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Portland Business Journal Award

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So proud of us, being chosen as one of the top ten women-owned businesses in Portland! Couldn’t do it without the patronage of you, our wonderful guests! Thank you for all your support over these past 16 years!

Right At The Fork Interview with Chef Lisa

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Chris feels that Lisa Schroeder should be cited as “Portland’s Official Mother.” Lisa visits the RATF studios to talk about the challenges of running a packed Portland culinary institution, especially in light of a the increased responsibilities she’s taken on to provide love and care to her grandchildren. Lisa shares some stories and grief of the loss of her beloved daughter, Stephanie.

Listen to the Interview on Sound Cloud >HERE<

Also, a nice little article from our friends at Eater PDX regarding the Right at the Fork interview.

>HERE<

Best of Portland!

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Mother’s Bistro & Bar wins Best of Portland!
Our very own Chef Lisa Schroeder was voted BEST CHEF in “Willamette Week’s” readers poll and Mother’s Bistro & Bar won BEST OMELET for the second year in a row! Thanks to all who voted for us!!!

Portland Dining Month

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Starting on Tuesday, join us at Mother’s Bistro as we participate in Portland Dining Month! We are offering one of the most inclusive dining deals offered in the city. 3 courses for only $29!!

Activating Happy

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When I think about my mother, I find myself sitting around a table filled to the brim with homemade, scrumptious food. She was an extraordinary cook. At the time, I probably took it for granted, but I always felt safe and loved around the dinner table. She told me the most important ingredient she added to every dish was “love.” I suppose that’s why it was so delicious.

Several years ago, I had the good fortune of meeting Lisa Schroeder, world-renowned award-winning executive chef and owner of Mother’s Bistro & Bar.

Lisa’s face lights up when she talks about two things (besides her grandchildren): food, the taste sensations, textures, and the love she infuses into every bite, AND, the importance of following your passion!

Lisa learned from personal experience what it’s like to work 9-5 in a job that was unfulfilling. She was eventually laid off and chose that opportunity to follow an internal burning desire to go to culinary school. The first day of class, in the kitchen, she knew she had found her way home.

I’m thrilled Lisa will be sharing her inspiring personal story with us at Activating Happy

Video.

You will learn how the “experience” of food is something to be embraced and enjoyed with great pleasure. And, she will share the importance of taking control of your life, your future and your happiness.

And, that is good food for your brain.

Bon appetit,
Sandi Serling
Creator/Founder
Activating Happy

Mother’s Velvet Lounge Presents “Things to Come”

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Please Note: While normally We screen Movies At Mother’s on the 1st Wednesday of the month, I will be out of town that week in September, so our screening will happen instead on September 9th.

Also, I encourage anyone who is interested in visiting the blog I have been building charting the history of the screenings at Mother’s. We’ve been doing these events for nearly 10 years now and have shown somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 films during that time. The blog currently covers the first three years of Movies At Mother’s, but over the next few months I hope to have the whole history up.

Things To Come (1936)

On Wednesday, September 9th, We begin our science fiction cinema series at Mother’s Velvet Lounge with H.G. Wells’ visionary 1936 prophecy of the century to come, Things to Come, directed by William Cameron Menzies and starring Raymond Massey, Sir Ralph Richardson and Sir Cedric Hardwicke.

Futurist, historian, philosopher and utopianist, H.G. Welles rightfully stands among the most important minds of the 20th century. Along with Jules Verne he holds an indisputable place as a founding father of  science fiction and the concepts that he originated remain the foundation of contemporary literature and cinema within that idiom. Tales of invisibility, time travel, genetic mutations and alien invasions all trace their roots directly to Wells’ writing. He even foresaw aerial warfare and the invention of nuclear weapons. From a philosophical standpoint he also contemplated technology’s dual nature and the moral choices that humanity would have to confront between its promise of liberation versus its threat of annihilation.

The Alexander Korda production of Things to Come is the only motion picture in which the venerable author was ever directly involved. While his screenplay often favors characters who represent ideological positions over ones who suggest any sort of inner life, his acute vision of the future cannot help but astound the modern viewer with its poignancy.

From the first frame we understand the nature of his allegory when we are introduced to a city called Everytown, in a country (presumably Britain) on the eve of war. Keep in mind that the film was produced 3 years before Great Britain entered the second world war. Two men, John Cabal (Raymond Massey) and Pippa Passworthy (Edward Chapman) argue the costs and benefits of the world to come and we are witness to a montage of the instruments of warfare from the technology of the previous war to increasingly more advanced weapons. When the great war finally grinds to a stop in 1966, we find ourselves midst the ruins of Everytown, now a feudal territory governed over by Rudolph, a petty warlord known as The Boss (Ralph Richardson). Into this impoverished and plague infested fiefdom enters an older John Cabal, now a futuristic airman representing Wings Over The World (referenced in the titular album by Paul McCartney and Wings), a society of technocrats offering a new life to the citizens of Everytown. A life that poses no small threat to the primacy of The Boss.

William Cameron Menzies was best known as a production designer of some of cinema’s most celebrated films including Gone With The Wind, so it is no surprise that Things to Come is most notable for its design innovations and spectacular visual effects. From the machines of war; to the colossal twin fuselage Basra Bomber delivering salvos of “The Gas Of Peace”; to the gleaming underground Everytown of 2036, the film had a profound effect not only on the future design of cinema, but even of post WW2 urban planning.  Menzies, working with set designer Vincent Korda, solicited the talents of an array of Bauhaus schooled artists including none other than László Moholy Nagy (only a small portion of whose work actually never made it to the final cut), while the model work by special effects director Ned Mann’s team laid the foundation of a tradition of exquisite miniatures in British cinema that continues to this day.

The excitement begins at 7:00 when you will enjoy one of the best dinners in town, followed by the screening at 7:30.  Hope to see you there!

Mother’s is located at 212 SW Stark.

Basic Rights Oregon

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Our most delicious fundraiser of the year! 2015 marks the 16th annual Bites for Rights Event.

On June 18th, 2015, restaurants, coffee shops, bars and bakeries around the state will donate a generous percentage of their day’s proceeds to Basic Rights Oregon. On this one day, you can feast to promote fairness for all LGBTQ Oregonians.

In 2014 we had our biggest year to date for Bites for Rights with 130 restaurants state-wide taking part in Bites for Rights including the Astoria Coffeehouse in Astoria, Strictly Organic Coffee Co in Bend, Sweet Life Patisserie in Eugene, and Left Coast Siesta in Manzanita. Along with Byways Café, Cupcake Jones, Big Ass Sandwiches and Las Primas to name a few from Portland. We also had the biggest amount of buzz with our community via social media posts and photos and the most media coverage for Bites for Rights including our television commercial on Comcast!

 

Mother’s is happily participating! Please come eat and share the love!

Raphael House of Portland

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Dine out on Wednesday, May 20th and support Raphael House of Portland’s life-saving domestic violence services!

More than 30 local restaurants have pledged a portion of their day’s proceeds to aid our emergency shelter and prevention programs. All you have to do is enjoy a meal – or several – at any participating business in Portland, Lake Oswego and Happy Valley.

We have a full list of eateries at https://goo.gl/e2yC0Q and a map of all the locations at https://goo.gl/mYSzHB!

Mother’s Velvet Lounge Presents “All That Jazz”

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All That Jazz (1979)

On Wednesday, May 6th, “It’s Showtime” as Movies at Mothers presents “All That Jazz”; Bob Fosse’s biting semi-autobiographical dance with death, starring Roy Scheider, Ann Reinking, Jessica Lange and Ben Vereen.

