Anne Richardson

Writing the West: Tim Barnes on CES Wood’s A Book Of Tales (1901)/Jan. 18, 2018, 7:00 PM

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On Thursday, January 18, 2018, at 7:00 PM, Tim Barnes comes to Black Hat Books to continue the discussion of fiction vs non fiction, imagination vs memory, oral histories vs written ones, when it comes to understanding the West.

Poet Tim Barnes is author of Mother and the Mangos (a one-poem book illustrated by Angelina Marino-Heidel, M Kimberly Press and Charles Seluzicki Fine Books, 1991), Star Hill Farm and the Grain of What is Gone (Skookum’s Tongue Press, 1994), Falling through Leaves (Marino Press, 1995), Of Almonds and Angels (Skookum’s Tongue Press, 2007), Definitions for a Lost Language (Skookum’s Tongue Press, 2010, 2014).

Very fitting that the life of poet C. E. S. Wood would be documented by a poet! Tim is co-author, with Edwin Bingham, of Wood Works: The Life and Writings of Charles Erskine Scott Wood

On January 18, Tim will discuss Wood’s A Book Of Tales, a 1901 collection of Pacific Northwest Indian myths and legends, with Anne Richardson, director of Oregon Cartoon Institute/Oregon Movies, A  Z. Together, they hope to shed some light on Wood’s love of fine press printing as well as on his decision to collect and transcribe Pacific Northwest Indian oral literature.

Who was Wood?

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Lt. Charles Erskine Scott Wood arrived in Oregon in 1874 to fight Indians. A recent West Point graduate, he had been forbidden by his father to follow a literary career. Two Indian Wars and one law degree later, Wood was a well respected member of Portland’s business community, pursuing (and achieving) financial success with a large side order of social and political activism. In Wood Works ,Tim Barnes and Edwin Bingham write “Soldier, poet, attorney, satirist, anarchist, reformer, bon vivant, painter, and pacifist — —-C. E. S. Wood was all of these.”

Wood was one of the founding fathers of Portland Art Museum, an institution which educated generations of Oregon artists, some of whom chose to become filmmakers. If PAM’s early start date is important to Oregon film history, then Wood, who pushed for that early start date,  is important to Oregon film history as well.

Re-issued in 1929 by Vanguard Press in New York City, the first edition of C. E. S. Wood’s A Book Of Tales was hand set and hand printed here in Portland in 1901.

Who writes the West? Tim Barnes, Anne Richardson and Fred Nemo, the owner of Black Hat Books, will pool their thoughts on January 18, 2018, at 7:00 PM.

Thank you, Fred Nemo, for providing a home for this conversation.

Please join us!

What: Tim Barnes, Anne Richardson & Fred Nemo discuss fiction vs non fiction, imagination vs memory, oral histories vs written ones, when it comes to understanding the West.

Where: Black Hat Books, 2831 NE MLK Bvld

When: Jan 18, 2018, 7:00 PM

Admission: Free

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Tim Barnes’ discussion of C. E. S. Wood’s A Book Of Tales is the second in the Writing The West series at Black Hat Books. The first conversation, in October 2017, featured Rich Wandschneider and Richard Etulain discussing Daniel Sharfstein’s book Thunder In The Mountains: Chief Joseph, O. O. Howard, and the Nez Perce War.

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Oregon Cartoon Institute + World Affairs Council Receive Arab Language Cartoonists@Black Hat Books/Oct. 31, 3:00 PM

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On Oct 31st, at 3:00 PM, Oregon Cartoon Institute joins World Affairs Council of Oregon in welcoming a group of Arab language political cartoonists who are touring the country as part of the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Project.

The visiting artists include:

Mr. Belkacem Lamine Mohamed Dahmane, from Algeria
Mr. Ahmed Khaleel Hadi Al Obaidi, from Iraq
Ms. Safaa Abuaathra, from Palestinian Territories
Mr. Suliman Mohammed M. Alanazi, from Saudi Arabia
Ms. Nadia Dhab Bouraoui, Mr. Hamdi Mazoudi, from Tunisia

The objectives of their tour:

“Examine the role played by political cartoonists in the United States and their influence on public opinion and government policy
Explore constitutionally guaranteed press freedoms in the United States, and the accompanying principles of editorial expression
Review and become familiar with cartoonist training in the United States
Illustrate the effective use of humor and how it supports civic activism and contributes to a dynamic and pluralistic political system”

Oregon Cartoon Institute is very interested in the role cartooning plays in promoting and maintaining the exchange of ideas essential to a democracy. Oregon’s contributions to American political cartooning include longtime cartoonist at The Oregonian, Jack Ohman (now at the Sacramento Bee), who won the Pultizer in 2016, and Matt Wuerker, who graduated from Lewis & Clark in ’79, and won the Pulitzer in 2012. They both follow the first American born political cartoonist to achieve nationwide fame, Homer Davenport (1867-1912), from Silverton, Oregon.

The award winning graphic journalism of Oregon cartoonist Joe Sacco inspired Art Spiegelman to say “In a world where Photoshop has outed the photograph as a liar, one can now allow artists to return to their original function – as reporters.”

When (Oregon born and raised) Bill Plympton says to audiences “Cartoons are powerful. They can change the way people think.”, he speaks with authority. Before he was an Oscar nominated animator, he was a political cartoonist for ten years.

To honor the visit from the International Visitor Leadership Project delegation of Arab language political cartoonists, Oregon Cartoon Institute has compiled a list of Oregon artists who interfaced with Arab culture/politics at some point in their careers.

