COAST

‘God’ lends a hand to Newport theater drive

Ed Asner stars in "God Help Us!," a fundraising political comedy scheduled for August

What started out as a plea for cash has turned into what likely will be the biggest draw at the Newport Performing Arts Center this summer.

It’s a play called God Help Us!,  and playing the title role is the actor with more Emmys — seven — than any other male performer. You may know him best as Lou Grant, the ornery TV news director with a soft spot for Mary. Yep, that would be Ed Asner.

Here’s how it happened.

For the past seven years, the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts has been raising money for its seven-phase capital campaign to expand and improve the Newport Performing Arts Center. That campaign is in the final stage, with efforts to transform the former Black Box Theater. The Black Box originally was designed as rehearsal space, morphed into a small theater, and recently was renamed for the late David Ogden Stiers. Improvements totaling $1.6 million will make it a fully functioning theater.

Ed Asner as God judges a debate in purgatory between a former couple — one liberal, one conservative — in the political comedy “God Help Us!”

Charged with figuring out how to raise the money, Andrea Spirtos, capital campaign consultant for the council, got her hands on an extensive resume of Stiers’ work. Stiers was a Newport resident and actor best known for his role as Major Charles Emerson Winchester III in the TV series M*A*S*H.

“It included all the shows he was on,” Spirtos said. “And then I researched each of those shows to find out which episode he was on and which actors would have been filmed with him, including what lines he may have said surrounding his appearance.”

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Coast calendar: Studio tours, exhibits closing, steampunk ahead

Art events this week include a documentary film about art and madness, which may put you in the mood for the upcoming exhibition at the Oregon Coast Aquarium

It’s not happening on the Coast, but you could say it is of the Coast. That’s the opening of an exhibit of poetry and photography by Oregon State University faculty member Joseph Ohmann Krause in The Little Gallery on the OSU campus in Corvallis. Inspired by Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershøi (1854-1916), Drawing in the Northern Light combines eight poems with photos, most of them taken on the Oregon Coast.

Oregon State University professor Joseph Ohmann Krause combines his photographs of the Oregon Coast with his poetry in “Drawing in the Northern Light” in The Little Gallery on the OSU campus.
Oregon State University professor Joseph Ohmann Krause combines photographs of the Oregon Coast with poetry in “Drawing in the Northern Light,” a show on the OSU campus.

The idea came to Krause, a French professor, after he happened upon a catalog of Hammershøi’s, said Helen Wilhelm, curator of The Little Gallery.  

“In Hammershøi’s work, a lot of the paintings have to do with an empty room, or you can see beyond into a farther room,” Wilhelm said. “You get the feeling that, yes there are people who live in these rooms, but they just left. There is a sense of mystery, calm. Even a bit of isolation. 

“In Dr. Krause’s photos, there is never a person in them,” she continued. “There may be an empty beach scene, but you get the sense that someone was there earlier. The word ‘absence’ is the major word that comes to mind. The opposite of chaos.”

The opening is 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 4, in 210 Kidder Hall. Someone will be on hand to read the poems, and Wilhelm is hoping to find musicians to play compositions by Danish composer Dieterich Buxtehude, who has also inspired Krause.  “It’s going to be really elegant and lovely,” Wilhelm said.

The show is on view from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays (closed during lunch) May 28 through Sept. 30.

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Studio tour spotlights creatives along the coast

Artists at more than 20 studios along the Central Coast will open their studios during Art on the Edge

Lovers of local art and the Oregon Coast can combine their passions May 17-19 during the Art on the Edge Studio Tour along the Central Coast. More than two dozen artists will open their studios to visitors.

Maria Esther Sund incorporates old and new elements in her collage and mixed media work.

Maria Esther Sund incorporates old and new elements in her collage and mixed media work.

The Lincoln City Cultural Center will host the opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, May 10. Guests will meet some of the artists on the tour, see their artwork, and save 50 percent — one night only — on the button that provides entrance to the tour, which is regularly $10.

We talked with Krista Eddy, director of visual arts at the center about the tour.

Mosaic artist Joanne Daschel works in glass and stone tiles to create art on themes including garden, food, landscape, and nature, such as this western meadowlark.

