"Thank God for film archivist Dennis Nyback. If not for his encyclopedic knowledge of rare films and his tenacity for acquiring them, we would never have the privilege to view some astounding works of cinema." Kim Morgan


Dennis Nyback takes his films around the world. Find out how to book a show, what programs are available, how to arrange for custom programming, and just about anything you would like to know about Dennis Nyback.

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The second time it happened I was able to handle the situation with less panic.  It also didn’t produce as good of a result.  The third time it happened no one even noticed, but it was explained to me later by the person it happened to.  All three events happened at Seattle’s  Pike Street Cinema: people passed out cold while watching films I was projecting.

The Pike Street Cinema  was a sort of microcinema, although that phrase hadn’t really caught on then, which was in 1993.  It had been created in a storefront at 1108 Pike that originally was a large open space.  During an earlier incarnation it had been a day labor office.  It still attracted an occasional laborer who would show up at dawn only to look quizzically at the stuff in the window.  There was also a drug dealer who lived in one of the SRO apartments above the theater.  The “Villa Hotel” had no intercom or buzzer system for guests.  The drug dealer went by the name Cowboy.  Junkies would loiter under his window at all hours expectantly yelling “Cowboy, hey Cowboy” over and over.

There was a sturdy loft four fifths of the way to the back.  In back of the loft was a  room we called the Smoking Parlor,  the Phyllis Schlafly Memorial Uni-Sex Toilet, and the  stairway to the small balcony and projection booth.   One critic said the Pike St. Cinema  had “Ratty shoebox charm.”  Others  called it an “intimate” theater.  That is because it legally only seated 49 people and the wall I had built to form the projection booth, across the front  of the back loft, was very flimsy and allowed me to hear sounds and murmurs from the customers, which usually weren’t all that much.  Flimsy wall or not, no one could have missed the loud thud that came from the auditorium during a screening of   of the 1967 Army Training Film “Field Medicine in Vietnam.” Along with the thud was a tremor that slightly shook the projection booth floor.  I hurried down the stairs and entered the auditorium from the back.

Halfway down the aisle, against the side wall, was the body of a man sprawled out and twitching.  I helped him to his feet and got him into the back room.  I asked if he needed water or if there was anything else I could do to help.  He snarled at me “Just open that window and leave me alone.”  I opened the window and went back to the projection booth.

Shortly after that I had reason to go downstairs again.  Passing through the back room I was grabbed by the guy.  He seemed to come out of a shadow, grasping my shirt with one hand and waving a pair of broken eye glasses in the other.  I noticed he  was bleeding from his forehead and beneath one eye.  I guessed that he had been wearing the glasses when he keeled over and fell on his face, which both broke them and started the bleeding. He said “Look at my glasses!  Look at my glasses!”   I must admit my first thought was about liability.  I mean I was sure he wasn’t seriously injured.  I said in a noncommittal way “That’s too bad.”  Increasing his grasp of my shirt he brought me closer and said “Too bad?  Too bad?  TOO BAD!  No!  It’s ………….GREAT!

I could only stare at him as he continued.  “I am a performer.  I demand that people watch my act and not avert their eyes.  Watching the film I wanted to avert my eyes, but I couldn’t.  I couldn’t ask less of myself than I would ask of my fans.  I watched until I passed out cold.  And that shows………………… THE POWER OF FILM!

I became friends with the man.  His act was called Boffo The Clown.  He was most famous for performing his clown act naked on public access tv.  He later did a performance art piece where he led his fans into every bar on Pike Street for a drink before doing his act at midnight in the middle of Pike Place in the Public  Market.  He could also play a little piano and more than once accompanied silent movies at the Pike St. Cinema when I couldn’t find anyone else.

