Author: J.M. Murdoch

Banishing boredom: a local events calendar to rival all calendars

A friend of mine purchased a travel guide for Oregon a while back, and under the city of Salem, the entry was surprisingly brief in comparison to other cities. In fact, it was only one sentence in length. It stated: “No one ever accused Salem, Oregon of being interesting.” And it moved on to the next entry. That old stigma seems to have stuck to Salem like an old, sun-baked and hardened label. I often hear people say, “There’s nothing to do in Salem,” and for a period of time—they were right. But now that the Recession is growing...

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Paradise of Samoa 9th Annual Luau September 3

Come join the 9th Annual Luau and experience the Paradise of Samoa, with its live Island band, full Polynesian floor show, and fabulous feast of Island BBQ chicken, kalua pork, Samoan Chop Suey, Asian noodles, and a full array of fruits and desserts. Raffles and prizes abound. The Talofa Store sells trinkets and clothing from the Pacific and it is fun to browse their selections. For the past nine years occurring on the afternoon of Saturday at Labor Day weekend in September the Paradise of Samoa hosts its Lu’au. This is a fundraiser open to the public for a...

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Home School Day September 7

The Oregon Garden invites all 5-12 year old home school students to a fun filled day of outdoor learning! Experience the beauty of the Garden in late summer bloom. Learn about your natural world and get inspired with fun science and art activities. This event offers hands-on, self-paced learning stations throughout the Garden. Check in at the Visitor Center to receive your packet with map and station information. Admission: Adults: $9, Students (5-17): $4, Children 4 & under: Free. Admission includes tram rides and event packets. Bring a bag lunch or purchase your lunch at the Garden Cafe in...

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St. Thomas Jazz Festival September 11

Featured artists are: Johnny Martin Trio and Djangophiles. Now in its 4th year, the event is a pleasant a way to spend a Sunday afternoon with food, silent auction items, 50/50 raffle, wine basket door prize, great local wine and of course live jazz music. The setting at the winery is wooded with picnic tables, a great stage and sound system. Guests can walk through the vineyards, watch the trout in the pond or wander up to the top of the property to enjoy stunning views of the winery, the valley and the Coastal Range. No dogs or outside food...

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Northwest Comic Fest II August 13 & 14 @ 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

  This year the Comic Fest’s focus is on the Comics and Writers, the life blood of comics and our Pop-Culture. Just like last year, Northwest Comic Fest is more than just Comic Con, emphasizing the physical aspects of pop-culture from performances, tutorials, panels, and more. Of course, we know the importance of gaming, crafts, and cosplay. The Comic Fest provides families, fans, and soon-to-be-fans a place to come together and celebrate what they love. This isn’t a “Comic Con”; this is a celebration of what defines “Comic/Pop/Geek-Culture Fest.” The Event: The goal is provide a genuinely unique opportunity...

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Yoga + Beer’s 3rd Birthday! August 17 @ 6:00 pm – 7:15 pm

  Three years of Yoga + Beer and over 100 classes! So there are some surprises in the works….Details to come, but these surprises include a live DJ for class (the best DJ), beer and yoga. And beer. As usual, this class is a free, all levels flow class! In the case of sunshine, class will be held outdoors! In the event of rain, class will be held in the south end of the brewery warehouse. Please bring your own mat (although there are always extras to borrow if you need one). This class has practically an unlimited number...

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HISTORY IN THE NEWS -July 21

Piloting the newest series of monthly roundtable discussions, July’s History in the News considers how Oregonians have shaped national convention politics, and whether they will again in this election. This year’s national party conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia promise to provoke lively debates and counter-protests, but what do they have to do with Oregon? How might Oregonians influence the direction of national politics now, and how have they done so in the past? From Tom McCall’s and Mark Hatfield’s moderating influence on the Republican Party to Jeff Merkley’s early endorsement of Bernie Sanders, Oregonians have often played important roles...

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ART IN THE GARDEN WORKSHOP: MACRO PHOTOGRAPHY -July 23

Karen Maier, a photographer from Bend, will be guiding participants through an introduction to macro photography, how to use equipment to better your shots, how to create a strong composition, image focusing techniques, and the best way to use lighting to your advantage. The workshop includes time to wander the garden for photos and culminates with a class photo-sharing session. Karen is experienced in taking macro-shots with equipment as simple as a camera phone and as advanced as your D-SLR. Everyone is encouraged to come learn how to use their own equipment to take the best shots! There will...

