Oregon History Museum exhibit Oregon Rocks Celebrates The Local Music Scene

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News from the Oregon Historical Society: For
generations, Oregon-and Portland, in particular-has been a hotbed for
great music. From the jazz cabarets and supper clubs that lit up North
Williams Street in the 1940s, through the teen dances and band battles
of the 1960s, to the wild and raggedy North Portland house party scene
of today, Oregon music exemplifies the pioneering spirit of the
Northwest.

Yet, throughout the years, little time and space has been given over
to celebrating Oregon’s rich and diverse musical history. It’s time to
explore and celebrate our rock and roll roots! The Oregon History
Museum is excited to present a brand new original exhibit, Oregon Rocks:
A History of Popular Music in Oregon. This unique exhibit will showcase
Oregon’s role in national musical movements past and present. For the
first time, Oregon rock and roll will be brought to the forefront,
educating younger audiences on the great musical achievements of the
past, while exposing older fans to the diversity of visions and
wide-variety of talents calling Oregon home today.
See Oregon Rocks August 26, 2011 – January 15, 2012 at the Oregon History Museum.

“Music is what brought me up to Portland over 10 years ago,” says
exhibit curator Jason Leivian, owner of Portland’s hippest comic book
store, Floating World Comics. “I was in a band with some friends from
high school and we moved up together. Everyone who lives here knows
what a great, diverse music scene we have. But it didn’t just spring up
out of nowhere. It has roots that go back through every generation. We
trace it back 100 years and find a common thread of uniqueness and also a
DIY attitude, regardless of genre or era.”

Stories of local musicians – both well known and underground – will
be unearthed in this exhibit. We’ll give the spotlight back to Johnnie
Ray-a captivating showman from Southern Oregon second only to Frank
Sinatra in record sales throughout the 1950s-and raise a ruckus about
the Kingsmen, whose raucous version of “Louie, Louie” had J. Edgar
Hoover’s FBI scrambling to uncover secret meanings in mumbled verses and
incoherent choruses. We’ll ride with Paul Revere & the Raiders,
bringing their hard rock and dark “Kicks” to teens across the
countryside, while cloaked in comic Revolutionary War garb and
Vaudevillian-style slapstick routines. We’ll stalk the streets of
Doomtown with the Wipers and party down with art rock imposters the
Dandy Warhols, throw a dance party on the Willamette with YACHT, and get
positively medieval with the Decemberists’ troubadour tales.
“When visitors come into the exhibit, we hope they will get a sense
of time and place. That they get a sense of what it was like to be a
music fan during the heyday of Jumptown, when jazz was all the rage in
Portland, or in the late seventies, when the Wipers debuted at the New
Arts Center,” says Levian.

Visitors will take a trip back in time – and some to the not so
distant past – and will see rock history told through famous outfits and
instruments worn and used by some of Oregon’s great musicians. Vintage
concert posters will line the walls, along with souvenirs from diehard
music fans. MP3 players will be available to visitors to use so they
can hear the hits of Oregon legends as they tour the exhibit. These
pieces tell so many stories that few Oregonians, even the most
passionate music lovers, may not know.

Levian hopes that music fans of all ages will be moved by this
unique exhibit. “There are a lot of stories told in the exhibit that
not too many people know. For younger fans, we hope that they realize
that an Oregon band that was playing twenty, thirty, forty years ago
could be just as interesting and innovative as any new band-maybe even
the one they saw last night. And for older fans, we hope that they see
some of their past on the walls, and remember how exciting it was. And
maybe while they’re here, they’ll catch on to some newer band, or sound,
that’s just as exciting now as what they remember.”

Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.,
and Sunday, Noon to 5:00 p.m. Visit WWW.OHS.ORG for more information.

Oregon Rocks Concert

Thursday, August 25, 5:30 PM – 11 PM

At the Oregon Historical Society

The Oregon Historical Society and the Dill Pickle Club are
presenting a special concert featuring local talents Ural Thomas, The
Kingsmen, Pierced Arrows, Quasi and DJ HWY 7! Food will be available
for sale by Verde Cocina. Curators and exhibit contributors will be on
site. Media should contact OHS if they plan to attend. Tickets cost $7
for OHS members and $10 for non members. Space is limited so buy your
ticket early! Tickets are on sale now through the Portland Mercury.
The Oregon Rocks Concert is sponsored by Rose City Sound, The Portland
Mercury, and Ninkasi Brewing Company. Visit WWW.OHS.ORG for details.

About the Oregon Historical Society

The Society has served since 1898 as Oregon’s primary research
collection and museum about Oregon history. OHS has an extensive
collection of historical pieces, including over 85,000 artifacts and 3
million photographs and films. It safeguards and presents Oregon’s
history through a museum, research library, traveling exhibits, school
programs and website content.