Please note that this evening’s screening is a benefit for Portland’s own Imago Theater!  Lisa has been incredibly generous in donating the profits from all food and drink sales tonight to Imago, so please feel free to indulge yourself!

In Joe Gideon (Roy Scheider) Bob Fosse has conjured a self portrait of a driven, brilliant, selfish and self destructive artist whose passion for his work as a director/choreographer is matched only by his utter lack of regard for his own well being. While devising and casting a Broadway musical, Joe is also in the process of editing a feature film about a comedian (Fosse directed the Lenny Bruce bio-pic, “Lenny”). In order to keep himself going he resorts to chain smoking, reckless sex, and amphetamines, and in due time he finds himself in the hospital recovering from a heart attack. He sees his body’s failure hardly as cause to slow down, though via a series of fantasy sequences he ruminates on and schism between his professional successes and personal failures and even finds time to engage in a flirtatious conversation with Death, who visits him in the form of a very inviting Jessica Lang.

Before turning to film directing, Bob Fosse (1927-1987) was arguably the most important musical theater choreographer of the post WW2 era. Having staged the dance sequences in “The Pajama Game”, “Damn Yankees”, “Bells Are Ringing”, “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying”, “Pippin”, “Sweet Charity”,“Chicago” and many others, he holds the record of 8 Tony Awards for choreography. His understanding of gesture and character movement served him well as a filmmaker, and while he often made films about life on the stage, he always showed a clear sense of the difference between the language of cinema and that of theater, offering a sublime friction between the two worlds. As was evidenced by his Oscar winning work in “Cabaret” (1972), he was always looking for daring new ways to adapt musical theater to film, and “All That Jazz”, apart from being a profoundly entertaining work, also serves as a window on the man’s remarkable process.

As this film is really Fosse’s own “8 1/2”, appropriately enough he engaged Federico Fellini’s legendary lens man, Giuseppe Rotunno to provide the stunning cinematography.

The excitement begins at 7:00 when you can enjoy one of the best dinners in town, followed by the screening at 7:30 PM. Hope to see you there!

Mothers is located at 212 SW. Stark.

Mother’s Velvet Lounge presents “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying”

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How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying (1967)*

On Wednesday, April 1st, Movies at Mothers returns when we present the satirical 1967 send up of corporate America and mid-century values, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, starring Robert Morse, Michele Lee, Rudy Vallee, and Maureen Arthur, and directed by David Swift.

Window washer, J. Pierpont Finch (Robert Morse) happens upon a paperback book at a newsstand entitled “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying”. Scrupulously following its instruction he manages to net a job at the World Wide Wicket Company and, within a matter of hours, begins his rise up the corporate ladder. Through a combination of subterfuge, ingratiating behavior and the occasional knife in the back, Finch becomes a huge success and along the way even wins the heart of secretary, Rosemary Pilkington (Michele Lee). But as his ascent draws him closer to the orbit of the company’s president, Jasper B. Biggley (Rudy Vallee), the stakes become increasingly higher and he finds himself the target of a cadre of upper managers that vow to “stop that man, before he stops me”.

As the poster graphics for this presentation suggest, it’s worthwhile to view How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying through the filter of the TV series, Mad Men. It is certainly no accident that that series’ creator, Matthew Weiner chose Robert Morse (who won a Tony Award originating the role of Finch on Broadway) to play Bertram Cooper, the co-founder of the Sterling Cooper ad agency, as this film clearly served as a significant source of inspiration. Though certainly a less sober take of the hierarchical structure of American business in the 1960s, ‘How to Succeed…” is nonetheless equally critical of the abstraction of “selling the sizzle rather than the steak” that has served as the engine driving corporate behavior in the post WW2 era. The World Wide Wicket Company is populated by executives and middle managers (all men of course) who aren’t exactly sure what service or product their company provides, their focus being instead on climbing the ladder of success and establishing their position within a tenuous fiefdom.

J. Pierpont Finch is a most unusual protagonist, particularly for a musical comedy. At face value his single minded behavior, drawn exclusively from a self-help paperback, can really only be described as sociopathic. He manages to manipulate everyone around him (with the exception of Rosemary, the woman who loves him) precisely because he is able to appear so unassuming and guileless. Though not as demonstrably dangerous and considerably more cuddly, he shares a lot of the same personality characteristics of Jake Gyllenhaal’s Louis Bloom in the 2014 film, Nightcrawler.  But thanks to Robert Morse’s demeanor of innocence and boyish vulnerability, we as the audience are as taken in by him as are his co-workers.

The songs by Frank Loesser (Guys and Dolls) include the sublime, “I Believe in You” which serves both as Rosemary’s declaration of love for Finch, as well as his own self affirmation during a crisis of faith in the executive washroom as the other top managers simultaneously conspire against him (“Gotta Stop That Man”). The choreography by Bob Fosse is, as always, a pleasure to watch and also brilliantly serves the ensemble number, “A Secretary Is Not A Toy”.

The excitement begins at 7:00 when you can enjoy one of the best dinners in town, followed by the screening at 7:30 PM. Hope to see you there!

Mothers is located at 212 SW. Stark.

*Please Note That we are starting 30 minutes later than usual due to Daylight Savings Time, and the issue with ambient light at Mother’s Velvet Lounge.

Portland Dining Month

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Mother’s is participating in Portland Dining Month, featuring three-course dinners for every night in March for $29. With our Dining Month menu, your choices are almost limitless:
Mother’s Bistro & Bar’s Dining Month Menu
Choose a house salad, caesar salad or soup
Choose any entree (except Steak Frites)
Choose any dessert
$29

Oregon Commission for Women

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Our very own Chef Lisa Schroeder was chosen as a “Woman of Achievement” by the Oregon Commission for Women!

Click HERE for the announcement

Eater PDX

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Here’s a nice article @eaterpdx wrote about Chef Lisa and Mother’s 15th year anniversary!

Click HERE for the article

 

Mother’s Velvet Lounge presents “Bye Bye Birdie”

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Bye Bye Birdie (1963)

On Wednesday, March 4th, Movies at Mothers returns when we present the perennial musical comedy favorite from 1963, Bye Bye Birdie, Directed by George Sidney and starring Ann-Margret, Dick Van Dyke, Janet Leigh, Paul Lynde and Ed Sullivan.

Pop music sensation Conrad Birdie (Jesse Pearson) has been drafted into the United States Army, and mass hysteria has overcome his (largely female) fan base. It’s particularly bad news for struggling songwriter Albert Peterson (Dick Van Dyke), who’s latest tune, “One Last Kiss”, potentially Birdie’s next big hit, will have to wait until his obligation to Uncle Sam is satisfied. Fortunately, Albert’s devoted fiancée and business partner Rosie DeLeon (Janet Leigh) has concocted a scheme whereby Birdie will perform the tune In Sweet Apple, Ohio while simulcast on the Ed Sullivan Show. At the close of the song, the president of the Sweet Apple Conrad Birdie Fan Club, Kim McAfee (Ann-Margret), will receive from her idol, “one last kiss”. The plan seems perfect, but for possible resistance from Kim’s dad, Harry (Paul Lynde) and her boyfriend, Hugo Peabody (Bobby Rydell).

Perhaps because the Lee Adams and Charles Strouse stage musical, written in 1958, has been performed by countless high school drama clubs, it’s easy to forget how the original piece serves as a send up of both Eisenhower-era American idealism as well as the cynicism behind media-manufactured and packaged pop icons. Sweet Apple, Ohio in turn serves as the flashpoint where Middle America, youth culture, Rock and Roll, media fed mass hysteria and even a small helping of Cold War politics collide.

