Holy Bleep! The Church of Film

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There’s something amazing about the thought of a curator or curators pushing the envelope to screen crazy and mind blowing films. From the looks of it, this is what the Church of Film is doing. They’re making it easy. All you have to do is show up. If you’re trying to make films, taking classes and in need of inspiration here’s another outlet. It has always felt like the random film experience, one without preconceived notions, can have an impact by creating an unforgettable cinematic experience. What you do with that experience is your business. I’ll never forget an almost accidental encounter seeing Pasolini’s Canterbury Tales on the big screen presented by a film club while in college. I walked back to the dorm across the drill field in a weird state of bemusement that I’ve yet to shake. Same goes with Ralph Coon’s Whispers From Space which I only saw because the trains were delayed due to heavy snow fall. And then there were many random films I stumbled onto at the East Gallery in Washington D.C. I’m guessing any cinephile has a list like this. It feels like the Church of Film is creating a venue for the possibility for film goers to have these types of experiences.

I find it inspirational that somebody out there is making a tremendous effort to bring a cinematic culture of weirdness and obscurity to what I hope will find a receptive and appreciative audience. So yeah, that one named guy who’s been singing about getting someone to take him to church—well this is that church. He and I and everyone else should be heading to the Church of Film.

The Church of Film folks are digging up the stuff and freaking it out. Who knows what they’ll be screening next but you can stay informed by checking out his link:

http://www.churchoffilm.org

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Strapped, Baby!

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If you want to grab a blogger of my ilk’s attention strap a baby doll to the front of your car. What kind of statement is attempting to be made here? I have no idea but it struck me as odd and mystifying enough for inclusion in this blog.

I noticed this first while driving the work van earlier in the week and when I went back to find the car, it was gone.  The next day I discovered it and grabbed a couple of photos.  I was surprised to find the baby’s eyes closed, but it makes sense.  If I were strapped to the front of a car, I too would close my eyes and hold on to something for dear life.

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Hold tight kid, you’re in for a rough ride and it’s only the beginning!

Outsider Art Among Us

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Political message laden sculpture surround a house on a quiet street. I remembered the location well enough to be able to return to take pictures on a sunny day. There are many things to appreciate about the found object and industrial parts of the sculptures and their anti-corporate themes. The ex-president’s heads floating on the giant mobile and the humorous depiction of Obama riding on a drone, like a nod to Dr. Strangelove, is the exact kind of folk art environment that brings me joy. My eye immediately gravitated to the Richard Nixon’s head on the mobile because years ago I had written lyrics to a song called “Dick Nixon’s Head” and there it was free floating in the sky, easily one of our top five creepiest Presidents, immortalized in the front yard of a North Portland home. Walk on by to see it up close and personal. It’s on North Sumner St between Interstate and Greeley, but closer to Interstate.

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Dick Nixon’s Head (far right)

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Here’s the link to a “parlor rock” version of the song “Dick Nixon’s Head.” Parlor Rock was a way of recording songs on the spot with improvised or hastily written music parts.

Dick Nixon’s Head was recorded sometime in the 90’s by The Yahoo Skin Band with Mr. Fondle on vocals, guitar and effects, Sal Amoniac on bass and George Willard on the other vocals and guitar. Many thanks to Greg K. for sending the mp3.

Quirk Report

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I must have thought being an English major was going to be more profitable than studying history but I keep my interest in history alive by looking for local historical info where I can find it. I’ve discovered that besides reconnecting with old friends and finding out who goes on the best vacations, Facebook also offers another perspective on the Portland and Oregon experience through various groups I’ve encountered through the site. If you need a first hand history fix or want to learn about places that used to be around consider liking the following groups on Facebook:

Lost in Oregon

Hidden Portland for the Curious

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Know Your City

Portland Pioneers of Color Walking Tours

All of these merit a separate blog entry which I hope to get to at a later date. In the meantime check it out. You can only imagine what obscure tidbit of information you might encounter.

Owls Take Over

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My first thought when eyeing this owl mural while riding my bike up North Vancouver Avenue had me concerned with the resale value of this property. As a homeowner this seemed a pressing issue. Would the future homebuyer have to be an owl aficionado? With the house not being for sale this line of thought is null and void so it’s best just to enjoy the view. As I begin to notice my own interior landscape giving way to owls, it makes this home’s owl exterior seem part of an infectious owl takeover.

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Making Movies

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Director Bryan Hiltner (Center)

The kid impressed me. Ever since I’d read his musings about movies on Facebook and seen many of his short films at the old Attack of the Flix screenings, Bryan Hiltner made me consider that his cinephile obsessions run deep, even down to the ink on his skin. It’s also apparent he knows more than my college film studies teacher knew which is impressive because Bryan is not a Professor, he’s a film maker who draws on his cinematic knowledge to make short movies.

For his recent effort titled Elena Vance, Bryan decided to ramp up his production. He raised money, put together a dream team crew and secured locations, one being the holiday hot spot, Peacock Lane. When I was asked to shoot behind the scenes footage and create a short profile of Bryan in action, I was more than flattered. I was inspired to witness movie making. I realized later that it was an honor to be a fly on the wall, with a camera up to my face, observing the intricacies of what a film crew and actors do when they get together under the orchestrations of a director.

In the midst of this activity, I was handed a business card from a gentleman, also holding a camera, because he was taking production stills. The card provided information about Stumptown Movie Makers, a meetup group, that organizes people interested in all kinds of aspects of movie making. This got me thinking that there’s no better way to learn about making movies then to get on a film set. Local and low budget productions can always use an extra set of volunteer hands helping out with activities that may seem to have little to do with film making but support the endeavor nonetheless. And in the flurry of creativity an opportunity exists to experience a movie being made. You might witness anything from wardrobe choices, to an actor questioning specifics on his character’s actions along with an endless amount of technical decisions being made throughout a day or night of shooting. Hanging around the set for 3 or 4 hours was exhausting enough so I had to consider the endurance that was going to be needed for the 6 days of shooting that had been scheduled to make Bryan’s short movie. It’s tough work and sometimes it’s all hands on deck. It’s what you gotta do to make a movie.

Want to get a foot in the door to helping make movies in Portland? Check out:

http://www.StumptownMovieMakers.com

Happy New Year!

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The best advise for ringing in the new year came from this sleepwear I spotted that said, “Let’s drink Champagne & dance on the table.” With the exception of partying with Charli XCX and One Direction, I couldn’t imagine a better way to have celebrated the crossover from 2014 to 2015. Have a great new year!