Here's the latest on what's going on at the Clinton Street Theater. For more info, check out
July 30, 2020

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Last week, instead of writing my newsletter, I was scurrying around trying to figure out the best way I could safely participate in the nightly protests at the Justice Center. I had some buddies to be with (always have a Protest Buddy!), but I needed more protection--a better mask and a helmet; I needed to bring water and snacks to share. What else? Of course, eye covering. Do swimming goggles count? Long sleeved shirt and pants, closed-toe shoes (Whaaaaat? It's 100 degrees out there!) And isn't there a number I need to have in permanent market on my forearm in case I'm arrested? 

Roger and I discussed this off and on for hours, and ultimately I decided that it made no sense for me, one old overweight, asthmatic, white woman with high blood pressure and an anxiety disorder, to be in any situation that might require others to take care of me. So, at home I stay, and I look for other ways to support this effort. 

I don't like sitting still, watching from a distance. I view protesting--this constitutional exercise of our first amendment right--as necessary in this fight against systemic racism and other forms of oppression. I became politicized at a young age, and inspired by the civil rights protests I watched on TV, I began joining demonstrations held at the University of Oklahoma against the Vietnam War while I was in high school. My father was still on active duty in the Air Force at the time, and I know he thought it was unpatriotic. Now I realize how he might have even seen my participation as a personal betrayal. 

For as long as I can remember, we talked politics around our kitchen table. When we took our monthly Sunday drives down to Holdenville to visit extended family, the conversations often got heated. My great-uncle DV, although a staunch Union member, was more of a George Wallace Democrat. One of the kindest people I have ever know was my great-uncle Earl, whose couldn't speak above a whisper since his vocal cords where damaged from the gas used in WWI trenches, and he was an Eisenhower Republican. My own dad was somewhere in the middle--a registered Democrat that voted Republican. 

The women didn't voice opinions in these discussions. They stayed back in the kitchen, cooking and cleaning, or they watched over us kids as we played in the yard. This isn't to say that they didn't discuss politics amongst themselves. Many's the time I heard them joke about cancelling out a husband's vote. They just couldn't tell their husbands that.

As I grew older, I only had to open my eyes to see other injustices that needed to be set right. And so I took to the streets--for women, for the prisoners at Attica, against US involvement in Nicaragua, for better treatment of farm workers, against the Iraq War, for the LGBTQIA John Lewis said, "When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to say something; you have to do something."

Thankfully, many of us are finally opening our eyes to America's original sin, and trying to honestly explore what it will take to achieve racial justice, healing, and reconciliation in our communities and across the country. This won't be an easy task. Racism seems like it's part of white people's DNA, and the expression of this racism starts young. At a basketball tournament held at Milwaukie High School, my bi-racial grandson was called the n-word by a 13 or 14 year old kid on the court. When I took this up with the kid's coach, he told me to "talk to the hand." It wasn't a "teachable moment." Rather is was simply an acknowledgement that this kind of language was acceptable and to be expected. 

That's why my spirits soar when I see so many folks out at the Justice Center night after night willingly putting their bodies on the line because Black Lives Matter. It's not altogether altruistic; we won't survive either. As John Lewis also said, "I believe race is too heavy a burden to carry into the 21st century. It's time to lay it down. We all came here in different ships, but now we're all in the same boat." 

A week ago, Roger blogged about Portland in the summer of 2020. So many of our out-of-town friends and family members wanted to know what the hell is happening here. With so much disinformation out there, he wanted to set the record straight as far as he understands it. Feel free to share it.

We are still struggling to keep the bills paid now that we are into our fourth month of closure. If you are wondering how you can help us stay afloat, let me count the ways....
  • Watch movies through our Virtual Cinema
  • Watch the CST CoVideothon Channel and make a donation
  • Go to the Popcorn Pop-Up Friday & Saturday from 4 to 8pm. If you are in our neighborhood, please drop by for best hot popcorn in town. We are selling bags of popcorn, along with beer, cider and candy, at rock-bottom prices. You are helping me draw down my inventory so that it doesn't go to waste, and I will refill our cupboards with all new stuff when we can safely open again.

Hundreds of Purple Octopus Moms Are Super Weird,
and They're Doomed

January Gill O'Neil

                                         I'd like to be under the sea
                                         In an octopus' garden in the shade.
                                         —Ringo Starr

The article called it “a spectacle.” More like a garden than a nursery: 
hundreds of purple octopuses protecting clusters of eggs 
while clinging to lava rocks off the Costa Rican coast. 
I study the watery images: thousands of lavender tentacles 
wrapped around their broods. Did you know there’s a female octopus 
on record as guarding her clutch for 53 months? That’s four-and-a-half years 
of sitting, waiting, dreaming of the day her babies hatch and float away. 
I want to tell my son this. He sits on the couch next to me clutching his phone, 
setting up a hangout with friends. The teenage shell is hard to crack. 
Today, my heart sits with the brooding octomoms: not eating, always on call, 
always defensive, living in stasis in waters too warm to sustain them. 
No guarantees they will live beyond the hatching. Not a spectacle 
but a miracle any of us survive.



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."


Coming soon: You Never Had It - An Evening with Bukowski and Jazz on a Summer's Day


  • Whisper Skin Productions
  • More from Jet Black Pearl
  • Invincible Czars


A 3-minute video created jointly by City of Portland and Multnomah County related to reopening that we've been encouraged to share. It's available in 35 languages.

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

"Ours is not the struggle of one day, one week, or one year. Ours is not the struggle of one judicial appointment or presidential term. Ours is the struggle of a lifetime, or maybe even many lifetimes, and each one of us in every generation must do our part."
John Lewis

Don't be a stranger. Write until we can meet again.

Kind regards,

Lani Jo

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Clinton Street Theater · 2522 SE Clinton Street · Portland, OR 97202 · USA