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Cabaret Karaoke: Cape Ride 2018

It’s time once again for Cabaret Karaoke! Join us for one of the best themed Karaoke parties in the city! Hosted by DJ Mouthlove, join us on Thursday, June 21st at 8pm as we let our voices soar to Cape Ride 2018! As always, some singing, some drinking & NO LIP SYNCING!!!

Mother’s Bistro & Bar Presents: Predestination (2014)

Predestination (2014)

On Wednesday, May 2nd, We conclude our science fiction cinema series at Mother’s Velvet Lounge with The Spierig Brothers’ 2014 mind bender, Predestination, based on the Robert Heinlein short story, “All You Zombies”, and starring Ethan Hawke and Sarah Snook.

The Bartender (Ethan Hawke) is a Temporal Agent, assigned to track down a time traveling criminal known as The Fizzle Bomber who is journeying into the past and committing acts of catastrophic terrorism, thereby tearing at the very fabric of time. Key to his mission is a loner named John (Sarah Snook) who writes romantic advice columns for true confession magazines under the pen name, “The Unwed Mother”. In exchange for a bottle of “Old Underwear” whiskey John offers to tell his story, which begins with the preamble, “When I was a little girl…”  

What follows is a thought provoking narrative that, like the mythical Ouroboros, swallows its tail and it becomes difficult to think about time in a linear way. The Australian Spierig Brothers have remained very faithful to Heinlein’s short story (which, by the way has nothing to do with zombies), and for good reason. A story written in 1958 that explores transsexualism and runs it up against the perpetually confounding temporal paradox is worthy of our attention, and highlights a number of the paradoxes within Heinlein’s own storied and controversial career as a writer. Indeed they have even kept Heinlein’s time line with 1993 being the year when time travel was invented. This 2014 film depicts an alternate history implying that temporal agents are around us all the time and manipulating both our pasts and our futures. 

But while you’ll come for the brain twisting plot, you’ll stay for the captivating performance of Australian actress, Sarah Snook in the role of John… and Jane, the woman he once was. Snook is a singularly watchable performer and it’s surprising that she isn’t more of a household name.

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.

Cabaret Karaoke: April Showers

 

Join us on Thursday, April 19th when Cabaret Karaoke returns to Mother’s Bistro & Bar.  It’s the April Showers edition so it’s time to belt out the shower classics!  As always, some singing, some drinking & NO LIP SYNCING!

The Man Who Fell to Earth

The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976)

On Wednesday, March 7th, We continue our science fiction cinema series at Mother’s Velvet Lounge with Nicholas Roeg’s 1976 classic, The Man Who Fell To Earth, starring the Thin White Duke himself, David Bowie in his ground breaking dramatic film debut. Also staring are Candy Clark, Rip Torn and Buck Henry.

Thomas Jerome Newton (David Bowie) is a humanoid alien on a mission to establish a means of transporting water from the Earth to his dying desert home planet and hopefully save his wife and children. Without revealing his true identity, his plan involves building a company and marketing his alien technology to accrue enough capital to launch his own space program. Partnering up with patent lawyer, Oliver Farnsworth (Buck Henry), Newton establishes World Enterprises, a cutting edge tech company that takes the world by storm with dramatic leaps in home entertainment systems and photographic processes. Newton himself struggles to adapt to the ways of the inhabitants of his new home while maintaining his anonymity. He partners up romantically with the kind and uncomplicated Mary-Lou (Candy Clark), a maid at a New Mexico hotel who serves as his guide to mainstream America, but ​in the bargain introduces him to the dangerous addictions that may prove his undoing. Nathan Bryce (Rip Torn), a skirt chasing college professor becomes fascinated with Newton’s empire and joins his aerospace division in the hopes of unraveling the mystery of the man himself. 

Parallel to all of this, military,economic and political interests in the nation’s capitol are concerned that Newton’s technological revolution is actually over-stimulating the US economy and feel threatened by the unpredictability of the change that World Enterprises represents. Measures will have to be taken to stem the winds of change that Newton brings with him…

Nicholas Roeg was one of the most important figures in cinema in the first half of the 1970s directing four features that remain influential to this day. Performance (1970) which he co-directed with Donald Cammell and ​starred James Fox and Mick Jagger, was a hallucinogenic fusion of East London gangster saga and rock and roll drug film. Following that was Walkabout (1971), the critically acclaimed tale of survival set in the Australian outback. And in 1973 he adapted Daphne Du Maurier’s thriller, Don’t Look Now with Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland. Always an uncompromising visual stylist, Roeg called on his background as a cinematographer (Fahrenheit 451Far From The Madding Crowd) to create distinctly visual stories, usually with spare dialogue and little exposition. The Man Who Fell To Earth is rich in quite mysteries which invite the viewer to meet it half way. Particularly fascinating is how Roeg deals with time, often employing ​his ​signature editorial juxtapositions that ping pong between concurrent events. Though linear in its chronology, time seems to move differently for Newton than for the Terrestrial characters as he passively observes regimes rise and fall and the few humans he comes to care about grow old and wither, while he is trapped in temporal stasis.

