Saturday, June 30, 2007

Welcome to Portland !

I was invited to participate as a panelist in the first Platform International Animation Festival in Portland, Oregon. Since I'm a part of the "Attack of the Blog: Meet the Bloggers" panel, it's only natural to create a blog documenting my experiences.

Here's where many of the participants in the Platform Festival are staying as I write this on June 26, 2007. The Mark Spencer Hotel in downtown Portland. The Mark Spencer Hotel is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. It's a landmark in Portland.

Portland at night - June 26, 2007

Here's a popular downtown hangout. Powell's book store.

Downtown Portland, Oregon late at night.

Here's a couple of friends I made while walking around. The fellow on the left is Frank, the fellow on the right is Paul. They're Vietnam veterans living on the street. We got along fine. I told them I was in town from Los Angeles and they started sharing stories of their own time in LA.

Frank and Paul were cool with their photos being taken. I told them they were going to be featured on the Internet. They say hello to the world by the way. I gave them a couple of bucks and turned on the flash to get a good picture of them. Nice folks here in Portland. Don't matter if they're living on the street or not, they're beautiful people.

My late night galavanting included some folks hanging out while one of the group played his guitar.

Here's a couple more friends I made here in Portland. From what they told me, they've been living on the streets for years. The guy on the left goes by the name of Beatbox. I can't recall the name of the guy on the right, but they were both cool dudes. I mentioned I was in town from LA for an animation festival and became an instant celebrity when I told them some of the projects I've done.

In case you can't make out what the sign says, it reads, "Ninjas kidnapped my brother - need money for karate lessons". I helped the cause with a couple of bucks, thanked the gents and moved on.

Portland has street cars!

Another road to explore.

This place started to hop later on. I think it was called the Living Room Theater.

There was someone sleeping in this doorway blocked off from the street by piling their earthly belongings for privacy. I didn't disturb them but tossed a couple of dollars over the barricade.

A picturesque building down the street from the hotel as I was making my way back. By this time I had pretty much given away the money I had in my pockets. Some of the people I met didn't want to have their picture taken so of course I respected their wishes. Later today I'll be at the Platform Festival building out this blog. Hopefully I won't be too out of it as I try to get a little sleep before the sun comes up. The Blogger Panel is in the morning. Thank you Portland for a great first night in your town. I enjoyed it and won't soon forget the experience. Thanks for your friendliness and hospitality. God bless.

The Platform Festival on June 27, 2007

The Blogger Panel I was scheduled to participate in started at 11:30 in the morning at the Winningstad Theatre within the Portland Centre of Performing Arts complex. It was close enough to the hotel to walk to so I started my day with a hike through downtown Portland. Here's the first shot that struck me on the trek, a Portland streetcar stopping to pick up a passenger.

As I got closer to the Performing Arts Centre, I noticed a big gathering of people in the park close by. There was something going on that looked like a farmers market or maybe something connected to the Platform Festival, I wasn't sure. In any case, a big public gathering.

You don't see much of this in LA. People reading books, playing pink violins and gathering around to share ideas.

Just a little ways down from the park, this must be the place!

The street side of the Performing Arts Centre looking back in the direction I just came from by the park full of people.

Everywhere you looked in the area was a reminder of what was happening. Portland's first major animation festival.

Made it! The reception desk for the Platform International Animation Festival.

Platform Festival - June 27 '07 - Part 2

I found out at the reception desk that registration for panelists was a few floors up. I had the option of taking the elevator but decided on the stairs and caught this photo of Platform Festival goers mingling about next to the theater where the Blogger Panel would take place.

People of all ages were both attending and participating as volunteers for the Platform Festival.

This is the destination for panelists.

Here's a group hanging out in the upper floor area where the panelists registered.

Once we checked in we were given these nice canvas bags which included festival materials, a baseball cap courtesy of Portland's Laika Animation Studios and a Cartoon Network frisbee.

Here's a four story view of the lobby to the Performing Arts Centre with the reception area at the upper right of the picture.

Platform Festival - June 27 '07 - Part 3

When I got to the entrance of the Winningstad Theatre I ran into this lovely lady. This is Anne Denman, the coordinator of the Attack of the Blog: Meet the Bloggers Panel. I was caught off guard by how pretty she was.

Here's the scene when I got to the stage as the final set up was in progress. That's Dan Sarto of AWN on the left and fellow panelists seated at the table.

Three of the blogger panelists. From left to right, Ovi Nedelcu, Ward Jenkins and Jon Izen.

This is Aaron Simpson of rounding out the team.

From my vantage point within the theatre seated at the dias, this is what I looked out upon just prior to the doors opening for the general public to enter. The Winningstad Theatre is designed in the classic Skakespearean style with a second and third floor balcony. The blue that you see at the bottom of the picture is the table top.

Platform Festival - June 27 '07 - Part 4

As the panel was in progress, I caught this shot of Dan Sarto, the panel's moderator, listening attentively to one of the panelists.

Once the Blogger Panel had wrapped up, we were told about an excursion taking place to a local island for a picnic luncheon. There were a fleet of buses parked up the street to take us there. On the way to the bus, I walked by the park I saw earlier and took this panoramic shot. As with all the photos in the blog, clicking on the picture will give you a better view.

This good lookin' guy is none other than Jerry Beck of and Jerry honored us by attending the Blogger Panel. I hope he gave it a decent review.

Once I boarded the bus, I felt like I was riding with an all-star team. Here's Dan Sarto and Jon Izen in conversation.

Aaron Simpson was busy contemplating the Blogger Panel experience while other Platformers engaged in conversation.

On the way to the picnic while the bus was stopped at a light, I saw this fellow sitting on the steps of a building. I was compelled to take the shot. Good folks, the people of Portland. I really enjoyed their company.

As fate would have it, I found myself sitting right behind the Platform volunteer who picked me up from the airport the day before. This is Marten, a Portland local and a cool dude. In my conversation with him I found out that he has three Bachelors Degrees from Penn State University. And he was also on Penn State's national champion fencing team. Remarkable.

Before too long we reached the picnic. It was on Suavie Island, Bybee-Howell Territorial Park. A beautiful place for a get together like this with a surprisingly large crowd.

Platform Festival - June 27 '07 - Part 5

I wondered why the Blogger Panel was lightly attended. When I got to the picnic I got my answer. Everyone was here.

This is where you lined up for the great food that was being served.

After I loaded up, I settled in at a far table with this interesting fellow to chat with. I'm pretty sure he was a local, and there was a good reason as to why he was parked where he was.

Here's the reason. The name of this group is the Foghorn String Band. These guys were playing some of the best bluegrass country music I've heard in a long time. The band was a big hit.

After a few minutes, I was joined by the gang I spent the morning with. That's Ovi Nedelcu on the left and Ward Jenkins on the right.

To the right is Aaron Simpson and on his left is someone who attended the panel and whom I had heard many positive things about. That's Brendan Burch, the President and Founder of Six Point Harness Animation Studios in Hollywood.

We were also joined by C. Edwards, an artist and writer for the New York Press. He attended the Blogger Panel as well.