Show Us What You Got

As the Capitol Hill Block Party heads into its sixth year, its organizers are seeking to take it to that mythical "next level." To that end, they have hired Matthew Parker and Sam Trout, the two artists behind I Heart Rummage, to organize all nonmusical events at this year's Block Party. Though neither Trout, 27, nor Parker, 26, have much major event planning experience, the hope is that some of the magic that makes Rummage the hippest rag and bone shop in town will rub off on the ever more ambitious CHBP.

"I hope they will bring more interesting art, more interactive booths which will raise money for nonprofits, and a more vibrant booth area," says Block Party honcho David Meinert. Fair enough. Because Trout and Parker were hired only last week, all plans are fairly nebulous--"One of our pipe dreams is to have a skate park," offers Trout. If things come together, this year's event will be a bit more wild than in previous years, fulfilling their primary goal of distinguishing the Block Party from Seattle's other outdoor mini-extravaganzas: the Fremont Fair, the U-District Street Fair, and the like. SEAN NELSON

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Although there's work by four Portland artists in the upcoming Baja to Vancouver (as opposed to Seattle's three; see page 36), Portland isn't sitting around and twiddling its thumbs. Jeff Jahn, a local artist and curator, has thrown himself into promoting Portland's art scene; his latest show, The Best Coast, opens Monday, May 19, at the EastBank Commerce Center (1001 SE Water St, Portland,, and runs for five days. While The Best Coast is not specifically a response to Baja to Vancouver, Jahn felt that an artist-organized event, especially one open during the American Association of Museums' annual meeting, with 3,000 museum curators in Portland, would do more to get some attention for West Coast artists.

In the 8,000-square-foot Commerce Center space, about 28 artists (including four from Seattle) will show their work--mostly sculpture and installation, Jahn said, and not much painting--which does, in a way, respond to the Oregon Biennial, which is very painting-heavy. Jahn seemed pretty gleeful about this net of relationships, shows and counter-shows, about artists taking charge. "We can't let this opportunity go by," he said, "for artists to take back the context." EMILY HALL