play that funky music
(view on Relieved)
On the day after thanksgiving, with an extreme case of cabin fever, I loaded the DSLR into the minivan and rolled my 10 minute roll into downtown Portland. I planned on taking some shots of the Huge Honk’n Christmas Tree (HHCT) that had been electrified a few hours earlier, but (no offense if you were personally involved in the creation of the HHCT) it just wasn’t terribly impressive.
Instead, as I circled the tree, looking for some kind of photographic opportunity, thinking of more and more abstract options, I kept half-thinking, “What’s that racket!” And then I thought, “Wait! Racket?” and followed my camera like some sort of digital divining rod. Across the street, right in front of the door to the closed-for-the-evening Nordstrom, was a 5-8 person band (depending on the song) yelling something about the British never taking our freedom, and belting out songs must have been designed specifically to drink to. This was street performance on steroids, and way beyond a guy with 5 gallon buckets and some drum sticks. It’s this kind of random organic occurrence that makes Portland the town it is, and I’m pretty sure this wasn’t any kind of Nordstrom sanctioned event.
There is one other thing that makes this scene noteworthy. Unbeknownst to me, the band, and (as far as I can tell) anyone in attendance, 3 hours earlier a 19 year old made a cell phone call. Now sometimes a phone call makes another phone ring. Other times, it triggers a detonator in a van packed with explosives. In this case, when Mohamed Osman Mohamud made his call, it was to the trigger the latter. If all had gone as planned, a ginormous explosion, centered about 50 feet from this spot, would have ripped through the wholesome family crowed. That didn’t happen this time because Mohamed got his "bomb" from the FBI.
So 3 hours later, blissfully unaware, the band played their funky music, the white boys danced, and Portland Oregon stayed weird for one more day.