alternative press serving the lower columbia pacific region


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.

Cannon Beach Library Author Series – Brian Doyle

The Cannon Beach Library’s Northwest Authors Second Saturday Series begins a new season with  Portland author Brian Doyle. The award-winning author, essayist, and editor of the University of Portland’s Portland Magazine and has a recent novel, “Mink River,” about loves and lives in a fictional Oregon coast town, published by the Oregon State University Press. The library is on Cannon Beach’s main street, next to the U.S. Bank. Free.

Saturday, September 10, 2pm at the Cannon Beach Library.

On Prescott Beach Where Lewis & Clark

& Their Companions Camped One Night
When the United States Was Just a Pup

Brian DoyleAnd there was no nuclear plant upstream a ways either,
Its cooling tower brooding like a barnacle on steroids,
And no beer cans in the sand, and no pet litter ordinance,
But there were Swans, Geese, white & Grey Brant Ducks
&c. emensely noumerous, and their noise horid, and rain,
Of course rain, all night and continues this morning, we
Were all wet cold and disagreeable, yet this is certainly
A fertill and a handsom valley, wrote Meriwether Lewis,
All of thirty-one years old that day, wandering the beach,
Not even four years left to go in his lovely muddled life,
In my walk of to Day I saw 17 Striped Snakes, he wrote
That night by the fire, sitting by his friend William Clark,
Clark roasting a grouse on a spit and advising his buddy
To mention the grouse too, which Lewis does, verry fat,
He notes carefully. We camped a little below the mouth
Of a creek, writes Lewis, and Clark laughs and says hey,
Did you scribble down that we were soaking wet all day,
That Sacagawea’s baby has cried ceaselessly for a week,
And that this grouse, fat as it is, isn’t big enough for you
To actually have any because I am about to gobble it all?
And Lewis smiles there on the bank of the Mighty River,
The first night in weeks they have not been accompanied
By curious residents annoyed & inquisitive & acquisitive,
The first night they are again just the Corps of Discovery,
Such a motley crew, by now shaggy and thin and sopping
Wet, bedding down above the tide line, two centuries ago,
The Shoshone girl with her baby just turned one year old,
The black man from Kentucky admired for his woodcraft,
The two captains from Virginia banking the fire laughing
As Lewis says a snake! and Clark says don’t even try that
On me, man, let’s get some sleep, we got a long way to go.

— Brian Doyle

Writing Workshop – Miriam Gershow Short Story Writing and Publishing, Sept. 17

Miriam GershowON SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 11 to 1:30pm to learn how to write and publish short stories. Spend the first half of the workshop using writing prompts to generate short story ideas. The second half will focus on how and where to place your short fiction. The fee for the workshop is $25.

Miriam Gershow is a novelist, short story writer and teacher. Her stories appear in The Georgia Review, Quarterly West, Black Warrior Review, Nimrod International Journal, The Journal, and Gulf Coast, among other journals. Miriam’s stories have been listed in the 100 Distinguished Stories of The Best American Short Stories 2007 and appeared in the 2008 Robert Olen Butler Prize Stories.

Miriam is the recipient of a Fiction Fellowship from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing , as well as an Oregon Literary Fellowship.

She received her MFA from the University of Oregon. She taught fiction writing at the University of Wisconsin as well as descriptive writing to gifted high school students through Johns Hopkins University. She currently lives in Eugene with her husband and son, where she writes and teaches writing at the University of Oregon.

Saturday evening, Gershow will read from her new novel, The Local News, at 7pm at the Manzanita Writers’ Series at the Hoffman Center.

To register for the workshop, download the registration form at At the Hoffman Center (across from Manzanita Library at 594 Laneda Avenue. FMI: online or contact Kathie Hightower, 503-739-1505;

Laughing Wild

Christopher Durang’s
SEPT 30, OCT 1
@ KALA Stage
in astoria

Laughing Wild

Featuring Jenni Newton & Bill Ham, directed by susi brown, photo by dinal urell

THIS SEPTEMBER, HIPFiSHmonthly announces the opening of The KALA Stage, in celebration of the continuum of locally produced theater, and the vital theatrical community of the Lower Columbia Pacific Region.

