Credits: Andrew BeestonFROM THE ASHES: Two bar spaces with miserable histories are set for revival this year. Frank Faillace, owner of Danteâs, Devilâs Point and Lucky Devil Lounge, is reopening Old Townâs Star Theater (formerly Level, Mystic Theatre, Five Star Theatre, Bliss, etc.) as a music venue. >> The building at 6526 SE Foster Road that has, in the past two years, been Brownâs Bar, Renoâs Bar and Knuckleheads, will be reincarnated as Gemini Lounge. Owner Seasons Koll, who also owns Hawthorne gift shop Presents of Mind, says Gemini will be a âcocktail lounge with a feel like Sapphire Lounge, Dots or Gold Dust Meridian with live music.â Also, âflocked wallpaper, vintage lighting, great retro art and other touches to make it date- and happy-hour-friendly.â
NEW YORK-BOUND: The Oregon Symphony hasnât even completed its historic first performance at Carnegie Hall this Mayâbut itâs already going again in 2013. The orchestra announced last week that it had been chosen to participate in the first and third Spring for Music gatherings that include other worthy North American orchestras from Baltimore, Albany, Cincinnati and elsewhere. âTo be invited twice is clear proof we are in the artistic big leagues,â says music director Carlos Kalmar.
GET ON THE BUS: Not busy enough with his two Northeast Portland Asian joints (Thai Noon and Thai Seasons), restaurateur Chip Rothenberger has just debuted Burgers or Bust Cafe, which serves free-range meat and vegan burgers in a converted 1992 school bus at the corner of Northeast 23rd Avenue and Alberta Street (updates at twitter.com/burgersorbust). He also promises âaffordable country breakfastsâ including eggs, bacon, home fries and hotcakes for weekend brunch and says he might step on the gas and motor around town for lunches in the future.
R.I.P. (AGAIN): The blows just keep coming for the local music community. On Saturday, Feb. 19, Nick Christmas III, the drummer for the Norman Sylvester Band during the late â80s and â90s and the current time-keeper for Blues Train, died when he lost control of his vehicle on an icy roadway and crashed into an embankment off North Portland Road. Christmas, 63, had just retired from his job at the Bonneville Power Administration and was beginning to play the drums again after a few years away from live music.
FREE OSCARS FOR EVERYONE: Possibly because all the people who attended fancy, expensive Oscar screenings are now unemployed (or dead), Portlandâs big-screen Academy Awards events are free this year. The Academy, Bagdad and Hollywood theaters are all showing the Oscars gratis this Sunday, Feb. 25, with beer on sale.