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Mother’s Velvet Lounge Presents: Meek’s Cutoff

Kelly Reichardt’s Meek’s Cutoff at Mother’s Velvet Lounge

Note: To those regular attendees of Movies at Mother’s, the April offering will not be “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” as originally announced.

Also note that Mother’s Velvet Lounge is still at its original location at 212 SW Harvey Milk St. and NOT at Mother’s Restaurant’s new location at The Embassy Suites. 

On Wednesday April 3rd, Movies at Mothers continues The Women Directors Series with Kelly Reichardt’s 2010 feminist take on a true tale of the Oregon Trail, Meek’s Cutoff, starring Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Zoe Kazan, Shirley Henderson and Paul Dano.In 1845, a splinter group of settlers traveling the Oregon Trail were convinced by the fur trapper, Stephen Meek (Bruce Greenwood) that an alternative to the customary route following the Columbia River would take them directly through Eastern Oregon to the Willamette Valley, avoiding potentially aggressive Walla Walla and Cayuse tribes of the North. This film’s narrative begins well into the journey after the majority of the 200 strong wagon train has abandoned Meek due to a lack of confidence in his questionable familiarity with Eastern Oregon. The small band that has remained with him is now lost and also loosing patience as the lack of water and grass is taking a mighty toll on oxen and human travelers alike. Emily Tetherow (Michelle Williams) sees the travelers’ fates quickly unraveling, and when a lone Cayuse is captured by the party, she must take take control of the situation, and possibly place her faith in someone whose language she does not speak and whose intentions are unknown.

Kelly Reichardt, though originally from Florida has based the majority of her films in the Northwest and more specifically Oregon. Her melancholy second feature, Old Joy (2006), shot in Portland and Bagby Hot Springs, follows the reuniting of two old friends discovering that the difference in their separate paths may be irreconcilable. Wendy and Lucy (2008) follows a homeless woman (Michelle Williams) and her dog as they make their way from Portland to Astoria. Night Moves (2013), shot in and around Medford tells the story of three environmental activists (Jesse Eisenberg, Peter Sarsgaard and Dakota Fanning) wrestling with their commitment to radical action and its potential repercussions. Her work usually deals with characters existing at the boundaries between nature and civilized society, her camera drinking in the majestic nature that surrounds Oregon’s cities or the various small Montana towns depicted in her most recent offering, Certain Women (2016). That nature at once softens and embraces these pockets of human settlement, while at the same time looms over them ready to consume and reclaim.

Meek’s Cutoff is a loose adaptation of historical record. Reichardt has taken one of the more sorrowful episodes from the early days of the Oregon Trail and has refashioned it to shine a distinctly contemporary light on female empowerment, masculine authority and xenophobia. And yet all through it there is a remarkable sense of authenticity to the manners of the characters and their costumes. As shot by Christopher Blauvelt, the 1:33:1 Academy aspect ratio doesn’t simply imbue the film with a vintage appearance. The absence of the usual panoramic perspective we are accustomed to seeing in Westerns ties our field of view to that of the women in the story whose tunnel-like bonnets act as blinders, forcibly limiting their ability to see the world around them.

Apart from Reichardt favorite, Michelle Williams, the film also features solid performances from Bruce Greenwood, Paul Dano, Shirley Henderson and Will Patton as well as the always wonderful Zoe Kazan sporting the bonnet and the Oregon Trail dust she’s be wearing eight years later in “The Gal Who Got Rattled” segment in The Coen Brothers’ The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018).              
The excitement begins at 7:00 when you will enjoy one of the best dinners in town, followed by the screening at 7:30.  Looking forward to seeing you there!


Mother’s Velvet Lounge is located at 212 SW Harvey Milk St..

Paul Harrod


Mother’s Velvet Lounge Presents: The Hitch-Hiker


Ida Lupino’s The Hitch-Hiker at Mother’s Velvet Lounge

On Wednesday March 6th, Movies at Mothers continues The Women Directors Series with Ida Lupino’s 1953 Film Noir classic, The Hitch-Hiker starring Edmond O’Brien, Frank Lovejoy and William Talman.

Last Month we saw one of the seminal films of Dorothy Arzner, the first woman ever admitted into the Director’s Guild of America. This month we present a film from Ida Lupino the only female Hollywood director of the 1950s and the second woman admitted into the DGA.

