Doni: Adam, thanks for agreeing to be my first Dish partner. Gosh, it’s been more than a year since I did this. I feel a little rusty. And, truth be told, a little nervous, too. The last time I did this the dish ran away with my spoon. So, from now on, instead of having a regular dish partner, I’ve decided to mix things up, and invite different people, like you, to talk with me.
Adam: I love being your first Dish partner! This is going to be great. I know you’ve been a bit preoccupied with dirty dishes, but we want to hear from you again. Someone new dishing with you every week is going to be fun. Before the dish ran away with the spoon, readers might remember that I had a short-lived dishy-thing of my own. Remember the Dish Rag?
Doni: “Dirty dishes” – very funny! Of course I remember your Dish Rag. I loved it. You and Troy were so funny. Here. Let me go get the image Phil created for you. Here it is. (That’s not a very good likeness of you, though. You do know that, right?)
Adam: I do. I am so much more dashing.
Doni: So true, so true. OK, here we go. Baby steps. Hi, Adam! Welcome to Doni’s Dish. I wanted to talk with you because you have some big news to share. You and Troy have been such an important part of anewscafe.com that I wanted to give you a chance to explain some of your recent life changes. God, it’s great to focus on others’ changes. How refreshing! No talk of my divorce, or my pending name change, or what it’s like to start over as a single person. No sirree, Adam, I’m moving on, beyond the pain and the suffering and the betrayals and …
Adam: We can talk about those things … if you must … but I was really hoping this would be, yoo hoo, all about me, moi, solo mi. What were you saying about me?
Doni: Oh, absolutely! This IS about you! You, you, you! You asked for it. Let’s cut to the chase. You live in Portland now. Inquiring minds want to know. Why did you move? Do you ever come back? Is it something we said? Can we change your mind?
Adam: We’re moving for so many reasons — jobs, culture, diversity, a more liberal atmosphere, but I don’t want anyone to think that we don’t like living in Redding. There are some things that we’ll really miss — summers at Whiskeytown, drives to Weaverville, the family cabin in Shingletown. We have met people who will be life-long friends.
And it’s nothing you said. Living in Redding forced me to do so many things that we wouldn’t have otherwise, like coordinating ArtHop, running our own business, stretching our creative limits and going back to school. A big city wouldn’t have allowed us to test our abilities, but we need a big city again!! Redding was good to us and we’ll always have ties. It just wasn’t meant to be our home. So, you can’t change our minds.
Doni: <sniff, sniff> I understand, but really, we miss you already. If I squint I can hear you say “awkward” as nobody else can say it, and remember you in the freezing cold helping me drape Christmas lights on my lemon trees, and how you whistle, raise your eyebrows and point to your empty glass when it needs refilling … oh, that reminds me — on a selfish note — who’ll be our group-hug mixologist at our anewscafe.com gatherings? Kidding. Sort of. <sigh> Enough about my needs. I’ve only visited Portland a few times. Educate us. Tell what you like about it so much that you’d make this move away from our ever-loving arms.
Adam: It would be so much easier to tell you what I don’t like! I heard a joke that Portland is the place where 30-somethings come to retire. But it’s true. It’s like this huge melting pot of the most energized, creative people from everywhere. I haven’t had a bad meal yet. I haven’t been in my car in six weeks — that’s how good the public transportation system is. There is too much to do — theater, arts, music, classes, offerings from the Parks and Recreation Department. I didn’t even mention the Saturday Market. It just started — a March to December, weekend arts and crafts market. March to December! Every weekend! You mean there are places where artists can make a living making art? Balderdash!
Doni: I can see the appeal. I know that Portland is cool, but really, you do know that you’re leaving at the worst time. I can feel it. Seriously! We’re right on the brink of something good here. Hey, did you notice the spectacular set of bridges on Highway 44 and Cypress? Beee-u-tee-ful!!! I love the metal sculptures on the 44 bridge, and the gorgeous Art Deco-esque. The ribbon-cutting is the 24th. You’ll miss that. And I just discovered a very fun line-dancing class — through Redding’s Parks and Rec — that’s a blast … and let’s see, what else … it’s coming to me …
Adam: Line dancing is tempting and I wish I could say that change was happening fast enough in Redding to make me want to stay. My advice to City Council (I’ve said this since I moved to Redding): Don’t worry about being big. Worry about being great. Redding will never lure big businesses to fill business parks until there is civic infrastructure to make people want to live there — arts, a vibrant downtown core, a public university, strong small business, well-supported parks and recreation. There isn’t any support for the cool things people try to do, so, creative people get discouraged and move on. I think the situation is improving, but there won’t be any real momentum until there is some new blood in all of the major organizations.
Doni: You make some very, very good points about the Redding area. It kills me to see creative people — like you and Troy and so many others — move here, then leave. Breaks my heart. Ouchie wa-wa. But the North State has some special features, too. For example, here’s something else I bet you won’t see in Portland: traffic on Park Marina Drive comes to a halt for geese crossing the road. And we have Rodeo Week, Kool April Nites, and so many incredible trails. Did I mention geese?
