The 84th Annual Academy Awards return Sunday, February 26.  Here are the Hipfish major award predictions.

BEST PICTURE   Unlike the past couple of years where there was a clear frontrunner, this year’s field is more open, with several contenders for the big prize out of nine nominees.  Top contenders:
The Artist  The French black-and-white silent film is a salute to the early days of Hollywood.  Jean Dujardin stars as the arrogant matinee idol George Valentin, dashing leading man of the silent era, at the peak of his fame.  Berenice Bejo plays Peppy Miller, struggling actress.  After meeting on one of Valentin’s films, the two fall in love, but the rise of sound pictures destroys Valentin’s career while Peppy becomes an overnight sensation.  Now a has-been, reduced to selling off his belongings, Valentin becomes morose, while Peppy tries behind the scenes to save Valentin and somehow revive his career.
The Descendants  After a seven year absence director Alexander Payne (Sideways) returns with his dramedy about a family faced with a life-changing crisis. George Clooney stars as Mathew King, a middle-aged Hawaiian lawyer whose world has suddenly collapsed.  His wife lies in a coma from a boating accident. Suddenly cast into the unfamiliar role of primary parent, King realizes he has two out-of-control daughters and a wife he didn’t really know.
Movies with the most number of nominations have gone on to win 15 out of the last 21 Best Picture Oscars.  Hugo leads this year’s list with 11 followed by The Artist with 10, but the many nominations seem more about the parts of the movie than the whole.  The Help is the highest-grossing nominated pic, and three of the cast have been nominated but the pic itself doesn’t seem as well regarded as the actors.  Safest bet – The Artist, although some have pointed out that no film about Hollywood has won Best Picture.
Pick:  The Artist
Other nominees:   Hugo / Moneyball / Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close / The Help / Midnight in Paris / War Horse / The Tree of Life

BEST DIRECTOR  Film is thought of as a directors’ medium so generally this Oscar goes to the helmer of the Best Picture unless a superstar director is in the field as in 1998 when Shakespeare In Love won Best Picture but Steven Spielberg picked up the directing prize for Saving Private Ryan.  The past two years the Best Picture/Best Director pairing as held up so if The Artist triumphs then expect director Michel Hazanavicius to pick up the directing statuette, likewise Alexander Payne if Best Picture contender The Descendants wins.  Superstar director Martin Scorsese is in the field for Hugo, but he’s already won an Oscar for The Departed and Hugo doesn’t seem to be a contender.
Pick:  Michel Hazanavicius
Other nominees:  Alexander Payne (The Descendants) / Martin Scorsese (Hugo) / Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris) / Terence Malick (The Tree of Life)

BEST ACTOR  It’s a two-horse race between George Clooney (The Descendants) and Jean Dujardin (The Artist).  Clooney as Mathew King dominates every minute of his movie – the story is told from his character’s point of view.  Clooney, who usually plays affable, smooth nice guys with a touch of wiseguy self-awareness displays more vulnerability than he probably ever has in a role as his character struggles to deal with the reality of his wife’s probable death and children that have spun out of control.  Dujardin dominates The Artist with his performance as silent star George Valentin, whose career comes crashing down with the onset of sound film.  Dujardin perfectly captures the brilliant charm of the movie star at his peak and the quiet desperation of the reduced Valentin after his star has faded.
Clooney had the early lead but Dujardin has the momentum after winning Best Actor at the Screen Actors Guild awards.  The simpler, but consistent charm of The Artist might also play better with voters than the mixed drama/comedy of The Descendants.
Pick:  Jean DuJardin
Other nominees:  George Clooney (The Descendants) / Demián Bechir (A Better Life) / Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) / Brad Pitt (Moneyball)

BEST ACTRESS  Veteran actress Viola Davis has been turning great performances for years now in supporting roles but rarely carrying a movie.  In 2008 she earned an Academy Award nomination for a one scene performance in Doubt – arguably upstaging star Meryl Streep.    After earning her Best Actress nomination, her main competition is none other than Meryl Streep for playing Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.  It’s Streep’s 17th Oscar nomination.  Still, it looks to be Davis’s year.  In The Help, Davis plays Aibileen Clark, a black maid in a small Mississippi town in the early ‘60s who raises the children of white families at the expense of her own.  Clark is the emotional center of the film, the family maid that young aspiring writer Skeeter Phelan (Emma Stone) turns to when she delves into the lives of maids who bring up other people’s children against the backdrop of the pre-Civil Rights deep South.  In a way, Davis’s Oscar nom mirrors her role in The Help – a career/life in the background finally getting its due.
Pick:  Viola Davis
Other nominees:  Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady) / Rooney Mara (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) / Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs) / Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR  Christopher Plummer is 82 years old.  When he made his film debut in 1957 Dwight Eisenhower was President.  For 55 years the Canadian-born stage and screen vet has made dozens of movies but was mostly known for his appearance in a movie that he detested – The Sound of Music.  All that is about to change.  With his peformance as Hal, an elderly man who comes out as gay after his wife dies, Plummer has stamped himself as the Oscar favorite.  In director Mike Mills Beginners Oliver (Ewan McGregor), confused about his mother’s death and Hal’s late-life makeover, starts a relationship with a French woman he meets (Melanie Laurent) who also has parental issues.   Although not the leading character, Plummer’s character dominates the film.  Straight in real life, Plummer believably plays a gay man who had repressed that side of himself for nearly his entire life – without resorting to “working” the part like Sean Penn in Milk.
Pick:  Christopher Plummer
Other nominees:  Kenneth Branagh (My Week With Marilyn) / Jonah Hill (Moneyball) / Nick Nolte (Warrior) / Max von Sydow (Incredibly Loud & Unbearably Close)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS  The surprise hit of the summer, The Help was powered by the strength of its cast, with three members nominated.  At the Screen Actors Guild awards the film received a “best cast” award as well as individual awards for Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer.  While not the favorite for Best Picture, this could benefit the cast awards with Viola Davis leading the Best Actress race and Octavia Spencer, who played Minnie Jackson, the smart-mouthed maid who has a way with pies, expected to join her cast mate by picking up the Best Supporting Actress prize.  A possible contender is Bérénice Bejo, who plays up-and-coming starlet Peppy Miller in The Artist.
Pick:  Octavia Spencer
Other nominees:  Bérénice Bejo (The Artist) / Jessica Chastain (The Help) / Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) / Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY  With writing awards often handed out as second place awards, look for The Descendants writing team of Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash adaptation of Kaui Hart Hemmings’ novel to win the prize.  The Moneyball script was written by heavyweight writers Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, but Sorkin won last year for The Social Network and Moneyball isn’t a contender – sports movies, even interesting, offbeat ones don’t usually win awards.
Pick:  Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
Other nominees:  John Logan (Hugo) / George Clooney & Grant Heslove and Beau Willimon (The Ides of March) / Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin (Moneyball) / Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY  The screenplay awards are often paired with Best Picture as in the past the past two years but leading contender The Artist is a silent movie with no dialogue.  The screenplay clocks in at only 44 pages. (Most screenplays are at least twice that length.)  Midnight in Paris was Woody Allen’s highest-grossing movie ever. With comedies not usually awarded the top prized look for the Academy to award Woody the screenplay award.  But don’t look forward to a funny acceptance speech – Allen never does award shows.  Possibly the first Iranian filmmaker to be nominated for this award is writer/director Asghar Farhadi for his script for his mesmerizing domestic drama A Separation, also up for Best Foreign Language Picture.
Pick:  Woody Allen
Other nominees:  Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist) / Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids) / J.C. Chandor (Margin Call) / Asghar Farhadi (A Separation)


In The Spirit: Word and Song

KALA proudly presents two independent Northwest women artists on Friday, January 27. Author Tricia Gates Brown and Singer-Songwriter Deb Montgomery.

