Monday, June 8, 2020

Anti-racism resources

Please take this in the spirit it's offered. I know many of you are doing your own work to educate yourselves and actively be involved. Some of you I know are out at the daily protests. So maybe much of what I've listed you're already familiar with (sorry for being redundant in my messaging).

The events of the past weeks have helped reinforce something I've known for a while. Structural racism is deeply embedded into the fabric of this country since its founding and we have treated Black folks in reprehensible, oppressive ways since the first slaves arrived over 400 years ago. Systematically disenfranchised. I (as a white person) simply cannot allow it to continue. No longer is it ok for me simply to be "not racist." I need to find ways to be actively antiracist. There really is no qualifying this.

Easy to state ... not easy to accomplish. And no shortcuts. I really like the message I received from an elearning colleague I follow (Dr. Katie Linder) as she pondered the question of what to do. She drew the distinction between antiracist work as a project vs. a life practice. Projects have defined goals, "deliverables," start and end points. Projects end, but a life practice is a commitment. We listen, we learn, we fail, we keep learning, keep incorporating until it becomes part of the very fabric of who we are and how we behave. Not easy. I am honestly daunted by how far I need to go. It feels like I won’t have enough years left in my life to adequately align my knowledge, feelings, and behaviors in consistently antiracist ways. Something Dr. Linder wrote resonated about the difficulty: "...I’m adding anti-racist work more explicitly, alongside a commitment to re-engage in a broad spectrum of social justice efforts. Again, let it not go unnoticed that it is my white privilege that allows this to be a choice for me. Turning away will always be a kind of default option, so I need to make an active choice not to do that." Right now the work feels immediately important, but what about in six months, a year, or five years? Project? Life practice?

So where to start? What do we do?

An obvious one is, as you feel comfortable in our pandemic days, show up at local demonstrations. I know that's not for everyone and no one should feel guilty about not choosing that particular action. Dr. Linder included a list of things she's planning to do, and I think they're a good starting place for me (or anyone), including:
  • reading a lot more broadly to further my own education and training on anti-racist and social justice-related topics
  • donating more consistently to organizations that do powerful social justice work
  • sharing what I’m learning along the way in the communities I have cultivated (such as my social media networks)
  • learning more about how to further embed social justice values and methodologies into my business practices
Educating ourselves - here are books, essays, articles, documentaries and podcasts I highly recommend (I have read, watched, listened to all of these). I have added NEW resources (6/13/20)

How To Be An Antiracist - by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi ... if you pick one book from this list, this one.
Between the World and Me - Ti-Nehisi Coates
Waking Up White - by Debbie Irving
The Warmth of Other Suns - by Isabel Wilkerson
The End of Policing - by Alex Vitale (eBook version is now free)

Articles and essays:
Being Antiracist (from the National Museum of African American History & Culture)
America, This Is Your Chance - by Michelle Alexander, civil rights lawyer and advocate, legal scholar and the author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” (NYT, June 8, 2020) -- lots of great resources linked in her essay
Who Gets to Be Afraid in America? - by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi (Atlantic, May 12, 2020) - dive deeper into more of his essays at his website
The Greatest White Privilege is Life Itself - by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi (Atlantic, Oct 24, 2019)
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack - by Peggy McIntosh
Qualified Immunity Explained (The Appeal, June 20, 1919)
Guidelines for being strong white allies
75 things white people can do for racial justice
NEW: America Begins to See More Clearly Now What Its Black Citizens Always Knew (The National Review, June 11, 2020)
NEW: A Major Obstacle to Police Reform: The Whiteness of Their Union Bosses (The Marshall Project , June 10, 2020)
NEW: Confessions of a Former Bastard Cop - (Medium, June 6, 2020)

Documentaries and video:
13th (directed by Ava DuVernay) - maybe the first thing to do! And if you don't have Netflix, you can watch it for free on YouTube
I Am Not Your Negro (James Baldwin doc) - available on Kanopy
NEW: Police: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) - available on YouTube
NEW: How to Build an Antiracist World (Dr. Ibram X Kendi, TED Talk, 2020)

Seeing White - season 2 (2017) of Scene on Radio from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke Univ
The Land That Never Has Been Yet - season 4 (current) of Scene on Radio
-- both of these series are incredibly well produced and thought provoking ... there's a lot of listening here, but work your way through - definitely worth it!
NEW: Throughline - American Police episode
NEW: On Being with Krista Tippett - Eula Biss - Talking About Whiteness
NEW: Good Ancestor - episode 11: Robin DiAngelo on White Fragility

Consider financially supporting these Portland organizations:

