As I labor on this @#&%! book, I have had time for little else. One thing I have been doing is getting out and taking brisk walks to clear my head. At a certain point on one of these walks, I happened to cruise past Vern on Belmont, which I paused to regard. There is something about taverns that really appeals to me--especially old taverns that pre-date craft beer. They are architecturally interesting buildings with distinctive personalities. In an age of chain restaurants, the corner tavern is as singular as the barfly sitting inside at the corner of the bar. Enormously evocative, they suggest cheeriness or desperation, community or loneliness--sometimes all at once. In a gentrified, boutique world, they are hardscrabble refuges for a cynics or romantics--or again, those who are both all at once.
I snapped a pic of the Vern* and put it through my iPhone app Camera+. It enhanced that impressionistic, evocative quality of the pub, and so then I had the idea of capturing more of them. As interesting as any one tavern is, taken together, they create a beautiful sense of place and time (neither of which do we seem to regularly inhabit). It's a good way for me to clear my brain before I get back to the computer.
I've got the initial set over here and I'll post some below, too.
*For non-Portlanders, Vern or The Vern is a tavern properly called Hanigan's. Sometime in the 80s (I think), the lights illuminating the sign's "T" and "A" burned out, leaving "VERN" and thereafter charming all who saw it. The name stuck, and good luck finding people who know to call it Hanigan's. That's Vern in the first picture.