Conrad Birdie himself is something of an empty vessel into whom everyone pours their hopes and dreams, so it’s not really surprising that when asked to play the character that was clearly modeled from him, Elvis Presley was encouraged by his handlers to pass on the part. So what we lose with Elvis’ absence, we more than make up for with the presence of Ann-Margret who amply embodies the persona of the corn fed all-American (she’s Swedish actually) girl. With her stunning title number, clad in a snug summer dress in front of a solid blue field, she became herself an icon of both bubbling sexuality and wide-eyed innocence in way that doesn’t even seem possible today.

An interesting side-note; Director George Sidney and Ann-Margret would re-team one year following the production of Bye Bye Birdie to make Viva Las Vegas, starring…you guessed it, Elvis Presley. Not only would it prove Elvis’ best film, but in terms of star-power, it was the only one where his female co-star would prove his equal.

The excitement begins at 6:30 when you can enjoy one of the best dinners in town, followed by the screening at 7:00 PM. Hope to see you there!

Mothers is located at 212 SW. Stark.

Mother’s Velvet Lounge presents “The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T”

The 5000 Fingers Of Dr. T (1953)

On Wednesday, February 4th, Movies at Mothers returns when we present a surreal journey through pre-adolescent anxiety, McCarthy era paranoia and the nuclear age, “The 5000 Fingers of Dr T”, directed by Roy Rowland and written by Theodor Geisel (better known at Dr Seuss).

Bart Collins (Tommy Rettig) lives a relatively normal suburban life with his single mother Heloise (Mary Healy), but lives in dread of his dictatorial piano instructor Dr. Terwilliker (Hans Conried), who has no patience for any of the boy’s interests that extend beyond metronome and keyboard. He gets a lot more sympathy from the handyman, Mr. Zabladowski (Peter Lind Hayes) who serves as an occasional (potential) father figure. While practicing at the piano Bart drifts to sleep and imagines a world dominated by the tyrannical music teacher, who has hypnotized Heloise into collaboration with his nefarious scheme to assemble 500 boys (hence 5000 fingers) to perform his composition on a massive, sinuous keyboard. Bart recruits Zabladowski to help him foil Dr. T’s plan and free his mother from her brainwashed servitude.

For obvious reasons The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T is generally regarded as a children’s film, but its hard to deny that it’s a singularly smart, and in many ways subversive one. Loaded with post WW2 paranoia, Seuss’ script hits a number of targets dead on, including Fascism, the fear of losing a loved one to conformist ideology and betrayal. One quickly realizes that the use of a child protagonist is an ideal vehicle to represent helplessness in the face of an oppressive social order. There is also a healthy serving of B&D, unusual for a 50’s kiddie matinee. Dr. Terwilliger not only obsesses over his monstrous piano and his plan to force every little boy to play it, but it is to the exclusion of every other instrument in the orchestra. His institute includes a dungeon, imprisoning musicians who dare to practice any other instrument.

Though certainly regarded as one of the world’s most beloved authors of children’s books, Theodor Geisel was first and foremost a satirist. Apart from writing its screenplay, Dr. Seuss also served as the film’s conceptual designer and the sets and costumes inhabiting Bart’s dream are wonderful examples of his playful use of expressionism, with numerous props and matte paintings serving to create a distinctly Seuss-ian live action world. One of the most memorable scenes takes place in the aforementioned dungeon, where a full-blown concert is performed on fanciful musical instruments by bearded and bedraggled captives. The songs, with lyrics by Seuss and music by Friedrich Hollander, include a show stopping number performed by the wonderful Hans Conried, “Dress Me Up”, as Terwilliker dons his ceremonial vestments in anticipation of the debut of his maxim opus.

The excitement begins at 6:30 when you can enjoy one of the best dinners in town, followed by the screening at 7:00 PM. Hope to see you there!

Mothers is located at 212 SW. Stark.

Mother’s Velvet Lounge presents “Funny Face” (1957)

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Funny Face (1957)

On Wednesday, January 7th, Movies at Mothers returns when we present our third film charting the extraordinary career of the great Fred Astaire, Funny Face, directed by Stanley Donen and co-starring Audrey Hepburn and Kay Thompson. Music is by George and Ira Gershwin, as well as Leonard Gershe and Roger Edens.

When a fashion shoot for Quality Magazine invades a Greenwich Village bookstore, photographer Dick Avery (Fred Astaire) takes note of the store’s Bohemian cashier, Jo Stockton (Audrey Hepburn). He recognizes in her a charm and intelligence that set her apart from the haute couture models with whom he normally works. Dick convinces Quality’s editor, Maggie Prescott (Kay Thompson) to take a chance on the girl and give him the opportunity to feature Jo in a high profile fashion shoot in Paris. Though reticent about pursuing a career as a fashion model, a profession she regards as facile and mindless, Jo jumps at the opportunity to travel to Paris in the hopes she might meet her intellectual hero, Professor Emile Flostre (Michel Auclair), founder of the philosophical school of “Empathicalism”.

Funny Face is Stanley Donen’s stylish and colorful send up of the fashion world, reveling in its most seductive qualities, while in equal measure poking fun at its inherent absurdities. Nowhere is this more exuberantly displayed than in the Gershe/Edens number “Think Pink”, where Maggie Prescott (patterned after Vogue editor Diana Vreeland), composes an editorial for Quality Magazine declaring pink as the de rigueur color for the modern woman. This number, along with several other sequences use multiple split screens to mimic the page layout format of fashion magazines of the era.

As an additional nod to the world of Haute Couture, much of Dick Avery’s photography, as well as the imagery in the opening title sequence was created by Richard Avedon, including the iconic high-contrast portrait of Audrey Hepburn that we see created before our eyes as Dick serenades Jo in the darkroom with the titular number, “Funny Face”.

Like last month’s offering of The Band Wagon, which was based on a 1932 Broadway show that featured Fred Astaire and his sister Adele, Funny Face get’s it’s title and four of its songs from a 1927 review that showcased the Astaires with music by George and Ira Gershwin. In the case of both film adaptations, the plotlines have nothing to do with the original productions, and several entirely new songs have been added.

The excitement begins at 6:30 when you can enjoy one of the best dinners in town, followed by the screening at 7:00 PM. Hope to see you there!

Mothers is located at 212 SW. Stark.

Mother’s Velvet Lounge Presents “The Band Wagon”

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The Band Wagon (1953)

On Wednesday, December 3rd, Movies at Mothers returns when we present MGM’s 1953 love letter to Broadway, The Band Wagon, directed by Vincente Minnelli and starring Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Oscar Levant, Nanette Fabray and Jack Buchanan, with music by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz

Fred Astaire plays Tony Hunter, a thinly disguised version of himself who has retired from a once successful Hollywood career (the film begins with an auction of his iconic top hat and cane), and decides to travel east to revisit his Broadway roots. He is immediately impressed upon by old friends, Lester and Lily Marton (Oscar Levant and Nanette Fabray, who are themselves thinly disguised versions of the film’s writers, Adolph Green and Betty Comden), to star in the new musical comedy they’ve written. They’ve managed to attract the interest of Broadway’s newest wunderkind, director, Jeffrey Cordova (Jack Buchanan), who sees their show as a reimagining of the Faust legend, and aims to elevate the production to one of high art. Tempers begin to flare as Cordova’s vision becomes increasingly ambitious and he casts prima ballerina, Gabrielle Gerard (Cyd Charisse) who unwittingly makes Tony feel a bit old, and inspires his nagging concern that “She’s awfully tall”.

