Creatures of the Grand Lodge
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Arts & Entertainment
Last week I spent a night at the Grand Lodge in Forest Grove, Oregon with my teenager, Hank. It’s an old manor house, once a Masonic and Eastern Star headquarters, that was renovated into a hotel by McMenamins. The Grand Lodge has a lot of Masonic art and ephemera, a secret passageway in the attic decorated with riddles from The Hobbit in black light paint, and, supposedly, a ghost. Hank loves it there. I didn’t see any ghosts but I did see a haunted-looking alcove in the basement that was familiar to me.
When the Decemberists were starting out, they naturally played some sad, under-attended shows. My favorite of these, so sad it was funny, was in the hallway of a hotel basement. I don’t remember if there was anyone in the audience. It may have just been me. I do remember that people in white bathrobes kept wandering by on the way to their rooms, a comic touch. And I also remember that it was a good gig in spite of it all because McMenamins paid well.
This old rug and green curtain was that venue. I hadn’t seen it in twenty years but recognized it instantly. It turns out that it’s next to the spa and the soaking pool, and, while I stood there reminiscing, people in white bathrobes wandered by like ghosts of this fabled show.
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I did a lot of drawing at the Grand Lodge. I was really behind on Transmundane Tuesday prompts (like a year behind) but I got partly caught up. I channeled weird Mason vibes; the claustrophobia of the tiny, cell-like room where we slept in bunk beds; the crazy true crime thing that happened in the lobby where I was hanging out late at night that is too intense to relate here; the saddest, funniest Decemberist show; the hotel’s lovely gardens; and its supposed ghost into a bunch of drawings. Here they are, creatures of the Grand Lodge: