EASTWARD HO: What’s in Harney County? Usually, not much. But here’s what’s in Harney County right now: a crop of Hollywood’s most buzzed-about indie actors. As first reported on wweek.com, Michelle Williams, Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan have joined Bruce Greenwood and Shirley Henderson in the high desert outside the Eastern Oregon town of Burns for a five-week shoot on the movie Meek’s Cutoff, director Kelly Reichardt’s follow-up to Old Joy and Wendy and Lucy On Monday, WW reached producer Neil Kopp, who confirmed that this cast is filming in desolate Harney County—one of the least populous counties in the lower 48 states. “I’m sitting on the top of a mountain in the middle of the desert,” he said. “We are shooting in the middle of nowhere....” That isolation will be crucial to the picture, which is written by Portland’s Jon Raymond and based on the true story of an ill-fated wagon train that attempted a shortcut on the Oregon Trail. The tale includes starvation, a legendary lost gold mine and a Native American scout who might or might not be inclined to save the day. It all sounds like that project long awaited by children of the ’80s: Oregon Trail: The Movie. Here’s hoping they don’t die of dysentery.
CLASH OF THE TITANS: The Red Bull Sound Clash at the Crystal Ballroom last Thursday (the first event of its kind on the West Coast) featured the Builders the Butchers and Viva Voce in head-to-head sonic combat, including challenges like playing a cover of “Hungry Like the Wolf,” and covering each other’s songs. But for the last competition, in which the bands were allowed to recruit special guests, Viva Voce broke out of the box and recruited a special tambourine player—Academy Award-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody. Viva Voce’s Kevin Robinson would only tell Scoop that he knew the Juno and Jennifer’s Body scribe “from her ‘burlesque’ days.” Despite the surprise, Builders won Sound Clash.
MIXED MESSAGE: Former Biscuits Cafe at 103 NW 21st Ave. will soon reopen as Toast Pho, a restaurant about which Scoop knows nothing (yet) other than that it has an awesome name.
A-MAZE-ING: This weekend, hundreds of people from around the world will come to Portland to walk in circles. This year’s annual gathering of the Labyrinth Society, an 11-year-old organization devoted to supporting the creation of and education surrounding the ancient philosophy of the labyrinth, takes place Oct. 8-10 at McMenamins Edgefield. There, participants will get to meet with experts on everything from SoulCollage (kind of like homemade Tarot cards) to Women’s Dream Quest. “The labyrinth serves as a bridge from the mundane to the divine, ” explains Kimberly Lowelle Saward, Ph.D, a past prez of the group. “It serves us well.” Well OK, then.