|August 28, 2020
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This morning is quiet and cool, and it feels like summer is on its way out the door. Last weekend I took some time off to go to the coast with family. My middle grandson flew in the previous week, and, while he was here, we did some Portland "staycationing" with visits to the Art Museum, OMSI and the zoo. This summer we had planned on taking Quinn to Japan, but instead we toured the exhibit, Objects of Contact: Encounters between Japan and the West, and had take-out from Miyamoto, our favorite sushi restaurant. We've gone there for years, and Quinn always insists we order the spicy tuna salad, Monkey Brains, by asking for Monkey Butt. Quinn turns 16 in September, yet he still finds this hilarious.
I love our fair city and state, regardless of what some who don't know us might say. Walking on the beach was grounding--absorbing the earth's electrical energy through the sand. Even if you don't believe in that sort of woo-woo, being unplugged for even a few days provided a clearer mind and more relaxed body.
I realize I am privileged and damn lucky to be able to take time away for my own healing, sheltered from the painful realities suffered by too many in our society. Blazer's point guard and team leader, Damian Lillard, wears a basketball jersey with the words "How many more?" above his letter "O." That was certainly the question I kept coming back to again and again this week. How many more lives lost? How many more parentless children? How many more broken families? How many more communities destroyed by our country's racism, which eats at the heart of who we are like a cancer? Watching any part of the Republican National Convention did little to ease my fears about the state of our nation. I thought my head would explode from the alternative facts and universe they keep constructing.
I took my first Zoom writing workshop this past Tuesday. I don't know why I felt weird about engaging in Zoom-anything; it's kept me from taking part in what looked like some pretty cool stuff. I'm glad I overcame my Zoom-phobia. The class and personal online interaction were a lot easier than I had feared, and the writing prompts provided new tools for processing my feelings and finding words to express them.
The workshop focused on writing our grief, which is certainly timely given all that's going on right now, and even more so since a dear singing sister/friend from Aurora Chorus died over the weekend from melanoma. Peggy was delightful--smart, sagacious, wickedly funny, kind, generous, and a true inspiration for living out our best and most authentic selves. Just writing these few words, I am choking up with the pain from her absence, and she will be sorely missed by so many.
Today is Roger's birthday, and since we met on his birthday 34 years ago, we treat it as a anniversary celebration, too. Again, I know that I am damn lucky to be married to my best friend. I'm not an easy person to live with, I'm sure, but he's always said that he doesn't love me in spite of my faults and failures, but because of them. They are all a part of me--they have brought me here to where I am today, and it is such a relief to be loved for exactly who I am.
We had a conversation with our landlords yesterday, and while we remain without a lease, we came to an understanding of what moving forward might look like, and we will receive a letter of intent by mid-September that will carry us into the new year.
Still trying to find money wherever I can, I submitted an application for a grant from Oregon Cultural Trust. Receiving any part of what I requested will go a long way to helping us this fall. If you would like to send a letter of support on our behalf, please contact Kat Bell, grants and office coordinator: email@example.com. They need to know that we are more than simply a movie theater, but a beloved cultural institution and supporter of the arts.
This is our last weekend for the Popcorn Pop-up, so if you're jonesing for the best popcorn in town, head to the Clinton between 4-8 tonight and tomorrow. To increase revenue this fall, we've decided to rent the theater for small private gatherings, and you'll here more about that in the weeks ahead.
Thanks for continuing to watch the Virtual Cinema offerings and making donations through the CoVideothon channel. We added another round of independent, locally produced theater/storytelling/music/film, and I posted my first feature-length documentary, WALK TO ME, for you to enjoy.
I have a birthday cake to make, so I best get going. So grateful that this time of sheltering at home has helped me reclaim my joy of baking. What have you discovered or maybe rediscovered about yourself during this time?
When it's time to look back on 2020, what will you lose and what will you keep?
Elegy with Apples, Pomegranates, Bees, Butterflies, Thorn Bushes, Oak, Pine, Warblers, Crows, Ants, and Worms
Hayan Charara - 1971-
The trees alongside the fence
bear fruit, the limbs and leaves speeches
to you and me. They promise to give the world
back to itself. The apple apologizes
for those whose hearts bear too much zest
for heaven, the pomegranate
for the change that did not come
soon enough. Every seed is a heart, every heart
a minefield, and the bees and butterflies
swarm the flowers on its grave.
The thorn bushes instruct us
to tell our sons and daughters
who carry sticks and stones
to mend their ways.
The oak tree says to eat
only fruits and vegetables;
the pine says to eat all the stirring things.
My neighbor left long ago and did not hear
any of this. In a big country
the leader warns the leader of a small country
there must be change or else.
Birds are the same way, coming and going,
wobbling thin branches.
The warblers express pain, the crows regret,
or is it the other way around?
The mantra today is the same as yesterday.
We must become different.
The plants must, the animals,
and the ants and worms, just like the carmakers,
the soap makers before them,
and the manufacturers of rubber
and the sellers of tea, tobacco, and salt.
Such an ancient habit, making ourselves new.
My neighbor looks like my mother
who left a long time ago
and did not hear any of this.
Just for a minute, give her back to me,
before she died, kneeling
in the dirt under the sun, calling me darling
in Arabic, which no one has since.
VIRTUAL SCREENINGS THAT BENEFIT CST
We still have films available through our Virtual Cinema. We will be cutting back on the nationally-released films to focus on the CoVideothon, and highlighting our local filmmakers and performing artists. However, you can still check the Clinton Street Theater website for up-to-date links to film screenings that benefit us with a portion of the proceeds from your ticket. If you click on any one of the film titles or the film poster, you will go to a page with a more in-depth description of the film, a link to the trailer, and a link to buy your "ticket."
You Never Had It - An Evening with Bukowski
Jazz on a Summer's Day
- POWFest 2020
- Invincible Czars (band from Austin, TX)
- Graphic artist and activist, Jen Davis
- Stageworks Inc.
- Faux Film Festival
- Jennifer Wright, piano
- VHS Vengeance
- The Dark Backward Band
- Pink Tornado Band
- Eva D'Luscious and Whole Lotta Love
IN OTHER NEWS
My friend and writing mentor, Ariel Gore, just published a coloring book of "weirdo encouragement." If you are interested in buying a copy or two, they are $12 and you can get one by sending $12 through Venmo @Ariel-Gore-1 along with your mailing address, or order through Microcosm Publishing.
Reminder--Portland's Black Owned Businesses Need Your Support. These businesses are part of what makes Portland great and your support is more important now than ever.
Support Black Owned Businesses
Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.
― James Baldwin
Don't be a stranger. Write until we can meet again.