Archive for the 'portland' Category


Nickey: Non-Profit Lovefest: Do-It-Yourself Epowerment

Shocking fact: I don’t like capitalism. I work at a non-profit. I love non-profits! Unfortunately, this has been a very tough year for non-profits. Funding is drying up when the services non-profits offer are more vital than ever. Many non-profits are serving more constituents than ever with less money. It’s that time of year when we spend lots of dough on gifts. For the next few weeks I’m going to highlight my favorite non-profits with this new feature, Non-Profit Lovefest. I encourage you to donate to all of them for their end of the year campaigns- they need it! Even $5 can be a great gift to a struggling non-profit.

An organization that’s very near and dear to me is the Independent Publishing Resource Center in Portland. I have been a member since 2003, my second summer in Orgeon. The IPRC is a magical land of zinester dreams. Housed in a small office above Reading Frenzy bookstore, the IPRC has a plethora of low cost workshops, a free library with over 10,000 zines, a letterpress printing studio, a computer lab, and a work room full of fun stuff. They have also branched out to doing community work and youth arts programs. I’m very passionate about media literacy, and excited to see the IPRC teaching classes all over Portland where they deconstruct media messages about gender and sexuality. They’ve also helped senior citizens make zines, put on the annual text ball (where you come dressed as text!), and recently purchased a perfect-bind bookbinder so you can make really professional looking books for very little money.

Zines meant the world to me as a teenager in the pre-internet age, and I’m glad to see the IPRC continuing to teach kids the beauty of glue-sticking magazine cut-outs to paper. I’ve always been obsessed with pop culture and zines gave me my first outlet for expressing my frustration with mainstream messages about girls. Some think blogs are killing zines, but the digital divide is still a huge issue, and zines don’t require expensive technology- just a good idea and some paper.

Right now the IPRC is part of the Willamette Week Give Guide, and if you give at least $25 to a single organization, you’ll get an envelope full of fun freebies! So give them some money.

I also recently directed this short film about the work the IPRC is doing. Please watch it and forward it to your friends!


Jon: “Rain and Blood” by Thee Headliners…


Of all Portland bands, one of my longest held favorites is Thee Headliners. I hadn’t gone to see them in a while, so I managed to remain unaware that they had released a new album, Rain and Blood, a full 6 months ago! Thankfully, Paul and I stumbled across it while digging through the tons of vinyl at Everyday Music.


Besides having some of the most ridiculous(ly amazing!) cover art I have ever seen, Rain and Blood also contains many of their most accomplished songs to date. I’ve always thought that Thee Headliners seemed like a band that would perform at The Lobo Lounge. (Remember? It’s the bar they would hang out at on Roseanne.) Though that sound has always served them well live, it was impossible not to wonder what the band would sound like if they stretched their wings a little and flew into more progressive territory. On Rain and Blood what you end up getting is an unexpected polarization of Thee Headliners sound. Half the tracks are thoroughly forward thinking rock while the other half largely fall back on traditional and tired country and rockabilly hooks.

As a listener, it is hard to not see a shiningly perfect 6 song EP buried within a bunch of referential filler. In my opinion, Thee Headliners are one of the cities strongest performers and they are clearly capable of crafting amazingly written songs. I look forward to see what they have written since releasing the album, and hope it carries the same strong elements present on much of Rain and Blood.

September 10th they are playing in the Ponderosa Lounge in the North Portland Jubitz truck stop( which is practically as good as seeing them at the actual Lobo Lounge) with another local favorite of the Gaycondo house, Advisory. I’ll be there, why don’t you be there too?

Below, a live video of Thee Headliners performing “You Don’t Know”, my favorite track off the new album.

p.s. Wouldn’t you agree that Holly is maybe the best Portland singer ever? AND while playing drums!


26 Interviews: (A)ndrew Klaus

26aPortland based artist Andrew Klaus has been continuously working in a wide range of creative fields  including photography, music (as A is for Accident), and film, his most prominent effort.  As a follow up to several award winning films, his  newest short feature “Inheritance” will be out later this year.

Through out his career Andrew has worked with such notable collaborators as Andy Goldsworthy, Holly Andres, James Bolton, Grace Carter, and Silas Howard. Recently he has begun filming videos for  Oregon’s Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMS-C) which serve as instructional films for pediatric trauma situations. This has not only afforded him a living as a film maker, but has also given him the opportunity to film in many new and exciting situations. Did anyone say medical helicopter party?