After seeing the BBC documentary Cracked Actor, which followed Bowie’s Diamond Dogs tour of America, Roeg couldn’t see anyone else playing the part of Thomas Jerome Newton. Bowie’s lack of experience as an actor, as well as his lack of previous exposure to movie-goers proved a significant asset to the film’s effect. He truly does seem to occupy a different plane of existence from the other (more seasoned) actors. His​ slender, embryonic frame, pale skin and bizarrely toned hair go a long way to suggest someone who is trying to look human, but​ is ​just not completely formed. Bowie always said that he thoroughly trusted and gave himself over completely to Roeg, and the result is a captivating performance from one of the most significant cultural figures of the last century.  

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

Mother’s is located at 212 SW Stark.

Mother’s Velvet Lounge Presents: Quatermass and the Pit

Quatermass And The Pit (1967)

On Wednesday, December 13th, we continue our science fiction cinema series at Mother’s Velvet Lounge when we present the seminal British occult/science fiction thriller, Quatermass and the Pit (US title: Five Million Years To Earth), adapted by Nigel Kneale from his original BBC mini-series, and directed by Roy Ward Baker. The film stars Andrew Keir, James Donald, Barbara Shelly and Julian Glover.

While excavating a new underground tunnel in London, a group of workers discover the fossilized skulls of a primitive humanoid. Paleontologist, Dr Mathew Roney (James Donald) and his associate Barbara Judd (Barbara Shelley) examine the find and date the fossils at five million years, challenging everything previously theorized regarding human evolution. But when a mysterious metal object is discovered buried in the site, fears emerge that an unexploded German V weapon has been unearthed. The officious Colonel Breen of the RAF (Julian Glover) is called in to assess the situation accompanied by Professor Bernard Quatermass, the brilliant astrophysicist (Andrew Keir). Despite Breen’s insistence that the object is a relic of a war fought little more than 25 years earlier, it is apparent to the scientists that it isn’t even of Earthly origin. The implications of the discovery could upend our ideas of what it means to be human and when efforts are made to penetrate the object, a force is unleashed that could signal the end of humanity.

Originally produced by the BBC as a six episode teleplay in 1958, Quatermass and the Pit was the third installment of Nigel Kneale’s series which found his protagonist, Professor Quatermass uncovering a terrifying mystery from space. All three series were adapted into theatrical features by Hammer Films,  a studio best known for reviving gothic horror in the 60s and 70’s, and making stars of the likes of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. Though this film is largely pure science fiction, it does manage to work in occult themes and offers a sampling of cobwebs and creaky doors, not to mention a tip of the hat to H.P. Lovecraft. But the ideas behind the narrative are powerful, thought provoking and have withstood the test of time. Particularly impressive is the fact that the film’s minuscule budget of £275,000 didn’t hinder Baker and Kneale’s efforts to tackle some grandiose ideas. And while most of the photographic effects are pretty primitive by contemporary standards, the visual ideas are rich, thanks to production design from Hammer stalwarts Bernard Robinson and Ken Ryan, and have served as inspiration for countless film makers since.
  
The excitement begins at 6:30 when you will enjoy one of the best dinners in town, followed by the screening at 7:00.  Hope to see you there! 

Mother’s is located at 212 SW Stark

Mother’s Velvet Lounge presents “The Day the Earth Stood Still”

The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951)

On Wednesday, October 4th, following a two year hiatus, we resume our science fiction cinema series at Mother’s Velvet Lounge when we present Robert Wise’s seminal 1951 tale of extra-terrestrial visitation, The Day The Earth Stood Still, starring Patricia Neal, Michael Rennie, and Sam Jaffe.

A few years following World War II and at the acceleration of cold war tensions an alien spacecraft touches down in the center of Washington DC. It is immediately met with military mobilization, but from the saucer emerges an 8 foot tall robot and a humanoid named Klaatu (Michael Rennie). Though he claims to have a gift for mankind, nervous tensions prevail and he is wounded by a serviceman’s bullet. The robot, Gort responds by de-materialising all of the surrounding weapons. Able to heal his bullet wound, Klaatu escapes from a hospital, assumes a false identity and ventures forth to learn something of these Earth people. He takes lodging in the home of war widow, Helen Benson (Patricia Neal), whose son, Bobby takes an immediate liking to the stranger. Her current boyfriend, Tom (Hugh Marlow) on the other hand is less taken with the handsome, erudite lodger.

