Sunday, November 20, 2005

In Search of Multicultural Portland: Alberta Park

We went to the Portland Children's Museum a little while back and were invited to watch the free puppet show. It was a surf-style version of a fairytale and featured many repetitive, lengthy songs. The whole thing went on so long...

I scanned the audience--the room was packed--and saw a theater full of white faces. Every single face was white. People had told me about this Portland phenomenon, but to see it firsthand is surprising, especially because I have spent the last 20 years of my life in Oakland. It worried me because I am raising two children here, and I am determined that they will see diverse races and hear diverse languages in their daily lives. So, I am seeking Portland diversity for myself and my family, and will report on my findings.

The other day, I was happy to hang out at the neighborhood park--Alberta Park--with my son Max. Although he spent half the time at the top of the twisty slide, refusing to come down because of all the off-leash dogs, the other half of the time he spent playing with two girls who were African-American. It turned out that their mom is a jazz singer and performs at the Candlelight Lounge (7334 NE Glisan) every week.

Maybe someday, when I'm not nursing every three hours, I will be able to explore Portland's night life rather than just its day life. I have dreams of the Candlelight Lounge, VooDoo Donut (at, happy hour at Pambiche (, joining the Spanish group at that cafe on Alberta Street, crashing the Portland Artist Trading Card meetup [ATCs are my favorite tiny art obsession; find out about them at, and going to some lowbrow art openings.

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