Think Oregon

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Knights of the Portland Chess Club

The Portland Chess Club in 1914, above the Circle Theater, with spitoons. Twenty-five years ago, lawyer and chess expert, Michael Morris, tried to mediate the eviction of the Portland Chess Club (PCC) for keeping late hours at its headquarters in Southeast Portland. He lost the case, but since that time has been instrumental in housing and maintaining a cultural institution which dates back to 1861 when another legal mind, federal judge Matthew Deady, was the first president of the PCC. Deady was interested in bringing Eastern culture to the Wild West and is also credited with being the founder the Multnomah County Library. In 1913, another lawyer, G.T. Woodlaw, secured PCC’s first “permanent” quarters above the Circle Theater on SW 4th next to the Dekum Building. After several decades, the stability provided by Colonel Woodlaw eventually spawned a champion who was sent out to conquer the world. The link between…

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Dogs for the Deaf

Oregon nonprofit Dogs for the Deaf rescues dogs and betters the lives of the hearing impaired.

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Best Band

Winner: Pink Martini Pink Martini may be Oregon’s own homegrown band but its music, lyrics and fans are global. Thomas Lauderdale, a classically trained pianist, founded the group in 1994. Shortly thereafter, he teamed up with Harvard classmate and vocalist, China Forbes, to write songs. It was a fortuitous pairing as their first song, “Sympathique,” became an overnight sensation in France, where it was nominated for song of the year. Since then, the ten- to twelve-member petite orchestra has recorded six studio albums in thirteen languages on its own label, Heinz Records (named for Lauderdale’s dog). Its worldwide sales have topped two million. “A Retrospective,” released in 2011, is a mélange of old favorites and unreleased tracks. The band recently completed a tour of Japan with singer Saori Yuki and is currently performing throughout the United States and Europe, including at Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops. In April…

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Beyond the Oregon Trail

Sue Alperin has put together a new, alternative history curriculum that sheds light on Oregon’s checkered racial past.

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An Original Take on Holiday Music: Acoustic Guitar Summit

The Acoustic Guitar Summit is comprised of Mark Hanson, Terry Robb and Doug Smith, three virtuosic players who just released their new album “O Christmas Three” for the holidays. They’ll be playing a number of concerts around Oregon over the next few weeks in support of the record, including appearances in Portland, Wilsonville and The Dalles. Get more specifics on Acoustic Guitar Summit shows below and on the group’s website.

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Harvest Hands: Part III

My crush on winemaking has started to fade. I am tired, my body hurts in places it shouldn’t and I’m spending more on physical therapy than I’m earning. Now that all of the fruit has come in, much of what is left to do at the winery is, shall I say, a bit tedious. But, just when I was thinking about breaking up with winemaking, I dug out my first tank and kinda fell in love with winemaking again.

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Harvest Hands: Part I

Three years ago I visited Oregon from Kansas City and worked for a few days doing harvest activities at Lange Estate Winery with winemaker (and patient and gracious friend) Jesse Lange. I loved it. I loved the work, and most importantly—I loved Oregon. So immediate was my connection with this state that I moved here. My intention was to work a harvest, trying my hand at winemaking to see if that was my true calling. During my first year in Oregon the timing wasn’t right; the second year, fear of failing got in my way. This year I decided: no excuses. It’s now or never, so I jumped in.

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Top 5: Casting director Lana Veenker

Lana Veenker’s Top 5 Things She Looks for in an Auditioning Actor Lana Veenker trod upon a more global stage before she returned home to Oregon as a casting director. She worked as an actress and in casting in France, England, India, and Venezuela. In 1999, she founded Cast Iron Studios, a casting and talent development agency in Portland. Notably, her company currently casts for TNT’s “Leverage” and NBC’s “Grimm,” among other shows and films. She took time from her busy schedule to chat with 1859 and tell us what a good audition looks and sounds like. 1 – LISTENING AND CONNECTING Are you in the moment, really listening and interacting with the other character(s), or do you have a glazed look in your eyes, like you’re trying to remember your next line? 2 – SOLID TRAINING You might get lucky and give a good audition in the casting room,…