CULTURE

Fertile Ground 1: ‘Vortex’ and more

A musical about Tom McCall and his rock festival is a highlight of Portland's new-works fest. The Roosevelts and MLK Jr. show up, too.

(In Fertile Ground 2020, Portland’s 11th annual festival of new performance, Jae Carlsson witnessed four standout productions: “Vortex 1,” “Itch,” “How to Really, Really? Really! Love a Woman,” and “Dorothy’s Dictionary.” In four parts Carlsson will discuss each theater piece at length, as well as other works in the Festival dealing with similar issues.)


THINKING ABOUT THE FUTURE, WITH TOM McCALL


You would like to float the idea that the Fertile Ground performance festival, which ended February 9, is not just a way of taking “the pulse of Portland” – of feeling out what is currently on the minds of its creative individuals – but that, more significantly, the festival at its best is a telescope for doing some serious thinking about the future.

It is easy to think of Oregon as always having been a hotbed of environmental concerns & the fight for “sustainability.” Unless your memory travels as far back as the 1960s.

In 1962 there is this reporter doing commentary at KGW radio & TV on issues of the day. One series, titled “Pollution in Paradise,” particularly catches the public’s attention, about the open sewer running right through Portland called the Willamette River.

The name of this reporter is Tom McCall. Four years later he is elected governor of Oregon and uses the office as a bully pulpit: to clean up the WIllamette, to make all Oregon beaches public property, to institute a “bottle bill” to clean up litter and put in place a controlled-growth land-use plan, promote energy conservation instead of more dams, and on. He famously said to tourists something like:

“Please visit Oregon. It’s a beautiful place. But then go home. Don’t move here.”

McCall is the first major state figure to talk about “sustainability,” wanting to protect the livability of your cities and towns, and farm-country and forests. He preached it so passionately and so vociferously that people listened, and it started to become part of the way that Oregonians think about life – right up till the present. Without Tom McCall, Oregon today would be a very different state.

One of McCall’s most significant but most bizarre achievements as governor was the public sponsoring of the 1970 rock festival “Vortex 1: a festival of life” at McIver Park in Estacada. One of the outstanding works at this year’s Fertile Ground festival is the musical Vortex 1, celebrating this event. Book & lyrics by Sue Mach, music by Bill Wadhams, arranged by Reece Marshburn, directed by Allen Nause, and exquisitely acted and sung by the cast of twelve, this play not merely celebrates this unusual public event but analyzes it too, with acuity and no small degree of earned emotion.

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Upcycled and avant garde at Everywhere Space

A designer collective on East Burnside aims to change the business model of retail fashion

By SEBASTIAN ZINN

I am holding a pair of cargo pants made from flexible orange nylon. Their surface is symmetrically festooned with several smartly constructed, triangular fanny-pack zipper-compartments, which look large enough to be useful, and small enough not to obstruct the wearer’s mobility. Nearby, the drapey sleeves of an oversized, mustard colored sweater, hanging from the end of a clothing rack reach lazily toward the floor.

The chest of the sweater is divided equally by two geometric patterns. On one side, a white triangle floats atop an ultramarine background. On the other, a thick doughnut of mustard colored fabric is framed by a white square. The sweater seems to transfer the minimalist perfection of a Piet Mondrian composition onto a three dimensional, wearable garment. If sweaters had personalities, this one would be simultaneously blasé and purposeful.

The clothes I am combing through were created by the inquiring minds of the designers at Everywhere Space, an avant garde fashion retail collective on East Burnside. The collective’s co-owners include Alexa Stark (@alexastark), Alec Marchant (@alec.marchant), Ryan Boyle (“Collect Call,” @collect_call_), and Rose Mackey (@thingsrosemakes). Everywhere Space is Stark’s brainchild, and occupies her former studio and retail space. Over the course of several visits to the shop, Stark and I discussed her inspiration for the space, the collective’s ambitions, and her views on the contemporary fashion market.

Pants by Alexa Stark. Photo credit: Alec Marchant.

Everywhere Space, Stark tells me, is a “fun fashion playland, run by designers who want you to feel joy.” Producing “clothing that is affordable, approachable, playful and for everybody,” all the designers in the collective up-cycle, establishing new relationships between raw materials, clothing manufacturers, and consumers. Up-cycling (or reworking) entails deconstructing and reconstructing garments, or creating clothing from materials that would otherwise be scrapped, like “deadstock” fabric. Ryan Boyle (Collect Call), the designer of the orange cargo pants described above, often uses found materials excavated from waste bins and free boxes. Boyle explains: “Not only is new fabric unsustainable, it’s financially unattainable. Even if I could afford new materials, I rarely find anything that inspires me…I learn a lot from taking apart pre-existing clothing.”