Of the great directors of MGM musicals, none were more possessed of a rich sense of design and color than Vincente Minnelli. Himself a Broadway set designer and costumer before moving to Hollywood, Minnelli’s films are distinguished by their impeccable visual flair. The Band Wagon served as his tip of the hat to Broadway, just as it had for Astaire and writers Comden and Green (On The Town), and it stands as a loving and playful tribute to the pain and joy of “puttin’ on a show”. In its very lighthearted way, the film offers one of the more detailed insider’s look into what it must take to mount so ambitious an enterprise…even when it proves a failure.

The Band Wagon had originally been a Broadway show in 1931, featuring Astaire with his sister and dancing partner Adele (in her final stage performance), though only the title and three of the songs remain from that original production. Twenty Two years after scoring that show, Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz were asked to provide some new songs for the film version, not least of which, “That’s Entertainment” became the tune that defined the entire MGM musical idiom. Additionally, Schwartz created an instrumental for one of the greatest dance sequences in any film; the pulpy “Girl Hunt”, featuring Astaire as a Mickey Spillane-inspired hard boiled dick and Charisse as the leggy Femme Fatale. It’s a stunning fusion of ballet and jazz, with Charisse revisiting a character similar to the one she played opposite Gene Kelly in Singin’ In The Rain the year before. Blink and you may miss a brief appearance by Julie Newmar.

The excitement begins at 6:30 when you can enjoy one of the best dinners in town, followed by the screening at 7:00 PM. Hope to see you there!

Mothers is located at 212 SW. Stark.

Mother’s Velvet Lounge presents “Shall We Dance”

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Shall We Dance (1937)

On Wednesday, November 5th, Movies at Mothers returns when we present the sublime dance stylings of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers together with the toe-tapping tunes of George and Ira Gershwin in 1937’s Shall We Dance (apparently no eroteme was invited along), directed by Mark Sandrich.

With 10 films to choose from one would be hard pressed to identify the best example of the legendary pairing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Their collaborations are likely responsible for popularizing more musical standards from the likes of Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter and George and Ira Gershwin, than any other single series of films. The sets created by Carroll Clark with Van Nest Polglase and the RKO art department are the gold standard of Art Deco sumptuousness. And the dancing? Ah yes, the dancing. Fred and Ginger were always so well matched and shared such great chemistry that it is quite the challenge to isolate their best work. For my money, it has been a toss up between their 2nd film as headliners, Top Hat and their 5th film, Shall We Dance (I’m discounting Flying Down To Rio and Roberta, as they were secondary players in those films). In the end, the latter film’s score by George and Ira Gershwin tips the scales in its favor.

Important for a number of reasons, the songs created by the Gershwins have more than withstood the test of time. “They all Laughed”, “Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off”, and “They Can’t Take That Away From Me”, are all classics of the highest order, and it is a singular joy to hear them in their original context. “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” is especially effective in a scene on the Staten Island Ferry, and represents a touching moment of genuine sentiment in a series of films that generally went out of their way to avoid heavy emotional content.

If you are at all familiar with the Astaire-Rogers filmography, particularly those directed by Mark Sandrich and scripted by Allan Scott, you know that they tend to share a common plot. Fred Astaire always portrayed a version of himself; in this case, Pete Peters, a classical ballet dancer known to the world as Petrov (even going so far as to sport a ludicrous Russian accent), whose personal tastes lean more towards jazz and tap. Impresario, Jeffrey Baird (Edward Everett Horton) tries to keep a tight reign on his star performer, but Petrov has become smitten with popular cabaret performer, Linda Keene (Rogers), after perusing a flipbook(!) of her dancing. He books passage on a luxury liner bound for the US, where he initially woos her and eventually, through a series of misunderstandings loses her. In New York he once more takes up the chase and must convince her not to marry an ill-suited suitor who can barely manage a two step. Along the way Fred hoofs throughout the ship’s fanciful deco engine room to the tune of “Slap That Bass”, roller skates through Central Park with Ginger to “Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off” and finally performs with a small army of Ginger clones (you’ll just have to see) to “Shall We Dance”.

The excitement begins at 7:00 when you can enjoy one of the best dinners in town, followed by the screening at 7:30 PM. Hope to see you there!

Mothers is located at 212 SW. Stark.

Mother’s Velvet Lounge presents “Gold Diggers of 1933”

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Gold Digger Of 1933

On Wednesday, October 1st, Movies at Mothers returns when we present the seminal Busby Berkeley musical, Gold Diggers Of 1933, Directed by Mervyn LeRoy and Busby Berkeley and starring Joan Blondell, Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler, Warren William and Ginger Rogers.

This year, Movies At Mother’s will dedicate itself to the movie musical, and we begin pretty close to the inception of the form with this classic Warner Bros. offering. The film begins with a somewhat sardonic presentation of the song, “We’re In The Money” which includes a striking interpretation by Ginger Rogers, performing several verses in Pig Latin. The choice of the tune proves ironic in that, mid-rehearsal, the show is closed due to outstanding debts, and from there we follow the adventures of a trio of showgirls struggling to make ends meet (though living in a astoundingly spacious and well appointed New York apartment). The girls represent a spectrum of iconic female character types typical of the era. Joan Blondell is Carol, the street smart one; Ruby Keeler is Polly, the starry eyed ingenue; and Aline MacMahon is Trixie, the ever wise-cracking comedienne. Ginger Rogers’ Fay is thrown in for good measure as the gal that’s “no better than she ought to be”. Polly has eyes for Brad (Dick Powell), the talented songwriter in the apartment across the courtyard who offers to finance Barney’s (Ned Sparks) new show, which will mean a gig for all the girls. Turns out, Brad actually hails from well-heeled blueblood stock, but his snobbish older brother, Lawrence (Warren William) is none to pleased regarding Brad’s song writing aspirations, and intends to see to it that little bro doesn’t get mixed up with this loose-moraled show-biz crowd.

As engaging as the romantic comedy narrative might be, you probably didn’t come to see a Busby Berkeley musical for the intricate plot mechanics. This film is highlighted by four spectacular set pieces with music by Harry Warren and lyrics by Al Dubin. Apart from the aforementioned “We’re In The Money”, We are treated to “Pettin’ In The Park”, a risque little number which includes an appearance by the great Billy Barty as a lecherous toddler. “Shadow Waltz” is perhaps the most iconic Berkeley number in the film with its spectacular art deco stage design and chorus of hoop-skirted girls with neon-trimmed violins. But the final number is easily the most impressive: “Remember My Forgotten Man” is a visually rich and ultimately rather sober-minded work of agitprop which wouldn’t have felt unwelcome in a work of experimental Soviet cinema, bolstering the New Deal politic of the era.

It’s impossible to overstate how significant and influential this film proved to be. Along with 42nd Street, which was made the same year, it’s probably the best of the of the Busby Berkeley musicals, in large part because the non-musical sequences directed by Mervyn LeRoy (Little Caesar, The Bad Seed) possess a snappy place and charm that keep us engaged as much with the delightfully drawn characters as it does with the visual spectacle of Berkeley’s dance numbers.

The excitement begins at 7:00 when you can enjoy one of the best dinners in town, followed by the screening at 7:30 PM. Hope to see you there!

Mothers is located at 212 SW. Stark.

Mama’s Getting Hitched!

Mother’s Bistro will be closed for dinner on Saturday night, August 2nd, so the Mother’s family can attend the wedding of our chef/owner Lisa Schroeder. We’ll be open for breakfast and lunch from 8am – 2:00pm. We apologize for any inconvenience and welcome you to join us at another time. We’ll reopen for regular hours on Sunday, August 3rd at 8:00

Join us on Wednesday, May 7th!

