|September 10, 2020
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I can't fully grasp the unimaginable pain and suffering that is engulfing our state, the west coast and our country right now. I have friends who have had to evacuate their own homes, their parents' homes, their pets and livestock. The skies are yellow, the sun is red, and many of us have been struggling to breath for days now due to the overwhelming amount of smoke in the air. We wake up in the middle of the night anxious and afraid. And as I write this on Thursday morning, although #45 has managed to find the time to tweet or retweet almost forty pieces of nonsense so far, he has yet to declare a disaster declaration for Oregon, although one was requested by Governor Brown Wednesday night. In her statement Governor Brown said, "This could be the greatest loss of human lives and property due to wildfire in our state's history." It's heartbreaking. If you want to help, Portland Monthly posted a great page of information: where to donate, how to check on loved ones, who to follow (accurate and no-BS ways to track the fires), and how to prepare in case you receive an evacuation order. Whatever you do, please stay safe.
I am so lucky--it feels almost shameful to share that I'm living my own George Bailey moment through the unexpected and most heartfelt largesse of our community. I hope most of you know the tale of generosity shared in the 1946 Frank Capra film IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (a complete flop when it came out, but now one of the most treasured films in American cinematic history). If you haven't met George and Mary and Clarence and little Zuzu, you can find it streaming online, so STOP. DON'T PASS GO. WATCH THIS MOVIE!
After his father's death, George Bailey took on the family business--a Building & Loan that made it possible for folks to own homes outside of Mr. Potter's slums. It was a job he didn't want--George had big dreams of travel and adventure and a life far from ordinary--but in taking it on, along with a wife and children and an old house that was falling down, his story becomes a parable about what matters and what doesn’t.
In Thorton Wilder's "Our Town," the heroine Emily, who has died in childbirth, is allowed to step into the past, revisiting the morning of her twelfth birthday. Aside from the presents, it's an ordinary day in Grovers Corner. The milkman sets the bottles on the back steps; the paper boy misses the porch yet again. As Emily observes herself in the scene, she also notices her parents’ youth and vitality. Now dead, Emily has a heartbreaking appreciation for everyday life that slipped from her awareness while she was living.
"Oh, Mama, just look at me one minute as though you really saw me....It goes so fast. We don't have time to look at one another. I didn't realize. All that was going on in life and we never noticed....Good-by, Good-by, world. ...Good-bye to clocks ticking and Mama's sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new-ironed dresses and hot baths and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it? - every, every minute?"
Through the course of IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, George Bailey comes to this same realization. Simple, commonplace things have a worth that cannot be measured in dollars and cents. When George returns home after the lived nightmare of Pottersville, his problems aren't over. Mr. Potter still exists with his designs on the building & loan. George will still struggle to feed his family on $45 a week. He and his family may never travel beyond the confines of Bedford Falls. But George emerges alive with the knowledge that we cannot put a price on friendship and family, or as Clarence wrote in a book inscription, "Remember, George: no man is a failure who has friends."
In George Bailey's darkest hour of need, his community came through to pull him out of a huge financial hole. And now, after the Clinton has been closed for almost six months, you are coming through for us, and your kindness overwhelms me day after day.
In its more than 100-year existence, The Clinton Street Theater has touched thousands of lives. If the pandemic were to end and we were to remain closed, I know it would leave a big hole in our community, and the world would be the worse for it. I am so thankful that you want to keep us around.
So, here are just some of the amazing events that are happening this week and in the near future to raise funds for the CST:
Starts tomorrow, September 11 and runs until the end of the month
Pay what you can
The Faux Film Festival served up the biggest laughs this side of the Mississippi between 2005 and 2015, and for the last four years, we hosted the festival at the Clinton Street Theater. This year our friendly Jester and festival director, who prefers to remain nameless, has resurrected the Faux Film Fest as a fundraiser for us. He is donating all the submission fees, along with any donations made through their viewing. This "pandemic Faux Fest" is filled with foreign and domestic spoofs, satires, comedy, sci-fi, fantasy, mockumentaries, horror, parody, and faux commercials and trailers all connected in some way to this time of quarantine and isolation. Something for everyone!!! You'll laugh harder than you would inside a barrel of monkeys!!
