the social life, 2008.


looking back across the rich and varied days of the last year, it’s a bit overwhelming to think of all that has transpired..     at the heart of everything is the birth of the Leftbank Project.   While it’s damn near impossible to pin down exactly when it happened, it’s not hard at all to know that it has.   Some might argue it was born through the events it hosted, and others might suggest it was when the first folks from the outside joined in.   Still others will suggest it was most deeply connected with the physical transformation of these wonderful, formerly derelict buildings… regardless, it was quite a year.    For a look back, get cozy and read on..  We’ll be doing a series of these lil’ retrospectives over the next few weeks, starting with this look at the year in events…

that is, EVENTS!
the T:BA festival, Oregon Manifest, the city’s most happening NewYearsEve party..  for a building not yet even officially ‘open’, leftbank’s arrival as a place for happenings was rather auspicious.   Honestly, Even though Leftbank’s been conceived as a place to gather people from the very start, even the most ardent believers amoung us were a bit suprised at this… The fun began in the midst of our so-called indian summer, as we opened our doors to a mellow mob of marchers holding signs that said Nothing high above their head.    It was a reenactment of Anna Halprin’s ‘Blank Placard Happening’- a playfully austere initiation of the 10 days of performance and festivity that is Pica’s T:BA festival.   As home to the WORKS, the late nite hub and spiritual center of the festival, Leftbank saw literally thousands of creative luminaries and revelers gather within its grand, raw space.   And so, the beginning began.       Just a few weeks later came Oregon Manifest, and with it the most righteous collection of handbuilt bikes and bike people on the planet.    It marked the first use of Leftbank’s Greenroom  event space and also brought the opportunity to host what was likely the most raucus bike party of the year, the Rapha Roller Race.


RAPHA Cross Roller Race – Oregon Manifest 2008 from RAPHA on Vimeo.

Meanwhile, downstairs in the garage, the people from pica were preparing for a month long gallery exhibition and yet another party of their own, this one celebrating one of their greatest patrons, Leslie Durst.  This event, called ‘The Butterfly Effect’, gathered some 120 works she has commissioned through pica over the last many years, and also inspired a series of performances Cloud Eye Control’s latest piece, “Under Polaris”.

Under Polaris-fixed from citrusink on Vimeo.

And so this way the fall tumbled on and more events came with it.. Including the IPRC’s annual Text Ball, a holiday party for our good neighbors, the Trailblazers, and in the spirit of the historic, often mind numbing and seemingly endless election season, Ralph Nader stopped by, too.   His occasion was a fundraiser for his presidential run, and while there’s no shortage of excitement around here for Barack Obama’s movement, it was a welcome opportunity to step outside of it all and discuss once more what the words democracy and citizenship truly mean.

As the year wound down, we couldn’t have closed out without a proper nightcap.. and proper it was when Stylus503 and Leftbank pioneers, Chychele,  conspired to create “Rare Magic”, the most smashing and stylish get down of Portland’s NewYears.   It channeled the boppin ghosts of the building’s jazz club past, and ushered in the new year with fine drinks, fine people, and the finest grooves from DJ Beyonda, Rev Shines, and Leroy Trenton.     All said, ’twas a damned fine time.

Oregon Manifest manifested at Leftbank

This past weekend The leftbank Project buildings played host to custom bike designers, their ardent fans, and more than a few roving bike gangs. The Greenroom saw some of the best bike manufactures in the country gather together to show off their wares. Wherever attendees and vendors weren’t busy admiring bikes they were admiring the many charms of the Greenroom. On Saturday night the guys and gals at Rapha threw one righteous bike shindig, complete with a cyclocross race, beer, and of course, waffles.

Here’s what Bicycling Magazine thought:

Portland Busts Out with its OWN Hand built Show

“The first-ever Oregon Manifest drew more than 3,500 people together at Portland’s Leftbank Project for a three day celebration of the Pacific  Northwest’s vibrant multi-faceted cycling culture. It was the most complete gathering of the city’s many cycling subcultures I’ve seen under one roof. Cigarette smoking messengers, lycra-clad roadies, DIY freak-bikers, half crazed cyclocross racers and completely crazed Zoo Bombers all came together for a weekend to rub tattooed elbows, drink copious amounts of beer, and celebrate their respective cults. Needless to say .. it was a damn good party….”read more