Black Lives Matter Portland /
Don’t Shoot Portland
SURJ PDX (Showing Up for Racial Justice) /
PDX Protest Bail Fund
Coalition of Communities of Color
Black United Fund
The Portland African American Leadership Forum
NAACP of Portland
The Urban League of Portland
The MRG Foundation
NEW: The Black Resilience Fund -

Other resources to check out
Anti-racism Resources for White People - excellent list of what to read, watch, hear ...
The Liberation Library (from Andy Newman, founder of, an esport gamer site)
Prison Abolition and Alternatives to Incarceration Starter Resources
NEW: Resources to Combat Structural Racism in America - Aspen Institute
NEW: Directory of Portland Black-owned Restaurants
NEW: A Criminal Justice Expert's Guide to Donating Effectively Right Now

Hope you find something useful here. Thanks for reading,


Friday, March 27, 2020

Live music streams and more ...

For my first post in way the f**k too long, what does someone who generally posts about upcoming live music do? The toll of this pandemic on local musicians and venues is enormous. It's been gratifying to see so many beginning to stream live music via Facebook, YouTube, and other platforms. Figured I'd provide some live music streaming links/resources.

But first a couple of recommendations to musicians (a few of you get these posts and maybe even read them).
  1. If you're using Facebook (or even if using another platform), please create events for your live streams. And if you're doing it regularly, create a recurring event. That way we can be alerted ... though maybe I'm the only one who can't remember what day and time you said you were going live.
  2. Test your setup first - image framing, lighting, sound (most important!). Depending on the gear you're using you can get very different results. Whatever device you're using to stream (computer, tablet, phone), if you're going to do this regularly I'd recommend using a good quality webcam and microphone (could be Bluetooth or USB).
  3. Make sure we (the audience) knows how to tip you. And mention it during the live session.
  4. Review your sessions to see what you can improve the next time (rinse, repeat) - check in with other streaming musicians for advice if needed.
It's been great seeing some excellent live sessions... going to give particular kudos to Tony Furtado and Stephanie Schneiderman for their Thursday night sessions from their living room - for the sound and performance quality, the visuals, and for the warmth in their presenting (not to mention their son Liam's introductions). It's not easy when you can't see anybody. :-)

It would be great if there was some compiled listing of upcoming live streams - both New Orleans (on the sites of WWOZ and Offbeat Magazine) and Austin (at Austin360) have created listings of live online performances. In Portland, the best I've found so far is at Vortex Magazine where shows are listed on their calendar page. I heard Oregon Music News might begin a listing, but there's nothing there yet. In Friday's A&E, there was an article with links to livestreaming classical music

Livestream music I know of that's coming up on Facebook in the next few days (and that are not in the Vortex Mag calendar):
Steve Kerin - every day at 4 pm (also doing it via Zoom)
James Low - Saturday @ 6 pm
Mary Flower - Monday @ 1:30 pm
Pete Krebs - streaming a song a day

And I know there's lots more  ... these are just some that have come through my Fb page. 

One of the most ambitious streaming efforts is from the Alberta Rose Theater - called The Portland Music Stream - they are streaming 20 performances (began last weekend) over four weeks. It's $100 which comes out to $5 per show - with an outstanding lineup of local performers. You can subscribe here. Subscribers can watch live or view the recordings. Hopefully there'll be more months of streaming shows while we can't actually attend the Alberta Rose.

Also, a portion of the subscription will go to another great effort to support local musicians - the Jeremy Wilson Foundation's COVID-19 Musicians Relief Fund. Even if you don't subscribe to the concert stream, you can donate through the fund's GoFundMe page.

It's great to see so much music being streamed. I have a feeling a bunch of my time will be well spent listening to some of my favorite artists (local and otherwise) and maybe getting turned on to some I don't know so well. Hope you do the same. And tip, purchase music and merch ... support artists and venues as best you can and look forward to getting together on the other side of this situation. 

Stay healthy!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Seth Walker - Aug 22 at Mississippi Studios

Working and touring tireless is paying off for Seth Walker (not to mention having a fairly new critically acclaimed recording) ... not many artists make a point of coming through Portland more than once a year, but next week marks the third time Seth is here in just over a year. And each time the venue and crowds get bigger - well deserved for this multi-talented artist. His latest recording, Are You Open? is one of my favorites released in the past year. (I've also know Seth for over 10 years and he's also one of my favorite folks in the music business.)

