A spy fights for redemption

Moviegoers looking for entertainment without superheroes or CGI effects have a first-class alternative in “A Most Wanted Man,” an intelligent and suspenseful thriller about agents fighting the war on Islamic terror. The film features one of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s final performances, as a man dealing simultaneously with potential Muslim terrorists and with power struggles inside his own clandestine organization. It is an adaptation of the novel by John Le Carre.

Gunther Bachman (Hoffman) is a prematurely aging chain-smoking spy who has been relegated to duty in Hamburg after some kind of snafu at his previous posting in Beirut. Hamburg is a demotion, and Gunther would like to redeem himself as he operates alertly and doggedly, but he seems to carry the weight of the whole Western anti-terror apparatus on his shoulders. His burdens include dealing with a helpful American diplomat (Robin Wright) whom he does not trust, and a German do-gooder lawyer (Rachel McAdams) who does not trust him. Meanwhile he masterminds an operation that will possibly net him the cooperation of a high level financier of terrorist operations.

Directed by Anton Corbijn, “A Most Wanted Man” manages to maintain a consistent level of tension without the help of explosions or bombastic music. The city of Hamburg seems dismal and brooding, mirroring the state of Gunther himself.

Given the choice of using a German cast speaking German, the filmmakers opted to instead use American actors in the larger roles and have the characters speak English with a German accent. This decision is redeemed by outstanding performances. The cast, which also includes Willem Defoe as a prominent German banker, is uniformly excellent, with Hoffman providing at its center a spy in the La Carre mode: Pragmatic, often weary, but relentless.

A Most Wanted Man

122 minutes, rated R

At the Regal 

Santiam Theater.

Guitars Under the Stars & SWPICKS

Several H-U-G-E rock stars are performing at Cheadle Lake Park in Lebanon for Oregon Summer Concerts, LLC production of “Guitars Under the Stars”! This lineup is studded with amazing artists including Floater, Ty Curtis, Gary Hoey, Pat Travers, Tony MacAlpine, Bruce Bouilet, Larry Mitchell, Travis Larson, Jennifer Batten, Ed to Shred, Points North, Triaxe, Splintered Throne, Agnozia, Earth to Ashes, Black Powder County, Summer Soundtrack! Headlined by Lita Ford this festival also boasts camping, on-site vendors, and of course weekend pass rates! The 35 acre park features state of the art power infrastructure and room for plenty of attendees and 5,000 campers nearby. The site also boasts plenty of room for gourmet food and craft vendors so if you are interested in getting involved with your booth or would like more information about volunteering at this festival you may access oregonsummerconcerts.com.

It’s difficult to describe the scale at which this production is to be executed. Needless to say the producers are doing it for the love of music. If you enjoy summer living and festival season this event has all the promise of a long lasting and mind-blowing concert series!



Friday August 8- Sunday August 10

Tickets start at $25 (detailed info online)

Cheadle Lake Park 37954 Weiwich Drive

Lebanon, OR 97355




Saturday August 9

10:00pm – 21+

Brown’s Towne Lounge 189 Liberty Street

Rich McCloud has recently solidified a band that really takes his songwriting and singing ability to the next level. Along with bass player Jarred Venti, drummer Mark Hernandez, and guitar player Brandon Logan (and a number of other rotating cast) the group weave interesting and groove based musical symmetry that will have you swaying. You have yet another opportunity to hear this group at the local Liberty Street hot spot!



Saturday August 9

7:00pm – All ages

Venti’s Tap House 2840 Commercial Street S

The 9 person funk powerhouse will help Venti’s Taphouse celebrate its anniversary along with S.A.L.E.M. (Salem’s Amazing Local Exhibition of Microbreweries)! There will be plenty of area proprietors’ brew featuring Santiam, Vagabond, Gilgamesh, Salem Ale Works, McMenamins Thompson’s, The Ram, and Wandering Angus Ciderworks all of which are made here in Salem! Also performing this commemoration is Bend’s Greg Botsford!



Tuesday August 12


Orange House

The new house show spot, Orange House already lives in infamy for the caricature cast that lives there. Now they’re building a reputation for having very eccentrically charged performances- to which this event is no exception. Julian Snow will perform his puppet show and simultaneously release his new EP this night. Phoenix Arizona’s lo-fi oddities Run-on Sunshine perform. Aldo Calrissian’s improvisational electro act and curious genius Escape Pod Pete will also be adding their cards to the performance tarot. (Ask friends about Orange House’s exact location.)



