Author Archive


Ellie Herring - Week 2


Residency is a two-part journal entry brought to you by one of our favorite creatives.

This Week, the Lexington, KY-based artist Ellie Herring continues the tales of her Honda CT-70.

Memoirs of a Honda CT-70 Pt. 2

Lesson #3: BFFs make sacrifices for each other, even their entire faces.

The setting: Many years later my family moved to Kentucky from Tennessee. We were in a very typical suburban neighborhood, but our house had a huge sinkhole in the backyard. It was so big that it literally looked like a huge, natural, grassy vert ramp. Tammy. Let me preface this with a few mini-stories about Tammy. Tammy had the worst luck ever. I mean uh huh honey, it was bad. I’d seen this girl roll down a set of bleachers in a gymnasium in front of hundreds of people, head over feet, slow motion tumbles. Another time she was driving down the road, minding her own, when a huge piece of a fire truck fell off in front of her. The piece of fire truck slid across the road. Her Geo Prism got stuck on top of the piece of metal, teeter-tottering, wheels off the ground. She called me to tell me she would be late picking me up for school because, her car was stuck on top of a piece of fire truck. There you have it, that’s enough.

Obviously, we were a bit older than Memoirs of a Honda CT-70 Pt. 1 (I was 15).

One afternoon Tammy and I were outside of my house when she saw a glimmer of sun reflecting off the edge of something underneath the deck of my house. What she saw was the sun reflecting off the headlight of the CT-70. She ran over and threw the tarp back to find my baby love, the CT-70. By this time the CT-70 had been handed down to both of my younger brothers, neighborhood kids, you name it. It looked more like a huge piece of scrap metal and duct tape, with a motor and seat. I just couldn’t let go. It would still start and could be ridden at your own risk. Tammy went for it, squeezing into a scuffed up helmet made for a 12-year-old. I specifically said, “Avoid the sinkhole in the backyard.” She didn’t. She flew down through the backyard and down into the sinkhole. I thought surely she’d stop before trying to make it up the other side, remember this is vert ramp-like. She didn’t. She went up the other side, popping up in the air and over the side of the sinkhole.

This caused her to pop a wheelie so high that the bike flew out from underneath her. Tammy didn’t let go. She was still accelerating while running behind the bike as if she was chasing it. All she had to do was let go. We started screaming from the yard, “Tammy just let go. Let goooooo.” She didn’t. She continued up through the field holding onto the bike, it was upright out in front of her, literally dragging Tammy through my neighborhood at this point. Tammy started to wear down, her lungs couldn’t handle it any longer. She let go and the bike fell to the ground. She fell to the ground. It was over. I asked Tammy why she didn’t just let go and she told me that she thought it might break the bike. I told her it would be worse to break her face. She was an awesome friend who I loved very much.

Read Ellie Herring’s first entry here.


Ellie Herring - Week 1


Residency is a two-part journal entry brought to you by one of our favorite creatives.

This Week, the Lexington, KY-based artist Ellie Herring tells us what she learned about life from her beloved Honda CT-70.

Memoirs of a Honda CT-70

I grew up in the south, on the border of Tennessee and Alabama in a small town named Winchester. There are a few things Winchester keeps close to its heart: football, a huge lake, and being the birthplace of Dinah Shore. These things are pretty cool, but there’s one thing they fail to throw a parade for every year—the Honda CT-70. Below is an illustration of the Honda CT-70, the greatest and most memorable gift I was ever bestowed, my choice whip for burning rubber up and down the street as a kid.


The CT-70 provided lessons that my parents couldn’t. Real shit.

Lesson #1: Grin and bear it.

The setting: A neighborhood field that we pretended was a regulation baseball field but wasn’t. As a result, we often smashed baseballs into the neighbor’s driveway across the street. That was an automatic home run.

I had two boy cousins around my age, two brothers, and grew up in a neighborhood full of boys. I was one of the boys; I was 12-years-old. I fired up the CT-70 one summer and cruised up the street to the field. After the game we started discussing how cool it would be to ride the CT-70 as fast as it would go across the field and into the street, riding directly off the curb and making a sharp right, continuing on down the road. A smooth getaway… And while I was never dared to do this, the dare was heavily implied. So I got on the CT-70 and made my way across the field, going as fast as I possibly could—third gear, baby. As I approached the curb that I was supposed to jump off of, I started to notice a shadow just before it.

