Posts Tagged Portland

Storm Large Puts Exclamation Point on Portland Run

I originally published this article in The Portlander on August 20, 2009. Since then, Storm Large has published a gripping memoir that is a great ride and a great read. If you did not get to see her one-woman show, go buy the book and imagine her performing it for you right there in your living room.

This is my nod to Storm. You go girl!

Storm Large in Crazy Enough

It’s Sunday at 2pm, and the Ellen Bye Studio at the Portland Armory is sold out for the last performance of Crazy Enough, the one-woman show that is Storm Large’s life story. The sign at the door warns of explicit language and adult subject matter, so you wouldn’t expect to see your mother or your grandfather there in the audience, but they are.

On the small stage: three male musicians and one very tall microphone stand, which has everyone whispering, “Is she really that tall?” The lights go out, the music comes up, and when the lights slowly return there she is: all six feet of her, wearing sneakers, loose black pants, and a fitted tank top that leaves nothing to the imagination.

There is some small talk, and then the tall confident woman on stage quickly transforms into a vulnerable young girl who is desperately trying to find some stability in a home that has none. And thus the gritty ride begins.

The audience is rapt as they watch Large try to navigate the completely unpredictable nature of her schizophrenic mother, who is there one day and institutionalized the next. Large painfully relives the moment when a doctor tells her that insanity is in her genes, and she too will be fighting the same demons some day. She soothes herself with promiscuity, alcohol and a heroin addiction.

The audience is stunned to silence, brought to laughter, and tempted to tears, watching her gripping life story unfold at their feet. She has their hearts in the palm of her hand as she takes them willingly on a journey of wanting, desperation, hope and finally love.

By the end of the performance there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Storm Large is not just another voice talent, but a formidable actress and incredibly engaging performer. She reminds the audience that, “Life isn’t safe. It isn’t always quiet. And it certainly isn’t small.” The lights dim, and she exits the stage one last time. It is clear that although her run with Portland Center Stage has ended, this show will live on if Large is willing to revive it in another venue.

Storm Large is in fact crazy enough and her life is indeed one big exclamation point.

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Paris is the Antidote to Stress

Eiffel_TowerIt is more apparent to me than ever that I lead an unbelievably stressful life at home. Since arriving in Paris I have been getting a minimum of eight hours of sleep a night. The last time I got this much sleep at home was when I had the flu five years ago.

I am ensconced in a small charming apartment in Canal St.-Martin, the 10th arrondissement northeast of Paris. This trip wouldn’t have been possible without my generous friend giving me the keys to her home for a week. Thank you.

Although I’m terrified to speak French, because it’s been so long, I can read a lot of it and understand some, and not embarrass myself when ordering lunch. Everyone here has been more than understanding when I pop out with a Spanish word when I can’t think of the word in French or English!

It is difficult to totally disconnect from my life back in Portland for a week when I have so many responsibilities there, but I’m sure trying.

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Zombies and Taxes and Tequila Oh My!

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the property tax bill comes in the mail on the very same weekend that Portland hosts the annual Zombie Walk and the Great American Distillers Festival.  The only way to deal with the sticker shock of our outrageous property taxes is to go for a long run, hang out with hundreds of zombies and then go get your drink on. I was prepared to do all of the above.

I was not looking forward to running 11 miles in the rain on Saturday morning, but I knew I would be a cranky bitch if I didn’t do it. I checked the radar on Wunderground and it looked like the first hour would be dry, and then the rain would start. I can deal with that. We started right at 7am, and as predicted it started raining promptly at 8am. I needed that runner’s high to get me through property tax hell.

I honestly don’t remember what I did between the time I finished my run and the moment I left the house to head downtown to walk with zombies, so it must have been totally irrelevant, but probably included laundry and other domestic drudgery that will not be documented here for the sake of brevity.