Everywhere Space is the only clothing retail space of its kind in the Portland metro area. The designers in the collective each work one day a week, and it is only open four days a week in order to conserve production time. The co-owners receive 90% of revenue from their own design sales, while 10% goes towards rent, upkeep, and miscellaneous projects. In addition to the four owners’ clothing lines, Everywhere Space features clothing from designers around the world who sell and participate on a consignment basis: non-owners receive 70% of the revenue from the items they sell. This is a significant jump from typical designer-retail space agreements in which profits are split 50/50. The remaining 30% consignment revenue goes towards rent and maintaining the space.

fashion tops in blue, white and yellow
Tops by Collect Call (Ryan Boyle). Photo credit: Alec Marchant.

Stark refuses to conform to many of the conventions of the fashion market, and her business practices are distinct from a lot of designers who sell short-term trends to young consumers with disposable wealth.  She doesn’t produce seasonal collections, just one collection per year. She used to participate in trade shows, but now prefers to show her clothing alongside other brands that are also bucking business norms and aesthetic trends. “If you’re interested in doing fashion, you shouldn’t be doing what’s trending. I just don’t care about that shit anymore. I like making what I make” says Stark. “I want to make clothes that are durable, and I want to market them to people who are older. The mainstream standard of beauty that privileges young people isn’t really interesting to me, because that’s the norm in my industry, and I think it limits what I have to offer.” All the production for Stark’s clothing line is done here in Portland by Stark herself, and she primarily uses dead-stock fabric or reworks secondhand clothing, occasionally buying sustainable fabrics like hemp. “When I first started making these clothes,” she tells me, “people didn’t want to hear organic, sustainable clothing, because they immediately thought: hippy clothes.” Today, the same language has become compelling to “woke” consumers who want to celebrate their virtuosity by substituting their fast-fashion wardrobes for vintage, “sustainable,” and up-cycled garments.

Since 2012, Stark’s idiosyncratic designs have been generating a buzz in the slow fashion scene in Portland and beyond. In the past few years, her experimental clothing has started percolating into other provinces of pop culture, even though, she says, “trying to stay in the scene is not worth it for me personally.” In 2019, Stark produced a line of airbrushed weed socks in collaboration with Broccoli Magazine. What’s more, the cover of JPEGMafia’s third studio album, All My Heroes Are Cornballs (released in September, 2019, to much critical acclaim), features a photo of the experimental rapper (taken by none other than Everywhere Space’s Alec Marchant) sporting an open, flowing gown and balloon-pants designed by Stark. In the image, JPEGMafia (AKA Devon Hendryx, or “Peggy”) sits with his legs folded underneath him on the shag-carpeted floor of an A-frame, nestled in the folds of a gown composed of three consecutive layers of gold, silver, and lavender silk. Silk manufacturers typically boil thousands of silkworms to produce a single pound of silk, but Stark sourced the materials from a manufacturer that harvests silk from the evacuated shells of silkworm cocoons. The layers of color and material in this outfit are suitable for a critically acclaimed artist like JPEGMafia, who experiments with a wide array of vocal techniques and textures, from harsh, distorted screams to meticulously crafted bars that eviscerate long-standing social stereotypes related to age, race, gender and sexuality: “Feel like I’m shooting, I’m shiftin’ time/ Dressed in your grandmama’s hand-me-downs” (JPEGMafia, “Jesus Forgive Me, I Am A Thot”).

PVC shoes
PVC shoes and jacket by Collect Call (Ryan Boyle). Photo credit: Alec Marchant.

The merchandise at Everywhere Space weds practical necessity to the unique aesthetic value of a work of art. The designers exemplify a form of creativity that is simultaneously playful and serious, and challenges our inherited, conventional expectations about the basic garments in our wardrobes, asking: “How many ways are there to make a shirt?” Or, “At what point does a pair of pants stop being a pair of pants?” Everywhere Space hopes to provide a platform for other independent artists and designers in the community to gain traction. “There are a lot of people who go to fashion school, but not everyone becomes a designer because of student debt,” explains Stark. Ryan Boyle adds: “I want people to have access to creativity unhindered by marketability. As more artists turn towards wearables and functional goods to communicate, there should environments that support fresh ideas.” 