Both women have recently produced new works, respectively, “Jesus Loves Women: A Memoir of Body and Spirit and a CD release “The Little Hymn Project.” Both women were raised in traditional fundamentalist Christian families, and both women have experienced and welcomed into their lives, the challenge of coming to grips with a spiritual identity, identity as woman, and personal transcendence through artistic medium, amidst the constricts of all that traditional western patriarchal Christianity has dictated to American women.   Neither artists have met (as of yet) but the North Coast has had the opportunity to know both of these women in recent times. Gates Brown a columnist for the coastal weeklies and  Hipfish, several illustrated children’s’ books, as a landscape gardener and doing recent rounds with her new book. Seattle-based Montgomery, has performed on the coast on several occasion, predominantly at LUSH Wine Bar in Cannon Beach.

It is a pleasure to bring a “woman focus” show together at KALA. (Men welcome, of course.) When I first returned to the region in the mid-nineties, I had the opportunity to host a “Women’s Nite” at the former Café Uniontown. What inspired me to do so was the awareness of such a strong woman presence on the coast; whether married, single, lesbian, bi, trans, straight, native or transplant. The coast of Oregon and Washington beckons fearless, creative women to its shore. The nights included a myriad of women musicians, poets, comedians and a drink menu with such titles as “Feminist Twist,” “Union Town Bitch,” and the like. And lets face it – whether you were/are a feminist, the Feminist Movement of late 60’s laid the groundwork, for what we now as women find in our everyday lives,  the means to face the challenges, the inalienable right to our intelligence, our natural trait to balance, and to choose who we want to be. A task neither easy, nor simple, but the path of self-empowerment lies ever stronger under our feet.  When women testify through art, the stories are strong and inspirational, such as Deb Montgomery and Tricia Gates Brown  . . . and I sing “Hallelujah Sisters!”

“Jesus Loves Women,” is a compelling title. TRICIA GATES BROWN, holds a PHD in Theology and in her 20’s found such a fascination with the bible, that it led her to investigate the nature of the scriptures and to eventually get to the source of “what” religion had bestowed upon her culturally as a woman. In her preface she states, “What I am drawn to . . . is the complex interplay of body and spirit, of the sensual and the spiritual, the sexual and the spiritual . . . . I choose to tell my story not only because I believe it is the truest accounting I can offer of my life, but because I believe it’s important we hear such stories. In my experience, they are hard to come by.”

Gates Brown commits a good portion of her memoir to the tribulations of puberty, to young womanhood, revealing those parts of self, the tender heart, the coming into sexuality, memories we are glad to leave behind but yet are so much a part of our whole. A back cover blurb from Susan Mark Landis, Minister of Peace and Justice says it well; “Like a late night talk with my best friend, Tricia’s book gave me intimate insights into her life, my life . . . by openly sharing secrets we typically hide.”

From the constricts of fundamentalism, to losing her self in a first marriage, an awakening to the grace of nature, a mystical friendship with a Trappist monk, a failed second marriage, a new communion with Mexican culture, and coming to a yearned place of wholeness, Gates Brown beautifully articulates in intimate detail her story; as an accomplished writer, story teller and human theorist. Her ultimate message, that the shame-bound morality on sexuality be set free, for humanity to progress to a more humane state. Whether raised in a Christian milieu or not, this book is for every woman and man, as the basic core of our culture resides within the bounds this morality.

DEB MONTGOMERY refers to herself as a vagabond, in the poetic sense of the word, not settling in any one thing or place comfortably. This she stated in email correspondence when inquiring on the “Little Hymn Project” and any personal religious background.  She then furthered, in very songwriterly response,  to grappling with a fundamental upbringing,  “At the same time, I’ve been captivated by my understanding of Jesus’ message to love one another, to love another as ourselves… the idea that love is costly, that it will perhaps ask you to go places you never imagined, that it will both break you and heal you at the same time.”

The basis for the Little Hymn Project was created in a time when Montgomery was dealing with a period of deep grief. In that process she had turned to several hymns that she had in her repertoire, “The only thing I did for a few weeks besides weep, call a friend or two, was visit some of these hymns, letting their mysteries penetrate and attempting to sing them back to the universe to sooth myself,” says Montgomery. In this space of grieving, a natural progression led to several original tunes, a series of hymns, (Psalm23, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, It is well with my Soul, Amazing Grace . . .) and cover tunes by Bruce Coburn and Coldplay. Originally recorded in her living room in Seattle, she eventually recorded the 11-track collection in Chicago, with Producer John Abbey at Kingsize Studio. But her desire was to keep the intimacy and a sense of presence that were so much a part of the process of coming to make the Little Hymn Project. The final product is Montgomery on piano and guitar, with added bass and drums. Her recording succeeds in a triumphant presence of voice, a powerful, and moving intimacy.

Montgomrey is a Canadian who lived in New York City many years, and now lives in Seattle, where she is completing a graduate degree.  Solo is not her main thing as she has mostly been a bandleader, playing with drummer Andy Stochansky (who was Ani Defranco’s tour drummer for 8 years), and drummer Sim Cain, shared band mate with Henry Rollins (the Rollins Band). Them’s good rock bones. She also played with a New York cellist and fellow Canadian artist Julia Kent for 8 years. As Montgomery’s credits reference comparison to PJ Harvey, Jeff Buckley, the core connection she has in her voice resembles to this writer, the spirit of Patti Smith. An era before emo, somewhere between punk rock and Janis! There’s a strong conviction to rock music in Montgomery. While she isn’t well known in these parts, she is certainly a cool find.

Friday, Jan 27, doors open 7pm. $10, includes complimentary wine and snacks. KALA, 1017 Marine Drive in Astoria.


Concert for a Winter’s Night: Music for Chanukkah, Solstice and Christmas – December 22

Shelley and Jennifer
Shelley Loring & Jennifer Goodenberger

Flutist Shelley Loring and pianist Jennifer Goodenberger perform on Thursday, December 22 at 7pm at Grace Episcopal Church.  The concert will include Jewish, Celtic, Carols, holiday music, and original compositions to celebrate the Season. These long-term friends, who have until now been pursing separate musical careers, are thrilled to create music together for this concert.

Loring’s early years were spent performing with her father, a Jewish cantor. She has toured the Western States with the Community Concerts Association in addition to playing with many regional and local music organizations. Most recently she returned to performing her life-time passion – jazz and improvisation.

Goodenberger, was the producer for the legendary “Winter Solstice Concerts” of the late 1990’s. She is currently active as a recording artist and solo pianist, performing her original compositions and arrangements of folk and Celtic music. Her recordings are often used in the healing arts, and as film soundtracks. Go to for a complete audio and art listing of her works.

Thursday, December 22, 7pm, at Grace Episcopal Church.  1545 Franklin Avenue, Astoria. There is a $10 suggested donation at the door. For more information, call 503-325-5310.


Holiday Friends – New Year’s Eve at Fort George in Astoria

Holiday FriendsIt only makes sense to spend the last and first holiday of the year with Idaho supplants and indie pop players Holiday Friends. Opened for Blind Pilot: The Free Show (BTY a beautiful experience) and as Astoria is their new home ground and keeping a musical profile, will continue to perform in Astoria.  And how ‘bout that – New Year’s Eve falls on a Saturday – there’s something really wrong with that. But, with raw pop guile cum 60s’ . . . Holiday Friends are well – equipped to tele-music-port you to a higher ground.

Saturday, Dec 31, 9pm, Fort George in Astoria, NO Cover.


Kathryn Clair & Hanz Araki

One of a Kind Celtic Concert Series Comes to Pacific Northwest
Acclaimed Irish Musicians Join Together for a Unique and Memorable Show
Kathryn Clair & Hanz Araki with a host of Celtic friends comes to the Coaster Theater and an Intimate Solstice eve at KALA.

