Posts Tagged ‘Vinyasa Yoga’

Day 1 Seattle-Shakti Vinyasa Yoga-Lisa Black

Seattle, Washington, June 15, 2009

Shakti Vinyasa Yoga / Ballard – Lisa Black

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Seattle Skyline from Kerry Park

The sun’s shinin’, the birds singin’ as we cross the threshold of our cool Queen Anne apartment and UNLOAD…we packed for 100 days, but this is ridiculous….all we really need is the itinerary of the Best Yoga Studios and Teachers on the West Coast, the Manduka, the Toes, the Mac, the ipod, the wise, kind, old grandfather cocker spaniel, Rudy (author of down dogisms), and of course, each other. However, it seems we brought just a little bit more. Hundreds of stairs later, (we keep sayin’ it’s good for the butt), we looked out the window to the awe-inspiring Puget Sound and watched as the diamonds jumped off the water – takin’ a deep breath…

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Lisa Black

We ramped it into high gear and headed to the studio that Seattle magazine rates as the #1 Power studio in the city, Shakti Vinyasa Yoga, to take a Power 2 class from studio owner, Lisa Black.  The YoYo’s got  ready to SWEAT knowing that Lisa was featured in Yoga Journal 2008 as one of the top “talented young teachers shaping the future of yoga”. Wearing as little as the law allows, we raced across town to the quaint neighborhood of Ballard.

We were greeted by a kaleidoscope of eye-poppin’ colors that invigorated the mind and calmed the spirit at this stunning studio.  Instantly, we felt the welcoming energy of our fellow yogis at Shakti Vinyasa Yoga and understood why Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga is rippin’ up the yoga community, attracting supporters at light speed.

Shakti Vinyasa -Ballard

Shakti Vinyasa -Ballard

Lisa Black, Senior Master Baptiste Instructor, powered it up and the YoYo’s knew something very special was about to go down..  Her voice…so soothing, her easy way…so experienced, we didn’t realize until after class that we’d had every yoyo muscle worked to its infinite edge and back again.   Lisa’s adjustments were beyond compare as she assisted each student to a new level…was that really YoYoYogi man hangin’ in one-legged/armed-whatever crow…?

We went in search of “not to miss studios” on the west coast – Shakti Vinyasa Yoga is all that and more!

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Day 2 Seattle-Shakti Vinyasa East-Lisa Black

Shakti Vinyasa Yoga / Bellevue – Lisa Black

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Pike Place Market

A Mecca for fruit, veggies, flowers, damn good street musicians, tourist, and the YoYo’s, Pike Place Market is a microcosm of the Emerald City. Old, young, every color and country on earth is represented in the outrageous gift of this square mile. Fun & Funky, the sights and sounds of this farmer’s bounty enlivens every YoYo cell and encourages us to just breathe and be as we prepare for a return trip to the teachin’ excellence of Lisa Black.  Tonight we head across town to Shakti Vinyasa Yoga EAST to her newest studio in Bellevue, Washington.

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Peter Avolio and Lisa Black

Lisa Black’s Shakti 3 is her powerful & challenging Signature Class. Based on her creative genius from the previous night, we are excited to take it on.  We find the Bellevue studio on a quaint street of boutique businesses and enter the jaw-droppin’ beauty of this innovative studio.  Photos on the wall of Lisa and husband, Peter Avolio, remind the YoYo’s that the owners/directors of Shakti Vinyasa Yoga are renown throughout the yogi community. The gorgeous palettes of colors throughout the studio are so delicious it made us want to eat the walls. Gi-normous windows flooded the room with light….but the killer interior was just the openin’ act… Lisa’s Shakti 3 class was the headliner!

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Lisa Black Assisted Backbend

The encouraging, evenly-paced voice of this talented teacher effortlessly moved the class through ultra-creative, fluid movements. An hour of the sweetest flow seemed like mere minutes as the YoYo’s totally peaced-out. Lisa guided the class through practice expandin’ arm balances, backbends and inversions while she gave her heart n’ soul to everyone who wanted to ‘give it a go”.

