ArtsWatch Weekly: Day of the Dead

A look at the week that was in Oregon arts. A glimpse ahead at the week that's going to be.

Suddenly it’s mid-October, and Halloween’s grinning around the corner, as is the Day of the Dead, or Día de Muertos, which counterintuitively livens things up considerably, especially on Portland’s theater scene. This week, Teatro Milagro opens its twentieth annual celebration of the Day of the Dead, this time called La Muerte Baila, for a run through November 8. The talented Rebecca Martinez has put this bilingual show together, and we never know exactly what to expect until we’ve seen it, but this description from Milagro gives a hint: “When a disenchanted muertito refuses to return to the realm of the living, La Muerte must stop her own grumbling and set things straight.” Dancing, comedy, and a tour through “the realms of grief and remembrance”: get on your dancing shoes.

 

Sofia Tlamatiliztli May-Cuxim, all dressed up for Milagro's La Muerte Baila. Photo: Russell J Young

Sofia Tlamatiliztli May-Cuxim, all dressed up for Milagro’s La Muerte Baila. Photo: Russell J Young

Elsewhere on this week’s theater calendar, we detect something of a, well, theme:

Meanwhile, Post5 Theatre opens a revival of Peter Shaffer’s Equus, with Cassandra Boice directing and Todd Van Voris leading the cast. But that’s a horse of a different collar.

And speaking of horses, Wayne Harrel’s Remme’s Run – the tale of a wild six-day horseback gallop from Sacramento to Portland in 1855 – opens at CoHo. A.L. Adams reviewed the show’s trial trot at last spring’s Fertile Ground new-plays fest for ArtsWatch.

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The groundbreaking choreographer Twyla Tharp brings her company to Portland for a White Bird show on Wednesday night. It’s the troupe’s first Portland show in a dozen years, which is an awfully long gap. So naturally, it’s sold out. No matter: Martha Ullman West sat down for a wide-ranging telephone chat with Tharp about art and life, and reports on it for ArtsWatch readers. Of her concert dances, Tharp says,”I’m asking questions that interest me, while I’m hoping of course that they will be of interest to the audience.”

Twyla Tharp: a lifetime of dance. Photo: Walter Whitman

Twyla Tharp: a lifetime of dance. Photo: Walter Whitman

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Love, Italian style. ArtsWatch’s ace server Martha Ullman West sets the table and then clears it on Oregon Ballet Theatre‘s season-opening show, Amore Italiano, which continues through Saturday – first, with her pre-show background piece Love and Death in Naples: OBT’s Mediterranean adventure; then with her review of the show, OBT in Napoli: a hit and a miss.

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Theresa Andreas-O'Leary's Morning Has Broken, acrylic and paper, 24 by 24 inches.

Theresa Andreas-O’Leary, “Morning Has Broken,” acrylic and paper, 24 by 24 inches.

People familiar with Theresa Andreas-O’Leary also know her mantra, expressed loudly and cheerfully and often: “GET OUT AND SEE ART!” So it’s little wonder she’s part of PDXOS, Portland Open Studios, the annual studio hop that this year includes 106 studios scattered across the metropolitan area. The event, in which artists throw open their studio doors to visitors and show how it’s done, enters its second and final weekend, Saturday and Sunday. Check the map and do drop in.


 

ArtsWatch links

Painting nature, tame and wild. What do you get when you cross a billionaire and the itch to collect art? A pretty intriguing vision of art and the natural world, I discover in my review of Seeing Nature, the new exhibition of paintings from Paul Allen‘s collection at the Portland Art Museum.

Thomas Moran, Grand Canyon of Arizona at Sunset, 1909, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches. Courtesy of the Paul G. Allen Family Collection.

Thomas Moran, Grand Canyon of Arizona at Sunset, 1909, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches. Courtesy of the Paul G. Allen Family Collection.

Momix’s amazing alchemy. “A shiver went through the crowd when a face, then a body, then another face pressed out from the blob.” Nim Wunnan reviews Momix’s illusionary turns at White Bird.

Spirit, body, voice: how we get on. Christa Morletti McIntyre gets all 1980s and reviews How We Got On, Portland Playhouse’s rhythmic look at hip-hop and how it happened in a few fascinating lives.

Ithaca Tell is the Selector in How We Got On. Photo: Owen Carey

Ithaca Tell is the Selector in How We Got On. Photo: Owen Carey

The Thrill Kill Cult: enough Rope. Christa Morletti McIntyre finds a lot to like, and a lot that seems like today’s headlines, in Bag&Baggage’s smart revival of the 1929 stage thriller Rope.

Party time with Cuba Libre. In his ArtsWatch review of Artists Rep’s new, highly ambitious show based on the sounds and experiences of the band Tiempo Libre, Barry Johnson writes that “the blood is flowing in salsa rhythms, more or less, and that’s a very good thing.”

The rhythm and sound of Cuba Libre at Artists Rep. Photo: Owen Carey

The rhythm and sound of Cuba Libre at Artists Rep. Photo: Owen Carey

 


 

About ArtsWatch Weekly

We’ve been sending a letter like this every Tuesday to a select group of email subscribers. Now we’re also posting it weekly on the ArtsWatch home page. In ArtsWatch Weekly, we take a look at stories we’ve covered in the previous week, give early warning of events coming up, and sometimes head off on little arts rambles we don’t include anywhere else. You can read this report here. Or, you can get it delivered weekly to your email inbox, and get a quick look at all the stories you might have missed (we have links galore) and the events you want to add to your calendar. It’s easy to sign up. Just click here, and leave us your name and e-address.


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