Rosewood

A weekly distillation of musical goings-on, local and otherwise.

Every week or so, another local scenester packs up and heads south for the greener grass of Portland, Ore. And why not? The Rose City's cheaper, smaller, quainter, and arguably more liberal than Seattle. In short, it's what it was like here 15 years ago.

This week's expat-to-be is Lisa Wood, KEXP's twice-monthly Audioasis host and tireless champion of local talent. Since signing on at KEXP in 2004, Wood has been a megaphone for countless unknown bands, boosting the likes of the Valley, the Blue Scholars, and Visqueen, among others.

"Everyone wants to know if there's some juicy story behind my moving," says Wood. "But really, I've been in Seattle for 20 years. I'm just ready for a change."

But Wood also cites a problem common to anyone trying to live in Seattle while making a living in the arts: This place is damn expensive.

"For the last six years, I've been working my ass off at three jobs," she says, citing her main gig as music programmer for ScreenPlay Inc. (a company that provides music videos to department stores) and her weekly Tuesday night DJ stint on commercial radio's 104.9 (aka "The Funky Monkey").

"My boyfriend's a chef, and we barely ever see each other—we're just passing each other at night. I've been working all day, seven days a week. I just need a break."

Then there's the traffic, of which Wood sometimes feels she might as well be driving up from Portland already.

"I live in Mount Baker," says Wood. "And it takes me an hour to get to Ballard in the mornings."

Portland will hopefully provide much-needed respite for Wood, who's got a pretty sweet situation sketched out there. Not only will she physically commute from Portland twice a month to maintain her slot on Audioasis, but her bosses at ScreenPlay Inc. are allowing her to telecommute full time as well.

"I just went in and told [ScreenPlay Inc.] about how I wanted to move to Portland and suggested telecommuting," she says. "They said, 'Well, you're one of our best employees, we'd hate to lose you—so we'll give it a shot.'"

This Friday, the Sunset Tavern in Ballard will host Wood's going-away bash, with appearances by the Beautiful Mothers, Beat Senseless, the Valley, and DJ Ben Hooker of Visqueen. Getting in might prove difficult, however.

"By the time I invited all my friends and family, I had a list of about 200 people," she says. "So, I'm hoping people will just kind of come and go throughout the night."

bbarr@seattleweekly.com

 
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