REEL UNDERGROUND FILM REVIEWS
AND CALENDAR
BY ANDREA HELM

Oct/Nov 1993

Pike Street Cinema
1108 Pike at Boren – 682-7064

Oct. 22-28
Steal America is San Francisco filmmaker Lucy Phillips’ debut feature. Realism is alluded to through the use of a grainy, black and white cinema verit� documentary-type look at three imported slackers and their subsequent inertia. One of the film’s main characters looks, acts and talks like a character from an Anais Nin novel. Yum.
Oct. 29
Just in time for Halloween: the resurrection of a Mexican vampire double-feature with The Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy and Dracula’s Coffin. These two are not to be missed.
Oct. 30
Hey kids! It’s Boffo the Clown! Live and in person! I’m scared.

It was during a screening of the black  and white film “Chest Surgery in the UK” (c1955) that again I heard a thud from the auditorium. It also shook the floor of the projection booth.  Going down the stairs I had a good idea what I would find.  Sure enough another man was sprawled out in the aisle.  Luckily he was not wearing glasses.   I was able to get him into the back room and into a chair.  I opened the window and got him a glass of water and stayed with him until he seemed all right. He made no comments about the power of film.   Eventually he returned to the auditorium and watched the rest of the show without incident.  A few weeks later an article appeared in the Seattle Stranger where the movie critic said “I don’t even know the name of the greatest movie I have ever seen.  It was at the Pike Street Cinema and was in black and white from the fifties and had something to do with chest surgery.”  For those of you who have never seen the film.  I can only say it is the closest thing to a nightmare I have ever seen filmed.  The only film that approaches it in that capacity is Eraserhead.

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The third time there was no thud and no floor shaking.  The film was “Primate,” a documentary by Frederick Wiseman.  My friend, the artist Friese Undine, told me after the show that in his seat he had passed out while watching the footage of chimps being used in research and eventually came back to his senses with no one around him noticing.  It occurred to me then that there could have been others.  The two most notable events had been with men seated on the aisle who had tried to stand up just as they passed out. It would seem more likely that a person would just lose consciousness in their seat and later come out of it with out making a stir.  I guess I will never no just how many times that might have happened at the various theaters I owned both before and after the Pike St.

John Waters once said that the greatest promotional stunt ever done was by William Castle who had parked ambulances outside theaters with nurses standing by in case anyone suffered “death by fright.”  That was just a gimmick.  I doubt that anything he showed caused people to pass out cold.  It takes a very certain  film to achieve that.  More than that, they show the AMAZING POWER OF FILM.

Dennis Nyback with Jack Stevenson looking down Pike Street hopefully.

Preston Train Station Lancashire

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April 10 Manchester, England

It was 7:30 when I woke up but I decided to go back to sleep. When I got up my clock said 10:00am. I went downstairs and didn’t find my host John  Wojowski. I figured he was still sleeping. I got dressed and left the house. I hoped to find an adapter so I could use my computer. When I came to Europe this year I had plugs for Switzerland and Germany. It didn’t occur to me that England would have one completely different. I also realized I should change some more money. Since it was Sunday my intention was to take the train to the airport and change money there. I walked by the store that John had said should have an adapter and would open at 10:00. It was closed. I saw a clock and found it just past nine. I had forgotten that England and Europe were in different time zones.

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I am not sure how I did it, I must have been concentrating on something else, but I walked past the Oxford Road station and under the train tracks without noticing them. I kept walking, expecting to reach the station and finally came to a Starbucks. That was a sign. John told me he only drinks tea, and there was no coffee in the house. I did have the weekend Trib with me. I got coffee and found things in the paper I had not read. The most interesting article was about the play “Jerusalem” and the actor Mark Rylance. Mr. Rylance, who I had never heard of, was considered by many to be the greatest stage actor currently working. I also saw a notice for the art exhibition “Geographer”–The Golden Age of Dutch and Flemish Paintings. It would include 95 paintings starting with Vermeer’s “The Geographer” and show works by his predecessors and contemporaries, Rubens, Bruegel, Rembrandt and Hals. I wondered how I could get to Japan to see it.

