|January 24, 2020
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Well, I had a strange and awful week, and I learned first-hand how our country's mental health services do not come anywhere near meeting the needs of our most vulnerable citizens. I've shared in past emails how depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation can sometimes permeate every crack and crevice in my brain, and crowd out even the memory of any other feeling. On Monday I had an especially wicked episode, so I made a plan, got my stuff together to do the deed, and left the house without waking Roger. Fortunately, I was able to remember my promise to a friend that I would always call her when I start falling into this rabbit hole of despair. But unfortunately, I couldn't reach her, so I went for help at the Multnomah County Crisis Center.
That's when the nightmare started. I spoke the truth about the reality of my mental state in that moment, and without the benefit of an advocate, and without being able to speak to my primary care physician, I ended up in the Unity Hospital emergency room. I was told I needed to see a psych doctor, have my meds evaluated, and possibly stay overnight in a hospital bed. That made some sense to me. I knew I needed help, so I "volunteered" to stay. But as I now know is par for the course, there was no hospital bed to be found. Instead everything I had with me was taken away, including my identification, clothes, and shoes. Resistance was futile. I was no longer there of my own volition, because immediately the intake nurse and social worker placed me in 5-day hold. I was on lock-down. I was forced to wear green scrubs and brown XXL non skid soft sole slipper socks. I was escorted into a large open room with several dozen other broken and hurting people. The overhead lighting was harsh, the sounds emanating from the TV were deafening, and fully armed security guards dressed all in black roamed the space.
This type of holding area is really a HUGE step up from a regular emergency room. There I might have been heavily sedated, or even shackled to a gurney to prevent me from leaving. At Unity at least I was safe and I had a warm blanket and a hard vinyl recliner as a bed. Many folks do not have the outside resources to get them through a crisis. For some, the microwaved meals might have been the first real food that they had in days. But can't we do better for our most defenseless citizens?
I don't have any answers; everyone's situation is different. When I was in crisis, I couldn't articulate what I needed, but I am better by having Roger's arms around me, petting Buster, soothing music, dim lights, and time to rest. That's what I've been given in abundance since my release. I am so lucky. Now, I am back at my desk and working hard to bring our community all sorts of exciting programming this coming year. But I am not whole. Remember that we can never truly know where someone else might be on the mental health spectrum; many of us are good at hiding the mental anguish we experience. Always, first and foremost, let us be kind to one another. I believe that with an ever deepening understanding of our own humanity, we can begin to respect the dignity of every human being, and from there we can move to strive for justice and peace among all people--concepts often sorely lacking in our treatment of the mentally ill.
-- Matthew Zapruder
Justice Kennedy retired
farewell pious blowhard
from the dark collective
grief of half of us I stole
one long hour to think
despair is a privilege
we can’t afford but really
a few of us totally can
which is of course precisely
what creates the vacuum
this continual impervious
self-satisfied classic righteous
American malice can gleefully
pour into to crush
our clever laments
today all my rich white
friends are talking again
about leaving for houses
they have not yet decided
to purchase over the border
it’s grotesque yet I too
admit when we finally
realized our son who
remembers every song
would not speak like
all the others
moving deeper into
places we could not go
we without hesitation
in fear with our money
went over whatever
we thought separated us
from a solution to this
and also other problems
most don’t even get to name
today in my hybrid
I too see the blue tarps
under the freeway as I drive
him to another appointment
he has the softest skin
and is never frantic
he loves when the trucks get
so dangerously close
and sings the same song
I taught him years ago
when I was in despair
about how to be happy
it’s been so much better
but still I walk around
as if something that cannot
fail protects everything I need
and only now can I ask
what dream was I born into
and what will happen
when the dreamer wakes
WHAT'S HAPPENING THIS WEEK
ICE PRINCESS LILY
New Family Animation from Germany/Canada
Friday, Jan 24 @ 6:00pm
A fearless ice princess teams with a young fire dragon to stop an evil snowman and his army of polar bears from freezing over the entire planet. They will have to stick together, embarking on the biggest adventure of their lives.
Children under 12 are free with a paying adult, and the adult only needs to pay $5!
Sneak Preview and Portland Premiere
Friday, Jan 24 @ 7:30pm and Saturday, Jan 25 @ 8:30pm
Lovers of Patrick Stewart!!! When he's not playing Captain Picard, he performs in other films, and this is a great one! (It stars the lovely and talented Katie Holmes, too!)
The plot centers on a famous pianist (Stewart) at the twilight of his career who returns to the stage after a long absence and finds himself struggling with a severe case of stage fright. He meets a free-spirited music critic (Holmes) and travels to a remote village in the Swiss Alps, unwittingly embarking on a journey that will transform him.
Tickets are $7-10 suggested; no one turned away for lack of funds.
Friday, Jan 24 @ 9:30pm
This bizarre retro comedy, shot entirely on VHS and Beta, follows 12-year-old Ralph as he accidentally records home videos and his favorite late night shows over his parents' wedding tape.
VHYes is a manic and heartfelt ode to 80s nostalgia, bittersweet emotions, and absurd Adult Swim homages all captured on videocassette.
Matt Donato, Flickering Myth
VHYEs is a strange yet sweet film that is one-part coming-of-age dramedy, one-part found-footage comedy, and one part channel surfing.
Kristy Puchko, Pajiba
$7-10 suggested; $8 Advance Tickets Available Now!
Check out the trailer!
Saturday, Jan 25 @ 7:00pm
When her daughter’s family is late to Christmas dinner, Macie struggles to maintain order and her own expectations for how the night will go.
Q&A with director, Cooper Fitch, after the screening.
Free!!! Accepting donations in any amount. Come support independent filmmaking!
Tear Down This Wall
Part of the Fertile Ground Festival and Presented by Broken Planetarium
Wednesday, Jan 29 through Friday, January 31 @ 8:00pm
Saturday, Feb 8 @ 2:00pm & 8:00pm
Sunday, Feb 9 @ 8:00pm
NOTE: ASL interpretation will be provided at the performance on January 31st.
The creators of Sirens of Coos Bay and Frankenstein: A Cabaret present a new musical set in Soviet-era Berlin, retelling Ovid's Pyramus and Thisbe, the original star crossed lovers, this time divided by the Berlin Wall. Reflecting on our own political moment of division and borders, the play documents Pyramus and Thisbe in love through a wall for twenty years before making a last desperate attempt to be together.
With music by a full women's choir backed by a synthesizer, the lyrical choreography of Kelsey Mahoney Watson, playwright Laura Christina Dunn's whimsical humor, and a guest appearance by three jaded Fates and a very unlikely Zeus, this play examines what are the walls that divide us, and how can we tear them down?
By Laura Christina Dunn
Choreographed by Kelsey Mahoney Watson
Music by Matt Burlin, Laura Christina Dunn, Kristin Gordon George, Avery Hill, Ali Ippolito, Craig Lardiere, Rachel Sakry, and Forest Veil (Monica Metzler).
Directed by Emilie Landmann
Music Direction by Kristin Gordon George
Art Direction by Laura Foster
Costumes by Kelly Bliss
Cast: Sarah Warren, Corinne Gaucher, Lexie Quandt, Laura Christina Dunn, Rebecca Harrison, Susan Winterbourne, Leina Versen, Michelle Patton, Amandalyn Friedland and Resonate Choir
Tickets $15-25 sliding Scale
accepting festival passes and Arts for All
Buy tickets @ fertilegroundpdx.org
Funding provided by The Regional Arts and Culture Council.
For Black History Month, Melanated Sisterhood PDX presents the Hidden Colors Series. This five-part documentary film series was directed by Tariq Nasheed and produced through King Flex Entertainment, to explain and describe the marginalizing of African Americans in America and the world. Five different shows; each a different day and time. Check the website for more details.
Our Sixth Annual Groundhog Day Community Event is on Groundhog Day, of course!! February 2nd @ 7:30pm. Trivia contest, raffle prizes and quite possibly a very special surprise guest!
10 Minute Play Festival Open Casting Call is coming up Sunday, February 2nd from 10am to 5pm. All are welcome! There is nothing like being on stage in front of a packed audience. If you throw yourself out there, be positive and collaborative, and get cast in a role, we promise you one of the funnest experiences you will have in 2020!
New series coming to the Clinton on February 11 @ 7:30pm -- OUTSPOKEN. Outspoken is a community organization and event series that educates, entertains, and promotes unity by bringing together experts and willing audience members from opposing sides of divisive issues for a unique conversational experience. In honor of the month of love, February's theme is Polyamory vs Monogamy. Early Bird Tickets available now for only $5.
How to Really, REALLY? (REALLY!) Love a Woman, produced/directed/performed by friend of the theater Eleanor O'Brien, is at the Clinton for one night only--Valentine's Day, February 14. This part vagina monologue, part TED talk, part stand-up comedy routine, part true confession, part truth or dare invites the audience to celebrate a return to old-fashion goddess worship, with a modern twist! Tickets $25 and available now!
Can't be with your sweetie on Valentine's Day? Well, we've got Eva DLuscious's Annual Valentine's Day Tribute to Led Zeppelin on Saturday, February 15. Burlesque and variety acts with Zepp covers from local band Scarlett Siren & The Howlin' Tramps.
HELP!! HELP!!! The Clinton Street Resistance Series is taking a break because we need to find more sponsors and gifters of raffle-prizes in order to continue. We also need a few good volunteers. If you're interested in how you can help, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you're interested in buying a copy of my book, you can pick one up at the theater for $15. If you aren't in the Portland area, you can order one from Powell's Online Book Store, Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Not sure if you want a copy? You can read an excerpt in Hip Mama Magazine.
SafeOregon provides a reliable, anonymous method to report unsafe situations. Funded by the Oregon Legislature as part of a statewide effort to improve safety, SafeOregon offers a way to report concerns such as threats of violence, fights, drugs and alcohol, weapons, bullying, harassment, intimidation and self-harm. Find out MORE.
Get rid of your winter blues @ the Portland Winter Light Festival, a three-day vibrant outdoor art festival February 6 - 8 that features interactive light-based art installations, dynamic live performances, stunning kinetic fire sculptures, and educational programming. Now in its fifth year, you'll find over 100 artists, performers, and creators: www.pdxwlf.com.
Mark your calendars for THIS YEAR'S EVENT on Sunday, March 1, 2020! Portland is marching! Our event will be a permitted, family-friendly, intersectional event welcoming womxn and their allies. Rally at Noon, March at 1:00. ADA accessible. Rally location is PSU / South Park Blocks in downtown Portland. Remember, rise!
When an individual is protesting society's refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him.
— Bayard Rustin
Don't be a stranger. Come see us soon.