Does that name sound familiar? The Overlook Hotel is the fictitious Colorado hotel that served as the staging ground for Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining—the horror movie based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name that starred Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance, a struggling writer and recovering alcoholic who is driven insane by the spectral residents of the Overlook Hotel.
Although the vast majority of The Shining was shot on an enormous sound stage in England, the exterior of the Timberline Lodge was used by Kubrick in establishing shots in the film. The Onion’s A.V. Club made a video explaining just how the Lodge was used:
Alongside movies, programming for the Overlook Film Festival will include a new real-world immersive game from gaming company Bottleneck Immersive and a live performance of the serialized radio play “Tales From Beyond the Pale” from horror director Larry Fessenden. Lodging for the festival will be available at the Timberline and in surrounding hotels.
The advisory board of the Overlook Film Festival include actor Elijah Wood (The Lord of the Rings trilogy), director Joe Dante (Gremlins) and Sundance Film Festival programming director Trevor Groth among many other festival and film veterans. Overlook is mostly being programmed by Landon Zakheim and Michael Lerman, who are serving as co-directors of the festival.
The Overlook Film Festival looks as fun as it is sure to be spooky. Until next April, you’ll have to keep yourself satiated by re-watching The Shining, which is still scary as hell.
Eric Zimmerman, a candidate for the Multnomah County Commission, collected two checks this month from contributors who faced high-profile sexual abuse allegations.
The first check, for $150, came last week from Terry Bean, the Portland real estate investor and gay rights pioneer whom a Lane County grand jury indicted in 2014 on charges of sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy a year earlier. In 2015, prosecutors dismissed the case when the alleged victim refused to testify.
Bean gave Zimmerman an additional $500 in August.
The second check, for $500, came in early October from Bob Packwood, the former U.S. senator from Oregon who was drummed out of office in 1995 after a score of women came forward with accounts of sex abuse and harassment by Packwood.
Candidates for office typically avoid accepting donations from contributors accused of high-profile misdeeds. (Then again, this is an unusual year, when the Republican nominee for president boasts of his own history of sexual assault.)
Earlier this month, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, who’s running for re-election, returned $1,300 to Bean after WW reported on the contributions. (Rosenblum is married to Richard Meeker, the co-owner of WW‘s parent company.)
Jake Weigler, a spokesman for Zimmerman, says Bean’s support of his candidate isn’t unusual. “Terry Bean has a long history of supporting openly gay candidates,” he says, adding that Zimmerman got to know the Packwood family through their shared interest in marriage equality. “They were happy to support his campaign.”
Harry Merlo, the former long-timer chief executive officer of Louisiana-Pacific Corp., died Oct. 24. He was 91.
From 1973 to 1995, when Merlo led Louisiana-Pacific, the publicly-traded company was based in Portland. That was a different era, when the city had more Fortune 500 companies headquartered here and when timber was still king in Oregon.
Louisiana Pacific’s origin is a fascinating part of Oregon history. In the early 1970s, federal regulators decided that Georgia-Pacific, a timber company also headquartered in Portland, controlled too much timber and had to be broken up.
At the time, Georgia-Pacific was run by Robert Pamplin, Sr., the father of the man who now owns The Portland Tribune, Community Newspapers and Ross Island Sand & Gravel, among other interests.
From the time Georgia-Pacific spun off Louisiana-Pacific in 1972, Merlo ran the company in a swashbuckling fashion that stood out in Portland’s staid corporate culture. He enjoyed the use of a 107-foot company yacht, a private jet and company-owned West Hills estate complete with a chef and helipad. Merlo favored brightly-colored sports jackets, wore a Clark Gable mustache, and spent his leisure hours with a series of beautiful women.
The lawsuits would cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars.
Louisiana-Pacific moved its headquarters to Nashville in 2004, following the lead of its former parent company, Georgia-Pacific, which moved to Atlanta in 1982.
After leaving Louisiana Pacific, Merlo focused on a winery, Lago de Merlo, he owned in Sonoma County, Calif., and a 12,000-acre ranch he owned near La Grande.
He also played a major role in Portland’s growth as a soccer city. He’d owned the Portland Timbers from 1979 to 1982 and kept former Timbers player Clive Charles in Portland. Charles built the University of Portland’s women’s soccer program into a national power and the stadium where they play—and regularly lead the nation’s Division 1 programs in attendance—is named Merlo field.
