Okay, so Ray Brown of The Citrus Report killed me in my last blog post that was supposed to be my last but after some crying and begging, he agreed to do this last one of our trip home. Thanks Ray, love you man!
It was a very hard week for PEZ and I because we where not sure what art was being shipped up for the Portland show, and we basically free styled this show, with wall paintings improvised shelves and finding supplies in the city while not knowing our way around. Some of the pics from the last blog where taken during our free time during install week, which also consisted of lots of painting back and forth, dumpster diving, and panhandling. Photos of the show will be posted separately somewhere on the web, soon. The following images where taken during opening night and on the train ride home. —Joshua Blank
We actually spent a good part of the night at Breeze Block, another local gallery, hanging with the owner, Page, at a show of drawings by two sisters, Isis and Sage Fisher, who made some sick watercolors and dream catchers. We spent the whole night trying to ditch Ian and Katie who where great hosts but as our press release stated, “we are very depressed individuals” so we only enjoyed the company of the similarly minded, on nights which are so socially pressuring. They where probably more excited then we where, and the install took so long neither of us wanted to go back there for a while.
On our way back to the Upper Playground PDX to show our faces…
This guy showed up, and he was posing for people in front of his picture.
Jay, manager of UP PDX and Seattle stores.
Groupies? No, just chicks who where there for the free beer.
Maria John Dixon and her posse.
Maria brought PEZ and I to a hidden fortress on top of a mountain. It was probably the best part of the trip. We walked for like an hour in each direction in total darkness, through the woods the get to a stone house where we chilled and listened to sick Dub music and smoked cigarettes. I actually got like 20 minutes of sleep there, as well. Honestly, to go there at night like that was something out of a dream.
A magic moment in Portland.
Maria Joan Dixon’s studio mate, Matt.
On the way back to the crib, I stopped in to Voodoo Donuts for a final sugar rush, and these two drunk guys, who claimed to be cops, wouldn’t let me pay, the short one grabbed my arm supper hard, and I thought he was going to try to fight me but he just wanted to pay for my donuts and soda. I do not know why but they sure where excited to have their pictures taken.
Okay, so the next day we got on Amtrak again, this time heading south retracing our steps to Eugene and then on to San Francisco. We passed the skate park and some other places of interest along the way. This ride was 17 hours, but it went by quick. Pez taught me how to play chess on my computer, and other then that the ride was pretty mellow.
The most exciting thing about the ride back was in fact . . . well actually lets go back in time to the first train ride so I can recall a really weird occurrence which I somehow forgot to mention in the first blog post, and then I will talk about its exciting opposite on the ride back.. . . .
… Okay, so, Amtrak is a government owned institution, if I had to Yelp Amtrak I would give them a low score. You could smell the bathrooms throughout the trains, the seats are very uncomfortable, and the people that work on Amtrak are generally a bunch of tight assess. Specifically, the shell shocked ex marine who ran the highly overpriced food car on the train up to Eugene from SF. I asked him if I could shoot a portrait and not only did he say no, he gave me huge attitude and threatening looks throughout the ride. He let some hick tourist family take a picture of him so I took this very personally. Pez and I where sitting in the food car and I was facing him, Pez’ back was to him. I lifted my camera to take a flick of Pez eating a four-dollar hot dog, and while I was focusing on Pez, I could see this guy blocking himself in the background as if he was blocking a punch in the game “Mortal Kombat”. Then this guy ducks down as if he was taking cover from a bullet or something. Pez and I laughed a little and continued talking.
A second later I was thinking where the hell did this guy go? This lunatic starts peeking his head out at me between the register and the napkin holder as if he were a sniper or something like that. I thought he was going to come slit my throat but that was probably against Amtrak regulations or something.
In contrast, the food guy “Aaron” on the way back to SF was the total opposite. So we go to the food car, he looks at Pez and starts guessing who did his tattoos. You know what, every guess was correct. Then he just starts asking us questions, like do you guys hang out at Hamburger Eyes, do you write graffiti, Hypebeast, Upper Playground, and he just continued to call out the last month and a half of our lives. Freaked out, we thought this was some practical joke or some kind of cop. He even named people that we knew. Nevertheless, this guy was supper cool, he kept changing the tone and the sound his voice, and he had a little toy that made funny noises that he would ring off if he guessed something about you. We gave him a zine, and then came back the next morning, before we arrived back in the Emeryville Amtrak station. This guy had drawn a mind map that he hung on the wall of the food car, and happened to have an old Pez sticker in his notebook that he also put up. He figured us out except that he thought my name was Jason instead of Josh.
I think he is some kind of artist or something and he has a blog, check it out, it is pornstarsamuri.blogspot.com. Oh yeah, and find him on Facebook his name is Aaron Astrup. He is kind weird but in a really good way.