Jon:  When not writing, directing and producing your own films you frequently work as a documentarian for hire.  Do you find that having a 9 to 5 job adjacent to your creative endeavors has been helpful?

Andrew:  I feel having a day job in your creative field is absolutely advantageous.  You make contacts with others who share your passion for film making, which is by its very nature a collaborative field.  You pool your resources, call in favors, collect knowledge and offer support to one another- or compete cut throat and blood thirsty.  Thankfully for me though, that has been the exception not the rule.

 J:  It sounds like you find a lot of inspiration in your day job. How have you filtered your experiences working on films for EMS-C into your technical process when working on your own films?  There has to be a big difference in the process behind these to seemingly disparate projects.

 A:  Often my experimental or narrative films have taught me the techniques necessary to produce a product for a client.  I’ve learned my best lessons from trying and failing and trying again.  Also, I’m a big fan of dumb luck.  In experimental film making mistakes often lead to new discoveries, frequently enhancing a performance or an effect.

With the documentary work we shoot largely in real time: one take, with multiple cameras.  This means far less room for error.  I can never just yell “cut”, reset, and start over. It’s always “think on your feet”.  I am just trying to shoot everything as fast and steady as possible.  When I cut it all together I rely on my more creative film experience to find the narrative and piece together a story from start to finish.  The final product, while not exactly a traditional film, ends up as one that has filmic qualities.

I’ve certainly learned important new lessons from this job. From budgeting in my personal life to bettering my interpersonal relations and conflict resolutions, an invaluable tool for any film maker.  Also, I’ve been really inspired by the varied rural locations I’ve been to on my job with OHSU.  These are locations which I probably would have never experienced otherwise and I hope to revisit a few of them to shoot creative personal work in the coming year.

 J: So when approaching your creative efforts you never find yourself burnt out on filming and editing as a result of your day job?

 A: I’m absolutely grateful and keenly aware how lucky I am to get to work in my chosen field.  That being said though, like anyone on any job, there are sometimes days, situations, and other people that simply get on my absolute last nerve.  I’m trying really hard to remember everyday why I do this unstable and truly insane job, and to be thankful for it.  But yeah, some days are just plain awful. 

I got really burned out on my upcoming film Inheritance.  It was plagued with problems in post production from special effects not working, to being 3k over budget, to plain ol’ challenges in storytelling.  It’s a really odd film that was a tough nut to crack when editing.

 J: Speaking of “Inheritance”, your most recent film, I’ve noticed that it deviates from your previous work in that its strength relies heavily on the absurd and comedic.  I imagine that your day job with EMS-C must also require a sense of humor seeing as you are dealing with such serious subjects.  Any funny stories?

 A: No, none… Just kidding.

 Yeah of course.  Let’s see:  Recently we pulled up to a Hospital’s Emergency Department and were unloading gear, including the Hi-fidelity medical mannequin we use.  When we unzipped the case and hauled out the “dummy”, we were unaware that a few people were watching thinking these big city strangers had come to their small town with a dead body in a suitcase.  On an even more recent project no one informed me I would be shooting on some of the largest sand dunes in North America. In the rain.  In my Kenneth Cole loafers.

INHERITANCE%20POSTER[1]J:When writing “Inheritance, what inspired you to insert a comedic element into such “a serious subject?

 A:  After completing my previous loosely themed trilogy I was sort of at a loss for what story I wanted to tell next.  The three films were all quite serious.  First off there was The Human Remains (2006), a film about a young women in a suicide survivor support group.  It was the film that started my career.  I followed it up with back to back downers – Lazarus (2007) an experimental film about madness and survivor’s guilt and then THIS HOUSE IS NOT A HOME (2007) a black and white silent horror film.

 While preparing for my next film I started making experimental films and erotica.  Creatively this was really, really satisfying but it was not something that was readily accessible.  Eventually I missed narrative filmmaking.  I had this treatment I had written as a fable.  It was a horror-comedy about a couple whose lives are turned upside down when they inherit a minor demon.  And I decided to be quite literal and instead of lesser, “minor” would actually mean adolescent.

When I started thinking about the look of the film I decided I wanted to attempt to make the kind of schlocky B (or C) movie that I loved as a kid.  I wanted to pay homage to the early days of cable TV and direct to VHS creature features, a knock-off of a knock-off of Gremlins.