HOMER DAVENPORT

1906
Oregon cartoonist Homer Davenport (1867-1912) travels to Syria to purchase Arabian horses

1909
My Quest of the Arabian Horse
Nonfiction book
By Oregon cartoonist (and horse breeder) Homer Davenport

JOE SACCO

1996
Palestine
Graphic journalism documenting a 1991-1992 visit to the Occupied Territories
By Portland cartoonist Joe Sacco
Winner, 1996 American Book Award

2009
Footnotes On Gaza
Graphic journalism documents Sacco’s investigative reporting about two massacres which took place in Gaza in 1956
By Portland cartoonist Joe Sacco
Winner, 2010 Eisner Award

PSU

1959
Middle East Studies Center opens at Portland State University
“The first federally supported undergraduate program for Arabic language and Middle East area studies in the nation.”

DIANA ABU JABA

2012
Birds Of Paradise
Novel
By Portland author Diana Abu Jabar, whose father is from Jordan
Winner, 2012 Arab American Book Award

PENNY ALLEN

2013
EN RETARD POUR L’ENTERREMENT DE MA MERE
French language experimental documentary, made in Algeria
By Portland filmmaker Penny Allen.

JAMES LONGLEY

2006
IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS
Documentary made in Baghdad
by Eugene, Oregon filmmaker James Longley
Nominated for 2007 Academy Award

JAMES BLUE

1962
LES OLIVIERS DE LA JUSTICE
French & Arab language narrative film made in Algiers
Directed by Portland filmmaker James Blue (1930-1980)
Winner, 1962 Critics Prize at Cannes Film Festival

Here’s a brief trailer for LES OLIVIERS DE LA JUSTICE.

Here’s the entire film, uploaded by Archives Numériques du Cinéma Algérien.

Portland historian Carl Abbott joins David Chelsea, Sheldon Renan, Patrick Rosenkranz, Dennis Nyback and Anne Richardson, all veterans of Oregon Cartoon Institute’s 2016 UNDERGROUND USA symposium, to welcome the World Affairs Council delegation on Oct. 31st, 2017.  Thank you to Fred Nemo, the owner of Black Hat Books, for his hospitality!

(Ed. note, after the fact: We were lucky to have graphic journalist Joe Sacco join us as well.)

Black Hat Books, at 2831 NE MLK Blvd in Portland, will be open for business throughout the event. I am curious to see who stops in to buy a book, and ends up joining a conversation about the role of the free press in a democracy!

 

Writing the West: Rich Wandschneider, Richard Etulain at Black Hat Books/Oct 12, 7:00 PM

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On Thursday Oct 12, at 7:00 PM, long time friend of Oregon Cartoon Institute, Rich Wandschneider, comes to Black Hat Books to discuss fiction vs non fiction, imagination vs memory, oral histories vs written ones, when it comes to understanding the West.

Rich Wandschneider is the director of the Alvin M. and Betty Josephy Library of Western History and Culture, located within the Josephy Center for Arts and Culture in Joseph, Oregon.

Rich will discuss Daniel J. Sharfstein’s new book “Thunder In The Mountains: Chief Joseph, O. O. Howard, and the Nez Perce War” with armchair Howard historian, Anne Richardson. Rich and Anne have been discussing the complexity of the Nez Perce War narrative, on and off, for nearly 20 years.

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“Those who know little about General Howard, other than that he was a founder of Howard University, will be especially interested in following his story to the end.”—Henry Louis Gates, Harvard University

Howard, the enigma. In the past, historians handled the one armed general’s multiple identities by not acknowledging them. In Merrill Beal’s “I Will Fight No More Forever: Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce War”,  we read about Howard’s years as head of the Freedman’s Bureau in a footnote. In Alvin B. Josephy’s “The Nez Perce Indians and the Opening of the Northwest”, we never read about them at all.  We never learn why he was in the West.

Howard went West as a man in exile. His idealistic activism at the Freedman’s Bureau had come with a cost: political enemies.  Two congressional hearings (charges dismissed) left his career in ruins. He accepted re-assignment to the Department of the Columbia where he followed orders to force the Nez Perce off land he knew they owned. Sharfstein frames Howard’s and Joseph’s relationship, usually seen as one of mutual incomprehension, as a contest of political wills.

Howard’s back story complicates our understanding of the West. Where is the simple chessboard of cowboys vs Indians?

Joining us for the evening to help sort this out will be a longtime Oregon literary historian.

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Richard W. Etulain is a prize-winning historian specializing in the history of the American West. He has been honored as president of both the Western Literature and Western History Associations. His most recent book is about Ernest Haycox, a Portland writer who grew up alongside a brand new art form: the Western.

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Who writes the West? Rich Wandschneider, Richard Etulain, Anne Richardson, and Fred Nemo, the owner of Black Hat Books, will pool their thoughts on October 12, at 7:00 PM.

Thank you, Fred Nemo, for providing a home for this conversation.

Please join us!

What: Rich Wandschneider, Anne Richardson, Richard Etulain & Fred Nemo discuss fiction vs non fiction, imagination vs memory, oral histories vs written ones, when it comes to understanding the West.

Where: Black Hat Books, 2831 NE MLK Bvld

When: Oct 12, 7:00 PM

Admission: Free

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This evening with Rich Wandschneider and Richard Etulain is the first in a series of Writing The West conversations. The second event, in January 2018, will zero in on one specific book in Oregon literary history, C. E. S. Wood’s 1901 A Book Of Tales, with guest speaker Tim Barnes.

Oregon Film History Invitational/May 5, 2017

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Ken Kesey, camera. Bill Murray, sound. 

