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Saturday, February 15, 2020

Cast Iron Studios Celebrates 20 Years with Fundraiser for Stone Soup

by Cast Iron Studios Staff

On February 8th, the Cast Iron Studios team hosted its 20th anniversary gala at Classic Foods in Northeast Portland.

The Roaring-20s-themed event doubled as a fundraiser for Stone Soup, a new Portland non-profit providing life skills and hands-on culinary expertise to people at risk of homelessness.

Josh Fuhrer, Lana Veenker and Brian Van Flandern
Josh Fuhrer, Lana Veenker and Brian Van Flandern. Photo Credit: Flo Barth

More than 100 guests turned out in their flapper dresses and wingtips to dance the Charleston, and raise a glass to twenty years of Oregon film and TV production.

Katie O'Grady
Katie O’Grady. Photo Credit: Flo Barth

“It was heartwarming to be surrounded by so many friends, family and longtime colleagues, many of whom flew in from distant locations to attend,” said Cast Iron Studios’ Founder Lana Veenker. “We have such a wonderful community, and we know we wouldn’t be where we are without them.”

Gramophone courtesy of Sammuel Murry-Hawkins. Photo Credit: Flo Barth

Many guests commented on how they felt transported back to the era of silent films, sequins and suffragettes. Authentic 1920s music was served up by the Ne Plus Ultra Jass Orchestra, under the deft direction of bandleader Sammuel Murry-Hawkins. Actor and Comedian Jason Rouse kept the audience in stitches as MC.

Sammuel Murry-Hawkins and the Ne Plus Ultra Jass Orchestra
Sammuel Murry-Hawkins and the Ne Plus Ultra Jass Orchestra. Photo Credit: Flo Barth

And a special pre-Prohibition cocktail called “The Last Word” was prepared by master mixologist Brian Van Flandern (author of Vintage Cocktails, named Best Cocktail Book in the World at the 2009 Gourmand World Cocktail Awards in Paris), using Portland’s own Aviation Gin.

Brian Van Flandern and Sean Dodder
Brian Van Flandern and Sean Dodder mix up “The Last Word”. Photo Credit: Flo Barth
Sean Dodder
Sean Dodder. Photo credit: Flo Barth

Elegant hors d’oeuvres, cheese and charcuterie platters were prepared by the staff and students of Stone Soup, with the guidance of Chef Scott Dolich, multiple James Beard Award Nominee and former owner of Park Kitchen and The Bent Brick.

Stone Soup
Staff and students of Stone Soup commandeered the kitchen at Classic Foods to dish out elegant hors d’oeuvres and platters. Photo credit: Lana Veenker

Dolich sourced the ingredients directly from Classic Foods, a locally-owned handmade pasta factory and purveyor of artisan specialty products located in Portland’s Dekum district.

Classic Foods
Searchlights outside Classic Foods. Photo credit: Flo Barth

The art deco building (a former ice house redeveloped in 2010 to include an event space) was perfectly suited as the party’s off-the-beaten-track speakeasy. Classic Foods Owner, Jake Greenberg, had generously opened up not only his event gallery, but his industrial kitchen and warehouse in service of the fundraiser.

Arielle Clark and Jake Greenberg
Arielle Clark and Jake Greenberg of Classic Foods. Photo credit: Flo Barth

A silent auction was held, with packages including everything from Blazers tickets, spa and restaurant gift cards, acting classes and hotel stays, to a private screening room at Living Room Theaters, a coffee date with Grimm star Sasha Roiz, and audition coaching with Grimm star Claire Coffee. In total, the event raised closed to $10,000 for Stone Soup.

Jason Rouse
MC Jason Rouse provided comic relief and served as auctioneer. Photo credit: Flo Barth

In-kind sponsors included Aviation Gin, Barnard Griffin Winery, Breakside Brewery, Cast Iron Studios, Classic Foods, Eunice Chiweshe Goldstein Winery, Oregonic Tonic, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits and Stone Soup.

Craig Gerard
Craig Gerard of Stone Soup. Photo credit: Flo Barth

Auction donors included the Ace Hotel, Acting for Kids & Teens, Artists Repertory Theatre, Aviation Gin, Broder Nord, Claire Coffee, Classic Foods, Gado Gado Restaurant, Hi-Lo Hotel, Hotel Eastlund, Hoxton Hotel, Kimpton Hotels, Kristen Arnett Celebrity Make-Up Artist, Levy Moroshan Photography, Living Room Theatres, My Path Wellness, Portland Center Stage at the Armory, Portland Film Festival, Portland Trail Blazers, Rejuvenation Day Spa, Sasha Roiz, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, Stone Soup and The Studio NW.

Eryn Goodman, Arielle Clark and Brian Van Flandern
Eryn Goodman, Arielle Clark and Brian Van Flandern. Photo credit: Flo Barth

Special thanks go to Arielle Clark, Courtney Bell, Craig & Ronit Gerard, Eric Hertzfeld, Eryn Goodman, Flo Barth Photography, Jake Greenberg, John Srednicki, Lana Veenker, Michael J. Anderson, Michael Sudan, NebCat Photography, Sammuel Murry-Hawkins, Scott Dolich, and all of our event staff and volunteers.

Check out more photos below, and at the following link, courtesy of our generous photographers, Flo Barth of Flo Barth Photography and Deneb Catalan of NebCat Photography.

Misbehave – CIS 20th Anniversary Photos

The crowd enjoying Jason Rouse’s comedy set. Photo credit: Flo Barth
The crowd enjoying Jason Rouse’s comedy set. Photo credit: Flo Barth
Sammuel Murry-Hawkins singing authentic 1920s tunes. Photo credit: Flo Barth
Lana Veenker
Lana Veenker. Photo credit: Flo Barth
Katie O'Grady
Katie O’Grady cuts a rug to the Charleston. Photo credit: Flo Barth
Period microphone courtesy of Sammuel Murry-Hawkins. Photo credit: Flo Barth
Jordi Barnes and Ted Douglass
Jordi Barnes and Ted Douglass. Photo credit: Deneb Catalan
Cholee Thompson, Taylor Harris and Jennifer Arndt
Cholee Thompson, Taylor Harris and Jennifer Arndt. Photo credit: Deneb Catalan
Ronit and Craig Gerard
Ronit and Craig Gerard of Stone Soup. Photo credit: Deneb Catalan



Saturday, September 8, 2012

He only acts to support…his bartending career?

by admin

Many moons ago, when Lana and a few friends were running a small theatre company, she cast a stage actor named Brian Van Flandern in a play she was directing. Not long after, Brian moved to New York City to pursue his acting career.

Like any good actor, he found a job as a bartender, and kept his nose to the grindstone.

Within a few years, Brian was making regular appearances on national and international television, jet setting around the world, and hob-nobbing with celebrities.

Not as an actor…but as a world-renowned MIXOLOGIST!


Read his amazing success story.

It just goes to show that you never know where your acting career is going to take you.  It may sometimes veer off in surprising directions, but ones that may be equally fulfilling, if you embrace them. (Lana herself started off as an actor, then stage director, before falling into a job at a casting company in London. You can read up on that adventure here.)

Both stories are excellent reminders that if you remain open to possibilities and keep an eye out for opportunities, your passions can transform into lucrative endeavors. The key is to identify a deep and narrow niche; in Brian’s case: high-end designer cocktails, Michelin three-star service and a winning stage presence!

Check out some of Brian’s recent TV appearances:

Follow him on Twitter.  And pick up his best-selling book, Classic Cocktails: