When I heard that Menomena—apparently some big-deal Portland psychedelic rock band—was going to match up its new record, Moms, with laser Floyd at OMSI, I figured we had a throwback on our hands: a band that had its bags packed for the totally trippy Land of Oz. See, in my day, every new rock album was put to the same litmus test: Does it sync perfectly with and enhance the viewing pleasure of The Wizard of Oz?
Everyone knows Pink Floyd did it with Dark Side of the Moon, but it's less common knowledge that a full decade worth of classic albums were recorded in careful lockstep with the classic 1939 film. Frampton Comes Alive!? More like Frampton Sees the Wizard! Blood on the Tracks? More like Blood on the Yellow Brick Road! Songs in the Key of Life? More like Songs in the Cowardly of Lion! Bat Out of Hell? More like Bat Out of Kansas!
Now, where was I going with all this? I'm pretty high. Oh yeah, let's see if Menomena's new record is ready to take a little twister ride to a Technicolor dreamland.
:02 Whoa, the first word of this album is "animal," and it happens as the MGM lion roars. Trip. I'd better take another toke and strap myself in!
16:18 Pretty foreboding tornado music. Dude is singing about "heavy branches" while trees tear up Dorothy's family farm? Pretty heavy, man.
25:22 OK, dwarfs are definitely marching in time with the military beat on Menomena's "Giftshoppe." Where did they get all these singing dwarfs? This was before eBay!
36:09 These lyrics lend the scene where Dorothy meets the Scarecrow some really inappropriate sexual undertones. Or maybe there's just a tension I never noticed before? This band is really horny, and I don't mean the sax!
46:05 The Wicked Witch shows up to shoot balls of flame, and Menomena's "One Horse" makes them the saddest balls ever. And now the Scarecrow is giving Dorothy the ol' raised eyebrows.
48:25 Wow! What is this long silence meant to symbolize?
SEE IT: Menomenaâs Dark Side of the Moms is at OMSI, 1945 SE Water Ave., on Friday, Aug. 24. 11 pm. $5. All ages.
WEDNESDAY AUG. 22BROAD COMEDY
[COMEDY] Once described as a cross between Saturday Night Live and The Vagina Monologues, Katie Goodmanâs troupe performs musical satire and sketch comedy that takes on politics with a liberal, feminist bent. Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta St., 764-4131. 8 pm. $18-$20.
THURSDAY AUG. 23FESTA ITALIANA
[WHEN IN ROME] Pioneer Courthouse Square becomes Piazza Italia during Portlandâs yearly celebration of everything Italian. Events include a bike race, pizza toss, bocce tournament and Italian movie night. Pioneer Courthouse Square, Southwest Morrison Street and Broadway. 11 am-11 pm Thursday-Saturday. Free. festaitalianaportland.shutterfly.com.
FRIDAY AUG. 24OREGON STATE FAIR
[SOO-EE] In a bizarre rural custom, farm animals such as sheep and pigs are awarded colored ribbons and then deep-fried as teenagers pay to play games they know they will not win and ride brightly lit contraptions that spin uncomfortably fast. Oregon State Fairgrounds, 2330 17th St. NE, Salem. Aug. 24-Sept. 3. 10 am-9 pm Sunday-Thursday, 10 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday. Tickets $6-11. oregonstatefair.org.
POâSHINES CRAWFISH FEED
[GRUB] North Portland nonprofit soul-food cafe PoâShines hosts its fifth annual crawfish feed, a block party with live music and a menu of crawfish Ã©touffÃ©e, crawfish cakes, crawfish chowder, gumbo and boiled crawfish. 7 am-10 pm Friday and 8 am-10 pm Saturday. PoâShines Cafe De La Soul, 8139 N Denver Ave.,
SATURDAY AUG. 25FILMUSIK: GAMERA VS. ZIGRA
[MOVIES] Giant turtle warrior Gamera takes on a formidable underwater opponent in the 1971 Japanese film Gamera vs. Zigra. Voice actors from Willamette Radio Workshop dub dialogue in English over a new score by Portland composer Justin Ralls. Sewallcrest Park, Southeast Market Street and 31st Avenue. 8 pm. Free.
SUNDAY AUG. 26KPSU KRUISE
[ON A BOAT] Two of Portlandâs best bandsâRadiation City and Unknown Mortal Orchestraâjoin forces on a boat as a fundraiser for college radio station KPSU in its quest for a better signal. There is definitely no better way to spend your Sunday night. Portland Spirit, Salmon Street Springs Fountain at Tom McCall Waterfront Park (Southwest Naito Parkway and Salmon Street), 224-3900. 10:30 pm. $20. All ages.