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Tony Bennett

I suppose I’ve grown up with Tony Bennett. He’s always been there, in the background. Emphasis on background. Mostly I hear him these days because I listen almost every Saturday (online) to WNYC’s broadcast of Jonathan Schwartz‘s four-hour radio show, and invariably he plays Tony Bennett at some point. You can’t count on it quite the way you can Schwartz’s playing of Sinatra, or Nancy Lamott, but more often than not, there’s Tony. I figured that’s about as close as I would get to him, and that was fine with me.

But that’s about to change. We decided a couple of days ago to head down to Portland this weekend. We don’t get there much. We went in the mid to late ’80s when Gail’s sister lived there. Thanksgiving 1985, five months after we were married. We won’t forget that. The coldest Thanksgiving ever, what with the 17 inches of snow that fell here in Seattle 10 days earlier and the constant sub-freezing temperatures that followed. We took the train down on Thanksgiving morning and never warmed up. June 1987. Another unforgettable day, making the drive down for our nephew’s high school graduation, with Gail 8 1/2 months pregnant, and returning immediately afterwards. We were a little early on the way down, so when we saw a sign for Fort Vancouver National Historic Site at the next I-5 exit as we passed through Vancouver, Washington, we veered off and visited. Well worth it. We always thought we’d get back soon. But 21 years passed before we found ourselves down there again, for an overnight visit three years ago that didn’t go quite as planned. A story for another day.

Anyway, we’re off to Portland again, prompted largely by Gail’s interest in seeing an exhibit at the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center before the exhibit ends on Sunday. The show is Taken: FBI. From the webpage: “This exhibit brings to light the experiences of the families of 118 individuals in the Portland area and 17,477 in the western states taken into custody by the local authorities, then imprisoned by the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice directly following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.”

We booked a room at a downtown hotel. In reading about it, I learned that it abuts the Portland Center for the Performing Arts. Tonight I decided to see what’s playing at the center. Two events popped up. Riverdance is in town, performing tomorrow night through Sunday afternoon, though at another theater, not the one next to our hotel. The Portland Center for the Performing Arts seems to cover several sites. What’s next door to us is the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, described as follows:

The beautifully restored Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, opened in 1984, was originally the Portland Public Theatre, built in 1928.

The Italian Rococo Revival architecture was said to be the national showcase of Rapp & Rapp, renowned Chicago theatre architects. Visitors are greeted by a 65 foot high “Portland” sign above the Broadway Marquee, which contains approximately 6,000 theatrical lights. … The Arlene Schnitzer Hall is home to the Oregon Symphony, White Bird Dance Company, Portland Arts & Lectures, and many more local performing arts groups.

It’s hard to resist Riverdance. I mean, Riverdance! Wow! But the whole point of my web search was to see what playing next door, and that’s not Riverdance. Who is it? Yes, Tony Bennett, one night only, tomorrow night.

Do we go? Why not? I don’t know when we’ll have the chance to see him again, but it sure won’t be next door to our house. There weren’t many seats left, other than singles. We took a pair in the front part of the balcony. This is going to be a great trip.

Categories: Music, Travel
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