Kathryn Clair & Hanz Araki
Hanz Araki and Kathryn Claire, The Seven Joys of Mary, from their new release A WINTER SOLSTICE CELEBRATION

Musicians Hanz Araki and Kathryn Claire are proud to present a series of unprecedented concerts. These two diverse musicians lend their individual expertise and lyrical knowledge to four theme- based concerts that present some of the strongest and most beautiful elements of the Celtic tradition. This December, they are celebrating the release of the second of four accompanying albums, A Winter Solstice Celebration.
Ancient carols and foot-stomping jigs and reels share the spotlight with poetry, dance, and even a short Mummer’s play from songwriter Matthew Hayward-Macdonald.

This year’s concert features — in addition to Claire and Araki — Cary Novotny on guitar, All-Ireland harp champion Anna Lee Foster, Welsh-born bodhran (Irish frame-drum) player Matty Einion Sears, and vocalist Jody Katopothis.

“Each of us bring to the table a varied collection of songs and stories that reflect the same themes of longing, love, loss, beauty, and celebration. These concerts give us the freedom to explore some of these experiences thoroughly through the music that has arisen from the last several hundred years of human existence.”

Sunday, December 18th at the Coaster Theatre in Cannon Beach, OR. Show starts at 7:30pm. Tickets are $14 for adults and $8 for students.

Tuesday, December 20 at KALA in Astoria. Claire and Araki perform an intimate candlelit eve performance. Doors Open at 7pm. Performance at 7:30pm. Come early, for a seat and enjoy a beverage. Tickets are $8 at the door. The new cd release WINTER SOLSTICE CELEBRATION will be available. For a preview track go to

In the late winter, “As I Roved Out” welcomes better weather and represents the traditional Maying celebrations of the British Isles and beyond, while the plight of the emigrant and laborer is presented in a collection of songs and tunes in the late summer entitled “The Emigrant Song.” Some of the darker and more macabre themes found in Celtic love songs are explored in “Songs of Love and Murder,” and completing the series is the Winter Solstice Celebration; celebrate the darkest night of the year with the light of music, storytelling and wonder.

Billed as “The next generation of trad’ music,” Irish flute player and singer Hanz Araki is the quintessential world music musician. He has toured internationally with Juno award-winning The Paperboys and The Casey Neill Trio; also The Bridies, Portland’s all-star Pogues cover band KMRIA among others, and is featured on over a dozen recordings and soundtracks, along with his own acclaimed CD’s.

Kathryn Claire has asserted herself in a new generation of traditionally-inspired musicians. Her violin-playing exhibits a technical grace which is matched only by her truly captivating voice and she possesses the rare ability to move seamlessly across genres. Her deep love and respect for traditional music has long been a driving influence and those roots can be heard in her own original music.


Flash Cuts – December 2011

2011 goes out with a bang with the release schedule crammed with Academy Awards hopefuls. Not one, but two new Steven Spielberg films including his first animated film, David Fincher’s latest billed as the “feel-bad film of Christmas,” Cameron Crowe’s first movie in six years and the latest installments of the Sherlock Holmes and Mission: Impossible franchises.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy (Dec. 9) The Cold War spy movie makes a comeback with Swedish director Tomas Alfreson’s version of the John Le Carre’s espionage thriller. Set in the early ‘70s, story deals with a Russian spy deep within British Intellignece. After a botched mission in Prague where an agent is captured by the Russians, the head of Mi6, Control (John Hurt), and his deputy George Smiley (Gary Oldman) are forced into retirement. On assignment in Istanbul Mi6 agent Ricky Tarr (Tom Hardy) learns that Russian spymaster Karla has an a mole deep within Mi6. After the Istanbul station head is killed, Tarr goes on the run and Smiley is brought back to track down the mole. Plot is a labyrinth with double and triple-crossings and constant suspense of not knowing who is a friend or foe. Strong cast includes Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Ciarán Hinds and Toby Jones.

Young Adult (Dec. 16) Diablo Cody burst onto the scene in 2007 with her Academy Award-winning script for Juno. Now she returns with a more mature, darker pic about a teen literature writer who can’t let go of the past. Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) is a mid-30s, divorced writer of young adult books living in Minneapolis. A former queen of the scene in high school, Mavis hates her life. When former high school flame Buddy Slade (Patrick Wilson) accidentally sends her an email of his new baby, Mavis goes into an emotional tailspin and returns to her hometown to try to win Buddy back. After humiliating setbacks where Buddy makes it clear he is not interested, Mavis bumps into overweight nerd Matt and they strike up an unlikely friendship. Theron has her work cut out for her – one reviewer called Mavis the “most likeable unlikeable protagonist since Lester Burnham in American Beauty.”

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Dec. 16) Everyone’s favorite 19th century sleuth returns as Robert Downey, Jr. stars as the quick-witted master of deduction. In Game of Shadows, the criminal mastermind Professor Moriarty, who was hinted at in the first movie finally is revealed as Holmes’ nemesis and perhaps superior as he is equally brilliant and more ruthless by far. After rumors floated of Brad Pitt playing the part, character actor Jared Harris ended up as the evil mastermind. After the Crown Prince of Austria is murdered, Homes and Watson (Jude Law) quip their way through Europe, aided by the gypsy fortune teller Sim (Noomi Rapace) while Moriarty sews a path of destruction toward some nefarious world-changing end. Rachel McAdams makes a brief cameo.

The Adventures of Tin Tin (Dec. 21) Steven Spielberg directs his first animated movie with this film based on the comic book series by Belgian artist Hergé. Although little known in the States, the series, enormously popular in Europe, follows the adventures of young Tintin, a reporter, and his dog Snowy in a globe-spanning nonstop action/adventure which has been described as Pirates of the Caribbean meets Indiana Jones. Spielberg filmed live actors, whereupon the footage was transformed into 3D animation by Peter Jackson’s effects company. The result is photorealistic animation that is also true to the style of the original comic books. With Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis and Daniel Craig.

Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Dec. 21) Maybe the most anticipated movie this season is David Fincher’s remake of the 2009 Swedish film based on the first book of Stieg Larsson’s bestselling Millenium series. Story centers around the relationship between Swedish journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) and goth computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara). Blomkvist is summoned by corporate head Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) to investigate the disappearance of his niece Harriet 40 years earlier who Vanger believes was murdered by a member of his own family. To that end, Blomkvist enlists the help of the bisexual Salander, whose dark personal life includes rape and sexual torture by her legal guardian. Blomkvist discovers a list of names kept by Harriet. Salander finds that the names are Jewish women, nearly all murdered. When they discover that Vanger’s brothers were members of the Swedish Nazi Party, they believe they’re on the trail of a Nazi serial killer. Movie has been advertised as the “feel bad” movie of Christmas, with the typical Fincher dark, stylish atmosphere.

We Bought A Zoo (Dec. 23) After a six year absence, director Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire) returns with the true life story of Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon), a single father who uses his life savings to resurrect a rundown zoo. After losing his wife to cancer, emotionally devastated Benjamin struggles to rebuild his life with his two children, teenage Dylan and six-year-old Rosie. Against the advice of his practical brother Duncan (Thomas Haden Church), he buys a decrepit zoo on a whim. With no zookeeping experience whatsoever, he must win over the skeptical staff, led by head zookeeper Kelly (Scarlett Johansson), stave off imminent bankruptcy which would mean the destruction of 200 animals and avoid being shut down by a hostile USDA inspector. Along the way to healing himself and the zoo, Benjamin must face a zookeeper’s worst nightmare. Although Crowe’s films are known for their humorous, sunny outlook no matter how dark the situation, he and Damon went to lengths to avoid making a hokey “Disney-fied” movie. Cast includes Patrick Fugit, Elle Fanning and Peter Riegert.

