The X-Ray Cafe
October 31, 2011 8:33 AM   Subscribe

The lifeblood of Portland OR's music scene in the early 1990's was an all ages club called the X-Ray Cafe. Here is their story.
posted by josher71 (26 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Is it a strip club now?
posted by Fister Roboto at 8:39 AM on October 31, 2011

This looks like it might have captured off VHS, does anyone have any further information?

While it's possible this might have just been the best the original uploader could manage with the hardware/software they had handy four years ago I'd love to get my hands on a better version of this (if that's possible). I wonder if anyone still has the source tape?
posted by trackofalljades at 8:50 AM on October 31, 2011

Benjamin Ellis most likely still has them.
posted by josher71 at 8:52 AM on October 31, 2011

Do you remember the 90s?
You know, people were talking about piercings and getting tribal tattoos.
And people were singing about saving the planet and forming bands.
There's a place where that idea still exists and is a reality. And I've been there.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:00 AM on October 31, 2011

Is it a strip club now?

Nope. It's the Liberation Street Church. One of the many ministries preaching mostly to the homeless downtown. The nearest strip club is about one block away.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 9:06 AM on October 31, 2011

No. That place closed. The nearest strip club is three blocks away.
posted by chrchr at 9:11 AM on October 31, 2011

Do we have to say "Portland OR", these days? Hasn't Portland, ME, pretty much given up by now?
posted by gurple at 9:13 AM on October 31, 2011 [5 favorites]

No. That place closed. The nearest strip club is three blocks away.

Wait, which one closed? The Carnaval or the seedy place next door to Dante's?
posted by Mister Fabulous at 9:16 AM on October 31, 2011

The DVD is available here.
posted by emmet at 9:33 AM on October 31, 2011

Tres Shannon is now better known as a founder of VooDoo Donuts.

I suppose a 24 Hour Church of Elvis post is forthcoming? Jim Spagg?

Portland in the 90s was awkwardly authentic. Portlandia's Dream of the 90s is just more detached irony masking the fear of true human connection. Wake me when they do a bit about the absurdity of assholes who oppose needle exchanges.
posted by Skwirl at 9:36 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

the X-Ray was Portland's wildest and most unpredictable entertainment outpost of its time

I must have gone on the wrong nights. Whenever I went it was a great place to see bands, but nothing particularly wild or mindblowing otherwise. It was sad when it closed, though, and I'm glad that people have such positive memories of the place.
posted by Forktine at 9:40 AM on October 31, 2011

How about the Satyricon? That was always a more potent symbol of the 90s Portland scene for me than any other venue (except maybe the dearly departed Blackbird). I guess my perspective is more late-90s, though.

I still miss LaLuna
posted by dialetheia at 10:20 AM on October 31, 2011

I had totally forgotten about Jim Spagg. Wow.

Yeah, there were definitely some nights when the X-Ray really did seem the best place that could ever be conceived of.
posted by josher71 at 10:24 AM on October 31, 2011

No. La Luna was the hot shit of the 90s in Portland. Pond, Floater, Jollymon, Sweaty Nipples, Hazel, all-ages. If bands wanted beer bottles thrown at them, they went to X-Ray.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:34 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

There was no beer sold at the X-Ray. And I never saw anything like that happen there.
posted by josher71 at 10:35 AM on October 31, 2011

La luna was my favorite place to see bands, definitely.

I never saw any violence at the x ray, but I'm sure it happened sometimes.
posted by Forktine at 10:39 AM on October 31, 2011

Do we have to say "Portland OR", these days?

Wait, there's a Portland in OREGON now, too?
posted by Floydd at 11:03 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

I must be thinking of something else then. Either way, La Luna was where you went to hear the best that Portland/Eugene had to offer in the 90s. Anyone who attended a Floater CD release show at La Luna knows this.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:04 AM on October 31, 2011

n'thing La Luna. That place, and my parents as a close second, are what made me who I am today.

Weekend nights I could be found sitting in a circle on the gross La Luna floor, criss cross apple sauce, passing around a bummed cigarette, patiently waiting for bands to start playing. Sometimes a joint would get passed around. I'd had first kisses, sicknesses, panic attacks, and serious injuries in the club - and all before I turned 18.

Now some friends live above it in the swanky apartments that exist up there now. Sometimes the passage of time is pretty fucking weird, man.
posted by special agent conrad uno at 11:20 AM on October 31, 2011

I should note: I'm not saying La Luna was the best influence. It took years to finally give up the cigs that I started smoking in there. But high school always shapes your life, and most of mine was spent there.
posted by special agent conrad uno at 11:22 AM on October 31, 2011

The '90s were the halcyon years for harsh noise, and in Portland that meant The Madrona Hill Winery. They eventually shut the place down for letting kids my age in, but not before I saw Manon Anne Gillis, The Haters, Merzbow, Con-Dom and more Daniel Menche sets than I can count, among others.
posted by idiopath at 11:36 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

If anyone else is interested, this documentary is apparently available on DVD for $12 from Microcosm Publishing. Not sure why it costs $8 more to order it from Patrice Mackey, perhaps one version has better packaging or is more "official" than the other or something?
posted by trackofalljades at 11:59 AM on October 31, 2011

Other than being about 1/10th the size of Portland, OR, the city of Portland, ME is very much a thriving little burg and bests Portland, OR in many statistics (crime, population of young/single folks, air/water quality, etc).. and also has a wonderfully diverse and talented local music scene. What, exactly, should Portland, ME be "giving up on", gurple, and how did your comment make this thread better or keep it on topic?
posted by mbatch at 1:37 PM on October 31, 2011

Oh wow, I bar-tended at The Madrona Hill Winery a few times. totally had forgotten...surprise. I used to deal with Tres when he was booking bands at Berbattis, interesting fellow to be sure. I loved x-ray, I loved living in Portland during those years, makes me all misty eyed nostalgic.
posted by yodelingisfun at 2:34 PM on October 31, 2011

When will we finally get a 13th Precinct FPP?!?!? What about the Pine Street Palace?!?!? Portland never gets front page attention.
posted by msalt at 6:55 PM on October 31, 2011

My Portland, the one from 93-97, actually doesn't get a lot of attention.
posted by josher71 at 4:19 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

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