In a lot of Oregon schools it’s spring vacation. Maybe you’re already off someplace with the offspring – a beach cabin, or the dreaded Disneyland. (Hint: Enchanted Forest, south of Salem, is a lot closer and a lot cheaper, and it’s open this week.) Maybe your kids are grown and gone, or you don’t have any, but a little early-spring zip out of town sounds like a good idea. Well, why not? Interesting stuff happens all over the place.
Out the Columbia Gorge, the Maryhill Museum of Art opened last week for the 2016 season, which will run through mid-November. I haven’t made the trek yet, but I will, partly to see the museum’s freshened-up display of international chess sets, a collection I find fascinating even though I don’t play the kingly game. There are also interesting-looking exhibitions of American Indian trade blankets (this one doesn’t open until July 16; the others are open now), classic American art pottery, several paintings from the collection that are too big to be on permanent display (size matters, especially when there’s limited space) and – this should be a kid-pleaser – animal paintings from the permanent collection.
That includes the 1900 A Golden Retriever (above), by the Scottish painter Edwin Douglas, and to be sporting about it, you might want to take the nippers first to the Portland Art Museum to see another great big painting, Carl Kahler’s My Wife’s Lovers (you don’t have to spill the beans on the title), which is on loan through May 15 and is being promoted as “the world’s greatest painting of cats.” Hey, this is the Pacific Northwest: It’s raining cats and dogs.
Moving on from dogs and cats, Salem’s Hallie Ford Museum of Art has a small but fascinating exhibition through May 1 of nudes by the great photographer Imogen Cunningham. They cover the years 1906 to 1931, when Cunningham (1883-1976) was establishing herself. Cunningham was born in Portland and had her first museum exhibition at the Portland Art Museum in 1914; she was a westerner through and through, and these remarkable black-and-white photographs are mostly plein-air, shot in the wilds of the West. Your choice on taking the kids.
Now you’re heading down the highway to Eugene, and by this time the kids are getting antsy. Time to stop in at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, at the University of Oregon, where among other things you’ll find the photo exhibit Strike a Pose: Images of Dance from the JSMA Collections. First, let the kids run around a bit outside on the campus grounds. Then, show them the possibilities of choreographed movement, and how sublimely a good photographer can capture the dancerly moment. The exhibit covers African, Indian, jazz, modern, and ballet: so many possibilities for young feet and minds.
A few things to watch for on this week’s calendar:
Sorry, Wrong Number, The Hitchhiker, A Room of One’s Own. Willamette Radio Workshop has been keeping the wit and drama of real-time broadcasts alive for years, recreating the atmosphere of old-time radio broadcast booths for live audiences. The first two are Golden Age classics by writer Lucille Fletcher; the third is a piece on women and writing by Workshop regular Cynthia J. McGean, who’ll do the reading. 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 23, Washington State University Vancouver.
Catch the Butcher. The Pulp Stage concentrates on low-cost, accessible, unstuffed, and often oddball theater in comfortable surroundings. This hour-long show is about a serial kiler whose latest victim would like to start a relationship. What’s a poor homicidal maniac to do? 7:30 Thursday, March 24, O’Connor’s Vault.
New Expressive Works Residency Program. Resident dance makers Catherine Egan, Linda K. Johnson, Lane Hunter, and Ruth Nelson unveil their newest work. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Studio 2/Zoomtopia.
The Language Archive. Theatre Diaspora, Portland’s adventurous Asian American/Pacific Islander company, presents a staged reading of Julia Cho’s comedy about “dying languages and difficulties of love.” 2 p.m. Saturday at Portland Center Stage, 2 p.m. April 2 at Milagro Theatre.
The Few. Long-haul truckers, YK2 paranoia (remember that?), lonely-hearts personal ads and a promising cast of Val Lundrum, Michael O’Connell, and Caleb Sohigian mark the newest from CoHo Productions, an Idaho drama of the mind by Samuel D. Hunter. Opens Friday, through April 16.
Noh meets noir, kabuki goes to college. ArtsWatch’s Brett Campbell discovers some fascinating depths in Imago Theatre’s The Lady Aoi, based on Yukio Mishima’s 1954 noh drama that was itself inspired by a character in the classic Japanese novel The Tale of Genji; and in Portland State University’s sumptuous production of the 1748 kabuki classic The Revenge of the 47 Loyal Samurai. A link between the two projects: Larry Kominz, the Portland specialist in Japanese theater.
Oregon Chorale: counting the stars. On a busy recent musical weekend, Bruce Browne concentrated on the choirs, diving deeply into the Oregon Chorale and its hunt for a new musical director. The most recent candidate to take the baton for a tryout: the dynamic young Jason Sabino.
Matt McCormick on Buzz One Four. Marc Mohan interviews the veteran Portland independent filmmaker on his latest project, about an American pilot who crash-landed a nuclear-armed B-52 bomber in rural Maryland n 1964. That pilot happened to be McCormick’s grandfather.
Song of childhood: Davita’s Harp. Christa Morletti McIntyre sings the praises of Jewish Theatre Collaboration’s final project, a world-premiere adaptation of Chaim Potok’s novel about growing up in a Jewish-slash-atheist radical New York household: “Potok’s understanding of experience is like the knots on a tzitzit, the fringe of a Jewish prayer shawl: separate, but close and bound together.”
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