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NEW MAGAZINE RELEASE PARTY AT THE BOOK BIN -July 23

There is a fantastic new magazine being published in Salem, The Audient Void. It is a magazine of weird fiction and dark fantasy and poetry.  The release party for the very first issue will be at the Salem Book Bin on Saturday July 23rd at 7pm. Contributors Sarah Walker, Adam Bolivar, David Barker, Dan Clore, and others will be reading their poetry and short fiction and answering questions related to their work. Copies of The Audient Void #1 will be available for purchase and the authors and editors will be happy to sign them. Indulge your passion for the weird and fantastic.  Come...

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Salem’s Summer just got sweeter

If summer had a drink of choice, my bet is that it would be cider. It’s like craft beer and a juice box had a baby—ice cold, refreshing, bubbly, with a hint of apple to bring back all the nostalgia of childhood while the ABV ensures you still feel like a legit grown-up. Owners of 1859 Cider Co., Dan and Patricia Fox, have experienced first-hand what it takes to care for a cidery in its infancy. I had the opportunity to check out their newly-built taproom during their grand opening celebration last Friday in their alley location between Chemeketa...

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ALL HAIL THE TYPEWRITER REVOLUTION

I lost my analog virginity to a 40-year-old Olympia SM-9 in my parents’ basement when I was twelve. Little did I know that those first keystrokes would plant the seed for my lifelong love for the original, mechanically expressive word processor. Once you taste the sweet nostalgia of something so tangibly creative, you’re hooked…which is why I think vinyl records and books and letterpress and calligraphy are making such a roaring comeback. In this digital age, there is no doubt that appreciation is growing for mechanical items of antiquity. It’s fascinating to watch them work, to wonder at how...

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Wine and Dine this Memorial Day Weekend

Over 150 wineries open their doors this Saturday May 28th through Monday May 30th for special events and tastings to launch the summertime in wine country. Both new releases and old favorites will pour in abundance from dozens of our region’s acclaimed wineries. Enjoy fresh food, live music, and local art. Escape to the hills and see why the Willamette Valley is known for its world-class wines and breathtaking views during this annual celebration. BJÖRNSON VINEYARD $15 3635 Bethel Heights Road NW, Salem Saturday-Monday:  11 am-5 pm Want something unique? Only two weekends a year Bjornson pours their Pinot...

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Eat, Drink, Thrive: Taproot Reinvents Salem’s Food Culture

You can’t miss him. Well over six feet in height, black-brown dreadlocks tied back with a kerchief and hanging to his waist, and that contagious, bright smile which makes you feel like his oldest and most trusted friend. Christopher Holland spies me coming in the door to his new establishment, Taproot Lounge and Café, for our scheduled interview. “Buddy!” he yells, makes his way to me in two long strides and wraps me up in the best hug ever. (I learned that he calls everyone “Buddy,” but I guarantee it doesn’t make you feel any less special.) From his...

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Paradiso at the Grand Theatre: A Review

by J.M. Murdoch I like to think I wasn’t the only one who waited impatiently for the “epic reveal” of the business which would fill the vacant space adjacent to the Historic Grand Theatre. Officially opened in April, the restaurant “Paradiso” surprised Salem with its intimate and regal Gatsby-esque interior design, an extensive wine list and full bar, and infallible food items on every inch of the impressive menu. We didn’t even know we needed this until it arrived. Walking in, I was instantly drawn to the glinting shelves boasting the display of liquors…and then up…to the vaulted ceilings....

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High Voltage Festival Ignites Salem

A lot can happen in ten years. What once started as a ragtag team of bands and volunteers in a small downtown venue has now grown into a city-wide event as the Cherry City Music Festival. Beginning this Thursday, March 31st, and continuing through Saturday, April 2nd, venues all over Salem will be engulfed with over 30 live performances by bands from all over the area for a full weekend of music immersion. The Cherry City Music Festival began as part of the Mid-Valley Video Festival’s Mix-n-Mash, with the goal of “bringing independent local bands and their fans together...

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Poetry Has a New Name

Poetry is Art, although these days it feels more like the bastard stepchild of Art. It’s as if poets drew the short straw in the new-age creative community, and are now waiting in a long line for tickets to a show that’s gone on without them. But a quiet, underground revolution is occurring. Gone are the days of impenetrable metaphor, cryptic allusion, and lofty language. Poets are beginning to realize that in order for poetry to regain its former glory, they must redefine writing as a vernacular art form by becoming more “2016.” Whitman and Dickinson understood this more...

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Popping the ‘Univer-City Bubble’

Some neighborhoods of our Cherry City require a much-needed “pop,” and our downtown university jewel is one of them. A college grad myself, I wouldn’t think twice about stepping onto a campus again (unless that step is one of a few hundred that lead me to a class I happen to be taking to further my educational curiosities). I realized the error to this common stigma—the university isn’t the problem, here. I’m the problem. So I decided it was time to pop that invisible, university “bubble” whose falsely-assumed boundaries seem to repel all but students and faculty. Apparently no...

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