This week’s show: curveballs and home runs. New developments are on deck in the saga of Oregon’s art glass makers, and for one act trying to get recognition for its entirely ironic band name. Plus we bring back a favorite from last year, to get you primed for Wordstock. Hope you’ve got your helmet on — all the best bombs are dropping! Thanks for helping us make this listener-supported show every week. Give a gift, before you do anything else this weekend.
Supreme Court Will Hear The Slants Trademark Case — 1:18
The U.S. Supreme Court says it will hear a case pitting Portland-based all-Asian electro-rock band The Slants against the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The band has been fighting to trademark its name since 2011. The PTO denied the request on the grounds the name is racially disparaging. Bandleader Simon Tam says it’s unconstitutional for government to use offensive speech as a basis for rejecting trademarks. The high court refused to hear a similar case involving the Washington Redskins, but a ruling in the Slants’ favor could help the team.
Listen Back: Ursula LeGuin at Wordstock 2015 — 3:15
The Library of America has just published some key early work by literary great Ursula K. Le Guin. “The Complete Orsinia” is a fascinating early lab in which Le Guin explored life under oppressive regimes. We thought it was a good time to listen back to our conversation with Le Guin at Wordstock 2015. Le Guin discusses her process, her guide to writing, “Steering the Craft”, and more. (You can find a longer version of our interview here.)
Uroboros To Close In Early 2017 — 13:52
Portland art glass manufacturer Uroboros just announced this week the company plans to close its plant on North Kerby Ave. early in 2017. Glass has been made there for more than 43 years. The company’s president Eric Lovell cited market conditions, the real estate value of the central location, and the cost of new environmental regulations. Lovell also said that his own impending retirement as a factor. Glass artists including San Diego’s Cathy Coverley called the loss of Uroboros “terrifying.”
Portland-born Writer Fighting To Save Harlem Landmark — 17:04
Portland native Renee Watson, now with the I, Too Collective in New York, was in town this week for some fundraising. Langston Hughes was the heart and soul of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and ‘30s. His brownstone on East 127th street in Harlem is a national landmark but it’s been mostly empty for decades. As Harlem’s real estate scene goes upscale, Watson is leading the effort to preserve the building. We listen back to an August conversation she had with NPR - Weekend Edition’s Scott Simon.
In Other Words, Portlandia No Longer Welcome — 22:14
The feminist bookstore In Other Words servers its ties with the IFC series, Portlandia. Looks like Candace and Toni will be looking for new digs. Any suggestions?
Pete Krebs’ Autumn Trifecta — 23:41
A huge month for singer, songwriter, and rock & roll survivor Pete Krebs: he’ll be inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame on October 8th, and is launching two new records at the same time — a career retrospective, called “Hey Pete Krebs” and a new Hazel live album, excavated from 1993 recordings. Krebs earned his chops in Portland’s 80’s punk rock scene, and has been a mainstay on country, jazz, and indie stages around town ever since.
(photo cred. Jeremy Balderson)