X-Ray Cafe

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The X-Ray Cafe was a small music venue in Portland, Oregon, United States from 1990 to 1994. An all-ages and community-oriented club, the X-Ray played a "heavyweight role in shaping Portland's underground culture," fostering such musical acts as Elliott Smith, Team Dresch, and Quasi, and hosted national acts like Bikini Kill and Green Day and was described by Details as one of the best rock and roll clubs in the country.[1][2] Located at 214 W. Burnside St., it was characterized by a surreal environment and performers; owners Tres Shannon and Benjamin Arthur Ellis, who took over the U.F.O Cafe to establish the X-Ray and were in the band The Kurtz Project, encouraged acts that featured instruments that aren't typically associated with rock music, like Big Daddy Meatstraw, who performed on stage in clown costumes.[1] As grunge and alternative music were emerging in Portland and Seattle under a national spotlight, the X-Ray served as an important stage for smaller acts in the genre, and along with nearby Satyricon nightclub, established Portland as an important regional performing destination for touring bands.[3][4]

The X-Ray was in operation from 1990 to 1994.[5][6][7]

The club is the subject of a 2000 documentary, "X-Ray Visions," directed by former owner Ellis.[3] [8] [9] [10]

Owner Richard "Tres" Shannon III has remained a prominent figure in Portland. He booked music for neighboring club Berbati's Pan,[11] and later opened Voodoo Doughnut.[12] He has also run for Mayor of Portland and City Council,[13] and founded the innovative karaoke band Karaoke from Hell.[14]

The X-Ray Cafe was the site of a small but controversial riot in 1993.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Willamette Week 25 Years: 1991". Willamette Week. 1999. Retrieved 2007-06-27.
  2. ^ Ramos, Nestor (August 20, 2004). "All-age, all the rage". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2007-06-27.
  3. ^ a b Tejaratchi, Sean (November 9, 2000). "Live Music and Other Activities: A Look Back at the Late, Great X-Ray Cafè". Portland Mercury. Retrieved 2007-06-30.
  4. ^ BAUMGARTEN, MARK (September 7, 2005). "RIFF CITY: The rise and fall of the great pop hopes that ruled Portland's early-'90s music scene". Willamette Week.
  5. ^ Marty Hughley (August 22, 1994). "X-Ray Cafe does it up proud, closing in eclectic blaze of glory". The Oregonian.
  6. ^ Marty Hughley (August 17, 1994). "Exit the X-Ray". The Oregonian.
  7. ^ Marty Hughley (July 11, 1994). "Fond farewell to Ben and Tres: X-Ray Cafe to take a nosedive". The Oregonian.
  8. ^ Northwest Film Center archive Archived May 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Jan-Feb 2001
  9. ^ Amazon.com page for X-Ray Visions movie, Feb 2010
  10. ^ X-Ray Visions movie site, Nov 2011
  11. ^ "Willamette Week".
  12. ^ Spitznass, Jill (July 1, 2005). "Nightlife icon's doughnut venture is Tres times the fun". Portland Tribune. Retrieved 2007-06-27.
  13. ^ "Who are they?". The Oregonian. May 10, 1994. Retrieved 2007-06-27.
  14. ^ Horton, Jay (December 19, 2001). "Like Baby Jesus, we were born in barns". Willamette Week.
  15. ^ John Painter, Jr. (January 12, 1994). "Oregon's anti-riot statute ruled unconstitutional, case dismissed". The Oregonian.

External links[edit]

45°31′23″N 122°40′22″W / 45.523188°N 122.672733°W / 45.523188; -122.672733