Tuesday, December 28, 2010

THRESHOLD: New Years Eve

In mid-February, Diggable Monkey will again co-produce the ever popular, 5th iteration of the Threshold event. Much the same as 2010, our decision to re-create the Chinese New Year - in February, rather than Dec. 31st - is based primarily on our interest to avoid the partying chaos that is the Gregorian calendar New Year date. We really love the shape shift we implemented last year... Not only is the Chinese new year more interesting from a thematic perspective, but it gives us an opportunity to focus community energy and bear light in one of the darkest periods of the winter. It also opens up the possibility that we might also move the date to celebrate another culture's new year!

We've assembled some of the usual suspects to help bring the magic in the Year of the Rabbit: Maria Toth and her gorgeous space at Refuge, SijaPDX on booking and production, Narayani Matson on interior design, Dan Cohen and Gabe Shaunnessy, our projection artists, with Random Rab and Plastician holding down the main headliner spots for a TWO NIGHT EVENT. Typically, we attempt to create a multiple stage environment. Given the configuration of the Refuge space, we will attempt to leverage the middle room for theatrical performances - Kazum, the Good Time Girls, and the Bridgetown Revue. Our production crew includes some of the steadiest hands in the biz. We can't wait to pull another rabbit out of the hat!

Keep your eyes peeled on the website for more details in the coming days:

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Logo - Strong Out of the Gate!

This is one of the first real opportunities I've had to design a logo with a competent graphic artist. My friend k8 has been working with me on event/show fliers for a number of years. All told, she's done at least 5 of them for me. There's something really great about having someone with great skills help you see a vision - kind of like the way a hair dresser has a way with one's hair. You might consider seeing someone else, but when it comes to reliability, you don't want to take any chances with unproven help. I commend her work and would recommend her to anyone who needs exceptional graphic designer talent.

The monkey in the image is a caricature. He is born from two worlds: my urban planning and my Burning Man worlds. The two are not mutually exclusive. In fact, I've tried hard to create a synergy between them. My film career started somewhat late in graduate school where I studied planning. It quickly blossomed into various avenues of the Portland art community and now stands poised to swing on the vines of the social media revolution. At the time I started, it seemed highly unlikely that someone with a planning degree would make for a good film maker. A few years into the work, I now feel like that foray was perhaps the smartest career and passion meld I could possibly have made.

Though the Monkey Puzzle tribe has not officially been to the Burning Man festival in over three years, the momentum started with that organization still runs strong in my creative veins. There is very little about MP that I didn't truly love. I owe much inspiration to the people who helped gestate that experience. As for the Diggable City project, over 20 major metro areas around the country (and the world) have referenced the seminal 5-year old document and initiated urban agriculture policies within their own municipalities.

All told, I'd say the Diggable Monkey is starting pretty darn strong out of the gate! oo OO oo

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Jane Jacobs Parting Words (2007)

For those of you not familiar with her work, Jane Jacob's is probably half the reason why you love the way Portland, OR (Portlandia) functions. Neil Goldschmidt and Portland planners in the 1970's were all about her persuasion toward smart transportation investment and leveraging the "human-scale" elements of our city. Take a look at the Parting Words documentary and learn more about her fabulous intuition.

Diggable Monkey

Video Link:

Friday, December 3, 2010

March Fourth Marching Band Documentary

The Diggable Monkey film production team is busy hammering out the final edits of the very first short form documentary on the band. From early to late September, the band toured three countries in Europe - Germany, the Netherlands and France. I was fortunate to be embedded as a cameraman with them through the week long Germany portion of the trip. Our primary areas of focus were touring in the regions of Hamburg and small towns in Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), including the towns of Peine, Hann. Munden and Leer, near the Holland border.

Celebrating its 8th year of operation this coming March, the band shows a maturity in both their playing style and their cohesion as a traveling group of 25 plus members. I was especially proud of how they more than adequately represented our city (and country) abroad.

We'll be submitting an entry into Portland's International Film Festival (PIFF) and potentially other Oregon festivals. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks.

Kevin Balmer
Diggable Monkey, Producer