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Fanfare: Spring 2013
Author: Kathryn Kirkland
Posted: May 22, 2013

Saving Havana

The greenest building is the one that’s already built, or so the saying goes. This is especially true in Havana, Cuba, where the city’s repurposing of historic buildings has earned it a reputation as a leader in sustainability. In December, a group of six film, sociology, and urban planning students traveled there to study building reuse in action. What they found formed the basis for their interactive website, TheGreenestPlaces.com, and a soon-to-be released documentary. Their conclusions? Havana’s historic preservation efforts are a short-term success, but city officials must address the dire housing needs of its most vulnerable residents.

 

Helping new authors

HOW DOES a first-time author reach a larger audience? Late Night Library has some ideas. The Portland nonprofit, which celebrated its two-year anniversary this spring, works to introduce the reading public to debut authors through podcasts, readings, and reviews. And it’s meant to be fun. “One of our goals is to get outside of a hyper literary audience,” says managing editor Candace Opper MFA ’12, pictured here. To do this, Late Night Library may feature music or performance art sandwiched between readings by new authors. Opper, who has a graphic design background, says she didn’t feel particularly connected to the literary community before studying for her master’s in nonfiction writing. She now uses that perspective to her advantage, making readings into appealing multi-genre events.

 

Screenplay success

DOUGLAS SOESBE ’71, MA ’76 has hit the big time in Hollywood. Robin Williams (above) is set to star in a film that he wrote the screenplay for, titled Boulevard. Williams plays an unhappily married man whose life changes after meeting a guarded young man. “It’s really about when we get to the middle of our lives, and realize we’re not living the lives we should,” says Soesbe. Dito Montiel is directing the movie, which is set to start filming this May in Nashville, Tennessee. Soesbe, a proud alumnus of PSU’s playwriting program, has lived in Los Angeles for 35 years. He is currently a story analyst for Universal Pictures as well as a screenwriter.

 

Voices of immigration

WHEN YOU SEE a person telling their story, you can’t help but be empathetic,” says Melanie Blesio ’00, MA ’12. Stories are the focus of the new documentary, The Unheard Voices of Our Neighbors, told through heartfelt interviews with immigrants living in Oregon. Blesio produced the documentary as a project for her Conflict Resolution degree, while working as an intern at the Center for Intercultural Organizing in Portland. Her main goal was to raise awareness of the hardships immigrants face. “It gave people a voice to tell their story, and I know it opened up many people’s eyes.” The documentary premiered in December at Portland’s Hollywood Theatre, and the Center for Intercultural Organizing is planning future screenings.

 

New Works

EINSTEIN'S PHYSICS: ATOMS, QUANTA, AND RELATIVITY – DERIVED, EXPLAINED, AND APPRAISED
By Ta-Pei Cheng (Physics adjunct faculty), Oxford University Press, 2013

ALIVE AT THE CENTER: CONTEMPORARY POEMS FROM THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST
Edited by Susan Denning MA ’04, Daniela Elza, and Cody Walker; PSU’s Ooligan Press, 2013

WILL THIS BE CHINA'S CENTURY?: A SKEPTIC'S VIEW
By Mel Gurtov (Political Science emeritus faculty), Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2013

GOOD, CLEAN MURDER: A PLAIN JANE MYSTERY
By Traci Tyne Hilton, CreateSpace, 2013

SECOND BEST: THE RISE OF THE AMERICAN VICE PRESIDENCY
By James E Hite ’91, MPA ’04, MS ’11; Cognella Academic Publishing, 2013

PRODUCING FOR TV AND NEW MEDIA: A REAL-WORLD APPROACH FOR PRODUCERS
By Cathrine Kellison, Dustin Morrow (film faculty), and Kacey Morrow; Focal Press, 2013

UP NIGHTS
By Daniel Kine, PSU’s Ooligan Press, 2013

WHITE VESPA
By Kevin Oderman MA ’76, Etruscan Press, 2012

 

WE WANT TO HEAR about your books and recordings and your future exhibits, performances, and directing ventures. Contact the magazine by emailing psumag@pdx.edu, or mailing Portland State Magazine, Office of University Communications, PO Box 751, Portland OR 97207-0751.