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Review: Boyz II Men with the Oregon Symphony

Friday, April 10, 2015

 

When GoLocalPDX scored an interview with one of the three members of Boyz II Men recently, talking about their then-upcoming concert with the Oregon Symphony, my plans for Tuesday night of this week were solidified. 

Being a stereotypical Portlander I of course rode the bus to the venue, the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. I spent the ride down listening to Boyz II Men, even finding a clip of another symphony performance. During that time, I couldn’t help but thinking that having Boyz II Men, a band nearly 20 years since the height of their popularity, playing such a large venue could be a recipe for disaster. That is a lot of seats to fill.

Boyz II Men weren't the first artists to try to bridge the musical divide with classical music. Last year when the video of Sir Mix-A-Lot's performance with the Seattle Symphony went viral, surely both classical performers and 90's pop stars alike sat up and took notice. Though this is far from the first time Boyz have performed with a symphony, it sure seemed to garner plenty of attention this time. As a result, there were few empty seats in the house – Boyz II Men announced on their twitter feed it was indeed sold out!

The symphony performed briefly before the Boyz took the stage. When Shawn Stockman, Nathan Morris and Wanya Morris took the stage, they immediately cast a huge shadow over the enormous – and enormously talented  Symphony they were performing with. They took the stage by storm wearing black suits and stylish red handkerchiefs, looking so comfortable on stage you’d have no doubt they’d been performing together since high school in the late 1980’s.

As a veteran of rock and rap concerts, I was impressed at the quality of the Boyz voices through every song. They were in perfect harmony. I am unaccustomed to lyricists sounding as good on stage as they do on a recorded album. With the synergy they showed with the Oregon Symphony, you wouldn't know this band wasn't designed to perform with a symphony. While many in the crowd would have been there with or without the symphony, the Boyz were wise to point out that without classical music before them, they may have never been a band.

Just before the final song before intermission, Shawn Stockman assured the crowd that each song they had – and would – sing was off a Boyz II Men recording. That song? Water Runs Dry. The entire crowd sung along. It was a high point. Then a long break….

The second act was equally as enjoyable. They ended the night with an encore performance of their biggest hit: End of the Road. After the encore, women, who outnumbered men 3-1 at the show, rushed the stage as they handed roses to them. For only $35 additional you could have stayed for a meet and greet with the band. I had a long bus ride ahead of me and left with neither a rose nor a handshake. I did, however, leave eager to see what other tricks the Symphony has up its sleeve this season.

 

Related Slideshow: Who are The Coolest People in Portland?

Portland is so hot right now. And that’s truly what makes it cool. But cool doesn’t happen all by itself. It takes people to make a city like Portland cool. So who are Portland’s 25 coolest people?

Prev Next

Kelly Williams Brown

Writer

Kelly Williams Brown studied journalism at Loyola University before becoming a reporter for The Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon. Her handy tips on life ended up in a hilarious and highly successful 2013 book, “Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps” that was optioned by J.J. Abrams (the director the has taken over the “Star Wars” mantle).  Kelly writes copy for a Portland advertising firm and columns for The Daily Beast.

What kind of Portlander are you?

The rarest of all—the indoor-cat Portlander. That might be overstating the case, but I've lived in Portland on and off since 1996 and have yet to voluntarily purchase hiking boots. Everyone here loves the outdoors, and I do too — I'm not a total monster — but I love the indoor parts of Portland: the fantastic restaurants, the great bars, and all the soup-making opportunities that our dreary winter presents.

What do you think are the issues facing Portland and how would like to engage the city in making it a better place to live for all of its citizens? 

It's the obvious answer, but gentrification. I think Portland needs to work very actively to recruit not only high-tech jobs, but also the kind that can support the middle class. Portland does a lot to cater to young professionals (like me) who don't have kids and who do have disposable income, and often ignores the needs of the working and lower-middle class. 

Is Portland a good place to do your kind of work?

I think Portland is a good place to do nearly any kind of work. Except cactus farming. That sounds like an uphill battle.

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Anthony Watson

Chief Information Officer, Nike

Before he became the Chief Information Officer for Nike, Anthony Watson was Managing Director & CIO of Europe Middle East Retail & Business Banking and of Global Operations at Barclays Bank PLC and was Chair of the EMERBB Operating Committee. A rare openly gay executive at the highest levels of Fortune 500 companies Watson joined the board of the LGBT advocacy group GLAAD in 2013 as its first non U. S. citizen. Watson was recently featured in Fortune’s “40 Under 40” next to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. 