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I made it back to the house without getting lost. I found John in the kitchen with a whole bunch of adapters One was the correct type. It would accept the German plug and would then go into a British socket. The only problem was it didn’t work. It had a fuse in it that was bad. Since most adapters are not fused John used tin foil to jump it. It worked fine after that. My assignment was then to create a poster for the Thursday show at Lass O’Gowrie. John said he was not a graphics artist. I told him I wasn’t either, but would do the job. My idea was to use a shot of the woman just about to get her eyeball sliced in Un Chine Andalou and a still from the I Only Have Eyes Number from Dames. Then just the title of the show and the location and other details. John wanted more writing. I told him it was a poster, not a press release, so we did it my way. I hope it helps bring in a crowd.

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At two in the afternoon we walked to the train station and took the train to Preston. The train was the Manchester to Edinburgh express. It was packed, mostly with woman who probably had come to Manchester to shop. John and I stood the whole way during the hour long ride. The Preston station was the oldest train station I have ever been in. It seemed easily Victorian and possibly even earlier. It really was cool and worth a trip to see.

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We walked to the Preston Uclan campus, that being University of Lancashire. I saw a sign to Blackburn.  I said to John, isn’t Blackburn Lancashire mentioned in a Beattles song?  I then recalled the lyric:  Four thousand holes in Blackburn Lancashire.  It is in the song A Day in the Life.  I was in hallowed ground for a member of my generation, in a sort of trivial way.

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For some reason John couldn’t get directions on his I-phone so we had to ask directions. The show would be in the Media Building, one of the most modern buildings on the campus. There I found that my show was part of the LIFE Film Festival. That made it three film festival appearances on this trip. We were early so after checking in and getting badges we went into the cafe to wait. The first guy we met was Steve who would be providing the 16mm projector we would use. He was a tall young man with a mop of brown hair and small Van Dyke beard. The festival director Tony then came in. He was a compact but wide young man with black curly hair. He said we could have anything we wanted from the cafe. I had a sausage sandwich and a cafe au lait out of machine. The sandwich was very simple, sliced grilled sausages on a white bun with no mayo or anything else. Very tasty.

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We were taken to a media room upstairs to see the projector. It was an EIKI RT-O, a nice projector. John sat down and put his feet up. I told him he had accidentally struck the famous pose of Henry Fonda in the movie My Darling Clementine. We found that picture on line on his I-Phone. I then took a picture of him to match it. The only thing missing was a cowboy hat. In the Henry Fonda shot there are approaching men on horses in the background. In the background of our shot was the 16mm projector. Since I did have a hat, not quite a Stetson, we got a picture of me in the pose too.

My show was in a room labeled Sound Stage. It had a big green screen in the back for shooting. The projector was set up in the back of the room. It had a fixed lens but with the long throw the size of the image was big enough. It also had a jammed open floating roller,  which when closed  keeps the sound stable. I was able to jam it closed after loading the film with an OK result. A crowd of around thirty, most of them college students, showed up to watch.

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After my opening remarks, which were lengthy due to them being college students, I went out in the hall to write. Next to the Sound Stage room was a dance room. I found a chair there. I took it to the closest electrical outlet in the hall to the Sound Stage room.  I could hear my cartoons playing through the door.  I was happily writing away when I noticed the sound abruptly stop during the cartoon The Clean Pastures (1937). Inside I found the lights up and the technician looking at the projector. The mechanism had stopped and when the film stopped, with the frame in the gate, the frame had melted from the middle outward. It looked cool on the screen. I told the students not to be concerned. It was in itself a thing of beauty, a once fairly common thing to see, that now was almost lost and would never be seen watching a DVD. I added that film runs at 24 frames per second and the melted frame would be left in and never noticed in future screening. The technician thought the film had jammed. I showed them the drive belt had broken. The belt looks like something commonly used in vacuum cleaners. While they went looking for something to use as a spare I took questions from the audience. Since we had plenty of time I could talk about just about anything. I told them about the invention of sound films beginning with W.K.L Dixon, the Kuchar Brothers, and the conversation at UCLA in the fall with the head of the Library of Congress where the death of 16mm had been discussed.