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Please join us on Wednesday, May 7th, as restaurants around Portland recognize the importance of speaking out against violence by contributing a portion of their proceeds to support Raphael House!  

Mother’s Bistro & Bar is proud to be donating 10% of our sales from the entire day to this great cause!

Follow the link below for a full list of participating restaurants.

>Raphael House<

Movie Night: Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life”

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The Meaning Of Life (1983)

On Wednesday, May 7th, Movies at Mothers returns when we present the final film from the ground breaking British comedy ensemble, Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, directed by Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam.

In this, their final motion picture offering, the Pythons return to the origin of their particular brand of madness, sketch comedy.  After releasing two wildly successful narrative films, Monty Python and The Holy Grail (1975) and The Life of Brian (1979), The Meaning of Life freed the team up to poke jabs at every faction of society. From a mutiny aboard an Insurance Company to a poverty stricken Catholic neighborhood performing the show stopping musical number, “Every Sperm Is Sacred”, to the Grim Reaper’s visit to a bourgeois dinner party, the lads take no prisoners in their effort to skewer the arrogant, the ignorant and the intolerant.

While some have lamented the absence of narrative coherence in this film, I’ve always felt that sketch comedy was the group’s strongest suit, and indeed thanks to the quality of the production and its visual flair many of the bits function more like brilliant short films than merely as sketches.  As was the case with The Holy Grail, the film was co-directed by Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam. Gilliam of course, a former animator, brings that sensibility to a number of the pieces creating many of the film most indelible images. Jones, the only director to serve that role on all three films gives one of the most memorable performances. Unrecognizable under a ground-breaking make-up design by Chris Tucker (The Elephant Man, Star Wars) he plays Mr. Creosote in a sketch occurring late enough in the film that we trust the audience at Mother’s Velvet Lounge has completed their meal.

One of the most striking characteristics of The Meaning Of Life is its status as a full blown musical, with Eric Idle having written the bulk of the songs. “Every Sperm Is Sacred” is a huge extravaganza, rivaling production numbers from “legitimate” musicals like Oliver!, and my favorite, “The Galaxy Song”, cheerfully ponders the the vastness of space and humanity’s utter insignificance in the face of it.

Be advised: “The Meaning Of Life” is rated R, and often embraces a sense of humor that can only be described as crude (I’m serious about being done with your meal before the Mr. Creosote scene) and irreverent, with a considerable helping of sex and nudity.

The excitement begins at 7:00 when you will enjoy one of the best dinners in town, followed by the screening at 7:30 PM.  Hope to see you there!

Mother’s is located at 212 SW Stark.

Movie Night: Playtime (1967)

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PLAYTIME (1967)

On Wednesday, April 2nd, Movies at Mothers returns when we present Jacques Tati’s brilliant 1967 send up of modernity and the new Europe, Playtime, starring Tati himself as the one and only Monsieur Hulot.

Here is where I would normally layout the basics of a film’s plot, but to do so with virtually any of Jacques Tati’s films seems a fool’s errand and ultimately misses the point. His films are ballets of gesture and observation. They are intricate musee mecaniques, with each cog and gear engaging the next one until his grand glockenspiel winds up for a head spinning crescendo. They are a series of sub-plots, vignettes and side glances, but story in the traditional sense of the word is largely irrelevant.

Playtime is Tati’s take on mid-century modernity with some affectionate jabs at the Americanization of post war Europe. In 1967 it was the most expensive film ever made in France and was released a full 9 years after his previous hit, Mon Oncle (1958). On the outskirts of Paris he constructed the entire city you see in the film, which is occupied by Mies Van Der Rohe inspired blocks of steel and glass. It is the vision Le Corbusier had for Paris in the 1920s when he proposed that the fabled city be leveled to make way for such architecture. Occasionally one of the characters will open a glass door or stop at a window to catch a glimpsed reflection of the Eiffel Tower or the Arc De Triomphe, but beyond that, the only thing left of Paris are the Parisians.

But the film is first and foremost a comedy, and the more attention paid to it’s details the funnier it seems. There is virtually no dialogue, and the French and English verbalization at hand is so easily understood that the film was released in all markets without subtitles. The humor is mostly visual so we are presented with a 1960’s silent comedy in the tradition of Keaton and Chaplin, though keep in mind his sound design is intricate and often serves as the biggest part of the “joke”. At the same time Tati steers clear of full-on slapstick. His sense of humor is that of the everyday, the routine and mundane, and absent of even an ounce of cruelty. It is the rituals of modern life that we unconsciously perform on a daily basis that is the source of his comedy.Playtime provides an opportunity for us to laugh at ourselves, and to come away with some poignant understanding of the absurdity inherent in society’s quest for order.

The excitement begins at 7:00 when you will enjoy one of the best dinners in town, followed by the screening at 7:30 PM.  Hope to see you there!

Mother’s is located at 212 SW Stark.

Movie Night: The Ladykillers

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The Ladykillers (1955)

On Wednesday, March 5th, Movies at Mothers returns when we present Alexander Mackendrick’s classic 1955 Ealing Studios comedy, The Ladykillers, starring Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers and Herbert Lom.

Mrs. Wilberforce (Katie Johnson), a dotty but well meaning elderly widow living in a house built over a railway tunnel in London, is visited by “Professor” Marcus (Alec Guinness), a ghoulish figure of a man, who wishes to rent out a room she has advertised. His intention is to use the space to plan an elaborate payroll van heist, and to that end has assembled a true rogue’s gallery of hoodlums. His gang includes the black marketeer, Harry (Peter Sellers), ex-boxer One-Round (Danny Green), con-man Major Courtney (Cecil Parker), and all-around thug Louis (Herbert Lom). To allay Mrs. Wilberforce’s suspicions, the Professor introduces the gang as a classical string quintet, who will require the room for their rehearsal. As they carry out their plan, a series of events conspires to blow their cover and alert their landlady to the true nature of their nefarious activities. It soon becomes abundantly clear that the gang will have to consider the prospect of eliminating the sweet old gal, lest suffer the consequences.

One of the shining lights of the British film industry in the post war period was the Ealing Studios, who produced a series of memorable yet understated comedies in the 1950s, many of which have admirably withstood the test of time. The best of these film starred the great Alec Guinness (The Man In The White Suit, The Lavender Hill Mob, Kind Hearts And Coronets), and served as an excellent showcase for his uncanny ability to disappear into virtually any class of character. An unremarkable looking fellow of slight build, but possessed of a face that could subtly convey a galaxy of personality quirks, Guinness stands as one of the greatest character actors of all time (a shame that he is best known for playing a lightsaber wielding Jedi in a film that required so little of his stellar talent).

The Ladykillers stands to this day as Ealing’s most popular comedy, and for good reason. Director Alexander Mackendrick (The Man In The White Suit, The Sweet Smell Of Success) not only had a flair for comic pacing, but also for artful composition and dramatic chiaroscuro lighting that give even his his comedies a tasty noirish touch. His Ealing productions are stand-outs for employing a classic dramatic framework wherein comedy seems to flow organically from the characters, free of slapstick or one-liners.

In 2004, the Coen Brothers made an unnecessary remake of this film, starring Tom Hanks in the role of the Professor.

The excitement begins at 6:30 when you will enjoy one of the best dinners in town, followed by the screening at 7:00 PM. Hope to see you there!

Mother’s is located at 212 SW Stark.

Movie Night: To Be Or Not To Be

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On Wednesday, February 5th, Movies at Mothers returns when we present Ernst Lubitsch’s razor sharp wartime comedy from 1942, To Be or Not to Be, starring Jack Benny and Carole Lombard.