Photo credit: Glaad website (image cropped)

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Carrie Brownstein

Singer/Actor/Writer/Comedian

Before landing herself on television with Fred Armisen on the hit IFC sketch comedy show Portlandia, Carrie Brownstein was a singer and guitarist for the popular rock band Sleater-Kinney, which went on “indefinite hiatus” in 2006. Carrie, who was a writer before she joined up with Sleater-Kinney has written for Slate and NPR Music, and has even did a little work reviewing worthy applicants for Portland’s most venerated advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy now defunct WK12 internship program. But it’s with Portlandia, of which Carrie is the co-creator, co-writer and co-star that Brownstein has reached her largest audience. 

Photo credit: by Peabody Awards uploaded by JohnnyMrNinja via Wikimedia Commons

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Toya Fick

Executive Director, Stand for Children Oregon

Toya Fick is a testament to the importance of education.
It is hard to believe that Toya, a former education policy advisor for Hillary Clinton, almost didn't go to college. But thanks to teachers and school counselors who intervened and encouraged Fick to apply herself and persevere, she reached heights beyond anything she imagined. Now, as Executive Director of Stand for Children Oregon, she leads an organization set on giving students in Oregon an excellent education and better access to college. Fick helped pass a bill that helped to grant in-state tuition to undocumented Oregon students in 2013. 

If you had to describe yourself and what you do in a tweet, what would that look like?
I am a teacher and a southerner at heart. I listen to every child’s story, and advocate for the education policies that lift them up.
 
What kind of Portlander are you?
The kind who loves the rain! (Seriously, I do.  Am I the only one?)
 
When I first moved here, I was worried about the lack of sun for stretches at a time. Then one morning, on my drive over the Fremont on my way to work, I looked up and took in the view and it took my breath away!  The green hills of Forest Park, the mist surrounding the buildings downtown … it was amazing.  I know that doesn’t happen without all the rain.  It is a bit cold here for my taste (I’m Southern), but oh well. I just make sure to buy coats with hoods on them. 
 
As someone who could do your work almost anywhere in the world, why did you choose Oregon and what do you get out of living here?

I moved to Portland to live near family.  My husband grew up here and it’s important to me to raise my kids (ages 4 and almost 1) near extended family.  In fact, when we were looking to buy a house in Portland, I would only look at homes within a 10 block radius of my in-laws (or, what I called “stroller pushing distance”).  We were lucky to find a home we loved and could afford within stroller pushing distance. 
 
What do I get out of living here … I have never had to pay for a babysitter!  That’s worth its weight in gold. 

What do you think are the issues facing Portland and how would like to engage the city in making it a better place to live for all of its citizens? 

I think one of the issues facing Portland is that not all of its citizens are involved in making the decisions that will make it a better place for all of its citizens to live.  It’s not a problem that is unique to Portland, but I think it’s one that we are uniquely positioned to solve.  There are so many people (from officers of local neighborhood associations to local superintendents), organizations (Stand, City Club, Food Bank), and elected officials (Charlie, Deborah) who care about making this place a better place for everyone.  It’s a critical first step, but it’s just the first step.   

What is on the horizon for you?

I’m still new to my role as executive director for Stand, Oregon, and all I can think about it making sure I’m doing a great job in this role. So what’s on the horizon for me is to ensure I help lead our members, staff and community partners to work together at the state and local level to improve educational outcomes for kids.
 
Is Portland a good place to do your kind of work?

Yes, and no.  Yes, in that this is the kind of place where a group of 10 people can start or stop something. (That’s a clear advantage for a grassroots organization.) No, in that there are so many things to work on!  It’s hard to know where to start.

And what inspires you?

Kids – my kids, kids I see when I visit schools in the area, kids I taught, kids my friends are teaching.  I was headed towards a career in medicine and decided to do education because I wanted to work to ensure more kids – particularly kids who grew up like I did – have options as adults.  Providing the kind of education that would provide the tools they need to graduate from high school prepared to take the next step is THE way to make sure that happens.  I’m inspired by all of them.