Saturday August 16

8:00pm Doors – All ages – $5

Level B Theater Pub 445 High Street SE

Newly formed super group, Pepperbox, made up of Todd McPherson, Rod Steward, J Saucy, and Casey Nova join the new and improved incarnation of local legend and Oregon musician’s Hall of Fame inductee- Eric Lovre’s band for a night of rock and roll at the theater pub! Truly world class musicianship and Eric’s history of Portland scene pioneering will be showcased for their home town here in Salem! It is quite astonishing the number of amazing players from our little city and you can be proud to come out and represent and become transcendent through the gateway of their rock and roll!


Fifth and last in a series about poets born in 1914

1914 (#5)

Dylan Thomas is the last in our series of poets born in 1914, the same year as William Stafford. As with Stafford, the centennial of Thomas’s birth is being commemorated world-wide, centered at his hometown of Swansea, Wales.

A prolific writer of poems, fiction, screenplays, and memoirs, his first book of verse was published when he was 18. His best know collection, Deaths and Entrances (1946) sold out its first printing of 3000 copies within a month, and in his early 30s Thomas was firmly established as one of the most important English language poets of his generation, if not the 20th century.

Thomas has been called the first “rock star” of poetry. So great was his popularity that he toured the United States four times between 1950 and 1953, packing halls with his resonant, melodious recitations. It was on his final tour that Thomas died, in New York, of complications following a drinking binge.

Much has been made of Thomas’s life—the flamboyance, the alcoholism, the philandering, the hubris and self-promotion that masked an incessant self-doubt. All of these situate him in the company of other highly romanticized poets such as Byron and Shelley. But more significantly, Thomas’s poetry follows in the tradition of 19th century Romanticism in its lyric emphasis on emotion and the imagination over intellectual constructs.

“Poetry,” he writes, “is what in a poem makes you laugh, cry, prickle, be silent, makes your toenails twinkle, makes you want to do this or that or nothing, makes you know that you are alone and not alone in the unknown world, that your bliss and suffering is forever shared and forever all your own. All that matters about poetry is the enjoyment of it however tragic it may be. All that matters is the eternal movement behind it – the great undercurrent of human grief, folly, pretension, exaltation and ignorance – however unlofty the intention of the poem.”

Some critics cite the inaccessibility of much of Thomas’s poetry with its often abstruse tropes and intensely personal expression. Fair enough for those to whom a poem must, above all, “make sense.” But the essence of poetry is in the expression of experience, the perceptions of consciousness; it’s about “sense” as feeling, the ineffable immediacy of what it means to be alive.

In this “sense,” the poems of Dylan Thomas offer deep and rich treasures, served up in a mastery of craft. His use of forms (most notably sonnet and villanelle), rhythm, rhyme, and the many other sound values of language weave words into musical compositions in which, like a fine symphony, theme and meaning is conveyed rather than stated. One need only listen to any of the several recordings of Thomas performing his poetry to realize fully the power and the pleasures of the work that he has left us.

In his “Poetic Manifesto,” Thomas asserts that “the best craftsmanship always leaves holes and gaps in the works of the poem so that something that is not in the poem can creep, crawl, flash, or thunder in. The joy and function of poetry is, and was, the celebration of man, which is also the celebration of God.”


Silverton resident Steve Slemenda serves on the Board of the Silverton Poetry Association. He is recently retired from a career of English instruction at Chemeketa Community College.


Line Break is a partnership between Salem Weekly and Mid Valley Poetry Society (MVPS), a group working to spread awareness and appreciation of poets and poetry in the greater Salem area through articles, events, and monthly meetings. News of its activities can be found at oregonpoets.org For information about local poetry events or to submit a column for review, contact Ruth at hudgie45@gmail.com


Embrace downtown food carts

Who’s afraid of food carts? Not me. I’m thrilled that the City Council recently approved revisions to a food cart ordinance, thanks largely to the Salem Food Cart Association and Councilor Diane Dickey.

Now food carts can stay in a location for as long as business dictates and cluster together in pods. Before they had to move every six months and be 500 feet apart.