Roy Collins (Edmond O’Brien) and Gilbert Bowen (Frank Lovejoy) are old Army buddies who haven’t seen much of each other since they both married and started families. To remedy the situation they are getting away for a few days together on a fishing trip. Little do they know that a series of killings have taken place on the highway at the hands of Emmett Myers (William Tallman) who is attempting to flee to Mexico. Within minutes of kindly offering a ride to the hitchhiker, the two friends find themselves captives to the sadistic whims of a brutal psychopath, and what follows is a white knuckle journey into the dark psychology of post war America.

While the British born Ida Lupino was best known as a leading lady in B-movies and film noir, she was a true Hollywood trailblazer, the like of whom the industry would not see again for decades. Of the five feature films she directed (this doesn’t include uncredited work she performed taking the reins of Not Wanted (1949) and On Dangerous Ground [1951] when their respective directors Elmer Clifton and Nicholas Ray fell ill, or the countless TV productions to her credit), The Hitch-Hiker stands as her strongest work. Interestingly enough it is also the one that that has virtually no female characters apart from those who occupy off-screen consideration within the dialogue. Working a script she wrote with Robert Joseph and her screenwriting partner/ex-husband Collier Young, from a story by a blacklisted, hence uncredited Daniel Mainwaring, Lupino fashions this story of highway terror into something much more than a mere thriller. The three men can be taken to represent the different states of mind of the post-war American male and in many ways it serves as a kind of precursor to John Boorman’s Deliverance (1972) in it’s dissection of masculine codes. 

Gilbert stands as the solid, moral center of the story who seems to have returned from the war sobered, but relatively unscathed. Roy on the other hand rushed into marriage following the war so quickly that he feels he somehow missed out on the revelry of young adulthood. We don’t know for certain if Emmett ever served, but if he did the experience only compounded the psychosis of a man whose past has been filled with violence, including almost certain abuse as a child. William Talman (he will always be best remembered as the District Attorney, Hamilton Berger who was perpetually trounced in court by TV’s Perry Mason) offers up Emmett as a singularly nasty piece of work, whose one perpetually open eye will haunt you long after the Baja California dust has settled.

Lupino and her cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca (Cat People -1942, Out of the Past -1947) make great use of their desert locations shot around Lone Pine, standing in for Baja. The sense of desolation and loneliness, along with the recognition that there is no place to run add to the tension. The Hitch-Hiker is an assured work from a director whose films feel at times like an American answer to Italian Neo-Realism. She deliberately sought to cast gifted actors who didn’t feel like movie stars. Their lack of familiarity to the audience and the absence of type-casting baggage engenders an unpredictable tone to the proceedings, and they are able to fully inhabit their characters.            

The excitement begins at 6:30 when you will enjoy one of the best dinners in town, followed by the screening at 7:00.  Looking forward to seeing you there!
Mother’s Velvet Lounge is located at 212 SW Harvey Milk Street.

Paul Harrod

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: The Andromeda Strain

The Andromeda Strain (1971)

On Wednesday, January 3rd, we continue our science fiction cinema series at Mother’s Velvet Lounge presenting Robert Wise’s brilliant 1971 film adaptation of Micheal Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain, staring Arthur Hill, James Olson, Kate Reid and David Wayne.

