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My Self Prescribed Digital Detox

Facebook. Twitter. Snapchat. Instagram. Pinterest. Facebook. Snapchat… This is the endless cycle I find myself repeating for hours every day. At 24 I am CONSUMED by media. If I’m not on my phone looking something up then I’m on my laptop scrolling through endless content. I can’t escape cyberspace. More often than not social media is flooded with either horribly painful news that makes me question the state of humanity or doctored up photos that makes me question what I’m doing with my life and how I look. It’s exhausting and draining to be consumed by such a beast, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.

“To remove social media from my life would be like cutting off a appendage that is poisoning me, I know I should do it, but I can’t bring myself to.”

I grew up in the early 90’s, which means as I emerged into adolescence and adulthood so did the monster of the internet and the boom of social media. At this point for me and my generation, social media is an extension of us and our personal brands. To remove social media from my life would be like cutting off an appendage that is poisoning me, I know I should do it, but I can’t bring myself to.

So how do you not let the internet consume your life? You detox from it.

It would be foolish to tell you to completely cut yourself off from your phone. But detoxing can be another solution. Like we detox toxins from our bodies we also need to digitally detox and clear our minds from the constant stream of information. Why? The average person spends four hours a day on their phones. Along with that shocking statistic another is that the average American checks their phone over 150 TIMES A DAY unconsciously! As someone who works in media and loves to be in the know detoxing seems like a near impossible task for me. It led me to wonder, how do you start to consciously unwind yourself from the constant need to know what is going on while still maintaining your online presence?

Some ways I try to detox social media from my life:

  • Delete negative people. Like spring cleaning your house, cleaning out your social media gives you a chance to take into stock what you really want to see and eliminate accounts that cause negative feelings.
  • Put your phone on airplane mode. By doing this your phone is still on but the need to check your notification disappears by not allowing any notifications to pop-up until you turn this mode off. This takes away the sometimes constant nagging need people have to check their phones.
  • Turn your phone off for an hour a day. By turning off your phone it becomes more of a hassle to turn it back on and check social media than to just scroll through your notifications with it on. Try doing this a few times a week and see if it makes a difference for you.

By the end of your digital detox you should be feeling refreshed and a little more at ease!

James Swan books

Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day!

Today is the first day that the City of Portland is commemorating Indigenous Peoples’ Day as opposed to Columbus Day.

Last week the city council voted to make the change. A release from the city notes that Portland is home to the ninth largest Native American population in the United States, and its urban Native community is descended from over 200 tribes. The Oregonian quoted Portland Mayor Charlie Hales who said Portlanders have a responsibility to “remember and to learn” about the region’s history. “We can remember, we can repair, and we can respect,” he said.

 

From the City of Portland’s press release:

Indigenous Peoples’ Day was first proposed in 1977 by the delegation of Native Nations to the United Nations. It wasn’t until 2010 that the United States endorsed a United Nations declaration that recognized “indigenous peoples have suffered from historic injustices as a result of … their colonization and dispossession of their lands, territories and resources.”

 

Therefore, in the spirit of the new designation, I thought Indigenous Peoples’ Day might be a fun opportunity to share a bit about a body of work from the late 1800’s that I’m interested in, and that provides a unique insight on native tribes of the Washington Coast during that era.

When I was a kid, my step-dad worked for a time as a consultant for the Makah Tribe on Washington’s Pacific Coast. I grew up with their artwork adorning our home, and many weekends were spent exploring the Hoh Rainforest and surrounding areas. During family gatherings we’d bake salmon in the backyard over an open fire, an homage of sorts to a technique my step-dad learned from the tribe.

A couple years ago I happened upon the tale of a former Port Townsend resident named James Gilcrest Swan who lived in Oregon Territory/Washington State from the early 1850’s until his death in 1900. He was the subject of Ivan Doig’s critically acclaimed book “Winter Brothers” and several of Swan’s writings and illustrations were published posthumously, beginning in the 1970’s. There’s an excellent book of his illustrations and watercolors titled “James Swan, Chā-tic” that demonstrates Haida artwork, Quinault Villages and assorted native ceremonies. There’s also a collection of his journals titled, “The Northwest Coast.”

James Swan NW Coast selection

Selection from “The Northwest Coast,” published by University of Washington Press

During his lifetime, Swan was hired by the American government to teach English to members of the Makah tribe. He kept a detailed journal of his experience and during his time on the Washington Coast he collected artifacts from the region and sent them to museums on the East Coast. It is because of Swan’s efforts that insights and clues to the lives of the tribes during the 1800’s exist today.

