“The Calm Before the Storm”
|

“The Calm Before the Storm”

Yesterday, we returned to the Architectural Heritage Center in Portland, Oregon. The AHC had just unearthed a set of slides from the architecture firm Martin, Soderstrom and Matteson (now Soderstrom Architects), originally co-founded by Will Martin, the architect who designed the Organ Grinder building. The slides feature the Organ Grinder building in 1973 around the…

Bonus Feature – The Eclectic Sounds of the Mary L. Collins Organ – Jonas Nordwall

Bonus Feature – The Eclectic Sounds of the Mary L. Collins Organ – Jonas Nordwall

As part of the documentary project, Jonas Nordwall sat for an extended interview. Jonas is the Organist and Artistic Director of Music at First United Methodist Church, Portland, Oregon. He was also very well known as a performer at the Organ Grinder restaurants. At the end, he gave us a demonstration of the Mary L….

From Trauma to Tunes

From Trauma to Tunes

This morning we were joined by Bret Goss in front of an abandoned Walmart at an undisclosed location. (Why? Read on…) Bret had a harrowing “Home Alone” story to tell, when, at the age of six, he was accidentally left behind at the Organ Grinder after a large family celebration (each group leaving thought that…

What a Concept!
|

What a Concept!

This week, we visited the Architectural Heritage Center in Portland, Oregon to view the Will Martin archives. Will Martin was the architect who designed the unique Organ Grinder building. Will is most famous for designing Pioneer Courthouse Square in Downtown Portland. Among other items, we found this concept drawing of the Organ Grinder exterior, rendered…

A Family of Fans

A Family of Fans

Today we interviewed Brad and Debbie Avakian. Brad and Debbie were high-school sweethearts who would often gather up a car load of friends to drive all the way across town to enjoy the Organ Grinder together. They are also the parents of Nathan Avakian, who was thrilled as a child to experience the Organ Grinder…

Bonus Feature – The Egyptian Theatre’s Wonderful Wurlitzer
|

Bonus Feature – The Egyptian Theatre’s Wonderful Wurlitzer

Located in Coos Bay, Oregon, the Egyptian Theatre is home to the last remaining Wurlitzer pipe organ in Oregon which is still playing in its original location. This short film features a demonstration of the historic instrument, with interviews of Paul Quarino, an original and long-time Organ Grinder performer who is now a caretaker of…

Jonas Gets Interviewed

Jonas Gets Interviewed

Behind-the-Scenes photo from yesterday’s interview with Jonas Nordwall, one of the original Organ Grinder performers. Not only did Jonas expound on a wide array of topics, he also gave us a demo of the Mary L. Collins organ at First United Methodist Church in Portland. Jonas and his son Christopher with Rose City Organ Builders,…

Disco!

Disco!

There is a connection between the Organ Grinder restaurants and the legendary Earthquake Ethel’s Roadhouse nightclub in Beaverton. Several of the same people were involved, and Ethel’s will have a chapter in the documentary. And here, we are happy to present to you, an original painting of the mythical Ethel herself, loaned to the production…

Performers and Percussions

Performers and Percussions

The Organ Grinder experience wouldn’t have been possible without the talented performers who worked there. We’ve been in touch with several, and now the first of them has been filmed. Here’s a behind-the-scenes photo from our interview on Saturday of Organ Grinder performer Don Feely. Regular patrons may recognize the percussions & traps that Don…

Vicki’s Interview

Vicki’s Interview

I had a great time yesterday filming our third interview, this time with Vicki Buck. Vicki was engaging and energetic and had wonderful stories to share, from raising and working with monkeys, being the “World’s Only Female Organ Grinder”, TV game show appearances, and close friendships with Organ Grinder founders and staff. She’s also shared…

A Good Sign

A Good Sign

Well, hello, little fella! Thanks to a tip from our Facebook group member, Jason Pittman (who also took the photo), we know that the original Organ Grinder sign’s monkey (which is likely about 8-10ft tall – not a little fella) still exists! We are not disclosing the exact location at this time, as we are…