April 9th, 2009

Flavored Calories.

Ch-ch-ch-changes

I discovered on a walk this morning that the Fireside Coffee Lodge is closed closing with a "new cafe coming soon!" message on the door. It'll reopen later this month under new owners as Southeast Grind. (I won't link to Fireside's old website, because it's been cybersquatted into the "Sex Away Your Thigh Fat!" sort of link dumpster.)

I've liked the place, and wondered how it was doing. The Fireside opened in late 2002, soon after I moved to this neighborhood, and started as a 24-hour-except-for-one-day-a-week place. It took some time to reach the original owners' ambition of being a 24-hour operation every day of the week, not just six of them.* It got coverage in unexpected places: a New York Times travel article mentioned it. Within the last couple of years, though, the shop curtailed hours to 6 a.m. to 2 a.m., then 8 a.m. to midnight. Southeast Grind will go back to 6 a.m.-2 a.m., but I wonder if it'll ever try going to 24 hours. I wish Portland were friendlier to 24-hour food shops, or at least late-night dining; we have just a smattering of those.

Waiting to see if this place will be worth supporting...

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* Now I wonder: Has any diner or coffee shop ever been named Eight Days A Week?
iAm iSaid

FLASHBACKS: Film review, MouseHunt, 12/30/1997

There have been some surprisingly odd films produced by Steven Speilberg during his career – he’s not always as mainstream as to make Jurassic Park movies. He has the clout to get a film made and made lavishly if he wants to – look at 1990’s Joe Vs. the Volcano, which was seriously loopy on a very big budget.

However, there is always the threat of these filmmaking protégés showing too much of the Spielberg touch in their films, as opposed to their own styles.

[Present-day note: In my first draft I wrote a long parenthetical – unpublished and long since gone – calling Joe Dante an example of someone becoming Spielberg Lite, after his start with exploitation films Hollywood Boulevard, Piranha and The Howling. Working for Spielberg went from being part of Dante’s career to being almost all of his career; contrast that with Robert Zemeckis, who made a conscious decision to work on his own in between his Spielberg-produced stuff, and who has a more varied filmography. What kinds of films would or could Dante have made if he hadn’t been working so much for Spielberg?]

The above comes to mind because I’ve just seen the bizarrely funny MouseHunt, the first comedy from DreamWorks, the company Spielberg co-founded. And yes, it’s funny – both ha-ha funny and scratch-your-head funny. You’ll probably enjoy it, but you may wonder why. It’s strange and intentionally ugly, but also surprisingly endearing…if you’re in the right mood for it, and if you can stomach one really sick sight gag near the start involving a dinner.

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