It turns out this shadow was an indention or small ditch just before the curb, just large enough for my front tire to fall in and jam stuck. Well, I jammed stuck. I flew over the handlebars and slid about 15 feet across the street on my stomach, arms fully extended. I usually wore soccer goalie gloves and pretended that they were legit motorcycle gloves, but on this day I didn’t. I cut my hands up pretty bad and totally severed my pride. I knew I had about thirty seconds before my squad would come running to make sure I was okay. That couldn’t happen, because by the time they got there, I would probably be crying. I swallowed the lump of tears in my throat and jumped up throwing my hands up in the air and yelled, “I’m totally okaaayyyy!” I picked up the CT-70 and rode off. Once I got home, I noticed I’d broken a blinker and messed up my kickstand. Sometimes you make stupid decisions, but that’s on you. Grin and bear it.

Lesson #2: Don’t trust just anyone.

The setting: My backyard, next to a trampoline and an old office desk my dad cleaned fish on. The house next to us had been vacant for years. I loved this house. It was mysterious, modern, bare, and full of windows on one side with no coverings. One afternoon a family moved in. Do you know how hard it is to be a 12-year-old kid and not lay on a trampoline and stare in on the new family moving in? Trying to figure out who they were, did they have kids my age, where were they from?

After several hours of me going in and out of my house, pretending I didn’t notice they were moving in, I saw a boy. A boy my age. He had long hair, wore Soundgarden shirts, and was enigmatic as hell. His name ended up being Greg. After weeks of Greg living next door, he walked over and spoke to me. However, it wasn’t to speak to me. It was to ask if he could ride the CT-70. I immediately said, “Yes, of course.” My dad was outside and saw Greg putting a helmet on. I was hoping this wouldn’t happen, but he shouted from across the yard, “Hey, you ever ridden a motorcycle before?” Greg immediately said, “Oh yeah, of course.” He got on the CT-70, adjusted the helmet a bit, and took off across the backyard. It didn’t take long before I noticed something was wrong. Greg was wobbling around, his legs were off the pedals and his feet kept smacking the ground, but he was still accelerating. We all started screaming for him to hit the brakes, but it was too late. He slammed into the back of my house at full speed. Greg fell off the CT-70, slammed the helmet down, and walked over to his house. Simultaneously, some siding fell off of the back of our house where Greg had cracked the outside wall. I never spoke to Greg again because things got weird. Thanks to Greg, my CT-70 had a broken headlight that dangled over the wheel and was only held on by a single cable, and he shattered a side mirror. None of this was ever repaired. All broken parts were duct taped back on. Sometimes you want to be best friends with the cool guy that moves in next door, but don’t trust just anyone.

More life lessons to come in memoirs of a Honda CT-70 #2…

Ellie Herring will be performing at Living Spaces – Austin, TX on NYE. More info can be found here.

Artist Mix

Soft Cat


Artist Mixes are an ongoing series of mixtapes curated by some of our favorite musicians.

This month, the Baltimore-based artist Soft Cat shares some of his favorite songs from his friends. Read his note below.

These are all people I have met or come across from touring in different cities across America. A few are Baltimore bands, but mostly I tried to pick people who haven’t been featured on Portals before. Most of these songs get stuck in my head routinely and I return to them when I’m feeling blue. This playlist goes great when you’re not feeling so well or have an upset stomach.


[00:00] • Stephen Steinbrink – “Sand Mandalas”
[03:23] • Spenking – “Bad Blood Bubble-Up”
[05:51] • Ever Ending Kicks – “Bleak or Bliss”
[07:56] • The Spookfish – “Wanderer”
[09:59] • Viking Moses – “Jahiliyah”
[13:17] • Liz Isenberg – “Your Underpants”
[16:15] • Hungry Cloud Darkening – “Moments Inside Cloud”
[21:00] • Holy Holy Vine – “Drive”
[23:28] • Vio/Miré – “Another Way of Looking at It”
[27:24] • Jake Lazovick – “Good Morning”
[33:06] • Small Sur – “The Salt”

Watch Soft Cat perform a new, unreleased song called “Somebody” for Portals here.