Earlier this month, Salon ran a brief but interesting piece noting the minor role music has played at the Occupy protests—in contrast to the protest song-heavy civil rights struggle—and asking if any great folk singers would emerge from the Occupy protests. --- That question remains unanswered, but here in Portland at least we know that some of our highest-profile artists are working (heh) in concert with the protests.

Tomorrow at noon, Storm Large (who often wears her politics on her sleeve) and Pink Martini (insert 1 percent joke here) will take the stage at Pioneer Courthouse Square to play a free show in support of the Occupy movement, followed by a "community sing-a-long" of songs like "This Land is Your Land" and the decidedly less political "Home on the Range." The 90-minute program will also feature a host of Oregon's political and religious leaders, including Eugene congressman Peter DeFazio, who went viral by being the first U.S. congressman to address and encourage the protests from the floor of the House early this month. 

If you thought the Occupy protests were all crusty punks and crazy people (certainly a contingent), this concert ought to change your perspective a bit. I've seen Pink Martini live, and it's a family affair. 

This isn't the first time notable Portland musicians have supported the movement—MarchFourth Marching Band recently played at the Occupy Portland camp (and M4's John Averill says "I truly hope we will be able to participate in at least one of the Occupy cities" on the collective's packed U.S. tour), and at the Jicks' recent Crystal Ballroom show, Stephen Malkmus' first words to the crowd were "So how's the 99 percent doing? Rising up?" The latter may have been a tad tongue-in-cheek.

Anyway, one has to admire these high-profile local artists standing up for their beliefs, even when their numbers are a bit off. (The following press release features the line "When the top 1 percent of Americans possesses more wealth than the entire bottom 90 percent, something’s wrong." What's most wrong is the statistic itself, though the fact that the 1 percent has amassed more wealth than 40 percent of the U.S. population is still a shocker.)

UPDATE: Pink Martini's Thomas Lauderdale emailed to source the above statistic, referencing a Nicholas Kristof New York Times column. After some digging, I no longer feel confidently snarky enough to knock Lauderdale's numbers (wealth, of course, can be measured in a variety of ways) and apologize for the overeager correction. The 40% figure is the most commonly cited, but I'm no economist and if the Times hasn't retracted that 90% figure two weeks after its publication, maybe they know something I don't.

Here's the full press release from Pink Martini, which explains the reasoning for tomorrow's show.

Hello friends,

Please join me, Storm Large, Pink Martini & members of the Oregon Symphony tomorrow, Friday, October 28 at 12noon in Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland for "This Land Is Our Land"—a free concert/super rally & community sing-a-long in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street & Occupy Portland. 

The rally will be a fun and festive gathering which articulates support for Occupy Wall Street/Occupy Portland and inspires people to get involved in a peaceful movement for social and economic justice.




A free concert/super-rally & community sing-a-long extravaganza

Friday, October 28, 12noon-1:30pm

Pioneer Courthouse Square – Downtown Portland


The rally will open with a set of songs performed by Storm Large and Pink Martini and members of the Oregon Symphony, followed by a community sing-a-long with songs like "This Land is Your Land" and "Home on the Range". Interspersed throughout will be short and inspiring speeches by political, labor and religious leaders, including:


    * Rabbi Emanuel Rose, Rabbi Emeritus Congregation Temple Beth Israel

    * Carrie Medina, Occupy Portland

    * Imam Mikal Shabazz, Oregon Islamic Chaplains Organization             

    * The Reverend Lynne Smouse López, Ainsworth United Church of Christ

    * Tom Chamberlain, President of Oregon AFL-CIO

    * The Reverend Bill Sinkford, The First Unitarian Church

    * The Very Reverend Bill Lupfer, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral

    * Congressman Peter DeFazio

    * Congressman Earl Blumenauer

    * Kathleen Saadat, Community activist and author


This is the biggest social and economic justice movement of our times.  When the 400 wealthiest Americans have a greater combined net worth than the bottom 150 million Americans, something’s wrong. When the top 1% of Americans possesses more wealth than the entire bottom 90%, something’s wrong. Through this concert and rally, we hope to bring intelligent and thoughtful dialogue to the table and in the process, gather wider and broader support for this movement.


We will use this opportunity to explore and express ideas and formulate goals that, if articulated, championed and insisted upon, will make life better for 99% of the population. We support and want to gain attention for Occupy Portland, get people out of their offices to sing and dance and hopefully talk with one another about what this movement might mean for all of us.  

We hope you will join us, 

Pink Martini