Merlo’s death last week attracted surprisingly little attention, perhaps because he outlived many of the reporters and editors who knew of the place he’d held in this city.
One person who did mark Merlo’s passing was the radio talk show host Lars Larson, who was with Merlo the day Merlo died.
“Harry must have told me a hundred times of his disgust at timber deals made by those who merely flew over a forest in a helicopter. Harry knew you only got to know a forest when you walked it, and cut it, and smelled the fir or the redwood with your own nose,” Larson wrote in a remembrance of his long-time friend. “He lived and breathed woodpiles to the last day of his life.”
39 years ago this Sunday, a low-budget, near-star-less, patently offensive “drive-in movie” began filming in Eugene, Oregon. You’ve probably seen it. It’s called Animal House.
Now enshrined as one of the great American comedies, Animal House would essentially launch the state’s film industry and galvanize a local music scene that inadvertently inspired The Blues Brothers by getting John Belushi onstage.
This Sunday, October 30, the Oregon Film Museum will host an anniversary toga party at the Exchange Ballroom featuring Otis Day himself—who played the house party in Animal House—and the Kingsmen, whose “Louie Louie”was recently hailed in the New Yorker as perhaps the “dirtiest song of the sixties.”.
The party will take place a recreation of the original U of O frathouse set—using pieces of the original house where Otis Day first played.
WW spoke with DeWayne “Otis Day” Jessie, and location scout/casting director and Animal House of Blues documentarian Katherine Wilson. Here’s what the two had to say when asked to share their memories of the legendary production.
Interviews have been edited for length and clarity. All images used with permission from Katherine Wilson.
WW: Was the school always proud of its connections with the film?
Katherine Wilson: Back then, the University of Oregon had a contract with Universal that said the film was not to divulge where it was shot. Every college had turned them down because the script was so disgusting, but, at U of O, President [William] Boyd said that he’d made a mistake passing on a movie called The Graduate. He’d read that script, turned the movie down, and, then when he saw the movie, he realized he didn’t know how to read scripts. So, that’s how that happened. He never read Animal House.
Now, of course, a lot of people are going to the U of O because of Animal House. It actually just became acceptable in the last five years: What happened was kids would get together at the games. And, when there was a touchdown, the kids would start singing “It Makes Me Wanna Shout,” and then other guys going to the games would start singing with them. Before you know it, there was this wave of all these people singing “Shout” from Animal House. So, the U of O decided they needed to get on that bus, and they contacted Otis.
He has been a sort of mascot for the Oregon Duck games. He played in February at the halftime for the Oregon men’s basketball tournament before 34,000 people. He did the Civil War game the year before. He’s played at Dexter Lake Club numerous times – packed houses for $100 a ticket. He’s been really involved up here.
WW: Did it have much impact on the local film industry?
Wilson: Before Animal House, when a film like Rooster Cogburn—or, to a certain degree, even One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest—came to Oregon, they brought their own crew with them. In the meantime, indigenous filmmakers were busy crafting their skills and would maybe get some work but never in key positions. Animal House was so low budget that they couldn’t afford to bring anybody up from L. A. so they hired me as location scout, location casting director, extra coordinator, stunt girl…
So many of us got jobs that it kind of broke the mold open, and, the next thing I know, the word got out. ‘Well, God, this crew up in Oregon is so phenomenal – they’re really talented and they’re hip and they’re cool and they’re good at what they do. And, so, more and more films would come here, and they would let Oregon gaffers and grips and people like me be key department heads. It just got to the point that they were only bringing up skeleton crews. They even do post-production in Oregon now. It’s a completely different world.
WW: How were the musicians cast? Was Otis Day …
Wilson: [As DeWayne Jessie], he was a contract player for Universal.
DeWayne “Otis Day” Jessie : I was an actor first. I’ve been an actor all my life, and that’s how come I got the job as Otis Day. You know, I was brought up in a house full of music. My brother was a big influence on my life. He was a musician and sung with The Platters. I was raised in a house of music, I love to sing, but I wanted to go into show business in another kind of way. That’s why I wanted to become an actor and a singer then now they got it twisted.
WW: And, the other musicians? Did Robert Cray live in Eugene?
Wilson: Robert Cray moved to Eugene because of the rumors going on up the I-5 corridor —the “Chitlin’ Circuit” —about Eugene being such a great blues town. Part of it was because of the record stores, and I owned one that had a shrine to Rahsaan Roland Kirk in the lobby.
