Saturday, May 4, 2013

First Friday, Music, Sushi, Whatnot

music at Ruski's
I love First Friday. Here's the thing, I never end up going into the galleries--and truth be told, I can't afford any art right now anyway. But, I love heading into town and seeing all the people wander around. Springtime and Christmas are, hands down, the best times to go to First Friday too.

Last month, for First Friday, I drank a couple of Manhattans at Katahdin before heading to see my buddy Chicky Stoltz play at Ruskis. (And then I had to return to the ski resort to work a festival that made my ears bleed.)

this is what the world looked like
brutal with a hangover
The First Friday before that--which would have been this last fall because, as you know and I feel stupid repeating it, my winters are ridiculously busy--I believe I drank a bunch of Manhattans at Katahdin before heading to a show at Empire.

The First Friday before that....drinks at Nosh and then to a friend's house.

Before that....drinks at Katahdin and then to SPACE, where I saw an acquaintance who I tried to hug. I don't know what came over me. I realized my mistake as I stepped into the hug lunge and it was way too late to pull out. Hugging a non-hugger is like hugging a barn door. That reminds me of this winter when I saw Groom's boss at a social something. As he was leaving, I went to shake his hand, but he was stepping into a hug/cheek kiss lunge, so I pulled my hand back, but then he realized I was going for the shake. What ended up happening can only be described as limp fingertips in a full hand with a non-committal shoulder pat. I saw him flinch. And, now I'm the wife with the limp handshake.

Back to First Friday. I'm starting to see a trend. First Friday for me means plenty of bourbon, some wandering in the streets, and then live music. If I make it past the first bar at all.

No, wait. Last summer, I actually attended an opening with my friend Noah (owner/operator of the Stephen Taber and who is pictured above with Chicky) at the Portland Museum of Art for Tanja Hollander. But, that was the only establishment I frequented before heading over to a now-out-of-business Korean BBQ place on Congress St., where I had a few beers of course.

Hollander is the best person to walk First Friday with because she actually insists we enter some of the galleries. And, I have seen some great work with her. I like June Fitzpatrick Gallery, and the student/faculty shows at Maine College of Art are excellent. Whitney Art Works used to be one of my favorites, but now it's Rose Contemporary? I am 100% out of the loop. I'm not sure I was ever actually in the loop. I don't know what the hip small galleries are anymore. Just walk around Portland and look for lights.

Last night, Groom and I met at Casco Bay Frames for their employee show--the owner is a friend of ours so it was both necessary and easy. I want to point out, if you're thinking of walking First Friday next month, you should walk into all the little places, even if it looks like they might not have anything. I mean, a frame shop? But, there was some interesting stuff in there. His website doesn't do him justice, but James Barner has excellent images of the Portland cityscape that he's somehow treated...and then overlaid...and then...yeah. I'm a jackass. I don't know what he does. It's just cool looking.

delicious cocktail
The other artist who always strikes is Holly Karolkowski. I think she won a national gift-wrapping competition a few years ago. Her images and artwork are so quirky and fun. At the risk of sounding like a douche, they're really whimsical. I hate that word, and frankly I would never visit an art show described as whimsical. Last year, she showcased little shadowboxes, which weren't on display this year. Looking at her site, I can tell you, the materials in person are more interesting.

And there were some images from Laurel Lopez--she doesn't seem to have a website--that were, in a word, hilariously disturbing. A mouse caught under a mousetrap. A dead mouse in a catcher's mitt. A sardine on the beach. I'm not doing them justice. Go to Casco Bay Frames and check them out.

Fishing for falsies.
For me, this is just H-O-T hot.
After all the standing around, chatting with people, and whispering quietly so nobody could hear me say "Oh my god...what is that?," I needed a cocktail. After a weird debate over whether we should go to Eventide in the East End or Pai Men Miyake in Longfellow Square, we opted for the sushi--even though Eventide used Casco Bay Frames for its artwork and has the most delicious tequila cocktail with blood orange oh my god it's good.

But, the ceviche at Miyake was totally calling our name. It's white fish with cilantro (or, the devil's weed), citrus, soy paper wrap, some items that I don't know, and the piece de resistance: truffle oil. I could live on this. It's the most delicious thing I have ever put in my mouth.
the ceviche 

black sea bass
There are so many delicious things on that menu, it's hard to choose. We opted for the ceviche (warning, it takes a really really long time for them to prepare it but I assure you it is really really worth it), pork belly buns (they look lady parts, but are decidedly more delicious, or so I assume...ahem), brussel sprouts (in awesome sauce), and black sea bass sashimi (Groom and I spent a week on the Cape where he fished for false albacore but ended up catching mostly scup and black sea bass--both of which are delicious to eat).
busy miyake

The other thing? It was slammin' at Miyake. 9:00 at night and there was a wait for a table or even seats at the bar. When we left at...I don't know...10:30?...there were tons of people milling around. I love seeing that in our little city.

First Friday makes me miss Portland. We ran into a work colleague last night who had just moved into an apartment on Bracket St., and I was full of envy. He's young and he's all starting out and whatnot, whereas we're old, thinking about our nest egg, and remodeling our kitchen.

Hunh. I just realized why I'm wearing an ironic Rogues Gallery t-shirt today.

What has two thumbs and didn't talk at all about diet and exercise because she misses being a hipster?

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