Joseph to Buster Keaton’s Oregon-Shot Silent Film: August’s Pop Culture Hot List

The festival, album, book, and film you can’t miss this month

By Fiona McCann July 12, 2016 Published in the August 2016 issue of Portland Monthly

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Image: Drew Bandy

The Festival

If there’s one festival that typifies all that’s good, odd, barely functional, and utterly enjoyable about this town, it’s Pickathon (August 5–7), held on a rolling farm in Happy Valley. Banning plastic beer cups, giving out free water, composting waste, running lights on solar power—all that, and a killer music lineup that this year includes Jeff Tweedy, Yo La Tengo, Blossom, Chanti Darling, Myke Bogan, and Irish alt-country outfit I Draw Slow. On your bikes, Portlanders.

The Book

A slighted immigrant who alights in Oregon in 1850 finds himself atop a giant ladder for decades, before his sudden disappearance prompts a damp, daring romp through the Pacific Northwest. Froelich’s Ladder, a debut from Portlander Jamie Duclos-Yourdon (August 9, Forest Avenue Press) offers a fabulist take on this state’s established history.

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The Album

Three 20-something Portland siblings—big sis Natalie and twins Allison and Meegan—make sweet harmonies on their sophomore release, I’m Alone, No You’re Not (August 26, ATO Records), bringing energy and attitude to bear on their folk-pop sensibilities. Joseph—named for a grandfather born in that Eastern Oregon town—hit the national radar thanks to a June appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight show. Catch them on home turf at Pickathon (see above).

The Film

Buster Keaton’s The General, released in 1926 to lackluster reviews, now regularly makes the classics lists. (Orson Welles said it might be the greatest film ever made.) Much of it was shot in Cottage Grove, Oregon, including the most expensive silent movie scene ever: a train derailing and crashing into the river below. To celebrate The General’s 90th birthday, the Hollywood Theatre (also 90 this year) has commissioned a brand-new score from local composer Mark Orton, and plans to tour the film throughout the state with live musicians and a Foley artist.

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