Lost Worlds Take Over Horning's Hideout

Each year, subculturally adventurous Oregonians drive hundreds of miles into a wasteland to witness Burning Man's post-pagan art conflagration. However, thanks to a Portland production company called Peak Experience, connoisseurs of total artistic environments can plunge into a similarly epic festival this weekend, only about a half-hour away. The String Cheese Incident Summer Camp threatens to be as spectacular as the infamous Burning Man, though perhaps without as many piercings.

Peak Experience made its mark with huge interactive events like SCI's three-day throwdown at the Oregon Convention Center last New Year's. Now, creative director John Dwork's company looks to transform the pastoral landscape of Horning's Hideout into a land of mind-candy for thousands. The String Cheese Incident's Americana-inflected jam rock headlines the bill, with support from the always-searing Charlie Hunter Quartet and internationally flavored bands like Mahotela Queens, Ex-Centric Sound System, The Motet and Hamsa Lila.

Despite this musical plenty, the star attraction promises to be the "community adventure" Dwork has cooked up. With help from over 500 volunteers recruited via Peak's website, Dwork has fashioned a dauntingly intricate theme production, with the misty and mystic name Meeting of the Lost Worlds.

Horning's will be divided into four different "worlds"--Mayan Land, Middle Earth, Atlantis and the Fab Four-themed Pepperland. Each of these microcosms fosters audience participation of a slightly different flavor. For instance, Pepperland seeks to inspire loony lightheartedness, while Atlantis stresses graceful "flowing arts" like music, poetry and dance.

"We believe everyone should have mythic adventures," Dwork says. "The reason our events sell out is that we don't just cram people in a room and take their money. We're intentionally trying to change the way rock and roll happens. It's not just about standing there with a beer wondering whether the five guys on stage are going to be hot tonight."

Peak's goals are lofty, but whether or not the Summer Camp turns out to be the all-encompassing immersion its creators hope it will be, the company has already succeeded where many have failed. Using the Internet to create a substantive community, Peak and Dwork seem to be on their way to create a new kind of living, breathing rock-and-roll beast. "We create critical mass," Dwork says with typical optimism. "People at our shows are intimately involved with the outcome, and they'll remember this for the rest of their lives." Patrick Bell

The String Cheese Incident Summer Camp, featuring Charlie Hunter Quartet and others, takes place Thursday-Sunday, Aug. 9-12 at Horning's Hideout, 21277 NW Brunswick Canyon Road, North Plains, 647-2920. See Music listings, page 34, for details.


Show me someone who doesn't enjoy the lusty lore of the sea, and I'll show you a miserable whelp of a human being whose native instincts for romance, devilment and swordplay have been dulled by television and sugary breakfast cereal. Who can resist the allure of high-seas buccaneering! the toothsome maidens of port! salt air! steel clashing against steel! rum! sodomy! the lash! talking parrots! peg-legged despots! the windy snap of the Jolly Roger! knife-tossing! the grim prophecy of the Black Spot! sun-basking mermaids! the bawdy songs of a portside cabaret! and TREASURE, most of all TREASURE!?

Kitty Diggins, at least, is not immune. "Everyone loves pirates," says the Portland nightlife impresaria, the power lurking behind many an evening of go-go dancing, dancehall stepping, cabaret performance and bygone entertainments. Diggins' latest exploit, the lightly titled Frolic by the Sea, promises a seaside menagerie of mermaids, pirates, bathing beauties, blade-chuckers and burlesque dames. If all goes well, the Frolic should revive a kind of docklands revelry not seen in Old Town since they moved the Port north.

Diggins says she drew inspiration for the Frolic from a number of sources, including the annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade in New York, a lifelong love of sea songs and a mermaid-in-a-bowl act featured back in the day at a long-gone Greek restaurant.

Thus, the Frolic will feature a diverse array of diversions:

Diggins will ringlead a Mermaid Revue. This spectacle will no doubt ruin the minds of many of the "sexy sailors" Diggins expects to be on hand.

A pair of sideshow vets with the explosive name Molotov and Felicity will display knife-throwing and sword-swallowing talents.

The San Francisco burlesque music troupe Cantankerous Lollies perform, allegedly for the last time on the Left Coast. These high-kicking, can-canning vaudevillians were recently named "Most Outstanding Group" at the Miss Exotic World Pageant.

The saucy, old-time saloon piano stylings of S.F.'s Suzanne Ramsey and singer-performer Dame Darcey will add to the night's soundtrack. With audience members encouraged (and offered a generous financial consideration) to dress as "pirates, mermaids, sailors or old-fashioned bathing beauties," a tasty evening no doubt awaits. Zach Dundas

The Frolic by the Sea unfolds at Dante's, 1 SW 3rd Ave., 226-6630. 10:30 pm Saturday, Aug. 11. $8, $5 for those dressed as pirates, mermaids, sailors or old-fashioned bathing beauties.


Hiss & Vinegar

Riddle me this: Which British electronic dance icon recently checked into a downtown PDX hotel for an evening of relaxation, reportedly toting loads of Colombian Happy Powder?

* Portland Organic Wrestling, the grappling send-up
peopled with some of those wacky rock and rollers, survived (at least for now) its run-in with state Boxing and Wrestling Commissioner James Cassidy. Apparently, the commish made a visit to last Wednesday's POW shakedown at Satyricon to check out the validity of POW's decision to add the phrase "Theater Troupe" to its name, emphasizing the group's satirical nature. Also seen canoodling at the singlet showcase: Tribune gossipmonger Phil Stanford. Unfortunately, the ex-private eye apparently cut out early, but one Hiss informant reports, "The part of the show Stanford saw scared even me." Zounds! What will the guys at Nick's Famous say?

* From the Ludicrous Propaganda Department, some real sweet tidbits from recent press kits slipped across the H&V desk (we've omitted identifying details so these people can face their families and co-workers):

"Guitarist, singer and songwriter M____ M_________ is best described by one word: musical." "N________ V______ is an ongoing collaboration...drawing its inspiration from the central contradiction of nothingness." "We do a mix of covers and originals and have been described as 'funk rock' by some of our friends."

* Celebrity DJs at Saucebox! Can you feel the goddamn excitement? Up this Thursday, artist Storm Tharp! On Aug. 16, ex-Pavement indie overlord Stephen Malkmus! The "We Aren't Deejays" series continues at the Broadway swankerie through the end of August, undoubtedly proving its point.

* The worst subgenre yet: "psychedelic jewgrass."

* BLATANT SELF-PROMOTION: It's coming together, folks, we swear. All the dirty details of MusicFest Northwest, the two-day aural bacchanal WW is organizing for Sept. 21 and 22, are falling into place faster than the icecaps are melting. Score two wristbands for $30 ($5 off apiece) when Music Millennium (801 NW 23rd Ave.) hosts a slick little Kickoff Party at 6 pm next Wednesday, Aug. 15. Pinehurst Kids, Nicole Campbell and Pepe and the Bottle Blondes provide the sonic splendor.

* Wanna support one of the only outposts of actual quality on Portland's FM dial? Drop off donations for KBOO's annual Record and Book Sale (skedged for Aug. 18) at the lefty station's HQ by this Saturday. That would be 20 SE 8th Ave., yo.

* The first West Coast tour by Scottish feyboy dahl-linx Belle & Sebastian hits the Roseland on Sept. 11. Tix for this ultra-rare U.S. show went on sale last Wednesday, so fans who haven't already scored may have to stay home and cry. Which is sorta their bag, anyway.

* What, you couldn't figure out last week's Mr. Crossword? See page 34 for answers.

* Got some Hiss? Give: