Category Archives: Film

Honoring the ‘Women Among Us’

Talking To Crows Women_Among_Us Campaign

Talking to Crows annual campaign.

As a female business-owner and artist, International Women’s Day and their 2017 theme, Be Bold for Change, means a lot to me. Just a few decades ago, I might not have been able to be a female sole proprietor. Its funny how quickly we can forget the flaws of our past culture…and how those flaws still linger in pockets of our world.

I am so thankful for the women who have paved the way before me. The powerful female writers, business-owners, mothers, scientists, actors, filmmakers, and directors, activists, and thinkers have earned my gratitude and made my life and work easier, more successful, and just. This month, during Women’s History Month, I am reminded of their sacrifice that has provided my privilege.

Whenever I can, I try to pay that privilege forward to other women (and deserving men as well). I recently found a few women doing great things for our community who are also paying it forward.

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Pacific Northwest writer and suffragette, Ella Higginson

Stacy Reynolds and Cassidy Young of female-majority owned, Bellingham-based video production company Talking to Crows has launched a new annual campaign: Women Among Us. Each day in March, they recognize one woman from our community that is making history right now. I was delighted to write two articles about this campaign, one for the print publication, Southside Living, and another shared at WhatcomTalk.com. The Southside Living article focused on Magdelena Theisen of Magdalena’s Creperie in Fairhaven, WA and the WhatcomTalk.com article highlighted Western Washington University Professor of English, Dr. Laura Laffrado.

I am delighted to be one of the amazing, powerful women being recognized in this year’s campaign. You can honor the women who’ve come before us and support ‘Women Among Us’ by taking a look and following their Facebook page, Instagram account, and Website posts and sharing their campaign with others.cascadia international women's film festival
I’m also honored to be working with CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival. Their event on April 20-23 showcases films by women directors from around the world. They also present workshops, networking events, and panel discussions that aim to promote women’s education and the Bellingham, Whatcom County, WA area as a filmmaking and viewing destination that supports the local economy.

Supporting incredible women through my writing, work, and actions are so very important to me. Thank you for helping me honor the incredible women in our community and world.

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Finding Your Own Path to Activism

Over the past two weeks, since the Presidential Inauguration, everyone I know is unsettled. No matter who they voted for. Perhaps that is the upside of the upset. Perhaps this is what we needed. Even though it doesn’t feel good or satisfying, perhaps these benefits are worth it?

  • To be clear about how we feel on the issues.
  • To dialogue with those we disagree with.
  • For more people to take action to support what’s important to them.
  • For people to share their money in support of the causes they care about.
  • To be reminded that our point of view isn’t the only point of view.
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By Chad A. Stevens, milesfrommaybe Productions. From the film Overburden about Lorelei Scarbro who became a community organizer in the campaign to build an industrial wind farm along the ridges of mountain whose coal mine killed her husband.

I’ve used my work as a teacher, writer, and now as a marketing strategist to support the causes–and the people and businesses–I believe in.

I worked in Superfund clean up as a US EPA contractor because I believe in clean air and water and healthy ecosystems for people, for living things, and for the future of the planet.

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By Chad A. Stevens, milesfrommaybe Productions. From the documentary flm Overburden. Nonviolent protest on Coal River Mountain on a mountaintop removal preparation site.

I managed chemistry laboratories and taught environmental science at a State University training the future scientists, policy-makers, and planners that will lead us to problem-solving in future generations.

I worked in special education for little pay for years because I believe in the impact public school can have on the lives of special needs children.

I write about theater, music, the arts, environmental innovation, and buying local and supporting local businesses because I believe in their value–for myself, for my family, and for our communities.

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Bellingham Theatre Guild’s 2015 production of The Drowsy Chaperone.

My writing, my communication, and how I approach them are my activism. Perhaps all that’s going on in the world right now is a sign. A sign that its time to wake up, look outside ourselves, and find our own activism.

If we don’t hear the call, we just might lose the freedoms we’ve been taking for granted, the privileges given to us by the activists who came before us. Those activists were every day people. Writers, lawyers, teachers, cooks, students, parents, preachers, nurses, policemen, and even politicians. They are us and we are them.

3684396632_34a663e190_zAnother upside: the action is not hard to find anymore. Don’t be overwhelmed. Choose your cause and pledge to yourself to do some small things. Now and from now on. Add your voice. We can do little alone, but together we are mighty.

Here are seven articles I’ve written so far in 2017 in support of the arts and human rights. Take a look, appreciate the arts, the environment, the rights you enjoy. Then find your activism and get involved.