What is the history behind, and the meaning behind, Oregon’s regional strength in creating independent film artists? Where does this longstanding strength fit within the overall intellectual and cultural identity of the Pacific Northwest?

On Friday, May 5, 2017, Oregon Cartoon Institute presents the third annual one day Oregon film history conference.

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James Blue shooting VOUS N’AVEZ RIEN CONTRE LA JEUNESSE (1958) in Paris

The conference is designed to showcase the complexity and diversity of Oregon film history for educators, historians, and museum professionals. It is small in size, and designed to encourage interdisciplinary engagement, open ended conversation,  and professional networking.

Here is the list of the 2017 presenters.

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Ronald Kramer/KGW Hoot Owls (1923-1933)

Mel Blanc was a member of this wildly improvisational Jazz Age radio show, beloved by hundreds of thousands of listeners. In this (staged) publicity shot, the KGW Hoot Owls are being rounded up by the Portland police.

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Ronald Kramer is the author of Pioneer Mikes: A History of Radio and Television in Oregon. He served as Executive Director of Jefferson Public Radio in Southern Oregon from 1974 to 2012 while also consulting for the Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and other organizations.

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Elizabeth Peterson/Lester Beck, UO’30

In 1947, Lester Beck made HUMAN GROWTH, the best middle school sex education film the world had ever seen. From this unlikely beginning, he became the head of the film department at USC in 1950. He brought Andries Deinum (1918-1995), future founder of PSU’s Center For The Moving Image, to Portland in 1957.

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Elizabeth Peterson is Humanities Librarian and Curator of Moving Images in University of Oregon’s Knight Library. With co-author Michael Aronson, she published “No Birds, No Bees, No Moralizing: Lester F. Beck, Progressive Educational Filmmaker” in The Moving Image 13.1 (2014).

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Gretchen Harmon/William B. Gruber, inventor of Viewmaster

William B. Gruber arrived in Portland from Bavaria in 1924. In 1939, he invented a handheld stereoscopic viewer which sold by the millions. Both the viewers and the reels were manufactured in Portland, providing work for Norm Dimick‘s processing lab, among many other ripple effects, both economic and cultural.

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Gretchen Harmon, the author of View Master: The Biography of William B. Gruber, is a Portland native and the youngest daughter of William B. Gruber.

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David Chelsea/At the Scribe (1972-1978)

Matt Groening, Bill Plympton, Jim Blashfield, Will Vinton and Gus Van Sant read the Portland Scribe. David Chelsea illustrated it.

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David Chelsea is the author of the graphic novels David Chelsea In Love and Welcome To The Zone, and the how-to books Perspective! For Comic Book Artists and Extreme Perspective! For Artists. He is one of the producers of 24 HOUR COMIC, a 2017 documentary in which he also appears.

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Julie Perini/Using OHS Moving Image Archives

Lew Cook (1909-1983), one of Portland’s earliest film entrepreneurs, founded the Moving Image Archive at Oregon Historical Society. In 2015, co-directors Julie Perini, Erin Yanke and Jodi Darby used the OHS archive to source rare footage documenting Portland’s history of protest. “Utilizing meditative footage taken at sites of police violence, experimental filmmaking techniques, and archival newsreel, ARRESTING POWER creates a space for understanding the impacts of police violence and imagining a world without police.”

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Julie Perini makes videos, films, installations, photographs and other objects, site-specific projects, essays and manifestoes, events and performances, and educational situations. She has an MFA from the Department of Media Study at the University at Buffalo, and teaches at PSU.

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David Cress/MHCC film school

From 1988 to 1995, under the leadership of Jack Schommer, Mount Hood Community College offered what might have been the only college degree program focused on Public, Educational & Government/Community Television. As part of a Portland metro area franchise, MHCC received a large grant to set up and sustain a community television training curriculum centered around cable access television and community media. One of its graduates is David Cress.

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David Cress is known for producing the hit comedy show Portlandia for which he was nominated for an Emmy in 2015. Other awards include work recognized by Peabody, Cannes, Clio, CA, and One Show, as well as Sundance Film Festival and SXSW Film Festival. He is the president of OMPA (Oregon Media Production Association).

We limit the length of each presentation to leave lots of time for Q & A and discussion.

Admission is by invitation. Seating is limited.

Contact me if you feel you have been left off the invitation list by mistake.

Oregon Cartoon Institute was founded to raise awareness of Oregon’s rich film, animation, and cartooning history. It has no brick and mortar presence, and always partners with organizations and institutions which do.

“Heroes are not giant statues framed against a red sky. They are people who say; This is my community, and it’s my responsibility to make it better.” Tom McCall

This year the Oregon Film History Invitational receives support from Oregon Film, aka the Governor’s Office of Film and Television. Thank you, Tim Williams!

This year the Oregon Film History Invitational receives support from Oregon Film Museum. Thank you, Mac Burns!

Video projector donated by Picture This Production Services & Stage. Thank you, Tom McFadden, for arranging this.

Thank you in advance to all our presenters!

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Elmer Buehler (1911-2010), the BPA employee who chauffeured Woody Guthrie during his month of commissioned songwriting, and who later rescued BPA films from destruction. Thank you, Libby Burke,  for the photo.