Perfectly placed, her rockin’ tunes and good humor gave Lisa’s signature Shakti 3 class, life, FUN and energy.

Shakti 3=SO SUH-WEET!!!


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Day 5 Seattle-Home Yoga Terri Dyer

Got to get going’ to our morning yoga class before heading’ out to The Naked Parade in Fremont at 12 noon!  It’s not really called, “The Naked Parade” but according to Seattleites, the “Summer Solstice Parade”, brings out a smorgasbord of bodies tattooed with bright paint and nothin’ else… ridin’ around on bikes.  The YoYos wouldn’t miss this for the world!   So up, and off we go to Home Yoga in Queen Anne, just walkin’ distance from the YoYos Seattle flat.

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Home Yoga

No fancy sign…no lights, camera or action, just beautiful plants, and big welcoming smiles greeted the YoYos.  Terri Dyer, owner of Home Yoga, is proud to be a vital member of this pulsating Queen Anne neighborhood and has created a strong community by offering students generous discounts for bringing donations to the neighborhood’s suffering food banks, posting flyers from students to encourage yogis helping yogis, offering her comfortable space and level head to students forming various groups; she even gives mid-day yoga classes at nearby corporations to get people off the computer and on the mat.  Terri, a super-smart yogi who “pulled the plug” on her corporate life; found peace, love and happiness by meditating and teaching yoga before opening this neighborhood favorite 6 years ago…and the YoYos are soooo happy she did. 

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Terri Dyer

The YoYos LOVE, a strong, fluid, creative sequence using breath as the connective tissue and that is exactly what they found at this home-grown neighborhood retreat. Reversing the flow with her smooth voice and encouraging direction from the front to the back of the mat, Terri mixes it up and keep her students moving in an unusual, lyrical, yet easy- to-follow artistic pattern that felt so damn good!  Terri processes a rare gift for brilliantly teaching all levels of yogis in the same class; offering basic poses, then suggesting deepening poses, then encouraging deeper-deepening poses so the class was perfect for the “never done yoga before” student and challenging for the “Lifer.”  Queen Anne is a killer location; minutes from Downtown …when in Seattle…check it out and feel like you’re coming HOME!  

After class, with the encouragement of the yogis at Home Yoga…off to the “Naked Parade” we go. We travel across town at the speed of sound and find ourselves with no place to park….CRAP!  We are going to miss the naked people!!!   We look and look and finally we find an almost legal spot.  We are runnin’ with The Ru (the wise, kind, old grandfather cocker spaniel has a hitch in the hip but he is highly motivated) miles down the street, (100 studio in 100 days has its benefits) to witness the coolest parade ever.  The street is filled with, well…we can’t really explain what the street is filled with, but something screams San Francisco, ’67, Summer of Love!  What a City!

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Summer Solstice Parade

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Juggling Unicyclist

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Crazy Good Musicians


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Day 6 Seattle-Yoga Studio Magnolia-Brooke & Lee

Lee Atwell & Brooke Zwerner

Lee Atwell & Brooke Zwerner

The daylight hours in Seattle this time of year are seemingly 20 hours long, but today is Summer Solstice – so we can bump that up a notch!  Celebratin’ the Sun, we are up at an even earlier crack to take “back to back” classes with Lee Atwell (yogini) and Brooke Zwerner (yogi), owners of The Yoga Studio in Magnolia. Hidden in a quaint village filled with happy people and even happier dogs, The Yoga Studio in Magnolia is in perfect harmony with the mellow feel of this drop-dead gorgeous neighborhood. Enter this serene space and any stress you thought you may have once had…is long-gone.

Lee-&-Brooke

Lee & Brooke

“Feelin’ the Love”, on this extraordinary Sunday morning, Brooke, a 30 year student of Baba Hari Dass, began his deeply-grounding Vinyasa 1-2 class with pranayama, mantras and bhandas that centered each yogi, guiding them to feel fully present prior to beginning a meditation in motion. Brooke’s attentive and experienced adjustments allowed the YoYos to feel familiar poses at a much deeper level.  This interesting Yogi also works individually with students giving personalized yoga consultations based on Jyotish readings.

