Here's the latest on what's going on at the Clinton Street Theater. For more info, check out
July 17, 2020

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Have you settled into a routine yet? We are now more than fourteen weeks into our closure and it seems that more than ever, the dream of reopening is disappearing like a phantom in the night.

When our closure was new, I described my feelings as ping-ponging back and forth across Elisabeth Kübler-Ross's five stages of grief. After the confusion, shock and fear of denial, I skipped right on to depression for awhile and sat on a pity pot bubbling over with helplessness and hostility. I've had my share of anger, too, screaming at the television set every time #45 and his cronies are on pontificating with deceptive, disingenuous and duplicitous abandon.

I've made attempts to find ways to change my feelings about this dire situation by telling our story and reaching out to this community for help, both emotional and financial. But right now, I understand that I must come to some kind of acceptance, as I am beginning to believe that this pandemic, at least as it is experienced in the United States, is not going away any time soon. A friend I spoke with earlier this week said he is looking at this through the lens of a World War or other events that span years and not months.

Sadly, additional local businesses will not be back, including two more of our Division/Clinton neighbors--Stella Taco and Whiskey Soda Lounge. No more packed dim sum brunches at Wong King's either; no more take-away aluminum foil swans from Bistro Montage. This morning, the NY Times published a story about some businesses around the country that have been around 100 years or more, and the pain those families feel about closing their doors for good. Although the Clinton Street Theater has changed hands many times over its 105+ years, I feel a tremendous weight knowing that this venue has weathered even harder times, and that I have a responsibility to our community to hang on until we can make it through this pandemic.

Iris Murdoch wrote, "There is no beyond, there is only here, the infinitely small, infinitely great and utterly demanding present." To be fully present here in this moment, however, I feel like a sewer rat treading water, exhausted and trying to keep an eye out for solid ground. If it weren't for all of you who continue to contribute to our ever-depleting coffers through donations or purchases at the Popcorn Pop-up, you who send emails of encouragement, you who watch the films in our Virtual Cinema, and you who graciously offer your time and talent to the CST Videothon, my present world would involve throwing my hands in the air and walking away. I need your kindness and generosity of spirit to look beyond today with the hope of a better tomorrow.

My acupuncture clinic is once again open for appointments. Knock on wood, my neck has been finally able to release some of the tension I've been holding on to for the past few months. Driving over there the other day, I heard a OPB radio interview about making a date to worry. I've always been a worrywart. That's what my mother called me when I would spend endless hours unduly concerned with all of the "what if" situations in the world. Now I describe it as a panic attack or symptom of my anxiety disorder. I used to believe that Scarlett O'Hara was ignoring or denying her own complicity in her sad state of affairs when she claimed that she could put off her worries for another day. But learning that I could relegate my worries to a certain day and time of the week was a relief, because sometimes that is exactly what we need to do. Acute worrying keeps me paralyzed from taking any action that propels me forward. Sometimes our troubles need to be worked out in the cool light of day instead of the dark recesses of night. Stepping back and gaining perspective is part and parcel of the objectivity I need to accept whatever happens with the theater, whether it be to explore new options for staying open or to stop the struggle at some point and move on. Some days I know I have won a battle, but I am far from optimistic about winning the war.

If this has been a little too heavy today, this is an amazing flash mob playing the classic song Ode to Joy that was all started by one little girl's generosity. Enjoy!

How can you help us stay afloat?
  • Watch movies through our Virtual Cinema
  • Watch the CST Videothon 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.


Jane Hirshfield
The heart’s reasons
seen clearly,
even the hardest
will carry
its whip-marks and sadness
and must be forgiven.

As the drought-starved
eland forgives
the drought-starved lion
who finally takes her,
enters willingly then
the life she cannot refuse,
and is lion, is fed,
and does not remember the other.

So few grains of happiness
measured against all the dark
and still the scales balance.

The world asks of us
only the strength we have and we give it.
Then it asks more, and we give it.



We still have films available through our Virtual Cinema. We will be cutting back on the nationally-released films to focus on the videothon, 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."

New and available on July 24: TIJUANA JACKSON: PURPOSE OVER PRISON



What's up today: Guignolfest The Early Years

What's coming this week:
  • Cryptid Cats Cinema
  • The Amazing Bubble Man and 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

“Worrying is carrying tomorrow's load with today's strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
― Corrie Ten Boom

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