crowd.

The Toronto-based quartet are in the midst of a lengthy tour of the United States. They play in Eugene Wednesday night (Aug. 27) before turning the van to the east.

You can keep up with their tour by reading the blog they're doing for Exclaim.

Look for more photos and an interview with the band on Northwest CanCon in early September.

Dan Mangan interview online Monday, August 25, 2008

The interview I did with Dan Mangan a couple of weeks ago is (finally) online at Northwest CanCon, along with a portrait and a concert photo. Click here to check it out.

Here are a couple of bonus photos for your viewing pleasure. We shot these down at the train station in Portland before his show.

(The one at left is the same as the one on Northwest CanCon, but with a bit o
f additional post-processing. What do you think ... good or bad?)

Tourists in Oregon Saturday, August 23, 2008

A look at Portland's south waterfront from the aerial tram.

My parents were in Portland for a couple of days last week, visiting me before heading out for a couple of weeks touring around the west coast. Since it was their first visit to the Rose City, I figured I ought to take them out to see all of the touristy places I've never been because I live here.

Wednesday was pretty rainy, but we managed to fit in a walk to Powell's Bookstore, a wander around the Pearl District, and a street car ride to the aerial tram, then back home in time for tea.

[right] The Portland Heights neighborhood in the Southwest Hills is well-populated with large 100-year-old homes with fantastic views of the city, just a couple of miles from the heart of downtown Portland.

My parents are into geocaching, so after tea we went looking for a geocache pretty close to my place (it was really easy to find), and then wandered around the Portland Heights neighborhood looking at houses I'll never be able to afford.

I didn't bring my camera, so I'm posting a couple of my dad's pictures (hope you don't mind, Dad).

Out in the Willamette Valley

Alison Ginn reads a placard Aug. 21 at the Evergreen Aviation Museum. The museum in McMinnville, Ore., is home to the HK-1 Flying Boat, better known as the Spruce Goose.

On the second full day of my parents' visit, the weather was better and it was time to head out into the Willamette Valley. I've driven past the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville several times but never been inside, so that was on the agenda. And if you're out in McMinnville, how can you go home without stopping at a winery? But first, the airplanes:

Back in 1942 the Hughes Aircraft Co. set about designing an airplane to transport troops and materiel out of the reach of German U-Boats. The bulk of the HK-1, later re-designated as the H-4, was built of wood (mostly birch, not spruce) to minimize the use of critical war materials like aluminum. It had capacity for 750 troops or two tanks.

However, it takes a long time to create a plane that exceeds all existing aircraft in just about every way, and the war was over by the time the prototype was finished in 1947. The H-4 made just one short test flight—about one mile at an altitude of about 70 feet—piloted by Howard Hughes himself.

More than sixty years later the Spruce Goose remains the largest wooden aircraft ever built. With a wingspan of 97.5 m (319 feet, 11 inches), it still holds the record in that category as well.

The Spruce Goose has been at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Ore., since 1993. The museum's collection includes numerous aircraft and replicas from before the Wright brothers' first flight to modern fighter jets. The museum opened a new building in June to house its space collection. They hope to acquire one of the space shuttles when they are retired in the next few years.

[left] Grape vines stretch over the hills around the Sokol Blosser winery in Dundee, Ore.
[below] Peter Ginn looks for photo opportunities Aug. 21 at the Sokol Blosser winery.

After looking at the airplanes for a couple of hours, it was off to the Dundee Bistro for lunch. Then to the wine tasting.

We didn't really go hardcore on that part; none of us are connoisseurs, so just two stops—Sokol Blosser followed by August Cellars. Needless to say, we walked away with several bottles of Oregon's finest.

[left] August Cellars in Newberg, Ore., is home to multiple wineries, but also produces Pinot Noir and other varietals under their own label.

Containers Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Here are the photos of the containers I promised in my previous post. Maybe not that exciting, but I thought they looked cool. And remember, these are each 9-1/2 feet tall ... big stacks of who knows what.

Port of Portland Monday, August 18, 2008

M.V. Angela unloads at the Port of Portland Aug. 14. The Panama-registered vessel carries bulk goods around the world.

I had the cool experience of shooting at the Port of Portland on Thursday, where the M.V. Angela was unloading steel billets at Terminal 6. When the stevedores took their lunch break, I got to go aboard the ship for a look in the hold.

[right] Steel billets sit inside the hold of the M.V. Angela.

It was pretty much what you'd expect—basically a big void inside the hull, separated by four bulkheads. Really, there's nothing but space in the ship forward of the bridge. Still, pretty impressive in a 17-metre (55-foot) deep by 32-metre (106-foot) wide boat. (M.V. Angela is 190 metres (623 feet) long. Read more about it here.)

Terminal 6 is mainly a container terminal. The stacks of containers looked pretty cool, so I took some pictures. But the blogger system seems to be down right now so I can't upload them ... you'll have to wait until later.

Dan Mangan Saturday, August 16, 2008

Vancouver musician Dan Mangan performs at the Towne Lounge in Portland, Ore., Aug. 10, 2008.

I had the opportunity to interview and photograph Vancouver singer/songwri
ter Dan Mangan last weekend, and then take in his show at the Towne Lounge.

Dan was super cool and very accommodating, to the point of helping carry some of my light stands around when we were making some portraits of him.

[right] Dan's girlfriend, Kirsten, helps him plan out his set list before the show. She traveled with him for this tour which started in New York in late July.

His gi
rlfriend has family in the Portland area, so this was a good stop for him at the end of his U.S. tour. Hopefully we'll see him back here again.