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The third Oregon Film History Invitational was made a success by the following presenters and participants:

Carl Abbott, historian
Libby Burke, BPA
David Chelsea, artist
John Concillo, OCHC
David Cress, producer
John Dennis, photographer
Milan Erceg, filmmaker
Bill Failing, OHS
Larry Fong, curator/arts advocate
Gretchen Harmon, author
Kohel Haver, Swider Haver
David Hedberg, PSU
Michael Huntsberger, Linfield College
Brooke Jacobson, co-founder NWFC
Jody Jorgenson, filmmaker
Ronald Kramer, radio historian
Michele Kribs, OHS
Gary Lacher, film preservationist
Tom McFadden, Oregon Film Museum
Frann Michel, Willamette University
Dennis Nyback, film archivist
Julie Perini, PSU
Elizabeth Peterson, UO
Heather Petrocelli, film historian
Sheldon Renan, writer/theorist
Anne Richardson, OCI
Mike Richardson, Dark Horse
Brad Robison, systems designer
Joe Sacco, graphic journalist
Hunter Shobe, PSU
Janice Shokrian, OMPA
Eric Slade, OPB
Brad Studstrup, filmmaker
Larry Telles, Niles Film Museum
Ned Thanhauser, film preservationist
John Urang, Marylhurst University
Katherine Wilson, producer
Precious Yamaguchi, SOU

Thank you all!

Oregon Film History Invitational/May 13, 2016

 

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Helen Gibson in Hazards Of Helen (1915-1917)

What is the history behind, and the meaning behind, Oregon’s regional strength in creating independent film artists? Where does this longstanding strength fit within the overall intellectual and cultural identity of the Pacific Northwest?

Three examples, among many others: Dark Horse founder Mike Richardson, twelve time Emmy award winner Matt Groening, and two time Oscar nominee Bill Plympton. All three artist-entrepreneurs move between film and print cartooning/comics, and are part of the history covered in Oregon Historical Society’s upcoming exhibit, Comics City, USA, in 2016.

On Friday, May 13, 2016, Oregon Movies, A to Z presents the second annual one day Oregon film history conference.

The conference is designed to showcase the complexity and diversity of Oregon film history for educators, historians, and museum professionals.

Here is the list of the 2016 presenters.

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Larry Telles/Ranch Girl On A Rampage: Helen Gibson, Hollywood’s first professional stuntwoman, performs in the 1913 Pendleton Round Up.

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Writer, producer and film historian, Larry is one of the founding members of the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum in Niles, California. He is the author of Helen Gibson: Silent Serial Queen, and serves on the board of Film Alliance Northwest.

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Dennis Nyback/B. F. Shearer & Portland’s Film Row: Hollywood’s distribution infrastructure on NW 19th, which supported an analog media empire, includes a perfectly miniaturized showcase theater designed by Seattle based B. F. Shearer.

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Dennis Nyback advocated for the preservation of the Seattle Film Building in 1990. His chapter, Art and Grind in Seattle, appears in From The Arthouse To The Grindhouse: Highbrow And Lowbrow Transgression In Cinema’s First Century from Scarecrow Press. Master projectionist and film archivist, he is co-founder of Oregon Cartoon Institute.

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Patrick Rosenkranz/Carl Barks: The Oregon comic book auteur who invented Uncle Scrooge McDuck and inspired Robert Crumb.

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One of the premier scholars of the underground comics movement of the 1960s and 1970s, Patrick Rosenkranz has been writing about comics since 1969. His Rebel Visions: The Underground Comix Revolution 1963-1975, chronicles the inception and development of the artistic revolution that changed comics forever.

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Libby Burke, librarian & archivist/Citizen Kahn: Stephen B. Kahn at BPA.

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Woody Guthrie recorded “Roll On, Columbia, Roll On” for the first time in NE Portland, just blocks from where Libby Burke supervised the restoration of the Stephen B. Kahn film (“The Columbia”) for which it was commissioned. Libby Burke, MLIS, CA, came to the Bonneville Power Administration Library from the Lyman Museum and Mission House in Hilo, Hawai’i, where she participated in the pilot project for “’Ulu’ulu: The Henry Ku’ualoha Giugni Moving Image Archive of Hawai’i.”

Lunch – on your own (Alberta is one block away)

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Harry Dawson will speak about his decades long collaboration with artist Bill Viola.

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Harry Dawson attended the Pacific Northwest’s first film school, PSU’s Center For The Moving Image (1969-1981). His credits as director and cinematographer include National Geographic Explorer, The Guggenheim, NBC, Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Paris Opera, National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, Leverage, MOMA, Discovery Channel,  The Whitney, The Plains Indian Museum, TNT, The Getty Villa, Tate Modern, PBS, Grimm, National Portrait Gallery, Twilight. From McMinnville.

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Richard Blue gives an update on the international search for the lost negative of James Blue’s THE OLIVE TREES OF JUSTICE (1962).

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Like his older brother James Blue (1930-1980), Richard spent much of his life in working outside the USA. He worked in Eqypt, India and Bangkok, first as a political scientist for USAID and later as an officer for the US Foreign Service, retiring as Senior Foreign Service Minister Counselor. He founded the James Blue Alliance in 2013. James Blue, Oregon’s first Oscar nominated director, made films in India, Africa, and South America. A member of the founding faculty of AFI, James Blue was the founding director of Rice Media Center in Houston. Both Blues graduated from Jefferson High School. From Portland.

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Mike Richardson will tell us about the transition he made from publisher to producer with DR. GIGGLES in 1992.

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Graduating from PSU with a degree in art, Mike Richardson always knew he wanted to make movies. He founded  Dark Horse Comics in 1986, and in 1992 made the move from the page to the screen by co-producing a low budget thriller, DR GIGGLES, in Portland. Dark Horse Comics was now Dark Horse Entertainment. In 1994, he was an executive producer on THE MASK, starring Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz, and based on characters he had created in 1985.  A steady stream of comics, films, comics based on films, and films based on comics, followed. In 2004, HELLBOY consolidated his place on Hollywood’s A list. From Milwaukie.