It’s true that Swan writes about Native tribes through the vantage of a biased Anglo-American. Swan was a man of many faults. He completely abandoned his wife and kids in Boston to venture to the West Coast, and died a notorious alcoholic. He’s judgmental on tribal customs and tramples on their culture in his role as English teacher in an effort to prepare them for the impending influx of white Europeans. A cynic might argue that he documented the fall of their communities and was an active participant in doing so. Conversely, it’s apparent in his writing that he has a compassion and respect for the native people of the region and is often disgusted by the cultural insensitivity demonstrated by other Euro-Americans. It’s apparent that he made many friends among the local Native populations and appears to be an anomaly for his era. For those reasons, I recommend checking out his journals and illustrations.

whale blubber preparation, from "James Swan, Chā-Tic"

whale blubber preparation, from “James Swan, Chā-Tic”

This blog is intended to acknowledge the indigenous peoples of our region on a day our city has commemorated to do so. While these books are written by an European-American, they do provide an interesting insight into Native tribes during an interesting period of history. That said, the books are no match for the beauty and wonder of the Northwest Coast.

I’d encourage anyone intrigued by this post to visit the Quinault, Hoh, Queets and Makah forests, rivers, museums and communities in the near future.

finding bosnia header

Finding Bosnia Screening, Clinton Street Theater

Independently Produced Film Is Four Years in the Making

Finding Bosnia Official Trailer from LLAMAMAMA on Vimeo.

My friend Ivana Horvat was four-years-old when she escaped the besieged capitol of Sarajevo with her mother during the Bosnian War, at one point crawling under a two-foot wall to escape a barrage of sniper gunfire from the Chetnik-aggressors. While Ivana and her mother escaped, her father and many of her other relatives stayed behind to endure a war that would ruthlessly take over 100,000 lives during the course of nearly four years.

To make her film, Finding Bosnia, Ivana teamed up with my other friend, Adrian Hopffgarten, the co-owner of her production company, LLAMAMAMA Productions, and returned to Bosnia 20 years later to re-discover the family, city and culture that Ivana unknowingly left behind as a toddler.

Ivana and Adrian will host a special fundraiser and their first Portland screening of Finding Bosnia at the Clinton Street Theater (2522 SE Clinton) this Sunday, October 11 at 3:00 p.m. The screening will raise money to fund festival submissions and distribution. Admission is a suggested $10 donation. Doors open at 2:30 p.m.

IvanaHorvat

Ivana grew up in Portland, but has said she always felt a disconnect between her American identity and Bosnian identity. Her grandparents and many other relatives remained in Bosnia during the war. Her parents would speak Bosnian at home. She knew she was Bosnian, but didn’t really know what it meant to be Bosnian. This film is a fun, educational and entertaining trip along with Ivana and Adrian as they embark on a journey to discover Ivana’s Bosnian roots for the first time.

In August I happened to be in Sarajevo, Bosnia as they screened “Finding Bosnia” for the first time at the Sarajevo Film Festival. As readers of this blog have noted, I’ve had an interest in Bosnia for the past decade that began after reading a remarkable memoir titled “Fools Rush In” by Bill Carter, which I consider to be the most influential event of my personal life in the past decade.

Finding Bosnia is fantastic, and captures a special moment in Ivana’s life. It’s especially interesting given the discussion the world has been having about refugees in light of the Syrian conflict. Ivana is just one of the Bosnian War refugees that I’ve befriended during the past couple of years, and it’s my opinion that Portland is a much richer community for all of them.

After the screening in Bosnia, their film received a standing ovation from the predominantly Bosnian audience. Hopffgarten says the response was wonderful validation for the countless hours of effort she spent ensuring every political detail from the immensely complicated conflict was properly vetted. I was impressed with their stop-motion skills, and the production and storytelling too. The Bosnian friends I attended the screening with had nothing but positive comments about the screening.

ivana i adrian

Ivana and Adrian at the sold-out screening of Finding Bosnia, Sarajevo Film Festival

Ivana says she hopes Finding Bosnia demonstrates that Bosnia is much more than a sad war-torn country and she’s excited to reach other people who have grown up living between two cultures as refugees. She hopes her personal story will shed light on what it means to be a refugee with a lost identity.

