- ZUKIN VS. ARELLENO: Powellâs Books has confirmed a faceoff between Portland restaurateur Nick Zukin (of Mi Mero Mole) and California food critic Gustavo Arellano (of OC Weekly) for Oct. 10. The event started as a Twitter feud about the history of Mexican food as told in Arellanoâs book Taco USA, but (with a little encouragement from Scoop) itâs now scheduled to become a full-fledged debate. The format is not yet set, but expect Arellano to drag the name of famed Chicago-based airport-restaurant-operator Rick Baylessâan Okie rube on a misguided quest to be the ultimate arbiter of authenticity in Mexican foodâthrough the mud as Zukin mounts a stirring defense. Itâll be at Powellâs City of Books on West Burnside Street.
- FUNCHING OUT: Ron Funches, one of Portlandâs best stand-up comics, is moving to Los Angeles next month. Originally from the South Side of Chicago, the 29-year-old comedian relocated to Oregon to escape persecution for being âthe only brother on the block into bumping Alanis Morrisette.â Juxtaposing a disarmingly childlike demeanor with jokes about smoking weed and raising an autistic son, Funches reached a national audience last year via a successful appearance on Conan. His final local performance is Thursday, June 28, at the Hollywood Theatre. See here for a farewell Q&A.
- CONNECTING THE DOTS: The Internets were abuzz last week with word Clinton Street dive Dots Cafe was closing. This turned out to be misreporting from another newspaper. The real story, as WW had reported a week earlier, was that the bar was changing hands. The deal isnât officially inked, but the potential new ownersâJohn Ricci and Eli Johnsonâhave already submitted paperwork to the OLCC for a change of ownership on the liquor license. Sources tell WW the two have been associated with the kitchens and bars at Night Light Lounge, Gold Dust Meridian, Couture Ultra Lounge (and its spinoff C Burger) and Biggs Bros. Wing Shack. Dots has a great location but needs some massive changes, so weâre excited to see what they do with the place.
- ROCK BALLS: Basketball and music are summer pastimes long enjoyed by Portlanders, but it has only been a year since local rock act And And And combined the two in a grueling, 32-band ârigsketballâ tournament played on the mobile hoop attached to the roof of And And Andâs tour van. This year the tourney returns, and we can only assume from its elaborate 8:20 pm July 6 kickoff show/team-announcement party at Southeast Portland punk club Plan B that the 2012 incarnation will be bigger than ever. Along with Grandparents and the Woolen Men, the free Plan B show will featureâyou guessed itâthe music of And And And along with its van, parked on the barâs patio for pick-up games starting at 7 pm. Insurance issues aside, this sounds like a great idea.