War Horse (Dec. 25) Although he’s made six films set in World War II, Steven Spielberg was “never interested” in World War I until he read Michael Morpurgo’s 1982 children’s novel about Joey, one of millions of horses used by the military for cavalry and draught horses – pulling weapons, vehicles and dead/wounded. Along with the slaughter of men, millions of horses perished in the war. After seeing the British play in 2010, Spielberg decided to make War Horse his next project. In the rural village of Devon, young Albert’s family buys a magnificent horse. Albert names it Joey and bonds with the horse. But as World War I dawns, the family is forced to sell Joey to the British Army. Story follows Joey as he first serves as an officer’s mount. After a horrific battle, Joey ends up on the German side, serving as a work horse. As the war goes on, Joey passes through many hands, all the while trying to get back to his owner, Albert. An old-fashioned Hollywood film, both anti-war and a love story between a man and his horse.


Long Beach Acoustic Series features Casey Neill – Saturday, November 19

Casey NeillOn Saturday, November 19th you’ll have an opportunity to hear CASEY NEILL in a rare solo appearance.

Casey Neill, a songwriter and bandleader from Portland, Oregon, has a sound that combines narrative storytelling, haunting ballads, and whiskey-fueled rave ups. His sound explores haunting Americana, indie folk, and Scots/Irish melody. For over a decade he has performed throughout the US, Europe, and Japan. His eighth record, ‘Goodbye to the Rank and File’ has garnered rave reviews from radio, online blogs, and press. It is the first to feature his band, the Norway Rats, which includes an all star cast of Portland musicians. Casey is touring throughout 2011 with the Norway Rats as well as in solo performance.

“Casey Neill’s latest record, Goodbye to the Rank and File teems with rich lyrics that paint the glory and gutter of a wanderer’s
struggle. It just may be Portland’s strongest brand of unfettered, contemporary roots rock.” – Mark Stock, WILLAMETTE WEEK

Saturday, November 19, 7pm, $5, reservations recommended. At the Old Long Beach Tran Depot, 102 3rd St. NE, Long Beach Washington. 360 901 0962. Or send an email to either or


Capella Romana, Mt. Sinai: Frontier of Byzantium, Thursday November 17, 7pm

Capella RomanaAfter the enormously successful 2010 tour of the Oregon Coast, performing to full houses in Newport, Pacific City and Manzanita, José Solano again brings Cappella Romana to the coast in a new program of ancient chants from St. Catherine’s Monastery on Mt. Sinai. This is the genre in which Cappella Romana is the recognized as “The world’s preeminent early-music vocal group,” (Portland Monthly Magazine).

At the Tillamook United Methodist Church, 3808 12th St.
$15 Advance, $18 Door Reservations, 503.965.2244.



GaslandSunday, November 20
2:00 pm at Cannery Pier Hotel Conference Room
10 Basin St, Astoria   Discussion Follows

Between shale gas extraction and proposed LNG export plans for Oregon, Gasland is the Sundance award-winning documentary about the destructive and dangerous consequences of natural gas drilling. The film was inspired when the gas company came to the hometown of the film maker, Josh Fox.

The Columbia River and Coos Bay remain the target of liquefied natural gas (LNG) companies that seek to use our region as a conduit for exporting domestic U.S. gas reserves overseas.  The dramatic expansion of natural gas drilling through “fracking” is directly connected to our own fight against LNG.  The LNG terminal proposed for Warrenton, with its 117 miles of pipelines, is up for approval at the county, state and federal levels – – it is not dead yet.

At the screening, Columbia RiverKeeper reps will explain the connection between shale gas extraction and proposed LNG export plans for Oregon.  Maps will be on display of the current Oregon LNG pipeline route and an update of recent legal changes risking the lives and property of Clatsop County residents near the Oregon LNG pipeline.

Together, we have an incredible opportunity to halt LNG exports and to deprive the gas industry of a huge incentive to expand gas fracking in the Mountain West.

See you there.


The Cedar Shakes • Nov 12 @KALA

Give the Dance Floor What it Needs

Cedar ShakesAfter the tourists depart and the leaves fall from the trees, the music of The Cedar Shakes is the perfect soundtrack for the people who have remained behind, those who call the Oregon coast their home.   It is country music from the woods of Nehalem, the wise and sardonic lyrics delivered by Travis Champ’s rich baritone and driven home by the rhythm and pulse of drummer Jamie Owen Greenan and new member bassist Jon Feder.  They arrive at KALA this month to play a selection of their songs guaranteed to get you moving.

Lately, Travis has consciously been writing songs to do just that. “When we started the band a few years ago, we were playing slower paced songs.  Now we’d like to do some songs that get people moving, not just sitting there and staring at you. I actually like an inattentive audience. They may have come out to check out the music but its more of a social thing, with all these conversations.  The “hey, how’s it going?” when anyone walks through the door. “There is only so much you can do with chords E, G, and D,” Travis laughs.

But the songs of The Cedar Shakes are not your standard country fare. While broken bones, empty cans and an early grave awaits the “foolish boy” in the song Rodeo, out “between the cypress trees and the darkened lemon grove, the sons of men unsheathe their hearts like rusty swords while we listen all night to a neighbor’s radio rising through our bedroom floor.”  In the song Sandy Koufax, drummer Jamie propels the song forward like a Southbound train away from the childhood regrets, Landry McMean’s lap steel the lonesome whistle letting bygones be bygones. “Into the void, my friend, over time may we forget the taste of dollar bets, one eyed jacks and candy cigarettes.”

Travis first started writing songs when he got a guitar at 16 and, while influenced by the music he latched onto while in junior high, bands such as The Germs, Rancid, Black Flag and Green Day, he was always digging deeper to discover other music.  Country music, like punk, was a good fit.  “It was approachable; take 3 chords and write a song. You don’t have to be that great a musician. Even now I am not all that comfortable up there with a guitar but I can play what the song needs.”

His earliest musical influences, however, where the sole 3 tapes his Dad played in the family VW bus: a Dwight Yoakum album, a tape by Kathy Mattea which had some good songs especially 18 Wheels And A Dozen Roses and an album by Joe Ely called Love And Danger.  “My parents had a booth at Portland Saturday Market called Baby Snookums, selling baby clothes, bunny hats and duck ponchos.  For 18 years, we did a lot of traveling and those were the 3 tapes we had in the van.  We played them over and over and over again!”  But when we were living in a rural area of Nehalem, we didn’t have any music for years. It was just our own little world.”

A turning point came 6 years ago when Travis bought a 30 day Amtrak ticket to see the country.  At the tail end, he arrived in Austin, Texas, somewhere he always thought he should check out.  It was there he met Rich Russell and Landry McMeans of the band Lonesome Heroes. On his last night, they took him to the infamous venue A Hole In The Wall, (renowned as the place where Townes Van Zandt crashed his car into the side of the building, only to get out and order himself another drink!). That night, he saw some really great local bands and became hooked on the Austin scene. As drummer Jamie had previously lived in Austin, it became a good anecdote to Manzanita’s rainy winters for The Cedar Shakes to go there often and play and eventually record their 4 song, 10 inch record there last Spring.

The release will be available at their performance at KALA.  Take yourself down and get ready to be moved.

Saturday, November 12, Doors Open 7:30pm (post Second Saturday Art Walk). Poet Sarah Archer opens the show at 8pm. $5 cover. Beer and wine available. KALA is located at 1017 Marine Drive in Astoria.