Bobby introduces Klaatu to Professor Jacob Barnhardt (Sam Jaffe) who doesn’t take long to ascertain the stranger’s origin. Klaatu impresses upon the Professor that his is a mission of peace, but also carries a warning that Earth is being watched from the stars, and if Mankind does not set aside their aggressive ways they face certain annihilation. His demonstration of the extraterrestrial power possessed by his kind forms the basis of the film’s title.

Generally regarded by both film critics and science fiction aficionados as one of the greatest films of the genre, The Day The Earth Stood Sill has aged remarkably well in the 67 years since its release. Much of this is due to the way it avoided sensationalism or hokeyness generally attributed to similar films from that decade, and instead is treated as straight drama. This is thanks to a solid and sober script by Edmund North (In A Lonely Place, Patton) and even more so Robert Wise’s sure-handed direction.

Wise is easily one of the most versatile and successful of Hollywood’s directors of the 50s and 60s. Having cut his teeth as one of the two editors on Citizen Kane (Mark Robson being the other), and even taking over for Orson Welles when the studio demanded additional shooting on The Magnificent Ambersons, he would go on to direct low-budget horror films for producer Val Lewton at RKO. His remarkable range can be seen in some of the finest examples of films within their respective genres, including Noir, (Odds Against Tomorrow), prize-fight dramas (The Set-Up), war films (Run Silent, Run Deep and The Sand Pebbles) science fiction (this film and The Andromeda Strain), Horror (The Body Snatcher and The Haunting) and even musicals (West Side Story and The Sound Of Music). It’s difficult to think of a Hollywood director of the “pre-auteur” generation possessed of so impressive a batting average.

Also of particular note (pun intended) is Bernard Herrmann’s (Citizen Kane, Vertigo) revolutionary score, which pioneered the use of electronic instrumentation, employing two Thermins as well as electric violin, cello and organ. The score set a high watermark for unearthly soundtracks and established Herrmann as perhaps the most influential composer of fantasy film music ever.

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.

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<

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!

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

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 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!

restaurants_for_raphael_house_web

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: Mulholland Dr.

Mulholland-Drive_At-Mother's-Poster

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.

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 – closed

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 – TBD

Movie Night: The Trial

The Trial (1962)

On Wednesday, November 7th, Movies at Mothers continues its series on “Dreams, The Subconscious and the Surreal”, with Orson Welles brilliant adaptation of Franz Kafka’s masterpiece of paranoia and bureaucracy, The Trial (Le procès – 1962), starring Anthony Perkins as Josef K, Romy Schneider, Jeanne Moreau, Elsa Martinelli, Akim Tamiroff and Orson Welles as The Advocate.

Many a filmmaker has attempted to capture the tone of dreams on film, and rarely does one succeed in achieving much more than a prosaic work of absurdist theater that relies on appropriated visual signifiers from other films or works of art. Dreams are used too often to represent memories, or worse yet as narrative connective tissue. Orson Welles understood that dreams exist within their own vernacular, and traditional story logic should only occasionally break the surface of an enigmatic sea of disorientation.  Possibly because of budgetary constraints, but no less inspired because of it, he chose to use existing locations around Paris and Zagreb in ways that continually subvert the viewer’s expectations. This, combined with his signature editorial style whereby layered dialogue and visual motifs seem to collide into one another, creates a seductive, if atonal cadence.

Orson Welles was on record as identifying The Trial as his best film, and in Anthony Perkins, he found the perfect Kafka protagonist. He is entirely sympathetic as the vehicle through which we experience the absurdity of contemporary society, yet much of the paranoid twitchiness of Psycho’s Norman Bates (Perkins’ career defining role from two years previous) is evident. His response to the incomprehensible persecution he suffers, combined with his innate sense of free-floating guilt, is a measure of both indignation and apology, often to darkly comic effect.

Largely faithful to Kafka’s novel, The Trial tells the story of Herr Josef K, a modest clerk who awakens one morning to find that he has been charged with a crime, the details of which are entirely unclear. He is allowed to go about his business until the appointed date of his trial, and as he attempts to find out of what exactly it is he’s accused, he is subject to a farcical bureaucracy which seems to serve only those who do not question or protest. Josef K seeks counsel from a bed ridden Advocate (Orson Welles), who has clearly gained wealth, power and respect from his clients’ plight, and as such has no particular interest in extricating them from it. The more he questions his fate, the deeper K slips into the quagmire of suspicion and self doubt. But along the way, his nightmare is occasionally interrupted by unsublimated erotic yearnings for a cabaret performer neighbor (Jeanne Moreau), the Advocate’s caretaker/mistress (Romy Schneider) and the wife of a courtroom guard (Elsa Martinelli).

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!

Movie Night: Spellbound

Spellbound (1945)

On Wednesday, October 3rd, Movies at Mothers continues its series of films on “Dreams, The Subconscious and the Surreal”, with Alfred Hitchcock’s groundbreaking 1945 psychological thriller; Spellbound, starring Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck.