My friend Salena had advised me that the zombies would be gathering promptly at 4pm in Pioneer Courthouse Square, and that we should get there by 3:30 to get a good seat. It was going to be hella crowded this year because they were attempting to set a Guinness World Record for number of zombies worldwide, simultaneously dancing to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Yes, this was a worldwide event.

This is what I saw when I arrived at Pioneer Courthouse Square:

Zombie Walk Portland

Zombie Walk Portland

Imagine trying to find someone in that crowd. Thank goodness for cellphones!

The zombies were fantastic.

Random zombie

Random zombie

The Jolly Green Giant Girl

The Jolly Green Giant Girl

Two zombies fighting over lunch.

Two zombies fighting over lunch.

And then there was this guy…

Business zombie
Business zombie
Check out the contacts.

Check out the contacts.


And then we ran into Eddie. He thinks he’s Jimi Hendrix. He insisted on taking a bunch of pictures with Salena and me and then asked for money.

Eddie as Jimi Hendrix.

Eddie as Jimi Hendrix.

After the zombies dispersed Salena and I headed back to her car so she could give me a ride to the Distiller’s Festival. This was to be the final chapter of the distraction from the property tax bill.

The Distiller’s Festival had started at 11am, and it was now 5pm, so I figured I’d be walking into an event not unlike a drunken frat party at this point. I paid my $10, got my wrist band, picked up a shot glass and went inside to meet a few of my friends. I didn’t have to walk far to find them, because they were seated near the entrance taking a break, and looking like they’d already sampled half of the offerings.

You really half to pace yourself at these events, because if you don’t you will be passed out within 30 minutes. The trick is to not take a full shot at every booth! I think I probably tasted eight tequilas, five vodkas, one absinthe, a few liquors and a whiskey or two, and I did just fine.

The second trick to surviving these events is to plan to walk to dinner afterwards. My friends, who just moved here from New York, suggested Mediterranean food, Blue Olive to be exact. The restaurant just happens to be owned by a friend of mine whom I haven’t seen in a couple of years, and I wasn’t even aware that he had moved his restaurant from the Beaumont area to NW 21st.

Homayoon, owner of Blue Olive.

Homayoon, owner of Blue Olive.

Blue Olive was the perfect choice for a post Distillers Fest nosh. We ordered a cold mezza to start that included baba ghanouj, humus, tzatziki, and olives. And of course the wonderful housemade Moroccan style bread. We then ordered a Greek platter to share: lamb kabobs, lamb chops, spanakopita, mousaka, dolmathes, falafel and the most amazing Basmati rice. My friends said it was better than anything they’d ever had in New York, and they are picky customers.

The only leftovers we had were two lamb bones, which we took for our dogs.

We rolled ourselves out of Blue Olive at about 10pm and started to walk back to my car, which was about 15 blocks away. We made a quick stop at the Backspace Cafe, which was hosting a poetry slam. The current contestant was just finishing his amazing delivery, and was about to get scored by the judges. At least two gave him a perfect 10.

We finally made it back to my car, a little soaked from the rain, but happy nonetheless. I dropped my friends back at their place in the Pearl District and headed back home to face the reality of my property tax bill. But for 12 glorious hours I had successfully managed to forget all about it.

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Oh the Spammers I Get on this Site

I’m sure many of you wonder why I make you have to work for a comment on this site, and why you have to provide an email address. I can tell you I am not collecting email addresses so I can spam you. Quite the opposite. I use the email addresses to either whitelist you (allow) or blacklist you (block spammers).

The first time you leave a comment here you have to enter an email address and I have to approve the comment. The second time you leave a comment you get approved automatically. Why? Spam!

The spambots are rampant and ridiculous. Let me share a few “comments” that have landed on this page. I will not share the links that are associated with these people, because I don’t want you to give them any traffic or get any viruses by clicking thru.

Some sample comments on my blog entitled “The 10 Commandments of Travel,” with my own comments in bold.

I opine that to receive the credit loans from banks you ought to present a firm motivation. However, once I’ve received a small business loan, because I wanted to buy a building. I’m not sure what this has to do with buying a building, but good luck.

phrase up this submit is doctor of arts shiznit. This one did make me laugh.

ok how is this supposedto mean? For how you are what says?

