Sunday’s Famous ArtsWatch Link Post: Rothko, Booth, Do Jump!, more

No. 14, 1951 Oil on canvas 561⁄2x65in. Collection of Kate Rothko Prizel and Ilya Prizel/Portland Art Museum

Do you need a nice Sunday morning Links Post? Just to touch base with something “arts” before heading out into the “world”? Yes, that’s a false dichotomy. The arts and the world are the same thing! Or maybe one is the subset of the other—we just don’t know which is which. But then: This Is ArtsWatch!

These were carefully selected from our Facebook page, which we invite you to join simply by clicking and liking!

The New York Times raves about DoJump!, which has invaded the New Victory Theatre in New York and apparently emerged triumphant!

Laurel Graeber, New York Times: “The production, titled “Ahhh … Ha!,” is less about sudden, startling feats than about episodes of fluid, mesmerizing grace (call them Ahhh moments), interspersed with quirky, creative physical comedy (the Ha! moments). And the ellipsis? I like to think that it symbolizes the indefinable connections between them.”

We love when they do that.

Do Jump! and lots of other cultural groups offer classes for kids, but we know that’s no substitute for a regular, integrated arts curriculum in the public (and private) schools, right? The arts engage, explore, expand and connect like no other subject, and if Portland was truly “exceptional” (in the good sense), we’d trash the way we do things in our schools now and re-orient ourselves toward producing curious, creative kids. Anyway, this graphic from the Creative Advocacy Network managed to rile us considerably.

If this bothers you as much as does ArtsWatch, maybe you’ll want to connect with the Right Brain Initiative, which is determined to make sure that every kid has some connection with the arts sometime during the school day. It’s just a click away: on Facebook and on Twitter and on the web.

The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, one of the country’s major orchestras, is conducting an experiment. It’s offering its full menu of  100 concerts to patrons for $5 a month. When we do the math (stop laughing!), that’s $60 bucks for 100 concerts or less than a buck apiece, if you dragged yourself to everything! Sure, there are a few restrictions, and the best seats cost more. How will this turn out? We have no idea, but the test of the elasticity of ticket prices is a welcome one. If lowering prices to this extent at a big and wonderful orchestra doesn’t increase attendance, then some serious re-thinking is going to have to happen about the long-term prospects of traditional orchestras, won’t it?

Brian Booth’s dedication to the cultural life, especially the literary life, of the state was amazing. My most recent personal debt to him is for bringing the wonderful H.L. Davis back into my life. Brian co-edited a collection of Davis’s work, Davis Country: H.L. Davis’s Northwest, which came out in 2009. He even came to my book group to talk about Davis, the Oregonian to receive the Pulitzer Prize in fiction (but, hey, just wait; we have so many more entrants of talent these days that another breakthrough is imminent).

Brian died from cancer on March 7. His memorial is at 4 pm Thursday, April 12, First Congregational Church, 1126 SW Park Avenue, Portland, and I’m expecting that literary Portland will be out in force.

Catalysts like Brian Booth are critical to the success of a region’s literary life, and so are publishing houses, which are so tricky to keep going in the current flux-y state of the publishing business in general. So, we’re happy to note that Powell’s is offering a 30 percent off deal on Hawthorne Books and Tin House titles, both because, hey, bargain books!, and because of the understanding of how the local ecology works.

We are on a literary roll! One of Brian Booth’s achievements was to start the Oregon Book Awards, which were taken over by Literary Arts after Booth’s Oregon Institute for Literary Arts merged with LA, which was then mostly a lecture series. This year’s award ceremony is coming up, but first, you can vote for your favorite Oregon book of the year for the People’s Choice award. I found this totally baffling, because so many books seemed fabulous to me and I couldn’t develop a basis for comparison, but more agile minds will succeed in this task, no doubt.

Meghan O’Rourke’s take on the late poet Adrienne Rich for Slate is the best I’ve seen, I think.

 “To read Rich at her best is to be gut-punched and brain-teased at the same time—a teaching both cerebral and visceral. What sets Rich apart from her generation of feminists is not just her highly trained formidable intelligence—matched by only a few of her peers—but the way her career dramatizes the awakening of a radically individual voice. Rich was both a poet and an essayist, and her cross-genre forays allowed her to capture women’s growing consciousness of their oppression more significantly (and persistently) than any other writer I know. She was always searching for a new and better language, a fresher, less derivative art.”

The shooting of singer Brian Tierney is disturbing on so many levels, but it leaves a mountain of  medical expenses  that must be covered. Brian’s friends are gathering for a benefit concert to provide both community support for the family and each other and to help defray some of that bill: 7 pm Sunday, April 22, All Saints Catholic Church, 3847 NE Glisan, Portland

We’ll close with Mark Rothko, because he has been on our minds lately. Here’s an excellent explanation of how Rothko painted his famous rectangles of the 1950s…

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