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John Wojowski saved the day. He took the belt out of the front arm, only used when re-winding, and used it for the drive belt. We were again in business. At the reel break I did not take questions. Instead I acted as projectionist and got the second reel on the screen. I then went back out in the hall to write. At the end of the show I took several questions from the audience. They were a good group. John and I then walked to Wobser’s house.

Peter Wobser and I had worked together as part of the three man jury, the third juror was Kevin Burke, for the 2001 KinoFilm Festival. I had also stayed in his flat during that festival. It was a very nice place that took up the entire top floor of a small apartment building. He had since moved to Preston.

Walking up a winding road to where it teed we saw Wobser out on the sidewalk on the other side waiting for us. We joined him. We then crossed a large vacant lot, deep enough for a house and wide enough for several, now a mess of weeds and remnants of broken foundations and stuff.  It was now Wobser’s de facto backyard. His girl friend Krystal and a couple of guys were sitting on lawn chairs enjoying the fine day. We joined them. One guy was Kyle, who’s parents lived in Portland, Oregon. He had a cast on one leg that I forget to ask about. Instead we talked about the financial situation in Oregon and what a mess it was and how horribly it affected all the school kids except for those in the most affluent areas. The other guy was named Mark. He didn’t have much to say. They were all drinking vodka drinks that looked like Tom Collins. I had a Fosters Lager beer. Kristal had a whole bunch of blond hair and was from Ireland. She was a film maker. Wobser was also a film maker. He was from Germany and had first been trained as a sound editor who worked in dubbing foreign films into German. He was also trained as a cinematographer. He lectures on film making at Preston University. He soon disappeared into his house.  It and its brethren had been built in 1843.  Each one had a square projection sticking out of the second floor in the back.  That was where the bathrooms had been added when indoor plumbing became the norm.

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The reason Wobser disappeared was that he was making dinner. He felt bad he hadn’t come to the film show and was giving us dinner as atonement. It was curry vegetables and also tandoor chicken. It was all very good although the curry was hotter than I like.  That didn’t stop me from eating it all and enjoying it immensely. The four of us  chatted until ten fifteen when Wobser rushed us through the dark streets to the station for the train trip home.

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Sauna Party!

 

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On the morning of March 10 I awoke for my first full day in Finland.  Being turned around in time my computer told me it was seven o’clock in the evening on the West Coast and here  I was waiting for the breakfast room to open. I was also turned around in weather. In Portland it might as well have been Spring.  Here it was the the middle of Winter. Walking into the very nice breakfast room with its three story ceiling decorated to resemble a castle in a silent movie I saw newspapers on the piano.  No International Herald Tribune there.  In fact nothing in the English language.  I asked for the Trib at the front desk.  Nope, it would take a walk to the train station to get one.  If it were summer, or even spring, I would have done it.  Here it was winter, it was dark, and there was snow and ice everywhere.  The fact I had not changed any money and only had a few Euros in coins found in my suitcase from last fall sealed the deal. I piled bacon, black sausage, bread, cold cuts, tiny frankfurters, and cheese on a plate. A small pot to put coffee in would have made it perfect.  Instead I took a single cup of coffee with me. It it had been better coffee I would have resented that.  In the elevator I had to put the coffee on the floor in order to use my keycard to let the pushing of the of the floor button take to effect. In my room I got the NY Times on line and dug into my victuals. Outside my window a red and gold flag was being blown at a right angle to its pole.  Occasionally it would reverse direction and blow the other way.  If this were Wrigley Field it would be a day for long balls and a score in double digits.