I was mentoring and tutoring Black Panthers at the University of Oregon at the time. They were clueless about the music, but I got into the blues on an Indian Reservation before I went to the U of O. When I was 18, I ran away with Buddy Guy. I was really into the blues. Now, when we went to cast Otis Day and the Knights … the truth was there were very very few black people in Eugene, Oregon, at the time.
Day: I’ll tell you something, when I did the film, I got up that morning when we were shooting at …
Wilson: … the Dexter Lake Club out in the redneck neighborhood.
Day: I didn’t know the history of the club. I didn’t know anything until I get up that morning to go to work and see all these sheriffs or something on top of my trailer. So, I ask what’s happening, and they told me they had gotten death threats – based on the color of my skin. And, I didn’t know all that was happening until right then.
Wilson: We had 90 black people bused in from Portland to the Dexter Lake Club, and there were pickup trucks circling the club with rifles in the back. Then, when we broke for lunch … you know, in those days, above-the-liners got catering and the extras all got brown sack lunches. Well, you can imagine what that looked like—having the extras in one line and the whites in the other. It was crazy and I told the [unit production manager] he was going to lose all these people. Black women had come up to me and said “we’re walking, we’re out of here—this is dangerous.”
Day: That was a sign of the times, you know?
Wilson: They were maybe curious, you know, but the death threats tell me it wasn’t just curiosity.
Day: And, you know what, Dexter Lake was supposed to be where they’d hang black people and throw the bodies in the lake. So, you know, because of that, I think maybe that’s why my scenes had such a profound effect. What I was doing came from inside-out and maybe the struggle and all that was captured in my performance. I think that’s what made it so captivating to people.
Wilson: The shoot was so magical. You guys were so incredible. It was like a spiritual experience. You were doing “Shama Lama”, all these people were dancing, and I remember thinking “this is heaven.” I wanted to be a filmmaker for the rest of my life because of that scene.
WW: What was the club like normally?
Wilson: Back then in 1977, it was, you know, logging territory. So loggers, mostly. But there was a contingency of Merry Pranksters out there too. The night of Otis’ shoot, Dan Aykroyd showed up to drive Belushi back home in a big green station wagon, Ken Kesey showed up with a producer. Some of the gang on the bus showed up in solidarity. You know, word got around really fast about what was going on.
Day: And I had heard all the energy that was generated for the film being shot there, and that brought a whole other kind of love to Eugene.
Wilson: Otis, I did not even know … he became those words and that music – incredible talent. I was so proud of Otis and The Knights because they did bond and become a group. Just like that, we had the finest blues people in the whole Northwest in that room.
Day: Everybody on that shoot was impeccable, you know what I mean? It was so incredible. There was something totally magical—no egos or star tripping.
Wilson: We were all nobodies pretty much, except for Donald Sutherland, and we bonded because of our creativity. Landis let us all be creative, and that screenplay was like the blueprint. It was thrown out, pretty much. Everybody improvised on set …
I worked on 50 movies in the Northwest, fifty major motion pictures – you know, not blogs—and have never experienced anything like Animal House. It was the one where we became a family. We all bonded, we all helped each other, and there was some kind of magic fairy dust on that whole shoot because every time I turned around to ask “where am I gonna find a seven foot tall black man?” They couldn’t find one in LA!
Day: Now who was …
Wilson: Jebidiah. He was the seven-foot-tall hot dog salesman on campus who just happened to have played Othello on Off-Broadway.
Day: That film was different. It was just so different, man. Y’know, we meet up every two or three years. Karen Allen, Stephen Furst, Mark Metcalf, Peter Riegert, Martha Smith—we meet up and we talk about it. The camaraderie that we have is something else, and we did not know it was going to be like this. We did not know that we were going to have the effect that we had. At all. Nobody had any kind of idea. I’m telling you, man. It’s crazy
WW: Did the film have much impact on Eugene as a music town?
Wilson: The other way around. Eugene as a music town had an impact on Animal House. And, Eugene as a town that was home to Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters. The writer of Animal House was just smitten by Kesey and the book the Electric Kool-Acid Test. His community wanted to be real pranksters.
WW: What if they’d filmed at another college?
Wilson: Well, the Blues Brothers wouldn’t have happened. I was there, I pushed Belushi on stage to sing, and what happened was this:
October 31, 1977, we did the toga party scene. The Knights were jamming while the the cameras were being set up for the different takes, and there was a bond that happened with Belushi and Otis and Robert Cray and Robert Bailey and Ron Steen and Sonny King.