Dr. Constance Peterson (Ingrid Bergman) is a dedicated psychiatrist at Green Manor Asylum who finds herself very taken with the new Director, Dr. Edwardes (Gregory Peck), who has recently arrived to relieve the venerable Dr. Murchison (Leo G. Carroll) of his post. However it soon becomes clear that Edwardes is not entirely what he seems to be, and is himself troubled and confused by his own identity. This being a Hitchcock film, there always looms the spector and threat of murder. Constance however, carried on the wings of love, trusts the handsome amnesiac explicitly and risks everything to delve deep into his subconscious to unlock the secret behind this lost, and potentially very dangerous man.

Spellbound was created early in what would prove an incredibly fertile 25 year stretch in Hitchcock’s Hollywood career, and for this film he pulled out all the stops with regard to his visual mastery. Fascinated by Freud’s dream analysis, and armed with a Ben Hecht adaptation of the novel “The House of Dr. Edwardes’, he ventured to depict the mysterious workings of the mind in visual terms. For that he looked to the art world’s avant garde and employed the undisputed master of surrealist painting, Salvador Dali, to design the scenes illustrating the protagonist’s dreams and repressed memories. To add to the unearthly tone of these sequences, composer Miklos Rozsa embellished his Academy Award winning score with a theremin accompaniment, which was the first time this proto-synthesiser was used for a Hollywood feature. In the years that followed, the instrument would be the premier aural signifier for psychological mysteries, and outer space adventures.

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.

Movie Night at Mother’s Returns!

Mother’s Velvet Lounge Presents “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”

The summer hiatus draws to a close, and on Wednesday, September 5th our monthly movie night returns to Mother’s Velvet Lounge.  In keeping with the tradition of a yearly theme, this season’s series is entitled, “Dreams, The Subconscious and The Surreal”.

Cinema is without precedent in the history of the arts, with its omniscient point of view, transmutation of time, and ability to trick the eye well past the suspension of disbelief.  The only human experience that shares this with cinema is the act of dreaming.  It is no accident that the camera has often been referred to as the “Dream Machine”, and now after more than a century of cinema, dreams and film have come to draw from each other.  This year we will look at the history of how filmmakers, recognizing this parity, have attempted to capture and bottle the essence of dreams and unearth the deepest mysteries of our collective psyche.

Our first feature is the quintessential classic of expressionist cinema, Robert Wiene’s The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari (1920).  While this remarkable silent film is not the first film to depict a dream world, it is the first to attempt to define the landscape of the subconscious.  By drawing on the stylings of the German Expressionist movement which influenced the painting, sculpture and theater of the time, Weine was able to create a contorted world which seemed plucked from a tortured psyche.

The story begins as Francis (Friedrich Feher) recounts the story of how he, his fiance, Jane (Lil Dagover), and best friend, Alan, encountered a sideshow performer named Dr Caligari (Werner Krauss) while visiting a carnival.  The titular cabinet in his possession (really a coffin) contains the somnambulist Cesare (Conrad Veidt) who, when stirred from his catatonia, can predict the fortunes of visitors to the exhibit.  Cesare predicts the death of Alan who is found dead the following day. Francis suspects foul play on the part of the Doctor and his sleepwalking ghoul, and as he attempts to expose Caligari as a charlatan and murderer he places the woman he loves in ever deepening peril.

Several aspects of this film mark it as a landmark of cinema.  The unusual narrative, which plumbs the depths of psychosis and mind control, was something very new for audiences.  The science of modern psychology was still relatively new in 1920, with Freud’s “Interpretation Of Dreams” written a mere 21 years earlier.  Neither literature nor theater had had much of an opportunity to explore this new science of the mind.   Here the brilliant realization of a threatening landscape with  twisted architecture and knife-like angles abounding surely convinced the audience of the time that this new medium had the ability to capture nightmares.  Visually the film was way ahead of its time.  The Chiaroscuro lighting, impossible to achieve with the primitive lenses and early film stock, had to be created by painting shadows on the set.  The resulting imagery would serve as a crucial influence on Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Billy Wilder and more recently Martin Scorsese, David Lynch and Tim Burton.

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

FEAST

Chef Lisa Schroeder is honored to be participating in FEAST Portland’s showcase of comfort food at the High Comfort event at the Multnomah Athletic Club on Saturday, September 22, 2012 from 6:30pm-9:30pm

DateNightPDX

Treat your date to a romantic dinner at Mother’s Bistro & Bar in the heart of downtown Portland. Our crystal chandelier lit dining room, made-from-scratch menu and scrumptious desserts are the perfect combination for date night.

Join Mother’s Bistro & Bar in support of DateNightPDX! During the month of August tell your server you’re on a date and  we’ll offer you a special $25 prix-fixe menu.