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I had tried to make my room as homey as possible with my suitcase empty and all clothes hung up or in a cupboard.  I couldn’t figure out how to turn off the flat screen TV so I unplugged it. I somehow managed to get to three in the afternoon without stepping a foot outside.  I finally girded my loins and went out to face the world.  I walked to to the Klubi where the festival office was to get my badge and whatever.  There I was directed to go to the guest office which was back past the Grand Hotel Tammer at a place called Plevna.  I walked past the the Hotel and  turned the wrong way. I was then  perplexed that I didn’t cross a body of water before finding where I was supposed to arrive at.  I cursed the tourist map.  I then realized it was my mistake, not the map’s, and reversed course.  Sure enough, I passed the hotel, crossed the river, and found Plevna and got my badge and bag of various things.One of those things was an explanation of Plevna. It was part an old cotton mill which had been established by Scotsman James Finlayson in 1820.

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Wow, that made me think of the great actor James Finlayson who had famously played the home owner in the Christmas tree selling fight with Laurel and Hardy in the film Big Business (1929) and in many, many others.

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Another of the things in the bag was an announcement that around the corner it was happy hour at the Fest Art center. I went there and had a glass of red wine while looking at Harun Farocki films. On the second floor of the center were photos and needle point art by Leena Saraste. The photos were from Beirut Lebanon in the 80’s showing scenes of both destruction and beauty. The needle point work included a thrirty foot long timeline history of photography. One stand alone piece was “The Medium Is the Message” in the medium of needle point. I loved it all.

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I went back to the hotel. In the bag were cash vouchers that would pay for meals. I planned to leave at 6:00 and have dinner before my show The Effect of Dada and Surrealism at 8:00. I decided to research Dada and Surrealism to make sure there would be no screwed up facts in my talk. That work took me to 7:00. I went to the theater and had a sandwich and a beer before the show. I then introduced the show and I hope did a good job. After that the fun started.

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The driver showed up at 8:20 to take me to the sauna party. There were others in the van. We all drove a way out of town to a lodge beside a lake. The party had started at 7:00.  We arrived and joined the men who had got there on time.  Among them was Mikko Sorrela who had taken the daunting task to find and buy the four flights that had got me to Tampere. Twenty of us chatted while the women had their sauna. We were provided with beer,wine and snacks.  Eventually  it was our turn. There was a small room to strip and get a robe. Then it was briefly outside, drop the robes, and step into the sauna. It was the only really old fashioned one in the area. It heated a really big pile of stones with both fire heat and smoke. That had taken several hours. Then the smoke was cleared from the room and people could enter. The rocks would stay hot all night and could be used for sauna in the morning. By the time I got in all of the seats in the upper level were taken. That meant standing in the lower area where it was less hot. I eventually got an upper seat. Then I left and jumped in the lake. Well, jump is not really correct, but I did wade in and immersed. Then it was back to the sauna and back into the lake a second time. I told the group that later they should all watch the youtube of the 1929 film production number Turn on the Heat.  Then it was time to drink a beer. To make things perfect it started snowing.  The group that had come in the bus left around 11:00. I stayed to the last and left closer to midnight with a group in the van.

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Four Flights In One Day and One Night

 

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When I arrived on March 8, 2011, at noon, Portland International Airport  was practically deserted. There was no line at all at United Airlines. I checked through to Copenhagen the heavy bag with the film programs in it. There was no line at security. I used PDX WiFi to send some emails and catch up on news. That took me to boarding time.  I had an aisle seat.  The United Airlines inflight magazine was out of date and didn’t have current movies, just the line up for February. It did say there would be lunch or dinner on flights over three hours.  That would be us. That was a lie. Or maybe that was the case in Feburary but not in March. Food was for sale, but only using credit cards. I had apple juice both times the liquids cart came through. I did the inflight mag crossword. It was weird with half of it being black boxes. That meant very few cross clues to help when something was filled in. I had never seen a crossword puzzle like it. It was all about the Academy Awards. My mind was not sharp. It took me forever to remember Tom Hanks name. I got most of it done. Knowing about Emil Jannings and Janet Gaynor was a help.