Married actors, Joseph (Jack Benny) and Maria Tura (Carole Lombard) run a marginally successful theater company in Warsaw on the eve of the German occupation. Fearing the impending arrival of the Nazis, the theater owners have cancelled the Turas’ original production of an anti-Hitler play and have asked them to instead mount a production of Hamlet with Joseph in the role of the titular Dane. Little does he know that Maria has become involved with a handsome young Polish Air Force pilot, Sobinski (Robert Stack) who eventually involves her in espionage services for the resistance movement. Despite mounting evidence that he is being cuckolded, Joseph leads the theater company in aiding the resistance by donning disguises and doing what they can to defy of the occupational forces, all with a liberal serving of ham.

It’s often been said that to successfully create comedy, the dramatic component must be rock solid. Few films illustrate this as clearly as Lubitsch’s film, which could easily have played out as straight-faced wartime drama. The result is that the balance between tense espionage thriller and laugh-out-loud farce is perfectly maintained. In many ways, the film plays even better to the modern audience that it likely did to that of 1942. Though America was certainly at war with Germany by the time the film was released (it should be noted however that it was not at the time of the production), the stakes of that war really became much more evident in its aftermath.

Not a huge success at the time of its release, the film has since risen to the fore of Lubitsch’s legacy and is now hailed as one of the truly great American comedies. Here he found stellar support by his cast with Jack Benny, known almost exclusively to audiences at the time as a radio personality, delivering a wonderful turn as Joseph Tura. He particularly shines in one memorable scene when posing as Col. Erhardt of the Gestapo to fool the traitor, Professor Siletsky (Stanley Ridges) into handing over sensitive information regarding the Resistance. Carole Lombard as Maria matches Benny’s ham with a healthy serving of cheesecake offering a performance full of grace and wit, not to mention an eye-popping wardrobe of form fitting gowns. Tragically, Lombard was killed two months before the film’s release in a plane crash while promoting War Bonds and never saw the finished film, which she told friends was the most gratifying project of her entire career.

This is likely Lubitsch’s best looking film as well, with cinematography by the great Rudolph Maté, known for Carl Dreyer’s Passion Of Joan Of Arc and Vampyr as well as Hitchcock’s Foreign Correspondent and Welles’ Lady From Shanghai.

The excitement begins at 6:30 when you will enjoy one of the best dinners in town, followed by the screening at 7:00 PM. Hope to see you there!

Mother’s is located at 212 SW Stark.

CHRISTMAS KAROLOKE RETURNS!!

Karaoke

 

Join Your Hosts Rob Sample, Lisa Schroeder,
And Special Guest Host
Shannon Day
In An Evening Of Christmas Carols, Karaoke Style!

Thursday 12/19
8:30PM to ???

Come to sing! Come to be entertained! Come All Ye Faithful!

Free Treats
No Host Bar
Drink Specials
No Cover

Movie Night Returns!

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The Apartment (1960)

On Wednesday, December 4th, Movies at Mothers returns when we present 1960’s Best Picture Oscar winner, Billy Wilder’s classic tale of sex, love, ambition and suspicious neighbors, The Apartment, starring Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine and Fred MacMurray.

Bachelor, C.C. “Buddy” Baxter (Jack Lemmon) lives up to his nickname by making his cozy apartment available to a cadre of philandering middle managers at the insurance firm where he works as a low level accountant. The perennial promise of promotion from his superiors is enough for Buddy to stay late at work, deceive his neighbors into thinking him a relentless playboy, and occasionally spend a cold autumn night on a park bench. It all proves worthwhile when news of his generous nature reaches the head of his division, Mr, Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray), who also has “a little something on the side” and requires a discreet location to carry on. Soon Buddy is promoted and given his own office; a status that will hopefully turn the head of the charming-but-preoccupied elevator operator, Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), for whom he has long carried a torch. Unfortunately, Fran is far from available as she is in the throes of an affair with Mr. Sheldrake, conducted of late in Buddy’s apartment.

Following the runaway success of Some Like It Hot (1959), Billy Wilder knew he had found the perfect screen Everyman in Jack Lemmon. An amazingly charismatic actor with the ability to effortlessly transition between comedy and tragedy, its really impossible to imagine any other actor of his generation playing Buddy Baxter. Neither especially handsome, nor comical in appearance, Lemmon simply had an “open” face. He was possessed of a kind of transparent honesty to which anyone could relate. Similarly, Shirley MacLaine’s magnetic presence proves nearly hypnotic. Much like her character of Ginny Moorehead in Vincent Minnelli’s Some Came Running (For which she received her first Academy Award nomination) she manages to parlay her pixie-like charm and vulnerability into a uncannily naturalistic portrayal. Rounding out the trio of memorable performances is Fred MacMurray with whom Wilder had worked with before quite successfully in Double Indemnity(1944). Much like his portrayal of Lt. Tom Keefer in The Caine Mutiny(1954) MacMurray is able to use his regular guy likability to mask a self serving and ultimately amoral cad.

Wilder chose a wide screen, black and white approach to the look of The Apartment which proved a winning decision. The scenes in the vast accounting pool where Buddy works when we first meet him are particularly well served by Joseph LaShelle’s (Laura, Where The Sidewalk Ends) anamorphic cinematography and were likely an influence on Orson Welles’ The Trial (1962) and Jacques Tati’s Playtime (1967). Through the occasional use of low key lighting there is a vaguely noir-ish quality to many scenes, reminding us that Buddy’s world, while on the surface the stuff of classic farce, could easily slip into tragedy at a moment’s notice. Much credit should also be given to Wilder’s long time writing partner, I.A.L. Diamond who, it has often noted, brought enormous humanity to Billy Wilder’s notoriously cynical screenplays.

The excitement begins at 6:30 when you will enjoy one of the best dinners in town, followed by the screening at 7:00 PM. Hope to see you there!

Zagat.com

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Here’s a lovely article by Kathy Squires from Zagat.com about our very own Chef Lisa and her daughter Stephanie….

Click HERE

HollandSentinel.com

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Thrilled to see a great review of Chef Lisa Schroeder’s cookbook, “Mother’s Best” in the Hollandsentinel.com!
Click HERE for review.

Portland Dining Deal

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June is Portland Dining Month!
Mother’s is happily participating in Portland Dining Month.
We’re the only restaurant offering ANY soup/small salad,
ANY entree and ANY dessert for $29.

Mother’s Day

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Yes, it’s true…we’re fully booked for Mother’s Day 2013. We will have a few tables outside for first come, first served seating (no reservations), provided the weather cooperates!

We so appreciate you thinking of us, and want you to know that every day is Mother’s Day at Mother’s Bistro & Bar. Come by anytime and know that we’ll take great care of you, cook our hearts out and make sure you want for nothing.

Until then, wishing you the happiest of Mother’s Days to you and yours.

Love, Mom (Chef Lisa Schroeder)

Movie Night: Marwencol

Marwencol

Marwencol (2010)

On Wednesday, May 1st, Movies at Mothers continues its series on “Dreams, The Subconscious and the Surreal”, with Jeff Malmberg’s bizarre and touching 2010 documentary, Marwencol, charting the remarkable life and work of Mark Hogancamp.

In 2000, Mark Hogancamp was ruthlessly beaten by a gang of thugs outside of a bar in New York State and left for dead.  He awoke from a coma a few days later suffering brain damage that severely affected both his memory and motor skills.  Trying to find some means of putting his life back together, he constructed a 1/6th scale WWII era Belgian town on the family property.  He dubbed the town Marwencol (A portmanteau for Mark, Wendy and Coleen)  and populated it with 12 inch action figures who represented the various people in his life, including his attackers who are played by German SS Officers.  This proved a powerful therapy for both his mind and body.  Eventually he acquired an SLR and he began setting up tableaux and photographing them.  The pieces he created were striking and it wasn’t long after he showed them to a few people that the New York art community took an interest.