And on the topic of “How to Win an Emmy: Add it to your Bucket List!”

Scads of substantial, tough to obtain data here. Checked this blog article by accident on Yahoo. You’re truly making me reexamine my feeling about this stuff and rarely does that happen to me… LOL. Thanks! Accident my ass, but I’m glad you’re reexamining your feelings about the Emmys.

Hi. I go through a few of one’s other posts and wished to understand in the event you would be interested in exchanging blogroll links? Can haz cheezburger.

Classic exposition, I have also mentioned it in my blog article. But it is a pity that almost no frienddiscussed it with me. I am very happy to see your article. You have no click thrus because I’m not posting your bogus comments. So there! Ha!

That was intriguing . I like your finesse that you put into your post . Please do move forward with more similar to this. Why thanks. I’m so grateful for your opinion. Now go spam someone else.

So now you know why I require an email address to leave a comment. Once I know you’re not a spammer you are whitelisted and can comment without my approval. If you don’t want to comment you can just click on the little heart at the bottom of each blog and show some love. :^)

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Cheers and Jeers for July 8, 2010

Cheers: to Showtime for being nominated for a Technical Emmy for their Interactive Sports technology, and Dexter Interactive. I have been technical lead on their Showtime Boxing app for the past 18 months. Woot! You can see a demo of the application here: Showtime Boxing.

Cheers: to all of the Portland food carts downtown for providing me with ample lunchtime choices. My favorite by far is Rick’s Wild Seafood.

Cheers: to summer for finally showing up in Portland.

Cheers: to my friend Veanne who has kept her brilliant sense of humor throughout her battle with breast cancer.

Jeers: to the breast cancer and chemo that is making my friend Veanne feel like crap!

Cheers: to my friend Al in St. Petersburg, Florida for hosting me for a fun weekend in Florida. The Salvador Dali museum was the highlight of my trip.

Jeers: to the people two rows behind me on my red eye flight to Tampa who decided it was a good idea to watch a movie on their laptop without wearing headphones.

Jeers: to Hurricane Alex who made it rain the entire time I was in Florida!

Cheers: to Beth for taking me to see The Wailers at the KINK Live Performance Lounge on Tuesday.

Jeers: to BP for being so greedy.

Cheers: to Eleanor Reese Morse, who, together with her late husband A. Reynolds Morse, founded the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. Mrs. Morse passed away the day before I toured the museum. Fantastic collection of Dali art. I took home a print of my favorite piece Nature Morte Vivanteb (Still Life–Fast Moving).

Cheers: to all of the people who will be walking the Survivor Lap at Relay for Life in Lake Oswego this weekend.

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Dead Cow Floating

Sorry for the radio silence, but I have been under a gag order of sorts, due to the fact that…well I can’t tell you yet.

But there are some things that I can blog about, and one of them is dead cows. That’s right, dead cows. I was out for a lunchtime run along the Eastside Esplanade in downtown Portland last week, and being that I don’t run at the speed of sound (or light for that matter) I had plenty of time to take in the sights along the way. I was running along, enjoying the one sunny day we’ve had since last October, when I saw a group of seagulls having what looked to be an organized Teamsters meeting in a small marina off the Esplanade.

I can just imagine the conversation they were having…

What are we going to do with him now?

I don’t know. This was your idea!

I said “cow tipping” not cow dipping!

As I got closer I noticed why all of the seagulls were hanging out in the marina. Dead cow floating.

We’ve had a lot of rain in Portland over the past month and the river is running really high. I figure it swamped some farmland somewhere along the way, and this cow just got trapped and eventually carried away.

I posted the following status to Facebook:

I went for a lunchtime run on the waterfront and saw a dead cow floating in the Willamette River. The End.”