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Mike Richardson’s next film, THE LEGEND OF TARZAN,  opens on July 1, 2016.

We will limit the length of each presentation to leave lots of time for Q & A and discussion.

The day will be a whirlwind of information, designed to encourage open ended conversation, interdisciplinary engagement and professional networking.

It is by invitation only.

Seating is limited.

Contact me if you feel you have been left off the invitation list by mistake.

The second annual Oregon Film History Invitational is brought to you by Oregon Movies, A to Z, a project of Oregon Cartoon Institute, which in turn is fiscally sponsored by Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission, a 501 c3 non profit organization.

This year we also receive support from Oregon Film, aka the Governor’s Office of Film and Television. Thank you, Tim Williams!

Oregon Cartoon Institute/Oregon Movies, A to Z was founded to raise awareness of Oregon’s rich film, animation, and cartooning history. It has no brick and mortar presence, and always partners with organizations and institutions which do.

“Heroes are not giant statues framed against a red sky. They are people who say; This is my community, and it’s my responsibility to make it better.” Tom McCall

Thank you in advance to all our presenters!

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The second one day Oregon film history conference was made a success by the following presenters and participants.

Richard Blue, James Blue Alliance
Libby Burke, Bonneville Power Administration
Mac Burns, Oregon Film Museum
John Concillo, Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission
Harry Dawson, filmmaker
Damon Eckhoff, artist/UX designer
Bill Failing, Oregon Historical Society
Michael Friend, Columbia Gorge Discovery Center
Laurie Gabriel, filmmaker
Gretchen Gruber, writer
Abigail Howard, Bonneville Power Admistration
Brooke Jacobson, educator
Michele Kribs, Oregon Historical Society
Gary Lacher, film preservationist
Lois Leonard, filmmaker/historian
Ross Lienhart, PSU Foundation
Matt McCormick, Portland State University
Zach Margolis, animator
Tom McFadden, Oregon Film Museum
Frann Michel, Willamette
Marc Mohan, Oregonian/Oregon Arts Watch
Karen Munro, University of Oregon
Dennis Nyback, Oregon Cartoon Institute
Phil Oppenheim, Lionsgate/Comic Con
John Patterson, Willamette
Ben Popp, Northwest Film Center
Anne Richardson, Oregon Cartoon Institute
Mike Richardson, Dark Horse
Brad Robison, systems designer
Patrick Rosenkranz, writer/historian
Charlotte Rubin, Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission
Kaye Silver, Bonneville Power Administration
Khris Soden, artist
Larry Telles, writer/historian
Suzanne Toole, curious citizen
Andreas Wallach, filmmaker
Tim Williams, Film Oregon

Thank you all!

 

 

Oregon Film History Invitational/May 8, 2015

Basil Wolverton's photo of Buster Keaton during The General (1926)Buster Keaton, Cottage Grove 1926 (Photo: Basil Wolverton)

On May 8, 2015, Oregon Movies, A to Z is holding a one day Oregon film history conference specifically designed for educators, historians and museum professionals.

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Sheldon Renan, Pacific Film Archives 1970

What is the history behind, and the meaning behind, Oregon’s regional strength in creating independent film artists?  Where does this longstanding strength fit within the overall intellectual and cultural identity of the Pacific Northwest?

Three examples, among many others: Dark Horse founder Mike Richardson, twelve time Emmy award winner Matt Groening, and two time Oscar nominee Bill Plympton. All three artist-entrepreneurs move between film and print cartooning/comics, and are part of the history covered in Oregon Historical Society’s upcoming exhibit, Comics City, USA, in 2016.

The conference is very low key and conversational. The point is just for people to hear about the wide variety of work being done.

Here is the list of presenters.

The day is split into two halves: Silent Era in the morning/Sound Era in the afternoon.

Silent Era

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Steve Stone & Gary Lacher, authors of Theatres of Portland
Electrified, movie mad Portland: Mapping the 1910’s/1920’s streetcar/movie theater infrastructure

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Gus Frederick, Homer Davenport Project
The political connections of Oregon’s first cartooning superstar, Homer Davenport, contradict his self description as “country boy”

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Ben Truwe, Southern Oregon Historical Society
Voice artist Pinto Colvig, one of Oregon’s earliest pop culture practitioners, directed an early feature length animated film (now lost, save a handful of archived 35mm frames), in San Francisco in 1916

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Walt Dimick, filmmaker
Second generation filmmaker/inventor Walt Dimick describes the business strategy of Norm Dimick, one of Portland’s first full time film entrepreneurs.

Lunch

Sound Era

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Dennis Nyback, Dennis Nyback Film Archive
George Olsen, Del Porter, Louis Kaufman, Mel Blanc, Phil Moore (pictured above), Johnnie Ray, Jane Powell: Portland talent hits sound era Hollywood

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Anne Richardson, Oregon Movies, A to Z
James Ivory & James Blue: the Third World debuts of Oregon’s first sound era directors

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Sheldon Renan & Brooke Jacobson, filmmakers/educators (the above photo is of Brooke Jacobson and Bob Summers, found on Heather Petrocelli’s wonderful @ReelPDX)
Portland’s film community in 1970-71: The birth of Northwest Film Study Center

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Richard Blakeslee & Tom Chamberlin, filmmakers
Teknifilm Lab nurtures the return of Portland independent film

We will limit the length of each presentation to leave lots of time for Q & A and discussion.

It will be a whirlwind of information, but that would be the point. To bring everybody up to speed with each other’s work (in a rough way) within one day.

The conference is by invitation. It is designed for educators, historians and museum professionals.

Seating is limited.

