Author: J.M. Murdoch

The Dirty on Derby

The Mad House. Home to shredded tights, stripes, sweat, blood, glory. And not necessarily in that order. The Cherry City Roller Derby has been around since 2009, and if my math skills still serve me well, that means CCRD has been around for eight years. After living in Salem since 2010, I finally took the Drive of Noob Shame, having never been to the CCRD Mad House on Madison Street. I had recently read about their Cherry City Roller Open Derby Recruitment, and finally grew a pair to go and see what the fuss is all about. I had...

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SALEM OPEN MIC NIGHT (it’s a thing now)

It’s not easy to get up in front of a room full of strangers and perform. Even for the practiced professional improvisor, putting yourself out there is hard. But that’s the beauty of the “open mic” concept—an event during which amateurs can perform without audition to improve their skillset. And with a growing interest in hybrid open mics involving not only music, but also poetry, comedy, or storytelling, there is an increased need for local venues where local artists can test out their material while providing entertainment. Taking note of this need, three Salem-based organizations—Taproot Lounge & Café, The...

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The Salem Symphony: A Sensory Affair

This Saturday, experience a cultural fusion of art that is visual, audible, and sensual. The Salem Symphony has stepped up their game with their upcoming performance of Mussorgsky’s Pictures At An Exhibition, and A Night On Bald Mountain, bringing together a collaboration of local businesses under one roof to offer a fully-immersive, sensory affair for all ages to enjoy. Salem Symphony, Salem’s only professional, symphony-sized orchestra, has joined forces with the Bush Barn Art Center, the Salem Art Association, and Brooks Winery to transform the Elsinore Theatre into a sort of walk-through style concert, beginning with complimentary wine as...

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Salem Cinema: Lights, Camera, Proaction

There is very little room in the budget of a “poor, starving artist” for supporting the film industry. With the local major movie theatres charging between $12 and $19 per adult, and matinee pricing becoming obsolete, going to a movie becomes a serious financial commitment. Film aficionado or casual spectator, it is increasingly difficult to keep up with the popular films. In light of the Oscars, Regal Cinemas is currently running a promotion for their annual “Best Film Festival” at participating theatres across the nation later this month. The part I find most amusing is the glaring truth that...

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Oregon Humanities Conversation Project, Where Are You From? February 2 @ 7:00 pm

Exploring what makes us Oregonians. In 2015, Oregon’s population exceeded 4 million people. Not only are we growing in numbers, we are also changing demographically. Considering that Oregon has a history of racial exclusion, these changes prompt questions about Oregonians’ identity and values. Kerani Mitchell leads a conversation that asks: How can we create inclusive communities? As an East Indian adoptee who has spent most of her life in small Oregon towns, Kerani Mitchell is accustomed to questions about her citizenship and lineage. The constant questioning of her identity inspired Mitchell to obtain a BA in International Studies from Seattle University,...

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Chemeketa’s Winter Writer: Eleanor Berry February 7 @ 11:30 am – 12:30 pm, 5:00 pm – 8:50 pm

On Tuesday, February 7, local writer and poet, Eleanor Berry, will be giving a reading and conducting a workshop as Chemeketa’s “Winter Writer.” The theme “Cycles of Life” is what the poster designers drew from their study of her poetry, but don’t think that the reading and workshop will be limited to plant poems, but will range much more broadly. The reading will be from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Chemeketa art gallery. It’s free and open to the public. The workshop will focus on what Berry is calling “Poetry as Deep Conversation”–conversation with fellow poets: our contemporaries, our elders, and our (chosen) ancestors....

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BANFF Mountain Film Festival World Tour February 13 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Join Adventures Without Limits and REI as we host one night of the 2016/2017 World Tour featuring an exhilarating and provocative collection of films that explore the mountain world, highlighting new landscapes and remote cultures, and exposes audiences to exciting adventures and adrenaline-packed sports. The adventure, excitement and inspiration of mountain stories await. One night only, experience the exhilarating beauty of mountain landscapes. Meet the world’s top adventurers. Listen to their stories. Relive their challenges. Reconnect with adventure. Help Adventures Without Limits make outdoor recreation accessible for all. Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour is presented by National Geographic...