I have since been back to that spot and the dead cow and the seagulls are gone. I posted the following status update to Facebook:

“I thought you’d like to know that the dead cow that was floating in the Willamette last week has either: a) Been consumed by the local wildlife (the seagulls looked awfully fat and happy), b) Been taken away by some official agency, or c) Has floated downriver to the Columbia and is now docked behind Salty’s restaurant.”

I still run along the Esplanade at lunch a few times a week, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to pass that spot again without thinking about that dead cow floating.

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To the Point Topics for April 22, 2010 Show

These were the topics of discussion for the two To the Point shows we taped on April 22, 2010. You will be able to find the shows on our YouTube channel and on the To the Point website soon!

Show 1

Topic 1

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he will not accept demands that Israel stop building in occupied East Jerusalem. Will this cause a new flare up in violence or is Israel using this as a bargaining chip to jump start stalled Palestinian – Israeli peace talks?

Topic 2

On April 16, the Securities and Exchange commission filed a complaint against Goldman, Sachs & Company and one of its employees Fabrice Tourre. The suit alleges that Goldman, Sachs created a synthetic housing-market bond that was sure to fail, sold the bond to customers, and then conspired with a short seller to bet against it. Could this one bond and the people involved have triggered the collapse of the financial markets, and one of the worst recessions in recent history, all while Goldman Sachs posted record profits?

Topic 3

The Portland City Council recently approved a plan that would impose new regulations on where and how developers can build along an 11-mile stretch of the Willamette River. The River Plan, as it’s called, would require developers to set aside 15 percent of their property for landscaping when they start projects, and would require any existing project that expands a business’s footprint would undergo a new city review process. Many businesses along the river are already crying foul, and rumor has it that Washington is already courting the ports and rail yards to move north. Is the new River Plan the best way to strike a balance between businesses and the river environment, or will it just drive businesses out of the state?

Show 2

Topic 1

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki made a successful appeal to the Iraqi court to order a recount of votes for the recent parliamentary elections, due to allegations of widespread fraud. Election results showed former prime minister Ayad Allawi with a slim lead. Will this recount signal an end to the Maliki government and a shift in US-Iraq relations?

Topic 2

The FAA recently imposed a moratorium on all new wind projects in the Mid-Columbia region of Oregon. The reason? The wind turbines interfere with a military radar site in Fossil. Wind farms developed by large corporations and private land owners in Wasco, Sherman, Gilliam, Morrow, and Klickitat counties have time-sensitive binding power purchase agreements and a wide variety of contracts in place that could cost the Mid-Columbia region to lose $2-3 billion dollars in new investments, jobs, property taxes, land leases, and other economic activities if the ban is not lifted. Did the FAA blindside these projects by shutting them down in such a critical stage, and do the landowners have any recourse? What’s the real story here?

Topic 3

The Portland Police Bureau has been under siege for recent actions resulting in numerous deaths. Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman requested further review, and the FBI is now beginning an investigation into at least one specific incident, the fatal police shooting of Aaron Campbell, an unarmed man who was shot in the back earlier this year. If the investigation finds violations of federal criminal civil rights statutes, what can and should be done to get the police bureau back on track?

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Scene in Portland: Leverage, NBC Movie, Con-Con and more…

Scene_in_PortlandNBC Movie of the Week Shooting in Portland

I was standing in my agent’s office when the breakdown for NBC’s Movie of the Week In Her Shoes—not to be confused with the Cameron Diaz movie of the same name—came in. The excitement of yet another major movie project coming to Portland certainly created a buzz. I have not read the entire script, but I will say it involves a few very topical events, including families struggling to cope when a family member is away on military duty.

First-round auditions are over for most roles and callbacks are in progress. So far no major roles have been cast out of Portland or L.A.; fingers crossed for all of the Portland actors!

Extras Only hasn’t announced if they will be doing the extras casting for this project, but my guess is they will. So go sign up to be an extra if you want to be part of this movie.

In Her Shoes will be directed by John Kent Harrison and films in Portland during May.