Feeling one with the earth after Brooke’s focused class, Lee entered the room with energy so serene, so calming – The YoYos felt their hearts smile- a feeling they never want to loose. This joyful class began with grounding pranayama and guided visualizations that continued to expand throughout every deepening asana. Lee’s continual encouragement to freely open the heart to the sun gave new voice to familiar poses. This gifted teacher’s authentic presence was generously shared to the fortunate yogis in her class through the special gift of her angel- like voice, which resonated like a beautiful melody with spoken words.

Discovery-Park-Light-House

Discovery Park Light House

What’s a YoYo to do after classes like that???? OM’n in nature comes to mind.  How fortunate to have Discovery Park, an emerald forest with zillions of miles of trails, located on the Sound …only minutes away! It’s all coming together now…the mellow people, the happy dogs, the enlightin’ yoga studio, the rainbow-colored flora growing in prehistoric proportions…Magnolia is a “not to miss” place when in Seattle!

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Day 10 Seattle-8 Limbs Yoga-Anne Phyfe Palmer

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Anne Phyfe Palmer

Today’s the day the YoYos have been anticipating since they received the most welcome invitation from Anne Phyfe (double first name) Palmer, owner of  8 Limbs Yoga, to take her morning class accompanied by the “So Much Magnificence” music of Steve Gold & Anne-Emilie.  Totally excited, the YoYos were about to experience a Flow 2 class given by one of Seattle’s most celebrated teachers in her positively “not to miss” studio, accompanied by this talented musical team.  This was true YoYo bliss!   

8 Limbs Boutique

8 Limbs Boutique

 The unassuming store front located in Capitol Hill, did not disclose the too-cool studio that waited up the long, brick-lined stairway to the massive 2nd floor.  Once there, the YoYos knew there was no place in all the continents, in all the world that they would rather be.  Smilin’ Sarah welcomed us into the giant greeting space filled with cool yogi gear, comfy couches and possibly the cutest little kids ever. This totally unique studio has so many awesome, hidden areas that creative Anne opened a hip little kid’s space, allowing Moms & Dads a little yogi time to fill ‘er up.  Let’s just say that this one of a kind studio gives Seattleites, or roadtrippin’ yogis, plenty to fill up on.

8 Limbs Suyra Studio

Students in the Surya Studio

Overlooking the city below, the Surya (Sun) Studio is engulfed by beautiful, old-style floor to ceiling windows that allowed a radiant glow to stream into the room, our hearts and minds.  Casually, smilin’ yogis streamed in and scattered their mats as they seemed to inhale their surroundings.  Anne entered; calm, authentic and pure, starting with a deep breathing exercise inspired by Ron Stryker that immediately lightened the YoYos, creating clarity.  From there, Anne’s fluid movements revolved around lifting the heart…making it light.  No stress, no strain, no worries in this calming yet powerful class; just a sense of ease in this peaceful space. Offering a buffet of deepin’ variations to every asana, Anne’s easy style had a calming effect that could be felt in this room of yogis strongly encouraged to feel their individual practice.  

Anne, Anne-Emilie,Steve & The Yo Yos

Anne, Anne-Emilie, Steve & The Yo Yos

As Anne brought the class to near close, a most beautiful sound began filling the room…Steve Gold magnificently strummed his acoustic guitar as his rich resonate voice took over. His beautiful wife, Anne-Emilie created soothing, “soul full” harmonies. After several peace-providin’ melodies, the lyrical music expanded throughout the room as the yogis joined in to create a magical sound. These YoYos were transported!

Talkin’ to this ultra-talented Seattle based team, we were jazzed to find that Steve and Anne-Emilie after just returning from a 6 week tour with Shiva Rhea in Bali, were off to tour the West.  With 89 studios to go…the YoYos chances of havin’ a “take 2” are lookin’ pretty good.

Is the YoYo Seattle time really almost gone??…The YoYos,  kickin’ themselves for not schedulin’ days and days to spend at the other 8 Limbs studios- located in Wedgwood and West Seattle, know when they come back, they’ll be blissin’ at  8 Limbs Yoga!

