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Our Town Could Be Your Life

Local News Roundup

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Rererato is dead, long live Rererato! Sort of. The little all-ages arts space that could, located at NE 42nd and Sumner, is under new stewardship, still hosting concerts, and now called the Wail. And for this, Chris Radcliffe, the building's silver-tongued owner and stalwart Portland arts patron, is my Local Music Hero of the Year. If you see him, buy him a sandwich. Last spring, in the face of bureaucratic contention that the space (which is also a residence) was in violation of zoning code by hosting shows, Radcliffe miraculously won over city officials with the righteous argument that Rererato was not a commercial enterprise, but rather a community space for the exchange of art and ideas à la a Parisian Belle Époque salon.

Then, in the fall, when the two tenants who created and ran Rererato decided to move on to other projects, Radcliffe met with prospective renters to verify their commitment to curating music and art shows. How cool is that? A landlord who demands that you have bands play on their property! This wonderfully unkillable Rasputin of a venue made its debut as the Wail this month with Calvin Johnson and Adrian Orange playing the inaugural show. Come check the place out and see what makes it so worth fighting for on Wednesday, March 4, when local instrumental dance-prog trio What's Up—about whom we'll all be hearing a lot more very soon—takes the stage. More info on this show and the venue at myspace.com/thewailinportland.

And, in spite of the loss of all-ages venues Exit Only and Rock n Roll Pizza in past months, there is more good news for Portland music fans under 21. The freshly remodeled Mississippi Studios, reopening on March 4 after a season of construction, has been granted a Minor VI posting by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, and thus cleared to host all-ages shows! The first youth-friendly event will be a Sunday, March 8, matinee featuring the most collaborative musical art ensemble this side of Chicago—the Portland Cello Project. Expect to hear some extra pluck in the project's playing at this show; they'll still be giddy from having just signed to—get this—Kill Rock Stars, which will be putting out their new album in June, featuring pieces recorded with labelmate Thao Nguyen and below-the-radar Portlander Justin Power.

Also likely still smilingly woozy from the fumes of the permanent marker used to ink their fresh deal with Portland label Lucky Madison is the elegantly shambolic folk troupe Ah Holly Fam'ly, recently expanded to an octet. In a cosmic coincidence hopefully suggestive of success to come, the Fam'ly originated in Moscow, Idaho, the same border town that birthed rustic Madison alumni Horse Feathers.

Meanwhile, Cravedog and CDForge—former collegial rivals in the local compact disc-pressing biz—have joined forces and merged staff under the name Cravedog, Inc. Let that be a lesson in bipartisanship to you, Congress! The united, independently owned company believes it can offer more competitive pricing and expanded merchandise services with the restructuring.

Lastly, KZME—the still nascent nonprofit radio station dedicated to local music—has named Carl Singmaster its program director. Singmaster was previously the proprietor of a network of independent record stores in North and South Carolina and a staple at the area's college station WUSC. Singmaster is currently one of the owners of Belmont Station Beer Store and Biercafé.

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