|December 24, 2020
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Roger and I watched the "Festivus" Seinfeld episode late last night, thus the title of this week's newsletter. I don't know if you realized it or not, but the title of my newsletters most always came from a line of dialogue in one of the films that we were screening in the week ahead. Most of the time the quote came from our Monday night Resistance film, because movies like PEE WEE HERMAN'S PLAYHOUSE or REPO MAN or ELF or BLADE RUNNER have the best quotes. Where else would you hear something like, "It happens sometimes. People just explode. Natural causes."
Last week I used a quote from THE BIG LEBOWSKI. This would have been the week of the "Dude" at the Clinton Street, since every year since taking stewardship of the theater in 2012, we have been screening THE BIG LEBOWSKI over the Christmas holiday. Sadly, someone took affront at my seeming glorification of drug culture, and they informed me in an email, "Dope is for losers, jackass." I wrote back to say, "Obviously you're not a golfer."
A much nicer email came from another CST patron, who wrote to share how much they were missing their traditional trip to the Clinton for Lebowski, and that they had donated what they would have spent on tickets. In such a dark winter, my heart overflows with gratitude for this community and the way you have sustained us through ten long months without income.
Even in the best of times, this holiday season is multi-faceted and complex. Too often we're expected to put on a happy face, or go through the motion of rituals and traditions that no longer serve their purpose. But no amount of "ho, ho, ho-ing" will provide solace to the millions of our fellow citizens who have empty places at the table. A little tinsel and twinkly lights will not negate the anxiety of those who are facing foreclosure or eviction.
This holiday season is certainly like no other in our lifetimes. No caroling, no concerts, no walk down Peacock Lane, no Christmas Eve services, no big family meals. But maybe there is a small blessing in disguise. We can separate out the dross to find what truly gives us joy. We can remember the reasons we celebrate, and articulate for ourselves what gives us meaning.
This week's poem is one I wrote about my favorite Christmas Eve day.
December 24, 1987
Lani Jo Leigh
It was bitter cold that day
that December day
Christmas Eve day.
As you coaxed me onto a frozen field
you ripped your jeans on barbed wire
that surrounded the crumbling
foundation of a high school,
long torn down and carted away.
You fell to one knee,
a young girl’s fantasy.
You asked for my hand,
offered a pledge, and I
knew you loved me
Same place as your parents,
you said, same date as mine.
An auspicious start surely
to a marriage intended
to last a lifetime.
What I remember most about that
bittersweet day is the tear in your jeans,
bleeding flesh, a crown of thorns, and the
scissor-tail flycatcher startled off the fence
to fly into the dawn of a new day.
WANT TO HELP????? WATCH/GIVE....
An Interactive Online Performance by Master Magician DAN KAMIN
Dan Kamin responded to the Covid crisis by creating a mind-bending performance of eye-popping online magic called SHAZOOM! It’s upclose and personal, and it beams from Dan’s Magic Parlor directly into your home, office or school. Interested? Just say the magic word—SHAZOOM!—and contact Dan. The virtual party runs up to one hour.
Dan trained Robert Downey, Jr. for his Oscar-nominated performance in Chaplin and created Johnny Depp’s physical comedy moves for Benny and Joon. He also played the vengeful wooden Indian that came to life in George Romero’s cult horror classic Creepshow 2. Dan has performed his one-man shows in theatres and with symphonies worldwide.
You can read more about Dan in The Escape Artist, his highly entertaining account of how the legendary Harry Houdini got him started in magic. And be sure to check out his super cool website, which has video clips galore.
ALL PROCEEDS BENEFIT CLINTON STREET THEATER!
Dan Kamin contact information:
New stuff is available! BUY A TICKET, WATCH AT HOME, AND SUPPORT THE CLINTON!!!
A DOG CALLED MONEY
As imaginative as the creative process it documents, A DOG CALLED MONEY is a uniquely intimate journey through the inspiration, writing and recording of a PJ Harvey record.