And now a word from Susi Brown – Pier Pressure Productions:
For those of you who enjoyed this past year of thought-provoking theatre at 260 10th, Pier Pressure Productions will be presenting a play just around the corner at the headquarters of KALA/Hipfish. If you haven’t taken an opportunity to attend one of KALA’s 2nd Saturday Art Walks, perhaps you will support the arts by attending PPP’s production of Christopher Durang’s “Laughing Wild”. When PPP announced that it was closing its doors, Dinah Urell graciously extended an invitation to the theatre group to use her new space for performance opportunities. Pier Pressure’s first production was performed in 2009 at the Columbia River Coffee Roaster in the area now known as 3 Cups. In addition to Urell’s offer, PPP as also been welcomed back by Tim Hurd and TJ Lackner (CRCR & 3Cups owners). It may be that PPP will be presenting something in the 3 Cups coffee shop again someday.

Curtain Everyone! By September 30, the blacks will be hung, the lighting system set, lighting technician waiting in the wings, the house full, and the diminutive black box stage will welcome two actors to enact its inaugural performance.

When we were doing the photo shoot for the PR for Laughing Wild, I was reminded by one of the actors, Jenni Newton, that we had coincidentally first met after a performance of playwright Christopher Durang’s Beyond Therapy (directed by then Clatsop College theater coach Gay Preston some 10 years ago). Ms. Newton portrayed the slightly (or is it tightly) wound psychiatrist. It was her actor-onstage introduction to the community. At an after-show party, I complimented Ms. Newton on her performance, I told her, “You’re good!” And there were numerous feelings mutual amongst attendees.

Since that time, we have not seen enough of Jenni Newton on stage, because she’s too busy being an award-winning, valuable high school drama instructor at Astoria High School, and the infrequent direction of community theater. We did see her as Annie Wilkes in Misery at the River Theater. A striking performance. Newton informs she likes a character that can take her on a ride, and an audience that’s willing to go with her. Hence, her interest in the character “Woman” in Laughing Wild.

William Ham, “Man” in the show, I have told recently, “I have a Bill Ham setting on my camera.” For Mr. Ham has been exercising his acting and comedy prowess on various stages in the region since he set foot on this coast. “Bullshot Crummond,” “Almost, Maine,” “The Zoo Story,” “Glengarry Glen Ross,” and “The Seafarer.” He also wrote, directed and performed three well-received one-man shows at the former Pier Pressure Productions space. Ham is a generous performer, giving us the full extent of the spirit and energy of the role, and his gift to make us laugh.

So, as we have witnessed, the theater community just keeps growing, maturing, changing, and thriving through it transitory times. It is the nature. KALA Stage embarks on its adventure, an embrace in diversity of theater and performance.

Laughing Wild is a provocative study about the perils and stresses of modern life in urban America. Jenni Newton and Bill Ham address the audience with two comic monologues which evolve into a shared nightmare and the isolation it creates. Christopher Durang’s characters battle with desperation, alienation, and life’s brutalities in his fiercely ironic comedy. See you there.

Purchase Tickets eve of show beginning 6pm at KALA.
Sept 30 – Oct 1
Doors open 7:30pm.
Show at 8pm. $15
Beer and Wine Sold. Snacks!
FMI: 503.338.4878

Return of the Native

Justin L’Amie and Cynthia Lahti
Opening Reception: 2nd Saturday Art Walk
September 10, 5pm – 9pm through Oct 2
Speaker, Bill Ittman 7pm Ambient Music, Roge Hayes

KALA@HIPFiSHmonthly presents work by two Portland artists who have long ties to the Astoria area–Cynthia Lahti and Justin L’Amie. A special addition to the evening, North Coast art guru Bill Ittman will speak at 7pm, on behalf of the work of the featured artists. In addition, NorthCoast sound artist/painter Roger Hayes performs ambient music. Refreshments served.

