by JEFF SPRY Cascade A&E Feature Writer
Born on the Fourth of July brings with it a certain patriotic promise of future greatness in bold hues and harmonies. For ex-pro athlete and artist Todd Marinovich, that primrose path has been punctuated by the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.
Now baptized in the Cascade crescendos of Central Oregon’s high desert, the Rose Bowl winning former National Football League (NFL) quarterback, ultimately turned mesmerizing multimedia artist, Marinovich finds solace and salvation in the region’s natural beauty, fusing those images with themes of mortality, hero worship and transcendence.
Recently resurrected and freshly fortified with a wife, Alix, and two small children, Marinovich has settled into his mercurial roles as husband, father and artist amid a wealth of captivating scenery, expressing memories, regrets and triumphs on the blank canvas.
Finally free of the substance abuse and legal entanglements that precipitated his temporary plunge, Marinovich is diving into his artistic career with relish and unabashed enthusiasm.
“I started loving art at a young age,” he recalls. “I remember it being the highlight of my schools days. Early on it was P.E. and art and both those periods went by in a flash. And that’s when you know where the magic happens, when time is non-existent, and I was lucky to find two passions in sports and art. Those were my first drugs, really, and that’s what drugs do, put you in the moment where time is not a factor.”
Marinovich moved to Sisters last November and was drawn to the area because it was the “true Oregon” and had experienced the area over the years growing up and later in life. An astute student of the arts, he’s fascinated with movement and color in all their inexpressible forms and incarnations. In 2005 he met an influential artist named Jerome Gastaldi in Fallbrook, California.
“He had this killer art compound and he just blew my mind. Everything about his style and perception was incredible. He taught me there are no mistakes in life and art and in the act of painting he was utilizing a method of abstraction I’d seen, but never really absorbed or appreciated it until I saw the process.”
The Tower’s Transition from 1940 to 2004
by RENEE PATRICK Cascade A&E Editor
The Tower Theatre’s history is a rocky one. What started as a movie theatre in the growing mill town of 1940, fell into disrepair decades later, forcing the doors to close. New life was to come however, and through the efforts of a capitol campaign, millions were raise for the restoration of the iconic piece of Bend’s cultural history.
Movie fever came to the high desert in 1940 when the Tower Theatre was first completed. Built in only three months, the original construction included imported travertine marble from Italy, a women’s lounge on the mezzanine floor embellished with knotty pine and a seating capacity of 998. The Tower rose 78 feet above the street and cast a glow with its 1,200 feet of neon tubes of green and gold.
The popular movie Four Wives opened the doors to the first movie-goers and ushered in an era of first-run shows ranging from Disney cartoons to news, shorts and feature films. Primarily a cinema, the performing arts took to the stage from time to time and in 1948 the Theatre added a weekly amateur hour, fashion shows, variety shows and even a performance by the General Platoff Don Cossack chorus from Russia.
The Theatre couldn’t keep pace when multi-screen theatres came to the high desert, and when the owners, a large movie theatre chain, choose not to invest in any up-keep or renovation, the doors closed. A partnership came forward in 1994 and purchased the Theatre. Win and Laurel Francis, Michael and Pat Forman, and Bruce and Sandi Hinchliffe wanted to redevelop the space for retail and office use.
“We thought it would be better for commercial use,” Win Francis recalled, “other people thought it could be a performing arts theatre…ultimately it was the best use for the community, not necessarily financially!” The partnership quickly became invested in the idea of a public theatre when the idea was presented, and with the goal of gauging the demand for a theatre, gave the Regional Arts Council of Central Oregon a discounted lease to operate as a multi-purpose venue.
Thousands of people visited the Tower Theatre over the next two years despite continued disrepair and lack of heat. In 1995 the City of Bend purchased the building and agreed to hold the property until a private non-profit organization could purchase, restore and operate the Theatre, but once again deterioration forced the doors to close in 1996 until the changes could be made.