February 25th, 2008 | by LocalCut News | Posted In: CLEAN UP

Jay Horton's Oscar Party/ Remembering Elliott Smith

     
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elliott smith oscarsWherein the author scrambles to connect his Yummy Garden Oscar party to the mission statement of LocalCut.com.

"Hooray For Hollywood!"

Few years ago, I read an interview with unassailable legend (Bowie, Strummer, Dylan; that sort) conducted around Christmastime. The writer asked something about the holiday, clearly expecting apathy or derision, and was shocked to find said icon effusively hearts yuletide. Not the religious parts, of course, nor necessarily the commercialization, but just that, through an ever-more-disparate culture, shared dates force community. Walk down the street, buy a paper, enter a bar—everybody knows, whether or not they're happy about the idea, it's Christmas.

For much the same reason, I've always treasured our secular holidays: Superbowl Sunday and Oscar Night. Except, midst hipsterdom, that notion's not exactly true. Suburban Bangladesh likely had more folks awaiting the Academy Awards than downtown Saturday night and asking rockers where they planned to watch the Oscars drew actually a worse response than inquiring about Easter mass. (Somehow, Catholic guilt still preys upon the decadent even as they profess complete disinterest in the fashions and utterances of our true idols; the gays have much to work on.)

For most of my Oscar party, held at Yummy Garden (which, years ago, took over the movie-memorabilia-stuffed Hollywood Bar & Grill and changed exactly nothing of the interiors), the only celebrants were a middle-aged couple bickering about Poitier's first nomination and an aging rummy refusing to believe Cate Blanchett played Bob Dylan. No matter. At least they understood their responsibilities to the culture, to the nation, to themselves.

And? John Stewart was funny, sort of. Bob Hope made my date laugh out loud from a fifty year old clip. The shorter Coen was appealingly awkward. Nicole Kidman's obviously not of our species. Fairly sure Cameron Diaz could beat up Harrison Ford. Diablo Cody embodied the reasons why we root for strippers transcendent and avoid Q'n'A time at sex worker art shows. Predictable but a shame that Heath Ledger won more applause during the death montage than Deborah Kerr, Antonioni and Bergman combined. And...I understand why Seinfeld's bee presented the animated short (because he's animated and all), but wasn't it poor taste for Owen Wilson to present the live-action short (because, presumably, he's alive)?

This is all a bit off-topic, yes. Tried like to hell to find some local connection to the winsome, genuinely affected couple from Once—the song's on KINK every hour?—but Blanchett's nomination for meta-rockumentary I'm Not There, directed by Portland's Todd Haynes, remains the only (and rather tangential) connection to Local Cut's supposed purpose.

So, since awards shows bleed self-satisfied reminiscences, let's take a moment to honor that exact moment indie Portland attained global relevance and marvel anew as Elliott Smith—just weeks after playing for dozens on the La Luna balcony (hand-painted tickets, if memory serves)—bows between Trisha Yearwood and Celine Dion.

"Where every office boy and young mechanic, can be a panic, with just the right kind of pan..."

(Skipping ahead? Elliott comes in around the three minute mark.)
 
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