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Help Preserve Oregon Arts, Culture, and Humanities Funding

***ACTION ALERT from The Regional Arts & Culture Council ***

Help Preserve Oregon Arts, Culture, and Humanities Funding

If you read the newspaper and listen to broadcast media, you know that Oregon is facing one of the most significant budget shortfalls in its history. The State issued its revenue forecast on Friday. Revenue projections are now an additional $55 million over the previously announced shortfall of $800 million in the State’s General Fund. Lottery revenues are also down.

Legislators issued a “cut list” last week. It contains proposed reductions and fund sweeps for all agencies to re-balance the 2007- 09 budget, assuming an $800 million hole. This represents a serious threat to state funding for culture.

In this proposal are the following reductions in current year spending:

$211,384 cut to the Oregon Arts Commission
$350,000 cut to the Oregon Historical Society
$ 64,085 cut in lottery funds to the Office of Film and Television

Finally, and most sobering: the “funds sweep” list of Other Funds includes the recapture of $1.8 million from the permanent fund of the Oregon Cultural Trust. The $1.8 million includes $1.3 million in cultural license plate revenue generated since 2003 – plus interest.

The Cultural Trust was authorized by the Legislature in 1999 – ten years ago – to grow and stabilize funding for culture – in good times and in bad. To skim the Trust fund and re-allocate cultural license plate fees for the General Fund is a violation of trust with the buyers of the plates who assumed they were supporting Oregon culture with their purchases. To raid the fund to pay for other state services simply violates the very purpose of the Trust and the intent of the Trust’s thousands of donors: to protect and invest in Oregon’s cultural resources.

This situation is very serious. Not only are legislators dealing with a large revenue shortfall and the potential of an additional $55 million in cuts, there are efforts underway to hold k-12 school funding from further reductions.

Take Action Now.

Use the Cultural Advocacy Coalition’s website to send a message directly to your legislators. You can use one of the messages on the website – or write your own message to convey the importance of cultural funding in your city, town or county and why the Oregon Cultural Trust needs to be remain intact and taken off the fund sweep

Work to re-balance the state budget is proceeding very quickly and may be completed by this weekend. Weigh in with your opinion. Click here to send a message to your legislators NOW. It will only take two minutes of your time!

Thank you.

Eloise Damrosch, Executive Director
Regional Arts & Culture Council
108 NW 9th, Suite 300, Portland, OR 97209

White Christmas

In a highly unusual event for Portland, it appears that most of us are going to have a white Christmas this year. There’s still a good amount of snow on the ground, and there may be more tomorrow.
Luckily, the Portland Office of Transportation and the Oregon Department of Transportation have returned most major roads and highways to safe conditions, and are now beginning to plow sidestreets.
I myself was faced with the prospect of picking up my sister at the airport around midnight last night. Although I was initially concerned about the road conditions, I found Division to be quite passable and I-205 was down to bare pavement.

How are things around where you live and work, and how is the weather affecting you?

P.S. – Happy holidays!

The Arrival of the Tree

This Friday, November 14th, the enormous tree (donated by Stimson Lumber) will arrive at Pioneer Courthouse Square. The tree will follow a parade route, complete with Santa Claus, seasonal music, and local dignitaries. The tree will be lit on the 28th.

Wordstock – Turn on, Tune in and Read

Portland is one of the most literate cities in the country and so when we throw a book festival, it’s a big deal.  Every year I make sure to make my way down to the sea of literature that is Wordstock. This Book-A-Palooza is a cornucopia of books, authors, readings, workshops and signings. The festival runs Thursday through Sunday with the main focus being The Book Fair at the Convention Center Saturday and Sunday 9am – 6pm.

The list of authors participating is completely overwhelming so here are the ones that caught my eye:

John Hodgman– You might recognize John Hodgman from The Daily Show on Comedy Central, but if not you’ve seen him play “PC” on many of the recent Mac commercials on TV. Despite the fact that people often say I look like Hodgman (I don’t damn it), he’s my top pick for Wordstock. Hogeman is as smart as he is funny, and it would be a mistake to miss him.

Heather Vogel Frederick – A true luminary in the youth lit category, Heather Frederick has penned a wide range of award winning books including: The Mother-Daughter Book Club, Much Ado About Anne, The Voyage of Patience Goodspeed and Spy Mice: For Your Paws Only. If you’ve got kids, make sure you don’t miss Heather Frederick.

Monica Drake – Put simply, Monica Drake is fucking amazing. Her book Clown Girl is inventive, original and extremely entertaining.  Everyone knows that Chuck Palahniuk comes from Portland, and someday soon they’ll know Monica Drake. Catch her now so you can say “I knew her when…”

Jamie S. Rich and Joelle Jones – like peanut butter and jelly these two prominent Portland comic book creators are as complimentary to each other as you can get. Jamie Rich’s latest Have You Seen The Horizon Lately is one of the best undiscovered books of the year and Joelle Jones’s doodles are better than 75% of all the artists out there. Joelle is also a hot rising star with a new book out with DC.