Outsider Artist: The Work of Anne Marie Grgich

Boombox in Sky with Diamonds: a curated exhibition by Kandace Manning and Ian McMartin

The Masquerade
The Masquerade, Mixed Media on Canvas

IN RECENT years, the work of Northwest artist Anne Marie Grgich is more likely to be seen in galleries of New York City, New Orleans, Victoria, Sydney, and in Europe. However, during the next two months, over 20 of her most recent collage works will be featured at Kala in Astoria, along with the paintings, ceramics, and carvings of 7 other artists in the group show, Boombox In the Sky With Diamonds. Joining the skate bowl carvings and photography of Ian McMartin, the ceramics, quilt and paper craft of Portland’s Kandace Manning, the dense phantasmagoric graphics of Seattle’s Paul Gasoi, the comic yet naïve painted boards of Sweden’s Marcus Mårtenson, the photo realism of L. Miscoe’s painted birch panel’s to the intensely vibrant and playful drawings of Soho artist Daniel Belardinelli, the exhibition offers an opportunity to see Anne Marie Grgich’s dense and multi-layered portraits that have made her well known in the international Outsider Art movement, consisting of self taught artists who coexist for the most part outside the realm of the established art world.

Her large portraits are often paradoxical in nature; deceptively simple faces reveal, after closer examination, layer upon layer of images attached to the canvases with water based adhesive, giving them a liquid and mysterious quality. Dark color washes give the paintings a luminescence.

The images hover over each other obscuring and only partially revealing what lies beneath. Akin to the ancient practice of palimpsest where parchment or waxed tablets were scraped to rid them of the previous text and image so that the material could be reused, you can see evidence of the old text behind the whitened area. In Anne’s work, previous layers bubble up thru the paint and the thickly applied adhesive to partially reveal hidden meanings.

Collage Book
Collage Book on display at KALA

Shards of tissue paper rubber stamped and printed with baby heads and doll parts, jellyfish, Victorian garb, hieroglyphics, anatomical drawings, alchemical symbols, third eyes, old bicycles and butterflies. Seahorses used as ears. A wallpaper motif becomes a hat. Bird feathers morph into a dress. Often juxtaposing the modern with the ancient, Anne uses metaphor to play with archetypes, showing “people from the inside out”.

“It just so happens that I started painting faces. I don’t know why. Before that, I was making all these creatures out of found stuff in 1981-82. When I gave birth to my son, I felt I couldn’t have all this trash and junk around a little baby. So I got really into drawing while I was carrying him on my back”. It was Anne’s painted books that first brought her to the attention of the Jamison Thomas Gallery in Portland in 1989, and subsequent shows there catapulted her career. Old library books with each page becoming a canvas encrusted with layers of paint, magic marker, and collage until the book swells up to four times it’s size, with thick textures, fold out pages and bold, defiant faces. “I started doing collage books back when I was a punk rocker, using stuff I found, even cheese whiz! My art developed over time from poetry books to these picture books. I am a kind of visual poet. They are like journals. I could keep everything in my purse, and work wherever I went. Bring some of my books and a box of art supplies and go traveling across the country and to other countries. I’d go to New York and find a piece of wood on the street, then buy some nail polish at Woolworth’s, then find something else. Then I’d make a painting”.

At the Kalas Gallery exhibit, you can see one of her recent books. Like many of her books, it is a work in progress, adding new elements overtime. “I started this book when I had my hysterectomy. So its how I felt at the time. On this page, you can see a uterus and here a womb. I am turning it into this powerful image. I am sort of making my own icons of my feelings. When I feel frustrated or angry, I don’t want to act out how I feel. I am more likely to try to transcend that by working with it. In a way, I am creating an edifice”.

On another page, Anne has collaged the image of a human body, upon which is layered an image of electronic circuitry. On top is applied a tissue with a drawing of the human nervous system. Other layers have images of plants and antlers. “This is all under painting. Later I will re-apply a photo of the body so as to bring it back. Its like I go “In & Out”. I used to organize my collage by color but now I am really into black and white. And then doing color washes on some layers.I am using the images as form, sort of juxtaposition of meaning. Metaphor becomes an element. Like combining the nervous system with the circuitry. As I am building it, a lot of it is intuitive and the rest is just what I am experiencing in life. With my piece “Flight or Fight” which is in the show, it’s about a time in my life, whether to flee or fight it out. Sometimes my work is prophetic. I’ll do a portrait and then eventually meet that person! My art is whimsically put together. There is a lot of irony. But sometimes they have themes. My art has an overall theme”.

Anne Grgich
Anne Grgich in Seattle – profiled as an Outsider Artist in an feature article in Newsweek Magazine-1996, entitled, "Swimming to Seattle—Move There."

At one point, Anne started incorporating baby faces and dolls into her work. “I had a kid and I feel that gave my life a lot of magic, beauty and joy. For me making art is a way for me to experience magic and a way for me to have a 2nd childhood. I had a head injury in 1981 and went into a coma. Afterward, I could only remember some of my previous life. Through art, I was able to remember more and more from the past and it gave me something to do. I would just go into this other world. And create all these drawings”.

Eventually those drawings filled her journals and painted collage books and then grew into the larger canvases. In the show, you can see portraits such as Larissa, Victoria, and Rismone. Their penetrating eyes stare back defiantly but with a sort of innocence. These are eyes that have seen too much, reveal little and stare questioningly at your world. But there are new works exhibited, such as The Masquerade, Whale and The Baby (Underneath It All) that show new metaphors and multi-layer iconic images that point to new themes as well. “Lately, I have become obsessed by trees, as I walk in Forest Park, near my other studio. I have a grasp on how short a human life is compared to a tree that’s 5,000 years old. Meanwhile, art is my life”. And, if you catch her making art while at the Kala Gallery, she’s likely to throw down some Sharpie pens and push a notebook in front of you and say, “Let’s make art!”. She often teaches workshops on her techniques when she is home in Portland and her travels elsewhere.

Next month, Anne packs her typical “on the road” kit of paper, collage books, art supplies and bags of tissue paper printed with various collected images and will be creating art while running workshops and exhibiting at the International Outsider Art Fair, Gallery Bourbon Lally, NYC. And beyond that, a solo exhibit at the Barristers Gallery, in New Orleans followed by a month long artist residency and solo exhibit at the Olaf Gallery in Amsterdam.

Steve Lippincott has an online music magazine at celebrating “music that matters”. He has worked in the publishing industry for 15 years, as well as being a chef. He is currently working on a cookbook called The Harmonious Dish.


Astoria International Film Festival • 5th Annual

Butterfield 8
5 IS THE operative number
as the Astoria International Film Festival returns for its 5th year, and, for the first time as a 5-day festival. To commemorate the occasion, festival director Ron Craig has scheduled 5 Oregon films to screen at the LightBox Photographic Gallery as a sidebar to the regular screenings at the Liberty Theater. As always, Craig covers all bases with his Northwest film offerings, an expanded Young People’s Film Festival, a selecton of socially significant docs including an Academy Award winner, and dollop of Hollywood glitz with a tribute to the late Elizabeth Taylor.

The festival kicks off with renowned independent filmmaker Kelly Reichardt’s pioneer story Meek’s Cutoff, starring Michelle Williams, Paul Dano and Bruce Greenwood. A period Western with a feminist bent, Meek’s Cutoff tells the story of three families heading west in covered wagons who have left the Oregon Trail in search of a shortcut, their guide, the bearded, blustery Stephen Meek (Bruce Greenwood), insists is there. But as weeks go by in desolate country and water runs short, Meek declares: “We’re not lost, we’re finding our way.” Story is told from the point of view of the wives, who walk behind the wagons and are excluded from decisions. Of the wives, Emily Tetherow (Williams) is the most outspoken and distrustful of Meek. With Indian sightings increasing, when Meek captures an Indian scout and threatens to kill him, mistrust and conflict within the party rises to a head and Emily becomes the Indians protector. Based on a true story, $1M film lensed in eastern Oregon near Burns.

