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Notes from the Publisher - Pamela Hulse Andrews

Are You Kidding Me?

People only look at me as a Beatle, but my friends look at me as a whole person. That’s how life works, but it’s not bugging me anymore. Being in The Beatles was a short, incredible period of my life. I had 22 years leading up to it and it was all over eight years later.
~ Ringo Starr

 

by PAMELA HULSE ANDREWS Cascade A&E Publisher

 

Read more: Are You Kidding Me?Ringo Star in Bend, Oregon. The famous Beatle drummer (singer/songwriter/actor) performed last month at the Les Schwab Amphitheater, his only performance in Oregon. How did we get so lucky? Bill Smith informs me that it was Marney Smith (manager of the Amphitheater) and Monqui Productions that lured him here with an Oregon only play.

 

But how did he get so lucky? Ringo performed during a spectacular summer evening on the banks of the Deschutes River to a packed, exuberant audience with the majestic Cascades and Old Mill smokestacks framing the landscape. I have a feeling he was impressed with our little town!

 

You can argue about who the favorite Beatle should be, but Ringo was very influential in creating Beatlemania during the ‘60s until the band broke up in 1970. During live performances, the Beatles created the Starr Time routine that was popular among his fans: Lennon would place a microphone in front of Starr’s kit in preparation for his spotlight moment and audiences would erupt in screams.

 

Ringo sang lead vocals with the Beatles on only a few songs, but songs many remember the words to including With a Little Help from My Friends, Yellow Submarine and Act Naturally. He also wrote the Beatles’ songs Don’t Pass Me By and Octopus’s Garden.

 

I might not have taken such notice of him leading to enthusiastic anticipation of this concert had it not been for the February 9, 2014 performance on CBS celebrating 50 years to the date that the Beatles performed on the Ed Sullivan show. During the celebration Ringo rocked the house with his spirited energy (he’s a young 74 for sure), charm, showmanship...and his All-Starr Band members.

 

Since 1989, Starr has toured with twelve variations of his band, where “everybody on stage is a star in their own right.”  

 

This year Ringo’s gifted band members include Steve Lukather original lead guitarist for the rock band Toto, Gregg Rolie one of the founding members of the band Santana, Todd Rundgren from the bands Nazz, Utopia and The New Cars, Richard Page lead singer and bassist of 80’s band Mr. Mister, Warren Ham vocalist, saxophonist, flutist from Fort Worth, Texas who formed The Ham Brothers Band and David Lee Roth rock vocalist, songwriter, actor, author, former radio personality currently lead singer of the Southern California-based hard rock band Van Halen.

 

Ringo is a living legend whose contribution to rock and roll is immeasurable, not only as a Beatle, but also through his prolific and thriving solo career. In gathering a new group of iconic rockers to perform in the All-Starr band each year, every arrangement offers an original and memorable moment where we get to experience songs we all know and love.

 

There were few people in the audience at the Les Schwab concert under 30, but babyboomers do know their music and loved the British Invasion. It was particularly nice to have a little slice of it here in Bend.

Making Sense of Our Cultural Influence

Read more: Making Sense of Our Cultural Influenceby PAMELA HULSE ANDREWS Cascade A&E Publisher

 

Over the past two decades I have tried to position this magazine as a cultural wake up call to our community as to the importance and significance of the beauty of our region captured in diverse artwork from painting, pottery and sculptures to murals and wearable art, heard aloud from poets and writers in the local music scene from country, blues and hip hop to our theatrical successes at the Tower Theatre, 2nd Street, Bend Experimental Art Theatre and Cascades Theatrical Company.

 

In the early days of Cascade A&E few gave credence to the importance of the local art scene let alone to the economic value that the creative community provides to our region. We were not talking about research that demonstrates that creativity increases test scores, generates social responsibility and can turn a failing student into a success story. We just wanted people to know that our lifestyle is better served with a vibrant arts community.

 

During a recent taping of State of Wonder on Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB), the host Emily Carr asked Pat Clark of Atelier 6000 (A6) and me about what the recession did to Central Oregon’s arts scene. Pat and I looked at each other and smiled knowing full well the toll it took on nearly everyone in Central Oregon and how the arts suffered with decreasing budgets for arts organizations and the struggles that galleries and artists went though.

 

But we smiled because we know that time and hard work changes everything and that through diversity comes new awareness and creativity. Under Pat’s leadership and during the recession Atelier made a shift in its mission that forged a new relationship with arts education and cultivated (among other things) in the enormously successful M. C. Escher art exhibit with his genius woodcuts, lithographs and mezzotints that inspired local students.

