I ended my 2009-2010 season with a beautiful trip to Portland, Oregon on June 3rd. I was invited to play a mostly toy piano recital at a really great new venue called Doug Fir Lounge. The place reminded me of Le Poisson Rouge in NYC but with a much more indie-rock sort of feeling. Apparently, the designers of the venue picked out the sound equipment first and then built the space for the equipment. The walls have a log cabin look to them that add a laid-back feeling to the venue.
I was brought to Portland by the Portland Piano International. As a 30-year organization, Portland Piano has been one of the few non-profits with the unique mission of supporting fine pianists for the purpose of enriching and educating the community. I found out that I was their first ever off-the-beaten-path keyboard player to be presented in an alternative venue.
It was interesting to see the audience members trickle in. The regular Portland Piano concert-goers showed up an hour early and were able to claim seats. The younger crowd and Doug Fir Lounge-goers seem to show up much later in the evening. Even though everyone was 21+, it was still one of the most diverse audiences I have played for. They were extremely friendly and wildly open to the toy piano. Many times during performance, I heard small choruses of laughter. I really love the fact that some aspects of my toy piano concerts are humorous and can actually induce laughter. It’s refreshing to have that direct contact and rapport with the audience.
There was a woman that came up to me after my concert and wanted me to write “PPC” on the palm of her hand with a bald-point pen. I asked her what it stood for and she said “Pre-disposed Pop Cans.” Later, she explained to me that she is a writer and she couldn’t believe the tickets to the show were only $15. She apparently paid for a ticket to see the show by recycling $15 worth of soda cans! She felt inspired to make a story out of it called “PPC.”
That was certainly the first time I had such a reaction to one of my shows!