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Day 14 Seattle-Yoga Bliss-Maria Bliss

Mercer Island

Mercer Island

After learnin’ a boatload from the body alingin’, mind-expandin’ Masters of Seattle Yoga over the past 2 weeks, the YoYos were feelin’ a little power (Yoga) lust coming on.  Word on the street was that no trip to Seattle’s top yoga studios would be complete without a body-drenchin’, heart-openin, rockin’ time at Yoga Bliss located in the “you got to be kiddin’ me” neighborhood of Mercer Island. Arriving early, we went lookin’  for a park for peacein’- out before wringin’ it out, only to realize this giant island IS a Park with  endless biking trails, walking paths, “never seen on the planet earth” flora and fauna, and mondo-beyondo mansions.

Maria Bliss

Maria Bliss

Entering the small “downtown”, we headed over to “Power it up” with Maria Bliss- real last name, owner of Yoga Bliss located next to not just one – but two Starbucks! This intimate studio painted with hues of deep color; powerful purple, and heart charka green accented with rich wood tricked the poor YoYo minds into thinking they had entered a spa.  The friendliness of Amy at the front desk was overwhelming, welcoming us as one of the energetic yogis who call Yoga Bliss home- and the YoYos felt good!

Super-smilin’, super-fit, super-awesome Maria Bliss, highly trained by the superstars of power yoga came in after riding her bike ½ way around the island to her studio, a ride she takes daily to give her exciting, super imaginative classes.  “OM”ing into killer creative Sun Salutations, Maria turned up the heat and turned on the music challenging the class with fluid, fun flows that allowed the YoYos to stretch and strengthen every fiber of their being. Wheels turnin’ , sweat drippin’, this unique class works the mind and body in a way that begs you to come back for more…and more …and more it will be, the next time these Power Junkies return to this epic hub of “takin’ it to the edge” yoga.

The Ultimate Mountain Pose

The Ultimate Mountain Pose

Crossing the bridge “home” was like a nostalgic e-ticket ride at Disneyland. Standing over the endless sparklin’ water; the majestic, impossibly giant, snow covered Mount Rainer stood in a most amazing Mountain Pose giving the YoYos guidance and inspiration for what was to come…as they continue this amazing journey!

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Day 15 Seattle-Samadhi Yoga-Steve Davis

Samadhi Yoga

Samadhi Yoga

 

Ever since our arrival, Master Teachers have been singin’ praises for Samadhi Yoga, founder Kathleen Hunt and all Samadhis’ top notch instructors who have been the spring board for several of the Seattle greats. Our final day in this epic center of yoga, takes us to this revered Seattle studio identified by just a small “OM” sign in an old commercial building in Capitol Hill.

Main Studio

Main Studio

Entering this enormous yogi sanctuary filled with spiritual books, kirtan CD’s, spacious old wood floored studios, well used cubbies stuffed with stuff, and a special spot for “family” to hang their mats, the YoYos felt comfortable, easy and calm…and that was even before beginning our “Move, Breathe and Meditate” class with Steve Davis, ex- U.S. Naval Intelligence Officer turned inspirational Yogi.

Steve Davis with Hang Drum

Steve Davis with Hang Drum

This totally unique experience began by Steve melodically playing the Hang, a Swiss made, steel drum kinda instrument that exuded ethereal harmonic tones. Movin’ into rapid heat-buildin’ asana and forever held poses, this one-of-a-kind sequence magically released our YoYo mind and bodies as the energy started flowin’ every which way. And so it was…as this exceptional experience became a yin yang adventure of sweatin’ fiery movement, sah weet stretches, and “oh dear God” butt burners. Steve led pranayama exercises that left the poor YoYos no choice but to feel “high” before falling into much anticipated Meditation. When time for final savasana, the YoYos just sank as this introspective teacher waved an unfamiliar scent over the relaxed faces of the yogis and once again played the Hang as the mystical rhythm took us deeper still.