While recovering the space probe, “Scoop” in the tiny New Mexico burgh of Piedmont, two service men discover that the entire population of the town appears to have perished, and within minutes of exposure the two men themselves succumb. A crack team of scientists led by  Bacteriologist, Dr. Jeremy Stone (Arthur Hill) is assembled to collect the probe and secret it away to a high tech underground lab facility called Wildfire to determine the nature of the alien organism and to find a means of preventing a possible viral outbreak. To complicate matters, medical expert and surgeon, Dr. Mark Hall (James Olsen) has to determine the common factor shared by the only two survivors of the initial exposure: a six month old infant and a elderly Sterno addict. Rounding out the team are Pathologist Dr Charles Dutton (David Wayne) and Microbiologist Dr. Ruth Levitt (Kate Reid).
The Andromeda Strain is likely the premier example of “hard” science fiction with a capitol “H”. That is, a narrative anchored in known science and depicting technology that’s within reach of current state of the art. Though by the age of 28, Michael Crichton had written about five novels under different pseudonyms, this was the first one which he published under his actual name. It proved an instant best seller, but even more striking it established a new genre of literature that combined meticulously researched science with rousing pulse pounding action and adventure.
For the second time in this year’s screenings of science fiction classics we turn to a film directed by the great Robert Wise (having screened The Day The Earth Stood Still in October), a chameleon like director whose approach was to always place the requirements of the narrative above any auteur-driven stylistic flourishes. In the case of this film he convincingly represents a scientific community and a technological environment free of most of the trappings of Hollywood tradition.
A huge debt is owed to the work of equally versatile production designer Boris Levin, with whom Wise worked on West Side StoryThe Sound of Music and The Sand Pebbles. Levin’s design for the Wildfire complex with its color coded levels and laser protected central shaft is as vital a player in the film as any of the cast members. Visual effects pioneer, Douglas Trumbull, who three years earlier was instrumental in changing the future of cinema with his work on 2001: A Space Odyssey created a series of seamless visuals for this film including 3D computer graphics (all analogue, as the technology didn’t even exist at the time) and entirely convincing macro-photography.
Also of note is the unique electronic score by Gil Melle. Using a variety of analogue synthesizers and electronic instrumentation he created a soundscape for the film that blurs the boundaries between dramatic score and technological sound effects.
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 Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)

The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)

On Wednesday, November 8th, we continue our science fiction cinema series at Mother’s Velvet Lounge when we present the classic Jack Arnold directed thriller, The Incredible Shrinking Man starring Grant Williams and adapted by Richard Matheson from his novel.

While vacationing on a boat in placid Caribbean waters, Scott Carey is exposed to a cloud of mysterious metallic dust particles. Upon his return home he is accidentally sprayed with a pesticide, and soon thereafter begins to notice that he is loosing weight and that none of his clothes fit. Initially thinking little of the change, he eventually realizes that he is loosing height as well. His condition proves utterly confounding to medical science, and Scott and his caring wife, Louise have to face the possibility that he might live the remainder of his adult life as a midget. His diminishing size and sense of helplessness begins to take a toll on his psyche and his anger begins to manifest itself as a kind of tyranny. 
But being stared at and treated as a freak are the least of the terrors fate has in store for him…
The Incredible Shrinking Man is, to my mind, the most poignant science fiction film from the 1950’s in that the horror facing its Everyman protagonist comes not from outer space, the center of the earth, or the uncharted depths of the ocean. It isn’t a giant insect mutated by radiation or a dinosaur awoken from it slumber by a mining operation. It is his own identity in the face of a modern world where humanity is dwarfed by the end product of its own industry.
Richard Matheson’s screenplay was adapted from his novel, “The Shrinking Man”, with the hyperbolic “Incredible” added to the film’s title as a marketing concession. The novel’s title, with the absent adjective is indicative of the philosophical thrust of Matheson’s story rather than a sensationalistic one, and true to the spirit of much of his oeuvre which included I Am LegionDuelSomewhere In Timeand What Dreams May Come. His are stories of ordinary people under extraordinary circumstances and serve as powerful allegories for the human condition. His teleplays for the original The Twilight Zone series are among the most memorable and include Nightmare at 20,000 FeetThe Invaders, and Third From the Sun.

Jack Arnold might be regarded as one of the first “genre” directors having helmed such classics as It Came From Outer SpaceCreature From The Black Lagoon and Tarantula (one of the other films he directed that dealt with oversized arachnids). His style here is solid and well grounded, and allows Matheson’s script to flourish. Arnold was also very adept at working with a visual effects heavy production like this and for the era, the photographic effects were far above par. Also impressive was the work of the art directing duo of Robert Clatworthy and Alexander Golitzen (Touch of Evil), whose use of over scaled sets and props is simply mind boggling.
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.

Portland Business Journal Award


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


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.


Best of Portland!


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


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


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


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
Activating Happy

Mother’s Velvet Lounge Presents “Things to Come”



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


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



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 and a map of all the locations at!

Mother’s Velvet Lounge Presents “All That Jazz”

All-That-Jazz-at-Mother's-Poster_email (1)


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”



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


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

Oregon Commission for Women



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



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”



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)



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”



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”


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”



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!


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”


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)



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


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



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.




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!


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!


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

Click HERE

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