Junglecorp Presents: Save The Clinton
Saturday, September 12 from 7 - 10pm
Livestream is free, make a donation in any amount
Junglecorp is the house band for the Monkey With a Hat On Ten Minute Play Festival, and they say they refuse to let the Clinton Street Theater, a palace of wonder and hope, slip quietly into the dark night without a fight. They have gathered together many talented local musicians, and will be live-streaming their music and stories about the theater. And better yet, the event will be hosted by our very own Artimus Treefrog (AKA Nathan Williams, the Rocky Horror BIY night emcee)! They will be raffling off various items from local businesses who want to show their support, and auctioning off a few special items from the vaults of the Clinton, including our framed poster of FOOTLOOSE, grab bags of 35mm trailers, and a 16mm print. Most importantly, this is a live 'Telethon' style event, and not only can you see your donations grow in real time, but you can call in with your support and stories! Come share why YOU love the Clinton Street Theater!
The Blazing Suns
Tall Dark Whimsy
And we are proud to announce other Raffle and Silent Auction donors. Please support these amazing local businesses and artists!
Potted in Portland
Cloud 9 Comics
Ray’s Ragtime Vintage
Kurt Van Vlack
RIP City FX
Bula Kava House
Little t American Baker
Reel ‘em Inn Tavern
Livestream begins 7pm on Saturday:
Please invite your friends, and share this event. Let everyone know that together we can SAVE THE CLINTON!
Donations can be made at:
Everyone who makes a donation, no matter the amount, will automatically receive a raffle ticket.
If you are near Hillsboro, BDSM Brewing will be hosting a live stream of SAVE THE CLINTON. They have socially distanced tables set up and will be projecting the show in the outdoor seating area! As an added bonus, make any donation of $5+ to The Clinton fundraiser while watching in the bar and you'll be eligible for a free beer, cider, or wine! So, come watch with friends, give generously, and get rewarded! (Extra style points if you come in your best RHPS attire!)
Schedule a Virtual Magic Visit with Dan Kamin
We've know Dan Kamin of Mt. Lebanon, PA, since 2014, when he was a special guest as part of the Clinton's year-long 100th anniversary celebration. That year he shared the program Funny Bones, featuring the humor of Charlie Chaplin. It was a one-of-a-kind event that took our audience on a magical excursion into Chaplin's enchanted comic world through film clips, live performance, and the screening of a newly restored version of THE PAWNSHOP, Chaplin's short 1916 masterpiece. We also commissioned local composer Philip Van Scotter to create an original soundtrack for THE PAWNSHOP, which he played live during the screening. Dan came back in July, 2019, and shared more of Charlie Chaplin's humor and superstar career, and we screened Chaplin’s blockbuster war comedy SHOULDER ARMS, released while World War One was still raging.
BUT Mr. Kamin is more than an acclaimed expert on all things Chaplin (he trained Robert Downey, Jr. for his Oscar-nominated performance in Chaplin and created Johnny Depp’s physical comedy routines in Benny and Joon). This multifaceted artist is also a magician extraordinaire, and if you would like to schedule a virtual magic visit, feel free to contact Dan by phone (412-563-6505) or email (email@example.com). He will either virtually visit with you himself or set you up with his of my friends from the local branch of the International Brotherhood of Magicians. There is no charge during the pandemic, but he would appreciate you making a donation to the Clinton Street Theater, his home-away-from-home in Portland.
3D Printed Lithophane Nightlight
Loren Thompson, 68th Term President of The Clinton Street Cabaret, is an artist using 3D printing and resin casting. They are making a 3D Printed Lithophane Nightlight of the Clinton Street Theater facade. It's a red plastic semi-transparent nightlight that casts a soft red light when the room is dark.
