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Clark County’s indie theaters hot in August

By , Columbian staff writer
8 Photos
There's never been snappier dialog -- and more onscreen electricity -- than between Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in 1946's "The Big Sleep." (Warner Brothers Pictures)
There's never been snappier dialog -- and more onscreen electricity -- than between Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in 1946's "The Big Sleep." (Warner Brothers Pictures) Photo Gallery

‘My, my, my! Such a lot of guns around town and so few brains!”

Take that quip as topically as you like, but it’s actually one of many zingers from Raymond Chandler’s 1939 book “The Big Sleep” that later emerged from Humphrey Bogart’s mouth in the movie version.

“The Big Sleep,” screening at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 9, is the latest classic to come to the Kiggins Theatre’s monthly “Noir Nights” feature. The screenplay was adapted from Chandler’s novel by a team that included the great American novelist William Faulkner. The result is a collection of vivid characters, palpable tensions and wickedly witty dialog that more than makes up for a Byzantine plotline that’s simply impossible to follow.

Noir lovers eat it all up anyway. “Fare for folks who don’t care what is going on or why, so long as the talk is hard and the action harder,” summed up Time magazine’s review. Released in 1946, “The Big Sleep” features the young Lauren Bacall in the first of her many devastating femme fatale roles. Weeks into filming, she began an affair with the married Bogart.

Camas: Cats and coiffure

Over at the independent Liberty Theatre in Camas, fabulous felines are getting ready for their irresistible star turns in the latest installment of the annual “CatVideoFest,” surely the cutest, silliest, furriest ball of amateur videography ever to make it onto the big screen. The anthology of real internet cat videos, shot by the people who love — and provoke — their pets, opens Aug. 6 and runs for one week at the Liberty.

If you go

Kiggins Theatre: 1011 Main St., Vancouver; 360-816-0352; kigginstheatre.com

Liberty Theatre: 315 N.E. Fourth Ave., Camas; 360-859-9555 ; camasliberty.com.

What’s not to love about cinema stars who really don’t care about fame, especially when 10 percent of local proceeds will benefit the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society?

Also opening on Aug. 6 at the Liberty for one week only is “Swan Song,” an affecting dramedy about an aging Ohio hairdresser whose misery in a nursing home is interrupted by a call to go on a final, end-of-life styling mission. Based on a true story, directed by Todd Stephens and starring the powerfully charming Udo Kier, “Swan Song” is an often-poignant, occasionally hilarious road trip through gay life in middle America.

Thrill of the chase

If you watched O.J. Simpson’s white Ford Bronco lead a parade of police vehicles around Los Angeles in 1994, you were probably watching through the lens of Bob Tur’s airborne camera.

Tur and his then-wife, Marika Gerrard, founded their own intrepid Los Angeles News Service, which graduated from chasing mayhem through the streets of the city to watching it from above in a helicopter. The couple’s lifestyle of high-altitude stress covering fires, crashes, gang wars and race riots took its toll, though, in ways both predictable and jarringly unexpected.

A gripping new documentary called “Whirlybird” that’s drawn from thousands of hours of raw footage explores all that intensity — both the increasingly obsessive pursuit of news as well as the inevitable health and family fallout, which takes a surprising twist as Bob Tur eventually transitions into Zoey Tur.

Featuring frank interviews with the whole Tur family, including the couple’s daughter, broadcast journalist Kay Tur, “Whirlybird” is a unique blend of news-industry adrenaline and frank personal rumination. It starts streaming Aug. 6 via the Kiggins website. Go to the Virtual Screening Room page for the details.

There are also thrilling rides galore — grinding down city streets, ollieing into the air and kick-flipping all over the place — in “All the Street are Silent,” a documentary that revisits the merger of skateboarding and hip-hop in New York City. The film is heavy on underground-style music-scene footage as well as spectacular skateboarding feats. Eyewitnesses recall the crumbling of a racial divide as two urban art forms found one another and fell in love: skateboarding, originally the pastime of white, California kids, and rap music, which was born Black in the Bronx.

Heating up

The first time in community memory that Montana’s Flathead Lake did not freeze over completely, Dr. Samantha Chisholm Hatfield went to investigate the phenomenon and interview the local people.

“They knew something was wrong,” Hatfield said recently during a remote presentation for the Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. “It was too warm. This was a change. What was going on?”

Hatfield, an environmental scientist with Oregon State University, is also Cherokee and an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians. Her speciality is the ways the Pacific Northwest’s Indigenous peoples understand our environment as well as the ways that understanding is evolving as the climate changes rapidly, right before our eyes.

“Indigenous Knowledge and Climate Change in the Pacific Northwest” is the talk that Hatfield will give, live and in person, at the Kiggins on Aug. 19. It’s part of the ongoing History on Tap lecture series, sponsored by the Clark County Historical Society.

“Native culture is rooted in the land,” she said. “We are the land and the land is us. It’s a connection that cannot be broken.”