Tag Archives: Bend Oregon

Wild Horse, Wild Ride

A hand reaches out, a wild mustang hesitates

The answer: “Wild Horse, Wild Ride.”

The question, which I am frequently asked by friends who know that I sit on the board of directors of BendFilm: What films do you recommend seeing?

With the annual four-day tribute to independent cinema beginning tomorrow at locations throughout Bend and Sisters, the questions are coming more often these days.  I did not serve on the festival selections committee this year, but I have seen a handful of festival movies.

One of them I found particularly memorable.

Alex Dawson

It’s a full-length documentary film, written and directed by Alex Dawson (same name, different person than last year’s actress-producer of “Clara’s Carma”), co-directed by her cinematographer husband, Greg Gricus.

Here’s the trailer: http://wildhorsewildride.com/trailer.html

“Wild Horse, Wild Ride” follows eight horse lovers from different parts of the United States — Texas, New Mexico, Wisconsin and New Hampshire — who enter an event called the Extreme Mustang Makeover Challenge.

This annual competition gives 100 participants each 100 days to break and train a newly captured wild mustang, enabling the animal to be adopted outside of the wild-horse pens.

You’ll meet Charles and Carlos, a father and son from the Navajo Indian Reservation; Melissa, a biomedical graduate student at Texas A&M University; and Nik and Kris, home-schooled New Hampshire brothers with an intuitive training philosophy.

You’ll cheer for George, an aging Texas cowboy muddling his way through his seventh marriage; Jésus, a young construction worker who lives in Wisconsin but misses his father’s ranch in Mexico; and Wylene, the ultimate Texas cowgirl, a glamorous but tough-as-nails single mother.

The film climaxes at the end of the 100 days in Fort Worth, Texas, where the amateur handlers show their horses before putting them up for auction.  To keep the animals as their own, they must successfully bid against the public.

After more than three months of bonding with the mustangs, this is a heartbreaking moment for the trainers, many of whom are young and don’t have $2,000 or more, to spare in a bidding war.

Dawson’s story and Gricus’s brilliant photography — his past credits have included work on the National Geographic, Discovery, History and Travel channels — won’t leave many dry eyes in the house.

“Wild Horse, Wild Ride” won the Audience Choice award in the documentary category at the Dallas International Film Festival earlier this year, and it took home two awards at the Phoenix Film Festival.

The movie has been chosen to open the Sisters portion of the festival. It will be presented at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Sisters Movie House, along with an equally wonderful short called “Library of Dust.” It will be reprised in Sisters at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

The only Bend showing of “Wild Horse, Wild Ride” will take place at 12:30 p.m. at the Tower Theatre, where it is paired with “Small Town Doc,” a 12-minute short filmed in La Pine.

Individual film tickets may be purchased online for $11 at www.bendfilm.org.  They are also available for $12 at BendFilm headquarters at The Hub (the old Liberty Theatre, 849 N.W. Wall St., Bend) up to 60 minutes before the start of a show.



Filed under Movies

Perfect Fit: Joe Kim and 5 Fusion

Joe Kim slices into an Atlantic cod at 5 Fusion & Sushi Bar

Joe Kim, Jr., has been in Bend for only 15 months, but the young chef has no doubt Asian fusion cuisine is the perfect fit for his culinary experience and skills.

“My father is Korean but grew up in Osaka, Japan,” explained Joe. “He moved to the United States, to San Francisco, in the mid-1970s.

“My mother is American. And I grew up since my early teens working in the kitchen of Japanese restaurants, making soba noodles and tempura batters, and later, sushi.”

Joe, 30, is now the executive chef of 5 Fusion & Sushi Bar (www.5fusion.com) in downtown Bend.

He originally left his California home to attend business school at Oregon State University in Corvallis. Upon his graduation in 2005, he attempted a career change—“but the suit and tie of a broker just didn’t suit me,” he admitted.

“So I went back to San Francisco and got a job at another Japanese restaurant, Kyoto on Van Ness Avenue,” Joe said. He traveled in Italy and China, paying close attention to the cuisine, and contemplated a move to Japan before returning to the States. Soon thereafter, he found himself in Bend.