Contact me if you feel you have been left off the invitation list by mistake.

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 Dennis Nyback, co-founder of Oregon Cartoon Institute, will show a Portland film so rare that when we contacted the people who made it, they said it didn’t exist.

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This conference was inspired by the deluge of new information unleashed during the recent Mid Century Oregon Genius screening series which was supported by Kinsman Foundation and Miller Foundation, and fiscally sponsored by Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission.

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The first one day Oregon film history conference was made a success by the following presenters and participants.

Laura Berg, writer-editor
Richard Blakeslee, filmmaker
Richard Blue, James and Richard Blue Foundation
Bill Bowling, film locations consultant, founder of the Deinum Prize
David Bryant, filmmaker
Libby Burke, Bonneville Power Administration Archives
Mac Burns, Oregon Film Museum
Tom Chamberlin, filmmaker
John Concillo, Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission
Laurence Cotton, writer-filmmaker
Walt Dimick, filmmaker
Bill Failing, Oregon Historical Society
James Fox, UO Knight Library
Gus Frederick, Homer Davenport Project
Kohel Haver, Swider/Haver
Brooke Jacobson, educator
Jerry Ketel, Leopold Ketel
Gary Lacher, film preservationist
Taz Loomans, Blooming Rock
Frann Michel, Willamette University
David Milholland, Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission
Dennis Nyback, independent archivist
Elizabeth Peterson, UO Knight Library
Ingrid Renan, Exploding Green
Sheldon Renan, writer
Anne Richardson, Oregon Cartoon Institute/Oregon Movies, A to Z
Patrick Rosenkranz, author/historian
Jennifer Stoots, art historian/appraiser
Steve Stone, historian
Randall Stuart, Cerimon House
Ben Truwe, Southern Oregon Historical Society
Eric Underwood, City of Oregon City
Kate Wagle, School of Architecture and Allied Arts, UO

Thank you, all!

Harry + Homer: Mid Century Oregon Genius @ Hollywood Theatre/Jan. 16 & 17

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 On Friday Jan. 16 and Saturday Jan. 17, 2015, the Mid Century Oregon Genius series returns to the Hollywood Theatre to celebrate Harry Smith (1923-1991) and Homer Groening (1919-1996).

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Harry Smith was born in Portland. He grew up in Bellingham, Washington, a second generation black sheep whose paternal grandmother was a member of the most powerful family in town, the Deming family, whose Pacific American Fisheries had more than 30 canneries in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. An artist from childhood, he began making abstract animated films in San Francisco as an extension of his painting.

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This screen shot of Oregon Cartoon Institute’s 2013 screening of Heaven And Earth Magic at the Hollywood Theatre was taken by Paul Wolfe.

On Jan. 16, 2015 at 7:00 PM, film historian Dennis Nyback will return to the Hollywood with his multi-projector recreation of Harry Smith’s 1962 expanded cinema masterpiece HEAVEN AND EARTH MAGIC. Using meticulous cut out animation and a sound track composed entirely of sound effects, Smith tells an eerie, austere story of a woman, a toothache and a watermelon.

After HEAVEN AND EARTH MAGIC, Mississippi Records owner Eric Isaacson and Harry Smith historian Chuck Pirtle will join Dennis Nyback onstage to discuss Harry Smith’s dual identities as collector and artist, and to explore the connection between collecting and creating.

Homer Groening, Harry Smith’s generational cohort, grew up in Albany, Oregon, and spent his entire adult life in Portland. He opened his own advertising agency in 1958, and began making award winning short art films on the side in the early 1960s.

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On Jan. 17, 2015 at 7:00 PM, Mid Century Oregon Genius will present a program of Selected Short Films Of Homer Groening. Two time Oscar nominee Bill Plympton will introduce. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Lisa Groening. She will discuss her father with three people who knew him as friend, colleague and role model: Tom Shrader, Ted Mahar, and Bill Plympton.

Thank you to the Groening family for their generous loan of films for this program!

Strange but true: although their lives and career paths diverge in every other way, Harry Smith and Homer Groening were both, in the early 1960s, making non narrative experimental films. A STUDY IN WET, by Homer Groening, uses a sound track composed of found sounds of water dripping, just as the score for Harry Smith’s stop motion animated feature, HEAVEN AND EARTH MAGIC, is composed entirely of sounds taken from one (1) sound effects record.

Just as Harry Smith appropriated images from 19th century mail order catalogs to populate his dream landscape, in A STUDY IN WET, Homer Groening turns an ordinary object, his surfboard, into Japanese calligraphy.

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Harry Smith and Homer Groening are a study in contrasts. One similarity: Both remained independent artists who chose their own projects, and reaped their own rewards. Since this was true for  James Blue and James Ivory, the other two filmmakers celebrated in Mid Century Oregon Genius,  it appears the independent writer-director-producer is, like wine, beer, salmon, stripping, and rain, a regional specialty.

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Posters and video by Josh Winsor. Thank you, Josh.

Tickets for the Jan. 16 screening of Harry Smith’s Heaven And Earth Magic and the Jan. 17 screening of Selected Short Films Of Homer Groening are available at www.hollywood.org.

See you there!

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Mid Century Oregon Genius is supported by grants from Kinsman Foundation and Miller Foundation, and is fiscally sponsored by the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission.

The Jan. 17 screening of Selected Short Films Of Homer Groening is co-sponsored by MovieMaker Magazine.