Inside JobFestival highlights include Charles Ferguson’s Academy Award-winning documentary Inside Job, a devastating exposé of the financial crisis of 2008. Narrated by Matt Damon, the film does an exemplary job of explaining complex economic issues in simple, easy-to-understand, even humorous ways. Covering close to 30 years of U.S. economic history, basic premise is that the global economic meltdown was “not an accident.” Investment banking firms, loosening of regulatory process by several administrations, predatory lending practices and just plain greed all contributed to the global disaster. Dozens of government and private villains are adroitly grilled by Ferguson, to the point that several ask for the cameras to be turned off. Not all of those interviewed are from the financial industry. Ferguson also talks to a Wall Street madam who supplies high-class call girls to flush clients and a therapist who analyzes investment bankers “blatant disregard for the consequences of their actions.” Movie also boasts a “rock video” credit montage featuring Peter Gabriel’s song “Big Time.” True to the theme of the movie, the rights to the song cost Ferguson close to $100,000.

Kings of PastryOn a lighter note is Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker’s delicious doc Kings of Pastry, in which sixteen of France’s top pastry chefs compete against each other for the ultimate honor of Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (best craftsmen of France). The importance of the right to wear the blue, white and red collar and the competition itself is underscored by one of its supporters – French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Held every four years, the MOF requires the contestants to create 40 recipes over three nerve-wracking days. The filmmakers’ camera follows several contestants as they create everything from perfect cream puffs to fantastic dessert sculptures, all the while under the microscope of the judges who grade their creations for taste and artistry. The cameras also capture the human toll of the event, as the chefs are pushed to the brink, mentally, physically and emotionally. When things go wrong in the kitchen, as they do for nearly all the contestants, the tragedy of the moment literally brings the chefs to tears. In the end, the desserts speak for themselves as Pennebaker’s camera glides over the fantastic creations. Even for non-foodies Kings of Pastry is an absorbing peek into the world of high-stakes dessert crafting.

The AFF pays tribute to screen legend Elizabeth Taylor with two of her classic performances in Butterfield 8 and Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. In the late ‘50s and early ‘60s Taylor was at her career peak. She was nominated for four consecutive Academy Awards from 1957-1960 and for Cleopatra (1960) she was the first actress to earn a $1M salary. In her Academy Award-winning performance in Butterfield 8, Taylor plays Gloria Wandrous, a loose woman having an affair with wealthy executive Weston Liggett (Laurence Harvey), a married man. As their tumultuous affair unfolds, Wandrous and Liggett are pulled in opposite directions as their mutual attraction conflicts with moral standards, leading to a dramatic finale. Trying to have it both ways, the movie is both an overheated melodrama and cautionary tale. Perhaps the most fun moment is when Taylor confronts her mother with the information that “I was the slut of all time!” In another classic performance Taylor plays Maggie the Cat in the movie version of the Tennessee Williams classic Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (1958). A family melodrama with the subtext of repressed homosexuality, Brick Politt (Paul Newman) is an alcoholic ex-athlete in an unhappy marriage with the sexually frustrated Maggie. Visiting the family home in Mississippi to celebrate the birthday of Brick’s dominating father, Big Daddy (Burl Ives), Brick and Maggie must deal with insinuations about their marriage, particularly their lack of children. When the moody Brick continues to drink, leading to friction with Big Daddy, Maggie, the emotional sparkplug of the movie, reveals that she set out to ruin the relationship of Brick and his close friend Skipper, who committed suicide. As in many Tennessee Williams plays, the story is a long night of secrets revealed. Emotional wounds are re-opened, but healing begins. Taylor again has a great line with her declaration that “Maggie the Cat is alive!”

The 5th Astoria International Film Festival runs from October 20-24. Screenings will take place at the historic Liberty Theater and the LightBox Photographic gallery. For a complete festival schedule go to the festival website:

Astoria International Film Festival At LightBox Photographic Gallery and the Exceptional Film Society

LightBox Photographic Gallery will host showings of the five featured films of the Astoria International Film Festival at the gallery theatre from Thursday October 20th thorough Monday October 24th. This provides an alternative to view films in the intimate setting of the gallery theatre, which seats 25 people. The screenings at LightBox will begin a 7pm. They will be shown upstairs in the gallery for $3 throughout the festival.

Meek's CutoffThe first performance at LightBox, on Oct. 20, will be Meek’s Cutoff, based on the actual diaries of women crossing the Oregon Trail. Filmed a few miles from Burns and Hines in eastern Oregon, “This is not your Hollywood wagon train,” said Craig.

Stuff filmed largely in Portland, will be aired at the LightBox on Oct. 21. The documentary focuses on the filmmaker’s odyssey following the loss of his parents.

Hood to Coast will be shown Oct. 22. As the title implies, it looks at the iconic 197-mile relay race from Timberline Lodge to Seaside, the longest in the U.S.

Cold Weather plays Oct. 23, a thriller shot in Portland following a forensic science student’s hunt for his missing ex-girlfriend.

The LightBox fares end Oct. 24 with The Best of the 37th-Annual Northwest Film and Video Festival, featuring the November 2010 event.Seating for showings at LightBox are limited to 25 people, please call the gallery for info and reservations at 503-468-0238.

LightBox will be establishing the Exceptional Film Society starting in November. The Society will consist of individuals wishing to share classic films at the gallery, showings on every Friday evening, concentrating on a social occasion for those interested in sharing the finer aspects and details of a new film every week. Please contact LightBox with interest and more info on the Film Society at 503-468-0238. LightBox Photographic is located at 1045 Marine Drive in Astoria. Hours are Tuesday–Friday 11-5:30, Saturday 11-5. Visit their website at


ASOC presents And Then There Were None

And Then There Were NoneTen little Indian boys went out to dine, one chocked his little self and then there were nine. Ten strangers dinning on a secluded island, each accused of hiding terrible secrets.

Then, one by one, they begin to die…..horribly! That’s right! You guessed it! ASOC takes on the most famous murder mystery ever! Agatha Christy’s master piece, Ten Little Indians, adapted to the stage and re-titled AND THEN THEE WERE NONE by Queen of Mystery Agatha herself!

The show starts out with 10 strangers, meeting on a remote island by invitation by a mysterious host each perceives as someone different. As the crowd of various characters, such as a retired general, a surgeon, a retired police detective, a soldier of fortune, a young teacher and others gather around the evening meal only to beaccused of terrible crimes by a ghostly voice. Shortly there after, the first guest dies and as if by sheer horror of circumstances, one of the 10 soldier statues set upon the mantle is found broken! As the night progresses, the accusations fly as the surviving guests begin to die in a manner paralleling, inexorably and sometimes grotesquely, the old nursery rhyme, “Ten Little Soldiers”.

Directed by Markus Brown with Set Designer/Set Builder Edward James.

AND THEN THERE WERE NONE Opens Oct. 13th to 15th, 20th to 23rd & 27th to 29th Thursdays to Saturdays 7:30pm & one Sunday matinee on Oct 23rd at 2:00pm at the ASOC Playhouse 129 West Bond Street Uniontown Astoria.

Tickets are $15 to 8.00. At the door, but reservations recommended.

Purchase online:


WAHID At the Astoria Arts and Movement Center

WahidWAHID is the duo consisting of Dimitris Mahlis (oud) and Chris Wabich (frame drums). The word “wahid” means “one” and in this case, represents the joining of instruments and music from the East and West. Wahid is bound to a rich cultural history of ancient civilizations and melodies, incorporating instruments that were first documented on clay tablets and papyrus scrolls. Chris and Dimitri have collaborated for over 15 years in world music and jazz contexts. Their musical kinship has evolved into a rendering of melodic and soundscape-driven events that inspires the lives and imaginations of its listeners.

Dimitris Mahlis is a multi-instrumentalist and composer based in the Los Angeles area. He has the distinction of having significant selections of his work taught as a regular part of the curriculum at the LA Music Academy. Since coming to LA, Dimitris’ skills on oud, guitar and other stringed instruments have led him into a rich variety of performing and recording experiences.