[Director John] Landis would drive us all into the grave if he could. He was just a perfectionist, and he would go ‘do it again, do it again, do it again’ until it was perfect. There were so many setups—53 setups! It went on forever, and, finally Robert Cray said, “We started at 8 this morning, and now it’s time for me to go to work. I have another job, and I’m not going to blow it for this movie.”
So, Belushi followed us over to the Eugene Hotel for Robert Cray and Curtis Salgado, DK Stewart, Dave Olson, Richard Cousins … [Salgado’s band] The Nighthawks and the Robert Cray Band did a splinter group called the Cray-Hawks.
They sang this Howlin’ Wolf song called “Who’s Been Talkin”, and … Belushi went nuts. It’s the most incredible song. Curtis Salgado plays the harmonica like I’ve never heard him play. Robert Cray plays the guitar like I’ve never heard him play. That night, it was like all the stars lined up and went bam! The next thing I know, Belushi’s asking people to introduce him to Curtis Salgado.
Well, here’s the thing. Belushi was a mimic. I know that Dan Aykroyd was very into the blues before Belushi came to Eugene. They did a Killer Bees skit [for Saturday Night Live] singing a blues song, but Belushi couldn’t get into it. It was only when he saw a white guy singing the blues. You gotta remember, for crying out loud, the Paul Butterfield blues band was notorious for having black and white musicians. And, here in Eugene was a black guy and a white guy doing the blues together, and Belushi saw these guys with the Ray-Bans, the fedoras, the old blues guy suits, the briefcase, the cop car—DK Stewart had a souped-up cop car that Belushi rode on the way to Curtis’ house.
By the time the Blues Brothers came out, Robert Cray and Curtis had both moved to Portland and were playing at the White Eagle … nobody knew, nobody knew … Y’know, you go through life, you do stuff, but, like Otis said, it was a B-movie for drive-ins. We didn’t know it was going to last. We didn’t know it would be like this.
GO: Animal House Halloween Party. Otis Day & The Kingsmen, Curtis Salgado & D.K. Stewart, The Cry, The Mean Reds, The Hauer Things. Sunday, October 30th. Exchange Ballroom. 6 PM. $39/$125/$250 Tickets here.
Animal House Of Blues premieres at the Eugene International Film Festival on November 17th.
Never before has Willamette Week’s Holiday Marketplace been this fun, nor has our Funniest 5 Showcase been this festive! Join us for one big entertaining evening of WW-curated shopping from some of Portland’s best artisan vendors, and stay for a night of laughs at our Funniest 5 Showcase.
Complete your holiday gift-giving by snagging something for everyone on your list. If the shopping tires you, break for a tasty dinner with our 2016 WW Co-Cart of the Year Chicken and Guns. Then settle into your seat for a showcase of “The Funniest 5,” as voted on by Portland comedy insiders with results published in Willamette Week on November 23. Plus, beer by Lagunitas Brewing and custom cocktails by New Deal Distillery are available for purchase.
2016 VENDORS: Alshiref Design and Print Annie’s Pies Bandit Kettle Corn Brewed Oregon Bridge Nine Candles Bud Rub Carter + Rose Cat Adoption Team Catman Cellars Eastside Distilling Eso Etso Graflectics Happy Parties Marshall’s Haute Sauce New Deal Distillery Olympia Provisions One Fork Farm PDX Bloem Portland Bitters Project Portland Gear River City Bicycles Rx Letterpress Schmidt’s Deodorant Tabor Tavern The Beebe Company Thomas + Sons Distilling Upper Metal Class
Go: Monday, November 28, Alberta Abbey (126 NE Alberta), all ages. Marketplace 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Comedy 8 p.m. Get advance tickets to the showcase HERE.
The flag burning appears related to a Don’t Shoot Portland protest at Portland State University. Organizer Gregory McKelvey said that demonstration is designed to call attention to the unequal treatment of armed white militants and unarmed minority protesters.
“We have witnessed this disparity via the Bundy trial in comparison to the treatment of peaceful protestors at the North Dakota Access Pipeline,” McKelvey wrote. “What if we would have staged an armed occupation of City Hall? We came to City Hall to testify and we were beaten for it.”
Protesters are also rallying for a write-in campaign for Don’t Shoot Portland organizer Teressa Raiford for Multnomah County Sheriff.