Cynthia Lahti - Dolphins

Cynthia Lahti - Dolphins

Cynthia Lahti left Portland to earn a bachelors degree at the Rhode Island School of Design in 1985, and after graduating returned to Portland where she continues to live and make art. She is represented by PDX Contemporary Art in Portland and currently she is “focusing on ceramic sculpture and mixed media drawings based on expressive images of the figure. “There are so many figures out there in the world, wearing so many poses and costumes; I find those that resonate and interpret them in clay. Each artwork expresses an intense inner psychological state, its surface effecting a fluctuating quality, part beauty, part grotesque,” says Lahti of her work.

Lahti’s grandparents, Edla Soujanen and Nilo Vilulahti met and married in Astoria after immigrating from Tiavassolo, Finland in the early 1910’s. Her father Uuno Lahti was born in Astoria in 1919 and spent his childhood in Union Town and Youngs River. Her mother Janet Irving came to Astoria in the the early 1950’s. She was a home extension agent for Clatsop County, teaching women how to sew and cook. They were married in 1956 and moved to Portland. Her childhood was filled with many trips to Astoria, as well as camping adventures around the Pacific Northwest with friends from Astoria. Cynthia reports, “I continue to feel a connection to the place. It has sublime natural beauty and retains a feeling of being hidden and able to function by it’s own conventions. These are qualities that also dominate my artistic process. I am grateful to be able to exhibit my work in Astoria, a place many of my relatives and friends haunt.”

Justin L’Amie was born in Astoria in 1983, and he spent part of his childhood in the area with his grandparents Gail and David Wahlstrom, who came to Astoria from northern Minnesota in 1960. He attended Clatsop Community College for the academic year 2002-03 before moving to Seattle where he received his B.F.A. from the Cornish College of Art in 2006. He currently lives and continues to make art in Portland, OR and is represented by PDX Contemporary Art. His first one-man exhibition occurred in 2010.

Justin L'Amie - Snake

Justin L'Amie - Snake

Justin L’Amie writes about his work; “Most of my art is a tribute to that which sustains us: this amazing planet and all its beauty. Puppies, tree sap, barnacles, Queen Annes lace, rain, leaves, vitamin c, leather, fingernails, dry rot, coconut husks. As terrifying as it often is, I am still amazed at what the earth has to bare. I can’t help but be fascinated by the ways that animals (including humans) manipulate, promote, destroy and take advantage of the things that grow and exist around us. It is at once fantastic and wretched, and while it is often hard to accept the terrible in life, I try to embrace the fact that there are things I both love and hate about this place.”

Bill Ittmann, born in Boston, Mass. in 1939, developed a love of art and art historical sites while traveling in Europe in his teens. After receiving a B.F.A. in Art History from the University of Kanas and working at the University of Kanas Art Museum, he pursued graduate level courses at the Courtauld Institute at the University of London in 1964. In 1966 he lived with renowned California painter, Wayne Thiebaud and his family and modeled for a number of paintings and drawings. Ittmann completed his Masters Degree in Art History at Washington University in St. Louis in 1967. Between 1967-71 he taught seminar level courses at Williams College in Williamston, Mass. on old masters drawings and 19th century and contemporary art. Two students from his program, who later gained prominence are the late Kirk Varnedoe-chief curator of the Museum of Modern Art, and Thomas Kerns-director of the Guggenheim Museum in New York. After a long period of teaching, publishing and traveling he finally moved to Cannon Beach in 1978 where he currently resides and continues to be very active in art related activities-Design Review Board for the City of Cannon Beach for ten years, teaching at Clatsop Community College and former Director of the Art Center Gallery. He is an enthusiastic collector of regional and local contemporary art.

Ittman got to know Justin L’Amie while he was teaching in the CCC Art Department. “I found him to be profoundly interested in being an artist and ready to absorb every aspect of the art scene in Seattle and Portland that I could expose him to. He showed an exceptional appetite for looking at and producing art in a variety of media. His work has a deep interest and awareness of nature and shows a gentle, sometime mordant curiosity about all sides of nature, both lush and vibrant, and fragmented and dissipated,” says Ittman. The artists that L’Amie admires include Thomas Bewick, J.J. Audubon, James Ensor, Egon Schiele, David Shrigley, Raymond Pettibon, among others.”