Mount Baker Theatre Resident Ghost Judy is Blushing in Anticipation of The Irish Rovers and We Banjo 3 at Whatcomtalk.com

Resident Ghost Judy Can’t Wait for Mount Baker Theatre Education Shows at Whatcomtalk.com

Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival Explores Critical Issues at Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism Insider Blogs

Art, Nature, History, and Fun at Whatcom Museum in Bellingham at Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism Insider Blogs

Celebrate the Tribute Act at Mount Baker Theater at Whatcomtalk.com

Join Whatcom County’s Vibrant Poetry Scene at Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism Insider Blogs

Appreciating the Poetry of Whatcom County at WhatcomTalk.com

 

Cozy in Whatcom County

When I was asked to develop ideas for indoor activities for visitors to my area, it was easy to come up with a list of my favorite places. Many of them I’d already written about. Independent film, live music, indoor climbing, performing arts, and pub crawls are just a few of the options. Check out my Bellingham Experience Insider blog, 5 Ways to Stay Warm and Active in Bellingham this Winter, soon to plan your next visit to the Bellingham and Whatcom County area. One look and you’ll see why I chose this place to call home.

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When winter is keeping you inside, there are a lot of options for cozy fun.

 

The Value of Independence

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You probably don’t see an obvious connection between independent film and politics, but right now, its all up in my face.

I wrote this Bellingham Experience Insider Blog about my community’s independent film theater, Pickford Film Center, for Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism because it is one of the many things that makes my city great. It began, and remains, independent. Its programs, films, and decisions are made locally, by a non-profit board, for the betterment of film, the community, and education. The concerns of profit and shareholders don’t need to be included in decision-making, nor is their content dictated at a corporate level. These are among the many things I love about them.

Did I just go see a multi-billion dollar Rogue One Star Wars franchise film yesterday at the mega-plex and love it? Yes. My point is that we must preserve independent operations at the local level and not allow them to be overtaken by the big girls. Because individual choice–freedom–is among our highest ideals as a nation. If our choices become too narrow because of our profit motivations, then we, by default, are slowly losing that freedom. Will some of us be content eating only apples and oranges? Sure. But once the bananas disappear from the store front, once other options are removed from infrastructure, it will be a hell of an effort to get them back.

The meaning of the word ‘independent’ calls back to our earliest days as a country and today, our right, our duty, our responsibility to protect and preserve it is more relevant than ever.

 

Bringing Broadway to Small Towns

Once

Once

When I was in 9th grade, my high school English teacher Mrs. Garner (and other teachers and my school I’m sure) organized field trips to a Flint, MI theater so that those in advanced English class (that could afford it) got to see a couple of traveling Broadway shows. My first was A Chorus Line. My mother gladly paid the $15 to cover the ticket and the bus to get me there so that I could be exposed to the arts that never came to our tiny farm town.

I am also a big fan of the movies and I’ve lost count of the number of Broadway shows I’ve seen and sung along with in movie form. FAME is one of my long-time favorites.

So it was my pleasure to write and article for WhatcomTalk.com about A Day in the Life of Broadway Show Passing Through Mount Baker Theatre. I was fascinated by the sheer person-hours required to unpack, produce, perform, and pack up again in such a short time.

Although my children are more interested in anime than Broadway right now, I’ll do my best to continue to introduce them to an art form that has brought joy to so many. I’m just so thankful that Mount Baker Theatre is bringing them to my small town too.

Writing About Film: Pickford Film Center’s Doctober

 

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From the documentary film “Yarn” about artist creating new ways to bring an ancient art to the world.

I’ve always been drawn to film. As a kid in my pajamas, hugging my blanket, I would watch The Magical World of Walt Disney on Sunday night TV. My love of the non-fiction version of the art form, documentary film, may have started with Jacques Cousteau and Wild Wild World of Animals. But that love expanded to include documentaries on a variety of subjects ranging from the environment to comedy to music.

Watching a documentary is like reading the encyclopedia of a subject but with an incredible story arc that sucks you in. You don’t have to suspend reality because it is reality.

It was my pleasure to write about an annual film festival held in the Bellingham community, Pickford Film Center’s Doctober for WhatcomTalk.com. More than 50 documentaries from across the globe are brought to our independent theater and screened throughout the month of October.

Be sure to check out my article and see their extraordinary films this month and every October.

Acting Insane

Some might think my friend and fellow actor, Glen Nelson Bristow, is a little nuts to have a full-time day job, be in stage plays almost year round, while also filmingGlen Nelson Bristow Rocky Horror Picture Show a web series, appearing in multiple short films, and doing stand up comedy sets at up to five venues a week. But he does it, and does it well. Check out my article about this dynamo at WhatcomTalk.com.