|August 30, 2019
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
According to the World Health Organization, more than 300 million people around the globe suffer from depression. (Count me in that number.) Depression is the world’s leading cause of disability and it contributes to 800,000 suicides per year.
Zimbabwe is no different, and because of years and years of war and other atrocities, many of its citizens suffer from kufungisisa, the local word for depression (literally, “thinking too much”). Yet, in most of the developing world, there is a lack of mental health professionals, and those who suffer have few options. In Zimbabwe, for example, in a country with 16 million people there are only 12 practicing psychiatrists. So in Zimbabwe, they are taking a new approach. They've created the "friendship bench," and to date 400 grandmothers have been trained in evidence-based talk therapy.
The grandmothers sit on the friendship bench and folks come and sit with them. The grandmother will ask, "What is your problem? Tell me everything, and let me help you with my words." Even though the grandmothers have suffered the same types of trauma as their fellow citizens, they demonstrate an amazing resilience in the face of adversity. And they don't seem to get burnt out despite working day in and day out with folks on the brink of crisis. The grandmothers feel they are making a difference in the lives of others, and that type of altruism benefits them, too.
I was reminded of a song I sang in one Aurora concert a few years ago. Holly Near wrote 1000 Grandmothers, and in it she sings:
Send in a thousand grandmothers
They will surely volunteer
With their ancient wisdom flowing
They will lend a loving ear
First they'll form a loving circle
Around the wounded wing
Then contain the brutal beasts of war
Sweet freedom songs they'll sing
A lullaby much stronger
Than bombs and threats to kill
A force unlike we've ever seen
Will break the murderer's will
To the prisons we'll invite them
The most violent men will weep
When a 1000 women hold them strong
And pray their souls to keep
Let them rock the few who steal the most
And rule with youthful charm
So they'll see the damage that they do
And will fall into grandma's arms
Two thousand loving arms
If you think these women are too soft
To face the world at hand
Then you've never known the power of love
And you fail to understand
An old woman holds a powerful force
When she no longer needs to please
She can cut your shallow life to bits
And bring you to your knees
We best get down on our knees
And pray for a thousand grandmothers
Will you please come volunteer
No longer tucked deep out of sight
Will you bring your power here
Will you bring your power here
Maybe the key phrase is "she no longer needs to please." And that can apply to anyone, regardless of gender, who is willing to move their ego out of the way. Imagine that the seat on the Max or the bus is a Friendship Bench. How about the pew at church? The school cafeteria lunch table? Life is so often hard and unfair, and there are so many hungry, hurting people. We encounter them every day. Hungry for a kind word, hurting and in need of solace and understanding. It doesn't require much time and little to no money. This week, where and when can we be open and willing to listen?
YOU CAN’T HAVE IT ALL
But you can have the fig tree and its fat leaves like clown hands
gloved with green. You can have the touch of a single eleven-year-old finger
on your cheek, waking you at one a.m. to say the hamster is back.
You can have the purr of the cat and the soulful look
of the black dog, the look that says, If I could I would bite
every sorrow until it fled, and when it is August,
you can have it August and abundantly so. You can have love,
though often it will be mysterious, like the white foam
that bubbles up at the top of the bean pot over the red kidneys
until you realize foam’s twin is blood.
You can have the skin at the center between a man’s legs,
so solid, so doll-like. You can have the life of the mind,
glowing occasionally in priestly vestments, never admitting pettiness,
never stooping to bribe the sullen guard who’ll tell you
all roads narrow at the border.
You can speak a foreign language, sometimes,
and it can mean something. You can visit the marker on the grave
where your father wept openly. You can’t bring back the dead,
but you can have the words forgive and forget hold hands
as if they meant to spend a lifetime together. And you can be grateful
for makeup, the way it kisses your face, half spice, half amnesia, grateful
for Mozart, his many notes racing one another towards joy, for towels
sucking up the drops on your clean skin, and for deeper thirsts,
for passion fruit, for saliva. You can have the dream,
the dream of Egypt, the horses of Egypt and you riding in the hot sand.
You can have your grandfather sitting on the side of your bed,
at least for a while, you can have clouds and letters, the leaping
of distances, and Indian food with yellow sauce like sunrise.
You can’t count on grace to pick you out of a crowd
but here is your friend to teach you how to high jump,
how to throw yourself over the bar, backwards,
until you learn about love, about sweet surrender,
and here are periwinkles, buses that kneel, farms in the mind
as real as Africa. And when adulthood fails you,
you can still summon the memory of the black swan on the pond
of your childhood, the rye bread with peanut butter and bananas
your grandmother gave you while the rest of the family slept.