As we become acquainted with Mark, he becomes an increasingly sympathetic character, while his search for some kind of foundation on which to build a new identity proves a fascinating exploration of human cognition on a universal level.  Like the best storytellers, director Jeff Malmberg has packed his film with numerous twists, turns and a lot of humor.  One has to love the fact that Mark’s mother, who owns the hobby shop that supplied the dolls, is herself represented by a Pussy Galore action figure.

The excitement begins at 7:00 when you will enjoy one of the best dinners in town, followed by the screening at 7:30 PM.  Hope to see you there!

Mother’s is located at 212 SW Stark.

Movie Night: Metachaos & Paprika

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Metachaos(2010) / Paprika (2006)

On Wednesday, April 3rd, Movies at Mothers continues its series on “Dreams, The Subconscious and the Surreal”, with Satoshi Kon’s final film, the 2006 anime classic,Paprika, and modern Italian surrealist Alessandro Bavari’s stunning animated short, Metachaos.

 

Art derived from dreams and the subconscious is the realm the mind’s eye, and therefore a deeply subjective experience.  Animation has long proven an ideal medium to explore that landscape for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that the invoked imagery is limited only by the imagination.  From Windsor McCay’s groundbreaking Dreams Of A Rarebit Fiend and Little Nemo In Slumberland to the Fleischer Studios’ opium fueled Betty Boop cartoons, animation has proven the ideal medium in which to represent an ever metamorphosing world and a complete rewrite of the laws of physics.  Add to that, characters who are entirely the product of their imagined worlds, dragging none of the baggage born by actors, whose familiar faces might constantly remind us of some previous performance (or worse yet, some insipid gossip or scandal).

 

The two films we present are distinctly different in tone.  Bavari’s Metachaos is an 8 1/2 minute nightmare of that rare sort that feels like a direct transmission from the REM state of a singularly troubled soul.  A cross between the painterly works of Salvador Dali and the scariest zombie film you’ve ever seen, Metachaos depicts a city composed of sterile, yet ever shifting monolithic architecture inhabited by floating and flying bodies in what might be interpreted as a state of grace.  This soon gives way to an apocalyptic industrial wasteland, its shuddering, disfigured inhabitants wracked by the torments of the damned.   Bavari’s canny computer generated black and white dystopia works so well because it is at once entirely alien yet somehow so familiar, and utterly terrifying while at the same time strangely sublime.  This copy of the film comes to us courtesy of Sig. Bavari

 

Paprika is part of the science fiction genre exploring the implications of mind probing and the potential to control people’s actions by entering and manipulating their dreams.  The obvious recent example of this would be Christopher Nolan’s Inception (Nolan has acknowledged this film’s influence on him), but the precedent includes 1984’s Dreamscape and, to a certain extent, Jean Luc Godard’s Alphaville (1965) and Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s World On A Wire (1973).  Like all of those films, Paprika begins as a straightforward industrial espionage thriller, in this case involving a device called the DC Mini which enables one to inhabit an avatar and enter another person’s dream state.  When one of the devices goes missing and a corporate bureaucrat starts losing his mind, it is apparent that someone is applying the technology towards some nefarious goal.  Dr. Chiba is a psychiatrist who can inhabit the dream world in the form of her avatar, Paprika, and she must give chase within and without various people’s psyches before the dream world and the real world begin to converge. Part sci fi thriller and part creation myth, the film’s over the top climax proves a mind-bending feast for the eye.

The excitement begins at 7:00 when you will enjoy one of the best dinners in town, followed by the screening at 7:30 PM.  Hope to see you there!

 

Mother’s is located at 212 SW Stark.

Movie Night: Mulholland Dr.

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Mulholland Drive (2001)

On Wednesday, March 6th, Movies at Mothers continues its series on “Dreams, The Subconscious and the Surreal”, with David Lynch’s surreal masterpiece, Mulholland Dr., starring Naomi Watts, Laura Harring and Justin Theroux.

David Lynch, who essentially changed the face of American television in 1990 with Twin Peaks, returned to the medium in 1999 and created a 90 minute ABC pilot for a series centered around Los Angeles and the film industry, shady street characters and two beautiful women whose lives intersect both figuratively and literally.  All of these threads appeared to be manipulated by a mysterious illuminati-like organization that included a cowboy (Monty Montgomery), a dwarf with a full grown man’s body (Michael Anderson) and two espresso obsessed mafioso brothers (Dan Hedaya and Angelo Badalamenti).  ABC got cold feet and passed on the series, and it languished for a couple of years before Canal Plus bought it and gave Lynch the opportunity to turn what he had into a theatrical feature.  Actors were called back, sets were rebuilt and the narrative entirely re-engineered to fit within a 2 1/2 hour run time.  The result was a film that is nightmarish, erotic, and possibly Lynch’s most entertaining and accessible (the word ‘accessible” having its own meaning in Lynch-land) work.

Betty Elms (Naomi Watts) is a fresh faced, corn-fed Midwestern girl who, after winning a jitterbug contest, moves to Hollywood in search of fame and fortune.  She takes up residence in her Aunt’s vacant bungalow, where she finds Rita (Laura Harring), a woman suffering from amnesia following a serious car crash.  Betty, apparently raised on Nancy Drew mysteries, devotes herself to helping this mysterious woman unlock her past.

Parallel to this, film director Adam Kesher’s (Justin Theroux) life is collapsing in on itself when he discovers his wife in bed with the pool guy, and the studio taking over his current film project and demanding casting approval. The intervention of a Mephistophelian cowboy may be the ticket to getting his life back.  These are the two central threads of the narrative, but we take a number of side trips including one with a hilariously inept hitman and a gem of a scene involving two men at a diner discussing a nightmare.

But that is all on the surface.  Lynch has never been one to spoon-feed his audience, and Mulholland Dr. is as confounding and demanding as it is beautiful, funny and sexy.  Mundane concerns are continually interrupted by surreal episodes and encounters with the kind of grotesqueries that populate both high and low culture.  Like EraserheadBlue Velvet and Lost Highway before it, Mulholland Dr.occupies a place in the twilight between dreams and waking nightmares.

The excitement begins at 6:30 when you will enjoy one of the best dinners in town, followed by the screening at 7:00 PM.  Hope to see you there!

Mother’s is located at 212 SW Stark.

Movie Night: 3 Women

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3 Women (1977)

On Wednesday, February 6th, Movies at Mothers continues its series on “Dreams, The Subconscious and the Surreal”, with Robert Altman’s 1977 dream inspired meditation, 3 Women, starring Shelley Duvall, Sissy Spacek and Janice Rule.

Robert Altman’s career spanned nearly 60 years (if one includes his television work in the 50’s) and, with regard to content, was one of the most diverse to be enjoyed by an American director.  Having made his mark with dark comedies like MASH and Brewster McCloud, he was equally at home with unconventional westerns (McCabe And Mrs. Miller, Buffalo Bill and The Indians), ensemble social dramedies (Nashville, A Wedding), and science fiction (Quintet, Countdown). In the 70’s however he made two striking yet underrated psychological dramas that explored identity and the subconscious, and stand out among his best films.  The first was 1972’s Images starring Susannah York, and the second was 3 Women.  According to Altman, this film was inspired by a dream, and he wrote the screenplay quickly and without a lot of self analysis.  The result was a story that he claimed to not entirely understand himself, and offered up to the audience for their own interpretation.  The film’s final act is delivered with a dissonant soundtrack and watery in-camera tricks all of which result in a disorienting and dreamlike tone.