“I came to 5 Fusion as a sous sushi chef and just kind of fell into the role of executive chef,” he said. “Now I work about half the time on the sushi bar and half in the back kitchen. It gives me a chance to get away from the traditional.”

Kim’s creativity will be on display Saturday night (Aug. 13) at the Ghost Tree Invitational’s Dinner on the Range. Five Fusion is one of 19 Central Oregon restaurants participating in the event at Sunriver’s Crosswater Golf Course (www.ghosttreeinvitational.com).

Joe plans to present two Asian-style seafood dishes. His seared scallop will be served with a purée of edamame beans. And his seared ahi tuna on sushi-rice risotto will feature a low-sodium reduction of white soy sauce and white balsamic vinegar.

About 1,300 guests are expected at Ghost Tree this weekend. If you attend, keep an eye out for such familiar faces as actress Melora Hardin, actor Mykelti Williamson and basketball star Detlef Schrempf. They will be among numerous celebrities attending the annual three-day charity event.


Leave a comment

Filed under Restaurants

Cafe Sintra: A Taste of Portugal in Bend

Manuel dos Santos at Bend's Cafe Sintra

When Manuel Niny dos Santos was a 5-year-old boy in Portugal, his mother opened a restaurant in the national capital of Lisbon.

“It was called Faz Figura, which means, ‘Make a gesture,’” Manuel recalled. “She was a great cook, and her restaurant was very famous in Lisbon. She served gourmet traditional Portuguese food. Even the president of Portugal ate there.”

Senhora dos Santos had the restaurant for only two years before Manuel’s father, a career naval officer, was transferred to an embassy post in Washington, D.C.  But the memories remained.

“I especially remember how the chefs always hooked me up with desserts,” Manuel said. “But I never thought that someday I’d have a restaurant of my own.”

Now 42, Manuel permanently moved to the United States at the age of 18 to attend university in California. He majored in science and mathematics, then followed his sister Joana north to Bend, where both found spouses.

Manuel fell into the restaurant business because his wife’s parents owned a Sunriver restaurant, Marcello’s.  Together, they opened their own Sunriver restaurant — named Café Sintra to honor the seaside Lisbon suburb in which young Manuel grew up — and expanded to downtown Bend in 2004.

Cafe Sintra

Following a divorce, Manuel kept the Bend restaurant, where he continues to serve breakfasts and lunches. (It’s open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily; learn more on Facebook or at www.cafesintra.com.)

“Although we definitely cater to the general public, we like to incorporate Mediterranean flavors as much as possible,” Manuel said. “We import Portuguese sausages and cheeses, and we have a Portuguese stew on the menu that is very popular.”

Café Sintra has also become a center for the region’s throng of international soccer fans, who gather for televised matches throughout the “futbol” season.

Dos Santos and Tracie Peterson, who now owns Café Sintra in Sunriver, will serve a double dose of Sintra cuisine on Saturday (Aug. 13). Sintra is one of 19 Central Oregon restaurants participating in the Ghost Tree Invitational at Sunriver’s Crosswater Golf Course (www.ghosttreeinvitational.com).

On Sintra’s menu are a seafood gazpacho, an inspired version of a shrimp ceviche; and a pork rib with “an incredible marinade that we just came up with,” Manuel said.

If you are one of the 1,300 guests expected at Ghost Tree this weekend, don’t be surprised if you see celebrities like actors William Devane and Dennis Haysbert, and athletes Gary Payton and Amy Acuff, hanging out at the Café Sintra booth. They are part of the host of luminaries attending the annual three-day charity event.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Dining at the Pronghorn Club

Chanterelle Restaurant at Pronghorn's Clubhouse

          For its first several years, Bend’s Pronghorn Club let it be known that it was exclusive.  Its golf courses and restaurants were the strict domain of well-to-do residents and their guests.

         That changed in late May, when the Arizona-based Troon Golf company assumed management of the residential resort.