“Transformed by the Magic of Yoga”, The YoYos experienced the mission of Samadhi Yoga down to their yogi toes as we left floatin’, knowin’ only a few hours of daylight were left before hittin’ the road. We scooted over to Lincoln Park in West Seattle to discover our final hidden treasure of our Northern Most Epic Adventure.

Yo Yo Yogiman can't resist soft serve

Yo Yo Yogiman can't resist soft serve

Yo Yo Yogini in Lincoln Park

Yo Yo Yogini in Lincoln Park

Picking’ up the Ru, the wise, kind, old beggin’ to go beachin’ cocker spaniel, we hit PCC, grabbed a Kombucha (stuff gets addicting) and off we went to the zillion acre park; running through the amazing forest covered with ferns, mondo trees, giant flowers, happy people and silly yogis posin’ in the park. Finding the trail leadin’ to the beach our eyes popped open to find a regular nostalgic oasis of boardwalkin’ happy people: sun-bathin’, roller-skatin’, pool-swimmin’ and lickin’ the best  butter pecan soft serve on the planet from Cowboy Ice Cream. A day at the beach hadn’t been like this in years- and the YoYos were happy!

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Day 17 Portland-Yoga Shala-Tracy Vogel

Researchin’, surfin’ and just plain askin’ our fellow bandana wearin’ brethren to point us in the right direction, always gets us straight to the “not to miss” yoga studios on the west coast.  Today, we were lovin’ the guiding words…”Hey YoYo’s… if you miss Yoga Shala…you’ll miss yoga in Portland.”

North Williams Street

North Williams Street

 

Located in outer Mississippi, or was that outer Alabama, or was that just north of south…seems the folks in this ‘hood have a slight identity crisis on what to call this area… so much so, they are actually holding a clever name contest for the strip of land that claims hip restaurants, coffee houses, small cafes and one-of- a-kind; toy, cooking and design stores.  This surprising block in the NE area looks like an old warehouse with an ancient loading dock turned deck that opens to the sun. In the midst, shining like a beacon, sits Yoga Shala.  

Shiva Studio

Yoga Shala

Antique, turned cutting-edge, glass garage doors open to expose the entire 1st floor of this unique studio where everything yogi awaited. The YoYos were blown away to see stairs leading to a 2nd floor open loft with; not one…not two… but three….killer studios. The “omg” ceiling was super giant rounded wood; the walls…a kaleidoscope of Portland urban and the offerings were off the charts!

World-Class Kirtan

World-Class Kirtan

Pranayama series in one room, a plethora of immersion classes from talented instructors in the other, and Kirtan performances in the mother of all rooms with walls that open to seat 250…yep, 250, are common in this Center for Yoga which regularly hosts coveted performances and workshops from renowned artists and yoga greats.  

Located in outer –wherever, Yoga Shala NE is the expanded creation of owner Jodi Kurilla with the ever-popular original Yoga Shala remaining in the SE.   Tonight, slowin’ things way down, the YoYos basked in an easy to follow,  beginning class from Tracy Vogel, manager of this yoga nucleus to see just how this super successful studio kick-starts its community of loyal yogis.

First Thursday in the Pearl

First Thursday in the Pearl

Feeling a “bolt from the blue” after our astounding yogic discovery, the YoYos headed over to  First Thursday, held on …you guessed it…. the first Thursday of every month in the Pearl District throughout the summer, to witness first hand how yogis on a budget do P-Town right.  Free people-watchin’, free “up-scale” art studios openin’, free food eatin’ and free wine drinkin’.  Booths from Portland’s talented, creative artists and music on the streets from next weeks superstars while zillions of people come to have “hot” fun in the summertime….  Portland…you got it goin’ on!