The story is primarily centered around Pinky (Sissy Spacek) and Millie (Shelley Duvall – easily Altman’s greatest discovery), two young women who work together in a desert retirement home.  Pinky is an childlike naif, who looks up to Millie who fancies herself much more worldly and sophisticated than she really is.  Indeed, Millie’s self image acts as a shield to protect her from the derision that most people cast upon her.   As the two young women grow closer it becomes apparent that Pinky is not all she seems as well.  The third woman is Willie, the pregnant artist wife and owner of the motel where Pinky and Millie live, who spends her days decorating the drained swimming pool with paintings of semi-reptilian humanoids engaged in passionate folly and ritual (created by muralist Bodhi Wind). As the delivery of Willie’s baby draws nearer, the nature of the three women’s personalities shift, intersect and ultimately reverse.

It is important to approach Altman’s film less with regard to “story” rather than “tone”.  The audience will inevitably look for narrative sublimation, but what makes this work a real standout is its experimental nature which, even in the 70’s was unusual for mainstream American cinema and foreshadows the work to come from David Lynch (whose Mulholland Drive (2001) this film bears more than a passing resemblance).

The excitement begins at 6:30 when you will enjoy one of the best dinners in town, followed by the screening at 7:00 PM.  Hope to see you there!

Mother’s is located at 212 SW Stark.

Congrats, Chef Lisa!

LisaSo proud of our very own Chef Lisa for being selected as National Restaurateur of the year by “Independent Restaurateur” magazine!  What an honor!  Read the article HERE or click on the picture to find out more.  

Christmas Karoloke 2012

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It’s that time of year again, and Rob’s gettin’ in the Season Spirit!
Join Mother’s Bistro & Bar owners Rob, Lisa, and special guest host Shannon Day as they celebrate the season with the 4th annual Christmas Karoloke (Oh Holy) night.

Oh Come All Ye Faithful… and you can sing your favorite carols with Rob, Shannon, by yourself, with friends, or just sit back, enjoy a hot toddie and bask in the Holiday Cheer!

Many of you have been asking if we were going to do this again this year, and here it is – if you are Away In A Manger, you’ll miss it!

Drink specials, special treats, no host bar.

See you there.

Wednesday, December 19th.  Starts at 8:30pm

Latkes Latkes Latkes!

It’s that time of the year again and Mother’s Bistro has got your Latke fix!

What is a Latke?

A latke is a savory potato pancake traditionally eaten by the Jewish people during the Hanukkah festival, which starts this Saturday night, December 8th. Even if it’s not part of your holiday tradition, they’re still a delicious treat. Each latke is made with shredded fresh potatoes and onions, formed into a pancake, pan-fried in oil and then served with sour cream and house made apple sauce. They’ve become a holiday traditions here at Mother’s Bistro, and we’ll be offering them Saturday night, December 8th and Sunday, December 9th, and again the following weekend, Friday, December 14- Sunday, December 16th. Come and get it!

 

BENEFIT TO RESTORE RED HOOK, BROOKLYN!

Mother’s is donating cookies for this very important fundraiser,  Sunday, December 2nd at 5pm at Disjecta, 8371 North Interstate Avenue, Portland

Tin House and the Portland-Brooklyn Project are hosting a fundraiser to benefit one of New York’s communities most devastated by Hurricane Sandy: Red Hook, Brooklyn. The benefit will be held at Disjecta, a Contemporary Arts Center in North Portland. The event title “Defiance,” shares the name of a fundraiser held on November 14th in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn also benefitting Red Hook.

The authors scheduled to appear include Jon Raymond, Karen Karbo, Nancy Rommelmann, and Peter Carlin. The Tim DuRoche Band and Casey Neill will be performing.

SUPER RAFFLE TICKETS are $10/each: 1 TICKET = 5 CHANCES TO WIN!
1st raffle ticket drawn = 2 ROUND-TRIP TICKETS to NYC from AZUMANO TRAVEL

www.brownpapertickets.com/event/299199

Mother’s Bistro & Bar’s film night continues with the series
DREAMS, THE SUBCONSCIOUS & THE SURREAL, curated by Paul Harrod
Please join us in our Velvet Lounge on Wednesday, December 5, at 6:30 pm!

On Wednesday, December 5th, Movies at Mothers continues its series on “Dreams, The Subconscious and the Surreal”, with two films by two great masters at capturing the mind’s eye on film, Federico Fellini and Guy Maddin.

We begin with the 30 minute film, Toby Dammit created by Fellini for the 1968 Edgar Allan Poe omnibus, Spirits Of The Dead.  Loosely based on Poe’s short story, “Never Bet The Devil Your Head”, it stars Terence Stamp as a dissipated British movie star visiting Rome where he is to headline the first Catholic Western (this film was made a couple of years before Alejandro Jodorosky’sEl Topo).  We arrive at a rather intimidating Fiumicino Airport, are whisked off to a press conference and finally deposited on the set of an awards show, all witnessed from Toby’s alcoholic and drug fueled point of view.  Of course, the importance of Fellini on the language of cinema cannot be over-stated, as he is one of a handful of auteurs whose name has been coined into an adjective by adding the suffix, “esque”. Ever the caricaturist and master of grotesquery, Fellini makes even the most mundane encounters feel bizarre and alien.  Accompanied by his usual collaborators, Cinematographer, Giuseppe Rottuno and music Maestro Nino Rota, he succeeds in packing in a half an hour, nearly as much head spinning imagery as in his psychedelic grand opus, Satyricon (made shortly following this film).

…And what’s with that little girl with the rubber ball?

Guy Maddin is certainly not a household name on the level of Fellini, but to merely describe him as the most important director to hail from Winnipeg seems an inadequate accolade.  For the past 20 years he has been creating fascinating cinematic artifacts that appear to have sprung from some alternate film history.  Often using super 8mm and archaic film processes and drawing from the mise en scene of the silent cinema masters, his films are panoplies of taboo obsession and unearthed subconscious anxiety.  Taking Eisenstein’s theories of montage to their extreme, he has fashioned his own unique and very dreamlike means of coercing subjective and omniscient perspectives to occupy a single moment.  Maddin’s work comes as close as any filmmaker’s to feeling as though the he placed an unexposed roll of film beneath his pillow before sleep, and upon developing the footage, revealed a sort of direct transference of his dream state.


Originally created as a 10-part “peep show” for the Rotterdam International Film Festival, Cowards Bend The Knee tells the story of hockey sniper, Guy Maddin (which gives you some sense of how personal these dreams are) who falls obsessively in love with a beautician who cannot stand to be touched.  Drawing on themes from Tod Browning’s 1927 Lon Chaney vehicle, The Unknown as well as The Hands of Orlac what follows is at once perverse, unnerving and simply hilarious. Cowards Bend The Knee is a silent film (with music and sound effects) and is 64 minutes long. This film contains some nudity, in case one has an issue with that sort of thing.

The excitement begins at 6:30 when you will enjoy one of the best dinners in town, followed by the screening at 7:00 PM.  Hope to see you there!

Holiday Hours

Thanksgiving

– Thursday, November 22nd 9am-2:30pm open for Brunch

Christmas Eve

– Monday, December 24th – closed

Christmas

– Tuesday, December 25th – closed

New Year’s Eve

– Monday, December 31st – closed

New Year’s Day

– Tuesday, January 1st – 9am – 2:30pm open for Pajama Brunch

Restuarant Hours