Look for the interview and more photos on Northwest CanCon later this month.

[left] Dan says he's given the "thumbs up" pose at every picture stop on this trip across the country.

Way up north Sunday, August 10, 2008

Paul Bunyan stands watch over the intersection of N Denver and Interstate in Portland. The 37-foot-tall statue was erected in 1959 to honor Oregon's timber industry. It was restored in 1986.

My travels took me to the "deep north" of North Portland the other day, where I re-discovered Paul Bunyan.

The statue made headlines in February of this year when a businessman wanted to buy it and move it to North Carolina. The neighborhood association in Kenton nixed that idea.

[left] Kenton is home to the Kenton Club, by all appearances a generic smoky dive-bar. I don't know what makes it "World Famous."

U.S. sweeps women's sabre in Beijing Saturday, August 09, 2008

Beaverton's Mariel Zagunis (left) probably looked something like this when she won the gold medal in Women's Sabre at the Olympics yesterday. She also won gold at the Olympics in Athens.

I woke up this morning to news that the U.S. women's fencing team swept the medals in Sabre at the Olympics. These were the first three medals for the United States at these games.

You might remember that the team was here in Portland back in April for the National Championships. Two of the three medalists are from the Rose City. Here are some of my pictures from April.

[left] Becca Ward of Portland, Ore., won the bronze medal after losing an emotional match to Zagunis in the semifinals. [below] Sada Jacobson of Dunwoody, Ga., won the silver medal.

Northwest CanCon finds a new home Friday, August 08, 2008

Northwest CanCon has moved to a new home on the web,

The new address is just one of a number of changes to the site. Some of them are obvious, others less so.

What won’t change is the content: we will continue to bring the latest news from the Canadian music scene to Oregon and Washington, as well as original content that you won’t find anywhere else, including interviews and photographs of the many talented musicians that perform here in the Northwest.

The most significant change should be hardly visible at all: we have switched the engine that drives the site from to The subtle distinction between the two means much more flexibility for us in terms of the look of the site, and allows us to add certain features that we couldn’t include on the old site.

Chief among those is advertising. You will notice that the site now includes advertisements from Google’s AdSense program. While we do not wish to clutter up the site with obnoxious commercials, this is the first, necessary step in making the site self-supporting.

Another noticeable change is the opening page: instead of starting on the news page, the new site opens with the concert calendar. We are still evaluating whether this is the best landing page for the site, but the thinking is that the concert calendar is the heart of Northwest CanCon: the site is all about finding acts that are playing in our region, which is the point of the calendar. If you move to a different page on the site, you can always click “Concert Listings” to get back there.

Our news stories have moved to their own page: click on “Canadian Music News” or bookmark this page.

If you subscribe to our RSS feed, you will have to change your subscription. Click the link near the upper right of the page, or here.

The other major opportunity that the new site affords is better stats tracking. While the old site offered some measure of our readership, it couldn’t (or wouldn’t) tell us anything about the geographical distribution of our visitors. By moving over to the .org system, we can now use the statistics tracker of our choosing, which will ultimately help us to serve you better.

At some point in the future, Northwest CanCon is likely to have its own domain. Until then, you can find us at Be sure to look for exclusive interviews with The Pack A.D., Thee Manipulators, and Dan Mangan over the next three weeks.

The Pack A.D.

Becky Black of The Pack A.D. unleashes the lion Aug. 7 at The East End in Portland. The duo from Vancouver, B.C., is nearing the end of a six-week U.S. tour. Their second album, Funeral Mixtape, will be released Aug. 12.

Here's a sneak preview of something that will appear on Northwest CanCon in the next couple of days. I caught The Pack A.D.'s show at The East End tonight, and talked to them afterward. It was a short set for them, the second of the day after driving from Bozeman, Mont., and there were only a handful of fans there to see them.

This is a terribly cliche thing to say, but let me tell you, these girls know how to rock, and rock hard. It's been said elsewhere, but this is a band you ought to see now while it's still pretty cheap.

[right] Maya Miller bashes the skins as Becky growls.

Flugtag hits Portland Sunday, August 03, 2008

The "Back to the Future" craft plunges into the Willamette River Aug. 2 followed by members of its pushing crew at Flugtag Portland 2008. More than 80,000 people flocked to Tom McCall Waterfront Park Saturday afternoon to watch 31 teams from across the West compete in the event.

Sponsored by Red Bull, Flugtag started in Austria in 1991. More than 40 events later, "flying day" has spread around the world from Ireland to San Francisco.

This Saturday, it made its second trip to the Rose City. Flugtag is a little too commercialized to be truly hip, but it is the kind of weird that Portland loves. More than 80,000 packed into Waterfront Park to watch competitors push homemade "flying" vehicles off a 25-foot high ramp into the Willamette River.

The teams are ostensibly competing for distance, but clearly creativity and panache are at least as important. Entries were modeled on a range of themes from Lego airplanes to a Chinese food take-out box.

Read more about the event on the official website. The Oregonian's report is here.

[right] Team Yakima used their Big Wheel-themed glider to maximum effect, winning first prize with a 62-foot flight. [below] Competitors and their homemade craft wait in the staging area before launch.

[below left] Tom McCall Waterfront Park was packed for the event, and dozens of boats crowded the Willamette River as well. [below right] Event staff clean up the wreckage of "Space Balls," a team from Everett, Wash., based on the 1987 Star Wars spoof. Although the vehicle broke apart as it left the launch ramp, the team went home with the People's Choice award.