At a glance, a city could be relatively compared to a living, breathing organism. It has a pulse, a life cycle and one could say it roots itself deep into the earth, much like a tree. Like roots, these complex and often overlooked subterranean systems sustain life at the surface. Without these infrastructure networks, life as we know it would come to a halt. These vital systems bring us our water, provide us with energy and lights, yet we hardly ever think of them unless they fail. Only when our daily lives are interrupted are we even aware of their importance and connection to us as a whole and individuals.
I present to you just a fraction of what lies beneath: the stormwater drains, sewer systems, utility tunnels and the former harbor defenses. It is an abstract yet essential look into the underground worlds of our beloved city by the sea, Portland, Maine.
The Magic Garden opened up around !960 in what is known as Old Town, in Portland, Oregon. Originally, it was a erected as one of Portland's first lesbianbars. It had a bit of success, but the new owner's wanted to try something different, and from there it was transformed into what would be the area's best dive bar and strip club. It changed hands a couple times, finally picked up by Everett Moore in the 1990's, who brought his best sassy mouthed bartender, Patty Wright from their history together at Southeast Portland's, My Father's Place, and the rest is history. Magic Garden stayed as a regulars hangout, even with closing of the beloved Satyricon, and the obscene amount of renovations turning the industrial wasteland into Portland's new posh area. The MG stayed strong for about 50+ years and finally was told that the building wouldn't be renewing any leases, and that it's set for remodel to fit in with the other new condos and fancy restaurantspopulating the forever changing Old Town neighborhood.
Where I come in....I was an intern at One Grand Gallery during the Winter of 2014. We all knew of the closing and owner Jordan Mendez thought up an idea to do a poster show about what the Magic Garden means to the artist, and how would they render a concert type poster for the event. This is where a call to artists all over Portland was announced, and the idea for me to take portraits of the dancers and bartenders, the space, and the dressing room as it is on a day-to-day basis, in the last month that the club was to be open. Many participated, and those that did were gracious enough to allow me in their space and take a peek into their lives as part of Portland's favorite dive bar and strip club history came to an end, The doors closed on New Year's Eve 2014.