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COURTESY PHOTO - 'Kubo and the Two Strings' was Laika's latest Academy Awards nominee.'Kubo' comes close

Laika animation studio was passed over again at the Academy Awards, as Disney's "Zootopia" won for Best Animated Feature Film, winning against Laika's "Kubo and the Two Strings," "Moana," "My Life as a Zucchini" and "The Red Turtle."

"The Jungle Book" won for Best Visual Effects, another category that "Kubo" had been nominated in.

Laika had a big contingent at the Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, including Steve Emerson, the visual effects supervisor.

"It's been a wild month, to say the least," Emerson told the Hillsboro Tribune before he left. "It's been a whirlwind."

All four Laika films, including "Coraline," "ParaNorman" and "The Boxtrolls," have been nominated for Academy Awards, each for Best Animated Feature. "Kubo" also was nominated in the effects category, as it blends traditional stop-motion animation with computer-generated special effects.

"Kubo" took five years to make because of the painstaking process of stop-motion animation.

"Prior to Laika, it was rare that I'd work on anything for more than a matter of months," Emerson said. "There are films you put years of your life into. When I was working in (Los Angeles), there were a lot of films that I didn't want people to know that I'd worked on, but we're fortunate that the studio has good taste."

He adds, of combining stop-motion and computer special effects: "It's an insane process. I don't think any other studio is crazy enough to do it the way that we do. But we wind up with visuals that are truly unique."

'This Land'

With its online "This Land" exhibit, Oregon Humanities features Oregon artists of color exploring race, power and place.

The online multimedia project is available to be seen at oregonhumanities.org/this-land. The project is made possible by the Creative Heights Initiative of the Oregon Community Foundation. It uses film, words, maps, photos, sounds and graphics by artists and writers of color to build a broader understanding of how policies and laws shape systems of power and land ownerships in past and present Oregon.

Some content: racist place names in Oregon; an essay and film about alien land laws and Chinese hops farmers in the Willamette Valley; audio and essay about wildfire policies and tribal lands; a film about land ownership and development in downtown Portland.

Oregon Humanities is seeking new "This Land" proposals from filmmakers, photographers and writers of color. For more: www.oregonhumanities.org/this-land.

Featured artists to date include: Donnell Alexander, Portland-based writer/commentator; Tojo Andrianarivo, photographer/graphic designer; Ezra Marcos Ayala, photographer; Ifanyi Bell, storyteller/artist; Jessy Damon, audio engineer; Christine Dupres, writer/teacher from Cowlitz Tribe; Zahir Janmohamed, Attic Institute adjunct fellow/nonfiction writer; Ivy Lin, Portland videographer; Putsata Reang, journalist/author; Luis Rodriguez, filmmaker; Sika Stanton, photographer.

Life out there?

Recently, NASA announced that scientists had found seven "earthlike" planets that were orbiting a star similar to our sun.

So when Pat Hanrahan, planeterium director at Mt. Hood Community College, features our Milky Way in his next show, it'll take on special meaning.

"I find the Milky Way to be a wonder by itself," Hanrahan tells the Gresham Outlook. "Some of my favorite subjects within the ribbon of the Milky Way include bright gas clouds (nebulae), such as the Lagoon Nebula or the Carina Nebula, star clusters such as the Butterfly Cluster, and holes through the dust lanes such as the bright Sagittarius Star Cloud."

"The Milky Way in All Its Glory" takes place at the Mt. Hood Community College Sky Theater, 26000 S.E. Stark St., Gresham, at 6 and 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 7, and 1 and 6 p.m. Friday, March 10.

He'll also discuss the possibility of a black hole in the center of the galaxy.

"It turns out that most organized galaxies have massive black holes at their center," he says. "The implications are not that bad, as the black hole only affects materials that venture too close."

COURTESY PHOTO - Terry Currier is stepping back from his president duties with Oregon Music Hall of Fame, but 'they'll still get 75 to 100 hours a year out of me.'A busy guy

Terry Currier, owner of Music Millennium, perhaps the Portland area's most successful record store, stays pretty busy promoting music.

It's one of the reasons he'll be receiving the Independent Spirit Award at the Music Biz 2017 Convention in Nashville, Tenn., in May.

But, some personal things are more important these days. Currier will be stepping aside as president of the Oregon Music Hall of Fame, for which he co-founded, while tending to some family members who have health issues.

Geoff Metts was named as Currier's replacement.

"I'm still going to be involved," Currier says, of OMHOF. "I was putting in 300 hours a year, all volunteer time. I need to back away for a little bit. They'll still get 75 to 100 hours a year out of me. I won't walk away from it altogether."

Metts is a guitarist, bandleader and co-owner of Five Star Guitars of Hillsboro and Tigard, which was cited as Oregon's 2016 Small Business of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Currier still remains active with the Portland Jazz Festival and Cascade Blues Association as well. And, he says, after a rough patch of years, he happily says that Music Millennium has been profitable for three years now.

"We won't be buying Cadillacs," he jokes, "but we have enough money where, hey, we can stay open next year. ... It's all a labor love."

The record business has seen a resurgence, thanks to efforts behind national Record Store Day (in April). And vinyl has become en vogue again, thanks to the efforts of people such as Currier. It's a reason why he won the Independent Spirit Award, as a champion for the record business.

"It caught me by surprise, I can tell you that," Currier says. "It made me feel good. It's kind of the way I've lived my life, is with that independent spirit."

The Music Business Association will present the award to Currier May 17 in Nashville.

'Healthy Me Month'

Portland Children's Museum, in partnership with Randall Children's Hospital, is celebrating "Healthy Me Month" in March.

There will be health-themed programming, including healthy snack creations, a movement lab, and bike and sport helmet fittings. Performances throughout the month include Penny's Puppets, Micah and Me Music Show, and Red Yard Folksongs.

"In a world often dominated by convenience foods and screen-based entertainment, it's more important than ever to focus on nutritious meals and exercise," says Ruth Shelly, PCM executive director. "Healthy habits learned as a child last a lifetime — and having fun learning together as a family may help change adult behavior, too."

The museum also is hosting car safety seat recycling, a visit from the KIDS Team ambulance and a toy drive for Randall Children's Hospital.

For more on Portland Children's Museum, 4015 S.W. Canyon Road: www.portlandcm.org.

WWI online

"Women Physicians in World War I" is an online exhibit that highlights the contributions of women physicians during the great conflict, as presented by the American Medical Women's Association.

A featured physician is Dr. Esther Clayson Pohl Lovejoy from Portland.

To view the exhibit: www.amwa-doc.org/wwi-exhibition.

New concert

The Oregon Symphony has added ukulele superstar Jake Shimabukuro to its already stellar 2016-17 season at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 23. He shot to international fame with his virtuosic covers of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and "Bohemian Rhapsody." For more: www.orsymphony.org.