Videography

Brewing a Winter Porter, Portland Style

I have made a few batches of porters the past couple years. I just finished my latest. I used a Black Butte style porter recipe from the Deschutes Brewery in Bend (their porter is among my favorite beers). I prepared the wort and bottled the fermented final keg, all at Portland U-Brew in January and February 2016. I enjoyed getting to work with the team there and meeting fellow brewers. The U-Brew crew did a nice job educating new brewers like me on the chemistry and techniques to ensure a tasty, properly fermented beer. Overall, it is pretty durn good, though I think they could have upped the carbonation. Skol!

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The house on Stout Street

Relatives of mine lived on Stout Street, in northwest Detroit. It was once a middle-class neighborhood for working-class families. Now it has gone to hell. I have profiled the decay on this block before. I wanted to share how it looks with this short video. It still makes me want to cry every time I see it, because every house that used to be here is a story of lives come and now gone.

The footage was taken in September 2015.

 

Rueda flash mob hits downtown Portland, dancing ensues

Rueda de casino is a hypnotically cool dance from Cuba that uses Cuban partner dance patterns called casino to traditional Cuban rhythms that today we know mostly as “salsa,” with dancers moving around a circle and changing partners. You can dance to salsa, traditional older Cuban dance music, and even reggaetone. Fun beyond description, really. Today this is literally a global dance phenomenon, like so many dances that have originated in Latin America.

A great group of Portland-based rueda enthusiasts and instructors, who band under the name Portland Casino Fridays, organized a series of rueda flash mobs at Director Park and then a bit later (after we got kicked out) at the park strip near the Portland Art Museum on Saturday, March 28. Bet you did not know there is such as thing as Rueda de Casino Internationl Multi-Flashmob Day. Well I did not until I joined the fun.

If you have not tried rueda, look it up in your city and give yourself some time to pick up the moves. There are hundreds if not thousands of instructional videos on YouTube now. Oye, baila!

The ducks were made for walking

Seeing happy ducks in the muddy wetlands not far from my home on a rainy night this week made me think of other happy ducks. Here is some footage I shot in the rice paddies outside Ubud, Bali, way back in 2009. (Ouch, that is so long ago already.) Now tell me, do these ducks have moxie or do these ducks have moxie. You can see a larger version of these critters on YouTube too.

Extreme Nordic at Mt Hood’s Teacup ski trails

On the last day of 2014, Mt. Hood finally had great ski conditions. I headed up to Teacup Nordic, the closest groomed nordic trails near Portland and got my last good runs of the old year. To anyone out there who thinks Nordic is for geezers or losers, you should give skate skiing a try. It will kick your ass into shape on the flats and uphills and will have you grinning like a bear in a salmon stream when you rip down a groomed trail. Happy trails, skiers.

A long journey ends in La Jolla, on the Pacific’s golden shores

Some things take time … a long, long, long time. Timing requires great patience, and also knowing when to act. In life, lucky is the person who can be both patient and know when to act. I am very, very lucky.

In late September 2014, I celebrated, here, at La Jolla Beach, the place I had come 25 years earlier, when this chapter of my odyssey began. I will forever have an endearing attachment to this place. It was here where I finally felt what I had long wanted.

 

An evening with hundreds of onlookers at Seattle’s Kerry Park

On beautiful evenings, one should try to enjoy the moment and hopefully the outdoors, wherever you are. Here is the spot people love in Seattle, at Kerry Park, overlooking Elliott Bay and downtown.

Seattle’s 2014 Fremont Fair, getting ready for the solstice parade

The Fremont Fair is now an annual tradition in Seattle, made famous by nude bicyclists. No, I am not going to show photographs of nude bikers. If you want to see those, you can use Google images, and you can find plenty of them. Instead, I wanted to highlight a number of the groups who put on this show for free every year, including kids, dancers, and lots of really good horn players and drummers. It is not quite Carnival in Rio, but for this place, it is what the locals do to fly their exhibitionist and performing artists flags and welcome summer.

Getting around in Indonesia: trains, planes, bemos, buses, kecaks, and ferries

I posted this video online five years ago to highlight the often chaotic world of public transportation in Indonesia. As worried as I was about the large number of jet crashes and ferry sinkings there, the hazards of riding local public transportation gave me more concern. And, these concerns are well-justified.

Road injuries are ranked 10th of all contributors to the global burden of disease–more so in developing nations. In Indonesia, approximately 49,000 people die annually on the roads. Having seen in person several fatal road accidents there, usually involving small motorcycles and larger vehicles, I can say unequivocally that these are horrific ways to die. In fact, the United States Department of State offers this warning to would-be American visitors to my very much beloved Indonesia: “Air, ferry, and road accidents resulting in fatalities, injuries, and significant damage are common. … While all forms of transportation are ostensibly regulated in Indonesia, oversight is spotty, equipment tends to be less well maintained than that operated in the United States, amenities do not typically meet Western standards, and rescue/emergency response is notably lacking.”

However, it is cheap to move around. Train travel was super easy, as was hopping on a bus, or the smaller bemos. I just would not advise getting in a taxi late at night during the seasonal typhoons and have the driver then tell you that his headlights are not working, in broken English, as you navigate back roads in a city you know nothing about. Ah, the memories of travel. Priceless.

By all means, please do visit Indonesia, support the local businesses there with your money, and use a bit of common sense. Or your can stay at home, thinking you are safe and cozy, and never really understand how things work in places as dynamic and important as the largest Moslem-majority country in the entire world. For that is what corporate greenwashing campaigns like the Rainforest Alliance’s Follow the Frog want us to do: never ever leave home and never ever learn about the world first-hand. The choice is truly yours. I say, be curious, be friendly, and definitely be mobile.

See my picture gallery of Indonesia photos on my web site. (Ed. Note: I legally changed my name to Rudy Owens from Rudy Brueggemann after I had produced this film, so that is why you will see that name on the video.)

I have a huge soft spot for cowgirls

Cowgirls. Now what’s not to like about genuine, boot n’ jeans wearing cowgirls? Absolutely nothing. I love ’em, and they put on an amazing show every year at the Omak Stampede, one of the funnest rodeos in the West. You can see scenes I filmed last year. If you are in driving distance, mark your calendar and plan to go, and be sure to give those fabulous horse handlin’ ladies and cowboys some big cheers during the rodeo contest. It is a fabulous show. (Click on photo to open a larger picture on a separate picture page.)