Everywhere Space’s interior design also challenges consumers’ expectations about a traditional shopping experience. In the shop window, a security camera hooked up to a television monitor faces the street outside, so rather than the retailer monitoring the consumer’s behavior, passersby are invited to scrutinize their own conduct and appearance. When I spoke with Stark, there was an art installation created by Ryan Boyle highlighting Collect Call’s bucket hats in the store. PVC pipes criss-crossed the ceiling, and heavy strings were threaded through the length of each pipe. Attached with a clothespin to the end of each string were fashionable bucket hats made from different materials, from up-cycled floral print tablecloths to parking-meter-green plastics. If you pulled down on one hat, another would ascend toward the ceiling. Everywhere Space has started to feature non-wearables as well, including tubular, amorphous pillows designed and produced by Moe Noza (@moenoza), as well as distinctive pieces of jewelry, ceramics, and furniture.

Dress by Alexa Stark with pants by Collect Call (Ryan Boyle). Photo credit: Alec Marchant.

Slow fashion movements have been picking up speed in many major metropolitan centers, and Portland has long been associated with vintage shopping, fiber arts, and environmentally well-meaning consumers. Adidas recently rolled out a campaign advertising products made from %100 recycled ocean plastics. The company claims that their efforts have significantly reduced their production of new synthetic materials, and therefore, their overall carbon footprint and consumption of valuable resources, including water. Echoing Ryan Boyle, Alec Marchant remarked in an email that found materials are financially “imperative” to their clothing line’s existence, but that they hope to eventually invest money, time, and design thinking in new sustainable materials. Marchant’s take: “Innovation will keep us moving forward once we’ve recycled everything we can.” Like sustainability, accessibility has become a buzzword in Portland’s creative community and the national discourse surrounding fine art, fashion and music. What exactly do we refer to when we talk about accessibility? Does increasing accessibility mean something like minimizing the number of barriers that stand between all members of the public and the multifaceted manifestations of creativity available to them?

Stark explains: “My clothing line is a one-person operation, so I can only do so much. Right now, I can’t afford to donate money to organizations, but sometimes I can let my work do it for me.” For example, Stark donates 100% of the profits from her Never Mind What’s Been Selling shirts and sweatshirts to Planned Parenthood. One strategy Stark has found for increasing avant garde fashion’s accessibility and sustainability is to offer clothing manufacturing and re-workshops to the public. “I can try to give back by sharing the skills that I’ve learned as a sustainable designer, and by running donation programs out of my retail spaces. Even if I can’t be 100% sustainable in my collection, I can teach other people how to repair and rework clothing to fit their needs.”

Alexa Stark’s dog, Henry, pokes his head through a dress designed by Franscis Balken. Photo credit: Alec Marchant.

Stark recently concluded a two-day “re-workshop” for adults at the Portland Garment Factory. She will be leading the same workshop for teenagers on March 15th and 16th, and will offer the workshop for adults again on May 9th and 16th. Registration costs $350 for adults, and $300 for teens, but the payoff is substantial. All of the participants in Stark’s workshops have left with at least one wearable garment they made themselves, and the skills to produce more from recycled materials. “Simply being open and actively posting on Instagram about what we do is inspiring to others; it shows people what’s possible” says Stark. 

In the Spring, she and the other co-owners of Everywhere Space will start offering workshops at the shop on Burnside in ceramics and fashion illustration, and lectures explaining tactics for negotiating for better pay as a creative professional. Stark has taught at local schools in the past, and Rose Mackey intends to produce a film next year starring adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in collaboration with the organization Island Time Activities. Mackey hopes the designers at Everywhere Space will produce the costumes for the film.

It seems that more often than not, efforts to increase accessibility in fine art and fashion are misguided, fall short, or plainly miss the mark. Works of fine art are by and large singular objects owned by discrete individuals. The fashion industry, on the other hand, peddles in reproducible objects which vary in size to fit the needs of as many consumers as possible. At first glance, clothing seems inherently more accessible and democratic than fine art. Washing, clothing, feeding, and sheltering the body––these are basic necessities for living. Purchasing a piece of fine art and having the space to display or store it is a luxury few can afford. Consequently, we often rely on public institutions like museums or plutocratic private collectors to house highly valued works of art, and for some reason, admission costs to museums in the U.S. remain high.

