Instead of always getting into politics, I’ve decided to open up a little and share some moments from my life living in Portland, Oregon. Please enjoy.
It was cloudy as Monday day swirled into night. We arrived to Hollywood Theater in the Northeast part of town an hour early to get a good parking spot, and our favorite seats in the auditorium. On this night, we’re here to see Disney’s Tron in 70mm. Hollywood Theater is one of the few places in the PNW where a 70mm machine can play these movies. In a way, viewing films like this, is like reveling in 8 tracks, and that’s just the kind of thing a real Portlander would find cool.
After we got our beverages, a local lager for the wife and a local white cherry cider for me, we sat in the middle of the last row of the center of the auditorium. It’s perfect for people watching and seeing the films played at Hollywood. We relaxed into our seats and chatted while observing the patrons pouring in. The best part of the evening for me was seeing so many nerds in one place, excited for the nostalgia, spectacle, and bright colors, that is the Tron experience. I loved seeing politics take a back seat to what is at the heart of this Gotham city. The heart of course is creativity and appreciation of it.
We observed that the place probably had, out of a couple hundred folks or so, maybe 3-4 people of color, myself included. This didn’t bother me one iota. In fact I told my wife that I expected that no one, especially a white person, would sit next to me or in front of me. By the time the film started, my prophecy came true. This led us to talk about the new social pecking order based on minority statuses. For example a white woman must concede to a black woman. A black woman must concede to a trans black and so on. Anyway not too many concessions had to be made in this crowd, but folks still left me alone.
Twenty minutes before the show began we got our pizza slices and listened to the deep sounds of the Wurlitzer organ. From the theme to 2001: A Space Odyssey to the Pink Panther theme, the organist deftly set the mood for this special screening. The organ’s sounds reverberated through the bodies of all there and as each song ended the audience clapped with enthusiasm. Local film buff Dan Halstead introduced the movie, telling us that apparently parts for the 70mm projector had to be borrowed from all over the country so the machine could work.
The staff expertly dimmed the lights in the theater as the movie come onto the screen. The colors were bright, the picture was smooth, and the audience was captive. The film’s sound was clear without being overly crisp, thanks to the magnetic devise used in the 70mm machine. Watching Tron in 70mm made me realize that yes, some old things are in fact a little better. I’d take 70mm over digital any day.
Sitting next to my girl, a fellow sci-fi fan, and amongst my people, that is nerdy people, and enjoying locally crafted beverages, decent pizza, and a lush version of a film from my childhood, was such a delight! It made the long cold miserable winter, along with the equally miserable politics, melt away. It’s nights like these where my town still shines, and it’s nights like these, I hope us Portlanders can continue to hold onto.