Adam: I do love the geese, but here’s something you won’t see in Redding: three free, weekly newspapers, lined up on a corner next to one another with the following headlines: “Police Program Helps Serial Offenders,” “Cheap Eats – 150 Flavors of Frugality” and “Meet Portland’s Sexiest Sex Industry Workers.”
Doni: You got me there. Hey, how about if we do a story on anewscafe.com about “Redding’s Sexiest …” I’m drawing a blank. Never mind. Carry on.
Adam: First of all, the fact that three free, independent newspapers can survive is a reason to move here. A community that sees the value in rehabilitating and finding work for repeat drug offenders, rather than keeping them incarcerated, is the second. One hundred fifty places to eat for under $10 is the third, and a sexy ballerina-turned-pole dancer is the fourth. The fact that people voted for her in a real survey cracks me up. I need this kind of multi-level diversity. It just doesn’t exist anywhere in far-Northern CA.
Doni: Hmmm. You’re right. That doesn’t sound much like Redding. But you’re not cutting your ties with anewscafe.com, right? You’ll still write local North State stuff for us from Portland.
Adam: I will write for anewscafe.com for as long as I can. I love the community-focused forum we’ve created for spreading news. And I’m still living in Redding part-time. I’ve tried to be a voice for the arts, small businesses and other creative types, so I’ll keep doing that. There are so many creative people in the State of Jefferson struggling to do what they’re passionate about, so I’ll try and keep readers up to date.
Doni: That’s a relief. I’ve always been especially fond of your “Get Outta Town” features … but Portland … I mean, I didn’t mean that far out of town.
Adam: My favorite piece is “Get Outta Town.” Each week, I try to highlight an event happening in a different region — fairs, art openings, nature walks, anything that sounds like fun or a good experience. I also include links to each county’s events page. Until now, “Get Outta Town” has been sporadic, but stay tuned for it weekly. I may even throw in some Southern Oregon picks.
Doni: That’s terrific! OK, here’s the big question — the elephant in the room … hello, nice trunk … What’s going to happen to ArtHop when you and Troy are gone for good? When I say gone, of course, I mean moved.
Adam: Troy and I just started the fire. It’s up to the community to keep it stoked. We’re looking for someone to take it and run with it. Maybe an organization that can work on it as a committee. There are so many components. I’ve had a few conversations with well-meaning individuals who want to run it, but I don’t think anyone has a grasp of how much work it is. It’s a full-time job and it happens every month.
Doni: I know ArtHop’s a lot of work for you, but our community is so much better for it. I can’t imagine it going away, and hope somebody will pick up where you and Troy left off and really grow it, nurture it, support it. Even so, to me, you and Troy are the ArtHop fathers.
Adam: I know. And I’m a really proud parent. But we’re sending ArtHop off to college. Here’s what you need to know about our child if you want to be its foster parent: It has to be fun, but ArtHop is to promote the arts, period. It has been a great tool for local businesses and non-profits to promote themselves, but this was never our focus. So, if you can wrap their head around that, we would love to pass the torch. ArtHop has great growth potential for the right guardian.
Doni: We’ve beaten that foster-parent metaphor to death without even getting into potty training or tantrums. Yay for us. But no joke, it pleases me to no end to think of ArtHop not just surviving, but thriving. Thriving, not just surviving, yes, that’s my personal life goal, but we’re not talking about me. Oh, speaking of me, here’s something else that makes me happy. I’m planning a trip to visit you some time soon. You recommend I take the train, right?
Adam: I love the train. So civilized. I have cocktails, read a book, eat in the dining car, listen to a naturalist, watch a movie, nap, see amazing scenery. So much better than being in the car. I’ve found most people are respectful. Train riders seem to have a code of etiquette. On my last trip, around midnight, I had to tell a young, ditsy, blonde, amped-up on Red Bull to shut her pie-hole, but otherwise my train rides have been without incident.
Doni: So funny, I swear, I thought you said the blonde was amped up on “Red Bluff” … oops… Freudian slip. I have the North State on my mind. Sorry. Uh, where were we?
Adam: Trains. When are you coming to see me? Get ready, we’re going to eat, drink, and walk it all off for two days straight.
Doni: How about a spring visit? I’ll bring my walking shoes, Visa card and roomy clothes. But you know what, I’m telling you, no matter how much I love Portland, Redding’s my home. But you can visit me here, OK? Who knows, I might make it look so good you’ll want to move back. You never know. Never say … oh, never mind.
Adam: Portland may not end up being our life-long home, either. Troy is getting an international cosmetology license, and we’ve talked about living in Europe, so who knows… I like adventures. Redding was an exciting one, but other exciting things beckon.
Doni: I’m feeling sad, because this is sounding very much like the end … at least of this first do-over Dish. Thank you so much, Adam. You made it easy. I prefer dragged-out farewells and hope you and I never have to really say goodbye. With that in mind, while I think about my upcoming train trip, don’t you have something to write for me?
Adam: You won’t have to really say goodbye. Gotta go. Lots to write. Thanks, readers, for reading it. Thanks, Doni for letting me write and for letting me Dish.
Doni: Hey, Adam. I just thought of one thing that Portland does have that Redding doesn’t: Adam Mankoski. I just hope it realizes what a treasure it’s getting.
Independent online journalist Doni Greenberg founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Greenberg was an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, CA.
A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment.