OREGON BRIDE MAGAZINE: LOCAL WEDDINGS

These originally appeared in the Fall/Winter 2010 issue of Oregon Bride Magazine


MEREDITH GIGLEY & DAVID KREIFELS

October 10, 2009
Private warehouse, Portland

How They Met: In the kitchen in 2006, when Meredith, a pastry chef by day, picked up a few serving shifts at Simpatica, where David had just started as a chef. Looks across the room turned into drinks after work with friends and a first date just a few days later. How He Proposed: David caught his bathing beauty fresh from the shower and surprised her with a ring. How They Wed: Personal touches like wheat boutonnieres, scattered fall leaves, and pops of vivid orange softened the industrial venue. David and Meredith used bright sunflowers, striped bags of popcorn, and lights strung across the ceiling to create a relaxed and playful atmosphere for friends and family. Guests enjoyed the Northwest Jazz Project during the cocktail hour and later danced to tunes (some requested on RSVP cards) spun by local DJ Paul Munoz. Simpatica (of course!) provided bite-sized treats throughout the evening, and the couple served cookies by Two Tarts Bakery instead of cake. In lieu of gifts, guests made donations to KOMAK, a charity for cancer patients, in honor of David’s father. How They Live Happily Ever After: After taking off on a road-trip honeymoon down the coast to San Francisco, the foodie couple returned home to an old family house in Southeast Portland. David is now a co-owner of Simpatica, and Meredith works at New Seasons as a pastry chef. —KM





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FILM REVIEW: JUNO-FAMILY REDEFINED

Juno is a film about every parent’s worst nightmare: a pregnant daughter at sixteen. While this film tackles difficult issues like abortion and adoption under a guise of wit and sarcasm, it ultimately presents a realistic and glass-half-full coming of age story, despite unfortunate circumstances. Writer Diablo Cody manages to create a story that nods to the classic Hollywood ‘growing up’ narrative while simultaneously turning it on its head. Viewers who were just looking for a quirky indie-flick may leave the film with quotable and cynical Juno-isms, but they might also shed a sympathetic tear or two. This film connects with audiences because it’s complicated. Life doesn’t play out like a Hollywood movie, and Juno gives viewers the satisfaction of a happy ending without compromising its complexity.

At first glance, Juno is not the girl in high school who is bound to get pregnant. She is a wisecracking, guitar playing, less-than-feminine misfit who talks to friends on her hamburger phone and downs blue slushees like water. Juno seduces her lanky and awkward best friend Paulie and, after three pregnancy tests and a gallon of Sunny-D, is faced with that “unholy” little pink plus sign. After revealing the pregnancy to her friend Leah, Juno heads to an abortion clinic to “nip it in the bud.” When faced with a pro-life classmate who informs Juno that her baby has fingernails, and the impersonal and sterile medical environment, she storms out of the abortion clinic and hatches a plan to give the baby to “a woman with a bum ovary or a couple nice lesbos.” Instead, she finds Mark and Vanessa, a wealthy young couple looking to start a family. Juno bonds with Mark over a love of alternative music and slasher movies, but is later betrayed when he reveals that he is leaving Vanessa and is not ready to be a father. This revelation tears apart Juno’s vision of the perfect suburban family and is the turning point in the film. Juno returns to Mark and Vanessa’s home and leaves a note at the door for Vanessa that reads: “If you’re still in, I’m still in.” Juno gives her baby boy to Vanessa, and overcomes her cynicism to realize that despite his goldenrod running shorts and obsession with orange tic-tacs, she is in love with Paulie Bleecker.

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LOCAL NATIVES OUTSHINE EDWARD SHARPE AT DOUG FIR IN PORTLAND

This originally appeared here on the Ticket Files blog for the Eugene Register-Guard

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros put on quite a show at Portland’s Doug Fir on Wednesday night, but the talent and energy of their first-round opener, Los Angeles five-piece Local Natives, was the ultimate highlight of the night.

Local Natives took the stage in front of a crowd that was no doubt expecting to mingle and chat until Edward Sharpe and his gang of nine came out to play their set. Instead, the audience at the Doug Fir was stunned by the beguiling layered-folk sound of Local Natives.

The band’s soaring harmonies, crisp guitar work, and incessant percussion had the crowd dancing along by the second song. Their cover of Talking Heads’ “Warning Sign” is debatably better than the original, with three of the members singing whole verses together with an enviable combination of enthusiasm and precision. When all five band members screamed “Hear my voice. Move my hair. Movin’ it around a lot. I don’t care what I remember,” in the middle of the song, it was clear that the audience was hooked.

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LIVE REVIEW: SPOON AT THE CRYSTAL BALLROOM

This originally appeared here on the Ticket Files blog for the Eugene Register-Guard

Spoon has a sizable Portland following, and on Friday night at the Crystal Ballroom, they played for a full house of devoted fans. Like the Vampire Weekend show I saw the night before, this performance was part of the 94.7 FM December to Remember concert series. Although this was my first Spoon experience, it wasn’t all that memorable.