Everywhere Spaces’ designers would like to extend a standing invitation to everyone to browse, shop, and try out new looks, but do their price-tags pose a significant barrier to those interested in adding these clothes to their wardrobe? To what extent, one feels obliged to ask, are these eclectic garments really “for everybody?” Stark, for her part, offers two price tiers: one that includes her signature airbrushed T-shirts and socks for $20-50, and another which includes her limited edition garments, which range in price from $100 to $1000. Ironically, by comparison to some designer fashion moguls, $100 to $1000 for a one-off garment from a designer label isn’t such a high price to pay. Especially considering that all of the designers at Everywhere Space do all of the labor themselves, from sourcing materials, to developing patterns, to stitching and detailing.

Although designer clothing and art are often thought of as two separate modes of production, fashion as art, and the extravagant value placed on clothing, were hot-button topics in 2019. Last year, Sterling Ruby became the first major visual artist to produce a fashion line. Renowned for his massive paintings, collages, and multimedia sculptures (which often sell for millions of dollars), Ruby has been lauded for his entrepreneurial instincts and his ability to renegotiate the traditional 50/50 split model that exists between galleries and artists in his own favor. Among some, he has earned a reputation as “a careerist gallery-hopper, without loyalty” (Christina Binkley, The New Yorker).

Dress and shoes by Collect Call (Ryan Boyle). Photo credit: Alec Marchant.

The financial barrier that Sterling Ruby’s clothing line poses to consumers is significantly higher than that of any of the designer’s at Everywhere Space. Ironies and incongruities abound in Ruby’s story. His central concern in launching his fashion line was to produce “affordable” clothing, without incidentally depressing the value of his artworks. He wanted to “democratize” his artwork and brand by producing a clothing line available to a wider group of consumers. The most expensive, one-of-a-kind items in Ruby’s collection sold out fastest, whereas “the cheaper T-shirts and sweatshirts… went largely unsold”  (Christina Binkley, The New Yorker). (Cheaper, by the way, still means $500+ for a T-shirt.) Ruby casted models for his debut show who looked like they “haven’t had it easy,” to market workwear to a demographic that has, at least financially, probably had it very easy (Christina Binkley, The New Yorker). He ended up selling his clothing for hundreds or even thousands of dollars to protect the value of his artworks, subsequently reinforcing the preexisting hierarchy of creative pursuits: fashion, according to his logic, remained less valuable than fine art.

In his dilettantish venture into fashion design, Ruby’s mission was not to “fix the fashion industry,” but to “reset the rules of what it means to be an artist” (Christina Binkley, The New Yorker). The designers at Everywhere Space would much prefer the former to the latter. The philosophy guiding their decision-making as a collective was informed by their frustration with the 50/50 consignment shop business model, which still remains the norm in designer fashion retail today. Everywhere Space’s co-owners want designers and producers to receive as much revenue from their sales as possible, while also challenging consumer habits, scrutinizing hot-button topics like “sustainability” and “accessibility,” and empowering others to create their own clothing from recycled materials. “Watching, listening to, and interacting with people experiencing my work first hand has been invaluable,” Alec Marchant tells me. Ultimately, the collective’s ambition is to nurture a space and a community where innovation, dialogue, and education come first, and “marketability” comes second––a goal worth striving for everywhere.

Nine short takes on 85 short films

With subjects ranging from Indian relay horse-racing to Newberg's own 99W drive-in, there's a lot to like in this weekend's McMinnville Short Film Festival

The McMinnville Short Film Festival will unveil more than 80 films this weekend, beginning Friday night, and even the very limited sneak preview I got — “only” a couple dozen films — was enough to leave a variety of impressions along with a few thoughts about the state of cinema as an art form and the cultural health of Yamhill County.

In the spirit of the event, I’ll present these random thoughts, observations, and impressions in a series of easily digestible short takes.

“Eat the Rainbow,” in the Experimental/A Bit Strange block Sunday, is a musical fable about an odd-yet-kind man who becomes a disruptive force when he moves into a conservative suburban neighborhood.

THE FESTIVAL IS A SIGNIFICANT YAMHILL COUNTY EVENT. Just shy of a decade old, it has emerged as one of the more ambitious cultural undertakings in the area, arguably in the same league with infrastructure projects such as Newberg’s Chehalem Cultural Center as well as the more recently launched Aquilon Music Festival, which runs several weeks. The film festival started small and rather anonymously with a few screenings and has  blossomed into a three-day extravaganza that fills McMinnville Cinema 10’s largest auditorium with often-breathtaking work from around Oregon, the United States, and the world. Founders Dan and Nancy Morrow set out to make it a filmmaker-friendly event. If the testimonials of film artists (many of whom come to talk about their work) are any indication, it is indeed that. But it’s also something that ought to have mass appeal to mainstream audiences (not just cinephiles) and those who perhaps don’t get to the theater as much as they used to. Bottom line, locals haven’t really discovered this thing yet in large numbers. They need to.