James + James: Mid Century Oregon Genius @ Hollywood Theatre/Oct. 10 & 11

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When Will Vinton and Bob Gardiner won their Oscar in 1975, independent filmmaking in Oregon seemed to be entering a new stage. But the truth is that Oregon already had produced four successful independent filmmakers: James Ivory (b. 1928), James Blue (1930-1980), Harry Smith (1923-1991) and Homer Groening (1919-1996). All four artists had emerged a decade before Vinton and Gardiner made their breakthrough film.

Ivory made his cinematic debut from India.

Blue made his from Algeria.

Smith made his from New York City.

Groening remained in Portland, splitting his time between his advertising work and his short art films, which he sent to film festivals around the world.

In the Mid Century Oregon Genius screening series, we unite these four Oregon mid-century film artists under one umbrella. One film is shot in an Algerian war zone. One stars a Hollywood heart throb. One is shot on an animation stand which doubled as a bed for the filmmaker. Some are shot underwater.

On Oct. 10 at 7:00 PM, three time Oscar nominee James Ivory comes to Portland to introduce MAURICE (1987), starring James Wilby, Hugh Grant and Rupert Graves. Handpicked by Ivory for the screening series, MAURICE is on the short list of films for which he served as both screenwriter (with Kit Hesketh-Harvey) and director.

James Ivory grew up in Klamath Falls and graduated from the University of Oregon in 1951.

On Oct. 11 at 11:00 AM at the Hollywood, we will screen James Ivory’s AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A PRINCESS (1977), starring Madhur Jaffrey and James Mason. Ivory chose AUTOBIOGRAPHY specifically to complement James Blue’s THE OLIVE TREES OF JUSTICE, which shares its theme of post colonial identity crisis.

On Oct. 11 at 1:00 PM, Richard Blue, the brother of director James Blue, will introduce THE OLIVE TREES OF JUSTICE, an extremely rare film which won the Critics Prize at Cannes in 1962.

James Blue grew up in Portland and graduated from the University of Oregon in 1953. He and James Ivory worked together on at least one drama production at UO. Did they have any idea they would become Oregon’s first Oscar nominated directors?

And that they both would launch careers from outside this country?

On Oct. 11 at 2:30 PM, following the screening of THE OLIVE TREES OF JUSTICE, there will be a panel discussion titled  James Blue, a life in conversation.

Three panelists will talk us through James Blue’s life and career. Using archival photos from the Blue Collection to structure the narrative, we will travel conversationally from Tulsa to Portland, Eugene, and Paris, to Blue’s professional breakthrough in Algiers, his subsequent embrace of documentary, and his dual identity as filmmaker and educator.

The panelists are Richard Blue, the brother of James Blue; James Dormeyer, Blue’s classmate at L’Institut des hautes études cinématographiques in Paris and a close friend; Gill Dennis, the screenwriter of Blue’s 1969 Oscar nominated doc, A FEW NOTES ON OUR FOOD PROBLEM.

Tickets for individual events, and for the entire series, will be available online through The Hollywood Theatre and at the door.

The Mid Century Oregon Genius screening of The Olive Trees Of Justice is co-sponsored by The James and Richard Blue Foundation.

The second half of the Mid Century Oregon Genius screening series will take place on January 15 & 16, 2015. Two back to back evenings will celebrate the work of independent filmmakers Harry Smith and Homer Groening.

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More information: http://midcenturyoregongenius.wordpress.com

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The Mid Century Oregon Genius screening series is supported by grants from Kinsman Foundation and Miller Foundation. It is presented by Oregon Movies, A to Z, which is fiscally sponsored by Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission, a 501 © 3 private non profit organization.

To Matt Zoller Seitz, In Advance Of His July 25, 2014 Visit To NWFC/Introducing The Royal Tenenbaums


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Dear Matt Zoller Seitz,

I’m looking forward to hearing your introduction to Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums at the Northwest Film Center on July 25, 2014. You are arriving to find Portland thrown into a tizzy, both by the revelation that the mayor has allowed the reinstatement of an openly neo Nazi police captain, and by the release of a report which predicts Portland’s population will grow to 3 million by 2030.

I’ve been looking into that crystal ball myself, over the years, and thinking hard about Portland.

You are arriving in a city which is the inverted mirror image of your own. In New York, there is nothing but success. If you are not successful, you do not exist. If you are not trying to be successful, you are not alive. Whatever you are doing has no relevance. In Portland, if you have dedicated yourself to ambition, you have similarly segregated yourself from the pack. You have chosen to howl at a moon, alone. Everything people strive for in New York – the best food, fashion, fun –  happens here, but without the careers. Instead these scenes are driven by the unemployed, underemployed, and self employed. It is an upside down kingdom, where everything elitism deals out parsimoniously to the few in the New York is limitlessly available, with no ceiling on excellence, to Everyman in Portlandia – as long as he creates it himself/herself.

But that’s not what makes for the flipped image effect. What makes Portland truly the inverse of New York is that there is no mandarin culture which monitors all this, interpreting it and recording it for others. We are a culture of participants, not observers.

The first historian to analyze Portland’s “all Indians, no chief” anti elitism was Robert Johnston, who wrote The Radical Middle Class: Populist Democracy and the Question of Capitalism in Progressive Era Portland. He found middle class Portlanders, particularly on the east side, unusually protective of the rights of workers, based on precinct by precinct analysis of voting records. Workers were important in Portland. The institution in which you have been invited to speak, Portland Art Museum, found its first longtime director, Annabelle Crocker, in the typing pool of one of the members of the board.