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Choose Your Own Adventure Series: The Coast

Most Oregonians understand when I speak of the violent beauty of the Oregon Coast in the wintertime. While Salem area residents are accustomed to the rain and the cold we experience in the Valley, the coast range takes winter weather to a whole new level of dramatic splendor. Without the mountains to belay the wind and rain, the cloud cover and fog, our western “beaches” take on more of an unpredictable and raw persona, akin to something straight out of a film, only better #becauseOregon. I think the Pacific Coast is so admirable in our region because the trees and the mountains continue all the way up to the shoreline. We don’t just have sandy beaches—we also have rocky terrain, ominous sand dunes, beachcombing the driftwood for treasures, tidepools, fresh seafood restaurants, sea lions, scenic hiking trails, storm watching, numerous “Haystack Rocks” and rocky crags pointing upwards in defiance against the test of time. In terms of the time constraints of a day-trip, Salem’s coast access spans from Newport to the south, all the way up to Seaside, over 100 miles of opportunity. From 1- to 2-hour driving times, the coast is an ideal destination option for a winter escape, especially with the holiday season upon us. With the stressors of over-crowded city centers and increased traffic, sometimes our sanity demands the balance of a little R&R. Solo trips...

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28th Annual Alternative Christmas Market

December 3 & 4 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm Use your Christmas dollars to give twice – once to loved ones and once to someone in need – by buying gifts from agencies that provide tools, food, medications, education, livestock, and shelter for people here and abroad. The Alternative Christmas Market is an opportunity for shoppers to consider a gift to charity as an alternative to “stuff” for their loved ones (or in addition to). It is truly a gift to the world as several worldwide charities are participants. Local participating charities are: Habitat for Humanity, Congregations Helping People,...

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The Book Bin Celebrates Indies First on Small Business Saturday

November 26 @ 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm On November 26th, small business Saturday, the Book Bin will be celebrating Indies First day. On a day dedicated to supporting the local businesses that help create jobs, boost the economy, and preserve neighborhoods, independent bookstores will host authors as honorary booksellers to celebrate Indies First, to help handsell their favorite titles, sign books, and give readings. The Book Bin will be hosting, Devon Monk, local UFO expert David Barker, and mystery Writers Carola Dunn and Bill Cameron. This event is free and open to all. • The Book Bin – Salem • 450...

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It’s A Wonderful LifeIt’s A Wonderful Life

December 1 – 3 @ 2:00 pm & 7:00 pm showtimes Public Dress Rehearsal ($5 general admission) This vibrant group of teens presents “It’s A Wonderful Life.” It is Christmas Eve, and George Bailey stands on a bridge contemplating suicide. Clarence Oddbody, Angel Second Class, who has yet to earn his wings is chosen to help him. See George as a boy, rescue his brother from drowning, save a child from poisoned pills, then grow up to save the family business and keep the citizens of Bedford Falls from being ruined by the mean Henry Potter. George marries his...

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Choose Your Own Adventure Series: Mt. Angel

I confess: I’m spoiled. It brings me immense pleasure when I get to go on an adventure, and then the boss man permits me to write about said adventure. But this series was never created as a bragging platform; it exists to widen the collective understanding of Salem and its surrounding areas, and all the delightful possibilities within that radius. Up until I quit my 8-to-5 job for the freelance life, I simply couldn’t seem to squeeze in the time to sneak away and have a spontaneous adventure. But I quickly learned that my notions were false—that it is possible to sneak away even amidst the insanity of the day-to-day hustle. Not to mention that “escapes” are actually super healthy for you, both mentally and emotionally. (Even physically, if you choose to incorporate walking or hiking.) My job is to set out and rediscover what our rich, local culture has to offer us. Some destinations and shops and restaurants have been around forever, while others are fresh additions. I find the ones worth visiting for the first time or for the seventh time. An easy favorite of mine, Mt. Angel actually proved a challenge. I, like so many other Salemites, am accustomed to seeing the little Bavarian town in its festively-pompous splendor during Oktoberfest, held every September. And I was guilty of ignoring it the other 11 months of...

