Doing anything Friday night? How about hanging out on 82nd Avenue?
The East Side strip, which runs north-south for many miles, was once considered a barrier of sorts between the city and the sprawl, and also an economic barrier, with a richer urban population to the west and a poorer, semi-rural population to the east. East County didn’t get in the game very much, and when it did, it was often as a political football. 82nd became neon central, home to everything from used car lots to Southeast Asian restaurants to massage parlors – and, increasingly, a rich stew of ethnic and immigrant cultures.
That’s what makes it interesting to Portland artist Sabina Haque, a very good painter and collagist whose work in recent years has moved also toward installation, film, and cultural and cross-cultural projects, including her provocative series on drone warfare in Pakistan, where she grew up.
Haque, as artist in residence for the Portland Archives & Records Center, has been digging deeply into the area’s long and complicated history, finding a cultural through-line to match the strip of concrete that divides culture from culture and east from west. From 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday she’ll unveil what she’s created in Annexation & Assimilation: East 82nd Ave, a giant exhibition/event in the 8,000-square-foot APANO/JADE multicultural center at 82nd and Southeast Division Street. The free event will include video projections on 20-foot screens, oral histories, shadow theater, poster installations and more – for some, a rousing introduction to a part of Portland they hardly know; to others, a simple statement of the place they live.
In Haque’s words:
“From farm culture to car culture, from ethnically homogenous to diverse, from English to Hmong, Vietnamese, Spanish, Mandarin, Somali, Annexation & Assimilation explores the changing cultural and physical landscape and shifting demographics over the last 100 years. The viewer heads down a rabbit hole of time and space, as temporal windows open in an increasingly claustrophobic cacophony of noise, signage, color and visual chaos. The result is an accelerating and visceral mash-up of Portland’s past and present along this boundary, which is at once both real and imagined.”
SIX ARTS TIPS FOR THE COMING WEEK:
BloodyVox at BodyVox. The contemporary dance troupe’s Halloween-season special comes up with new twists every year. This year’s version, Blood Red Is the New Black, promises “a hint of Hitchcock, a touch of Vampire, (and) a healthy dose of ghosts and zombies.” Plus dancing, of course. Thursday through Oct. 29.
Inbal Pinto & Avshalom Pollak Dance at White Bird Uncaged. The dance presenter’s smaller-scale, edgier Uncaged series brings the hour-long Wallflower by two of Israel’s leading contemporary choreographers and their dancers. Thursday through Saturday, Lincoln Performance Hall.
Tenderloin at Lakewood’s Side Door Stage. Musical theater veteran Ron Daum runs a fascinating series, the Lost Treasures Collection, which presents concert/cabaret versions of rarely seen or heard old Broadway shows. The 1960 Tenderloin has excellent bloodlines: music by Jerry Bock, book by Sheldon Harnick, ltics by George Abbott and Jerome Weidman. It’s set in New York’s red light district in the 1890s and features a crusading clergyman. Friday-Saturday only.
Metropolitan Opera Council Oregon auditions. Opera fans look forward to this all year long, and Sunday’s the day, at 1 p.m. in Lincoln Performance Hall. The Met’s annual auditions have been a pipeline for some of opera’s finest performers, and you can hear 40 or 50 arias by a host of aspiring stars.
Goosebumps The Musical: Phantom of the Auditorium at Oregon Children’s Theatre. From R.L. Stine’s popular kids’-book series comes this “(only a little) spooky musical,” a world premiere about a school theater show that just might be haunted. Opens Saturday, through November 20 in the Newmark Theatre.
I Am My White Ancestors at Clackamas Community College. Artist Anne Mavor’s ongoing cultural/genealogical project continues through October 28 in the Alexander Gallery of the college’s Niemeier Hall. Mavor looks at race and equity through the long lens of her own ancestors, who include, among others, a couple of slave holders, a Pilgrim who got his land from the Wampanoag, a Norman knight who accompanied William the Conquerer, and a female Viking who invaded Orkney.