Founded in 1892, Portland Art Museum was built in 1932, during a period the whole city listened to Mel Blanc, Portland musician turned radio voice artist. Blanc grew up fast, selling newspapers on street corners and smoking a pack a day, starting in elementary school. The audition act he brought to Hollywood from his hometown was news based, riffing on material taken from the latest headlines.  Just kitty corner across the park from the museum is the building where Blanc attended (and dropped out of) high school. In the future, surely one of Portland’s projected three million inhabitants will get to the bottom of how it was/why it was Mel Blanc’s high school from which a second animation super nova, Matt Groening, would later emerge.

But here’s what I want to clue you in on: even as productive, ambitious New York appears on one side of the coin and the contemplative, creative Portland on the other, I want to tell you about the middle, where both cities meet – because this juncture happens to be professional territory you occupy. 

In 1962, James Blue was in New York writing for Film Comment magazine. In 1965, Sheldon Renan was in New York writing for Jonas Mekas’ Film Culture magazine. More than a decade apart in age, they didn’t know each other. Blue graduated from Jefferson High School, Renan from Cleveland High School, both on the east side of Portland, the area identified by Robert Johnston as the stronghold of Progressive Era Portland’s unusually confident, self empowered middle class. Blue’s father was a housing inspector; Renan’s a turkey farmer.

In 1970, Sheldon Renan and James Blue were tapped to serve on the NEA’s first media funding panel. By this time, Blue was living in Houston, Renan in San Francisco. While on the panel, Renan proposed, and Blue supported, a network of regional film centers: Pacific Film Archives in Berkeley, Northwest Film Center in Portland, Detroit Film Theater, and The Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, now named Gene Siskel Film Center. Back in Houston, James Blue would add a fifth, the Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP). All five still exist today.

When I asked you to explain to me why Austin was Texas’ indie film town, it was because I was trying to understand the Texas chapter of James Blue’s life. You explained that Austin made the decision to pursue that title. I talked to another Texan after I spoke with you, the San Antonio artist James Cobb, and he added that James Blue could not have found a more congenial environment in which to pursue the goal of regional filmmaking – that the Republic of Texas is always ready to invest in regional identity.

While James Blue was in Houston, he founded the KUHT public television program showcasing independent film called The Territory.  Maybe you saw it?

Maybe Wes Anderson, born and raised in Houston, saw it?

While Sheldon Renan and James Blue were advocating for regional film from Berkeley, Houston, and Washington DC,  the hometown which had produced them had welcomed back Will Vinton, a new graduate from Berkeley with a degree in architecture and an interest in stop motion animation. Vinton won an Oscar for his and Bob Gardiner’s first animated short, Closed Mondays, in 1975. His studio went on to train hundreds of Portland filmmakers, including, of course, Anderson’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox’s animation director, Mark Gustafson.

In broad strokes.

Will Vinton Studios founded, 1975.

Dark Horse Comics founded, 1986.

Matt Groening’s television debut, 1987.

Bill Plympton’s first Oscar nomination, 1988.

Gus Van Sant’s first Oscar nomination, 1998.

Will Vinton Studios becomes Laika, 2005.

Laika’s first “best animated feature” Oscar nomination, for Coraline, 2010.

Wes Anderson’s first “best animated feature” Oscar nomination, for The Fantastic Mr. Fox, 2010. (Vinton studio alumn Mark Gustafson, animation director.)

Carrie Brownstein & Fred Armisen make Portlandia, 2011.

As you see, Portland does pop. Portland is all over pop.

But, as part of a sensibility which is attuned to “the advancing present”, a phrase I love which was coined by typist-turned-museum-director Annabelle Crocker, Portland has little interest in understanding this about itself. The role it played producing the leaders who successfully advocated for federal support for regional film is not written down anywhere. I learned it entirely from conversations with participants and eyewitnesses.

At any rate, perhaps some of this history helps illuminate Wes Anderson

Or not. You tell me!

See you Friday,

AR

P. S. The James Blue/Wes Anderson overlap in the time-space continuum is as follows: James Blue arrived in Houston in 1970, one year after Wes Anderson was born. He left in 1977, leaving behind the Rice Media Center (now the Rice University film department), the Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP), and the television program, The Territory, which is produced by the Austin Museum of Art, the Southwest Alternate Media Project/Houston and KUHT-TV/Houston, and funded jointly by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Houston Endowment, the Texas Commission on the Arts, and the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance.

The Territory is the country’s longest running showcase of independent film on public television.  Founded by James Blue, it just celebrated its 37th anniversary.

Notes On Blue

On October 15, 2012, I wrote on Oregon Movies, A to Z about an Oregon filmmaker about whom I knew little. Who was James Blue? 

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Richard Herskowitz, the director of the Cinema Pacific film festival in Eugene, read that post, and a companion post about The Olive Trees Of Justice, commenting “James Blue is a revered figure by many, including me. I didn’t realize he grew up here and went to UO!”

On September 9, 2013, Richard Blue contacted me to let me know that he was interested in finding a home for his brother’s films in Oregon.  I told him I had a few ideas.

He had read the Oregon Movies, A to Z post as well.

On October 31, 2013,  the University of Oregon announced the James Blue Tribute, a six month retrospective. Richard Blue and Richard Herskowitz, working together, brought the films of James Blue to Eugene, along with guest speakers who knew and worked with the filmmaker.

On February 24, 2014 the University of Oregon announced the acquisition of the James Blue collection of films and papers.

On April 26, 2014, four Oregon documentarians, Brian Lindstrom, Michael Palmieri, Donal Mosher and Penny Allen, will discuss James Blue at the White Stag Building, 2:30 PM, at a free event titled Four On Blue.

After attending the James Blue Tribute screenings, and learning about him from his colleagues, family and friends, I know much more about this accomplished, forgotten artist from my home town. I will be sharing what I have learned on a new blog, Notes On James Blue.