As a curator and supporter Bill Ittmann has known Cynthia Lahti’s work through her affilation with PDX Contemporary. The artwork with very tactile surfaces stretches the boundaries between “art” and “craft”. On Lahti’s work Ittman describes, “Broken pigments, broken figures, mostly human and cats, substantially, but not exclusively female. There is a narrative quality to the work–fragments of a tale without a beginning or an end. There are many art historical references: Degas, Rodin, Giacometti, L. Freud, Francis Bacon, KiKi Smith, and Brancusi.”

This exhibition is made possible by the generous support of Jane Beebe, Director of PDX Contemporary Art in Portland. Jane has frequently loaned works of art from her gallery to exhibitions at the Art Center Gallery at CCC.

Ilwaco’s Blues and Seafood – August 12-13

Norman Sylvester

Norman Sylvester. The Original Northwest Boogie Cat has shared the stage with BB King, Buddy Guy, James Cotton, Junior Wells, Otis Clay, Tower of Power,Five Blind Boys of Alabama, Peter Frampton and many more National Touring Stars. Norman is one of the most engaging showmen around the Northwest and is totally dedicated to the soul healing force of Music.

2011 PROMISES to be bigger and badder than ever as the merchants of the Port of Ilwaco gear up for two days and nights of great local and regional blues and seafood.

Friday Night All Star Jam brings back Robbie Laws and the newly configured North Coast Blues Band. Saturday is an all day event beginning at 2pm: It’s Boogie Bone, the Coyote Kings and the Norman Sylvester Band. Headlining is The Harp Breakers, a great lineup featuring Vyasa Dodson and Dave Melyan of the Insomniacs, Peter Dammann of the Paul deLay Band, harmonica great Bill Rhoades, Cliff Ashmon of the Hudson Rocket Band, Franco Paletta of Franco Paletta and the Stingers, Kim Field of Kim Field and the Mighty Titans of Tone, bass great Albert Reeda and Jim Rafferty.

The Food Court is expanding as well, with lots more delights from Peninsula Seafood providers. And, of course, there will be Micro Brews, Regional Wines and BBQed Oysters from Willapa Bay.

Jazz and Oysters – August 14

Zona Calda

Zona Calda (Italian for “Hot Spot”) is known for entertaining audiences of all ages with swinging grooves and fresh takes on classic songs. Performing “Boho Jazz”, a term coined by the group to describe their eclectic repertoire, they cover tunes from jazz’s golden age, classic bossa novas, Motown and Soul hits and current favorites from artists like Norah Jones and Diana Krall.

JAZZ AND OYSTERS celebrates its 26th year. Each August, the Festival site is transformed into a jazz club, complete with oysters, desserts, beverages, sausages and an array of other tasty tidbits.  And then come the jazz fans and the music.  Over the years, Water Music Festival has hosted some of the best musicians in the Pacific Northwest, and the music lasts all day.

Jazz and Oysters is a major fundraiser for Water Music Festival in October, the peninsula’s classical music festival, and has historically been one of the most popular events of the year on the Long Beach Peninsula.

This year J&O features ZONA CALDA 10:30 – 1pm, and Tall Jazz 2pm – 5pm.

Jazz at St. Catherines – August 28

Bobbe NorrisCRITICALLY ACCLAIMED S.F. jazz greats, vocalist Bobbe Norris and pianist Larry Dunlap perform as part of the Barthelemy Concert Series, established to honor  Fr. Paul and Mary Barthelemy for years of dedicated service to St. Catherine’s and the larger community.

Long a favorite of music critic Rex Reed, Bobbe blends her lush contralto — reminiscent of Rosemary Clooney and Peggy Lee — with Larry’s sophisticated original songs and swinging arrangements. $20

Sunday, August 28, 3pm. $20. St. Catherine of Alexandria Episcopal Church is located at 36335 Highway 101, Nehalem.

