- BALLOON BRIGADE: A PDX-based designer and aeronautical artist is helping MIT’s Grassroots Mapping project photograph the BP oil spill. Grassroots uses digital cameras attached to balloons to capture what damage the spill has caused to the Gulf’s ecosystem. But durable polyurethane balloons are spendy—around $180 apiece. Portlander Mathew Lippincott has been designing and testing ways to make cheaper balloons out of trash-bag-like materials. The ones that hold up will be shipped to the Gulf so Grassroots can put them in the sky. “The goal,” Lippincott says, “is to get people to build these balloons...getting [them] cheap enough, so it can spread virally.”
- WHAT TALENT? The two hours the NBC reality show America’s Got Talent devoted to Portland auditions last week saw few actual Portlanders onstage—most of the acts were carpetbaggers from Washington and California. Only two Rose City acts made it past the first round: Hot Shot Tap Dancers, whom you may have seen at Saturday Market, and Sally Cohn, a 75-year-old woman who whistles through her lubricated hands. Look for more AGT coverage on wweek.com.
- FIRST-AMENDMENT FOLLIES: Last Thursday, June 24, a late-night KPSU radio program calledThe Debate Hour ran a segment with tongue-in-cheek references to prison rape. “I think we can all agree that sodomy is great,” one of the show’s hosts declared. By the next afternoon, angry comments on the message boards at pdxradio.com had been forwarded to Bill Cooper, general manager of KBPS—the Portland Public Schools-run station that carries KPSU nights and weekends on 1450 AM. Cooper quickly booted KPSU off the KBPS airwaves for airing “content not in keeping with [the station’s] directives.” A firefight of Internet shit-talking ensued until KPSU Programming Director Devin James Henke revealed that KBPS was slated to drop KPSU in a week anyway. “This all feels sort of like water under the bridge at this point,” Henke wrote on the pdxradio message boards. KPSU had around $46,000 budgeted for KBPS this year, says Henke, and may find a new transmitter, or boost its on-campus FM signal.
- CHURCH IS OUT: Dear lord: First, local avant-pop band Hosannas was forced to change its name from Church after the Australian band of the same name threatened a lawsuit, and now half of the group is leaving the band. On Friday, July 2, at the Artistery, Hosannas will play its last show with members Cristof Hendrickson and Lane Barrington. “There are no hard feelings,” says Brandon Laws, the band’s guitarist and co-vocalist. Brandon and his brother Richard will continue playing shows as Hosannas this summer, and plan to release a new record this fall.
- FINDER, FOUND: Finder’s here! Nab the 2010 edition of WW’s huge, free guide to Portland at many shops around town including Powell’s, New Seasons markets and Stumptown Coffee outposts. Visit wweek.com/finder for all locations.