If abducted by aliens and told to take them to the creative hub or nerve center of Portland, I’d head over to the corner of N. Albina Ave and N. Sumner St. (Sorry W&K.) On one side of the street you have Mississippi Records, the other Cherry Sprout Produce. It’s like a lightning bolt hit smack in this area and supercharged it with a heavy dose of ability to channel creative expression. You’ll find it in the ideas about creativity and self-expression and attitude that’s amplified within the walls of Mississippi Records with an art museum, the Portland Museum of Modern Art, in the basement. Last time we visited the record store and art museum we headed over to Cherry Sprout Produce across the street. Sure it’s a grocery store but it has a whole different approach. That day was sunny, there was art on the walls and it felt good to be buying food in that atmosphere. The store’s sound system was playing better music than I heard at Mississippi Records. It sounded fresh, yet vintage–psychedelic garage rock with guitar solos leaping out of the speakers.
The telephone pole in this section of town marks the spot where creative energy seems to flow the highest. Yes, right into the street. It had multiple colorful discs on it. I worshipped the crazy colors and decorations. I think this would make the aliens smile too. It took me a while to realize I was looking at repurposed records which makes sense since Mississippi Records sells vinyl.
Insane, weird, impressive culture radiates out of these two establishments. I’m surprised the powers that be haven’t seeded the clouds in an attempt to wash it all away. If the aliens said take me to your leader I’d try to track down Eric Isaacson, Mississippi Record’s head honcho. He’d probably think that was too weird for him but look at this upcoming film from the screening series he’s organized at the Hollywood Theatre. It’s a movie called The Secret Life of Plants about psychobotany followed up by a slide show (winningly old school!) about the concept of “Ecstatic Truth.” This is happening Thursday, April 23 at 7:30pm so get a move on it. Expect to see the front row full of beaming aliens. It’s so unassuming, yet mind blowing. Pardon me, I have to go write my Alien Abduction novel now.
It’s all happening here.