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Bits & Pieces: New Mission shelves old flicks

The Mission Theater was one of the pioneers among drink-and-movie places in Portland, a place to watch second-run flicks and consume beverages — and food, of course.

Now, it’s got another another, er, mission.

The McMenamins-owned establishment at 1624 N.W. Glisan St. has moved toward showing more thematic movies that include appearances by speakers and experts that speak about themes such as crime, health, science and music. It’s a line of programming called “The Assembly.”

“The Mission was the first to combine second-run movies with a brewpub. Now that the pub theater trend has spread to major cities across the country, we wanted to usher in another first, offering Portland’s film buffs a new kind of night out,” says Mike Wyant, director of theater programming.

Upcoming thematic screenings include “True Crime in Portland,” which includes historians’ take on the city’s crime past and the showing of the classic movie “Portland Exposé.”

Another, “Ain’t In It For My Health: A Film About Levon Helm,” will be followed by a concert by Mark Eitzel of American Music Club.

The Mission will continue with other stage events, such as “Hammerhead Quiz Show,” “Back Fence PDX” and “Mortified.”

For more info, go to http://www.mcmenamins.com/mission.

Going digital

Another of Portland’s old and unique film venues, the nonprofit Hollywood Theatre, 4122 N.E. Sandy Blvd., has been undergoing several changes in recent years.

The latest will be its transition to digital. Using $161,650 in grant money, the Hollywood will convert to industry compliant HD Digital Cinema Projection systems, considered the biggest change in the movie industry since the transition from silent films to talkies, the theater folks say.

“It’s huge,” says Doug Whyte, Hollywood Theatre executive director of grants. “Not only does it mean that we can continue to grow and serve our audience of more than 100,000 people annually — and support local filmmakers, media artists and others we serve through our Venue Access Program — but it’s critical to our very survival. There’s no way we could have done this on our own.”

The move from 35mm film to digital has forced the doors of many small theaters to close; the Hollywood plans to keep its 35mm film projection in two auditoriums and add a 16mm projector in another.

The Hollywood also launched a fundraising campaign, along with Neil Kelly’s Home Performance, to help pay for the cost of upgrading its new marquee with LED lighting. About $127,000 already has been raised for the project.

Pretty with pipes

Actress Molly Ringwald will be coming to Portland — to sing.

She’ll perform Sept. 27 at the Newmark Theatre (tickets $25 to $55, pcpa.com).

She’s famous for her acting as a teen icon, appearing in John Hughes’ films “Sixteen Candles” (1984), “The Breakfast Club” (1985) and “Pretty in Pink” (1986). She currently stars in ABC Family’s “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.”

But Ringwald has branched out in recent years. The soprano sings jazz, mostly, with the backing of pianist/music director Peter Smith and bassist Gary Wang, and in some shows has covered Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” from “The Breakfast Club.”

Her latest album is “Except Sometimes.”

Wild and strummin’ guy

Steve Martin also has turned to music, and he has been booked to play with the Steep Canyon Rangers (featuring Edie Brickell) and the Oregon Symphony on Oct. 3 (tickets starting at $35, OrSymphony.org). The actor/comedian has become a Grammy-winning bluegrass banjoist and composer, and he and Brickell and the Steep Canyon Rangers put out “Love Has Come for You” in April. Esperanza Spalding also plays on the album.

“The banjo can be so evocative when it’s used sparingly, and that was in the back of my mind as we were writing. ... In these songs, the point is to tell the story and get out,” says Martin in a news release.

Temple Grandin

The noted author on autism, who was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influencial people, will make a Portland appearance — which is sold out — June 26 at the Bagdad Theater. She brings a singular perspective to a thrilling journey through the autism revolution, weaving her own experience with remarkable new discoveries. She introduces, among other things, the route to more effective mainstreaming and a way to unleash the unique advantages of autistic people. The book, “The Autistic Brain: Thinking across the Spectrum,” will be distributed at her appearance.

Oregon Zoo lineup

The Oregon Zoo has become a great venue to watch music, and the lineup gets going with John Prine on Saturday, June 22, and lasts through early September.

The rest of the shows: Old Crow Medicine Show, June 29; Ziggy Marley, June 30; Huey Lewis and The News (30th anniversary of “Sports”), July 6; The B-52s, The Go-Gos, July 7; “Weird Al” Yankovic, July 18; Randy Newman, July 26; LeAnn Rimes, July 27; Indigo Girls, July 28; Lyle Lovett, Aug. 3; Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Aug. 4; Lee Brice, Aug. 8; Todd Snider’s Traveling Folk Show, Aug. 10; Los Lobos and The Lonely Boys, Aug. 16; Chris Isaak, Aug. 25; The Doobie Brothers, Sept. 6.