“Word on the Street” is a one-joke comedy in the style of film noir that dazzles with a clever, rhyming, linguistic hook. One might say it’s an interesting presentation of cinematic experimentation that’s likely to win your admiration.

THERE’S NOTHING NEW HERE. By that I mean: Cinema started as a short-format medium. When the National Film Preservation Foundation released the first of its many American Treasures collections in 1997, the package squeezed 50 films from the earliest days of filmmaking onto four DVDs. Most ran 10 minutes or less and some ran little more than a minute or two. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded its first film-short Oscar in 1932 — to The Music Box, a Laurel and Hardy flick about the pair trying to move a piano up a flight of stairs. Under one name or another, live-action short films have had their own category at the Oscars since 1957. Thanks to a variety of streaming services, it’s never been easier to see them.

SO MANY CHOICES, BUT SO EASY TO CHOOSE. The single best thing about this year’s festival is that it’s easy to see precisely what you want. For three days starting Friday at Linfield College, 85 films will be shown in nine screening blocks organized by theme. Documentary-lovers need not be subjected to horror films; animation fans will find their thing in a Saturday afternoon block; those with an interest in the environment or Indigenous stories and issues will find most of those films in separate screening blocks.

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DramaWatch: Punch-Drunk Life

Imago Theatre's "Special K" drinks deep of theatrical madness. Plus openings from CoHo, Corrib, and defunkt dot the theater calendar.

“She’s crazy. Always has been, always will be. There’s nothing here but a play.”

— from Special K, by Jerry Mouawad

In times such as these, who’s to say what’s crazy? Most of us probably think we know crazy when we see it, but if we find ourselves in its lap we might not be so sure. Special K, a new play by the always-intriguing Jerry Mouawad and Imago Theatre, is about going crazy. And about being crazy. And/or not being crazy after all. And about the way that craziness breeds more craziness around it.

It also seems to be about — sometimes fleetingly and flittingly, sometimes deep in its madly circuitous structure — mental illness, drug-induced psychosis, power and manipulation, complicity and duplicity, acting and improvising, sexuality and gender dynamics, the philosophical dialectic between the Apollonian and the Dionysian, the permeable membrane between internal experience and objective reality, the elusiveness of truth, and the importance of knowing what’s in your cup.

“The insane are holier than the sane.” So says the Queen — or maybe she’s the Empress — in Imago Theatre’s Special K. Anne Sorce (center) stars, with (clockwise from left) Danny Gray, Matthew Sunderland, Emily Welch and Stephanie Woods. Photo: Jerry Mouawad.

All in all, it’s another distinctive creation from Imago, Portland’s most enduringly, consistently inventive and surprising theater company. Originally planned as a one-act, the project grew into a longer play, necessitating a week’s delay in opening. That means this weekend and next offer the few chances to see this fascinating work.

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At Albertina Kerr, art of ebullience

Not "outside": Artists from the Portland Art and Learning Studio create an exhilarating exhibition at Gallery 114

There is an Outside spread Without & an outside spread Within
Beyond the Outline of Identity both ways, which meet in One:
An orbed Void of doubt, despair, hunger & thirst & sorrow.

– William BlakeJerusalem (1818).


STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY FRIDERIKE HEUER


Let me not mince words: I despise the term outsider art. Yes, I know the definition is loose – it can refer to anything, from art by those not trained as artists, or not affected by a particular culture, or living on the margins of society, or living with a disability or mental illness – often in any possible combination of all of these. And yes, I know we are stuck with the term, since it has taken on a life of its own ever since people started collecting this art. It is part of a commodity market always on the lookout for something new, something striking, something that money can be invested in.