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We arrived early at O’Hare. Trooping off the plane the first thing I came to was a life size Brachiosaurus. King size! It straddled the passage and was said to be a replica of the real thing at the Field Museum.  It made me think of the movie Bringing Up Baby.

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At the SAS counter I was told we would be fed on the plane. I sure hoped so. I didn’t buy any food. It was all crap at ball park prices.  A domestic beer would have been $8.25.   No free wifi in Chicago. An elevated train took me to the  international terminal. It was the most fun I had all day. Looking ahead on the track was like  being on a low thrill roller coaster. It even picked up good speed going downhill into a curve.

At Terminal 5 there was only one shop for candy and books and such. It wasn’t even in a store, but just strung out along the passageway. The flight boarded on time.  Down the passageway, and just outside the plane’s door, were free newspapers. I took a Chicago Tribune and a International Herald Tribune. I had an aisle seat in the middle section. Four big guys took the rest of the row. The all spoke Russian and looked like they belonged to a sport club.  Dinner was soon served. It was chicken with peas and roasted potatoes. Tasty. Also salad, roll, butter, crackers, cheese and a cheesecake dessert. In the pocket in front of me were head phones. Real over the ears kind, not ear buds like on some flights. I considered that an improvement. I watched most of Bruce Willis movie that featured Helen Mirren and John Malcovich. They were all retired CIA people forced back into action. Action was the right word. Not much thought. I also watched part of a thriller about a runaway train with Denzil Washington. It was ridiculous. I turned out my light and closed my eyes. It was uncomfortable. Eventually it was morning. For breakfast it was a sandwich, yogurt, orange juice and coffee.

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We arrived half an hour early. No line at passport control. My bag was the last one onto  the carousel. I got directions and found the Baltic Air counter. I again checked through the heavy bag. At Starbucks I ordered a huge Caffe Latte but they wouldn’t accept my good customer free drink post card.  Instead I bought a medium drip. That cost about half the DK I had found in my suitcase left from last year. The woman felt bad about my free card being refused so she threw in a free caramel waffle cookie. Gate A-2 was by itself. It was  sort of a cattle pen area. I was working on the Herald Tribune crossword and drinking coffee when we were told to leave. Everyone got in line outside. I went to the toilet, 150m away according to a sign, and found it down four flights of stairs. Back at the cattle pen I was told I had missed the bus to the plane but I was in luck as there would be another one. Why not? It was still over half an hour to flight time. A few more stragglers arrived who were lectured more harshly than I had been about how it was only luck that there would be another bus since they should have been there half an hour early. That bus took us far away to a turboprop plane parked on the tarmac. It was a medium size plane with a single aisle between double seats on each side. I was on the aisle in row 8. A youngish blond man wearing a blue sweater was at the window. The refreshment cart seemed to only have stuff for sale. They only accepted cash. Nearing Riga we passed over iced in water. There were open passages in the middle of the channel and in other places the ice was broken. The ride got a little bumpy approaching the airport. From the air the city looked cold and inhospitable.

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The airport had most  of the usual stuff for sale, except there was more perfume and luxury goods for sale than in the US and no fast food franchises. At my gate I found an electrical outlet. It took the 220 volt 2 pin plug. I am glad I remembered the two Europe plugs I had gotten in the fall.  At boarding time there was no action at my gate. I un-plugged and packed up and checked the board in the main hall. My gate had been moved. I went there and got on the plane.  It was another turboprop the same as the previous one.

I was again in row 8 on the aisle. When the drink cart came by the woman next to me asked for water. I was going to ask for water too, but stopped when the stewardess asked her for four Euros. My Euros from last year were still in my checked bag.  The woman did seem to get some value for her money. In addition to the bottle of water was a cup of carrots. They were tiny, un-peeled, with shorn tops. Across the aisle from me was a young woman who looked like she was heading to a film festival. Or maybe she just dressed up to travel. Or maybe she always dressed that way. She had hair so black it looked blue where light reflected off it. It was wrapped up in a black turban kind of like Lana Turner wore in the movie The Postman Always Rings Twice.