 Sort of Sam Rami meets Woody Allan.

 I hadn’t really done comedy before and that seemed really challenging to me.  I mean it’s definitely a black comedy.  It’s gruesome and kinda adorable in equal measure but I’ve cut my teeth on disturbing, scary and/or emotionally moving- so doing comedy was definitely out of my comfort zone.  It’s good to be able to tell a variety of stories and work in several genres as a director.

 We’ll see how audiences react to Inheritancethis fall; the test screenings have gone really well.  I really like changing directions with each project.  My next film I plan on shooting is a surrealist sci-fi film, part David Lynch part Sophia Coppola part Derek Jarman, about a group of people in a sleep study.  It may even have a musical number.  The plan is to mix stop-motion, erections, singing, and really beautifully composed cinematography.

 And even a happy ending for a change… well, maybe.


(for more on Andrew, visit his website, Diggin’ to China)



26 Interviews  by Jon Miller

365 days.

26 interesting people.

1 alphabet.


Paul: 7″ Saturday…


Hazel – Heida (candyass records, 1992)


Hazel was the quintessential 90’s Portland band.  They formed in the height of the grunge era but their music is a definately poppier than most of the Seattle bands. Listening to them makes me wish I could travel back in time 15 years to catch one of their shows.  They even had a member of the band who just danced (with a crazy ass beard, often wearing a dress).

The group included Jody Bleyle (Team Dresch, Infinite X’s) who plays drums and sometimes sings. She’s one of my favorite rock vocalists. While she doesn’t contribute any vocals on either of these tracks her drumming is kick-ass. There’s a whole mess of stuff on youtube. For those who live in Portland you can spot various Portland landmarks (like the east end of the Fremont bridge) in their music videos or find live shows at venues that are long gone (Club Scream). Hope you enjoy!

A – Heida

B – Pop Uncle


Jon: Portland Style is Now Officially “the shit”…

jon new logo

…and every straight girl I know now all of a sudden has an accidentally runway ready boyfriend.



I posted about Junya Watanabe‘s Fall 2009 collection for the Comme De Garcons diffusion label Man a few months ago. I had fallen in love with the outdoors inspired, Twin Peaks-ish and Portland friendly collection, but had only seen pictures. That’s why I was so excited to finally find this awesome video over at Men’s Rag today.

I hadn’t realized from the photographs I had seen, but several of the pieces Watanabe designed are actually reversable, a recession friendly trend I think we can all get behind!

Now if only every model on this runway had a so-of-the-moment-mustache, then it would really feel like hanging out at a North Portland house show…










Paul: Music Video Monday…

…The Thermals – No Culture Icons


Jon: Andy Blubaugh’s first feature length film…

jon new logo

Completely by coincidence, I happened to google local film maker Andy Blubaugh to see what he was up to. Apparently I am psychic or something, because today just happened to be the day when he posted on-line the first trailer for his upcoming film The Adults in the Room. Not only does this look to be one of Blubaugh’s most provocative films to date, it is also going to be his first feature length. Blubaugh has been one of my absolute favorite local film makers for a while now, and I am totally excited to see what type of mojo he can work when given a larger pallet to paint on.

Blubaugh’s films largely focus on autobiographical narratives that unfold through unconventional and postmodern methods. From what I gather on the official site for The Adults in the Room, the film is going to examine the dynamics of Blubaugh’s first romantic relationship; a relationship he had with a 30 year old man when he was still in High School. Where a more conventional film maker might tell this story wholly through scripted and edited acting, Blubaugh has instead chosen to go in a different direction. The film appears to tells it’s story through a combination of performed narrative as well as interviews with prominent thinkers (*swoon* Dan Savage) about the implications and social realities of such a relationship. To make things even more meta-rific, the film is also going to analyze the emotional and intellectual roller coaster of Blubaugh’s experience in making the film. That’s right, Adults in the Room is also going to be a documentary elements about the making of itself.
I think the currently topical relevance of this subject can do nothing but help the film succeed. Here’s hoping that Andy Blubaugh will come out in favor of our Mayor, but either way I’m sure his analysis of the whole Sam Adams thing will be worth taking in.
So, here is the ridiculously pre-mature trailer that Blubaugh put together using mostly dialogue from the script as read by actors during auditions:
ps: Why am I not best friends with Blubaugh yet?
Dear Andy: Let’s go get drinks sometime!

Got any good leads?

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