There is the voice you can still summon at will, like your mother’s,
it will always whisper, you can’t have it all,
but there is this.
WHAT'S HAPPENING THIS WEEK
Killer Queen Volume 6:
John Waters Sleaze Show Spectacular
Friday, September 6 @ 9pm. Killer Queen Volume 6 is a tribute to John Waters with celebration of all of his characters and films! Produced by our very own Sunday night volunteer, Violet Hex, Killer Queen showcases an alternating cast of Portland’s most talented, eccentric, creative, and one of a kind fabulous queer entertainers!
I know it will make John Waters so proud!!! Tickets are $12 in advance and at the door.
2019 POWGirls &
MetroEast Youth Media Screening
Saturday, September 7 @ 2pm. Join us to view and celebrate the films created by the 2019 POWGirls! We will be screening the three new films created during our 2019 workshops plus a few classic POWGirls films! This is a free event, however donations are encouraged!
POWGirls offers workshops in video production, cinematography, audio recording, set lighting, digital editing and media literacy for girls and non-binary youth ages 15-19. Our instructors are working media producers who inspire girls to be creative, tech-savvy leaders who will help realize gender equity in the film industry.
POWGirls supports all girls in their media education, regardless of race, ethnicity, class, religion, ability, sexuality or gender expression.
Tales of Unintended Consequences
Saturday, September 7 @ 7:30pm. Portland Storyteller's Guild kicks off the 2019/2020 season with Tales of Unintended Consequences.
Even the best of intentions can lead to unintended consequences. That is the scenario three storytellers will examine when the Portland Storytellers Guild opens its 2019-2020 Saturday evening, September 7 at the Clinton Street Theater.
Hear how Steve Henegar, Ken Iverson, Juliana Person react when they find themselves out on a limb, once again, when things don’t turn out exactly as planned — and reflect on times when you, too, confronted such a situation. Tickets are $12 in advance ($10 for Guild members and their guests) and $15 the night of the show. Doors open at 7 and the stories start to flow at 7:30.
ROCK 'N ROLL HIGH SCHOOL
Monday, September 9 @ 7pm. Presented by the Clinton Street Resistance Series.
Please join us for a ridiculously funny film about high school. Sean Axmaker calls it, "...a pure, cheerfully juvenile blast of blitzkrieg guitar rock, Looney Tunes sight gags, teenage hormones, and rebellion against authority because it's there." And it stars The Ramones!!!!
Our nonprofit partner for the night is FRIENDS OF NOISE, a non-profit, educational, all-ages organization. Its mission is to provide safer and productive spaces for all-ages concerts, focused arts education, and leadership opportunities for youth with a focus on providing marginalized youth and youth of color access to performative creative expression.
THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM
Tuesday, September 10 @ 7pm. Presented by Public Domain Xinema.
Join us as we enjoy one of the best films by one of the greatest directors starring some of the screen's most legendary stars! It's the 1955 dramatic classic, The Man with the Golden Arm, starring the great Frank Sinatra as a heroin addicted jazz drummer, Kim Novak and Eleanor Parker as the women who love him and directed by Otto Preminger, one of the big screen's most legendary practitioners.
As always, this Public Domain Xinema screening will feature newsreels, cartoons, commercials and other weird vintage goodies from 1955 to warm up the show, and admission is completely donation based. Bring what you can, but nobody will be turned away! Just be here to enjoy this classic bit of cinematic magic on the big screen, the way it was originally presented. See you there!
Wildes Herz (Wild Heart)
Wednesday, September 11 @ 7pm. Presented by the Portland German Film Festival--Monthly Film Series.
“Wildes Herz” is a film about “Feine Sahne Fischfilet”, one of the most successful German punk rock bands, and their lead singer, Jan “Monchi” Gorkow.
Being put under surveillance by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution gave this young band the right to call themselves the most dangerous band in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. This film shows how musicians fight against Nazis and feelings of emptiness and frustration, in a region where home means the beautiful flat countryside. With music that’s quite unlike their home: strong, loud, joyous. An important, almost normal, poetic and rough film – exactly like the band.
Tickets: General Admission $10, Student/Senior (62+): $8. Tickets can be purchased in advance.
Right 2 Survive
10th Anniversary Celebration
Thursday, September 12 @ 7pm. Presented by KBOO @ the Clinton.