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She was wearing tinted glasses with wide black ear bands. Some sort of sparkly material made an M on the widest part of the band. She was wearing a black long sleeved sweater with an leopard  print scarf. She had blue jeans with dark brown leather knee high boots. She had rings on most of her fingers, dark maroon finger nails, and a bunch of cut clear glass and rhinestone bracelets. In her lap was a white jacket with big shiny black buttons.

Nearing our landing the turbulence was extensive. I almost threw up. That would have been a  first for me. We got safely down and to the gate. Inside was a very modest airport. There was one baggage carousel. I got my bag and went outside. A young man was holding a film festival card.  I asked the group what they were doing at the festival  One was a young American, Yony Leiser, who had made the film William S. Burroughs: A Man Within.  A young blond woman and man of my age were there from the Riga Film Festival. Another young man was a journalist from Berlin.  We all got into the van. The young man driving the van said he would be doing a foreign exchange year in Vancouver, B.C. next year.  He then offered that the mountain in Paramount films was from Portland.  I wonder why I had never heard of that.  Of course it is Mt. Hood!

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Yony and I were the only ones to get off at Grand Hotel Tammer. I checked in and first thing in my room took a shower. I then dressed and left. At the front desk I got directions to the opening night party. It was “one kilometer” away and would include only two turns and one passageway to get there.

Even with the directions I had trouble finding the place. It wasn’t that cold but there was plenty of snow and ice to contend with.  I was practically on top of it  when I asked a young couple for directions.  They pointed it to me. There was a outside dining area, optimistic I’d say considering the climate, with a low fence and locked gate. I hopped over that. I could see the bar through the first door I came to but it was locked. A couple of people came out of a door up a short flight of stairs to my left. I went in that door and found myself in a big club. I worked from the back of the place to front to see if there was a place to get my badge. There I found a line of people waiting to get in. Two guys were checking Ids. One of them told me I had to check my coat and it would cost two Euros. I exited past the waiting crowd, went around the back and entered again the same way as the first time. The reason the one back door was open was so people could come outside to smoke. I dumped my coat at at an empty table. At the bar a woman  sized me up and asked if I was Mr. Nyback. She pronounced it NueBoch.  I was shocked she could recognize me from a tiny photo I had sent for my badge. I told her I was hungry. She got me two sandwiches and a beer. I was seated at a table when a woman came over to me. She told me the festival director Jukk-Pekka Laakso would like to talk to me. He soon arrived. He had another beer for me. Both my beers were  lagers and curiously were not full to the top of the pint glasses,  a full inch of the top. He was a pleasant guy. He said my Kill A Commie For Christ Program had sold more tickets than anything else in the festival. He said the entertainment that evening would be the Chinese dance artist Zhang Mengqin. She soon appeared, from a far door, dressed for the outdoors. She walked toward the crowd with a spot light on her. A recording of her talking voice accompanied her. She did a strip tease as she walked forward, eventually getting down to heavy white tights and a tight white shirt. I could then see it was not a spot light, but a projection of her talking face being projected on her. In back of her, high up near the ceiling, an English translation of her monologue was projected, which I was not in a position to read. When she had come forward  as far as she could she stopped and sat down on the floor. She then took out red lipstick, and pantomimed marking up her face. The projected video provided the red marks. She eventually took her shirt off in order to mark up her arms and shoulders. She was left wearing just the white tights and a bra. Her voice got more frantic. So did the projected red marking. There was what I took for a pause, but someone started clapping and I guess the show was over.  I enjoyed it, but probably would have got a lot more out it if I had understood what she was saying.  A Chinese dragon, such as in a Chinatown parade began dancing on stage.

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I left and walked back to the hotel. Halfway there I was stopped by a somewhat drunk man with a couple of others more so. They wanted directions to a pub. It took him a while to understand I was an American who had arrived that day and could not help. They were Brits. The snow and ice didn’t seem to bother them at all.

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