         One of Troon’s first actions was to open Pronghorn’s restaurants — The Trailhead, Chanterelle and Cascada — to the general public.  But six months later, the resort’s dining scene remains a mystery to most Central Oregon “foodies.”

         There are multiple reasons.  One is the distance to Pronghorn; the 20-minute drive from the east side of Bend, past the municipal airport and out Powell Butte Highway, becomes at least a half hour in winter.  Another is the curtailment of food service during this colder time of year, when good days for golf on the Nicklaus and Fazio courses are few and far between.

         Nevertheless, it’s not hard to justify the trek to Pronghorn in winter. Chanterelle, the elegant fine-dining restaurant in the resort’s grand Clubhouse, is hosting a special Christmas Eve dinner and a New Year’s Eve bash that starts with dinner and continues past midnight.  A series of winemakers’ dinners are scheduled through the winter months, as they were in autumn.

Va Piano's Justin Wylie

         I attended one of those reservation-only dinners late last month, when my friend Justin Wylie, owner of Va Piano Vineyards in Walla Walla, came to Central Oregon to share his wines with diners at Chanterelle. 

         While I thought that chef Mike Shibel’s menu was unusual — two days after Thanksgiving turkey, it featured quail and duck — it was very well prepared, and the wine pairings were perfect.

         This was the menu: Lobster consommé, with ravioli-style dumplings, accompanied by an oaky Semillon. Roasted quail, in a cherry reduction sauce with vegetable wild rice, served with a Cabernet blend. Seared duck breast, with blackberry jus and chopped sweet-potato hash, presented with Syrah. And chocolate trifle, with a Frangelico sabayon and raspberries, offered with Cabernet Sauvignon.

Semillon for the feast (2 photos by Barb Gonzalez)

        During the prime resort season of spring through early fall, breakfast, lunch and dinner are served at the Trailhead, where the resort offices and concierge services are located. But the Trailhead closes in winter, so the three daily meals are served in Cascada, otherwise the Clubhouse’s 19th-hole café. It’s open five days a week, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. 

          I dropped by for a casual lunch, prepared by chef Katie Yount.  My beef carpaccio appetizer was wonderfully lean, served with capers, shaved pecorino cheese and German-style ground mustard.  A hearty black-bean chili came with chunks of chicken meat, tomato and onion, garnished with lime zest, cheddar cheese and sour cream.  My wedge salad, a quarter-head of iceberg lettuce, was rich with bleu cheese, bacon crumbles, tomato, pecorino and ground pepper.

          I’ll be writing a formal review of the Pronghorn restaurants for The Bulletin when the Trailhead reopens in spring. In the meantime, for information, go to www.pronghornclub.com/clubhouse.html. Bon appetit.

Leave a comment

Filed under Restaurants, Wine and wineries

Homage to Dave Sheldon

Dave Sheldon and friends sing “Without Love,” summer 2009

          There’s not much I can say about Dave Sheldon that hasn’t been said in the past couple of days.  But I feel compelled to write a few words about my friend.

          Dave died early Tuesday morning in a bizarre accident off the North Umpqua Highway east of Roseburg, where he had commuted for work.  He had pulled off the road to sleep in the back of his van, as he sometimes did when he was too tired to make the return drive to Bend.

          As he slept, high winds uprooted a large fir tree.  The tree fell directly upon Dave’s sleeping quarters.  It seemed as though the Grim Reaper held a personal grudge.

Dave Sheldon

          But I can’t imagine anyone having a grudge against Dave Sheldon.  He was a human treasure, a man who always seemed to have a kind word to accompany his droll smile.  Dave’s white goatee belied the youthfulness of his 57 years.  He was at once playful and passionate, creative and charismatic.  When he asked “How are you?” it wasn’t just words.  He really wanted to know.

          His sonorous voice led him to theater — he was perfectly cast as Don Quixote in 2006 when the Cascades Theatrical Company produced “Man of La Mancha” — and to numerous master of ceremonies appearances at events that he loved.

