Friday, August 31, 2012

Our Mysterious Myrtle

Last week I learned a little bit more about Myrtle, our mysterious namesake. Previously, the only information I had on her was what was contained in her obituary, and some tidbits from US Censuses.

Among other things, I learned that Myrtle moved to Seattle in 1916 with her second husband, Donald Geddes.  They opened Ye College Playhouse, located in the University District on 14th Ave, which would later be renamed University Way.

In 1921, Donald & Myrtle incorporated  G & G Theatre Co., which owned five theaters and had plans for an additional four theaters. Their intent was to specialize in smaller neighborhood theaters. The registered address for G&G Theatre Co. was 4322 University Way. Curiously, the current Varsity Theater is located next to this address at 4329 University Way. I wonder if there is a connection here, or if the addresses are coincidental.

In the mid twenties, Myrtle and Donald divorced, and Myrtle soon married Frank Buckmiller. Frank was not in the theater business, he was a salesman for Wallin & Nordstrom. They moved to Baker City in 1928 to start a theater company of their own. Once here, they incorporated the Baker Theatres Co. and  purchased The Clarick, The Empire and The Orpheum.

In November, 1937 the Clarick burned down and the Buckmillers immediately began working on plans for a new theater, which would be the Eltrym.  In the meantime, Myrtle opened The Polka Dot Confectionery (The Polka Dot Cafe) in the building right next to the Orpheum, where the Chamealeon is today.  She opened this business in the year before her death, as they were working out the plans for the new theater on 1st Street.

Myrtle was a busy woman. She was a wife, a mother, a musician and an owner of multiple businesses. In the early 1900's and through the 30's, when Myrtle was conducting business, businesswomen weren't as common as we are today. I admire Myrtle, and I wish I could know more about her. So if you, or anyone you know (like your elderly family members) know anything about Myrtle Buckmiller or her family (her kids Ardys Ferguson, Freeman Geddes and stepson Charles (Chris) Buckmiller) please contact me.


As a side note: After Myrtle & Donald divorced, Donald continued to work in the theater business. He managed the Winter Garden Theatre for a time, and appears to have spent his later years managing the gigantic, grandiose and magnificent Orpheum Theatre, which was demolished in 1967 to make way for a Westin Hotel.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Local Politics *sigh*

Living in a small town is hard sometimes. It is sometimes really tough to balance being a human being with being a business. As a human being, I have opinions  and I have feelings. As a business, my livelihood is subject to the opinions and judgments of my customers and community. Therefore, I must remain neutral. I must not alienate my community.

In a small town, where everyone knows of everyone else, this is difficult to rectify. Especially when you belong to a family where everyone’s first name ends in –erry. 

A member of my family is leading the efforts to recall two 5J school board members. That’s fine. What’s not fine is the general public assuming that I’m the one leading the efforts. I am not, because doing so would alienate a good portion of my customers therefore violating my personal business ethics. My opinions on this matter are private; I will not burden you with them. 

I know all but one school board member (Mr. Longwell) and their families and many of the people involved in the recall efforts, and I like them all. I have a good relationship with all of these people, and I hope to keep it that way.

I hope this will clear up some confusion.

Thank you,

Teresa (Terry) McQuisten

Thursday, June 21, 2012

We Like 'Em Short!

The We Like 'Em Short film festival is fast approaching. This year the festival will take place August 17th & 18th.  The final call for entries is in one month, on July 20th. If you have created a short film, please enter it in our festival. We'd really like to showcase local filmmakers, but to do that we need you to enter. For details, please see our website or email me.

Each year we learn something new about running a film festival and each year we make improvements. After last year's festival, we were advised by some of our entrants that we should start using an online entry system so that it is easier for filmmakers to enter the festival.  That sounded like a great idea, so we signed up and now we are receiving entries from all over the world. That now makes us an international film festival. That's ritzy!

We're working on planning some events and activities around town that will coincide with our festival. We'll have the after-party for filmmakers, much like we did last year. We'll also be working with a local restaurant for dinner specials, and we are hoping to have a guest filmmaker come in and lead a workshop on a film-making related topic. It's going to be a really great weekend!

So, please mark your calendars for the festival, August 17th & 18th, and if you know of a filmmaker who has made a short film, please tell them about our festival.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

FAC Film Fest this Thursday!

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to screen the films that the BHS Film Arts Club will be presenting at their 3rd annual film festival this week. I was very impressed with what I saw.

The Film Arts Club is a group of kids with a great desire to learn the art of film-making, who have provided themselves the opportunity to do so by creating the FAC. They are primarily self-taught, but they have had enough foresight to take the initiative to involve community members with a film background to come in and offer instruction and advice. They make films on their own time, with money they have earned through fundraisers and film festivals.  They started out as a small group of freshman with a hobby and lofty ideas of movie-making, and over the last three years they have matured as people and artists.

It is apparent to me that in the past school year, the Film Arts Club has experienced tremendous creative growth. Instead of focusing on feature-length films, they have focused on short films, which has allowed them to explore a variety of concepts and styles instead of getting bogged down on a couple of huge projects. I am truly impressed at the variety of films they have produced this year. 

I won’t go into any more depth on my thoughts about the FAC and their films, because I want you to come in and see for yourself. You can do so by attending their film festival on Thursday at 7PM.