Photo credit: Stand for Children Oregon (image cropped) 

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Reggie Aqui

Television News Anchor

KGW-TV news anchor Reggie Aqui started out as a television reporter for WKYT-TV in Lexington Kentucky. In 2007 Aqui went to work for CNN where he covered President Obama’s inauguration, the Virginia Tech shootings, and interviewed Dolly Parton for online news reports. For the last few years Aqui has been a reporter for KGW and one of the anchors of its 4 pm newscast. Recently Aqui took over hosting duties for the “Live at 7” broadcast. 

As someone who could do your work almost anywhere in the world, why did you choose Oregon and what do you get out of living here?

In a way, Oregon chose me. KGW saw my work and gave me a call. The moment I landed for my interview, I was enchanted. I saw Mount Hood when I pulled out from PDX in my rental car and I couldn’t believe it. I walked through the Pearl and it was the neighborhood I had always dreamed of living in. And then when I made it to Powell’s, it was over. I was already picturing myself living here.

What do you think are the issues facing Portland and how would like to engage the city in making it a better place to live for all of its citizens?

I think homelessness is the shame that all of us, especially our city leaders, must take on with a renewed energy. I’ve researched the topic for stories and for interviews and forums I’ve hosted and I keep coming up empty. I don’t have that one good idea. It frustrates me that it seems just about everyone I talk to doesn’t have it either.

Is Portland a good place to do your kind of work?

I’ve never worked in a more interesting and creative environment. Instead of nightly murders, I’m able to cover the woman who opened a cuddling business, or I’m talking to architect Michael Graves about his Portland building, considered to be the first post-modern building in the country (and by some as one of the ugliest in the world). I love that.

Photo credit: Byron Beck, (image cropped)

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Steve Zakuani

Soccer Player

Democratic Republic of Congo born and London raised Portland Timbers star Steve Zakuani always dreamed of being a professional soccer star, and yes, that dream has come true. But not everybody can be an athlete. However, everybody can be an inspiration. For Steve, he always dreamed of playing soccer for a living, but it took some inspirational figures in his life to get him to where he his now, and as he looks back on his trials and tribulations, he is dedicated to being that inspirational figure for thousands of kids through his organization, Kingdom of Hope. Founded by Zakuani, Kingdom of Hope's mission is to inspire children into doing great things through the use of scholarships and programs that will allow success to manifest itself in all aspects of children's lives.

Photo credit: MLSsoccer.com (image cropped)

Prev Next

Shemia Fagan

Legislator

Growing up in rural Oregon taught Shemia a valuable lesson; hard work and a good education can lead one out of hard times. Shemia learned this first hand, and after performing well in high school and working her way through college, Fagan became a successful business lawyer and has now established herself as a State Representative in Oregon. Fagan represents District 51 where she serves the residents of North Clackamas and Mid-Multnomah Counties. 

Prev Next

Tres Shannon

Co-Founder of Voodoo Doughnuts

There is new cool. And then there is eternally cool. Tres Shannon falls in the latter category. The wild man of rock and roll and Portland’s foodie scene Tres is one of the co-owners of the tourist-friendly shop known as Voodoo Doughnuts (Bacon Maple bar, anyone?). Tres’s also one of the players in a band that has played every Monday night—for the last 14 years—at Dante’s called Karaoke From Hell.  Considered by many the “Mayor of Old Town” Shannon is one of the components that “Keeps Portland Weird.” Really weird!

What do you consider your role in the city is?

I’m not sure, a court Jester perhaps? 

And what do you think is your role in the music community?

Not as much defined as it was in the 1990’s…. I do sing/work in a band for the last 23 years. Playing Dantes for the last 14 years, EVERY F*CKING MONDAY for 4 hours. Enabling a group of musicians good work. We play many events around Oregon. It’s a TRIP!

And what inspires you?

All the old duffers that made this town what it is. My mentors, friends, and enemies. Portland was always weird, and now it’s kinda precious. Get back to being a bit sketchy, you know?

Photo credit: Byron Beck, (image cropped)

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Nichole June Maher

Chief Executive Officer, Northwest Health Foundation

Born in Ketchikan, Alaska, Nichole attended school on the Siletz Indian Reservation in Oregon and is a member of the Tlingit Tribe of Southeast Alaska. In 2012 Maher was named the president and CEO of Northwest Health Foundation.  Nichole is one of the youngest Presidents of a major foundation in the Northwest and under her leadership Northwest Health Foundation has worked to become a champion of advocacy, policy, and supporting vulnerable populations to be the leaders in creating healthy families and communities. Under Nichole’s leadership as a trustee and later as the President- NWHF has given over 70-percent of its resources to communities of color. 