Hope you can join me at Mississippi Studios next Thursday for Seth's show ... 8 pm, $16 tickets here

Here are a few quotes about Seth that reflect what I've been saying about this guy for a while:

"…an accomplished guitarist and an even better singer, distilling the soul of Ray Charles, the Southern boy roots charm of Delbert McClinton, and an uptown blues turn of phrase (à la Percy Mayfield) into his own distinct voice." – The Vinyl District
"Walker's brilliantly nuanced vocals are as natural, clear, sharp, and as effortlessly elegant as his guitar playing..." - All Music
"It's a welcome thing that Seth Walker's chosen to pitch his tent in Americana...Walker has a way with smooth and swinging phrasing and makes classically accessible up-front pleas." - Nashville Scene
"If you subscribe to the Big Tent theory of Americana, then Seth Walker –with his blend of blues, gospel, pop, R&B, rock, and a dash country—just might be your poster boy." - Country Standard Time
"…pure talent, a masterful blues guitarist, a singer with some swing in his voice and a writer whose [songs] sound less composed than unleashed." - Austin American Statesman

More about Seth Walker:

"Are You Open?" Seth Walker sings on his transfixing new album of the same title. More than just a question, it's a challenge, an invitation, a dare. "To me, being open means being vulnerable and exposed," explains Walker, "but that's where the little nuggets of creative gold come from. I never planned an overall concept for this record, but each of these songs seemed to spin out from asking myself that one simple question."

Produced by The Wood Brothers' Jano Rix, 'Are You Open' marks Seth Walker's tenth studio recording, and the music is undoubtedly his most inventive, exploring new sounds and textures as he examines what it means to truly be open, both as an artist and more broadly as a human in today's increasingly more complicated world. The songwriting here is bold and infectious, featuring melodies and rhythms drawn from Walker's time spent in Havana and filtered through his split-screen life in New Orleans and Nashville. The result is a melting pot of sounds and perspectives, a soulful brew of roots music from the Americas and beyond. Songs frequently build off of a single chord, shifting in color and tone as they ebb and flow and stack layer upon layer over hypnotic bass lines and percussion grooves. The record features Walker's guitar playing more heavily than ever before, and the new approach suits him well, showcasing a melodic prowess to match his prodigious lyrical gifts.

'Are You Open?' follows 2016's critically acclaimed 'Gotta Get Back,' a stunning collection that found Walker excavating the roots of his love affair with music by reuniting the family that first sparked his fire as a child. That album traced its origins back to Walker's native North Carolina, where he grew up on a multi-family commune and studied classical violin and cello before ultimately discovering his passion for soul, jazz, blues, and folk. He'd go on to deftly mix all those genres and more in his work as a solo artist, organically building up a celebrated two-decade career that's earned him praise everywhere from The Washington Post to NPR, who hailed his "hard-driving" songs and "sweet tenor," in addition to landing him dates with The Mavericks, The Wood Brothers, Raul Malo, Paul Thorn and Ruthie Foster, among others.


Sunday, June 30, 2019

JMN's 2019 Summer Music guide ... Part 2: the ticketed festivals and shows!

On Wednesday I posted my list of free summer outdoor music in and around Portland, but there are also lots of great ticketed outdoor music shows that bring top acts to the region. Here are a few of this summer's highlights for me.

Waterfront Blues Festival (July 4 -7) ... still the best bargain for a festival this summer! You can't beat music at four stages on the waterfront. And it's not just blues. There's plenty of Cajun, zydeco, swing, funk, Americana ... the vibe is easygoing and there's music from noon until 11 pm. Single day tickets are just $20 in advance and $25 at the door. And there are different levels of passes that get you lots more. Though no longer affiliated with the Oregon Food Bank, there is a opportunity to contribute canned food and donations to The Sunshine Division.

Other festivals of note in and around Portland/NW Oregon include:
Northwest String Summit (July 18-21)
PDX Pop Now! (July 20-21)
Wildwood Music Festival (July 19-21)
Pickathon (August 2-4)
Vanport Jazz Festival (Aug 3)

Willing to travel a bit further, check out:
Vancouver Folk Music Festival - Vancouver, BC (July 19-21)
Winthrop Rhythm and Blues Festival - Winthrop, WA (July 19-21)
Jazz in the Valley - Ellensburg, WA (July 26-28)
Bumbershoot - Seattle (Aug 30-Sept 1)
Sisters Folk Festival - Sisters (Sept 6-8)

Though not confined to one weekend, the Britt Festival runs all summer at the Britt Pavilion in Jacksonville, OR.

Ticketed outdoor venue shows include:

Oregon Zoo Concerts
Edgefield Concerts on the Lawn

And you can always take a trip to Kruger's Farm on Sauvie Island for the Thursday night concerts ... they charge by the carload ($20), so pile in and head to Sauvie Island! Or, even better, it's free if you walk in or ride your bike.