Leverage Needs You

So you missed the Thug Boot Camp that Lana Veenker put on and you want to know if you can still be involved with Leverage. The answer is YES! The staff at Extras Only Casting needs you. They are looking for all types of people, not just “thugs.” They need all minorities, and upscale business types as well.

Go to, fill in your information, and put the word “LEVERAGE” in the Project Code box at the bottom of the page. Extras Only is the premiere extras agency in town, and there are no fees. They get paid when you get paid. They cast almost every major project that comes into town, so if you don’t get on Leverage they may be able to use you for something else.

Leverage Fans Converge on Portland for Con-Con 2010
Back in October of 2009, a group of fans got together and decided to meet up in Portland to share their passion for their favorite TV show: Leverage. What started as an idea became a full fledged convention (Con-Con) the weekend of March 20th, attended by hundreds of fans from around the world. The highlight of the convention (held at the Governor Hotel) was a Q&A session featuring the Leverage cast and executive producer Dean Devlin.

Industry Networking Events

Schmooze, a networking event for people from all areas of the film community (casting directors, musicians, crew, and of course actors), is happening on Monday, April 12, 7pm to 10pm at Urban Grind, 2214 NE Oregon St, Portland St. Bring your self, your screenplay, your project and network with the local film community. The event is free, and the organizers hope to make it a regular event.

Casting Couch

Spots recently shot: Humana, Leverage promo. Recent and current castings: XBox, Capital One, Oregon Lottery, AT&T, T-Mobile, Kroger (Fred Meyer), NBC Movie of the Week In Her Shoes, Leverage, Meet Jane Doe.

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To the Point TV Show: February 2010

After a year on hiatus, the political talk show To the point! is back. These are the topics we discussed on the last show. I just checked the website and the shows haven’t been uploaded, but check back in about a week or so at


In this photo from left to right: Richard Donin, Matt Wingard, Kelly Jo Horton, Courtney Clarke, Mike Riley.

Panelists for these two shows were:

Richard Donin, Energy and Educational Consultant
Al Young, former Oregon State Legislator
and guest panelists Courtney Clarke, a local business owner
and Jack Ohman, Editorial Cartoonist for the Oregonian

Show 1:
First: International

On January 12th, the worst earthquake in 200 years struck less than 10 miles from the city of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, turning an already impoverished nation into a pile of rubble. Many have compared the disaster in Haiti to the devastation of hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, but you can’t really compare a regional disaster to an entire country in pieces, or can you? When the cameras stop rolling and the celebrities stop raising money for Haiti, will they be able to recover and how long will it take?

Second: National
Toyota Motor Corporation has been criticized for its initial response to the consumer complaints of unintended acceleration in some of its vehicles. In a recent hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee California State Representative Henry A. Waxman, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, said Toyota had three responses to the consumer complaints: First, blame the driver. Second, blame the floor mat. Third, blame a sticky gas pedal. Toyota has now recalled more than eight million vehicles world-wide for unintended acceleration, brake problems and other issues. Is it too little too late, and have they damaged the brand loyalty?

Third: Statewide
Oregon voters recently passed Measures 66 and 67, which were supposed to prevent further layoffs in the public school system and fund public services. Since the measures became law some local businesses have closed due to the retroactive taxes owed, and schools are still being asked to make cuts. Did the voters really know what they were voting for, and where did all of the money go?

Fourth: Local
As we sit here and tape this show, the Metro Council is discussing the urban growth boundary, and voting on agreements with the three Portland-area counties to designate which land will be developed and which will remain rural for the next 40 to 50 years. Should Metro be picking the winners and losers, and will these property owners have any recourse if they want to but can’t develop their land?

Show 2:

First: International
U.N. Climate Chief Yvo de Boer recently resigned after four years of leading international climate change negotiations. Some say it was due to the chaos of the Copenhagen summit last year, and the fact that the summit quickly became known as Climate-gate after 1,000 suspicious emails between climate scientists were leaked to the public. Will these scientists ever be able to regain the trust of the global community, and will the world’s largest polluters be motivated to change now?