Photo credit: Northwest Health website (image crooped)

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David Cress

Film/TV Producer

David Cress is a Portland film and television producer best known for  his work behind the scenes on the Gus Van Sant films Paranoid Park (2007) Restless (2011) as well as being one of the producers of Portlandia. David has been a big part of the show from the very beginning, back when the show was all about talking about how young people come here to “retire.”  Cress is anything but retiring and has his hands in all sorts of projects including just wrapping up filming of the next season of Portlandia. 

David Cress (left) with Eric Edwards (right). 

What kind of Portlander are you?

Average I think. Maybe a bit more enlightened to what makes it so great here, simply because I have traveled a lot for work and so I have compared and I'm always grateful to be home. I was not born here but I've been here most of my life now.

As someone who could do your work almost anywhere in the world, why did you choose Oregon and what do you get out of living here?

Initially it was the great music scene. In the late 80's and through the 90's Portland had one of the best live music scenes in the country…The bands who where home grown were great and very supportive of one another. You would often see the band members in the audience watching someone else play the night after their own show. The Internet and economics of the music industry have changed that now. Most bands need to tour so there is hardly a sizable town in the US that doesn't get some good live shows but the legacy lives on here. I may be imagining it but I feel like visiting acts try and play harder here because they know it’s a music town.

What do you think are the issues facing Portland and how would like to engage the city in making it a better place to live for all of its citizens? 

Growth is hard. Portland attracted musicians and artists because it was inexpensive to live here. We have had good visionary leaders and an informed community that has kept the city livable. Word is out and with so many new residents it’s going to be hard to maintain. We are victims of our own success. We need to keep the city affordable to keep attracting the artist and visionaries that will keep the town vibrant.

Is Portland a good place to do your kind of work?

It’s mixed. I realize I have been luckier than many of my peers who either had to leave or have not had as many breaks go their way in terms of the great projects I've been able to be part of.

And what inspires you?

Fear of unemployment.

Photo Credit: Byron Beck (image cropped)

Prev Next

Kim Malek

Salt and Straw Co-owner 

Ice cream goddess and Salt and Straw founder Kim Malek cashed in her 401K, created a custom food cart, and sold her artisanal ice cream with her cousin Tyler on Alberta Street in 2011. Now Salt and Straw has lines wrapping around three brick and mortar locations in Portland, and another in Los Angeles. 

Photo courtesy Salt and Straw

If you described yourself and what you do in a tweet how would that look? 

I love creating great neighborhood gather places.

What do you think are the issues facing Portland and how would like to engage the city in making it a better place to live for all of its citizens?

I think it would be helpful to grow our economic base. To address this, it could be good for Portland create programs and policies that are more aggressive in supporting the development of successful, growing businesses. I'm also concerned that Portland isn't as accessible to racially diverse populations as we could be. I'd love to see the City focus on issues around racial diversity and equality. 

And what inspires you? 

Creating opportunities for others and seeing them flourish. The stories of other entrepreneurs that I've met through (the group) Entrepreneurs Organization. A walk on the beach in Gearhart. A fun evening with my friends. My two dogs, two cats, three chickens and my bunny. My kids.

Prev Next

Bill Oakley

Television Writer and Producer

American television writer and producer Bill Oakley is best known for his Emmy-award winning work on The Simpsons. After his time working on The Simpsons, Oakley createdMission Hill and worked on Futurama. Oakley has served as a co-executive producer and writer on Portlandia and is currently writing a live-action pilot for Amazon and another animated one for FOX-TV. He is also adapting his anime “Flower Teen Kill Team GO!” into a comic book. 

Photo credit: Bill Okaley via Wikimedia Commons 

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Kate Bingaman-Burt

Designer and Illustrator

Illustrator Kate Bingaman-Burt’s 2010 book Obsessive Consumption: What Did You Buy Today? sparked a conversation about the things that we buy and our attachment towards stuff. Since then she has published two more titles and has designed for major companies like Chipotle, Madewell, and The New York Times, as well as locally for The Museum of Contemporary Craft and Reading Frenzy. She is now an Associate Professor of Graphic Design at Portland State University. 

If you had to describe yourself and what you do in a tweet, what would that look like?