Great news.

Food carts are a big success in Portland, drawing national acclaim from Bon Appétit magazine and CNN. So what’s not to like about having a vibrant food cart scene everywhere in Salem, including downtown?

Nothing. But to some people here change is scary even when it is for the better. Diversity, creativity, more eating options… Eek!

At the July 14 city council meeting I was surprised to hear several councilors and restaurant owners talk about their Big Fear that people would flock to a downtown food cart pod and — oh no, the horror — enjoy eating there!

Theoretically, possibly, just maybe, the worry was that some of these people might choose a quick and easy food cart meal over a sit-down restaurant offering.

Well, this is called competition and free enterprise.

Even in the People’s Republic of Portland, where downtown food cart pods harmoniously coexist with restaurants. On SW 9th and Alder there are more than 60 food carts; on SW 4th and Hall, 25 food carts.

Richard Foote and other Salem food cart owners spoke the truth at the council meeting. Their businesses bring people together, fostering a sense of community, adding life and vitality to an area.

Whatever brings people downtown is good.

Incoming city councilor Tom Andersen testified that during his campaign he visited 700 homes. Along with virtually unanimous opposition to a third bridge, he found very favorable attitudes toward food carts.

Andersen asked the City Council to imagine a food cart pod at the Civic Center’s Mirror Pond or the Convention Center’s Sculpture Garden, two downtown dead spaces. “Think of people and energy there, versus how they are now,” Andersen said.

Oh, I am, Tom. Bring it on, food cart’ers.

There’s nothing to fear from you, notwithstanding the job-loss scariness an Oregon Restaurant Association lobbyist tried to serve up at the meeting. Obviously food carts offer a different eating option than sit-down restaurants.

It makes as much sense to ban them from downtown as banning grocery stores would. After all, food can be bought from each, competing with restaurants.

The City Council should let Salem’s food cart scene evolve naturally, responding to consumer demand.

Amending the city ordinance governing food carts was a wonderful example of bottom-up citizen initiative. The impetus came from creative, energetic people who didn’t want anything standing in the way of them providing a desired mobile food service.

Portland, Corvallis, and Eugene all allow downtown food carts. Salem needs to continue to do the same, resisting unjustified fears of restaurants failing because a fresh way of dining has come to town.


Strange Up Salem seeks to lift our city’s Blah Curse. Give us a Facebook like. Brian Hines blogs at hinesblog.com


We Can Build Small Business Success, Together

July 1st I set out to meet with as many small business owners as possible in the month of July.  As a small business owner and the son of a man who has operated a local small business for more than 30 years, I was familiar with many of the challenges and opportunities associated with making a family business profitable.  But I wanted to learn more.

In my travels around the area, I heard the stories of the men and women who go to work and run their own business every single day.  These entrepreneurs have little time for vacations or for the “extras” some of us may take for granted.  I met with a young man who, with his fiancé, followed his dream from the inner city of L.A. to open a specialty bakery in Salem. I talked with the owner of a pub in Monmouth that has truly changed the face of a community.  A young couple with a fishing service helped me understand the complex relationship between local business and national retailers. Every story was different, every story was compelling, and every business owner was sincere in his or her desire to be a productive community citizen.

Several themes emerged from the stories. Some business owners saw a need to link their companies with area colleges and universities. Everyone, they told me, would benefit from these partnerships. Others pointed out the need for a business coach or mentor for those in the first stages of opening a business. I heard from others that they would appreciate a more streamlined process of application and regulation. I listened and learned about the critical needs our small businesses could benefit from: the tools needed for these employers to hire more employees.

These conversations and the ideas generated from them have led me to facilitate the establishment of the Mid-Willamette Valley Small Business Roundtable (MWVSBR).  This group will provide small business entrepreneurs with an open forum for policy development, discussion, and advocacy. Many small business owners appreciate the services provided by traditional organizations, but they seek a voice for their specific concerns.  Too often conflicting priorities have been an obstacle.

MWVSMR will be solely dedicated to facilitating policies that will generate ideas for small business expansion and growth: job creation for the 21st century.  Together we can change our neighborhoods – one successful small business, one new hire – at a time.


