Portland was awesome! I could totally see myself moving there someday. Small, liberal, nice architecture, nice amenities (an amazing independent bookstore!), good public transit, nice location. Very artsy. The weather is still a little too Seattle-like for my tastes, but given everything else, I think that's forgivable.
Friday, Casey McGill, not my favorite. The Viscount was hot and crowded and felt like a battle ground. People were bumping into each other all over the place, and half the leads that grabbed me were seemingly oblivious to everyone around us, as they kept swinging me out into our neighbors. Lots of bad east coast. The downstairs all-ages room was better, but not a lot of energy. Friday latenight was okay, although I was tired and I kept getting pulled away from the dance.
A bunch of my housemates and I spent Saturday afternoon wandering Saturday Market. Very nice. Lots of little booths, artists selling their wares. I'd love to run a booth at a market like that someday and sell some of my own stuff.
Saturday night, I skipped the main venue to go tango at Berretin. It ruled! So much good music, so many amazing tango dancers. I was very happy. Alex let it run a full hour over the published end time, and I happily danced right up until the end. Then latenight again, and I even managed to drag Lorenzo along.
So, in tango, there's this thing where people generally dance a bunch of songs with one another. At a formal tango dance the DJ will play songs in sets of four or five, separated the sets with non-tango songs called Cortinas. The purpose of the Cortina is to break everything up and clear the floor so that people will dance with someone new. At less formal dances, people dance with one another until one thanks the other, and the thank you signals, "It was great dancing with you, but I'm ready to move on now."
In swing, people rarely dance more than one song with each other, unless they're good friends or they knowingly make an exception to the rule because they're enjoying themselves so much. Very different culture.
Lorenzo wasn't aware of this cultural difference. After we'd been at the latenight for a while, I asked him how he was doing. He said in a really dejected voice, "I got a thank you after the first song. I mean, I'm not great at swing, but it's been a long time since that happened." So sad! But funny.
Sunday afternoon there was an outdoor dance in downtown Portland. I only made the very end, but I loved it. We were dancing on brick, which made for a terrible surface, but it was outside and the sun was shining and people were walking by and getting excited about the dancing... all in all, scrumptious. I ate it all up. Wish we had an outdoor venue here. As a poor substitute, I think I'm going to start dragging some friends and a boombox out on the weekends sometimes, and make my own little outdoor dance.
Sunday evening, Lily Wilde at the Crystal Ballroom. Awesome, awesome, awesome. Did I mention that it was awesome? So the Crystal Ballroom has a "sprung floor", built over ball bearings. It moves underneath you. You can feel the rhythm through the floor. Feels so good, makes you want to dance and dance and never stop. Someday, when I am independently wealthy, I am going to build myself a ballroom like that.
Latenight was nice too. Perhaps my favorite venue of the weekend. Less crowded, as people had begun going home, but good music. And they brought in one of the local tango folk, who DJd an alternative tango room downstairs. Terrible, awful floor, but amazing music. And a few other tango aficionados down there mixed in amongst all the bluesy folk. Very nice.
We drove back up after the latenight -- just got in -- and after I post this I'm going to head into work. I had been going to do all the driving, but we ended up picking up another passenger who drives and who was awake and willing to take the wheel. Worked out quite well. I got to grab a few hours of sleep, and now the day should pass a little more easily.
So, anyhow, yeah. Portland = super awesome. I'm sad the weekend is over.
To rub things in, today is beautiful. Perhaps the nicest day we've had all year. Perfectly clear, sunny, warm. The mountains are completely visible, and boy are they something to look at. The air smells delicious. It all makes me want to be outside, but here I am heading into work, instead! Bullocks. Maybe I'll take my lunch outdoors today or something.