          When I first competed in the annual Pole Pedal Paddle race in May 2005, Dave was the finish-line announcer.  That was no surprise: Dave and his wife Jenny, his college sweetheart, had founded the skiing-bicycling-paddling-running event in 1977, shortly after they had settled in Bend.

          Dave and I sat together for two years on the board of directors of the Central Oregon Environmental Center.  More recently, I enjoyed the parties at his home on the Deschutes River, just a block away from my own house.

          Music was always a big part of the festivities.  Dave loved to sing and play classic rock and blues music, and he inevitably had numerous veteran rockers sharing the moments.  In summer, the jam sessions were on his riverside deck, where he tolerated my own marginal skills on keyboards and percussion.  If you’ve watched the video that leads this blog, you’ll see a snippet of one such session.

          At yuletide, the band moved indoors for annual “Ugly Sweater” parties around the Christmas tree.  Jenny and his three 20-something  children — Katie, Nathan and Lisa, when they weren’t off at school or globetrotting — were always a part of the celebration, and Dave often spoke proudly about each of their lives.

          Just two weeks ago, Dave and Jenny spent an evening at a small dinner party at our home. Dave had a couple of glasses of wine, compelling him to recall some youthful surfing exploits.  Jenny quietly described the movement of tai chi, the Chinese exercise regimen that she instructs.  I remember thinking that this couple, after more than 35 years together, were remarkably well paired.

          If you knew Dave Sheldon — whether you know him well or just a little bit — you are invited to one more “Ugly Sweater” party on Sunday afternoon.  It starts at 4 p.m. at Aspen Hall, in Shevlin Park on Bend’s east side.  Wear your gaudiest Christmas sweater, bring an instrument and come prepared to sing.

          And don’t think of this as a memorial. Consider it a celebration.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

BendFilm: The Perfect Age



Zegers and Ritter in "The Perfect Age of Rock 'n' Roll" (Red Hawk Films)


The first thing you should know about “The Perfect Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll” is that it’s not really about rock ‘n’ roll.

Selected as the opening feature of the 2010 BendFilm festival, the movie explores the boundaries of friendship within the context of the music industry.

Although the soundtrack is heavy on blues and classic rock music, from Canned Heat and Bob Dylan to Nirvana and Alice in Chains, “It’s more about people and relationships,” said director Scott Rosenbaum.


Scott Rosenbaum (Barb Gonzalez photo)


Rosenbaum and his co-writer, Jasin Cadic, were still dealing with jet lag when we sat down this morning over stiff cups of java at the Lone Pine Coffee House on Tin Pan Alley.

“Our biggest challenge was not to write a cliche,” Scott said. “But we could’ve written this story about two guys who are accountants.  It’s a story of betrayal, abandonment, loyalty, freedom … and ultimately, passion and friendship.”

“The Perfect Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll” shows tonight at 8:30 at the Tower Theatre, and again Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Sisters Movie House.  Tickets are $10, available at the door (arrive early!) or online at http://www.bendfilm.org.

The story goes something like this: Spyder (Kevin Zegers, of Transamerica and Normal) is a hard-rock musician who had huge success with his first album. When his second release flops, he returns to his Long Island hometown to reconnect with his old friend and collaborator Eric (Jason Ritter, TV’s The Event and Joan of Arcadia), whom he hasn’t seen in seven years.

An accomplished guitarist and songwriter in his own right, Eric convinces Spyder to join him on a cross-country road trip to Los Angeles, with famed music impresario August West (the almost-legendary Peter Fonda, Easy Rider, Yulee’s Gold) driving the bus down Route 66.

The movie also stars Taryn Manning (8 Mile, Sons of Anarchy) as Spyder’s manager, and features such actors as Ruby Dee, Lucas Haas, Lauren Holley, Kelly Lynch, Aimee Teagarden and Billy Dee Williams.


Jason Cadic (Barb Gonzalez Photo)


Some of the last surviving members of the great blues bands of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf — keyboardist Pinetop Perkins, now 97; guitarist Hubert Sumlin, 78; and harpist Sugar Blue, 60 — play key roles. “Rock ‘n’ roll’s the bastard son of the blues, man!” says Spyder.

