January 2018

Skinner/Kirk Dance Company hits rewind and fast-forward

By HEATHER WISNER The big questions we begin asking ourselves in middle age—about identity, achievement, love, loss, and how to reconcile the passage of time—color an upcoming concert by dance company Skinner/Kirk. Founded in 1998 by Eric Skinner and Daniel Kirk, the

MusicWatch Weekly: choral confluence

Vibrant voices lead this week’s Oregon music calendar, beginning with one of America’s oldest and most revered choral ensembles, St. Olaf Choir’s performance Thursday at Portland’s Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Friday at Eugene’s First United Methodist Church and Saturday afternoon at North Medford

Astor’s great and messy quest

In the early years of the 19th century, John Jacob Astor, a German immigrant who’d already become wealthy through the fur trade and Manhattan real estate, gambled big on a grand vision. His plan was to establish an “emporium” near the mouth

Solofest preview: e pluribus unum

It’s easier than ever for us to hear people who have long been marginalized. From vlogs to podcasts to YouTube and the rest, the proliferation of expressive avenues has revealed a tremendous demand to hear personal stories from once-stifled voices. “The rise

Long, cold, and worth it

Oregon playwright E.M. Lewis’s new show Magellanica opens with a scientist holding a parka and some luggage. “No one ends up in Antarctica by accident,” she says matter-of-factly. It’s true. Those who head deep into the frozen continent do must have strong

Crazy fun with Pete the Cat

“That was kind of crazy. Also kind of funny, right?” – Pete the Cat (Dave Cole), Pete the Cat: The Musical Pete himself might as well have been reviewing this lively, fun, infectious musical, the latest from the ambitious Oregon Children’s Theatre,

Boom! Arts from the edge

Essay and photos by FRIDERIKE HEUER In times of political change and upheaval the arts often undergo a paradigm shift. New ways of representing the world or challenging the status quo rise out of despair or are driven by hope. This is

Sunwook Kim review: subtle touch, dynamic range

By ANGELA ALLEN Sunwook Kim opened his January 14 Portland Piano International recital with J.S. Bach’s Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C Major, BWV 564, written for organ (think majestic, reverential, full-voiced) and ran furiously through the opening toccata. The word, toccata,

DanceWatch Weekly: In the neighborhood

Welcome to the “meet your neighbor” edition of DanceWatch. Yup, that’s right, you are surrounded by a sea of amazing, talented artists, and they all seem to be popping up THIS weekend. And, the “neighborhood” may be much bigger than you think—at

A lioness of the mind

I have been reading the many tributes to Ursula K. Le Guin, my friend of 52 years, who died on Monday at age 88, and they are, mostly, wonderful. They make me remember my own reactions to her work, as novelist, poet,

‘Voices of Light’ preview: trial by fire

Even the flames couldn’t destroy Joan of Arc. The 15th-century teenage revolutionary was infamously burned at the stake for leading a revolution, but her memory survived. Ultimately, she achieved sainthood and became a symbol of France itself. Centuries after her immolation, Danish

Dance review: ‘Two Love Stories’ tracks our heartbreak

By ELIZABETH WHELAN Two Love Stories, presented by Linda Austin’s Performance Works Northwest Sunday night, was far from the romantic walk in the park you’d expect from its title. Marissa Rae Niederhauser, Berlin-based dancer and choreographer, cuts down the back alleys and

Watching Readings

Fertile Ground is springing up about us again, and Portland’s theatrical venues are filled with performances—dance, original drama, comedy, even a couple of premiere musicals, all there to delight audiences. And then there are the playreadings. The festival is heavy with new

MusicWatch Weekly: still burning

The Oregon portion of the valuable new Spontaneous Combustion New Music Festival isn’t even half over and already it’s produced a pair of the finest contemporary classical concerts in recent memory: a spectacular performance of music by Gyorgy Ligeti and one-time Oregonians

“Cosi fan Tutte” review: identity crisis

by ANGELA ALLEN In Seattle Opera’s production of Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte, the stage’s main prop, aside from an inviting pile of mattresses, is a tall mirror. Each character pauses in front of it at some time, checking out his or her current reflection,

Rennie Harris, moving pure

By RACHAEL CARNES According to Lorenzo “Rennie” Harris, the three laws of hip-hop culture are “innovation, individuality and creativity.” “Hip hop comes from the word ‘hippie,’ which means to either open your eyes or re-open your eyes — to be aware,” Harris

Art among the plants: a lament

By FRIDERIKE HEUER What’s wrong with this picture? “Nothing?” the astute observer might reply. “I see some pretty glass in beautiful surroundings. Say, don’t you like Chihuly?” Let’s try again: What’s wrong with this picture? “A version of ‘Is that art, or

Kellen Chasuk: Inventiveness triumphs over gloom

By PAUL MAZIAR One of my favorite things about art-making, in any medium, is that the initial subject matter can be totally incidental—without prescribed meaning whatsoever—and yet deeper implications are invariably discovered, by both the artist and whomever is there to experience

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