Tracker Pixel for Entry

​New documentary commemorates New Direction

by John Showalter | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Cinema | April 19th, 2017

Even though I didn’t discover the place until a little over a month before it closed last September, The New Direction left an indelible impact on me. The sense of community, do-it-yourself attitude, and love of local and independent music struck a chord in me in that short span of time, so I can only imagine the impact it had on those who had been regularly attending performances there for years.

The sheer energy of the place left an impact on someone else whose experience was about as cursory as my own. Oscar De Leon of local film production company Chamber Six Media hadn’t set foot in the place since it was the old location of the Red Raven. He knew the owner, Jack Stenersen, through a web of friends. “I kept hearing about the success of it,” he said. “I was more curious than anything.”

In January 2016 he set out to make a little ten-minute piece, a “website tease” as he put it, about New Direction and the community surrounding it. Those plans expanded in scope as he heard about the impending closure, and what started as a local culture piece turned into a 33-minute documentary to be presented at the Fargo Theatre this Friday, April 21.

De Leon started Chamber Six Media three years ago with two of his friends, Kevin Ackley and Chris Parsons. “The intention was to do whatever we were interested in, something we’re passionate about,” he said. The subject matter of their output runs the gamut, from short films to a regularly produced political show, a podcast, and even the odd wedding filming.

All three of them would contribute to the creation of the documentary over the months that followed. “We all contributed to the creative bent of the narrative,” as De Leon said. “Filmmaking is a collaborative effort.”

As time went on, they kept up with the happenings at the New Direction, drawn in by the stories of its performances and tight-knit community. “I was wondering what kept young people coming to what was essentially an old basement. I learned it was a lot more than that,” De Leon said.

In the course of making the documentary, De Leon filmed several interviews with the owner of the venue, Jack Stenersen, as well as those who regularly volunteered at and patronized the New Direction. Once he caught wind that the place was closing due to a hike in rent prices, he decided to expand the documentary to include that as well.

He had originally intended to release the documentary in December of last year, but when he found out that New Direction would be holding another New Direction Fest at the Aquarium despite the closure of the physical venue, he knew he had to extend production to include it.

“It was kind of a beautiful ending, bittersweet, speaks to the essence of the venue,” he said. “It’s a good thing it’s going to be continuing in one form or another.”

De Leon hopes that the film can address another subject besides that of the enduring legacy of a well-beloved music venue on its patrons. “It’s a documentary not only about a venue but about a place that ultimately was the victim of gentrification,” he said. He hoped that by telling this story from a Fargo perspective that the point could really be driven home that gentrification can happen in big cities and smaller towns alike; and that the effects that this hot-button issue can have are not just economic but emotional.

In this way, perhaps the film can serve as a cautionary tale about the risks we can run in pursuit of economic gain. How much can more money for a town mean if we lose part of its soul? This documentary will help contribute to that conversation and keep its spirit alive.

IF YOU GO:

TND documentary premiere

Friday, April 21, 7-9pm

The Fargo Theatre, 314 N Broadway

Recently in:

FARGO - Three days after white supremacists advertised for a like-minded gathering at Lindenwood Park, posters depicting hate speech were posted on telephone poles along downtown back alleys.The posters went up in time for the 27th…

Theresa Marshall leads Gender Friendly Grand Forks (GFGF) and is the first person I contact if someone comes to me looking for trans-related resources or support and lives near the Grand Forks area. In that regard, she’s helped a…

Thursday, April 27 at 6 PM - 9 PMDakota Medical Foundation, 4141 28th Ave. SEpisode 1- Nepal: Brings the exotic, colorful and festive Nepalese culture to you through the eyes of Nepal native Saru Pokharel. She will share her…

Editorial

Venting online

by Sabrina Hornung

“I am incredibly sorry for all that's happened. I'm young and made a mistake, and now it has caused me to walk away from my job, have incredible anxiety and guilt, and panic even going outside for the amount of death threats I've…

Would a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican kill baited bears?Since King Donald ascended to the throne of a political party that doesn’t give a damn about anything except cutting taxes and filling their own wallets, he…

The moment of truth has arrived. After seven weeks of sampling and judging some of the finest libations in the area the results for this year’s Cocktail Showdown have arrived. Christopher Larson, Raul Gomez and Sabrina Hornung…

It was rumored that Pepper’s Sports Cafe had something new to offer, something smoky and delicious. A tasty delight that could only come from a prolonged cooking process and a diverse knowledge of meat. The rumors were true, and…

Music

​Pump up the juice

by Tessa Torgeson

High Plains Reader: Jucifer is incredible and unique for so many reasons, one being your longevity as you’ve been around since the early 90s, known for your never-ending tour schedule and decibel-crushing, high octane…

[Editor’s note: Wednesday marks the 20th anniversary of the evacuation of Grand Forks and the burning of the original High Plains Reader office. This piece was originally written Tuesday April 22, 1997.]"Get up! There's water…

Nikki Anderson’s home brims with ephemera that embody her life as an artist, teacher, wife, mother, chef, survivor, and healer. A gold medal glistens in the spring sunlight hanging next to a tattered baseball cap on the coat…

Ovid’s mythological tales undergo dramatic transformation by award-winning director/playwright Mary Zimmerman as Concordia, MSUM, and NDSU deliver theatrical productions of three of her modern takes on his work.Concordia’s…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

Spring is officially here and of course that means spring cleaning, yard work, grilling and socializing outdoors. Often this also means more time with friends or family in situations where you may want to have more than just one or…

The 11th annual Fargo Holistic Expo returns to the Fargo Civic Center this weekend, April 22 – 23, bringing with it an array of workshops, talks and exhibitors. The event is presented by Edge Life Expos and Events.Almost 40 free…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

The North Dakota State Water Commission has violated state law more than 600 times in recent years by issuing permits for industrial use of water (read: fracking oil wells) from the Little Missouri State Scenic River. Employees…