Cadic, who co-stars in the film as Bixx, Spyder’s bass player, is a real-life rock musician. His new band, Star Killer, will make its debut on Halloween night at the House of Blues in New Orleans. He is also a painter of mixed-media abstract canvases, featured in New York galleries. And he designs sets for such Big Apple fashionistas as Gucci.

“I just go with the flow and don’t say no to anything,” Jasin said. “The daytime stuff helps me do stuff at night. The music is my hub. Everything else spins off that.”

Rosenbaum spent 10 years as a Wall Street trader, then turned his focus to film making. In 2006, he was given “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to join director Spike Lee as a set production assistant during the making of “Miracle at St. Ann” in Italy. “It was a great learning experience,” he said, that helped to launch him into his own career.

Check out the trailer at this site: http://www.theperfectageofrocknroll.com/

1 Comment

Filed under Movies

BendFilm: Rock ‘n’ Roll Dreams


Jack Roberts as Duncan Christopher


Jack Roberts and Justin Monroe grew up in Oklahoma as awkward youths with big dreams. And that’s why their new movie, “The Rock ‘n’ Roll Dreams of Duncan Christopher,” is able to so successfully express that angst.

Already a winner of awards at five film festivals from Tulsa, Okla., to Edmonton, Alberta — and an official selection in 11 other film festivals, from Vermont to Buenos Aires — “Rock ‘n’ Roll Dreams” makes its Oregon debut tomorrow, on the opening night of the BendFilm Festival.

It will be presented at 9 p.m. at the Regal 1 Theater in the Shops at the Old Mill District. Tickets are $10, available at the venue or online at http://www.bendfilm.org.

“Rock ‘n’ Roll Dreams” is a fictional work, but it’s not that far removed from the memories of Jack Roberts, the movie’s star and writer.

The movie’s main character, Duncan Christopher, is the son of a rock star who flipped out and died. That didn’t stop Duncan from wanting to be a rocker like his daddy. Raised in social isolation until his 30th birthday, he moves to Tulsa and tackles his dream … initially, in a karaoke bar.

Roberts was unable to make it to Bend for the festival, but in his place are Heather Roberts, his wife and co-star, and Justin Monroe, his longtime friend and the movie’s director. They joined me today for a round of drinks and conversation at 900 Wall.

I quickly learned that there is much more to “Rock ‘n’ Roll Dreams” than first meets the eye.

“When you make a movie, you have so much opportunity to benefit the community,” Heather said.  “A project like this is so life-giving.”  And that, she said, is the premise upon which their production company, Hearth Creative, is founded.

“We want to go into communities and develop our films as part of those communities,” she explained.

“Duncan’s story is basically Tulsa’s story,” Justin added. “We moved from Los Angeles back to Tulsa, where Jack and I had grown up. For three years, we became part of that community again. We used as many local actors and musicians as possible. Our amazing soundtrack is 99% local (a CD will be released soon).

“This is a heartfelt story. It is about awkwardness and occupational dynamics. And we hope we take our viewers on a journey: Certainly, as you watch the movie, you get somewhere different than where you started.

“We wanted to shine the metaphorical belt buckle of Oklahoma.”

The Roberts and Monroe families — Heather (a former Congressional aide) and Jack have two young children; Justin (once a rock ‘n’ roll singer) and his wife, Kasey, have a preschool-age son and daughter — have just moved to Portland. They intend to benefit Oregon just as they did Oklahoma, and are already seeking out musicians to help them with the soundtrack of their next movie.

“It will be a modern-day Western on the Oregon Trail,” Justin said. “Jack is just finishing the seventh draft. In scope and time investment, it will be 10 times bigger than ‘Duncan Christopher.’ ”

The director said he hopes to begin shooting the movie in the spring and summer of 2011, with Jack Roberts riding horseback from Kansas City to Portland.

1 Comment

Filed under Movies