Paul Evans was born in Salem, Oregon and raised in Monmouth. He was a city councilor and Mayor of Monmouth, and owns two small businesses, Mayberry Enterprises and Northwest Passage Trading Company. Pual is currently running for Oregon’s House District 20, which represents South and West Salem, Independence and Monmouth.

“Nerd” a nutty delight

Currently playing at the Pentacle Theater is “The Nerd,” a comedy by Larry Shue.  It’s the third production of the play given in the Theater’s 60-years, and it’s easy to see why; The Nerd is a high-energy romp with dynamic characters in conflict and a new development every five minutes to keep the audience laughing.

It’s a tale of a visit from a good-natured, disaster-laden jerk, and the desperate efforts of a group of people to rid themselves of his company.  Along the way, hilarity ensues by way of both physical comedy and snappy dialogue.

As one of the characters says, “This is a desperate situation and it calls for something completely infantile.”

Willum (Brad Steiner) is a striving architect who is on thin ice with his boss, and whose girlfriend is about to take a job in a faraway city.  In the army his life was saved by a man named Rick whom he has never actually met.  When this same hero phones that he will be visiting, Willum looks forward to meeting him and showing his gratitude.  As he has previously written Rick, “As long as I’m on earth you have someone who will do anything for you.”

The problem is that Rick (Michael Collins) turns out to be clueless and boorish to an extreme, disrupting Willum’s life on several fronts, putting Willum, who doesn’t want to go back on his word, in a bind.  As things develop, Willum’s situation becomes more complicated, and his and his friend’s energies to solve the problem become even more feverish.

The cast is strong across the board, with standouts Tavis Evans as an overly helpful neighbor, Bryce Anderson as a believable foil and Jennifer Meyers as a woman who deals with stress by crushing dishware.

The Director is Geri Sanders, who, the night we saw the production, told us, “I loved directing this.  I got to spend all summer laughing, and now I get to share it with everyone else.”


The Nerd

By Larry Shue

Pentacle Theater, West Salem

Through August 2

When the river rocks

Two upcoming concerts will mean live music along the Willamette when bands visit the area this summer.  As a continuation of the River Rocks series, Salem will see a Blues Night concert on July 16, with Janiva Magness and Curtis Salgado, each bringing their own interpretation of the blues style to the stage.  OnJuly 23, Kristian Bush will appear.

Magness has recently had to overcome a series of deaths and divorce and a 2012 surgery that almost ended her singing career.  She persists, she says, thanks to her vocal coach Nate Lamm, who taught her how to sing in a way that allows her to have more command of her sound than ever.  “This is the first time I have been able to tap every part of my own voice for my own songs,” she says.  “They required everything I had to tell their stories and to express everything that I was feeling.”

It should be a night of consummate contrast when Magness is paired with Salgado, the award-winning vocalist who Blues Review described as offering, “Triumphant, joyful, blues-soaked R&B; this is music that hits hard and makes you want to move.”

Salgado has been perfecting his craft since he first began playing professionally in the late 1960s.  He fronted his own group, The Nighthawks and inspired John Belushi to create The Blues Brothers.

The night of July 23, Kristian Bush, the American country singer, songwriter and multi instrumentalist ​of Sugarland will perform with the highly respected band​.  Bush has won 6 BMI awards for songwriting; his first single, Love or Money, debuted in Europe on iTunes along with an official lyric video released on YouTube in the U.S. the following week.  A tuneful night of excitement and heat ​will be enjoyed by all beneath the stars when Bush performs in Salem.

For more information, contact RiverRockSalem on the web, or Northwest Events and Marketing. 


North Mississippi Trance Blues; Appalachia; Punkabilly. These words are all used to describe the sound of the tenured and risk-taking artists, Hillstomp. They have been a force in the Northwest and beyond for some time: systematically converting new ears and minds to their sound. John Johnson’s spread of novelty and classic instruments ranging from washboards to BBQ lids and assorted buckets combines with Henry Christian’s drenching and rambunctious slide guitar alongside his cadenced bluesy lyricism. Henry and John have been performing as Hillstomp for over 10 years, are experienced touring musicians, and have several acclaimed albums. Their new release, entitled “Portland, Oregon” picks up where the band left off with the group exploring their sound and pushing new frontiers of instrumentation. You will hear everything from ballads to some raging stomp songs all seamlessly woven with the round tone and party-record feel we have come to expect from players with such chemistry.

