Tag Archives: filmie

The Hollywood sign… in Portland?


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Had a chance yesterday to catch the new Affleck joint Argo, which gives new meaning to the word “suspenseful” (emphasis on the “full”) as it follows the Iran Hostage Crisis of 1979.  I was completely sucked into this one and I think the back of my neck is still tingling from the adrenaline.  In the film, there’s a constant barrage of period piece paraphernalia that keeps you successfully cemented in ’79 – and a particularly great shot of the dilapidated old Hollywood sign being refurbbed into the sexy, unwavering steel composed brickhouse we see in the Hollywood hills today.

No way to sugar coat it – the sign was straight up falling apart.  Rushing to it’s rescue were donations by the likes of Alice Cooper, Hugh Hefner and others who stepped in to make sure the landmark was successfully and correctly restored, resetting the clock for years to come.

photo by Benjamin Reed

Portland has it’s own iconic Hollywood sign:  the epic marquee of the Hollywood Theater!

Well, as epic as it may appear from a distance, ye olde marquee has seen better days and is badly in need of an update.  The theater publically has it’s doubts about how long the sign will do the job in it’s current state, as it’s leaking. Which is never good when you’re set to endure another long rain soaked Portland winter.  On top of that (literally), it’s getting a visual assault from a multi-story building going up in what had been forever an empty lot next door.  Our poor sign is under siege!

We need the Portland Hugh Hefner to light that cigar, loosen up that velvet robe and fetch that checkbook out of that inside pocket.  Or maybe a little makeup around the eyes Alice Cooper style as you punch in that credit card number?  Hey, you’re in the privacy of your own home…  whatever floats yer boat.  🙂

Ok, so maybe we’re not as eccentric as the doners in LA’s Hollywood, but we’re just as fearless when it comes to helping out.  The Hollywood has done quite a bit of the sign fundraising already and is close to getting this thing done, but just needs a little bump.

And why do they deserve our help?  Let’s ignore the deep rooted history, like that the theater is the source of the Hollywood district’s name for a second, and talk about the present.  “What have you done for me lately?” like JJ once said.  It may not be common knowledge but the Hollywood Theater is a true diamond in the rough and completely non profit!   The solid slate of independent and art house programming helps to fund filmmaker sponsorship and educational programs, among other endeavors.  This elevates them (in my book) from mere “cool theater” status to straight up Portland Institution.  Our Hollywood Theater is the real deal, and I can’t say enough good things about the team they have in place there.

C’mon, everyone has a favorite Hollywood theater memory.  Am I right?

Hecklevision nights are almost too numerous to even mention.  Maybe it’s one of the film fests that roll through year after year?

Rocky & I w/no idea what we’re stepping into @ Zompire!

I can only speak for myself, but I remember in 2008 when my friend & director Rocky Curby had a short accepted into the Zompire Film Festival…   ohhhh we got a lot more than we bargained for that day. What a complete & total riot!  I will absolutely never forget Zombie  Jesus and some of the other films on the docket – I’ll take those to the grave (and beyond).  Many of us frequent the Hollywood each summer, as they typically host the screenings for the 48 hour film festival year after year – yeah, that’s the weekend you see actors being chased by camera crews on every corner as you drive across town.  When it comes to Portland premiere screenings and helping to launch films, the Hollywood is second to none.  They know what it takes to elevate a screening into an event.  The Hollywood really came through for me as I put together last year’s Portland premiere of Revenge of the Electric Car for visiting director Chris Paine, and that screening helped fuel the film’s west coast momentum.  I wonder how many times Gus Van Sant has had films or events at the Hollywood?  Probably countless.  Heck, it’s at the point now where I’m going to screenings hosted by Gus for complete remixes of his films using cutting room floor footage done by other directors!  GVS & the Hollywood go together like PB &J.

The Hollywood Theater rocks.  And with the new seats, sound system and other grand steps forward the past few years, our future memories (and photos!) also deserve a sign worthy of the namesake.

Theater Executive Director Doug Whyte breaks it down nicely – check the vid over at the Kickstarter page (click this graphic to the left) and let’s do this.  The donations are tax deductible.  In return, you’ll get things like movie tickets + popcorn and your name + message on the new marquee you helped put in place.  Let’s pull together and knock out the next thing on the Hollywood’s fixit list, and restore a true landmark!


Update:  the sign has been fully funded!  Nice move Portland.

It’s Summer, take that Top Down


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And I’m not talking about a convertible here, although I’m a big fan of those little Italian jobs they call Spiders.  Nope, for this one, it’s time to throw a little attention over to the NW Film Center and a small problem.  Well, a “small” problem that’s become a big problem.

Top Down – know it?  It’s fantastic.

Safe to say most of us VFX’ers are film fanatics.  For the self-professed “filmies,” NW Film Center runs screenings each summer (once the weather rolls around to “guaranteed sun”) on the rooftop parking deck of the Hotel Deluxe, which in and of itself will make you feel like you stepped into a 1950’s Hollywood film set (and we all love it’s magnetic Driftwood bar).  But let’s not sugar coat this – we’re not exactly talking Hollywood glamour today.  Never mind our Hollywood district, this is Portland after all.  This is throw-a-blanket-down and rough-it-under-the-setting-sun type fun.

The programming of Top Down is 2nd to none and I’m not afraid to dish kudos to whoever is behind it.  I’ve caught everything from a Johnny Cash kidnapping joint to lost Jackie Chan kung fu flicks to b-movie horror films at Top Down.  Even the occasional cult 80’s films seem impeccably timed, in that “haven’t seen that one in forever, let’s go!” sort of way.  Doesn’t hurt that there’s always great food and beer on tap, and a band kicks the night off.  Tossing down your jacket and staking out your chairs and then heading up top to grab a beer, check the band, and just take in the view makes this something special.

Top Down has been slowly but surely gaining momentum all these years and now it’s time to get serious.  We know it, they know it, everyone knows it.  Top Down needs a new screen.

With your help, they’ll make the jump to a 20′ screen (up from the old 12 footer).

Toss a little something their way, won’t you?  They like the kind that folds, but’ll take the kind that jingles.  And you were going to hit it this summer anyway, right?  Why not pay it forward?  (Ok, cheesy movie reference but c’mon, after all, it did feature the St John’s bridge and at least Haley Osment has kept it mostly together, the one mugshot aside)

In the name of all that doesn’t suck, support the Top Down cause over on Kickstarter.