An interesting story about Victoria Frey is that the first time I met her was at a garden party in 2002, and she was wearing a fabulous and skimpy Versace top that remains one of the best fashion statements I've seen in Portland, ever. At the same party I heard Pink Martini for the first time. At the same party, the girl who used to be the society photographer for The Oregonian made a nasty comment about the cologne I was wearing, which was Boucheron. At least she made this comment to my face. Postscript: I no longer wear Boucheron. Post-postscript: Maybe this story wasn't interesting after all. Fortunately, I have no interesting or uninteresting stories to relate about either Kristan Kennedy or Mark Russell.
One of the people I ran into at The Works was Disjecta head honcho Brian Suereth, accompanied by his girlfriend, the photographer Chelsea Mosher (see photo below). I ran into them in front of the entrance to the Secret Society Ballroom, which used to be Disjecta (before its temporary move to the RJ Templeton building). I could tell this was a bit of a sentimental moment for Suereth, who told me he has not been inside the building since he was forced to give it up a couple years ago. He waxed nostalgic about the ghostly presence of the African-American Masons who used to congregate in the space and who are still rumored to haunt it.
I pointed out that the recording studio underneath the ballroom now features a gorgeously creepy triptych by the painter Alexis Mollomo called This is What We Know of Them, a dark fantasia on the black Masons and the attendant narrative of African-American persecution, struggles, and triumphs. (See photo below). Suereth had not seen the painting. Overall he seemed very subdued and pleasant, not at all the cocky SOB he is sometimes known to be in this town. Perhaps the problems he has had with Disjecta lately have beaten his notorious ego into submission and mellowed him out as a human being—a development which, if true, could do nothing but good for his future as an arts administrator.
Bryan Suereth and Chelsea M
Triptych detail - Alexis Mo
Next, I got into an interesting conversation with three dudes named Ben, Derek, and Kyle. Ben went to Whitman with my girlfriend Vanessa Calvert. He's apparently blogging about TBA for Urban Honking. Derek just got back from Thailand, where he was with the Peace Corps. I don't know much about Kyle, except that he just got back from Burning Man.
The five of us commiserated about the lack of diversity in the TBA crowd. I pointed out that I had seen only four black people, including the two hip-hoppers on stage. Voicing this complaint made the five of us white folk feel a lot better. I then observed that among the attendees there was a disproportionate percentage of women with blond highlights and men wearing high-end eyewear. Kyle pointed out that I was wearing high-end eyewear. Pretty soon I decided to leave. It had been a marvelous melange of conversation, talented performers, pretension, and flat-out soul-deadening boredom, a combination that always makes TBA such a pleasure.