I mostly teach, organize, draw, document, collect  & share but I also do a lot of other things that involve energy, conversation & exchange. (exactly 144 characters! BOOM!)

As someone who could do your work almost anywhere in the world, why did you choose Oregon and what do you get out of living here?

The illustration and design community is so strong and supportive. I could draw anywhere, but teaching is a different story. School is more than just what happens in the classroom, so being able to have Portland as the city where my students can explore and learn. Portland is another instructor almost. The city, and the community, is a HUGE resource and one of the reasons the graphic design program is so strong at Portland State University. Yes, I could set my studio up anywhere, but it sure is more fun and supportive to work amongst a community of designers and illustrators.

What do you think are the issues facing Portland and how would like to engage the city in making it a better place to live for all of its citizens? 

Part of my work with Design Week Portland was to promote design as our city's most promising cultural and economic resource. Design Week exists to increase awareness about design—what it is and what it can do for business, education and the economy of Portland. This is an issue that I can speak directly too and hopefully have a positive impact in having design have a seat at the table. 

Photo Credit to Nicholas Peter Wilson (image cropped)

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Chris Guillebeau

Author/Blogger/World Traveler

Chris Guillebeau is the New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness of Pursuit, The $100 Startup, and other books. During a lifetime of self-employment, he visited every country in the world (193 in total) before his 35th birthday. Every summer in Portland, Oregon he hosts the World Domination Summit, a gathering of creative, remarkable people. His The Art of Non-Conformity blog is a platform to share stories about personal development, entrepreneurship, and travel.  

Photo Credit: Jen Lemen from Silver Spring, USA, Mr. Granger (Cropped from [1]) via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped) 

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Kari Chisholm

Political Consultant 

Kari Chisholm is the go-to-guy when it comes to political discourse, specifically when it comes to the blogosphere. Chisholm is the publisher of the widely read political blog Blue Oregon (and oddly enough one of the nation’s most accomplished projectors of football’s Heisman Trophy winners). 

Chisholm, who earned a political science degree at University of Southern California before working on Darlene Hooley’s first Congressional campaign, is president of Mandate Media an online political consulting company, whose clients have included Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden. 

Pictured Kari Chisholm on left with Rep. Shemia Fagan on right.  

Photo Credit: Byron Beck (image cropped) 

What kind of Portlander are you?

I guess you'd call me one of those urban progressive creatives that's found a way to marry my passion and my work. There's lots of us here. 

As someone who could do your work almost anywhere in the world, why did you choose Oregon and what do you get out of living here?

Portland is, hands down, the best city in America. It's got the exact right mix of big city and small town. I love that I can get to the mountain or the beach in just over an hour.  I love that there are world-class restaurants, bookstores, breweries and wineries here.  And I love that there are lots of smart and creative people doing really interesting (and often really weird) things.  Oh, and I love that when Portlanders complain about "traffic", they're talking ten minutes, not ninety.

What do you think are the issues facing Portland and how would like to engage the city in making it a better place to live for all of its citizens?

Well, there are lots of things.  But if I had to pick one:  I'd ask the city and the state to invest heavily -- and I'm talking nine figures here -- in making Portland State a top-tier research university.  We're the only major city on the West Coast without one, and it's holding us back.

What is on the horizon for you?

My favorite day every election cycle is the day AFTER Election Day.  All the pieces on the big chess board are back up in the air, and it's time to start figuring out again where they're going to land for the next round. So yeah, what's on my horizon?  2016.

Is Portland a good place to do your kind of work?

Absolutely.  It'd be more fun if the Republicans here didn't suck at politics so much.  But I'm having fun sitting in Portland and working in 23 other states (and counting) around the country.  Best of all, I only have to visit DC, not live there.

And what inspires you?

Winning.

Prev Next

Gretchen Jones

Fashion Designer

After becoming the second winner from Portland on “Project Runway” (Season 8) Gretchen Jones moved to Brooklyn, New York to create he own clothing and jewelry line. Now back in Portland the forward-design thinking Jones joined up with old-school textile giant Pendleton Woolen Mills in late 2013 to modernize all three of Pendleton’s lines. It looks like she's continuing to work with Pendleton on a new collection for Pendleton. 

Photo Credit: Byron Beck (image cropped) 

Prev Next

Andy Ricker

Chef

An accomplished restaurateur on both the East and West coast, a James Beard “Best Chef, Northwest” Award winner, frequent guest on Anthony Bourdain’s television shows, and a new-ish cookbook writer Andy Ricker started out as his illustrious culinary career as a teenage dishwasher in New England. Andy spent much of his early time in Oregon working at Bruce Carey’s much-lauded Zefiro before setting his sights on the Thailand where he would gain the traits and tools to make him one of the city’s top chefs and founder of the popular restaurant Pok Pok. Ricker’s restaurant in New York recently received a one-star rating from Michelin Travel Publications. Since the guide was launched in 2005, it has awarded stars to just 126 of New York’s thousands of restaurants.

Photo Credit: David Reamer  via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped)

Prev Next

Gretchen Miller

Executive Producer

HIVE-FX is a Portland based visual effects and animation company. Clients include GRIMM, Nike, Microsoft, and a few other TV shows they can’t talk about…yet. Gretchen is the Executive Producer and partner. As the Executive Producer she works to bring in new clients and make sure her employees have what they need to do the fabulous work they do.

Gretchen Miller (right) with Juan Martinez (left). 

As someone who could do your work almost anywhere in the world, why did you choose Oregon and what do you get out of living here? 

My business partner, Jim Clark, and I came here from California in 2005 for freelance work. The moment I landed at PDX, I knew I was going to move here. There are so many reasons I love Portland. The quirkiness, the talent, the air, the trees, the proximity to nature, the FOOD, the quality of our food, Powell’s, the progressive politics (Portland), and I like seasons. I never really got to experience seasons in sunny California.

What do you think are the issues facing Portland and how would like to engage the city in making it a better place to live for all of its citizens? 

My biggest concern is the rapid growth rate here. I think the city planners have done an amazing job preparing for the increasing population. I just hope as we continue to grow, we can maintain the quality of life here and evolve into a bigger and better version of what we already are. 

Is Portland a good place to work in film production? 

We have an amazing film and animation community here. I think we are well positioned to take on more TV shows / films. So many crews have moved up the ranks thanks to Portlandia, Leverage, The Librarians, GRIMM, Laika, etc. The biggest hurdle is getting the state legislature to increase the tax incentives so we can compete with other states and countries.

Photo Credit: Byron Beck (image cropped)

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David Shafer

Author

David Shafer is a graduate of Harvard and the Columbia Journalism School. He has lived in Argentina and Dublin, and has been a journalist, sometimes a carpenter, once a taxi driver and briefly a flack for an NGO. Shafer's debut novel, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, was dubbed "book of the
summer" by The New York Times, and has been lauded in the New Yorker, Salon, Time, Seattle Times, and many other publications. Writer Lev Grossman in Time magazine called it a "geniustechno-thriller à la Neal Stephenson, powered by social-mediainfo-conspiracy à la Dave Eggers." Full disclosure, David's spouse, Fiona McCann is the Senior Editor at GoLocalPDX.com

Photo Credit: Patrick Abbey (image cropped)

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Dee Williams

Tiny House Builder

Somewhere along the line, Dee Williams got lost in the big shuffle that is life, and after a life-changing moment, she decided to downsize her priorities to friends, family, and community. In doing so, she realized that her biggest asset - her home - was her smallest concern. Now, Williams stands as the tiny house pioneer, a lifestyle that sounds just like it reads; she lives in a tiny house. Williams' story has been featured in The New York Times, CBS This Morning, and a TED Talk, in addition to others.

Photo Credit: Portland Alternative Dwelling Website (image cropped) 

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Adam Garcia

Designer

Adam Garcia has worked in the record industry, as well as Nike designing footwear before launching The Pressure, a creative studio based in Portland. Garcia is also adjunct faculty at Portland State University.   

What is The Pressure?

The Pressure is a small creative studio here in Portland. We work across mediums, doing conceptual development, branding, illustration, video, experimentation, art shows and events. I started the studio as a freelance, side-job outside of full-time gigs since 2006, and 2 years ago made it an official business. We try to inject a sense of energy, thoughtfulness and quality into our work, no matter the project.

What do you think are the issues facing Portland and how would you like to engage the city in making it a better place to live for all of its citizens? 

I'm interested in the perceptions around Portland and playing with those boundaries, creatively. I was recently having a discussion with my friend Matt Hayes, and he was discussing a project that he's doing about the African-American experience in Portland. I think that diversity (or the lack thereof), the voice of people of color and perceptions around diversity in Portland need to be addressed.

