For the past year and a half, I have hosted a bi-monthly series at Design Within Reach called "Designs on Portland" featuring discussions with the city's top creative design minds, ranging from architects like Jeff Kovel and Thomas Hacker to editors like Randy Gragg, academic leaders like Tom Manley to urban design gurus like Arun Jain.
This week's installment of Designs on Portland will be a little different. Instead of discussion, we'll be screening a variety of short films featuring our city.
I'll also be showing a few films of my own, including "Portland Project #1" (above), portraying the city's Central Eastside; "Creamery Birds," which follows a flock of birds at the Darigold plant (and won a judge's award at the 2007 NW Film & Video Fest); "Demolition of the Rosefriend Apartments," which chronicles the action taken by Portland's First Christian Church to tear down a beloved work of local architecture, "Above & Beyond," which has fun with various spinning advertising signs (think Franz bread), and "Nocturne," chronicling a drive through an empty downtown Portland in the middle of the night.
One change has been made to the originally-planned lineup. We had been planning to show "The Day Called X," a 1955 CBS News documentary about Portland preparing for nuclear war. Due to some technical difficulties, that film probably will not be shown as part of "The City Onscreen". But if you're interested in that film, which is narrated by actor Glenn Ford and includes many shots of 1950s Portland, you can watch it online here.
This is a fun opportunity to combine my two greatest artistic loves, architecture and film. For several years before I wrote about architecture, I was a film critic. I don't miss seeing free preview screenings of teen movies in suburban multiplexes with loud radio DJs amping up overweight crowds, but I'll always have fondness and admiration for the community of local filmmakers in Portland, some of the best of whom will be featured in this show.