Be an Astor Street Opry Action Fun Figure…

Shanghaied in Astoria…In the Miss Virginia Run and Miss Vivian Contest and Pub Crawl, and don’t miss the 27th Season of

Shanghaied in Astoria!

It’s all about Miss Vivian and Miss Virginia Buttons
“Miss Vivian”, is the rough and sturdy saloon owner from the shanghaied story, who’s just trying to make a livin’ in this rough mans world. “Miss Virginia” is the Sweet Heroine who is trying to find her hero, Eric.  Local establishments each sell a custom made ASOC button with their image on it. Each button sale counts as a vote! Whoever sells the most…WINS! (YES… this truly is an election that can be bought!!!)

Saturday August 20th –  THE MISS VIRGINIA 2 mile + 4K almost  MILE K “FUN RUN COFFEE RUN” (or walk if you like!), hosted by Michael “Ole” Wangen and sponsored by Napa Auto Parts of Warrenton and Old Town Framing in Astoria.

It starts at East End COFFEE GIRL at 9:00am and will proceed 2 miles + 4K miles down the Astoria Riverwalk ending at Journey’s End Coffee Stand on the West End of Town. The winners receive fabulous prizes and the chance for bragging rights! Register the day of the event or by phone to ticket box office. Small fee for singles of $10 and for 3-Person teams $25. The first 50 registered runners receive a fabulous limited edition Miss Virginia tee shirt. Plus all runners will receive a free GIFT CARD Red Star World Wear with a value up to $500. Sign up before August 19th at Coffee Girl, Astoria Coffee Company, Street 14 Coffee, Wheelhouse Coffee, Rusty Cup Coffee House, 3 Cups Coffee, Kick Ass Coffee or by calling 503-325-6104.

Then, the fun continues into the evening of Saturday August 20th starting at 6:00 pm at the ASOC Playhouse when you can “Come Aboard” for a tour of “Shanghai Trap Doors.” Passengers will meet twelve 2011 MISS VIVIAN CONTESTANTS. At each stop sample their special “Shanghaied Cocktail” and hear their Trap Door Story created just for this unique event! There will be a fee for the crawl and space is limited so call 503-325-6104 to sign up!

In conjunction with the Miss Vivian traditional “button selling” fundraiser the ASOC has added a Raffle Contest! The prize is an exclusive one night only limousine tour for you and six of your closest friends provided by North Coast Limousines on the night of Saturday August 20th! This private tour includes: a stop at all 2011 MISS VIVIAN candidate’s watering holes. There, you and your company will be the 2011 judges for the Miss Vivian ”Shanghai Trap Doors Stories” and “Shanghaied Cocktail.” Also included: Champagne and snacks, souvenir Shanghaied Glasses, 2011 Shanghaied Sturdy Women Tees, front row seats to any of our upcoming shows, and free admission to the SHANGHAIED BALL! A package value set at over $700.00! These one in a life time, fabulous raffle tickets are only $10.00 a chance or three for $20.00.

8th Annual Shanghaied Costume Ball
On the night of August 20th, ASOC will hold the 8th Annual Shanghaied Costume Ball (10:30 pm to 1:00am). $10 fee at the door couples $15. Music by Dee Jay Nacho Biz!  Along with special entertainment and prizes for Best Costumes! At 11:15pm button selling stops as the judges go into a sound proof room to tally the results of the Contests. At approx midnight judges declare the winners for:  Best Cocktail, Shanghaied Tale, Miss Virginia Love Story, Coffee Drink and Best Costumes! Then comes the Crowning of Miss Vivian AND Miss Virginia 2011.

SHANGHAIED IN ASTORIA sponsored by Medical Spa LaCost runs through September 10th. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Ticket Hotline 503-325-6104 to leave a voice mail. Calls will be returned 10:00 am to 3:00pm daily. Tickets can also be purchased at the door beginning one hour before show time, but reservations are recommended.