And what inspires you? 

That's the big question isn't it. I'm always consuming information, reading and trying to synthesize that into projects, so although it's a bit trite I do believe that inspiration is everywhere. But I've found that I'm most inspired and fulfilled of late by great, deep, real conversations.

Photo Credit: Margaret Jacobsen for AVD

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Alisha Moreland-Capuia

As a native Oregonian, Alisha Moreland-Capuia, M.D., is as dedicated to the Pacific Northwest as she is to improving public health. Dr. Moreland-Capuia is paving roads, figuratively, boasting a proven track record for implementing health initiatives here in Portland, including her new role as the newly appointed Chief Medical Director for Volunteers of America (VOA) Oregon. Moreland-Capuia holds the honor as the first African American native Oregonian to become a board certified psychiatrist.

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Daniel H. Wilson

Robotics Engineer/Author

Robotics engineer Daniel Wilson is a New York Times bestselling author of “Robopocalypse,” as well as a contributing editor of Popular Mechanics magazine. Wilson hosted  a History Channel series ‘The Works’ that debuted in 2008 and has put out Robogenesis, a sequel to Robopocalypse , that hit the LA Times bestseller list and Booklist called “astonishing.”

Can you tell me about what is going on in your life? 

At the moment I am writing a film for Lionsgate, a weekly series of comic books for DC Comics, and working with a local Portland company called Mountain Machine on an interactive fiction iPhone app called Mayday. Of course, that’s during working hours — the rest of the time my wife and I are wrangling a 4 and 2-year-old.

Is Spielberg still on board to make a movie of Robopocalypse?

Yes! The film is still on the slate at DreamWorks with Spielberg attached to direct. A couple of other films are in line before Robopocalypse (one of which has been waiting for ten years, so I can’t complain). In the meantime, I have an even bigger project cooking (if you can believe it). I’ll be able to talk about that in another month or so.

What do you think are the issues facing Portland and how would like to engage the city in making it a better place to live for all of its citizens? 

Portland is a great place — a sticky place in the sense that once you show up, you never want to leave. The influx of new people (like myself, ten years ago!) will continue to be a challenge to everyone who lives here already. I think the real underlying solution to a growing city is something Portlanders are great at — keeping an open mind, not panicking, and responding in a thoughtful way.

Photo Credit: via Wikepedia Creative Commons (image cropped)

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Jo Lundberg

Artist

Jo Lundberg started drawing portraits during Catholic mass as a child. The up and coming Oregon artist received honors from Linfield College for studio art and visual culture. Lundberg’s work often incorporates large pieces of wood, and re-used items. She finds inspiration from Frida Kahlo, human anatomy, the natural world. She has shown along the west coast and currently has a collection at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, Oregon. 


What kind of Portlander are you?

I am the Authentic kind of Portlander - born and raised in the Division/Clinton area, I remember when it wasn't a "hip" 'hood. There used to be a lot of available parking back then... But worth the trade off for delicious digs in the neighborhood. Whenever I cross paths with an "Authentic P-Towner" we shake hands-  we come to regard ourselves as "the last of the Mohicans" and usually have friends circles that resemble a venn-diagram.

As someone who could do your work almost anywhere in the world, why did you choose Oregon and what do you get out of living here?

I've traveled around the world to find a place as much as I like Portland, found some neat places in between, but Portland feels most like home to me. It's proximity to the coast and the mountain make for an easy escape - with smaller crowds for surf elsewhere. The city is big enough to enjoy amenities of a larger city, (I.e. Foodie heaven, & contemporary art such as PICA's Time Based Art Festival), but the sense of community and approachability (or, said another way, lack of pretense) in a small city. Long answer short, Ptown offers a quality of life that is hard to beat.

And what inspires you?

Good coffee, and Powell's books, and Tula's gluten free raspberry scones

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Brian Wannamaker

Developer/Arts Patron

A real estate developer and arts lover Brian Wannamaker transformed North Mississippi Avenue into a hip strip of boutiques, restaurants and bars. In 2006 he also transformed a dingy apartment building into the Falcon Art Community which basement is home to 24 artists studio that houses everyone from painters and musicians to writers and sketch comedy troupes. 

Photo Credit: Byron Beck (image cropped)

 
 

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