X Ray Visions DVD: A Look Inside Portland's Legendary X-Ray Cafe

X Ray Visions DVD: A Look Inside Portland's Legendary X-Ray Cafe

by Benjamin Arthur Ellis

An in-depth account of one of the most important cultural epicenters in Portland's history, "X-Ray Visions" tells the story of the X-Ray Cafe, an ABC NO RIO/924 Gilman-esque "Nightclub" that hosted bands like Green Day, Crash Worship, Nation of Ulysses, Neurosis, Everclear, Smegma, Poison Idea, and virtually every touring act from '89-'94. Did you ever wonder how Portland appeared on the map as THE epicenter for weird, alternative arts and culture? It was because of the X-Ray - an entirely unique all-ages venue with a true "anything goes" aesthetic--a punk band, a circus act, toddlers banging on things, language classes, 25 cent advice, and a spanking evangelist might all appear on a single bill - and its presence put Portland on the map as a radical, rock and roll kind of town. Comes with a bonus CD soundtrack of former X-Ray regular acts, including Hazel, Dead Moon, Big Daddy Meat Straw, New Bad Things, Unwound, Crackerbash, Frances Farmer Gals, and more! Tightened up editing with a new cover by Sean Tejeratchi (Craphound!)

X Ray Visions: A Look Inside Portland's Legendary X Ray Cafe from Ben Ellis on Vimeo.



Roctober 1/26/2010

“They convince you that X-Ray Café seriously was not just any club. The true strangeness, genuine sense of the avant garde, actual commitment to social causes, true ‘alternative’ happenings, and complete lack of business sense made this a remarkable place and this DIY video is a fitting eulogy.”

Amanda Arnold 7/17/2008

I don't listen to the radio much, but today I turned on 94.7 while stuck in traffic. The radio DJ was the guy from Big Daddy Meat Straw. I think about that every time I hear his voice on the radio. I say BDMS in concert a hand full of times when I was 13 and 14. I'm 29 now. lol. I thought "you know what? I'm going to google them when I get home" It led me to this website. I didn't realize at such a young age what I was experiencing at X-Ray. I knew it was cool and I hung out with an older crowd that all hung out there. But I didn't realize that place would be such history. One of the first times I smoked pot in pubic was on the mattress on the top top weird part of the club. Not sure how to explain that. anyway, thought I would share that thought.

Gus Van Sant, Filmmaker

Yeah, I saw it.

The Oregonian

Accepting of almost all cultural expression or character type that wasn't mean-spirited, the X-Ray championed a kind of inspired amateurism and a participatory environment that's unlikely to be equaled for audacity or fun. In the words of one former regular, 'the X-Ray was the cat's potato.' And so is this film.

Portland Mercury

The film never attempts the impossible and pointless task of overall analysis. There is no agenda beyond acknowledging that something remarkable happened in and around the X-Ray during the early '90s.

Rogue Cinema

I'm giving X-Ray Visions four out of four cigars, because it' s well made, the story is great and it really makes you wish that places like this weren't quite as rare as they are! It's a great little movie and you're bound to enjoy it!

Willamette Week

X-Ray Visions is very much a Portland film. . . it gives you an insight into a scene that not a lot of people were actually in but many people heard about.

Hex zine

I really wish I was around to experience some of this. It's probably half the reason why the current crop of bizarro business owners in that city do what they do. They were probably all raised on X-Ray. The only comparison I can think of is like a giant version of Voodoo Donuts minus the donuts and with more music. Investigate it for yourself to get a little essential piece of Portland's always interesting history.

Maximum Rock n Roll

X-Ray Visions does the obscure, nostalgia documentary the correct way ... There was an open attitude of allowing anyone the shot at stardom, so many creative types played at the club. Bigger and soon to be really big bands played there too. There was a clubhouse feel. This documentary captures that feeling.

Razorcake #46

Too often films about scenes feel very snooty and exclusionary, but though it is geared to a specific audience, this film’s focus is handled in such a way that even those of us who weren’t there feel almost a sense of inclusion, leaving us wishing we’d been there for the fun, but not making us feel like assholes ‘cause we weren’t. Not a bad way to spend an hour, by any stretch.

Maximum Rock n Roll

[This] obscure, nostalgia [punk] documentary [is done] the correct way; for those who were there and have fond or not so fond memories of the place.