But, Jim, I don't like sitting outside for music (too hot! too cold! it might rain! sitting on the ground! not paying $85 to listen to folks loudly nattering on about their vacations or their kid's orthodontics!) ... so how about summer music in comfy theaters or clubs? That will be in another post coming soon ...

See ya out and about .... and have a great summer!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

JMN's 2019 Summer Music guide ... Part 1: free outdoor music!

Given my sporadic posting this year, you might have thought I'd probably forget about this -- but in the immortal words of Gomer Pyle, "Surprise, surprise, surprise."

 So here is the 2019 version of my annual post about the many, many summer outdoor music options we have in Portland. It's going to sound a lot like (in fact, pretty much exactly like) the previous years, as there's a lot of text recycling with refreshed links.

Something I truly love about Portland in the summer is that there's music in the parks, plazas, and other outdoor venues all over town and the surrounding communities. As I've said before (ad nauseum), when it comes to live music outdoors in summer, we really do have an amazing number of choices. So there's no excuse for not catching some pretty outstanding music throughout the summer.

I'd like to first note some of the free music out and about in the region. And, as nothing is really free, remember most of it is paid for by the generous sponsorship of local businesses (who you should thank and support), and in many cases your generous contributions at the shows.

I'll do a separate post on the summer shows for which you'll actually need to purchase a ticket. But first the free ...

Portland Parks and Recreation's Summer Free for All: Concerts and Movies in the Parks! This is a huge series in multiple city parks throughout the summer. Concerts kickoff on Monday, July 8 with the first show in the Sellwood series. The big change to this series is that the site has moved up the hill to Sellwood Park. After 30 or so years on the river, it was time for a change. Sellwood Riverfront park being a dog park was one reason for the switch ... not to mention that the new location has a lot more shade - a plus given how hot the last few summers have been. It kicks off July 8 at 6:30 pm with Moody Little Sister. That will be followed by Rae Gordon (July 15), Grupo Masato (July 22), and Miller and Sasser (July 29). These are community events that are a blast and a great way to connect with your neighborhood. So, find your local park (or venture further!), bring a picnic dinner (or patronize the food vendors), bring a blanket or chairs, and enjoy. Nothing better on a summer's eve! Also note that there is music before each of the scheduled Movies in the Park - another 50 or so nights to catch music (and a film) for free in a Portland park this summer.

For all of you who are downtown in Portland for your work week (or if you just like slacking downtown), there a some fine musical opportunities, like:

Music on Main is a great Wednesday series that begins July 10 on Main Street between the Schnitz and the Performing Arts Center. As usual, it has a eclectic lineups of bands this summer.

Pioneer Square has another year of Noon Tunes - every Tuesday at noon - July 9 to August 27.

Then there are street fairs - for instance, Mississippi Street Fair (Saturday, July 13), the Alberta Street Fair (Saturday, Aug 10), and the Hawthorne Street Fair (Sunday, Aug 25) ... and of course, Last Thursday on Alberta.

There's the annual Cathedral Park Jazz Festival - three days of great music ... free in St John's - July 19-21.

Also in Portland you can find cool music at a number of places like this - Market of Choice on SE Belmont & 11th is having music every other Friday night. Next show is on July 14 (also at Cedar Mill and Bend stores).

But Portland isn't the only city in the metro area that has an abundance of free music ... check out these summer concert schedules:

Milwaukie has a huge slate of outdoor shows in a variety of locations. Our neighbor to the south continues to up its game ... nice!

Lake Oswego hosts sixteen concerts spread among Millennium Plaza Park, Foothills Park and Westlake Park through the summer - Wednesday and Sunday evenings.

West Linn has a Thursday night series at Tanner Creek Park beginning July 25.

Oregon City also has a Thursday night series at the End of the Oregon Trail starting on July 11.

Hillsboro has music every Tuesday night at the Hillsboro Marketplace starting at 5:30 pm. There's also a Sunday series at the market and a Thursday night series in Shute Park starting on July 11.

Tualatin Hills Parks and Rec spreads music around a number of parks on Thursdays.

Vancouver has a Thursday evening and a Wednesday noon series downtown in Esther Short Park and a Sunday series at the Columbia Tech Center. Cool sounds in the 'Couve!

Also, a good event calendar to check for more:
PDX Pipeline - links to different categories of events and they send out a weekly post with things to do. This link will bring up events in their calendar tagged "music."

I'm sure there's even more free outdoor music out there for you to discover.

Go for it and have a great summer 2019!