Mosaic artist Joanne Daschel works in glass and stone tiles to create art on themes including garden, food, landscape, and nature, such as this western meadowlark.

What is the Art on the Edge Studio Tour?

Eddy: It is a self-guided tour from Depoe Bay to Neskowin of local, well-known visual artists. You get a map that is kind of like an arts treasure map, you purchase a wood laser-cut button made by our high school kids, and you take the button and the map and go around to the artists’ studios. There are 21 stops. But there are more artists than that, because we have three group studios and each has more than 10 artists. People can choose to go to as many as they want.

How long has it been going on?

This is the third year. We’re still pretty young, but we’re going strong.

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To market, to market, jiggety jig

Up and down the Oregon Coast, outdoor food and craft markets are gearing up for the crowds. A quick trip to Canada whets the appetite.

I confess I couldn’t tell you the last time I visited our local farmer’s market on the Oregon Coast. I did make it to a handful out of town for a story last year, but in terms of visiting just for the pleasure of wandering from vendor to vendor to enjoy the food, sample the wine and admire the art, I’ve been completely negligent. Yet, the first place on my itinerary after landing in Vancouver, British Columbia, last week (True confession #2: In the 19 years I’ve been here on the Coast, this was my first visit) was the Granville Island Market. It was Easter Monday, pouring rain — and yes, I did feel right at home — but friends told me I had to go to the market and I boarded the water taxi intent on spending time in this touted place of local art and food.

The chocolate submarine that got away at Granville Island Market. Photo: Lori Tobias

It did not disappoint. I agonized over the decision to purchase of a pair of earrings made from Woolly Mammoth tusks, but well aware of the dent the trip was putting in my bank account, I passed, opting instead for a little box of handcrafted chocolates, almost too beautiful to eat. Almost. Outside the market, I dipped in and out of boutiques, where I found a stained glass crow I couldn’t resist. We’ve had bald eagles behind our house, and it’s the crows that signal us to get our small dogs to safety. I returned to my hotel room, patting myself on the back for my spending restraint – then days later, returned to the Island to buy a gorgeous wallet with art by First Nations artist Maxine Noel, and a gift for a friend.

Totems in Stanley Park, the great urban park in Vancouver, B.C. Photo: Lori Tobias

Another day, after hours strolling Stanley Park, I jumped on the sea bus for the Lonsdale Quay Market, and, because I’d been so well-behaved spending-wise, set out to find that one something I couldn’t resist. That something turned out to be phone cases with the most adorable renderings by a local artist of nature and animals. After much hemming and hawing – the pink swan? the blue-nosed rabbit? itty bitty mouse? – I decided it had to be the big-eyed owl, more owlet than owlish.

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North Coast Culinary Fest honors the ‘first foodie’

A weekend of special meals, cooking workshops, tastings, and film benefits Seaside High School's culinary arts program while paying tribute to James Beard

Cannon Beach is known for the many art galleries dotting its ocean-view avenues. Now local culinary aficionados want to bring visitors’ attention to another kind of art – the kind that happens in the kitchen — while paying tribute to a cooking pioneer.

The North Coast Culinary Fest kicks off May 10 for a weekend of workshops, fine dining and a night  market – all honoring legendary chef James Beard, with proceeds supporting the Seaside High School culinary arts program.

“We want folks get to know the artists in our kitchens better,” said Lenore Emery-Neroni, co-owner with husband and chef Bob Neroni of EVOO Cooking School. “It’s been a long time coming.”

Beard, whom The New York Times dubbed “the Dean of American Cooking” in 1954, had a long history with the North Coast. He was born in Portland in 1903, and his family summered in Gearhart. An advocate of using fresh, local ingredients before doing so  became commonplace, Beard later taught cooking classes in Seaside, which helped inspire the Seaside High School culinary class.

James Beard

In his memoir, “Delights and Prejudices,” James Beard wrote of the Oregon Coast, “no place on Earth, with the exception of Paris, has done as much to influence my professional life.”

For Beard fans, the highlight of the weekend will no doubt be the opportunity to attend a Champagne Reception at the Beard family’s former summer home. It’s a small party Saturday afternoon with tickets on a first-come, first served basis. The home, a small cabin, still features the Beards’ three-element electric stove. The stove now sits in a special alcove dedicated to Beard.