Chris Wabich is known around LA as a versatile and original voice on percussion and drumset. Recently Chris played Frank Zappa’s “Joe’s Garage”, a stage production of the album, produced by Gail Zappa. Chris has recorded with: Ludacris, Sting, Stanley Jordan, Lalo Shfrin, Sheila E., Alex Acuna, Turkish superstar Omar Faruk, Mamak Khadem, and the famous poet, Leonard Cohen, among many others, in addition to many TV show credits.

Friday, October 14, 7:30pm, Admission $10. AAMC is located at the corner of 11th and Franklin in Astoria, and is part of the First Presbyterian Church building complex.


Flash Cuts – Sept 2011

Post Labor Day offerings are generally slim, with C-level genre pics and the odd late summer release for the specialty markets, but this September brings a biological thriller from an Academy Award-winning director, a wheelman thriller from the Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival a possible breakout family film, a sports underdog film that’s not about winning the big game and a cancer comedy.

Apollo 18 (Sept. 2) After having its release date changed 5 times, Apollo 18 finally appears. Basically a horror movie on the moon, low budget flick tells in mockumentary fashion much like Paranormal Activity of the story of an 18th moon mission that goes horribly awry, leading to the cancellation of the Apollo program. After decades, footage of the Apollo mission is recovered showing the point of view of two Apollo astronauts who land of the moon. In the course of their mission they find a dead Russian cosmonaut and his lander. Then they encounter an alien parasitic life form that infects one of the astronauts, driving him mad and leading to a deadly game of cat and mouse between the two astronauts.

ContagionContagion (Sept. 9) Steven Soderbergh directs this global thriller about a deadly virus that threatens the world’s population. In clinical fashion we’re introduced to characters in Chicago, Macau and London – all bearing flu-like symptoms of an unnamed disease. The virus is highly contagious and when people all over the world start falling sick and dying, alarm bells go off. Health officials are faced with the threat of a global pandemic. To find a cure before millions are infected and thousands die, officials must trace the spread of the virus back to its to its source – the original three infected. All star cast includes Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Bryan Cranston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law and Laurence Fishburne.

DriveDrive (Sept. 16) A hit at Cannes in May, this taut, stylish thriller directed by Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn tells the story of Driver (Ryan Gosling), a movie stunt driver who moonlights as a wheelman, driving a getaway car. His mechanic Shannon (Bryan Cranston) dreams of the two of them leaving the movie business and forming a racing team and approaches criminal boss Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks) for a stake. Driver lives a solitary existence, but he strikes up a friendship with his neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her young son. But when her husband Standard gets out of prison he wants to pull one last job to get himself out of debt to a vicious gang. Driver is recruited as wheelman but it all goes bad when they are double-crossed, leaving Driver in the middle between the double crossers and the double crossed.

Dolphin TaleDolphin Tale (Sept. 23) Inspirational story from the producers of The Blind Side tells the true story of Winter, a young dolphin crippled after being caught in a crab trap. After being rescued by marine biologist Clay Haskett (Harry Connick, Jr.), Winter is nursed back to health in an aquarium but loses her tail due to injuries. Unable to swim, Winter’s chances of survival look grim. But Sawyer, an introverted 11-year-old from a fatherless household bonds with Winter and rallies everyone around her to try to save Winter. His quest takes Sawyer to the crusty Dr. McCarthy (Morgan Freeman) a brilliant prosthetic scientist who will attempt to create a new tail for Winter in a last-ditch attempt to save her life. Ashley Judd plays Sawyer’s mother. Winter the dolphin plays herself.

MoneyballMoneyball (Sept. 23) Brad Pitt stars as Billy Beane, the iconoclastic general manager of the Oakland Athletics baseball team who in 2002 changed the face of baseball by employing a controversial numbers-based approach to evaluating players instead of the subjective methods of traditional scouting. Sort of an inspirational sports movie for thinking people, Moneyball focuses on the way the young, enthusiastic Beane fights ridicule and opposition in his own franchise to acquire players undervalued by traditional scouting and allow low revenue teams like Oakland to compete head to head with megarich teams like the New York Yankees. based on specific statistics. Johan Hill co-stars in a rare non-comedy role. Based on the book by Michael Lewis who also wrote the book on which the Sandra Bullock hit The Blind Side, was based on.

50-5050/50 (Sept. 30) Joseph Gordon-Leavitt stars as Adam, a 27 year-old who suddenly must face his own mortality when he’s diagnosed with a rare cancer. This is not a disease of the week movie, this is actually a comedy based on the writer Will Reiser’s own struggle with cancer when he was 25. In hilarious fashion, Adam’s condition reveals cracks in his relationship with his seemingly perfect g.f. Rachael (Bryce Dallas Howard) and offers his already overbearing Jewish mother Diane (Angelica Huston) the opportunity to be even more smothering. Adam’s inexperienced psychologist Katie (Anna Kendrick) tries to help with coping strategies while Adam’s crude b.f.f. Kyle’s (Seth Rogen) solution is for both of them to live it up with sex and drugs for as long as they can. In a genre that often turns stultifying and maudlin 50/50 accomplishes the unheard-of trick of being consistently funny yet acknowledging the seriousness of Adam’s situation.


Get a Life!

Daniel Safford MemoirGET A LIFE, I

Well. Yes: of course!

But how?

It’s been said that most stories are personal, that writers work their craft as a way to understand the world, and through the crafting of story we come to understand ourselves.

When I was an undergraduate I studied History at Portland State University; Biography as History, taught by Professor Charles Le Guin, was one of my favorite classes. In those seminar hours I learned about the earliest form of life writing, known as hagiography. We learned about the panegyric, and the frequency with which the stars and heavens conspired, along with a checklist of specific physical traits, to signal auspicious births (think Plutarch’s Lives…). Even back in the hoary mists there were trends to writing lives.

The strongest trend of the 20th century employed sparkling bits of Freudianism, and it peaked for so long it appeared permanent. I won’t forget one heated class discussion about if Freud’s influence would, in my meekly delivered words, ‘withstand the test of time.’ For that assertion I received a most withering look (the guy is probably a senator now.); I recall Le Guin chuckled at my nerve. Of course the bloom on that framing device has long lost its luster. And now all that is mostly swamped by a rising tide of popular and literary memoir.


I became familiar with literary memoir during my graduate study. My conclusion? Don’t be persuaded that it’s a snap to write memoir. Why? Because the best memoirs have a focal point. But which one? what about? … Indeed!

I quickly determined I wasn’t ready to do my own memoir. Gulp! Casting about, I sensed my father’s story would be my ride into parsing the family history. Note: This became biography, me undertaking to write his life. Digging at his roots I was grateful to peer into unseen corners. Many of his stories had a good folksy flow, where I took what I knew, connected the dots. But before long, the only way to flesh fragments into narrative- was to embellish. I had to make stuff up. Now what did I have? Was this still my father’s story?

Biography is a narrative of a life fixed by facts. Memoir is a narrative that focuses on a pivotal event to describe or elucidate character. Autobiography is a chronological telling, some as simple as a list of dates, names. So what did I have, this mess of family stories and actual facts from the Kitsap County Historical Society archives? Important details, yes; but as far as my father’s life- and in crafting a readable story-I had a fiction. Oh boy.


Poet Mary Karr has published three memoirs: The Liar’s Club (which helped start the literary memoir tidal wave), Cherry, and Lit, her latest (a compelling story of recovery). I suspect Karr’s being a poet has much to do with this output; her life and her stories are not about a poet’s brevity, but diving in, finding the juicy parts, about word choice. That’s right: Karr knows what to put in, and what to leave out. Yes- you heard right. Memoir: where you choose what to include.

The work of memoir is not for the timid. You find censors and firewalls and gatekeepers everywhere in this practice. Often we have a story to tell but we don’t want to offend the living. Even a casual mention of an intention to write a family history or personal memoir may cause sideways glances. And these non-verbal cues can stop the process dead in its tracks. Honest: there’s nothing like pinning events to a timeline to reveal and blow apart long-held family secrets. But, writing personal stories can be highly therapeutic, and getting the stories on paper often de-sensitizes troublesome memories. And often, through gentle inquiry, healing can occur. Revision and editing play a big role in writing and comprehending a life, long before the final drafts. It’s tough work.