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Day 18 Portland-CPY NW-James Grant

Studious RU

Studious RU

Alberta Arts District

Alberta Arts District

Today was the day The Ru; the wise, kind, old, “soon to be published” grandfather cocker spaniel had been waitin’ for since bein’ stuffed in the YoYo mobile and forced to explore parts unknown to begin this epic adventure. So happy was author Ru, that “Down Dogisms” was to be made available in “About Us” in the YoYoYogi blog that we celebrated by goin’ to that ‘hood great writers had gone before…The Alberta Arts District. Here, he could gather fodder for his plagiarized reflections. Swaggering Ru, felt at “one” with this avant-garde community of coffee houses, old-school barber shops, toy stores, head shops, rib pits, stores made out of tin and wine stores sellin’ zin. A day of relaxin’, was just what the 3 of needed… knowin’ a most welcome treat and thorough butt-kickin’ was waitin’ for us on the other side of town.

James Grant

James Grant

Now, Every roadtrippin’ yogi needs a place to call h“OM”e and when the YoYo’s feel the need for speed, it’s all about Portland’s, “turn up the volume” yoga…CorePower Yoga-NW! Vigorous and humblin’, these “power-worshippin’” yogis love this potent, super-sweaty, swarmin’ room with killer music, monster humidifiers, and ever-changin’ inspired flows. It was here, in this addicted yoga community that the YoYos first laid eyes on James Grant… doin’ some kinda something while standin’ on what appeared to be one finger with legs flyin’ ever which way. Now, we’d had been hangin’ with yoga for years, but never had we seen anything like this… and to think, today, the courageous YoYos were to challenge themselves beyond previous capacity at this accomplished teacher’s, 90 minute- 100 degree Core 3 class.

Startin’ slowly and quickly pickin’ up the dramatic pace, this artistic guide kept our minds busy while leadin’ our bodies in hot pursuit of that continually expandin’ edge throughout this inspired, inventive and super-original flow. Blarin’ tunes that rocked our world and messages that melted our hearts, this innovative leader reiterated our unwaverin’ belief that there IS… No Place like h”om”e.

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Day 19 Portland-The Yoga Space-Michele Loew

The Yoga Space

The Yoga Space

To get that deep, opening flow goin’, all a YoYo really needs is a big old space to throw down a mat, a super-focused teacher, and an awesome community of “chill” yogis…Today, we found exactly that in SE Portland, behind a white corner storefront with a small sandwich sign aptly announcing, “The Yoga Space”.   A better name in the entire world couldn’t be found for this unassuming spot that was custom made for “soul” Yoga. 

No fanfare, no frills…no butt liftin’, tummy suckin’, cleavage enhancin’ yoga wear at this “it’s all about the yoga” studio.  Nope, this unique space with 100 year old floors, huge windows and “no worries” attitude keeps it simple, allowing owner and teacher extraordinaire Michele Lowe, to continue on a path of world-wide learning so she can bring it back to her well established and growing community of loyal yogis. 

Spot-on, the YoYos were lovin’ Michele’s unique ability to expertly adjust every body and every asana for everyone in this full, “even on the 4th of July”, class making the all-levels Vinyasa Flow easy to follow for the newbie or “born in headstand” yogi.  No wonder the tight-knit community at Yoga Space keeps comin’ back for MORE and more, especially on Tuesday and Thursday night when The Yoga Space serves up a $5 Happy Hour Class… Now, that’s a yogi style deal! 

Walkin’ out the door, we realized …it was goin’ to be a scorcher here in P-Town…
Burnin’ Blues…Blazin’ Fireworks… Sizzlin’ Fare
So…off we headed to the Waterfront, for a little 4th of July action….Portland Style!

Waterfront Blues Festival

Waterfront Blues Festival

4th Of July Fireworks

4th Of July Fireworks

Yo! The YoYos haven’t seen a crowd like this since Obama’s innaguration… Food from everywhere on Planet Earth, sounds from Blues Superstars, people watchin’ that will end all future people watchin’ and the most excellent Fiery Party in the Sky… and to think… this is all about this community givin’ back to the Oregon Food Bank.  The Annual  Safeway Water Front Blues Festival- fund raiser/party is the biggest of the year and that’s sayin’ something for a lively city that’s all about micro-brews, happy hours, and supporting those in need.

Could it be that we are goin’ on Capt’n Jason’s lil sailboat to watch the fireworks on the water? Of all the places in all the world, there is nowhere the YoYos would rather be than in Portland tonight!

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