The James Beard Foundation website notes: “James Beard laid the groundwork for the food revolution that has put America at the forefront of global gastronomy. He was a pioneer foodie, host of the first food program on the fledgling medium of television
in 1946, the first to suspect that classic American culinary traditions might cohere into a national cuisine, and an early champion of local products and markets. Beard nurtured a generation of American chefs and cookbook authors who have changed the way we eat.”

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An ocean of musical opportunities

The Oregon Coast Youth Symphony Festival supports music in public schools -- and students don't have to sell 5,000 candy bars to take part

More than 100 students and their teachers will arrive in Newport next week for four days of workshops and performances, a visit to the Oregon Coast Aquarium – and of course, ample time on the beach. They’ll stay in oceanfront hotels and dine on local cuisine. And it won’t cost them a dime – not even one raised through the usual fundraising sale of doughnuts or gift wrap.

It’s all part of the Oregon Coast Youth Symphony Festival, a program designed to support music in public schools, with priority admission given to those from underserved communities.

Students from six Oregon high school orchestras will participate in the third annual Oregon Coast Youth Symphony Festival, April 25-28 in Newport.

Students from five Oregon high school orchestras will participate in the third annual Oregon Coast Youth Symphony Festival, April 25-28 in Newport.

The idea for the festival – now in its third year – came from a handful of locals, including the late David Ogden Stiers, who were concerned about the loss of music programs in public schools, said Michael Dalton, chairman of the festival board of directors, retired Oregon State University professor, and a member of the Oregon Arts Commission.

“We were looking for some way we could help support music programs in our schools,” Dalton said. He noted that without school programs, parents who have the means will nevertheless provide private instruction. But for those without funds, some students “have no other opportunities. We have created this festival to meet that need. We don’t want it to be an obstacle, or for the school to have to sell 5,000 candy bars to be able to do something. It’s the heart of what we do.”

Schools pay only the cost of transportation to and from Newport. The festival pays for lodging and the professional conductors who lead the workshops. Local boosters provide food for the students and Local Ocean restaurant hosts the Conductor’s Dinner for conductors, teachers, and board members. The festival also partners with the aquarium, which provides free admission to students, who in exchange share their talent in trios and quartets by the entrance.

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Gather round, grown-ups, for tales of pets and marriages

Actor Liz Cole pulls a circle of adults around her reading chair, her lamp and her mama's rug to relive the childhood pleasure of being told a story

Remember when you were a kid and the teacher gathered your class in a circle and read you a story? Well, turns out you don’t have to be a child to savor story time.

Professional actor Liz Cole came up with the idea of Story Time for Grown-Ups one day while she pondered what she really loved to do. The answer was two-fold: ride a bike and read beautifully written poems and stories. She took her idea for a series of story times to the Hoffman Center for the Arts in Manzanita and got the go-ahead. She’s been hosting a story time about once a year for the six years since.

“It’s been just wonderful,” she said. The content of the shows is a mix of poems and little stories, with a heavy emphasis on poems because of their conciseness. Each show lasts a little over an hour, followed by any conversation the audience might want.

“Nearly all the poems and stories are the work of others, culled mostly from my bookshelves and the internet,” Cole said. “I gather a whole bunch of material, then identify common themes, do a lot of winnowing, and end up with what I hope is a fine balance between light and dark pieces. I’ve increasingly emphasized lightness the last couple of episodes, possibly because there’s more than enough darkness around.”

Actor Liz Cole says her Story Time for Grown-Ups aims to create an atmosphere like childhood, "or like childhood should have been." She will share stories and poems this week and next in Tillamook and Manzanita.

Actor Liz Cole says her Story Time for Grown-Ups aims to create an atmosphere like childhood, “or like childhood should have been.” She will share stories and poems this week and next in Tillamook and Manzanita.

In the coming week, Cole will present the series in two locations. This weekend, she’ll be on stage April 13 and 14 at the Tillamook Association for the Performing Arts (TAPA) with Reigning Cats and Dogs. On April 17, she will present Marriage and Other Lapses of Judgment at the Hoffman Center. Tickets are $15 and $10.

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