Take a cue from one of the many multigenerational Asian families quietly slurping enormous bowls of bun bo hue topped with beef shank and cubed pork blood: This pho joint on Sandy Boulevard might look like a former burger stand from the outside, but it’s the real deal. Decor within consists solely of a few hanging bundles of plastic fruit and a fish tank, but the light, almost sparkling broths loaded with noodles and proteins as diverse as pizzle (penis) and sliced tripe, plus a wealth of add-ons including fresh culantro, provide all the atmosphere you’ll need.
Pho Oregon makes some of the biggest and baddest pho in Portland, with some of the most terrifically fatty broth. The restaurant, which looks like a Mexican adobe turned into a Motel 6, with inexplicable palm trees on either side, serves its specialty, dac biet—a noodle bowl heaped with round steak, flank, fatty brisket, tendon, tripe and beef meatballs and a Kinfolk-approved plate overflowing with sprigs of herb, sprout, and limes—all for $9.99.
You don’t need a menu at Teo Bun Bo Hue. The friendly server at this tastefully appointed Vietnamese soup shop will ask you only one question: chicken or beef? There is no wrong answer. Beef (both bowls are $10.50) means bun bo Hue, and is a whirlwind of spicy, sour, sweet and especially floral. But the chicken pho is even better, a pure and rich stock stuffed with noodles and bone-in chicken, like something your grandmother would inject you with as cure for the flu.
The cult-favorite big gun of Tokyo ramen opened its first American outpost in Portland just days before this guide was published. It is a beautiful restaurant—with an extensive sake list and ambitious cocktails, sushi rolls, composed spoon “bites” and its own documentary crew filming Japan’s Jiro of noodles, Hiroto Nakamura. Already the shiitake broth is ridiculously deep, the shoyu intense, and the fish-bone-broth shio so pure in its flavor and unlike other broth in town it’s like being introduced to a new cuisine.
Japan-based Kizuki distills soy, miso and fish deeply in its broths. The shoyu ramen ($8), thick with greens and a flavorful slab of pork, is a great introduction to the ramen portion of the menu. From the spinach goma-ae ($4), a small mountain of steamed spinach slathered with a subtle sesame dressing will make you feel good about healthy eating and great about spending time in the wilds of unincorporated Washington County.
For years, you could never get a bowl of Ha VL’s amazing Vietnamese soups after noon. But since summer 2015, everything has changed for the better. Now, every day but Sunday at Ha VL’s rose-walled sister soup shop Rose VL—a sparse, brightly lit space with 1980s cityscape paintings on the walls—$9.50 will get you a choice between two different bowls of plush heaven in liquid form. Nothing is oversweetened, overspiced or oversalted here, only deep—whether subtle tom yum that puts the usual amped-up galangal bomb to shame, or a light, marrow-rich chicken noodle with bamboo shoots.
Portland Mayor-elect Ted Wheeler’s campaign promise to restrict no-cause evictions of tenants faces roadblocks, including legal opinions issued this month by attorneys for the Oregon Legislature.
But the city could legally pass a law to bill landlords for tenants’ moving costs stemming from evictions without cause on month-to-month leases.
That legal opinion was issued by the Legislative Counsel to House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) in July, first reported in Murmurs on Wednesday. (Here’s the full opinion.)
In their budget proposal for next year, the Portland Housing Bureau has proposed setting up a registry for all landlords in the city as a precursor to mandatory inspections of properties.
“It’s our duty to be more assertive,” says bureau director Kurt Creager, noting the housing “needs to be decent safe and sanitary.”
The registry could also lay the groundwork for changes related to protecting tenants. At this point, no one tracks “no cause” evictions, which don’t necessarily go through the court.
Wheeler says he’s contemplating moving forward with parts of his agenda.
“There are likely parts of my vision that we can implement now without legislative changes, and that’s part of what we are evaluating during our transition,” Wheeler says, noting he’s pushing for the Legislature to act in 2017 so he can “implement my full vision for ‘just cause.'”
John DiLorenzo, a lawyer representing large landlords, says a relocation fee could be challenged in court—and suggests he would do so.
DiLorenzo argues a relocation fees could potentially function as a ban on no cause evictions, which landlords have a right to under the law.
“At that point, does the hypothetical relocation fee become tantamount to a ban?” he says. “This is an issue that the [Legislative Counsel] opinion does not discuss and one which would certainly be raised in litigation over such a hypothetical ordinance.”