Second: National
President Obama’s healthcare bill seems to be losing steam, with the recent departure of some supporters on the Democratic side of the aisle. Does President Obama have what it takes to convince the House and Senate to pass some sort of healthcare reform, or has his window of opportunity passed?

Third: Statewide
(I had to write this topic five minutes before the show because the previous topic was outdated by the time I drove to the studio!) We discussed the future of the newspaper industry, given the fact that the Oregonian had laid off 37 people the week we taped the show, and the fact that we had Jack Ohman on the show to discuss the topic.

Fourth: Local
The City of Portland is taking unspent money from the Big Pipe waste-water project, to use for other purposes, such as bike paths. The Willamette Week newspaper has documented other cases where the City of Portland is taking money collected for one purpose and using it for other purposes. Are these the kind of decisions Portland officials were elected to make?

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Scene in Portland, So You Want to be a Thug?

So You Want to be a Thug?
Ever been told you look like a criminal? Well now’s your chance to take that to the bank. Casting Director Lana Veenker wants to train you up to become a Leverage thug. TNT’s Leverage employed over 120 local actors and more than 800 local background artists last season, and many of those people are not eligible to be featured again in Season 3. Veenker wants to make sure we have enough thugs to go around for the new episodes, which begin filming in Portland in March. If you are big and burly (you don’t have to be tall), and want to try your hand as a thug or a stunt person, check out Veenker’s Leverage Thug Boot Camp, taking place the weekend of February 6th and 7th. For more details and registration info, see the Leverage Boot Camp website and Veenker’s Casting Scoop blog.

OMM and Arthouse Agencies Branch Out
Two of Portland’s powerhouse talent agencies, OMM (Option Model Management) and Arthouse, recently announced they are both branching out to become full service agencies. The two agencies used to work as an unofficial team, with OMM booking talent for the print side of the house and Arthouse booking the film and commercial roles. Each agency is now booking talent for both the print and film jobs, which we hope is a win-win for the growing film industry in Portland.

Wake Before I Die
is first i-OPIF Production

In 2009, the Oregon legislature passed SB863, which created the “Indigenous Oregon Production Investment Fund” (i-OPIF). The fund provides rebates of  “20% of goods and services and 10% of Oregon labor for films produced by Oregon filmmakers who spend a minimum of $75,000 but not more than $750,000 on their project.”  The fund began taking applications the first week of January, and the Freeman Brothers (Todd and Jason) must have been first in line, because their production of the feature film Wake Before I Die is the first to utilize the fund.
The script for the film is an adaptation of Dale Freeman’s novel My Soul To Take. Oh, and did I mention Dale Freeman is Todd and Jason’s father? Truly a family affair. Wake Before I Die is currently in production, and is a collaboration of the Freeman brothers, produced by Robert Blanche.

CON-Con the Leverage Fanatic Convention
What started out as a relatively small fan gathering has turned into a full-fledged Leverage convention. The CON-con is on! Leverage fans from around the world are planning to converge on Portland the weekend of March 19-21, to meet and greet their fellow fans, and get a chance to rub elbows with the Leverage cast. The event kicks off on Friday, March 19th, with a TNT-hosted CON-con Cocktail Party at The Governor Hotel. Prices for events start at $25 (to attend the cocktail party) and go up to $300 for the complete Platinum package. Registration information available on the CON-con website.

The Casting Couch
Commercial spots recently booked: Bissel, RAID, Nike, Mellow Yellow. Casting happening now: Microsoft, Nike, Oil Can Henry’s, an indie film called Thumbdrive, a SAG short called Beat Red with Mike Farrell (M.A.S.H) and Doug Rowe. Jobs are up 35% from this time last year. We love that!

Job Board
TNT’s Leverage is seeking to fill the following crew positions: Location Sound Mixer, “B” Camera Operator, and Personal Assistant/Production Assistant. See the Oregon Film Board website for details.

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