I’ve only ever been a selective Spoon listener, picking out a few tracks at a time and never replaying an album in its entirety. It was clear that I was in the minority Friday night, although the crowd was shockingly lifeless for much of the show. I could tell that these were longtime Spoon fans, but with the exception of their best pop tunes, there were only subtle head bops from the crowd of predominately 30-something guys.

Whether you are a Spoon fan or not, front man Britt Daniel’s star presence is undeniable.

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VAMPIRE WEEKEND BRINGS BACK DEBUT ALBUM FOR SOLD-OUT CRYSTAL BALLROOM SHOW IN PORTLAND

This originally appeared here on the Ticket Files blog for the Eugene Register-Guard

Vampire Weekend showed up to a packed and sold-out Crystal Ballroom for 94.7 FM’s December to Remember concert series Thursday night in Portland. It was a perfect setting for the New York prepster-pop quartet. The chandeliers that hang from the ceiling oddly resemble the one featured on Vampire Weekend’s debut album cover, and the paintings on the walls are reminiscent of art history class.

They are all Columbia graduates. They wear fitted plaid shirts and sing about Cape Cod, Oxford commas, and girls named Bryn. You want to hate them, I know. But in reality, Vampire Weekend is disparaging their East Coast upbringing as much as they are paying it homage. Perhaps this explains the phenomenon that is nearly a thousand Pacific Northwest hippies and hipsters alike showing up to hear them play songs about people who “summer.” More likely it’s their unique high-energy brand of pop that stems from classical, African, and indie influences.

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STUDENT WRITING: CINDY LEE AND THE GREAT PHILLY STEAK

Cindy Lee stands perched inside her “The Great Philly Steak Sandwich” cart chopping a mix of steak, mushrooms, onions, and green peppers on a searing hot griddle. Steam rises up from the griddle as she continues to chop with a pleasant smile. Her skin is tan and weathered, but her brown eyes sparkle in the sunlight. She is wearing a pink tee shirt, matching baseball cap, and a bright blue apron. “This is made with love, booboo,” she says as she hands a regular customer her cheese steak. “Come back tomorrow, honey!”

Lee has owned the sandwich cart for 13 years now. She used to cook for one of her girlfriends, but after she tragically died of a brain aneurysm, Lee’s brother Doug helped Lee find funds to take over the business. Before she bought the sandwich cart, Lee spent over 20 years working and traveling for large companies that set up restaurants all over the country. She started out in Lawrence, Kansas and worked her way through Missouri and Kansas City. “Those were some of the best times of my life,” says Lee. “22 years old, making $400 a week with a brand new sports car.” She smiles and laughs as if her youth is long behind her.


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THE SWELL SEASON GETS MCDONALD THEATRE SINGING ALONG

This originally appeared here on the Ticket Files blog for the Eugene Register-Guard

Irishman Glen Hansard and Czech multi-instrumentalist Mark├ęta Irglova took the stage to roaring applause from a full house at the McDonald Theatre Monday night. They quietly sat huddled together on the stage in front of a single microphone to play their charmingly low-tech song “Fallen from the Sky,” miniature keyboard and all.

Hansard and Irglova are best known for their performances as a busker and a talented immigrant in the 2006 award-winning Irish musical romance film “Once.” While the Swell Season is Irglova’s first big gig, Hansard has fronted the Irish rock band the Frames since the band’s inception in 1990.

In all honesty, I didn’t know what to expect from these two three years after seeing the film. I wasn’t sure if it was the music that made me love “Once,” or just the enchanting love story. It didn’t take long for me to realize, with relief, that Hansard is a professional brooding rocker, and Irglova is his perfect foil.


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STUDENT WRITING: BECOMING A GLOBAL CITIZEN

Hannah Carlton and her roommates lived on the second floor of an old apartment building in the middle of Florence, Italy. Their neighbors included several young, professional couples, the mayor of Florence, and an old, cranky lady named Maria. “She was loud, always yelling at us in Italian, and thought we were all a total nuisance.” So it was no surprise to Carlton when they heard a loud knock on the door as they were preparing their Thanksgiving meal. It must be Maria.


Despite minor troubles with neighbors, Carlton says that her study abroad experience was a transformative one. Carlton, who had been to Italy when she was just 12, decided to apply for a scholarship to Florence University of the Arts on a whim. She was attending community college in her hometown of Portland, but was feeling bored and restless. “I had always wanted to live in Italy, so I thought why not?” Carlton received the scholarship she applied for, and, in no time, was headed to Italy.

Colleen Curran spent last summer in the city of Dun Laoghaire (commonly referred to as Dunleary), just outside of Dublin, Ireland. Like Carlton, Curran found that her study abroad experience was full of new experiences and personal growth. Carlton and Curran are just two of hundreds of thousands of U.S. students who choose to spend part of their college experience in a foreign country. According to the institute of International Education, a record 241,791 U.S. students studied abroad during the 2006-2007 academic year. Those numbers are up eight percent from the previous year and nearly 150 percent from the prior decade.