Marker work by Lindsay Scheu
Lindsay Scheu

The very fact that you call some artists “outsiders” (including those living with disabilities, who are our family, our neighbors, our clients and, yes, our friends) perpetuates a tendency toward segregation rather than integration, to the loss of all involved. All, that is, but cutting-edge curators and collectors who boost their bottom line, staging art fairs and exhibitions of the few among the legions of creative “outsiders” who somehow make it to the top of the art market. Yet such art has its own life and energy, without regard for the market, and can be highly creative and life-affirming without apology or categorical pigeonholing. I found a good deal of such ebullient art recently at the Portland Art and Learning Studio, a project of Albertina Kerr. And so can you: Ebullience, an exhibition of work by PALS artists is featured this month at Portland’s Gallery 114.

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Falling for flamenco

Laura Onizuka first encountered the art form in a video in Spanish class. Now she teaches the dance, including at an upcoming Lincoln City retreat

People come to the Oregon Coast for all sorts of reasons – the beach, the views, the seafood, the sea life. At the end of the month, they’ll come for a reason that may seem as foreign as the country that inspired it: to dance the flamenco. Portland dancer and instructor Laura Onizuka will share her talent and knowledge during the Flamenco Retreat at the Oregon Coast, Feb. 28 through March 1 in Lincoln City. We talked with Onizuka about the art form – a combination of dance, song, and instrumental music from southern Spain. Her comments have been edited for length and clarity.

Flamenco instructor Laura Onizuka describes flamenco as “celebratory, passionate, melancholy.” Photo by: Chris Leck

What is flamenco?

Onizuka: It’s an art form and it’s music, dance, rhythm, language, communication. There are different facets: singing, guitar, dancing. It’s categorized by singing styles, based on the regions they come from and the influences from other parts of the world. For flamenco as we know it today, the place you want to go is Andalucía, Spain. That’s where great flamenco is being born. Madrid would be the hub. A lot of people go there to collaborate and just grow.

What can you tell us about its history?

It’s so complex. Some people say it comes from Gypsies in India originally. Some say that’s not true. It has influence from the Gypsies, Spanish folklore, musical influences from South America and Africa. So much of it was in the oral tradition, so there are not necessarily records of this art form until more recently. There’s a lot of romanticizing the Gypsy culture, but it’s about a lot more than that. People are still arguing about it and figuring it out. Where did it become the flamenco art form? In southern Spain. That’s not disputed.

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Coming attractions: McMinnville Short Film Festival

The Yamhill County calendar also includes three new gallery shows and a jazz performance by the Christopher Brown Quartet

We begin this week’s column with a quick run through the essential news-you-can-use for the McMinnville Short Film Festival, set for Feb. 21-23. In recent years, it’s emerged as yet another tent-pole cultural event in Yamhill County. Next week I’ll have a deep dive into some of the films that will be screened.

Filmmaker Scott Ballard will be keynote speaker at the McMinnville Short Film Festival.

By every measure, the event — founded by Dan and Nancy Morrow of McMinnville in 2011 — has grown considerably from very humble beginnings. The festival next week expands to three days to accommodate a whopping 85 films from the United States, Canada, and the international film community. A second venue has been added: Along with booking the largest auditorium at McMinnville Cinema 10, organizers have arranged for an opening-night screening in Linfield College’s Ice Auditorium.

The festival is for everybody, even those who don’t think of themselves as cinephiles or who watch movies infrequently. Nine categories are arranged by genre and include two narrative viewing blocks. Besides offering documentaries and environmental films, horror and “experimental” works, the festival has two new categories this year. It is partnering with the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde on a Native American block, and with McMinnville Kiwanis and Sunrise Rotary on a Student Showcase block that will feature work by students in grades 6-12 and college.

The awards dinner is Feb. 23 on the Chemeketa Community College campus in McMinnville, next to the theater. Portland filmmaker Scott Ballard is the keynote speaker.

Check out the website, peruse the titles and screening blocks, and plan on a weekend of interesting, thoughtful work that’s as good as or better than anything Hollywood spits up these days. Purchase tickets here for as few or as many screenings as you like.

Kathleen Buck’s abstract paintings are among the works in a new show in McMinnville’s Currents Gallery.

YAMHILL COUNTY’S GALLERY scene has three new shows open or coming up fast. Two are in McMinnville: Currents Gallery downtown offers More Glorious Gourds and Powerful Paintings, by local artists Claudia Herber and Kathleen Buck. Both artists are award-winners in their fields. Herber has won in the annual Wertz Gourd Festival; Buck has long been active with the Watercolor Society of Oregon and has won her share of awards. Both will present abstract work in the show, which runs Feb. 17 through March 15. An opening reception will be held Friday, Feb. 21, during the 3rd Friday on 3rd Street Art & Wine Walk.

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