Here’s my view: We all get up, on either the right side or the left, we all have coffee or something in the morning, we all mutter some sort of prayer to the world, and most of us all leave the house sometime during the day. Or we don’t, for another reason. And something happens: You see any life is far from meaningless, and you begin to commit to this process of getting at your words. And when you are ready, you may share your story. You choose that part too.

In January 2010 I held a class in Astoria. To the surprise of us all we found an experience utterly and completely remarkable. In a group of about eight (ages ranging from 35 to 85), in addition to the stories we arrived with, we found we all had stories of Huguenot ancestors, families from Iowa, links to Montana, peculiar incidents with mules, and cherished childhood memories of pastoral settings – for a gathering of unrelated people these shared stories were well outside any law of averages. So: Get a Life

Class Offerings

Artist’s Way
On Tuesday nights, Rebecca Hart is offering an Artist’s Way class from 6:30 to 8:30, to facilitate artists of all stripes to get in touch with their inner art emperor. Using the well-known book by Julia Cameron, Hart will lead you through a series of pledges, exercises and sharing to awaken a stronger connect with your inner creative guru. Hart first trod the path of The Artist’s Way in 1996, and now has filled 40 notebooks; she paints and exhibits locally, and recently completed an MFA in creative writing.

The Slippery Fish that is Memoir
Many of us have a story we want to tell, in fact we often have many stories. Commit to learning the differences between memoir, autobiography, biography, and dragnet fiction. This is primarily a writing class; expect some self-directed reading, and voluntary sharing. A continuation of the class Hart taught winter term 2010, come if you are merely curious, if you have a project in mind, or if you need help putting structure to the stories you’ve been thinking about. This class utilizes frequent in-class cues and prompts- to get at the raw and rough material inside. From 1 – 4 PM, Wednesday. Both classes are held in Astoria, at the Josie Peper Center at the PAC on 16th- with ample access and parking. For more information and to register, go to

For more information email or call 503-739-1108.


At Cannon Beach Library

Native American Women – Three Who Changed History

Gloria Linkey, author, and Sally Steidel, illustrator, will talk about their book, “Native American Women – Three Who Changed History”  at  the Cannon Beach Library Club potluck lunch at Community Presbyterian Church. Visitors are  welcome. Wednesday Sept 7, 12:30pm at the CB Library.

Cannon Beach Reads! Sept 21, /wed, 7pm

The book discussion  group, meets at the Cannon Beach Library to talk about   “Finding Nouf” by Zoe Ferraris. A well-off Saudi family hires a desert guide to find their missing 16-year-old girl. The guide finds her body, it is determined she had drowned, but her family is not interested in solving the mystery. The book is praised both for its mystery plot and as a rare glimpse into Saudi life. Visitors welcome.

Annual HARVEST FESTIVAL at CB Library, Sat, Sept 4, 9am to 4pm

The Cannon Beach Library’s annual sale of used items and crafts will be held at the library, 131 N. Hemlock St., next to the U.S. Bank.The sale helps support the nonprofit, volunteer-run library.

Adult Summer Reading Club Comes to Close Sept 10

Driftwood Public Library wraps up its first Adult Summer Reading Club on Saturday, September 10th at 3pm with an appearance by multi-genre author Kris Rusch, with drawings for several prizes to follow.

Kris RuschKris Rusch is a long-time resident of the Oregon Coast and has written in several genres under several names, including science fiction and fantasy under the name Kristine Kathryn Rusch, mysteries under Kris Nelscott, paranormal and fantasy romances under Kristine Grayson and romantic thrillers under the name Kristine Dexter. Her novels have made bestseller lists worldwide and have been published in 14 countries and 13 different languages. Her awards range from the Ellery Queen Readers Choice Award to the John W. Campbell Award. Recently she has been nominated for the Hugo, the Shamus, and the Anthony Award.  She is the only person in the history of the science fiction field to have won a Hugo award for editing and a Hugo award for fiction. Her short work has been reprinted in thirteen Year’s Best collections.

She is the former editor of the prestigious The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Before that, she and Dean Wesley Smith started and ran Pulphouse Publishing, a science fiction and mystery press in Eugene. Kris’ latest novels are Wickedly Charming written as Kristine Grayson, and City of Ruins, written as Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

Following Kris’ talk, the library will hold drawings for prizes donated to the Adult Summer Reading Club. Even those who didn’t take part in this year’s Adult Summer Reading Club are welcome to attend Kris’ talk, though they won’t be eligible for prizes. Those who are participating are encouraged to continue to submit coupons for the drawings right up until 3:00 on September 10th. Sign-ups for Adult Summer Reading Club have ended.

FREE EVENT. FMI: Ken Hobson (541-996-1242) or via email at  The library is located at 801 SW Highway 101, on the 2nd floor of the City Hall building in Lincoln City.


Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen – FREE WORKSHOP

Paulann PetersonPAULANN PETERSEN, Oregon’s Poet Laureate, returns to Tillamook on Saturday, September 17, to present a poetry workshop and reading as part of the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum’s Great Speaker Series. The workshop will be held from 10am to 4pm at the Tillamook Main Library.

A poetry reading by Ms. Petersen and workshop participants will be held at the Pioneer Museum at 7pm that evening. The reading is free and open to the public. Museum director Gary Albright said, “Thanks to our sponsors the Oregon Cultural Trust, the Tillamook Cultural Coalition, Oregon Humanities and the museum’s Daisy Fund, we are able to offer this poetry workshop at no charge to the public, but pre-registration is required.” Call the museum at 503-842-4553 to register before September 10.


Larry Colton, Author & Founder of WORDSTOCK at Seaside Library

No Ordinary JoesON THURSDAY September 15, the Friends of the Seaside Library will host Larry Colton, founder of Wordstock and author of “No Ordinary Joes”.  The event will take place in the Community Room and there will be book sales and signings presented by Beach Books.

“No Ordinary Joes” is the true story of four men who join the Navy during WWII and survive the loss of the submarine Grenadier, as well as two and a half years as POWs in Japanese camps.  Their experiences are heroic and terrifying and upon returning home they live out somewhat checkered lives, with as many failures as successes.  “This is the greatest generation but with warts, wives, wobbling, and all”.

Larry Colton is the author of three previous books, “Idol Time”, “Goat Brothers” and “Counting Coup”.  He is a former pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies and founder of the nationally known literary festival “Wordstock”.

Seaside Public Library is located at 1131 Broadway, across from the Youth Center and Swimming Pool.  For more information call (503)738-6742 or visit us at and


Lauren Kessler – Writers on the Edge • Sept 17

Lauren KesslerLAUREN KESSLER is the author of six works of narrative nonfiction, including her newest (summer 2010), “My Teenage Werewolf: A Mother, A Daughter, A Journey Through the Thicket of Adolescence”. She is also the author of Pacific Northwest Book Award winner “Dancing with Rose” (published in paperback as Finding Life in the Land of Alzheimer’s), Washington Post bestseller “Clever Girl” and Los Angeles Times bestseller “The Happy Bottom Riding Club” – which David Letterman, in fierce competition with Oprah, chose as the first (and only) book for the Dave Letterman Book Club. Kessler appeared twice on his late-night show. She is also the author of Oregon Book Award winner Stubborn Twig, which was chosen as the book for all Oregon to read in honor of the state’s 2009 sesquicentennial.

Show begins at 7pm in the second floor meeting room of the Newport Visual Arts Center, located at 777 NW Beach Drive (across from the Nye Beach Turnaround).  General admission is $6 at the door, students always admitted free. Light refreshments will be available.