Friday, May 19, 2006

Man of many modes

Bomber Gas in Milwaukie, OR is quite the local landmark.  At first, the big B-17 hung over some gas pumps in this small town south of Portland.  Then the owners turned to food, and that’s what the place is known for today.  Since we’d already stuffed ourselves on complimentary hotel breakfast fare, we grabbed our gloves and threw a few under the fuselage.

But before we could even break free of Milwaukie, honorary producer de jour Don spotted a Lady Liberty peeking out over a strip mall. A fiberglass replica mounted on a big stone pedestal in the parking lot shared by several car repair facilities.  Turns out Matthew and Chris, two brothers from Iran wanted to say “thanks” for the chance to prosper, and chose what for various reasons turned out to be a half million dollar way to do it!

Two and a half driving hours later found us at the beach. Newport to be exact, meeting up with our Northwest tipster and “Raw Vision” writer Eliza Murphy.  She led us to Rick Bartow’s home and art complex out on the bay--land owned by his family for several generations.  Rick’s a Wiot tribal member, sober for 26 years, and thrilled that he can make art for a living.  Art that draws from nature and certain Native American symbologies, but wanders into areas (some of them pretty dark) that are all his own.  There’s painting, drawing, ceramics, sculpting and printmaking going on out here, and he plays in a blues band too.  Another in our series of guys who don’t ever seem to stop.  But eventually we did, knowing that a drive back across the mountains awaited.  Through the mist, with darkness falling, we oohed, aahed and held our breath while the Ford Freestar safely carried us to the High Desert on the other side.

Musical highlights--New Neil Young, “Goodbye”--Cream, “Poison Love”--Buddy Miller, “Making Movies”--Dire Straits, the new Paul McCartney (sorry about the breakup)

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