Join us to learn more about the shelter-for-all movement of Right 2 Dream Too and Right 2 Survive. An amazing retrospective with short films, slide shows and speakers on 10 years of Right 2 Survive’s crucial work for safety, dignity, health and well-being for those without shelter.
Learn more about their work and how you can help! Proceeds benefit Right 2 Survive and KBOO Community Radio. Suggested donation $15-20, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Come out and celebrate!
We're back!!!! 16 CANDLES, September 16; SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD, September 23; Buena Vista Social Club, September 30; DAY OF THE JACKAL, October 7; BRAZIL, October 14; ERASERHEAD, October 21; KUNG FU HUSTLE, November 11; TREMORS, November 25; HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS, December 9; THE DARK CRYSTAL, December 16.
I don't think I'll be able to sleep if I don't feel this little talk has helped ya. So would ya be a sport and lie to me?
Indie Sci-Fi: RIOT GIRLS on September 14 & 15. "The hotly-anticipated debut feature from genre iconoclast Jovanka Vuckovic, co-starring Munro Chambers and scripted by Catherine Collins, RIOT GIRLS is a triumphant love letter to teenage misfits everywhere." Fantasia Film Fest
SKATEBOARDERS!!! Vans Presents The Tony Alva Story on September 17, a film that chronicles Alva’s humble beginnings on the streets of Santa Monica to his rise to super-stardom as part of the legendary Z-Boys, his inevitable drug-induced implosion and his ultimate rise from the ashes to accept his rightful place as a beacon of hope and inspiration for generations of skateboarders the world over.
Indie Action Thriller: MINE 9 on September 18 & 19. "...here's a film about something real, not a horror picture about a group of shapely cavers who descend into the earth and get trapped with monsters chasing them. The monsters in the effective, streamlined thriller "Mine 9" are all around us." Jonathan W. Hickman, Daily Film Fix
September 20 - 22, the 8th Annual Oregon Independent Film Festival© returns to showcase the best in independent cinema to our magnificent state of Oregon.
Cinekink is bringing its best to the Clinton on September 25. The award-winning selections in this sex-positive and kink-friendly showcase range from documentary to drama, comedy to experimental, mildy spicy to quite explicit – and everything in between!
Submissions are closed, and we're now reviewing them all and making our selections. An amazing bunch of short films and features and I can't wait to share them with you! Mark your calendars now!!! PUFF is coming the weekend of October 17 to 20.
The Portlanders are at Artichoke Music on September 7. Mighty music, intimate space. Join the love band for an evening in Portland's biggest little listening room with Portland's own.
The next Thawing ICE: A Walking Meditation is Thursday, September 12th. Walk to show support for all beings detained, all beings seeking asylum, all who are refugees, all who flee violence and seek to migrate and are met with violence, with walls, with cages. Whether or not the walking meditation changes the balance of power, it changes those who walk: it gives us one hour every month in which we think deeply and quietly about migration, about longing, about separation from the places we were born, and about those who prohibit entry to others. There is power in walking together, in meditating together. Come be part of that power.
Rose City Comic Con 2019 coming soon!!! September 13 - 15 at the Oregon Convention Center.
At the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education on Sunday afternoon, September 15, Carl Adamshick and Judith Arcana will be talking about Grace Paley. They'll read selections from Judith’s biography of Grace, GRACE PALEY’S LIFE STORIES, Carl will interview Judith, and there’ll be Q&A with you, the audience. Copies of the biography will be available for sale. RSVP at the museum’s website.
I'm in a play!!! Marjorie Prime at the Headwaters Theatre September 20, 21, 22 and September 25, 26, 27 & 28. Tickets on sale now.
Climate Strike for Immigrant Justice is Sunday, September 22 from 12 - 2pm.
Join a community art action converging on the Hawthorne Bridge at noon! Collaborate to install a stunning artistic visual, and rally on the Waterfront with live music, speakers, art and more!
2019 Portland Greek Festival is October 4 - 6.
Three days of authentic Greek cuisine, music, dance, family and much more!!!
For Lovers of the Strange and Unusual. . . For the first time . . . The Portland Oddities & Curiosities Expo! Saturday, October 19th.
My memoir UNFIT: The Tale of One Pregnant Teen in the Time Before Roe v Wade will be released in November. If you would like to be on a list for presale announcements, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure.
— Henri Nouwen
Don't be a stranger. Come see us soon.