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STUDENT WRITING: LEARNING TO GO IT ALONE

When I signed up for my study abroad trip to Tampere, Finland, I was not overly excited for the studying. I wanted to travel. The travel bug bit me on my first trip to Paris at 10 years old, and the curiosity hasn’t let up since. The beauty of immersing yourself in another culture and lifestyle has never been lost on me, and the more I traveled, the more I wanted to explore. A month in Belarus showed me the warmth of a country buried in snow, a week in South Korea taught me that I did not like meals made entirely of pickled food, and a night in the Moroccan desert gave me the most beautiful night sky I have ever seen.

With an already festering love for travel, and my older sister’s lament that it was the one thing she wishes she had done in college, studying abroad was an inevitable part of my college experience. While I had dreamed about studying in northern Italy, the price tag of that program was not going to allow for much travel. So, Finland it was! A friend of mine had applied for the same program, so it was decided that we would be travel buddies, and off we went.

We planned trips to Italy, Ireland, Morocco, Estonia, and France, taking advantage of Ryanair, a terrible but cheap efficiency airline. We roughed it in hostels and slept on airport floors, but the sights we saw were all worth the sacrifice of comfort. We had budgeted carefully, but my friend and travel buddy was the more conservative one. I knew I was going to return home with empty pockets, so I wanted to make the most of my time. When my friend decided that she could no longer afford our planned trip to Paris at the end of the semester, I was heartbroken. 


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BLIND PILOT WINS OVER WOW HALL WITH SWEET FOLK-POP AND OREGONIAN CHARM

This originally appeared here on the Ticket Files blog for the Eugene Register-Guard

Blind Pilot has a knack for making people feel good. The Portland folk band has won over its hometown with a bright folk sound, a slew of unusual instruments, and just the right dose of modest charm. The band packed Portland’s Crystal Ballroom just a month ago for a midnight show during MusicFest Northwest. By contrast, a Monday night gig at WOW Hall would seem like a small feat. But even for a smaller crowd, Blind Pilot delivered a live performance strong enough to far surpass any recording on their lovable debut album, “3 Rounds and a Sound.”

This was my fifth Blind Pilot show since stumbling upon the group at PDX Pop Now about a year ago. I have not left a show disappointed since. Lead singer Israel Nebeker’s voice is like warm milk and honey against the soft guitar strums, lilting banjo, and thumping upright bass.



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BUTTON MAGAZINE: ALBUM REVIEW

Blitzen Trapper
Black River Killer EP
93%
As the title says, Blitzen Trapper’s Black River Killer EP starts out with their haunting and stellar song of the same name from 2008’s Furr. “Black River Killer” is a wonder in both songwriting and execution that evokes the story-telling days of Bob Dylan. While the rest of the songs on the EP never top “Black River Killer,” the song serves as a jumping-off point for songs that experiment more with the folk-rock formula. “Going Down” and “Preacher’s Sister’s Boy” are full of layered instruments and synthesized notes that manage to work together to create a sound that is uniquely Blitzen Trapper and surprisingly charming. The EP is well-balanced thanks to “Shoulder Full of You,” a romantic acoustic tune, and “Black Rock,” a simple and beautiful song backed by rhythmic guitar picking. The EP ends with “Big Black Bird,” which has the folk-rock appeal that made Furr such a success. The only tragedy of this EP is that it’s not a full-length album from this talented Portland band.

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STUDENT WRITING: BOOK REVIEW

     In Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg takes a democratic approach to teaching her readers how to write. While this is a book designed to help readers write, it is not exclusive to only English majors or people who believe that they will someday write the great American novel. The intention of this book is to help anyone get down his or her thoughts, and eventually become a better writer. Goldberg is trying to inspire her readers through simple calls to action instead of wise and grandiose ponderings. “We all have a dream of telling our stories- of realizing what we think, feel, and see before we die,” says Goldberg. And that is not limited to brilliant wordsmiths alone.


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STUDENT WRITING: HOW-TO

HOW TO ENJOY A SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVAL


It’s hard to say no to the fun and festivities of a summer music festival, but without the right attitude and supplies, you could end up sunburned and grumpy. Whether you head to Bonnaroo or Coachella, most festivals involve summer heat, long days, and tricky packing. All it takes is a well-prepared bag and a cheery outlook to make your experience the best one of the summer.


DO YOUR RESEARCH. Check out the festival website and know the lineup. Take a listen to some of the bands you don’t know. This will help you decide which bands you have no interest in, and which bands you might like live. Get excited about seeing new music! Also: take note of what the festival rules and regulations might be. Bring sealed water bottles and snacks in clear bags just to be safe.


TAKE ADVANTAGE. Make sure to take advantage of everything your festival has to offer. If there is a campground for the festival, save yourself some money and join in on the fun. You probably won’t get many showers, but you will make friends with your neighbors, hear group jam sessions, and be in the middle of the party. Besides, you’re never too old for roasting marshmallows around the fire.


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