After the screening there will be a short Q&A with the directors, with a reception to follow at The Lucky Horseshoe Lounge next door. For more information visit findingbosnia.com or post questions to this blog.

ABOUT THE FILM
Finding Bosnia presents an intimate and personal journey of a Bosnian war refugee raised in Portland, Oregon who seeks to reclaim her Bosnian culture and identity. Ivana Horvat makes it her goal to create her own “Bosnia” by returning to her hometown, and interviewing other Bosnian refugees from around the world. Home video footage and stories of various generations of Bosnians, within and outside of the country, create a bridge into her Bosnia; a place where she finally feels like she belongs. FINDING BOSNIA’s world premiere was at the Sarajevo Film Festival in August 2015.

ABOUT IVANA

Ivana Horvat fled Sarajevo as a young child leaving her father, family, and city behind. After living in Germany and Malaysia, she was reunited with her father a few years later and has lived in Portland, Oregon since. Her mother and her father, Tanja and Nino Horvat, took turns capturing home videos of their new life together in Portland and twenty years later, their footage has become a lens with which Ivana can watch her transition from being a young Bosnian child to an American woman. In 2012, she returned to live in Bosnia for seven months to explore a life that could have been.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Ivana Horvat: ivana14horvat (at) gmail (dot) com
LlamaMama Productions Website: llamamama.video
Website: www.findingbosnia.com
Trailer: https://vimeo.com/134660931
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Finding-Bosnia-253603951374603
Twitter: https://twitter.com/findingbosnia

badger and boar razors

Badger & Boar: A New Barber Shop in SE Portland

“Everybody has the perfect haircut and it’s my mission to find it.”

I first met Sean Gronich several years ago when he worked at a popular local barber chain and we bonded over a supernatural horror novel by local Portland author Todd Grimson. After losing touch for awhile, I ran into him again several months later at the Alberta Street Pub where he was hanging out with some mutual pals. We realized our friend circle overlapped with a Port Townsend connection, and he’s been my “stylist” ever since (I put that word in quotes because I’m not sure if you can categorize the lack of attention I put to my head as style-anything).

Just a little over 9 months ago Sean started his own business, run from his home, and now he’s finally got a location on one of Portland’s hottest avenues. He said the opening came about randomly, but he leapt at the opportunity.

Named after the animal hairs that make up the finest shaving brushes, and harkening back to his British roots, the Badger & Boar barbershop is now open for business at SE 33rd and Division. Just follow the stairs between St. Honoré and Salt & Straw and take a right when you get to the top. Gronich says Badger & Boar will have a casual, friendly feel and that he’s trying to avoid the trendiness of other local barber shops, if only to suit his own personal style.

I recently interviewed Sean for my Podcast and asked him about his passion for cutting hair. Strangely, his passion began when he was actually working on the set of a popular TV show on the Discovery Channel called Worst Case Scenario. He said sometimes he’d work 85 hours per week, not including LA traffic, and to relax he’d cut hair. 

“[Cutting hair] put me into Zen, I liked the conversation, I got to relax. And when I’d see my work on the street, I just loved it.”

We welcome him to the neighborhood and wish him nothing but success in the future. Congrats, Sean!

To hear more about his philosophy, career and experience cutting hair, please click on the image to enjoy a recent interview:

sean gronich badger and boar

james joyce portrait

Irish Event Explores 20th Century’s Most Controversial Novel

James Joyce has been dead for nearly 75 years but he still reigns as one of Ireland’s leading literary ambassadors, thanks in part to the annual commemoration of Bloomsday, an event celebrating his masterwork “Ulysses.” Arguably more controversial than “Tropic of Cancer” – and making “50 Shades of Grey” appear tame in comparison – “Ulysses” was the subject of bans and censorship – at one point the postal service even refused to transport a magazine that had printed sections of it. The novel was banned in the United States until 1933.

The local chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) will celebrate the 111th anniversary of Bloomsday at Kells Irish Pub (112 SW 2nd Ave) on Tuesday, June 16th at 7 p.m. The free event is AOH’s 18th annual Bloomsday event and will feature discussions and readings exploring Joyce’s work, Irish culture and Hibernian Unity.

When: Tuesday, June 16th at 7 p.m.
Where: Kells, 112 SW 2nd Ave.