You can hear this amazing duo live coming up at Monmouth’s Music in the Park series! All ages are welcome and you are invited to enjoy music, food, and a beer & wine garden! Wednesdays at Main Street Park through August an assortment of groups will perform and Hillstomp will take the stage on Wednesday July 16. Witness the powerhouse of two worldly individuals that have birthed their own infectious spirit of fun in your own backyard! For more information you can access hillstomp.com and for full lineup info head to the City of Monmouth website – www.ci.monmouth.or.


Friday July 11, 7:00pm

$10/ $8 CVS/ $5 Student

VFW Hall 630 Hood Street NE

A dance lesson, live music, and an all-around Irish atmosphere are in store for attendees to the Ceili of The Valley’s 2nd Friday event. Caller Maldon Meehan will accompany the live musicians in a traditional style of Irish dance and if you show up at 7:00pm sharp you are able to get a lesson to help you explore your inner Celt. Access ceiliofthevalley.org for more information!



Friday July 11 –Saturday July 12

2:00pm each day – Free – All ages/ 21+

Duffy’s Hangar 2275

McGilchrist Street SE

Jared Sheridan’s annual Salem Oregon Live Arts and Music Explosion cater to every musical taste. Duffy’s Hangar graciously hosts with over 60 bands and both indoor and outdoor all ages stage passes until 8pm. At this time Duffy’s takes on its natural bar status and all ages events continue outdoors while 21 and over festival-goers may listen to more music throughout the evening indoors. All locations offer music until around midnight each night! Full lineup details are available at “Facebook.com/Solamefest”!!



Saturday July 12

8:00pm – $7 Advance/ $9 Door

Level B Theater Pub 445 High Street SE

Up and coming side project of former Portugal. The Man member, Ryan Neighbors joins with prolific Salem/ Portland electronic songster, Daniel Rafn and Salem buzz band- Roman Tick for a nonstop night of big sounds and art rock dance songs! For advance tickets and more band information access levelbtheaterpub.com!



Wednesday July 16

7:00pm – All ages – $15

Riverfront Park

These 2 award winning performers will take the stage in this summer’s 2nd installment of the River Rocks series at Riverfront Park. Join blues greats as they strut their stuff for the Salem community!  Advance ticket information and further lineup info can be accessed at riverrocksalem.com.



Saturday July 19, 9:00pm – Free – 21+

Brown’s Town Lounge 189 Liberty Street NE

Infamous local guitar player Mark Lemhouse has solidified his current live performance incarnation. The Sublimities feature staple Salem musicians Chris Hooper, Jeff Graham, and Jeff Booth as their award winning front man’s solid backup. Expect Americana and roots oriented tunes with a contemporary spin and a healthy dose of on stage risk-taking!

Forth in a series about poets born in 1914

Weldon Kees, another poet born the same year as William Stafford, carries as one of his legacies his mysterious disappearance on July 18, 1955 in San Francisco, where he had been living for four years after a sojourn across the nation from his birthplace in Beatrice, Nebraska to Denver to New York.  His car was found on the approach to the Golden Gate Bridge, but he himself has never been found after all these 59 years.  He had talked to friends of going to Mexico to start a new life, and whispers of suicidal longings are sprinkled throughout his poems.  Yet his vanishing “without a trace” seems a symbolic and Romantic act and work of art.

Who was Weldon Kees?  In 41 years he accomplished more than most aspiring artists achieve in a life twice as long.  He is perhaps best described as a modernist in the grand tradition of the Renaissance.  Besides being a poet finely tuned to the tempo of his time, he was also a writer of short fiction; an editor with the Federal Writers’ Project; a staff writer for Time magazine; a documentary film maker for Paramount Newsreels; a painter whose abstract canvases were once exhibited with William de Kooning’s in New York; a jazz pianist and composer who wrote the score to the experimental film The Adventures of Jimmy; a photographer who contributed hundreds of photos in a collaborative authorship with Dr. Jurgen Ruesch, a psychiatrist at the University of California, on a book entitled Non-Verbal Communication; and a playwright whose one short play “The Waiting Room,” influenced by Satre’s No Exit, remains unproduced.