In addition to the festival, Saturday night is the Text Ball at the Left Bank Project. I’m a huge fan of this venue which continues to develop as one of THE places in Portland to throw a bash!

The Text Ball is an opportunity for Portland’s rich literary arts scene to celebrate itself while supporting one of its most beloved organizations, the Independent Publishing Resource Center. Attendees are invited to come “dressed as text” and compete for prizes for the most grammatically-correct costumes. The theme this year is FIGURES OF SPEECH.

The Text Ball takes place Saturday from 6-11 at Left Bank Project 240 N Broadway.

The web site for  Wordstock sucks (Widen & Kennedy did a crappy ass job on it) but the physical booklet with the schedule is actually usable. So for the complete guide your best bet is to drop by Powells and snag a copy or pick one up at the show itself.

Robotics Competition at OMSI Saturday Oct. 25th

This Saturday, October 5th, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm in the OMSI main auditorium there will be a FIRST Robotics Competition scrimmage. 15 teams from area high schools will be competing with 120 pound robots in a competition that involves racing, herding a swiss-style exercise ball around a track, and throwing the ball over a 6′ bar. FIRST Lego League teams from local middle schools will also be there demonstrating their robots. Team members from both levels will be happy to tell you more about the competition, the robots, and the FIRST programs.

David Perry, lead educator for the OMSI Technology Lab, said “This showcase by FIRST gives visitors a chance to get an up-close look at real world robotics and what the possibilities and limitations are in a really fun and dynamic way.”

The competition should be a lot of fun to watch. Admission to this event is free.

(Full disclosure: I’m a member team #1432, which is participating)

Lost Dog… Door?

Someone with a lost dog wanted a big sign. And apparently had a door lying around.
I saw this at the corner of 52nd and Division and found it rather humorous. It’s a lost dog sign painted on a complete door, with knob and frame.

A lost dog sign on a door

A lost dog sign on a door

Memories from the 90s

guest blogging from SF
I just arrived here for a short conference at my old school- Reed- and thought I’d write my 90s-to-00s observations.

– There’s nothing quite like seeing a new public system transit at work- that aerial tram (does anyone call it a gondolier?) is intense!
– Driving in Portland seems more of an inside game than I remember, with signs leaping up at you at the last moment and only printed one direction.
– Cold Stone Creamery on Hawthorne Street! That’s like the Gap on Haight street. Wow.
– I know it’s cliche, I know I expected it, but I still couldn’t stop myself from drooling at the houses my friends have managed to buy and live in on their salaries. me: shoebox, them: adorable bungalows.
– Lots of neat bars and restaurants that I wish, wish, wish were around when I lived here, not that a college kid had any cash to spend on things, but I would have found a way. I have a special place for old-school Bistro Montage which a friend said is all played out.

Having said that, some nice landmarks that are still there-
Mortuary place on Hawthorne, just a landmark to me, I didn’t realize it until I drove past
Tuan Thao (sp?), which we loved to get spicy thai noodles
The Baghdad, such a brilliant beer & movie combo
The Space Room, just reminds me of underage drinking fun

It’s not the same when it’s not raining, and I’m not on a bike, and I’m not dreading homework.

Cans Film Festival for Oregon Food Bank – Today!

I’d forgotten about this annual event until a co-worker mentioned to me that he was taking his whole family to see a movie and eat popcorn for the meager price of 3 canned goods each.

So DVR the season premiere of The Office, Survivor or whatever your TV vice is (it’s better when you can skip the commercials anyhow) and head to any participating Regal Cinemas to support the food bank.

As our economy continues to plunge into the sh*&ter we’re all going to have to help each other out even more whenever we can. Thanks for lending a hand.

Damaged Goods – (un)Romantic Comedy DVD Release Party Sunday @ 5pm

Damaged Goods

Damaged Goods

This Sunday (9/21) at 5pm, David Walker (former film critic of the WWeek and editor of Bad Azz Mofo) is throwing a DVD Release party for his ‘tribute’ to messed up, complicated and completely insane relationships: Damaged Goods.

Shot in and around Portland and featuring music by The Gracious Living of Adam Mackintosh, Barry Hampton, King Black Acid, Baggage-Man, and Drunk At Abi’s, Damaged Goods has been described as Clerks meets Carnal Knowledge

In addition to screening the film, the DVD will be on sale for a discounted price. Check out the Damaged Goods Trailer.

Here’s all the info on the party:

5 pm Sunday, Sept. 21 @ the Clinton Street Theater, 2522 SE Clinton St.; Portland, OR
$5 at the door (21 and over only)

Bad Religion Across the Ages

A few notes from last night’s fantastic Bad Religion show – I can’t decide which entertains me more…

  • a completely packed house at the Roseland for a punk band whose balding lead singer takes the stage in a salmon colored polo shirt
  • the fact that the crowd sang along enthusiastically for both the classics and the new songs
  • or the text message I saw the girl standing next to me send before the band took the stage

    “Seriously, a mom in front of me is arguing with her 14-year-old kids about how close they can get to the stage…. Yeah All Ages Shows!”

Totally Portland.

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