In El Muerto Vagabundo, many worlds collide. Milagro Theatre’s bilingual Day of the Dead show, A.L. Adams writes, is “a uniquely compelling offering,” from its spiritual and cultural expressions to its foray into life under the bridges and on the streets: “Better get in there while the veil is thin.”
Wong Street Journal’s #funnysocialjustice. A.L. Adams reviews Kristina Wong’s comic and incisive solo show about how her life shifts after spending time in Africa. “Plot twist: Wong, so accustomed to being seen as Chinese American in the U.S., quickly learns she’s just another mzungu by Ugandan standards. How does that make her feel?”
How to succeed at business with really trying: Assistance at Vertigo. A bunch of harried high-class gofers for a tyrannical boss are playing with fire, and hoping they won’t get burned. Christa Morletti McIntyre reviews.
Head. Hands. Feet.: not-so-grim fairy tales at Shaking the Tree. So maybe the raw gory power of the old grim tales has been cleaned up a bit, Brett Campbell writes. But the work of “imaginative” director Samantha Van Der Merwe and “irresistible” actors Beth Thompson and Matthew Kerrigan should put it high on your list.
FearNoMusic: a fond farewell. When percussionist Joel Bluestone walked onstage for the last time as a member of the new-music ensemble he founded 25 years ago with Jeffrey Payne, the audience burst into applause. Matthew Andrews was on hand, reporting: “ ‘I haven’t played a note yet!’ (Bluestone) demurred with a grin.” Oh, but he had – many, many notes over a quarter-century of music-making, and his friends and fans remembered.
At the Oregon Symphony, a study in contrasts. ArtsWatch’s Terry Ross explores the creative tension among guest conductor Nicholas Carter, pianist Marc-André Hamelin, and Sibelius’s Third Symphony: “When it came time to pound the keys, as in the final movement’s closing pages, Hamelin was irresistible, sweeping Mr. Carter and the orchestra along with him to the crashing, triumphant coda, at which the audience rose in a shouting, standing ovation.”
Oregon Repertory Singers: risk and reward. “The audience came in an act of faith to hear two unknown works (and one beloved),” Bruce Browne writes. “Would they go home satisfied – would their reward of loyalty also be an artistic one?” Could be, he decides: “This year’s edition of Oregon Repertory Singers is the best in a long while. Intonation, phrasing and balance/blend are superb; each section stays firmly within its own sleeve of sound.”
Portland Baroque Orchestra’s prodigal sounds. PBO’s Monica Huggett makes the case that Felix Mendelssohn, not that young Amadeus fellow, was classical music’s greatest child prodigy (and, yes, Mozart surpassed him in later life). Our reviewer, Terry Ross, is inclined to agree – but wishes the Baroque orchestra were bigger when it tackles Classical and Romantic works.
“What is so uncomfortable about a black girl playing?” That, Nim Wunnan reports, is the question the choreographer posed in Camille A. Brown & Dancers’ Black Girl: Linguistic Play at White Bird. Black Girl looks at the way the rhythms of play create a language and structure for dance. “If you have a sideways, gut feeling that the show will be ‘racially charged’ or ‘confrontational,’” Wunnan declares, “I can tell you that it will only feel that way if you are uncomfortable with the idea of giving this particular form of dance a stage and engaging with it from the perspective of contemporary dance.”
DanceWatch Weekly: the big companies take over. Jamuna Chiarini’s most recent weekly dance column takes a look at big productions from White Bird, Oregon Ballet Theatre, and Northwest Dance Project, with interviews from the three choreographers of NDP’s latest program. Plus, as always, a terrific calendar of upcoming dance events.
Boléro, with a wink. Ihsan Rustem’s “bright and witty” new interpretation of Ravel’s barn-burner for Northwest Dance Project, we write, has rescued it “from the graveyard of pop-culture banality and restored (it) affectionately to its pedestal of seductively oddball expressionism.”
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