 

Artists are not to be deterred in their pursuit of their craft. It seems that for every gallery that closes two more open. Most of the arts organizations in Central Oregon have fully survived the recession and more are beginning and thriving including BendFilm, Sunriver Music Festival, Scalehouse, Art on the High Desert, Arts Central, Central Oregon Metal Arts Guild, Songwriters Association, Sisters Folk Festival, Quilt Show, Central Oregon Symphony, High Desert Chamber Music, Jefferson County Art Association, Arts & Culture Alliance and of course the museums (Bowman, High Desert, Des Chutes Historical and Warm Springs).

 

Art in Public Places has been an enormous contributor to Bend’s art resurgence utilizing public art (especially throughout our roundabouts) to enhance the cultural environment and encourage visitors to our area. And of course, thanks to Visit Bend, we now have a Cultural Tourism Fund that will promote arts and cultural programs to enhance Bend’s tourism economy.

 

On OPB Pat said that A6 is now a gathering place with artists, students and patrons touching base. She has seen a change and emphasis on aesthetics that she thought would never be possible. We both agreed that the recession resulted in some good things: a repositioning of people back into education and people losing traditional jobs becoming creative with their skills (from construction worker to metal artist).

 

And now? One final note that was said on OPB: Bend has arrived. We are not just a recreational paradise, we are an arts community from Last Saturday at the Old Ironworks to First Friday in downtown Bend, and it has had a rippling effect on our surrounding communities who are developing their own festivals, roundabouts and artwalks.

 

It’s a complex and multilayered culture, one we can be very proud to call home.

In a Surprise Move Nature of Words Folds

by PAMELA HULSE ANDREWS Cascade A&E Publisher

Read more: In a Surprise Move Nature of Words Folds

 

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
~ George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950 Irish playwright, a co-founder London School of Economics)

 

In a letter dated May 23 emailed to a select group of supporters of the Nature of Words (NOW), Board of Directors President Chuck Mohler and Executive Director Amy Mentuck stated that the organization would “close its doors and transition its literary arts programming to the Deschutes Public Library.” This announcement comes as a complete surprise to me and numerous other supporters of the festival.


Acknowledging that Central Oregon is a growing environment for cultural entities that add to the quality of life and economic vitality of Central Oregon, the closing of NOW is both alarming and disappointing. The letter announcing the closing did not give the reason for closing the organization although some have suggested that fundraising was challenging (it always is, but the economy has improved and other arts organizations including BendFilm, the Sunriver Music Festival, Caldera and the High Desert Museum are flourishing).


Certainly other arts organizations have struggled during challenging times. In 2008 the Cascade Festival of Music closed but not without a thorough vetting of the difficulties with numerous community volunteers, sponsors and advisory members. The festival was $190,000 in debt, the economy was tanking and perhaps through some mismanagement of the organization (both the director and the board president were criticized for not asking for help sooner), it was not able to recover. The community was saddened by its departure, but the decision to end the festival was not done under closed doors and without community input.


There certainly was a time when BendFilm Festival was seeing troubling times through numerous director and board changes. Yet, despite the turmoil, the community has been asked and has risen to the occasion to support independent film in Central Oregon for over 10 years.


Not so with the Nature of Words, which was founded in 2005 by author Ellie Waterston who was not included in the decision making process to give the literary arts program to the Deschutes Public Library, a public agency. No large group discussions were held as to the fundraising challenges nor where the organization would best fit into other entities such as the High Desert Museum, that was intimately involved in the festival at one point nor COCC or OSU-Cascades, longtime supporters.


Mentuck says that the decision to close was a difficult but necessary one to make. No doubt. Following Waterston’s departure in 2012, the firing of the next director, Robert McDowell in 2013 and then the hiring of Mentuck last year, it appeared the organization would be on solid footing. In fact, as an advisory board member, I asked the staff point blank if there were money challenges, and I was absolutely assured that: “We are financially stabilized and have sufficient funds to maintain our space and all of our educational outreach programs through the year.”


In defending the secretive decision, Mentuck says: “The board and staff discussed all possible options at length and reached out to many close allies. The library was ultimately selected because we believe they are a strong steward with the infrastructure and capacity to continue bringing literary arts programming to the community in a vital and growing way. Initial talks had to be in confidence. We believed the news of our decision had to be careful, thoughtful and strategic as well.”


Why was this all done behind closed doors? No communication about the problems was ever provided to the advisory board regarding the scope of the change... the advisory board should have had an opportunity to weigh in on the transformation. We have had numerous other occasions where the organization was in trouble, often community leaders came together to help the organization and it happened through a collective and collaborative effort on many factors. But not so this time: this was a complete surprise to me and numerous other supporters of the festival.


According to the board president at least NOW is closing without a deficit, but answers to the financial situation and what happens to the endowment fund have gone unanswered.


I respectfully disagree that this was handled in the most appropriate and ethical manner.