Among all of these pursuits and ambitions it is poetry that Kees was most drawn to.  He published three volumes, gathered from journals as prestigious as Poetry magazine, which honored him with the Oscar Blumenthal Award in 1948.  Still, he worked in the shadow of famous mid-century poets, never achieving their stature.  He was not chosen for the major anthologies until 1970 when The Voice That Is Great Within Us, edited by Hayden Carruth, featured five of his poems, including “The Beach in August,” a representative, sardonic work about the “human condition,” in which the narrator observes swimmers’ engagement with the sea while “the tide goes in and out.”  The inclusion of Kees in this anthology was occasioned by The Collected Poems of Weldon Kees ten years earlier in 1960, when poet Donald Justice brought together the out-of-print volumes plus 16 “found” poems, published by The University of Nebraska Press.

Kees was greatly disturbed by the presence of the atomic bomb in the world, foreshadowed by Eliot’s wasteland, erasing Whitman’s vision of a new America.  His poems are often bitter, satiric, but musically and vividly alive.  It is right and good that critics are not letting his poems disappear as he himself did.


Salem native R. S. Stewart serves on the Board of the Silverton Poetry Association.  His poems appear most recently in Canary and Poetry Salzburg Review.


Line Break is a partnership between Salem Weekly and Mid Valley Poetry Society (MVPS), a group working to spread awareness and appreciation of poets and poetry in the greater Salem area through articles, events, and monthly meetings. News of its activities can be found at oregonpoets.org For information about local poetry events or to submit a column for review, contact Ruth at hudgie45@gmail.com

Four recipes for instant strangeness

It’s summer. Living is easy. Who wants to work hard at making Salem stranger? Instead of laboring to cook up a stew of strangeness, here’s four ways of making our town seem tastier instantly.

(1) Observe like an alien. There’s several hundred billion stars in our galaxy and about a hundred billion galaxies. Imagine what unknown marvels exist in the cosmos.

Now, look around. Picture yourself having just arrived here from a star system far, far away. Can you freaking believe what you’re seeing!? Earth is so weird!

Every bit of it. Utterly unlike anything you’ve known before. These beings get in metal containers and buzz about on the planet’s surface. Wow! They ingest solid and liquid matter through a bodily orifice. Double wow!!

We really do live in a strange land like none other in the universe. Behold with wonder.

(2) Marvel at what life has wrought. The big bang brought everything into being 13.7 billion years ago. Earth came into existence 4.5 billion years ago; life a billion years later.

Now we have Lancaster Drive, south Commercial Street, Keizer Station, and other monuments to the ugliness us Homo sapiens’ can construct. A bowerbird creates beauty; it takes people to fashion crap.

But it is our crap. More than three billion years of evolution have made us what we are, along with what we make. Salem is us.

That evolutionary process resulted in you — a being who wouldn’t exist today if any link in the chain of your countless descendants had been broken. One missed sexual coupling in the treetops of ancient Africa and you’d be a goner.

So look around with amazement. That all this is. That you are.

(3) Imagine this is your last day. Yes, we hear this often, “Live for today.”Do we really get the message, though?

News flash from Reality Central: everybody dies. It’s natural to visualize the trajectory of our lives making a gradual descent into an 80-90 year landing zone.

However, frequently unexpected crashes happen. The good (and bad) can die young. Accept this possibility. Not fearfully, gratefully. Everlasting life would dilute the preciousness of every passing moment.

Eventually there will be a last time for everything. Problem is, chances are we won’t know when that is. Last buying of a latte at a downtown coffeehouse. Last hug of a loved one. Last mowing of the lawn.

If you knew this was a Last Time, how precious would it seem? Since it might be, why not enjoy the treasure of each moment now?

(4) Get out of your mind. The inside of our heads is undeniably strange. Yet the strangeness has a boring sameness to it. Habitual ways of looking at the world keep us from seeing things freshly.

Recreational drugs and alcohol, in moderation, can open the doors of perception pleasingly. So can thinking less while sensing more.

Smell. Hear. Touch. Taste. See. Strangeness is being broadcast 24/7. We just need to tune ourselves to its thoughtless frequency.


Strange Up Salem seeks to lift our city’s Blah Curse. Give us a Facebook like. Brian Hines blogs at hinesblog.com