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Climate Change in Oregon

November 16 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm As climate change becomes an increasingly important issue for Oregonians, this program will explore the effects of climate change that are playing out in our state. This program features two speakers who will speak to climate change from a cultural context perspective and provide information on policy efforts at the state level.   Dr. Samantha Chisholm Hatfield will discuss how native communities are disproportionately affected by climate change, and don’t always have access to the same level of climate change information as to how it applies to their community, and culture....

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VENTI’S Renovation Celebration: Celebrating 20 Years Downtown

November 18 @ 8:00 pm Since 1996, Venti’s has been committed to building community and serving Salem with good, clean food. To commemorate 20 years of business downtown, they have added 1600 square feet, including a larger dining room and a street-level bar at Venti’s Downtown.  “We hope this helps perpetuate and contribute to the growth and momentum of downtown Salem,” says owner Dino Venti. “There is a building synergy in the downtown community and this is our contribution.” This street-level expansion adds 23 taps (including kombucha), “Stubborn” all-natural soda, an espresso bar, and creates the space for Venti’s...

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Hodie (“This Day”) by Vaughan Williams

November 20 @ 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm Vaughan Williams’ last major choral/orchestral composition, Hodie was premiered at the 1954 Three Choirs Festival in Worcester under the baton of the composer. Hodie is Latin for “This Day.” It could be said it is a compilation of all his musical styles, including plainchant, beautiful melodies, modal harmonies, and dramatic blockbuster choruses in the nature of “Ben Hur.” In addition to a large orchestra and choir, the work will feature the Heart of the Valley Children’s Choir, soprano soloist Bethany Staats, tenor Daniel Ross, and baritone Harry Baechtel, who will also...

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Bigger and Better a Block Away: Salem Summit Company

Can we just take a moment to applaud how downtown Salem has really been shaping up this past year? I’m talking more local businesses cropping up, more food things and drink things and shopping things, more people out and about, more to do and explore and adventure! Another exciting change-up this month includes Salem Summit Company’s recent move from their old location on State Street to the space which was once Greenbaum’s Quilted Forest. “We were feeling a little tight [at the State Street location], and needed some more breathing room,” says owner, Al Tandy. “We wanted to find...

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Ritter’s Housemade Foods: In Review

I have yet to walk out of Ritter’s dissatisfied. Having returned four additional times after my exclusive interview with bro-and-sis owner duo, Jessica and Mike, I couldn’t find any fault in the culinary offerings. Nor could I be displeased by their non-traditional service model (order at the counter, take a number, grab your own drink, and BYOT—bus your own table). The Ritter siblings have turned a promising street-corner into a bustling, grab-n-go/sit-down eatery to bring a new, hybrid restaurant concept to downtown Salem. It is no surprise that they have already ushered in a successful soft opening, ramping up...

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BARN DANCE & PIG ROAST October 22

Pull on your boots for a night of good old fashioned fun at The Oregon Garden. The 5th annual Barn Dance presented by Double “H” Western Wear Ranch & Feed Store has line dancing, line dance lessons, a pig roast dinner, and great beer from Seven Brides Brewing. This is a 21 and over event. DANCE ONLY TICKETS: Just want to get your boot scoot on? Admission to the event is $15 pre-sale ($13 for Oregon Garden members) and $20 at the door. Includes admission, line dance lessons, and your first beer is on us! DINNER AND DANCING TICKETS: Get the full...

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RUSSIAN GRAND BALLET PRESENTS SWAN LAKE October 25

Only one opportunity to see the full-length classic production of the world’s most famous ballet – Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, featuring Russia’s brightest ballet stars! There’s a good reason why Swan Lake is so often called the ‘ballet of all ballets’. The combination of pure romanticism, the story about love and deception and Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet music all continue to reach new generations of audiences. Russian Grand Ballet was founded by and incorporated graduates from the Great Russian choreographic schools of Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kiev. The principal dancers of the company came from the upper ranks of the great...

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Banishing boredom: a local events calendar to rival all calendars

A friend of mine purchased a travel guide for Oregon a while back, and under the city of Salem, the entry was surprisingly brief in comparison to other cities. In fact, it was only one sentence in length. It stated: “No one ever accused Salem, Oregon of being interesting.” And it moved on to the next entry. That old stigma seems to have stuck to Salem like an old, sun-baked and hardened label. I often hear people say, “There’s nothing to do in Salem,” and for a period of time—they were right. But now that the Recession is growing...

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