Writer and musician Harvey and award-winning photographer Seamus Murphy sought first-hand experiences of the countries she wanted to write about. Harvey accompanied Murphy on some of his worldwide reporting trips, joining him in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Washington DC. Harvey collected words, Murphy collected images. Back home, the words became poems, songs and then an album, which was recorded in an unprecedented art experiment in Somerset House, London. In a specially constructed room behind one-way glass, the public – all cameras surrendered -- are invited to watch the five-week process as a live sound-sculpture. Murphy exclusively documents the experiment with the same forensic vision and private access as their travels.
By capturing the immediacy of their encounters with the people and places they visited, Murphy shows the humanity at the heart of the work, tracing the sources of the songs, their special metamorphosis into recorded music and ultimately cinema.
SONG WITHOUT A NAME
Based on harrowing true events, SONG WITHOUT A NAME tells the story of Georgina, an indigenous Andean woman whose newborn baby is whisked away moments after its birth in a downtown Lima clinic - and never returned. Stonewalled by a byzantine and indifferent legal system, Georgina approaches journalist Pedro Campas, who uncovers a web of fake clinics and abductions - suggesting a rotting corruption deep within Peruvian society. Set in 1988, in a Peru wracked by political violence and turmoil, Melina León’s heart-wrenching first feature renders Georgina's story in gorgeous, shadowy black-and-white cinematography, "styled like the most beautiful of bad dreams" (Variety). SONG WITHOUT A NAME is a "Kafkaesque thriller" (The Hollywood Reporter) that unflinchingly depicts real-life, stranger-than fiction tragedies with poetic beauty.
New York City Children's Film Festival
Kid Flicks One, Kid Flicks Two and Viva Kid Flicks remain available through December 31st. Now for only $6.99!!! What a bargain!
VHS Vengeance presents
"Kingdom of the Spiders"
VHS Vengeance is Portland’s longest running Live Movie Riffing Comedy Show. Each month Hosts Nick Puente, Aaron Wagner & Michael Garcia present the best of the worst VHS tapes in their collections, offered up with hilarious commentary, special guests, and audience participation.
For this special stream of the William Shatner classic, Kingdom of the Spiders, the boys are joined by Portland’s premier Shatner expert and host of the Boohaha podcast, Avalon Leonetti!
VHS Vengeance presents
"The Boy in the Plastic Bubble"
For this special streaming event the boys are joined by Portland producer & comedian, Ricky Stratton! So why don't we all sit back, relax, and give the John Travolta quarantine classic The Boy in the Plastic Bubble a good talking to.
IN OTHER NEWS
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
If you missed the concert last Sunday, had to arrive late or leave early, missed part due to the glitch, or simply want to watch and be inspired again, you have two more opportunities as Aurora Chorus kindles fires of hope and comfort, lifting heavy hearts with inspiring performances from years past.
Additional screenings are December 27th at 4pm and December 31st at 7pm.
The Zoom video presentation is free of charge, but please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to support Aurora Chorus in honoring the strength and beauty of women’s lives through choral singing.
Reserve your ticket https://secure.givelively.org/event/aurora-chorus-inc/the-longest-night
On the day before the video presentation, you will receive an email with a Zoom link needed for viewing.
White Album Xmas
Virtual Holiday Spectacular World Premiere
Alberta Rose Theatre
December 25, 2020 7:00 PM
White Album Xmas has become a tradition - a way to keep Portland weird during the holiday season. The NowHere Band - a full 15-piece Beatles orchestra plays the White Album in its entirety, while the jugglers, aerialists, clowns and acrobats of the Rose City Circus present feats of remarkable strength, focus and dexterity. Guaranteed to blow your mind - every time. This year's show will be a covid-safe mashup of brand new circus acts with band footage and recordings from previous years' shows, delivered directly to your living room - keeping the tradition alive!
Watch the world premiere of the show on Christmas Day and then watch it anytime, on demand after that.
For all my burner friends, go on a Playa Adventure. Your ride awaits.....
Did you know that Portland Parks and Recreation has loads of videos for you and your family? How about some soccer practice for your littles one? Or maybe you prefer to sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (it's by Mozart, in case you hadn't heard)? They've even got Dance Fitness routines for 4 minutes or 30. Check it out!
This holiday season, remember to Show the Love to Portland! Our city is facing a tough economic winter. Your money talks. Be here for Portland by shopping local.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
― Leonard Cohen
Don't be a stranger. Write until we can meet again.