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November 4th, 2009 Nathan Dinsdale | Headout
 

The Many Lives Of Holly Ellis

An indie-movie journeywoman revisits her diverse roles.

     
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IMAGE: Steve Diamond

Holly Lynn Ellis is the indie film equivalent of a Leatherman. Since graduating from the University of Portland in 2001, Ellis has worked as an actor, producer, director, costume designer and location scout (what, no catering?) in a range of independent shorts and features. With her latest producing venture, The Graduates, premiering this week, Ellis dishes with WW on her most memorable gigs.

Inside the Actors Studio with John Travolta (2003) —herself
[Host James] Lipton called my ballroom dancing teacher to see who followed a lead well, and so they ended up asking me if I’d dance with John Travolta. On the show, [Lipton] made it sound like dancing with John Travolta was my lifelong dream when it had never even occurred to me. It was fun, but mostly I was just thankful they picked the twist from Pulp Fiction and not anything from Grease or Saturday Night Fever. Now if...I get a random Facebook request, it’s usually because of that.

Attackazoids! (2008) —actor (“The Woman”)
I remember reading the [audition] posting, and it said something like: “Must be able to run and jump over things while being chased…and be prepared to sing ‘Amazing Grace’ a cappella.” During the audition they wanted to hear my horror-movie scream, and the director said, “Look around, and every time I clap you’re going to see something horrifying.” For some reason I was picturing babies being eaten alive by alligators, so after two minutes of him clapping it felt fantastic to scream.

Nailing Jello (2008) —actor (“Alison”), screenwriter, producer
The inspiration for it came out of something that happened between a friend and I. Basically, it’s about a gay man confronting the idea that he might also be interested in women, and how the people closest to him come to grips with his sexual identity. I explored the idea of the long-suffering fag hag. Everything’s moving forward for it to play on the Logo Network in the spring.

The Graduates (2009) —actor (“Meredith Snarky”), co-producer
I went back home [to Minot, N.D.] in July for two screenings of the movie, which was intimidating because the language is really R-rated and Minot is not an R-rated town. On a really dirty day it might reach PG-13. I told people it was a mix between American Pie and Superbad, so I was expecting high school and college students [to show up]. Instead there were all these people from my mom’s church, my teachers from elementary school and people who babysat me when I was a kid. It was close to a packed house both nights, and afterward they all said, “That was very…nice,” which wasn’t what they really thought, but I was touched by their support anyway.


GO: The Graduates screens 7 pm Wednesday-Thursday, Nov. 4-5, at the Academy Theater, followed both nights by a QA with director/producer Ryan Gielen. $4.

Headout Picks

WEDNESDAY NOV. 4


[MUSIC] Múm
Okay, Múm’s new disc isn’t anything to write home about, but the Icelandic instrumental group’s live shows certainly are. The word majestic comes to mind. Aladdin Theater. 9 pm. $16 advance, $20 day of show. All ages.

[SCREEN] GAMERA VS. GUIRON
To accompany the rocket-powered turtles and “brain eating space babes” in this 1969 Japanese monster flick, the musicians of Classical Revolution will perform Galen Huckins’ original score live, augmented by live sound effects and dialogue (in English). Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd., 281-4215. 7 pm Wednesday and Friday, Nov. 4 and 6. $8-$10.

[DISH] LIVESTOCK
Take three butchers, six food-centric essays, a cow, a pig and a whole lot of brave foodies, mix together in a room full of blood and guts, and let the conversation begin. 6-8 pm. Call 827-6564 for reservations. The International Culinary School at the Art Institute, 34 NW 8th Ave., 228-6528. $25. See story, page 45.

THURSDAY NOV. 5


[DANCE/MUSIC] UPRISING
A handful of Oregon Ballet Theatre dancers perform live with Horse Feathers. Yeah, Horse Feathers. Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave., 288-3895. 8 pm Wednesday-Thursday, Nov. 4-5. $15. Info at obt.org/uprising.

[FEST] SIREN NATION
Portland’s ultimate music, film and art girlfest kicks off with a massive all-lady gallery show. Olympic Mills, 107 SE Washington St. 6-10 pm. Free.

FRIDAY NOV. 6


[SCREEN] SELFLESS
Portland’s second-generation DIY scenesters Arnold and Jacob Pander make a moody thriller about identity theft, human trafficking and really slick condominiums. Cinema 21, 616 NW 21st Ave., 223-4515. $5-$8. See page 72 for showtimes.

SATURDAY NOV. 7


[MUSIC] The Raveonettes
The Danish duo still sounds like a soundtrack for the imagined 1950s Jesus and Mary Chain beach movie, but the 2009 release of In and Out of Control provides a softer and more melodic side. Doug Fir Lounge. 9 pm. $15 advance, $17 day of show. 21+.

TUESDAY NOV. 10


[MUSIC] Headlights
Headlights’ new disc, Wildlife, is a mix of anthems, pop nuggets and sullen, woozy background, but everything the Illinois quartet does is offset with a good ol’ dose of heartbreak. Berbati’s Pan 8:30 pm. $10. All ages.
 
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