Misadventures with Miso

Misadventures with Miso

Friday, October 25, 2013

Portland's US Customs House

Once again it's Friday and the return of the television show Grimm. So I'm going to get back to showing a few places that turn up as part of the world of Grimm. Since it's the season three premier tonight I thought I would start off with a building that is probably one of the most filmed in Portland, Oregon. The US Customs House.

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US Customs in Portland was originally located in what is now known as the Pioneer Courthouse. However more room was needed as Portland was growing as a port city so construction began in 1898 and finished in 1901 of the new US Customs House Building.

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It's an imposing design based on English Renaissance architecture. Architect Edgar M. Lazarus, known for other works in Oregon like Vista House, oversaw the building. If you watch Grimm you might be familiar with these arches. Because this is used as the entrance of the Police Department. Remember when Adalind Schade reluctantly left the jail only to run into Captain Renard?

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The building has been undergoing restoration and now is leasing offices. Which is why the blue lift was there. The interior of the police department used for Grimm is actually based on another building located in the St. Johns neighborhood. There may be a few shots in the Grimm pilot of the interior of the Customs House.

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It's worth it to take a walk around the building. There are many interesting details.

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Another angle of the arches. I took photos on two different days. First in March and then after Grimm filming wrapped in May. Because I wanted to see something.

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Even though they were remodeling and actively looking for tenants, the doors still had the Portland Police stickers on them. So I was pretty sure Grimm would be renewed for a third season. Glad the doors were right.

The Portland US Customs House is located at 220 NW 8th Avenue, across from the North Park Blocks.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Laika's in the House

One of the marvelous things I learned about where I moved to is it is home to Laika Studios. The place that created the films "Coraline" and "ParaNorman" and many other stop motion bits that fill our air ways.

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Even better is that from time to time Laika participates in events and presentations. So when I found out Supervising Production Designer Nelson Lowry would be speaking I found myself over in SE Portland at a We Make event.

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We were given a field note book from Laika and a couple other things from We Make. Laika provided stamps so the field note books could be individualized. I'm sad that I lost my Laika pencil they gave us.

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After a speech by the We Make people, it was time for the main event.

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While you might not be familiar with Nelson Lowry by sight you might know a few of the things he's worked on. Like "The PJs", "Corpse Bride", "The Fabulous Mr. Fox" and "ParaNorman". Plus the upcoming "Box Trolls" movie.

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It was a very interesting look into the process that making a movie can take. He went into a little bit of how the look of "ParaNorman" came to life. First there were photos taken in Massachusetts to get a feel for how they wanted Norman's world to look like.

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Followed by drawings.

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Then the building of the sets. Mr. Lowry mentioned there were no straight lines which was frustrating to build but it does create a look that says a lot about the story that is told. We can see that things are not going to be normal in Norman's world.

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So how do you make things like cars that aren't put together with straight lines? Well if you are Nelson Lowry you use cardboard and tape.

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Mr. Lowry went into more of his personal creating. His main love is making robots. Out of cardboard, foam core board, found things and tape.

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Which end up looking like this. Seriously amazing. He said he airbrushes them with talcum power and glue which not only covers but becomes hard so they are more durable.

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To get details like this he carves them.

Nelson Lowry's talk was inspiring and very interesting. Instead of feeling like one has to have a lot of tools and expensive materials to make things he brought it down to the idea that we can create amazing things out of stuff we have laying around the house. If he holds a workshop I would definitely consider attending. Thank you Laika Studios for putting this on. It was definitely worth it.

In case you would like to hear one of Nelson Lowry's presentations here is one from Creative Mornings. I think he was a little more awake for the We Make one but it's still a really good look into what goes into making these movies.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Oh deer

There is a place not far from where I live that I expect to see deer. But I never do. It's right by a very busy road. However late last month I looked over just before that place and what did I see?

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I had to pull over and take a few photos. This guy is obviously a male. You can see his little antlers.

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Perhaps a young lady hanging out with him? You can see a few of the many cars that drive this road.

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I was using the zoom on my camera because I didn't want to frighten them. I'd hate to see them try to get across that road.

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Thankfully they weren't too scared but continued grazing. These are Columbian black tailed deer. They actually help us by eating things like poison oak.

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The grounds they are on belong to St. Mary's but there weren't many people around since it was a Saturday.

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Off they go. There were four but two were off to the side. I was rather happy to see these deer because they don't show themselves often around here.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Rose City Comic Con, 2013

I wasn't sure about attending the Rose City Comic Con, or RCCC as it's easier to say version. Not feeling so well but I pulled together and boarded the Max to Portland and the Convention Center.

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Glad I did it because I got to meet the wildly talented Brandi Milne and also get her new book "Frohlich" with "So Good for Little Bunnies" at the Baby Tattoo booth.

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I even got an ice cream cone! It was a treat getting to talk with Brandi and she loves Portland so I hope she gets her wish to visit again. Also the books are really nice. I am impressed with the quality Baby Tattoo puts into the books they publish. "Frohlich" will be available in Brandi's online store here very soon. I think it's a great representation of her work.

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I wish I had looked at more of the booths but I was tired and it was very crowded. I missed Sock Dreams and Chrissie Zullo, darn it. I did take a few photos which I posted on my Ethereal Spirits blog here. I ended up at the Panel rooms so decided to take a seat in one. Turns out it was a good decision because Lee Arenberg and Martin Klebba are very entertaining guys!

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Both were in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies so there was some talk about that. Both however are experienced actors and Lee Arenberg loves talking about the business of acting. Which he is great at. I highly recommend anyone who is interested in the business to listen to him speak if you get the chance.

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The real reason I was up at the panels was because I was hoping for Grimm spoilers. Which included having to look at David Giuntoli and his great hair for almost an hour. I know, it was tough.

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Sadly he was spoilerless. Even though he was asked by a few people he was very good about not giving out any information about the new season that wasn't already known.

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I thought he handled questions from the audience very well including a few that were difficult. A friend of his who was on a prior Road Rules showed up and David's buddy Flula got a plug too.

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There were a few requests from the audience including this guy who wanted to perform a magic trick for David.

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I leave you with this photo of David wishing a guy's wife congratulations as a new United States citizen. It was a very entertaining convention.