SPALDINGGRAMMY LADY: Diehard fans of that cherubic Canadian waif Justin Bieber are outraged that the singer lost the Best New Artist Grammy award to Esperanza Spalding, a jazz bassist and singer who, in addition to being a hell of a musician, is also a native Portlander. Spalding was born here in 1984, attended the private downtown arts high school Northwest Academy, was at one point concertmaster of the Chamber Music Society of Oregon, and claims as an influence local trumpeter Thara Memory. She is the first jazz artist and the first Portlander to win the award, which places her in the company of such greats as, uh, Hootie & The Blowfish and Evanescence. Guess the Grammys are finally trying to class it up. The New Yorker ran an excellent profile of Spalding last year (which now resides behind a paywall, unfortunately), and she is playing a sold-out show at the Newmark Theatre on Feb. 25.
PORTLANDIA, PART 2: Good people who put birds on things, rejoice. As reported by pretty much everybody, cableâs Independent Film Channel has renewed Carrie Brownsteinâs contract to dumpster-dive into Portland absurdities, renewing the sketch-comedy series Portlandia for a 10-episode second season. But youâll have to wait a while to continue your dream of the â90s: The second season wonât air until January 2012. (Based on last yearâs production schedule, that means you can expect to see a wackily dressed Fred Armisen start shooting sometime this summer.)
PINBALL & PLANTAINS: Food cart favorite CaraqueÃ±aâa.k.a. Michelleâs Amazing Venezuelan Kitchenâwhich won over many local hearts and stomachs with its delicious Venezuela-meets-Pacific Northwest vittles before suddenly disappearing late last year, has rematerialized in a most unlikely location. Owner and chef Michelle Rossington is moving into the kitchen at divey pinball and rock bar Slabtown, bringing CaraqueÃ±aâs menu with her. Beginning this Friday, Feb. 18, with the Showdown at Slabtown pinball tournament, Rossington will be serving up dishes like guava beef arepas, fried plantains, bacon and cheese empanadas, and maple beef cheese fries with horseradish sauce.
SHACK SHAKEUP: The Poâ House has closed. The most recent tenant of the kiosk at Southeast 44th Avenue and Hawthorne Boulevard that birthed both Zachâs Shack and the Whole Bowl should soon reopen as something called Sparkle, according to an OLCC application filed by property owner Marianne Braun. In other booze news, local whiskey expert Stuart Ramsay has applied to open a bar in the former Alba Osteria space on Southwest Capitol Highway, and East Portland dance club Whiskey City Rock Bar is becoming the Jungle.