Interestingly, the AOH is a Catholic-based organization, and Portland’s chapter has been active celebrating Irish culture, including hosting politicians from Sinn Fein and (living) Irish authors too. Here’s a link to learn more about the Ancient Order of the Hibernians.

james joyce

Biography has an excellent piece on Joyce, click for more

“The thing with Bloomsday is that there really aren’t many commemorations or celebrations in America, but in Ireland it’s a big deal,” said Bill Gallagher, a charter member of AOH’s Portland chapter and its current president. “We feel Bloomsday provides a fun opportunity to emphasize the cultural as well as the social and political aspects of our shared Irish heritage.”

Portland’s Bloomsday event has been hosted by the AOH since the 1980s and has ranged from involved productions, to simple gatherings of members and friends sharing their favorite works of James Joyce. This year’s event will fall somewhere between the two.

About the AOH.
The Ancient Order of Hibernians Portland had a chapter in the early part of the last century which was disbanded during the Depression. David O’Longaigh and Chuck Duffy saw to its revitalization in the mid-seventies and now the organization meets about nine times a year on a variety of topics ranging from contemporary Irish politics to classic literature and an annual St. Patrick’s Day banquet.

“I resent violence or intolerance in any shape or form. It never reaches anything or stops anything. A revolution must come on the due installments plans. It’s a patent absurdity on the face of it to hate people because they live round the corner and speak a different vernacular, so to speak.” James Joyce, “Ulysses”

For More About James Joyce.
Biography Feature on Joyce
Feature on Joyce and his Publisher
An analysis on “Ulysses” and Bloomsday

marcus harvey at AM:PM PR speakeasy

Beyond Pavlovian Behaviors: Social media Owns You

What if you spent hours, days, weeks, months curating a perfectly branded social media profile, and one day it just disappeared with no explanation?

That was an intriguing story shared earlier this month at our Speakeasy event with Portland entrepreneur Marcus Harvey.

You may recognize Harvey as the successful entrepreneur behind Portland Gear and Creative|35 and curator of the @Portland Instagram handle. His fascinating story was first reported in detail at The Oregonian and the article inspired us to invite him in for the Speakeasy event.

marcus harvey at AM:PM PR's Speakeasy

Weeks after the event our team found we were still discussing the one story he shared that wasn’t an example of his remarkable success – his acquisition of the @LasVegas Instagram handle.

Harvey said that he followed the same strategy curating the Las Vegas account that he did in growing the @Portland handle (now with 102k followers). Once he identified and acquired @LasVegas, he began a regimented effort populating the account with carefully curated, branded content – exactly as he’d done with the Portland account.

Then one day he woke up and the @LasVegas account was gone.

He tried contacting customer service at Instagram, of which there is none. After various creative attempts to reclaim the account, including the use of an attorney, he gave up and resigned himself to the reality that @LasVegas was gone. He still doesn’t know exactly what happened, but surmised that it may have resulted from his effort to operate the account from a Portland IP address.

Regardless, it was a startling reminder that when it comes to social media, as professional content curators, we own nothing.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – all of them. They brought our social profiles into this world, and they can take us out of it.

Have you, dear reader, had any similar experiences with social media?

Marcus Harvey wearing Portland hat on bridge

Brilliance, luck, or both? Meet Portland clothing designer, entrepreneur and … genius?

 

May 6th Speakeasy to Feature Marcus Harvey

AM:PM PR Speakeasy graphic featuring Marcus Harvey

Marcus Harvey surely hit a stroke of social media marketing genius when he snagged the @Portland handle on Instagram from its original owner, a man on the East Coast who used it to share the occasional photo of his daughter.

Recognizing Instagram’s increasing popularity among the millennial generation, Marcus then began systematically populating the account with popular imagery of Portland. He grew its following to 60,000 people before using it to launch his own Portland-themed clothing brand, Portland Gear. He generated $5,000 in sales from the account on its first day.

Please join us Wednesday, May 6th at 4 p.m. for our next Speakeasy featuring local Portland entrepreneur and clothing designer, Marcus Harvey.

Marcus will share tales from his experience developing a social media-based community centered around Portland, plus how he recognized the opportunity with Instagram and how he’s continued to use the account to successfully promote Portland Gear.

Portland gear models against a spray painted wall

Marcus’s other project is Creative|35, a Portland apparel business offering private labeling for clothing brands and related creative services including design, production and marketing. Marcus graduated from the University of Oregon in 2012 with a degree in Digital Arts and Business, and is a 2008 graduate of Century High School in Hillsboro. Marcus’s story was featured by The Oregonian earlier this month.