Coming October 1st
This year POWFest is a virtual festival that will take place "live (on the internet)" on Thursday October 1st starting at 6pm. Two virtual screening events with filmmaker Q&A's after each block of programming. After the live event, they will host a recorded version on their vimeo account behind a paywall for one week for those who couldn't attend on October 1st. And this year, POWFest has decided that all of their tickets sales for the virtual festival will be given to the Clinton Street Theater.
Coming in late October
This exceedingly sinister Portland horror tradition is co-hosted and co-produced by GuignolFest founder Dylan Hillerman (director, "Bikini Creature Beach Feature", "Reservoir Dolls", “Headless Body In Topless Bar”, “Terror at Angel’s Horn") and co-produced by the hardest working doctor in showbiz, Julia Reodica! You might have already seen some of their content for the CoVideothon. For this year's festival, they are donating all of the participating fees to the Clinton. Already 19 teams have signed up.
So, you can see why my heart is so full from all of the love and support these amazing artists are giving to the Clinton. Yes, George Bailey was well-loved, but it was the Building & Loan that changed the town of Bedford Falls from what might have been a slum to a wonderful place for folks to live and raise families. And while I know you guys like me, you really like me, it's the Clinton Street Theater itself that makes a difference in our little corner of the world. I'm just trying to hold on until the pandemic is over, so that the theater can spend another 100 years being the space where YOU and YOU and YOU can come and share a beer with friends, expand your art and creativity, and explore the world through film and live events.
Thanks so much for your support!!!
Last week I had a bit of a health scare with five of the Covid-19 symptoms. Thankfully I have great insurance so I was able to get tested on Friday and results back on the same day. The results were negative, but I wasn't able to send out a Labor Day message. "Know your work is worthy, And know your heart is true, And know that all you give away, Will come circling back to you." Betsy Rose, "Welcome to the Circle"
Lola Ridge - 1873-1941
Come forth, you workers!
Let the fires go cold—
Let the iron spill out, out of the troughs—
Let the iron run wild
Like a red bramble on the floors—
Leave the mill and the foundry and the mine
And the shrapnel lying on the wharves—
Leave the desk and the shuttle and the loom—
With your ashen lives,
Your lives like dust in your hands.
I call upon you, workers.
It is not yet light
But I beat upon your doors.
You say you await the Dawn
But I say you are the Dawn.
Come, in your irresistible unspent force
And make new light upon the mountains.
You have turned deaf ears to others—
Me you shall hear.
Out of the mouths of turbines,
Out of the turgid throats of engines,
Over the whisling steam,
You shall hear me shrilly piping.
Your mills I shall enter like the wind,
And blow upon your hearts,
Kindling the slow fire.
They think they have tamed you, workers—
Beaten you to a tool
To scoop up a hot honor
Till it be cool—
But out of the passion of the red frontiers
A great flower trembles and burns and glows
And each of its petals is a people.
Come forth, you workers—
Clinging to your stable
And your wisp of warm straw—
Let the fires grow cold,
Let the iron spill out of the troughs,
Let the iron run wild
Like a red bramble on the floors . . .
As our forefathers stood on the prairies
So let us stand in a ring,
Let us tear up their prisons like grass
And beat them to barricades—
Let us meet the fire of their guns
With a greater fire,
Till the birds shall fly to the mountains
For one safe bough.
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
- Shadowcast for Repo the Genetic Opera
- Invincible Czars (band from Austin, TX)
- Graphic artist and activist, Jen Davis
- Stageworks Inc.
- Jennifer Wright, piano
- VHS Vengeance
- The Dark Backward Band
- Pink Tornado Band
- Eva D'Luscious and Whole Lotta Love
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
All you can take with you is that which you've given away.
― Motto hung on the wall of George Bailey's office
Don't be a stranger. Write until we can meet again.